Chapter Four Summary: Daniel and Martouf realize they have been having a dream that is exactly the same for each of them. They know it is significant but are not sure what it means. They begin the task of translating the writing on the temple walls. Artereos sends some very special "supplies".
Carusawyn - My Dear One, My Dearest One Amat Wyn - My Love Aima Coeurawyn - Blood of My Heart, an Endearment, a Formal Declaration of the Soulmate Amata Tu, Semper - I Love You, Always Et Aevum - Into/For Eternity Coeurawyn - My Heart “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communications
Daniel moaned softly in his sleep as the dream played out as it had so many nights before. He tried to reach her but he couldn’t. He was standing next to a large portal, but he couldn’t step through it. They would not allow him through. He wasn’t trained to traverse the All even in a dream state. He must stay in the areas with which he was familiar. He turned back to the large area next to the portal where he could watch what was happening but he must stay quiet and let them work.
He saw the sympathy on Gwennetha’s face. She sighed, and he thought he felt her touch his cheek softly, as if to reassure him before she returned to the altar of stone where her mother lay, so frail and delicate looking that, if he had not known without a doubt that it was Kataya, he would have denied it was her.
The bindings holding her were so tight that he felt the pain of them just looking at them. She lay quietly now, no longer fighting them, as she had only a couple of months ago. Sam knelt beside her, talking to her, and Daniel wished he could hear everything she said but he couldn’t. He heard only bits and pieces of their conversations. He watched as Sam wrung out a cloth to use on her face and then held her as the retching that racked her body came again; it would end up with her bringing up a foul blackish fluid. She could not take much more; he could tell she was almost beyond her limits.
No one had explained to him what was happening to Kataya. Even Gwennetha had only given him soft looks of compassion and an occasional touch of sympathy. Most of the time, they were so focused on what they were doing they did not appear to know he was there. Kataya and Sam knew and occasionally Gwennetha was aware of him but other than that, only the priests near the portal that stopped him from going to Kataya appeared to be aware that he was there. He had argued with them at first but had finally given up. They were polite, sympathetic, and firm; he could not traverse that part of the All. His memories had not yet returned and thus he had no knowledge of how to make his way on his own. He must stay here.
Martouf had pulled him away from them, back to the area where the energy shield kept them away but allowed them to see, and sometimes hear if they listened carefully. That had been the first he had seen Martouf in his dream. He had been aware of him there on and off ever since, but they did not interact after that time. It was more a sensing of him, a knowing that his essence was there rather than seeing him.
Finally, Kataya was finished with this bout of vomiting and another strand of the bands holding her snapped followed by the releasing of two more. He could barely hear Sam, as she laughed softly and then smiled at her as she said, “Only one more, Kat. We can do this, Carusawyn. I know we can win. We have won it all so far, and Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash are waiting for us. You can see them waiting, sending us their unwavering faith and love, their belief in us, their strength. You must fight just a little longer and a little harder. We will win, I promise you. I promise. We have even more to live for than before. You must continue to fight this.”
Daniel realized he was whispering as he watched the two women. “Sam is right, Amat Wyn. We are here and you have our love and our faith, always. You can do this Aima Coeurawyn. You can do this. Amata Tu Semper. Et Aevum. I will be here waiting, I promise. You must survive and begin a new quest. You know what must be done; what you have yet to do, you and Sam. Amata Tu, Kataya, Coeurawyn.” He did not know why he was telling her those things, but he felt it was important he say them to her. She had to know that there was another destiny for her and Sam now. It was imperative that she know how deeply he loved and trusted her. He had to reassure her that his faith in her was as strong as ever.
Merdwin approached the altar and Daniel watched as he began a low-toned chant. They were going to go through the same thing again; they were not even letting her rest this time. Merdwin brought his arm up, held a chalice aloft, and intoned what sounded like a very archaic, pagan, spell. Walking around the altar, he chanted as he dipped the ceremonial dagger into whatever was in the chalice. After completing several circles of the altar and the woman lying on it, he set aside the chalice, lifted the dagger high above his head, and held it over Kataya. As always, he allowed the fluid from the chalice to drip from the tip of the dagger onto Kataya. This time there was no reaction from her.
As Merdwin waited to see if there would yet be a reaction from the liquid on Kataya’s body, she turned to look at Daniel and he could see her clearly. Reaching out he touched the energy field between them and it rippled around his hand as it lay on it but did not hurt him. He sent her all the love he could as he watched, helpless to do anything to help her.
She was quiet and calm, her love for him reaching out and bathing him in its sweetness. She smiled at him, her love for him a living thing between them crossing space and time. She turned away from him, looked to Merdwin, and gave a very slight nod of acceptance.
He saw Merdwin’s face became ever more determined as he swung his arms downward and plunged the dagger into Kataya. Daniel screamed and sat up in bed, sweating, his breath coming in harsh gasps. God he hated this dream, and he was having it more and more often lately. It had started about three months ago. Not long after he, Martouf, and Lantash had realized what the unwavering faith of the prophecy meant. From that time on, they had begun to build a new life for themselves and from that time on, he had been having this dream, in ever-increasing frequency.
Martouf made his way to Daniel’s bed and sat beside him. He reached out slowly and rubbed circles on his back, saying nothing, waiting on Daniel to decide if he needed to say anything this time. This was one of the reasons that Daniel had said he would sleep in Martouf’s room. They were both aware that the other had dreams that awoke them, sometimes screaming. They were used to getting up and checking on one another.
At first, after Kataya and Sam had died, they had both had dreams, but over time, they declined in frequency and intensity. Except that now, these dreams were getting worse. Daniel had suspected that Martouf would have nightmares tonight after the happenings earlier today. Instead, he seemed to be the one that would dream tonight. He hoped his scream did not awaken anyone else. He really did not want to subject the others to this if he could prevent it. He, Martouf, and Lantash had grown used to it over the long months they had been caring for one another. Oddly, when they were off world on missions, they usually did not have them. It was strange that he had one this time.
They had never spoken of the contents of the dreams even to one another so Martouf was shocked to hear Daniel give a dry sob before bursting into almost angry speech as if he could no longer hold his despair trapped inside. “If I have to watch Merdwin stab Kataya to death one more time, I don’t know what I will do, Martouf.”
Martouf sat unmoving, as if afraid to breathe, before saying so softly Daniel could barely hear him, “After Merdwin stabs her, they bring her back though, Daniel. Merdwin works very hard to bring her back. They all work feverishly to bring her back.”
“Yes, so she can be violently ill again and then he can stab her again and again,” Daniel said bitterly as he slumped back against the head of the bed. Then as he realized what Martouf had said, he shot back to a straight-backed position in the bed while he stared at him in surprise. “How did you know that? How did you know what was going to happen next?” He asked breathlessly.
Martouf looked confused for a moment before saying, “I – I have the same dream, Daniel. I have been having it for a while now. I did not realize that both of us have been dreaming the same thing. It means something, Daniel. There is no other explanation for the two of us dreaming the exact same dream.” He paused for a moment before asking, “Has the dream changed since you first began having it, Daniel? Have – have Kataya and Sam changed in it?”
“Yes. When I first started dreaming it, Kataya was much healthier than she is now. She was much stronger and not so worn and thin. She used to fight the binding and she was, ah, very vocal in her recriminations of Sam and Merdwin. It did not even sound like her. I - I am not sure it ‘was’ her. She doesn’t seem to be fighting them so much now. In this dream, she didn’t fight at all.”
Daniel paused, thinking and then said, “Sam, too, was not nearly so thin and tired when the dreams started. Both of them have become increasingly weaker, as Kataya goes through the process of being ill. I don’t understand what the dream means, but I don’t think it is good. Especially not now that I am aware you are having the same dream. It has to mean something specific or we would not both be having it,” Daniel agreed.
Lantash came forward to ask gently, “Daniel, have you noticed that after they bring Kataya back, right before she becomes ill, her eyes are a flat black? Then after she is ill, her eyes turn a deep green. They are the color of Morgasha and Artereos’s eyes to be exact. The only time her eyes are Amethyst is when she looks towards the portal right before Merdwin stabs her.” He looked thoughtful for a moment and then frowned, adding, “But I have also noticed lately that the green is not as deep and bright, it is paler and dull now when her eyes change to green. It is very odd. Have you noticed this and do you not also think it is odd?”
Daniel nodded, “Yes, I have noticed some of those things but I am usually too distraught from watching Merdwin kill her over and over to notice too many details. I had hoped it was just me reliving the battle and somehow getting every thing all confused. I thought that perhaps I was seeing Merdwin stabbing Kataya because I blamed him in some way but I know that is not true. They did everything they could to protect our mates.”
He sighed and fell back onto his pillows with a groan. “I just wish they would stop. I can see what is happening but I can’t get through the force field or the portal. There is nothing I can do to help her or Sam. Nothing,” he declared in a voice flat with despair.
“I know, Daniel, I feel the same way. However, I think that when she looks to – to, well, you, she is drawing strength from you. I think our love and faith are sustaining them both. Moreover, I have noticed one thing in the dreams that I think is a good sign. Each time Kataya becomes so violently ill and then recovers, more of the bindings holding her down snap and that makes both Sam and Kataya happy for a short time, until Merdwin comes and,” he swallowed before forcing himself to continue, “and burns her with the liquid and then kills her again.”
Daniel stared at the ceiling then at Lantash. “So that is in your dream too? The liquid that drips from the dagger seems to burn her in your dream?” He frowned, recalling the dream he had just had. “This time when the liquid dripped on her it didn’t seem to affect her, Lantash. I have no idea why, of course, but since you mentioned it, it seems significant somehow. I agree that she is drawing on me for strength, just as Sam is on you. He gave a lop-sided grin, easily discernable in the moonlight, and said, “Which brings us back to the promise of unwavering faith and love. I do not know about you but mine has not changed at all. At a guess, I would say yours is as strong as ever, too.”
After pausing in thought for a moment, he continued, speaking softly, “I agree that the dreams have meaning, although I am not sure exactly what. I believe that something happened when Morgasha died and it affected Kataya. I suppose it is possible they are still fighting Morgasha, Lantash. Perhaps not on this plane of existence but, somewhere, Sam, Kataya, and Merdwin, and for all we know Artereos, the priests and the priestesses are all still fighting her, fighting to bind her soul so that she can’t escape. That could be why Merdwin has not returned to Janet and Gwennetha has not been in contact with Malek. They may be fighting to bind Morgasha’s soul and possibly to save Kataya and Sam’s. Does that make any sense to you?”
Lantash nodded before saying, “Martouf and I both agree with you Daniel. It is the only explanation that makes sense of what we have both seen, and the fact that we have both seen the same things tells me there is something important going on there.”
Seeing the deep concern and anxiety etched on his friend’s features, as the moonlight slanted through the window and across the room, Daniel smiled slightly. Clasping his hand, he squeezed it and said, “Well, even though we both agree, there is nothing we can do about it now. I am glad I woke you though since we finally talked about it.”
“But for now, go back to sleep, Lantash. I will be all right now and you need your rest. We have a quest of our own to work on. We have to trust our mates and their people to take care of them, and we have to take care of ours. I truly will be fine, I assure you. I feel better after having shared it. I guess we should have told each other about it a long time ago.”
Lantash nodded and Martouf came forward to say, “I believe you are correct, Daniel, and so does Lantash. We must trust and have faith in them.” As Daniel lay back down, Martouf leaned over and pulled the covers over his friend and brother. “Good-night, Daniel. We will be here if you need us again. As you will be for us, I know.”
The day dawned clear and bright. A light breeze brought a scent similar to jasmine through the open window and allowed it to mingle with the fragrance of fresh coffee and food. Waking later than normal to this delicious, yet unlikely, harmony of scents, Martouf quickly washed, dressed, and headed down the stairs to join his comrades. They were sitting around the large wooden dining table enjoying the food and discussing which would be the best way to proceed with the days work.
As sunlight slanted through a high window, stray rays of light caught dust motes, turning them to sparkles of gold and allowing them to twinkle as they danced and swirled in the fragrantly scented air. It was a beautiful morning and Martouf thought the very air, even as it moved in lazy breezes seemed to have an expectant waiting quality to it.
“I agree, dear one.” Lantash said as he sensed the same things. “I hope Daniel had the same dream we had during the early morning hours. Somehow I do not think either of us will be having ‘the dream’ again after experiencing this last one.”
“I agree, Lantash. I need to be sure to let Daniel know what we saw in our dream somehow without bringing undue curiosity to the three of us,” Martouf promptly agreed.
“I am sure that sometime today we will have an opportunity to tell him if we do not get to do so now,” Lantash assured him.
“Yes, but I intend to at least let him know that I had an unusually good dream,” Martouf responded, stubbornly.
“I see no problem with that,” Lantash agreed readily. Laughing softly, he added, “There is no reason to become mulish, Martouf. I was not going to argue with you about doing so.”
Martouf sent him a sheepish look and a brief caress in response, and as they entered the room, he heard Daniel say, “I wasn’t able to sleep right away last night, and it occurred to me that although the memory recall device would probably work, it could also bring forth quite a few memories you would rather not remember. Anyway, I thought we might want to consider an alternative way to try to retrieve the legends of the Tok’Ra, unless we can come up with a plausible reason for wanting the memory recall device. It is something we need to give some thought too, at any rate. We do not want to arouse undue suspicion as to why we want whatever we ask for.”
“Do you have a way to proceed without it in mind, Daniel?” Malek asked as he poured more hot chocolate into his cup. He had learned to respect Daniel’s intellect and hunches. If Daniel thought that they should rethink the entire idea, then he probably already had, and had an alternative worked out as well.
“Well, we could ask Valynara to search your minds. I have no idea if they have the ability to do something that intense and detailed, but if they do, it might be more comfortable for all of you than having all kinds of long forgotten and possibly unpleasant memories dredged up and replayed in living color with sound, by the recall device,” Daniel answered. “I remember that when Sam and Kataya joined their minds, neither of them remembered what the other had seen and heard, so if Valynara could keep you from knowing then, as I said, you would not have to deal with all kinds of unpleasant memories surfacing.”
“It was just a thought though and, since you are the ones that will be undergoing whichever procedure is decided upon, it is really up to you,” he continued in an absent- minded tone.
It was obvious that his thoughts were already racing toward the remainder of the day, and the discoveries that might possibly await him in the temple. At least, so it appeared to the others at the table.
Only Martouf felt there was more behind his absent-mindedness than the translation work facing him. He had dreamed ‘the dream’ himself after Daniel and he had talked about it and in his dream the last of the bindings holding Kataya had broken and she had arisen and faced Merdwin. In addition, her eyes had been amethyst and remained that way.
Merdwin had called forth a fire that Lantash had never seen before. He had gathered Kataya close in his arms and allowed it to consume them for what seemed an eternity. When it had finally stopped, Kataya had seemed stronger although still very pale and thin.
She then turned to Samantha and the two of them stood arm in arm as Merdwin brought forth another energy that enveloped the three of them. They stood in it for some unknown amount of time and when they emerged from it they appeared stronger, but still obviously far from their once robust and healthy selves. Both women had shaken their heads no to something Merdwin had said and he had acquiesced.
Martouf and Lantash had continued to watch as their mates had stepped behind screens. Priestesses were bustling about restoring order to this room that had seen so much blood and anguish, bringing it to a state of orderliness that belied anything of moment had ever happened there. When Samantha and Kataya emerged from behind the screens in their Katteri uniforms, they had girded themselves.
Then they had faced the portal where he and he now realized Daniel, stood watching them. He felt their love and trust flow over and through him and hoped Daniel was feeling it. After that one long loving look, they left the altar room together. He had no idea where they went, but the look on Merdwin’s face was one of deep satisfaction as well as weariness. He was pleased, of that there was no doubt.
As Martouf sat down beside him Daniel returned his attention to the present and asked, “How is Lantash this morning, Martouf? Did you and he both sleep well?”
“Yes, thank you, Daniel, we slept quite deeply, and Lantash says he feels much better today. He had some very interesting and pleasant dreams that made him feel more comfortable. He believes the filaments are healing quite well and he says he can communicate much more easily today,” Martouf answered before greeting the others at the table.
“I am glad to hear it,” Jack said. “We’ll all head for the temple after we’ve finished eating. You, Daniel, and Malek will be working exclusively on the writings, and the remainder of us will be splitting guard duty and helping wherever we’re needed.”
“Martouf, you and Lantash will take a break and rest in the early afternoon, earlier if we see you getting tired. We will take some sleeping bags and you can rest there. If you don’t agree to that, then I’ll make resting an order and you can spend several hours here, sleeping. I know you would rather be in the temple where you can hear and see what is going on, so that is my compromise. Rest there or be brought back here for several hours. It’s up to you,” Jack said quietly, in a tone that did not brook opposition.
Martouf and Jack stared, almost glaring, at one another for a moment and then Martouf smiled slightly, “Yes, sir, Colonel. I will do my best to do as you have asked. Lantash will also try to accommodate you, and he does, in fact, feel that he may very well be tired by early afternoon. He believes that he will be only too happy to take a break and rest. Assuming, of course, that Artereos has sent the supplies and we actually do have work to do this morning. If not, then I imagine we will all be resting rather than getting anything much accomplished.”
Seeing the hint of belligerence in Martouf’s first response, had assured the others that he was indeed feeling better. All of the Tok’Ra present knew that the initial response was a true to Lantash response. No doubt, he was getting better.
Attempting to insure the almost troubled waters stayed calm, Daniel said, “Well, if he does not get it sent right away, we can spend the time videotaping the walls. I want us to go through and try to determine which of the words she had them add in later. Then I want etchings of them made and placed so that we know exactly where they each were in relation to one another. We are going to have to determine if we need to read them from left to right, right to left, horizontally or vertically. I will want to be able to…”
“Aaah! Daniel!” Jack cried as he held his hands to his ears. “I think this can wait until we get to the temple, and then you can explain it to only those of us it will pertain too. Since I am ‘not’ going to be involved in that part of this mission, it does ‘not’ include me,” Jack stated firmly.
“All right, Jack,” Daniel, said sounding meek, but the grin he sent his friend was unrepentant. “I will wait to give them the details of what this is going to entail, until we arrive at the temple and you are checking the perimeter.”
“Thank you. Now, does anyone know how to get there from here? We checked out the area somewhat last night and this morning Teal’c and I checked out a pretty wide area and there isn’t a temple in sight.”
“Well, Jack, we might try asking one of the people here how to get there. They were here just a short time ago setting out breakfast. I imagine they are still here. I will check the kitchen area and see if I can find one of them and if not ring the bell thing and one of them should turn up,” Jacob suggested as he headed for the door that had been indicated the night before as the area where the food would be stored.
The other members of the group began to gather what they felt they might want to have with them while Martouf finished eating his meal. Before standing and heading for their shared room, Daniel turned to him and said softly for his ears alone, “I dreamed again, too. Short version; the last of the bonds broke, her eyes were amethyst and Kataya and Sam left the room together. Was yours the same?” At Martouf’s nod, he stood and said in a normal tone, “I am going up for my pack and I will get yours. You make sure you eat a good breakfast.”
“Yes, mother,” Martouf, murmured somewhat under his breath, yet loud enough that those who were sitting a little farther down the table could hear him. Malek choked on the last of his chocolate, and Jack grinned at him and shrugged.
As he re-entered the room, Jacob said, “Alys’yat said that if we stand over there and think about the ‘Temple of the Twilight Nights’ we will be taken there. Once we are all back in here together, I suggest we try it. If it doesn’t work, she said for Daniel to contact Valynara through the link he established with her last night and she will come for us.”
Jack nodded his acceptance of the plan of action and proceeded to call Teal’c, Lieutenant Stevenson, and Brialek in to gather their packs and get ready to accompany them to the temple.
“Should we take snacks?” Jack asked of no one in particular. Daniel chortled and Teal’c raised an eyebrow before heading for the ‘kitchen’. He emerged shortly with a woven basket, which he presented to Jack with a flourish and a trenchant, “Your snacks, O’Neill.”
Placing it over his arm, Jack looked inside and said, “Where is Toto?” at the same time Daniel stepped into the group that had assembled and were waiting, as usual, on him, and concentrated on the Temple of the Twilight Nights. It surprised no one to find that they were suddenly inside the temple.
Once in the temple, the group split up into groups. Somehow, it seemed understood that Teal’c, Brialek, and Lieutenant Stevenson would take guard duty. Jocasta and Jacob, also, wandered around outside to help keep an eye on the surroundings, although Jack was beginning to believe that, as Valynara stated, a guard truly was not needed.
Daniel, Martouf, and Malek began to study the walls and before long, Jacob and Jocasta joined them. It took little time for them to realize that the wall where Lantash had first realized the writing was different was the most obvious of the four. Some of them, however, were so well done that it was extremely difficult to tell the old from the new.
Daniel started by dividing the walls into sections. Then he put each of them to work on a specific section of the wall they were starting with. They needed to make lists of the symbols they felt were different and keep track of which part of the section of the wall they were on, the position they were in, and if they seemed to form a noticeable pattern.
Then they would each double check to see if they all agreed on the symbols that each had chosen as different. The ones they disagreed on would go into a separate group, and they would use them if something in the grouping they came from made no sense.
However, it would be some time before they were to that point. It was going to take days just to determine which symbols were different on the first wall he had chosen to work on, and it was the easiest of all of them from what he had figured out so far.
Daniel was pleased to see the supplies he needed arrive mid-morning and he at once began to study the tomes and parchments that Artereos had sent to him. There were no legends or stories in the things he had sent this time. These papers and books would help with the translations though and that was all right for now. He would ask Valynara to request the old legends if Artereos did not send them.
However, he suspected that they would arrive later, after he had time to form a working knowledge of the language. They would not be much use to him until then, anyway. Within a few hours, he had a rudimentary grasp of what he was seeing, and he knew that the symbols they were looking for were slightly different from the original, which should make them easier to spot.
Their ‘caretakers’ arrived in the early afternoon and presented them with a meal. After eating, Martouf chose to rest, before Jack could even bring the subject up, and to his surprise and everyone else’s he had fallen deeply asleep.
Having awakened a couple of hours later, he sat up but leaned lazily against a wall and watched as Daniel and Malek discussed the different symbols and argued amicably back and forth over the merits of choosing one symbol over another. Standing and finding he was feeling very near to normal, he brushed the dirt and dust from his hands and ambled over to them as they debated a particular cluster of symbols.
“I believe all seven of these symbols are newer,” Daniel said as he studied them intently. Hearing Martouf come up behind him, he turned slightly and after looking at him intently and deciding he was looking better, he brought his attention back to the symbols in question.
“Martouf, look at this,” he said, his voice holding barely suppressed excitement. “If I’m correct and all seven of these words are new then I think we’ve found some important information. I think they are trying to describe a place, in detail. I suspected that from a grouping of words that we found earlier. I’ve looked at the wall over there, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s going to give us clues to the actual locations or planets.”
“I think she kept the two separate and once we find the locations, then the information on this wall will give us the descriptions of the areas she used on the planets in question. What these words actually say are not as important right now, as the fact that they are a clue as to how she wrote and placed her information. Once we are sure of that then the actual words themselves become important in the larger picture.”
“Unfortunately, even doing the grid work and each of us agreeing on the symbols and scripts that are important, I believe that I am going to have to translate almost all of the writings on these walls to be sure we are not missing anything. I am hopeful it will not take a great deal of time, though, because this is a fairly simple use of symbols and script.”
“Of course, once we get all of this figured out then we can try to fit it into whatever we finally come up with of legends. I am still of the opinion that it is possible there are some old Tok’Ra legends that also give us pertinent information.”
“What makes you think this wall is descriptions of places rather than planets, Daniel?” Martouf asked.
“Mostly, it is the words that she used. For instance, this is a grouping of seven words: great, water, green, mountains, fountain, rock, and temple. If I am correct, it means there is a temple near a large lake and there will be a fountain in it. Also, that it is in the mountains. I am guessing there is more here than that though because it is too easy to figure out. It is very much too obvious. Therefore, I think one of these walls will tell us more detail or maybe even directions. The hard part will be in determining which details or directions go with each set of descriptions and planets. We may even find more clues hidden in and around these things.”
“So you have determined that one wall probably tells us which worlds she left her offspring on and the other walls give more details of the exact locations she left them?” Lantash came forward to inquire.
“Yes, at this point, judging only by what we have so far discovered, that is my working hypothesis. She may have used more than one wall for the Worlds but as things stand right now, I don’t think so. What little chance I’ve had to look at everything we’ve found so far, has not led me to believe that. Everything I have been able to decipher leads me to believe that one wall is the worlds she used; the other walls are descriptions and directions once we find the worlds. Moreover, I think that one of these walls may be a personal message to her surviving children, but I’m not sure so don’t get your hopes up on that, okay? I could be wrong, because it also sounds like the story of the person or persons who built this temple. So it could be that, too.”
Malek nodded, saying, “We understand, Daniel, and we will try not to be disappointed if it is not from Egeria. After all, she left us the note hidden at the base of the fountain, so we do have that from her as well as all of this other information. And if her daughters have survived then we will have a new Queen, a new,” he paused and cleared his throat, “a new mother of our race,” he finished softly.
As Daniel, Martouf, and Malek studied the words and debated the differences in the symbols and scripts, they immersed themselves deeply in what they were discussing. Jack had returned from outside and he, Jacob, and Jocasta stood to one side talking quietly about nothing in particular, taking a break from studying the wall they were working on. They stopped talking and stared at the transport area.
“Daniel. Martouf,” Jack said quietly, “Artereos has sent some more, ah, supplies.”
“Okay, Jack, just set them aside, and I’ll take a look at them in a minute,” Daniel agreed. “I’ve been expecting him to send some books of legends and perhaps songs that tell the stories of the Myst-time; some tomes that could prove to be useful a little farther down the road.”
“Oh, yeah, I would say he definitely thought these things would be useful. I just hope we can find somewhere to put them. They are gonna take up a heck of a lot of room,” Jack’s voice sounded almost disgusted at the thought of having to find room for the newest supplies. “Daniel, I really think you need to take care of this stuff yourself,” Jack continued firmly. “I really do not want to handle it. I’m afraid I might break some of it, and it looks like it is irreplaceable. Martouf, you, and Malek both need to help him.” Getting nowhere yet, Jack cleared his throat and tried again, saying, “Daniel, I can guarantee you that if I touch this stuff you will be very unhappy about it when you find out what he sent you guys.”
Sounding thoroughly exasperated, Daniel moaned, “Not now, Jack, we’re in the middle of something here.” Daniel continued without turning around, and his voice became much crisper as he responded with firm instructions, “If it’s that delicate or old then just—just be really careful when you pick it up. Move it to one side in case he sends any more stuff. We will get around to it later; it can’t be anything we need right this moment.”
Martouf and Malek leaned toward him to look at his notes and back at the wall, both completely immersed in their discoveries, and only peripherally registering the conversation that was going on. The three of them were obviously going to be able to work well together. All three had an intense interest in what they were finding. It was plain to see that this would soon become an obsession for the three men if someone did not keep a careful eye on them, so that they could curb any excesses.
Jack, Jacob, and Jocasta stood completely still, barely breathing, as they waited for one of them to realize that something was not quite right. It did not take too long at all. Suddenly sensing the oddness of the silence that had fallen behind them, Malek’s curiosity finally broke his concentration on the translations and caused him to turn his head. Looking over his shoulder, he caught his breath. As if in slow motion, he lifted his hand and placed it on Daniel’s shoulder. His voice strained with suppressed emotion, he was almost whispering as he said, “Daniel, Jack is correct. I think you and Martouf both need to look at what Artereos has sent to us.”