Chapter Ten Summary: The "guys" are suffering from the after effects of the Furling mating cycle, the Lun’ak’
mat.  Needless to say, none of them are particularly happy campers.  In fact, Martouf refuses to speak to Sam.  
However, Lantash is very supportive of her and assures her that he holds no grudge.  Malek is actively hostile to
Gwennetha, but Devlin is saying nothing.  Gwennetha and Kataya discuss solutions to the problems facing them,
and none of those are very appealing.  In fact, most of them call for rather unpleasant consequences for
Gwennetha.  Jacob and Merdwin discuss the situation and agree that there are some rough patches ahead for
them all.

Amat Wyn – My Love
Carusawyn – My Dear One; My Dearest One
Coeurawyn – My Heart – a Term of Endearment
Prinekh - Joined life.  It is another More Intimate Name for a Lifemate used by Both Host and Symbiote.  Mer
Prinekh is Often Used as a Term of Endearment and Affection.
Pher’ak’tel - The Essence Given off by the Female during the Furling Mating Ritual.  Only used for Conception  
Lun’ak’mat  -  Furling Mating Cycle  
Mal’et’matk - Morning Sickness; In the Furling, the Morning Sickness is Shared by the Male, Along with the
Food Cravings, and Emotions.  It also Affects Non-Furling Mates
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communications















“Lantash, will we die soon?”  Martouf moaned, as he once again found himself worshiping
the facilities bowl.  
“Please, tell me that we will die soon.  Tell me that we will die within
minutes, because if you do not, I will take the situation into my own hands, and take our
lives myself.  I swear to you that I will.  I cannot and will not allow us to be tortured in this
way,”
He declared, almost fiercely, before dropping his voice to a more plaintive tone.  “We
must make it stop, Lantash, please.  We are so weak we can barely lift our head,”
he
lamented mournfully, his voice unsteady.

“Calm yourself, Martouf.  We will recover soon, I promise you.  Daniel assured me that
Valynara has returned with the herbs for the tea, and from what I can remember it does
help.  The others are having, um, a meal, and she gave instructions for them to deliver the
tea to as soon as it was ready.  It has to steep for some time first.  She has taken everyone
who is well out for the day; I heard Daniel telling us so.”

“We are going to die. We
must die.  That is the only thing that will help.  Help is what I
need; it is what we need.  We need help to put us out of our misery.  I will find Daniel and
get a zat’nik’tel from him.  Set on overload, it will kill us quickly and painlessly, compared to
this.  If I cannot do that, then I will throw us from the balcony.  I will find a way to end
this,”
Martouf declared vehemently.

“Martouf, the tea will help.  Although you think we wish to die, and I am afraid that I, too,
would find it preferable, we do not wish to leave Samantha alone to bear this.”

“Samantha,”
Martouf spat venomously, “is the reason we are worshiping this disgusting
bowl.  She is the reason that we are so ill we cannot go beyond the doorway of this room,
and are spending our time lying on the floor next to the same disgusting bowl that we are
showing so much devotion.  She is the animal that tore our body into shreds and infected
us with chemicals and substances that are the direct cause of our current and future
sufferings.”

He paused for a moment, thinking and picking up thoughts from Lantash.  “And,
furthermore, you are attempting to lie to me, Lantash.  The tea may help, but only minimally,
does it not?”
he queried peevishly.

“No, it will help as long as we use it in the way that it must be used.  I promise you,
Martouf, truly,”
Lantash replied, before allowing a very small sound of distress to escape
him.

Martouf at once realized what it meant.  
“Dear universe, no, not again, please, please, not
again,”
he keened.

It was a despairing cry that tore at Lantash’s heart, but he, too, was whimpering.  He
added his own "
no, not again" to the lament.  

Hearing the answering wail from Lantash, Martouf knew he was correct in thinking that
another wave of nausea was making its way through their shared body.  

Not only that, but as usual, when Martouf was ill in this way before Lantash could control
it, it gave Lantash a brutal headache…which he was
so thoughtfully sharing with
Martouf.  

“Must you share everything with me, Lantash?”  Martouf snapped querulously, as the pain
in his head intensified.  
“Stars of Fire, will this never end?  Will no one come to our aid and
kill us?  Death is the only viable alternative,”
Martouf repined in an agonized voice, as he
once again attempted to heave, an impossibility, for there was nothing left to disgorge.

“Here you go, Martouf,” Daniel said cheerfully, as he entered the bathroom carrying a cup
of tea and a carafe.  He kept up a steady flow of conversation as he looked for a good place
to put the carafe and grabbed a wet cloth for their face.  Then he began to try to find a
good place for the cup as he moved in behind them and got comfortable.  “Try this and see
if it will help the retching.  If it doesn’t, then Kataya said they’d render you, Lantash, Dev,
and Malek unconscious for a while, so that you will get some rest.  I guess that sometimes
doing that helps stop the reflex.”

“You know how it is, you gag and then you try to puke and sometimes it just gets to be a
kind of vicious circle.  You heave, trying to throw up and your stomach contracts and
convulses.  Then, even though there isn’t anything there, you still try to vomit and it just
keeps up the contractions even though you really shouldn’t be sick.  You can’t upchuck if
there’s nothing there.”  

“Janet’s concerned that you and Malek are going to dehydrate.  Although you really aren’t
barfing anything up now, are you?  Not a thing left to spew.  Dry heaves can be really
uncomfortable though.  Painful even, and of course, as long as you are trying to heave
your guts up, it keeps that vicious cycle going.  Contraction, gag, heave, contraction, retch,
heave, etc.”  Daniel chattered on, oblivious to the discomfort his words were bringing to
his friends as he tried to settle himself more comfortably behind them.

“Daniel, must you be so
graphic?  How can one language possibly have so many different
and
realistic words for something so horrendously uncomfortable and utterly disgusting?”  
Lantash came forward to complain.  “Where is the tea?  This bout of nausea seems to have
passed for the moment.  How is Samantha?”  Lantash inquired from his position on the
floor.

“Oh, Sam’s fine.  The tea seems to have helped her quite a bit.  She gets nauseated every
so often, but it doesn’t seem to last.  Gwennetha’s the same way.  You and Malek, though,
appear to be quite ill.  I was the same way and so was Merdwin.  Kataya says that from
what she was told, her father was very ill when her mother was pregnant.  Evidently, they
carry a very potent form of the chemicals and hormones that cause the nausea.  Since
they share a mother, evidently Sam carries them, too.”

“What a
wonderful trait to have inherited,” Martouf said sarcastically.  “Why could she not
have simply inherited her eye color or her height?” he asked bitterly, as he raised himself
on one elbow.

“Kataya inherited eye color and her chemical and hormonal traits.  Sam inherited her
hair color and height as well as the other things.”  Daniel said softly, as he first tried
kneeling and then finally decided to sit on the floor behind Martouf.  He helped him to sit
up.  Leaning back against him, Martouf took the cup of tea from Daniel.  Taking a large
mouthful, he swallowed it before leaning forward to bring it right back up.

“Ah, sorry, I guess I should have warned you.  You need to sip it, slowly.  Very, very,
slowly.”  He used the cloth to wipe their face and neck as they moaned again.  He thought
he heard one of them mumble something about 'the only viable alternative was death',
but he couldn’t be sure.

“Daniel, this is the most vile, disgusting tasting tea that I have ever had.  I cannot possibly
drink this.  The taste alone made me bring it back up,” Martouf wailed as the retching
finally abated enough for him to talk.  

“Dear one, please; Daniel is correct.  You must sip it slowly.  I will deaden your taste as
much as I can.  Please, Martouf, try again.  It really will help to mitigate the nausea, I
promise you.”
Lantash pleaded softly with his mate.  If only there was something he could
do to at least lessen the nausea for his Prinekh he would, but unfortunately, not even a
symbiote could reverse the effects of the hormones and chemicals with which their mate
blessed them.

Leaning back wearily as the nausea passed once more, he allowed his head to fall back
onto Daniel’s chest.  Martouf closed his eyes for a moment as his arm went around Daniel
and held him tightly, drawing comfort from his solid warmth and caring.  Daniel held him
tightly in return, silently giving support and understanding.

This man had been a good friend to them, and still he was here for them, caring for them,
supporting them, physically as well as mentally, through this most abominable and
revolting situation.  He held Martouf’s head, wiped his forehead and his mouth, and
supported him as he emptied his stomach time after time.  How he managed to both
support and soothe them was beyond them, but they would be eternally grateful to him for
his care of them.  He felt tears prick the back of his eyes and became aware of the same
feelings of intense love for Daniel and his kindness coming from Lantash.  How odd that
they were so overwhelming.   

Opening his eyes again, he looked up into the sympathetic eyes of his brother and
sighed.  Then he sipped.  When it stayed down, he sipped again.  He realized that Lantash
was allowing the taste to come through a little at a time.  It did not seem to taste quite so
bad.

Lantash released a silent sigh of relief.  If he could bring Martouf to the point of drinking
the tea as often as needed, then they would be able to begin functioning again soon.  It
would just take a few days to allow their body to become accustomed to the invasion of
these foreign substances.  Then, as he knew from prior experience, it would slowly begin
to assimilate and control them and within a couple of months this would all be over.
 “It
grows on one, Beloved.  That is why you must sip it at first.  Once you become used to it,
you will have it near always, and sip it almost constantly.  It is the only way that it will
work.  I am afraid that we will drink gallons of it over the next two months.”

“Months?  Are you telling me that this lasts for months?”  
Martouf's response was
whispered and it was very easy to discern that he was appalled at the prospect of being in
this condition for that long.  

Lantash did his best to reassure Martouf, while still being truthful, murmuring,
“Yes, I am
afraid so; however, it will decrease in both frequency and violence as time passes.”  
Lantash sighed and decided he might as well tell him the rest of the bad news, “You will
also wish to know that as most teas do, this also works on the, ah, system.  It is a
diuretic.  So, I am afraid we will still be spending more time in this room than we normally
would, but at least it will not be for such an unpleasant occupation.  Most of the time,
anyway,”
he admitted, still being as truthful as he could.  

“I still think that death may be the preferable and viable alternative,” Martouf moaned one
more time.

“I know.  And I agree with you, but they will not allow us to die, no matter how much we beg
to, so it does no good to ask at all.  I know, for I begged to die, when Kataya was carrying
our children.  No one would allow me near any instrument that could be used in that way
until it began to abate.”

“Truly, Lantash?  I cannot imagine you begging to die,”
Martouf's disbelief was apparent in
his tone.

Lantash shared some rather vivid memories that he had of him and Dominic grabbing
Merdwin in a convulsive grasp and begging him to allow them to die, as well as one of
them doing the same of Artereos.  Martouf whimpered, almost wailing, as he realized how
very ill Lantash had to have been to act in that way.
 “It is all right, dear one, there is no
worse to come.  We are every bit as ill as Dominic and I were, and the only reason that I
have not voiced my wish for someone to put us out of our misery is because you have been
doing it for us so well.  I am aware that they will not allow us to end the misery no matter
how much we beg.”
 Martouf moaned louder at the final and total destruction of his last
faint spark of hope.

“Martouf?  Isn’t the tea making it better?”  Daniel asked softly, as he heard Martouf first
whimpering and then moaning.

“Yes, I believe it is, Daniel, thank you.  I was reacting to something that Lantash showed
me.  I was unaware that I had done so aloud.  The truth is that I am feeling slightly less
nauseated.  At least it appears to be lessening.  Does the tea work that quickly?”  Martouf
questioned him, as he considered the idea that there was, after all, one very small spark
of hope still there; perhaps, it was not all gone.

Daniel looked at him closely and then obviously deciding that he was telling the truth, he
told him, “Yes, actually, it does, and if you drink it as you should, it will keep all except
the worst waves of nausea under control.  Even those won’t be quite as bad as what you
have experienced so far.”  Standing so that he could help them get up, Daniel bent down
and assisted them to their feet, as he said, “All right, then, come on and I’ll help you to lie
down, now that your stomach has settled some.  Sam wants to see you, Martouf.”

“I have no wish whatsoever to see her, Daniel.  You will keep her away from me.  She is
barbaric, sadistic, insatiable, and vicious.  I have no wish to see her ever again,” Martouf
stated firmly, but with his voice beginning to quiver near the end of his statement.  What
was the matter with him now?  He – he felt as if he was going to cry just as he had
moments ago when contemplating Daniel’s many kindnesses.  Dear Universe, he felt as if
he could break down and bawl like a small child!

Lantash attempted to suppress his own overpowering waves of emotion and informed him,
“Fluctuating hormones, Martouf.  You will find that you tend to cry very easily, until they
settle down somewhat, and I will be little or no help, for your emotions are also mine.  If I
could cry, my beloved, believe me I would be crying with you,”
he stroked him gently,
attempting to soothe him.  

“Is there anything else she has done to me that I should know?  How many more nasty
little surprises are waiting for me?  How much more of my life and control of it is she going
to take?”
 Martouf asked furiously.

“Yes, there is something else, but I will tell you later,” Lantash said quietly.

As a horrible vision entered his mind at Lantash’s comment, he asked fearfully,
“Lantash,
we will not – not change body shape, will we?  Please, please tell me that my body is going
to remain unchanged,”
Martouf, begged him, his voice no more than a whisper as his rage
and fear entwined once again bringing him near to tears.

“No, it will not change.  It is nothing like that.  Calm down, dear one, it is nothing very bad
at all,”
Lantash kept his voice as soothing as possible as he responded to Martouf's
obvious fear and anger.
 

“Then what is it?  I must know what else she has done to us,”
Martouf insisted, his
normally easy-going personality morphing into his stubborn one, rarely seen but always
lurking there.

Lantash sighed, before replying,
“We will soon begin to experience food cravings.  
Voracious desires for specific foods.  It…can be very disturbing.”

“Food?  That is all?  I see nothing disturbing about that,”
Martouf’s reply was redolent with
relief.

“Yes.  Food.  And it can be worse than you think when your host craves something he is
allergic to.  Never mind that now though, I will tell you all about it later, I promise
.” he
assured him.  

Lantash sighed tiredly before returning to the subject of Samantha and continuing,
“You
can remain quiescent and I will see Samantha.  Not only did I promise to love her for
eternity, I also promised her that nothing would change the love I have for her and this has
not changed my mind.  So, if you wish to break our vows, you may do so.  I will not,”
 
Lantash stated firmly, as he abruptly took control of their shared body and ruthlessly
suppressed the emotions boiling just under the surface.  

What he told Martouf was true.  He was sharing the emotional storms, but he could
suppress at least some of them for a short time, and he would do that. He would not allow
Martouf's anger or perhaps overly hasty words, to hurt Samantha.  He would handle being
with her, since Martouf could not, for he would not hurt her by refusing to see or talk to
her.  This was not her fault, not any of it, and he refused to blame her for it.  They would
cope.  Somehow.

“I wish to see her, Daniel.  I can go to her though,” Lantash said to Daniel, while he
scolded Martouf internally.

“Nor will I allow you to hurt our Samantha’s feelings by being cruel to her.  She did not do
this on purpose.  Kataya assured us that she had no control over it and did not even know
what was happening.  You go sulk.  I will take care of this,”
Lantash told him, his voice
stern and implacable.  

“Fine.  Go ahead,” Martouf, said, still feeling put upon, disgruntled, and deceived.  

“No, you are to lie down, rest, and drink tea.  You need to put fluids back into your bodies,
and if you don’t, Janet will be starting IV’s.  Trust me on this,” Daniel assured him.

Smiling slightly, as he rolled over onto his side, he answered, “I will not argue, Daniel.  I
feel very weak.  It is an unsettling feeling.  We are rarely ill, for as you know, we can cure
almost any disease.  I believe that makes this even harder to bear, as we do not know how
to cope with being ill.”

“I know, and I remember what it is like.”

Martouf came forward, and frowned, “You have said that twice, Daniel, but I did not think
that you and Kataya had children.”

“We don’t,” Daniel said, softly.  “Kataya lost the kits that she was carrying because she
was protecting me.  You could say that I caused the loss of our kits, if you really wanted to
get technical.  I didn’t have the skills to defend her, so she lost the only set of kits that we’
ll ever have.”

“I had forgotten.  I am sorry, Daniel; I remember now.  Samantha told me after the first
mind link that they did.  She said that it was not your fault, and that Kataya can have
others.  You will have more, Daniel.”

“No, Martouf, there will be no kits for us,” Daniel said, as he left the room.

“Why is Daniel so adamant, Lantash?  I do not understand.  Do you think it is because he
will not again go through this?  I cannot say I blame him for that, but surely, the Furling
mating cycle is not upsetting for him?  I mean, he is Furling as well as Tau’ri.”  
Martouf was
clearly confused by Daniel’s attitude toward having children.

“No, I do not believe this had anything to do with his answer.  He was one of the few who
is known not to have asked to die.  I remember Kataya telling me that, and Merdwin, also,
admitted that fact when Dominic and I were begging death to claim us.  So, I do not know
why he is so adamant, Martouf, and he obviously does not wish to discuss it,”
Lantash
said, as he once again took control back as Sam came through the door.

“Lantash, I’m so sorry,” Sam said, as she knelt by the bed.  “Is Martouf all right?”  She
asked, realizing immediately that of the two of them, Martouf would have the most trouble
accepting the incident.

“He will be in time, Samantha, I promise you.  He is somewhat upset at the moment, but I
assure you it is a normal reaction.  It is just such a shock to him,
Amat Wyn, and the
emotional upheaval your hormones are causing is very difficult for him to understand as
well.  I myself would no doubt be struggling with this, if I had not lived through it before.  
It seems,” he smiled wryly, “that the male is truly the weaker of the sexes when it comes to
childbirth, my love.”

“I can’t blame him, Lantash.  I didn’t know and Kataya didn’t either.  She assumed that I
would continue in my Tau’ri cycles, and I never thought about it at all, mainly because I
didn’t know.  I’m really, really, sorry.  If I could take the last twenty-four hours back, I
would.”

“I would not, my Samantha.  Do you realize that although you are pale, there is a
luminescent quality to you?  You are glowing, my love.  You are – you are happy about the
kits, are you not?”  Lantash asked, as he gently stroked her arm and then her cheek.

Sam smiled at him and a slight flush rose in her cheeks.  “Yes.  Yes, I am.  I’m sorry for
the way it happened.  I’d rather you both had been fully informed beforehand about what
would happen and had consented, but now that it’s a fact that can’t be changed, well,
yes.  Yes, I’m thrilled.”

“I promised you that there would be no children, Samantha, because of the pain of the
birth.  I had forgotten this part, although I do not know how I could have.  I would
understand if you did not wish to go through with it.  I know you said that you wanted
children and that was why you would not blend right away, but I still feel bound by my
promise to you.  I would have waited for you to truly decide you wanted to do this.”

“I couldn’t be happier about the outcome, Lantash.  I was very serious when I said that I
wanted children with you.  True, I hadn’t planned on it happening this way, but now that
it’s happened, I want them very, very, much.”

“I am glad,
Coeurawyn,” Lantash replied.  So am I, I assure you.  

“I just wish Martouf wasn’t disgusted and angered by it all.  I really wouldn’t have done
those things to you if I’d been able to control it.  I’m really sorry,” Sam whispered, as tears
filled her eyes and slipped silently down her cheeks.

Pulling her up onto the bed and into his arms, Lantash settled her beside him on the bed,
and said quietly, “He will get over it, Samantha.  In fact, I think that once he remembers
everything, he will remember the beautiful parts as well as the more, ah, aggressive parts,
and he will realize how much love was between the three of us during our mating.  He is
simply still in shock, my love.  Do not forget that he had no prior knowledge of the Furling
mating cycle, so he is still somewhat…” Lantash’s voice faded as he realized that he could
not say what Martouf was feeling.

“Appalled?  Disgusted?  Repulsed?  I understand, Lantash.  I was shocked myself, you
know.  I mean, once I understood why it happened, I could understand it, but the fact that
I gave him, or you, no choice is what bothers me.  If I could have explained it to him and
had his consent, that would have been different.  I feel as if I raped you, both of you, and
it’s a terrible feeling, Lantash.  It’s as if I used you against your will.  I feel awful about it
and every time I think of it, I become really sick to my stomach.  It’s taking a lot of the joy
of the result away, I assure you.”

“Samantha, look at me,” Lantash said, as he forced her to look up from where she was
staring at the blanket on the bed.  When he had her full attention and she was looking
him squarely in the eyes, he said, “We wanted you, Samantha.  It was not rape.  I admit
the drugging effect caused us to desire to mate more often than we would have, but that
did not stop us from enjoying it,
Carusawyn.”

“In fact, from what I have been able to remember, and I believe that I remember almost all
of it now, it was a very erotic night.  It is a night that I will remember fondly forever.  
Moreover, if you do not believe me, then you may ask Martouf, once he stops sulking, and
he will tell you that the night that Lanwin and Taesha were conceived is another memory I
will always hold very dear.  The Furling mating cycle is somewhat barbaric and pagan,
but even so, it is a very erotic and fulfilling mating.  Perhaps it is so erotic because it is so
uncivilized.  It is lusty, wild, and completely unencumbered by civilized behavior.  I think
that makes it even more enticing and bewitching.”

Hugging him tightly, she said, “I love you so much.  I hope they have some of your traits,
Lantash, as Lanwin and Taesha do.  I’d love to see my children growing up to remind me
of you, as well as Martouf.  I know how much it meant to Kataya that she could look at
them and see both you and Dominic.  It will be the same for me.  I just hope that Martouf
forgives me before they are grown,” she sighed sadly, tears once again finding their way
slowly down her cheeks.

Sam felt the change in his body before he spoke.  “There is nothing to forgive, my
Samantha,” Martouf said, as he gently wiped the tears from her face.  “I am a fool and an
idiot for blaming you for something that you could do nothing about.  No, even more than
that, I am wrong because I love you, and I promised to love you for eternity, to be there for
you, and to love and accept you.  I did not do that, and it was very wrong of me.”  

“And, Lantash is correct.  In many ways, I will never forget the experience.  I have to admit
that what he said is the truth.  It was erotic, passionate, and in some ways, liberating.  We
made love on a very elemental level, where we each both gave and took what we wanted
and needed.  I will go through it as many times as you wish, Samantha, and give you as
many children as you want.  Please forgive me for acting like a child myself,” he said,
remorse evident in his voice.  He had been a childish idiot.  He loved this woman more
than his own life.  She was his eternal mate, his wife.  He would not fail her again.  At
least, he would try not to.

Sam smiled at him and kissed him softly, before he jerked away from her and quickly sat
upright.  “That is, if we survive this time,” he groused, as he raced for the bathroom.  

Sam sat up, poured herself a cup of tea, and sipped it until she felt her nausea leaving.  
Then listening and realizing that he was no longer heaving as much as he had been, she
poured him a warm cup of tea from the carafe and headed to the bathroom.  

He really had to learn to keep sipping this stuff, she thought, as she sipped a little more of
it herself.  Kneeling beside him, she offered him the cup.  

Taking it in a shaking hand, he moaned again and took a sip.  It was not the most
pleasant tea that he had ever had, but its medicinal value made it wonderful.  





Kataya sat with her daughter while she sobbed as if her heart was breaking.  She had
been afraid of this happening, but she could do nothing to avert it.  The damage was
done, and now they were doing their best to control it.  Unfortunately, for the moment all
they could do was listen.  Eventually, there would be more constructive things to do, but
the time for that had not arrived yet.

“How could he call me those things?  I thought he loved me.  He promised to love me
forever, for eternity.  My mother, I do not understand.”

“The male does not always understand these things.  I doubt that he expected the
Mal'et'matk to be so, um, unpleasant.  Malek may even have believed that he could
override it, so they would not experience it at all.  Tok’Ra are rarely ill, Gwennetha, much
like us, and it is a very debilitating condition.”

“Momma,” Gwennetha bit her lip until it bled to stop it from trembling and then
confessed, “He did not know.  I – I forgot all about it when he asked me to become his
mate.  It never even occurred to me that I should explain it.  Momma, he is so very angry.”

“Oh, Gwennetha, how could you not?”  Kataya sighed, disappointed in her daughter, but
she could understand how it had happened.  So much had been happening then.  The
battle with Morgasha was fast approaching, finding her Soulmate at last, almost killing
him in a hot tub.  Explaining how, once they were bonded, it became an eternal bond, for
they would be reborn as Furling, as her mates, and that only at death could they choose
to change that.  They had been together for such a short time, and yet Devlin and Malek
knew so little of the Furling.  There was so much that she needed to explain to them.  She
could not truly blame Gwennetha for forgetting it.  

Yes, she could see how the
Lun’ak’mat had slipped her mind with everything else, and she
did remember to explain the rebirth.  In the normal course of events, with a Furling as the
chosen mate, it would not have needed to be brought up at all.  Gwennetha would have no
more thought to explain the
Lun’ak’mat than she would think to explain how to sleep or
eat.  It was simply a fact of life for the Furling.  Unfortunately, it was not a fact of Devlin
and Malek’s life.  Until now, that is.

“Normally, I would tell you to pay no attention to Dev and Malek, for they did not mean it;
they are simply quite ill and still in shock at the turn of events.  However, while I still
believe that this is partly true, you have the added disadvantage that they were totally
unprepared for this.”

“You should have explained the
Lun’ak’mat before they agreed to be your mate, so you
must expect them to be quite angry,
Amat Wyn.”  Looking at her sadly, she continued,
“Especially Malek, for in addition to everything else, Gwennetha, Malek will feel that he
failed in his duty to protect Devlin.  Moreover, he will resent that he would have to protect
him against you, of all beings.  It will be a very difficult situation.  His pride will be hurt as
well.  Malek will be furious, for to a Tok’Ra, to be out of control in this way will be a
terrible blow to his pride.  When you add to the list that he will, no doubt, beg to die, I am
afraid that you must expect it to be quite some time before he can bring himself to forgive
you.”

“However,” she continued briskly, as Merdwin had known she would, “your own father
was even more derogatory to me when he was first ill with the
mal’et’matk.  He called me
an insatiable, devious, vicious, savage, beast that delighted in making him ill.  Men are
sometimes like small children, and small children are not patient when they are ill.  In
fact, they are often quite cranky and querulous.  In my experience, men are very much
the same.”

“Dev and Malek are hurting and confused and like any injured animal they have turned
on the one they perceive as their tormentor.  Unfortunately, you are in that position.”  

“On a cheerier note, you will do the same during labor, for you will no doubt call them
every derogatory name you can think of for planting within you the seeds that grew so
large that they could not possibly leave your body without tearing you in half.”  

“Gwennetha, even though you are somewhat at fault for not preparing them, I do not
doubt that, in time, they will forgive you.  They do love you dearly and you know that.  
They have simply forgotten it for the moment because of the trauma.  You must be
patient.  No doubt, they will be very sorry later.  Now, come, calm down,
Coeurawyn.”  
Kataya said softly, as she rubbed her daughter’s back and allowed her to cry.  It almost
broke her own heart to hear her daughter’s heart breaking, but there was nothing she
could do short of knocking Malek upside his head, and she doubted even that would get
his attention right now.

“Gwennetha,” she said solemnly, as her daughter’s crying quieted, “you do realize, that if
Malek and Devlin cannot bring themselves to forgive you, the all will grant them the
release from their vows.  Even the Soulmate can be released when there has been
deception, whether intentional or not.  Did you explain that to them, too?”

Gwennetha’s lips trembled again.  “No, I explained that it could be broken after death,
before the rebirth.  So there is another deception on my part,” she said bitterly.  “I do not
deserve them, my mother, and I know what I must do.  I will petition the all to restore to
them their soul-threads and return mine to me.”

“Do nothing yet, Gwennetha, and do not discuss that with them, under any
circumstances.  Understand?”  Kataya said sternly.

Gwennetha looked at her mother intently and then smiled sadly.  “You believe that they
will change their minds.  They will not.  To Malek, I am no more than a vicious animal,
who wishes to harm him and Devlin.  I cannot fight that attitude, nor do I believe that I
wish to.  In truth, mother, I wonder if their love was truly as strong as they vowed to me
that it was.  They promised me unwavering faith and part of that is trust that I would
never
intentionally hurt them.  You know this as well as I.  Therefore, while it is true that I
have broken my vows to them through deceit, they have broken their vows of faith to me.  
It was all I asked of them, so, while it is true that I should have explained, I believe that if
they truly loved me, they would forgive me.”

“Exactly, my love.  However, even love occasionally takes time.  Your father would not
speak to me for a week other than to call me names and moan loudly to anyone who
would listen about what I had done to him.  Moreover, Gwennetha, he is Furling and
inflicted the pain and bleeding on us himself with the spines on his male member.  In
addition, even though ours was a joint decision to have kits, in his mind, they were my
chemicals and hormones that made him ill, therefore, it was all my fault.  So do not give
in so easily, and do not assume they will not forgive you.  It is not yet even one day.  Your
father will mentor them, so do not feel so depressed.  It may all work out in the end.  In
fact, I am sure it will.”

“Now, I suggest you lie down for a while and rest.  Keep the tea nearby and sip it often.  
While you will be ill on and off, if you sip it as often as possible, it will help.  I really
believe that part of the reason Merdwin suffered so much is because he did not remember
to sip his tea.  Once he learned that it did help and began to keep it by him all the time,
he was not nearly so ill, even though he was nauseated often.  Still, he no longer heaved
so much.”

Picturing her proud father begging to die and heaving into a bowl brought a slight smile to
Gwennetha’s lips.  If he could survive that, surely Malek and Devlin could.  She was going
to miss them, though, while she waited for them to realize that they still loved her.  If they
ever did.

After settling her daughter, Kataya went in search of Merdwin.  She had explained in
more detail to Janet this morning about the spines on the Furling male’s member and the
Furling mating ritual.  Needless to say, Janet had been appalled, but she had finally
realized that although human in form, the Furling were a different species, and they had
evolved in their own way.  They certainly were akin to the cats of their world, as Merdwin
had explained.  They were simply more akin than she had realized.  It didn’t change her
love for Merdwin, but it certainly brought home the fact that he was an alien.

Kataya sighed, as her mind came back to the original problem.  At least Lantash and
Dominic had consented ahead of time.  She did not doubt that Lantash would understand
and he would help Martouf.  Malek and Dev were different, however, and they would take
careful handling.  If one or both of them petitioned the All for release, the chances were
that Gwennetha would be required to die to release them from those vows.  She hoped it
did not come to that, as it was not an avenue she would wish to have to deal with.  It
would be very painful for all involved.  However, if worse came to worst, it could force
them to either realize they did love her, or prove that they did not.  One way or the other,
it would solve the problem.

           



Merdwin looked at Jacob Carter as they sat together enjoying, well, eating brunch.  Of
those not affected, the two of them were the only ones left at the table; the others having
gone off for the day to explore and be entertained by Valynara.  No one else had been able
to stomach the thought of food, and Jacob was obviously expecting to talk to him.  If
Merdwin had been the sort of person to groan, he would have.  

Lantash and Martouf were as ill as Malek and Devlin.  Samantha and Gwennetha were
not only ill, but also remorseful and feeling very depressed.  Daniel was holding Martouf
and Lantash’s hand and helping them with their tea sipping.  Lantash had wanted to see
Samantha, so that was encouraging and hopefully by now she was being cuddled by the
two of them.  

Malek had petulantly insisted that the tea was too disgusting to drink, that they were
attempting to poison them, and refused it completely, so to stop his whining, Merdwin had
finally put Malek and Dev to sleep so that they would stop heaving… and stop
complaining.

Once they were asleep, Merdwin had locked them in their room, ensuring that they could
not throw themselves off the balcony by also locking that door and window … from the
outside.  Moreover, he had removed all sharp objects.  

After talking to Gwennetha and then discussing the situation with him, Kataya had
insisted she had a migraine.  Kataya never had headaches, so that was her way of
avoiding the meal and Jacob.  Therefore, it had landed squarely in Merdwin's lap to tackle
the explanations.  Merdwin sighed deeply, and Jacob looked at him sharply.  

"What's wrong?  Is Sam okay?”

“Samantha is having morning sickness, or what passes for your morning sickness.  
Unfortunately, although it is worse first thing in the morning, it often lasts all day.  We
have procured the herbs that will mitigate it.  She is resting at the moment and drinking
the tea, which will help her.  No doubt, by later this afternoon, she will be able to eat.  
Kataya always could when she was pregnant.  Moreover, other than the
Mal’et’matk, the
morning sickness, she is glowing, Jacob.  Your daughter is thrilled to be pregnant, I
assure you.”

“I am more concerned with Martouf, Lantash, Malek, and Devlin than I am Samantha and
Gwennetha.  The women will handle this situation quite well.  Martouf, Lantash, Malek
and Devlin, however, are another matter altogether.”

“If Sam and Gwennetha are the ones that are ill, why are you worried about Martouf and
Devlin?  Aren’t they willing to give support and comfort?  What the hell is wrong with
them?”  Jacob demanded, frowning.  “Don’t they realize that it’s their place to be with
their mates during this?”

“On your world, it works that way, Jacob, but the Furling are somewhat different.  You
see, during the mating ritual, Samantha and Gwennetha infected their mates with the
chemicals and hormones from their own bodies; Ergo, both Martouf and Lantash, as well
as Devlin and Malek, are quite ill this morning, and it will continue until they learn to
drink the tea that mitigates it.  That will help, but it will not go completely away for a
couple of months.”

Jacob stared at Merdwin, seeming at a loss for words.  Finally realizing the meaning of the
words that Merdwin had said, he asked, “They have morning sickness?  The men have
morning sickness?  Maybe it’s time for you to explain to me exactly what took place last
night,” Jacob said firmly.  

“Ask him about Colonel O’Neill’s attitude, Jacob,” Sel instructed.

“And Selmak wants to know what got into Jack?  He acted like he had no idea anything
had happened last night.”

Merdwin smiled slightly, saying calmly, “I convinced him that it would be unwise for him
to comment, ever, to any of the people involved.  In other words, Jack has agreed that he
has total amnesia in regards to the situation last night.  He will be suitably surprised and
delighted when Samantha announces her pregnancy.”

“I – see.  So am I supposed to have amnesia, too?”

“No, Jacob, that will not be necessary and depending on how things work out, it could
possibly be detrimental.”

“So, are you ready to tell me all those things that you insisted last night could wait until
today?”

“Yes.  Valynara offered us the use of the library.  I suggest we go in there, if you have
finished your meal.”

“Yeah, I’m ready, er, well, I’m finished anyway.  I’m not sure about how ready I am to hear
this.”

Merdwin smiled fully at him for the first time that day.  “It will no doubt repulse and
appall you, Jacob.  I am sorry that this is so, but it cannot be helped; it is our way.  We
are akin to the cats of our world, so please keep that in mind,” Merdwin warned him
mildly, as they stood and headed for the library.

Having found the ever-present Port and Mead, Merdwin relaxed for the first time in what
seemed like hours.  As he sank into the comfortable winged-back chair and sipped his
port, he closed his eyes and simply existed for a moment.  He had contacted Kataya to
check on Malek and Dev and she had agreed.  Thank the All; they were still sleeping
soundly.

Drawing a deep relaxing breath he began to speak, “You are aware that we take on many
attributes of the Great Cats of our world, the Pantherataya and the Lionkatanar.  This
extends into our mating rituals.  A Furling female must have blood drawn before she will
release her eggs, Jacob.  And the male member must bleed for his blood must mix with
his semen in order to ensure fertilization of those eggs.”

Merdwin stopped and sipped his port.  Glancing at Jacob, he was not surprised to realize
that Selmak had taken his place, no doubt to suppress Jacob’s rude comments.  
Therefore, he said to him, “Selmak, it is not necessary to try to protect me from Jacob’s
less than flattering remarks.  We are very aware of how barbaric our mating is to non-
Furlings.  Millennia ago, it was worse than it is today, for there was a violent rite called
the
blooding
that took place to bond the male and female for eternity.  It has evolved into the
bonding rite we have today, and only two consenting Furlings now use the ancient sexual
aspect.  Not that I mind talking to you, old friend, but I think you should allow Jacob to
express his horror and revulsion.”

“If you are sure that you do not mind, Merdwin.  I would not insult you and your people
for any price.  Your rites and rituals, while pagan, are in themselves beautiful.  Lantash
told me once, when he could finally bring himself to talk of his time with Kataya, that the
night his children were conceived was one of the most wildly erotic and passionate, yet
love-filled, nights that he had ever known, and he would cherish that memory forever.”

Merdwin smiled at the memories that flashed through his own mind of the mating with
the woman he had loved and the night she conceived their kits.  The memories of that
night had washed over him often in the horrendous days following it and helped to soothe
his wounded pride.  Moreover, as Lantash did, to this day, he remembered it with awe and
almost overwhelming feelings of gratitude and love for the woman that had given him, not
only that night, but also the two children that he loved so much.

“Yes,” he answered softly.  “I, too, have only wonderful memories of that night.  The love
given and received during
Lun’ak’mat is a wondrous thing indeed.”  Suddenly he laughed
ruefully, “In order to mitigate the suffering that follows it, it must be.”

Jacob came forward and looked uncomfortable as he said, “All right, Sel’s giving me hell,
telling me not to be rude, and he’s right.  So, I’ll um, try to keep my comments to myself.”

“There is no need to censor yourself, Jacob.  I will understand.”

“Okay, thanks, but I’ll still attempt to stay polite.  Sel’s right and your ways deserve
respect as much as our ways do.  So, could you, maybe, start at the beginning?  I mean, I
don’t understand any of it.  Maybe just tell me first what happens between two Furling
mates.  Maybe I can extrapolate from there.”

Nodding, Merdwin began his lecture.  “I have already explained that there must be blood
drawn on the female for her to release the eggs, and there must be blood drawn from the
male member in order for the blood and semen to mix to insure fertilization.”  

Watching Jacob closely as he continued, he said, “A male Furling’s member has very
short, very sharp, spines just under the skin on its upper half.  They are completely
inactive and are undetectable except during
Lun’ak’mat, the Furling mating cycle.  At the
time of
Lun’ak’mat, the female exudes a very potent aphrodisiac called the Pher’ak’tel.  It
calls to the male as nothing else that I have ever encountered.  The female’s chemicals
drug both the male and the female so that they will complete the rather painful mating.”  

He smiled wryly as Jacob closed his eyes and winced, fully understanding what he was
saying.  “The spines have receptors which cause them to harden and become vertical
when in the presence of the chemicals within the female’s channel walls.”

“So, the pheromones call the male.  The chemicals and hormones, released by her first
climax, drug both of them.  They also immediately begin the building of the overwhelming
desire to mate.  The female will tease the male for quite some time, pleasuring him to the
point where all he can think of is sinking himself into her body.”  

“When he reaches the point of being unable to stand anymore and insists on taking her,
she will allow him entry and the chemicals act on the receptors.  As the male climaxes, the
spines stiffen and become vertical, ripping through his skin and into her channel walls.  
Her eggs are released; his semen mixes with his blood and in all probability, in about four
to five months, two to four kits will be born.”

“In very mature Furlings, the female can control the amount of pheromones she produces,
and they will only mate a few times.  In younger ones, where they cannot control the
output of the pheromones,” Merdwin sighed, “In those cases, they can mate to the point of
exhaustion.”

Jacob stared at Merdwin, unmoving and saying nothing, as his mind grappled with this
information.

He cleared his throat, and then said, somewhat hoarsely, “Okay, I understand that, but I’
m not able to extrapolate it out and apply it to Martouf and Sam.  Martouf isn’t Furling
and he doesn’t have those, um, spine thingies.”

“No, he does not, you are correct.”

“So, what exactly happened?  I mean, did they just, um, you know,
exhaust each other?  I
mean, Lantash did look exhausted when he was there in the hall.”

Merdwin wondered if he should keep the truth from Jacob but that thought passed as he
realized that if Samantha needed him, and he did not have the facts, he would be unable
to help her.

“Jacob,” he said softly, “Samantha followed her Furling instincts.  She had to bleed and so
did they.  Kataya did the same to Lantash at the time of their kits’ conception.  When the
female mates with a non-Furling for the purpose of conception, they must imitate the
conditions as closely as possible.  When she sensed that they were drugged enough and in
enough need of her body, she would have used her claws to bring blood to his member,
and she would have insisted they draw blood, probably on her neck, before she allowed
them access to her.  All the criteria of conception were met, Jacob, or she would not be
pregnant.”

“And Jacob, although she understands it, Martouf does not.  Add to it that he is vilely ill,
and the consequence is that he is refusing to do so much as speak to her.  Lantash, of
course, having experienced it before, will be able to help Martouf to understand not only
what happened, but that Samantha did not do it deliberately.  Her body took over for her,
and she was as much a victim of the drugging as they were.  They will work it out, I assure
you, but she will need your support and acceptance.  I hope
you can accept her.”

Jacob sat, stunned.  
“Sel, tell me what to think, to feel.  He just told me that my daughter
assaulted her mate.  It almost sounds like rape.”

“No, I do not think so, Jacob.  Remember what I said about Lantash’s feelings, as well as
what Merdwin admitted he felt about it.  That it is a night of love and passion.  One they
never forget and cherish forever.  Certainly, there were things that were out of their control,
but neither of them could control it.  Rape is a violent act committed purposely by one being
on another to hurt them.”  

“Neither of them had control of what transpired, nor did Samantha do what she did as an
act of violence, so I do not believe it can truly be called rape.  Merdwin told you that she
was a victim of her own body.  She did not know, nor could she control it, Jacob, and she
could do nothing to stop it once it started; I am sure.  Otherwise, Gwennetha would not
have also gone through with it, for she must have had to do the same to Malek and Dev,”

Selmak gave his opinion on all aspects of their discussion in a calm and practical
manner.  He was neither appalled nor disgusted by what happened and he hoped that
Jacob would adopt his attitude as his own.  So far it was not too bad.  He hoped it stayed
that way.  

Jacob groaned.  
“My god, what a mess.  Malek will never forgive her.  He lost control,
without his consent, if what they are telling us is true.  On top of that, he failed to protect
his host.  He will find that extremely hard to forgive or forget.  For her to have injured him
would be bad enough; for him to have allowed her to injure Dev…”
he groaned again,
realizing just how deeply upset Malek would be.  To allow himself to be injured was one
thing; to have failed in his responsibility to protect his beloved Devlin would be a crime he
would find hard to forgive himself for, let alone the woman who had caused it.

“I will allow Malek to sulk for a while, Jacob, but if he does not come around in the end,
then I will take a hand in this affair.  Gwennetha was as much a victim of her body as he
was.  She would not have done that without his consent if she had a choice.  The Furling
are an ancient, civilized, and caring race.  They were born of the Mysts of time.  They
accept all sentient creatures as worthy of respect, and I have a great deal of respect for
them.  I will not allow Malek, or anyone else, to look on them as ‘animals,’ so you should
remove that word from your thoughts, also, my dear one,”
Selmak chided Jacob gently,
even as he let him know that he loved him.

Drawing a shaky breath, Jacob smiled slightly for his mate,
“I’m sorry, Sel, and you’re
right, of course.  I have no right to judge them.  I’m just upset that Sam could do, did, that.  
I guess I just don’t know how to get my head around it.”

“Try finding the love you have for her and accepting that she now has traits of an ancient
race that must be accepted as a part of her, much as you accepted her as the Dragon of
the Star, and as much as the Tok’Ra traits she inherited from Jolinar make her part Tok’
Ra,”
Selmak advised gently.    

“True.  I do love her.  And I suppose if Lantash and Martouf can accept it, then who am I to
refuse to?”  
Jacob asked, his tone accepting.

“Exactly, Jacob,” Selmak agreed.  He was quite pleased with Jacob's attitude as he finally
thought the situation through.

Another thought coming into his mind, he turned back to Merdwin, who sat quietly and
waited for him to finish his internal conversation.  “Sam was too young to be able to
control any of this, is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes.  Not only was she too young to control it, but she was not even aware of it on a
conscious level, only an instinctual level.  Had we realized she would trade her normal
Tau’ri cycle for a Furling one, we would have taken steps to protect her from it, I assure
you.”

Jacob nodded decisively, “Yes, I know you and Kataya both well enough by now to know
that’s the truth.  So now what?”

“Now, we do our best to give support to all who have been affected the most.  Of all of
them, Malek and Devlin will have the most difficulty, for Gwennetha did not tell them
about the
Lun’ak’mat.  It was very remiss of her, and she is well aware of that.”  

“However, as Kataya pointed out, she can choose to abort the kits to free them from the
Mal’et’matk and death for herself to free them from their vows.  Or, if they will use the tea,
she may wait and choose to die during the birthing and thus free them if they wish that.”  

“We must hope that Malek is not so enraged that in his anger, he petitions the All to
repudiate Gwennetha and to have his soul-threads returned.  If he did, it could have
unpleasant consequences.  It will depend on their reaction to what has happened.  So far,
it is not good and I do not expect it to get better anytime soon.”

“Isn’t that a little drastic?”  Jacob asked, appalled.

“I sincerely hope it will not come to that, Jacob.  I believe they truly love my daughter.  
They have just forgotten it for the moment.  The
Mal’et’matk is a very distressing event.  In
the Furling, the male shares the morning sickness, the food cravings, the hormone
swings, and the emotions, everything except the actual carrying of the kits.  The woman
can also choose to allow him to experience the labor.  Kataya was kind enough to do so
with me,” he said sardonically.  “Lantash she spared that, mostly because of Dominic, I
am sure.”

Jacob shook his head.  “I don’t envy them at all.  Sel and I will do everything we can to
help though, Merdwin.  Just let us know what needs taken care of and we’ll do what we
can.”

“Let us see how Lantash and Martouf respond to Samantha.  I already know how Malek
and Devlin are responding to Gwennetha.  Thank the All, they are asleep for the
moment.”  

“I am going to have another glass of port before they awaken and begin to beg to die
again.”

Jacob looked startled, “Do they really beg to die?” he asked incredulously.

Merdwin gave a twisted grimace of a smile.  “Oh, yes, Jacob, we do.  Even I begged death
to claim me.  Very few do not.  Believe it or not, Daniel is one of the few that I know who
withstood it stoically and stayed by their mates’ side without a whisper of blame.  
Llancellon was another.”

“Even - even Lantash?”  Jacob asked, awed by the idea that such a proud being could be
cut down in that way by a little illness.  Malek, also, had a great deal of arrogance and
pride.  But, then, Merdwin also, was very proud and strong, and he admitted to begging.

“Even Lantash, Jacob, and not only do we beg someone to kill us, we actively plot our
demise.  You would no doubt be surprised.  This is why Malek and Dev are locked into the
room with all sharp objects removed and their access to the balcony restricted.  Once they
accept it as part of the process and forgive their mates, we will be able to trust them
again.”

“Would you care for another glass of port, Jacob?”

“Yeah,” Jacob said, and then he grinned, “Yeah, I think I would.  Thanks.  Hopefully, we
can get more if we need it.”

“Certainly, Jacob.  There is more where that came from.  Artereos is ready and willing to
send more.  We have his full sympathy, by the way.  And his agreement to step in, if
necessary.  Everything will work out in the end.  Trust me on this.”

“I do, Merdwin, believe me, I do,” Jacob declared fervently.

TBC





                    Chapter 9                    Home                 Chapter 11                            

                                      
Table of Contents      
Daughters of the Queen

Chapter Ten

Death as a Viable Alternative