Chapter Six Summary: Training is going well. The teams go off-world to rescue some captured soldiers. The night before the Great Battle, Gwennetha explains to Malek and Devlin exactly who Morgasha is. She tries to prepare them for the possibility that she will be leaving for Avilion very quickly when the battle is over. Malek and Devlin are both stunned at the end of the battle.
Coeurawyn – My Heart Carusawyn – My Dear One, My Dearest One Amat Wyn - My Love "Italics" - Symbiote-Hose or Telepathic Communication
Malek glanced over his team where they were taking a break and discussing the last exercise in which they participated. Their performance was almost flawless. Kataya and Sam stepped in and tipped the balance after an hour of neither side gaining the upper hand, by adding another one of the teams on their side. This time it was their turn to have the tide turned in their direction.
The extra firepower finally overcame the other team, but even with the extra team’s help, they did not accomplish their victory easily. He hoped it was proof that they were becoming better and better and, as he watched his team, he felt confident in their abilities. The two weeks had come and gone, and the teams reached the level that Kataya expected of them within the time-period she set. She raised the bar, and they met that one, as well. Malek wondered what was next.
“Malek, did you see O’Neill come in? He is talking to Merdwin and Jacob and he looks very grim,” Devlin said.
Malek looked over at the group. Teal’c, Daniel, Kataya, and Sam had joined them. As he watched, he saw Merdwin and Jacob nod. “Yes, he does, Dev, and now so do the others. Something is going on. We should go find out,” Malek agreed with his Lifemate about the obvious grimness of O’Neill and now the others, as well. The group dispersed, and he could tell they were gathering the team leaders. Turning the group over to his second in command, he headed their way as Jacob finished talking to Jocasta, group four’s team leader and headed toward him.
“There is a briefing immediately. A situation has come up, and we have decided to use the teams to resolve it. Head up to the briefing room, and I will see you there,” Jacob told him briefly, as he headed to the next of his people he would need to talk to. As Malek had, Brialek was already approaching Jacob, aware that something was going on. Their level of alertness had increased since that day several weeks ago, too. Never again did anyone catch them so completely off guard.
He was surprised to see Gwennetha and the other priestesses there along with the team leaders. He frowned, wondering why they brought them into this meeting. It was not long before he found out. SG-10 was on a mission when a Goa’uld and his Jaffa had arrived on the planet they were checking out. Two of the team members made it back. The other two were in the System Lord’s hands, and after discussing the situation, they decided that the only viable option to retrieve them was the Stargate Special Assignment teams; the teams that were preparing to face Bastet.
Merdwin, Jacob, and O’Neill felt it would be good practice. Kataya and Sam agreed. It would be slightly different from what they would face when they went after Bastet, because some of the priestesses could go in the advance contingent and throw shields around the emerging soldiers. The Katteri would be first through. The teams would follow.
As the plans filtered their way into his mind, what they had just agreed to suddenly occurred to him. His Gwennetha would be going through the gate in advance of him and almost everyone else. They would be holding off the Jaffa until the teams came through to back them up. He looked up and their gazes locked. She was completely calm and serene; he could feel it. She smiled at him, and he hoped that she had no idea that he had just almost panicked at the thought of what could happen. This was his mate, and this was what his mate did.
He looked at Martouf and Daniel. Both were quiet and calm. They trusted their mates to know their own abilities. He would have to learn to do so, too. Moreover, he had better start now, because she would never understand if he told her she could not go. In fact, he was pretty sure she would look at him in disbelief and walk away.
“As she should,” Dev said quietly. “As you just now pointed out to yourself, this is what she does, Malek. She is a Katteri-enti Warrior. We knew this, and we accepted it. We can do nothing but accept what she is,” he told him firmly.
“You are correct, of course. I do not know what I was thinking,” Malek, murmured his reply.
“The point is that you were not thinking at all, Malek. Your heart was, and it was crying out at what could be, what could happen to her. But, this is something we agreed to accept when we asked her to be our mate; she was very clear about her duty,” Devlin chided him.
“That is very true, she did, and we agreed that we understood and that we would support her in it. I will attempt to use my intellect instead of my emotions,” Malek agreed.
Malek felt amusement coming through from Devlin, as he said, “Yes, please do so, because I am not used to being the one being practical and logical. I am usually the one that is blinded by emotion.”
“I promise I will do better, Dev. You have my word,” Malek replied. He stood as the meeting broke up.
He headed towards Gwennetha. As he reached her, she said, “Yes, my love, I will be very careful and use all of my abilities that I am allowed to use to see to it that I come to no harm.”
Malek smiled slightly, saying, “See that you do, and how did you know?”
“I read your disquiet in your face, Amat Wyn. In addition, I read when you realized that you must let me go. Love does that to a person. It heightens their perceptions in regard to the one they love. Now come, you must talk to our team, and I must talk to the other priestesses and Commander Kataya.”
“Commander Kataya?” Malek asked, amused.
“In battle, she is not my mother, and I am not her daughter. She is my commander, and I am her soldier. It is the only way it will work, Malek,” she said earnestly.
Realizing she was very serious, he gave it some thought, and realized that what she said was very true. Emotion could not come into this exercise, this battle, any battle. Nodding, he said quietly, “I understand, and I agree. I must go and so must you.” With a quick hard kiss, he was gone.
She smiled as she watched him stride down the corridor. He loved her well, and he would learn. Turning, she made her way to the group of priestesses. This should be a fairly simple exercise, although the inability to manifest as Katteri-enti would make it more of a challenge, if there were a great many more Jaffa than had been reported. There was no doubt, there would be more; the Goa’uld would have called in reinforcements expecting this rescue attempt. She shrugged. They had faced worse odds and won. Moreover, they had all become adept at using the Tau’ri weapons.
An unusual but effective weapon her little P-90, she thought as she patted it fondly. She smiled remembering the looks the Katteri had received upon the naming of their weapons. Maretel came to her as easily as her sword, though the Tau’ri had yet to realize and see that. They had been surprised enough at seeing her mother’s sword respond to her verbal command. If they were ever to see the Tau’ri weapon jump up and into their hands, they would be shocked.
She wondered for a moment what they would think if they ever saw her grandfather’s sword respond to her mother, for it would move only for her grandfather and her mother, and it was a mighty sword indeed. Grandfather had trained it to answer to her mother. Usually, swords would answer only to the one who named them; however, Grandfather’s sword was special. Gwennetha smiled to herself, thinking of the large powerful man who loved them all so much.
She came up to the group of priestesses. Some were going to go in with teams. She would go in with the forward Katteri contingent. Both Merdwin and her mother would also be first in. The shields protecting the first ones through would be strong indeed, and the protection would move to anyone coming through without someone in their team throwing shields. She recognized two that would normally be the Katteri throwing a team shield. They would probably rejoin their team when their teammates came through the portal. They would use individual shields at first, the most difficult type to throw. She was also to spread a shield that would disguise the symbiotes in the Tok’Ra. She nodded. Those were not particularly difficult, as they were more illusion than shield, but still she would have to maintain it until the team members responsible for it took over.
Her mother stepped away from the group and over to the two officers from SG-10 who wished to go with the rescue group. The two captured people were from their team. She listened to her mother, as she explained what the link was, how to access it, and how to use it. She assured them that no one would be reading their minds. They looked anxious and worried. She saw her mother rest her hand on first one and then the other, calming them, although they did not realize she had done so. How like her grandfather her mother was, without even realizing it. Someday she would step into his role, and she would do it well, her and her Dayillon.
Ah, Merdwin was mounting the ramp to give instructions. He addressed the Katteri gathered in the group, “We will go in using our armbands to draw energy and set up individual protective shields. They are the only things we will take in that are Katteri. We will use only our Tau’ri weapons. If any of you have your ribbon, or even your dagger, leave them behind. Hand any things you have over to Lieutenant Simmons, and he will keep them until we return. We cannot and will not tip off Bastet at this time and believe me, if anyone is discovered to be Katteri, she will know before first light on her planet.”
He continued, reiterating the types and configuration of the shields he wanted used. He then reminded them, “The High Priestesses among us will be helping with the shields so they will be somewhat stronger than they will be on our next mission. You all need to be making mental notes of what works and what does not, so keep in mind that the shields will be somewhat weaker in the next mission, and consider that when assessing how things are working. We will have a group wide meeting after this exercise to discuss this type of thing.”
“Stay in formation as much as possible but you must act as if you are Tau’ri, which means that you must look for something to shelter behind if possible. Standing and letting their weapons fire hit your shield is not something that would pass unnoticed. That goes for all of you, Tok’Ra, Katteri, and Tau’ri. You must not act as if you are behind a shield, for we do not want them to realize that. We will hope that we are able to take out the guards at the gate before the rest of you come through; however, I am fairly sure that there will be more Jaffa there than we are expecting. You all have extra ordinance. Be prepared to use it.”
“Once everyone is through the Chaappa’ai, those of you that are in the advance guard will rejoin your team and continue to keep the shield intact. Seconds are, as they know, responsible for the link. Do not drop it, no matter what. Are you all ready?” At their nods of agreement, he ordered, “Katteri, attack position three and five. Center post - take position. Left post - take position. Right post - take position. Form left flank. Form right flank.”
Walking back to Kataya, he and she stood in the very center of the group he had formed into a semicircle with his few terse commands. When you looked at him, it was easy to see in him the pagan Warrior. He appeared nonchalant and relaxed, yet, one could sense a furious wildness there, just below the surface, and one knew instinctively that this was a very dangerous man. More than one pair of female eyes looked there with appreciation showing in their eyes, more than one pair of male eyes, looked on him with envy. His daughter looked on with pride.
Her mother told O’Neill they were ready. Jacob Carter was the next to address the groups. He faced the soldiers who suddenly seemed to remember who was in their team and moved into position within their own group. He smiled grimly. They realized this was something of a practice run for them, and their performance today would tell what they needed to work on and what they were doing well. “Okay, listen up. No ribbons, if you have them with you, give them to Lieutenant Simmons and pick them up when we get back. Use your zats and your Tau’ri weapons.”
“Listen to the link, and follow all orders given by your group leader and the Colonel. You heard the previous instructions. We do not want them to know there is a shield around us. And, for heaven’s sake, if you are going in with the host in control, do not look up if or when you change over. The Katteri are going to be using a shielding that will hide the presence of the symbiotes, so don’t allow them to find out who and what you are some other way.” He reminded them there would be meetings afterwards to go over everything so to make mental notes of anything they felt was either very good or very bad.
Colonel O’Neill climbed the ramp and addressed the Tau’ri and everyone else as well. “Okay, people, you heard what has been said. There is gonna be a shield around you. It is not foolproof and we do not want it to be obvious. Do not depend on it entirely; you are all well trained soldiers, so use your skills to avoid injury. Once we clear the gate, we head for the house where we know they were holding our people. Special Assignment teams one, two, and four will work to free our people. Teams three, five and seven, will secure and keep the gate unless needed elsewhere. Team six will use the launchers to pin down what you can to keep them away from the gate and us.”
Turning to the two officers who were new to these groups but still wanted to help rescue their teammates he said, “Johnson, you and Harris stay with team three. Kataya set your link, don’t let it worry you, and whatever you do, do not fight it. Remember what she explained; no one is entering your mind, but any thoughts you have that you send out, especially if you attach emotion to them, can be read. All you have to do is just let the information come to you, and if you need to say something just send it outward and someone in your team will hear you. Is that understood?”
“Yes, sir, Colonel,” they both responded in unison.
Moving his attention back to the rest of the groups he asked, “Did everyone get their orders and understand them? Good. Let’s do it people.” Jack nodded to the control room, the Sergeant input the symbols and the gate sprang to life.
They watched as Merdwin gave the order to ready their weapons. At his nod, they entered the event horizon. When the others came through behind them they were surprised to see the Katteri, while having taken what cover they could, were still in a semi-formation and Jaffa were falling as if they were targets on a practice range.
It soon became obvious that Merdwin had been correct in his suspicion and there were many more than sixty or so Jaffa. The reinforcements he expected were definitely there. The Katteri stood their ground and soon the teams set to get the captives out were advancing, while the others remained behind to hold the gate, and it was obvious, the links were functioning extremely well. So far, the teams were performing perfectly together.
Once the groups started to move away from the gate, the Katteri threw up group shields, which were not so hard to maintain as the individual ones. It did not take them long to reach the village. Jack’s team made its way into the house as the other two teams secured the perimeter and assured no Jaffa would re-enter the house to surprise the team that had gone in after their people. Once inside they found only a handful of Jaffa guarding it.
The noise of the battle pulled all available Jaffa to it except for these few. Jack wondered where the system lord was. They had taken out the guards with almost no trouble and Sam was with Ellen Stevenson. She looked to be unconscious but alive as was her teammate. Jack watched as Merdwin knelt down beside each of them and laid his hand on them for a few seconds.
Turning to Jack he said, “They are both unconscious and as badly as they are hurt I do not advise bringing them around. Let us get them back to the gate. I hope that moving them will not aggravate their injuries. I do not believe it will, but I can guarantee that they would both be in agony if they were brought to consciousness.” Teal’c picked up the limp form of Ellen Stephenson while Merdwin picked up Sergeant Martin.
Suddenly, Jack stopped, “Where is Kataya?”
“She will be finding and disposing of the System Lord,” Merdwin said calmly. “I will find her and tell her to hurry.”
“Where are you?”
“I am up the stairs and in the first room on the left.” Suddenly they heard the sound of a body hitting a wall and sliding down it, followed by three zat blasts, and then Kataya was coming down the stairs.
Jack looked into Merdwin’s eyes, and then turned to Kataya, as she indicated Ellen Stevenson’s partially naked body, saying, “Here, wrap her in this, and then let us go. We should head back to the gate with the injured, and we cannot leave all of these bodies for these poor villagers to deal with either.”
“What do you suggest?” Jack asked tersely.
Lifting her zat, she disposed of the guard’s bodies. Shrugging she looked into O’Neill’s eyes, and said, “I suggest we clean up after ourselves. It is either that or send a team through to clean up and help the villagers.”
The Colonel had chosen to send a team through to help the villagers, but Gwennetha had seen the shock on his face as he had looked at Merdwin and Kataya. She had watched him absorb the knowledge as they walked toward the gate. She had turned to Malek, expecting to see the same shock on his face. He smiled at her and shook his head. I understand, his look said. Do not worry. I know what you are, and I love you anyway. She smiled at him and turned back to the group as Daniel input the glyphs that would allow them to go back to the SGC.
She could tell that O’Neill was coming to terms with what he had seen. A system lord had died, and the spirit of the Katteri-enti if not the actual manifestation of it had done it. Bastet would be just as dead because of it. All in all, it had been a good day.
Gwennetha watched as her mother and her beloved, Daniel, left for the night. Tomorrow would see the destruction of Bastet. Samantha and her mother returned earlier that day after spending a few days with Artereos and Merdwin. She talked privately to her mother, and they said everything that needed said between them. Both knew that tomorrow would see the beginning of the end of the System Lords in this sector of the universe. Not that it would be over soon, for it would not, but this would remove a significant threat. One whose removal they would accomplish no matter the cost to them. She sighed as she thought once again, yes, at all costs, and she was very much afraid the cost would be high indeed.
She needed to be sure that Malek and Devlin knew who they would be facing tomorrow as well as how it could affect her mother. That was something she could tell him, and she needed to do so before they began this long night. Sleep would probably not come for them, and if it did it would be very little. She wanted to spend every second of it reveling in him and storing memories.
Turning she started down the hall toward their room. He would be coming in soon. The priestesses had spent yesterday and most of today in the sanctuary on Avilion. It was imperative that their healing abilities be as complete as possible and that their centers be as calm as possible. They would pull more energy tomorrow morning as well.
Entering their room, she proceeded to light a couple of candles and change into one of the gowns she preferred to wear to bed, although they did not usually remain on her for long. Still, she loved the feel of the fabric as it caressed her skin. She would wear the one she had worn the night Malek and Devlin had said the words of the Soulmate, when they had declared to one another and become eternal mates. How she loved them.
Sighing she forced her mind to leave thoughts of tomorrow. Worrying about it and thinking about it would change nothing, and although the portends were not good, they did not leave Morgasha/Bastet alive, and that was the most important thing. When all was said and done, even her mother would tell her that the most important thing was that Morgasha was dead. No matter the cost.
Hearing the door, she turned as Devlin entered. They had showered and Malek always became languid after being in the hot water. She smiled at him and went into the arms he held out to her. “Hello, my love. Have you eaten already?” He asked, surprised.
Waving at the small table that graced the room, she said, “Yes, and I brought you something to eat, as well as some extra chocolate pudding for Malek. And you,” she added slyly.
He grinned at her, as he shrugged. He and Malek had both become addicted to chocolate. Lantash and Martouf had admitted to the same thing. They had decided it was a Tau’ri plot. They did not know what it was in aid of, but it had to be a plot. Of course, Daniel and many others also admitted to a fondness for it, so they knew that they were not truly the targets of a conspiracy. Before heading for the table, Devlin pulled her into his arms for a long soft kiss. Becoming lost to everything but the feel of her in his arms, he moaned as she pulled back from him slightly and looked into his eyes.
Laughing gently at the bemused look he sent to her, she said softly, “You must eat first, Carusawyn. Then we will sit and talk for a time. And then we will take a trip to the stars, yes?”
“Yes,” he agreed, finally releasing her and heading for the table that was ready for him. Seating himself, he watched her as he began his meal; he could tell that she was preoccupied. After wandering around the room for a time, she finally came back to the table and seated herself across from him.
Finishing as quickly as he could, he gathered the plates and utensils up and said, “I am going to return these to the mess hall. I will be back shortly; Coeurawyn, and then you can tell me what is bothering you so deeply.” He watched the startled look enter her eyes before turning and leaving to return the tray and its contents. As he left the room, he almost ran into an airman heading in the same direction.
“If you are taking that back to the commissary, sir, I can take it. I am going that way, the young man offered. Devlin smiled at him as he agreed that he had indeed been heading in that direction, and he would appreciate it if he would take it back for him. Handing it to him, he turned and re-entered their room.
Gwennetha was sitting on the floor with candles in front of her and the circlet on her head glowed as she pulled energy into her center. Hearing him enter, she allowed the energy flow to stop as she leaned forward and blew out the candles. Standing, she picked them up and placed them on the dresser, before turning to him, “You should get comfortable, Devlin. I need to talk to you,” she said quietly.
She appeared as calm as ever, although he could tell she was more solemn than usual. He nodded his agreement and turned to go to the dresser, only to have her stop him with a hand upon his arm. “I thought you might like to wear this. It is comfortable and um, easily removed,” she said softly, as she handed him a pair of satin trousers and a matching jacket that wrapped around him and tied.
Once he was dressed in the garments, he looked at her. The satin trousers simply tied at the waist so they tended to settle low on his hips. The jacket wrapped around and tied leaving a deep v of exposed flesh. She gazed at him with a small smile playing around her lips and an expression of appreciation in her eyes. “My mother is almost always right, you know,” she murmured. “She told me that garment would stay on your body for a very short time. She has excellent taste,” she continued, as she walked forward and extended her hand to lay it upon his chest where the v left the skin open to her gaze as well as her touch.
Sighing, she stepped back and headed for the bed. After arranging the pillows, she invited him to join her. “There are things I need to tell you and Malek, Dev. I need to tell you tonight, so that I do not have to try to do so tomorrow, when I will need to be concentrating on conserving my energy.”
Leaning back against the pillows, he made no move to take her in his arms, sensing that she needed to talk to him without the distraction physical contact between them would no doubt bring. “What do you need to tell me, Gwennetha?”
“You need the information about who Morgasha is. We are going into a battle situation. Anything could happen. I am assuming that my mother will tell Daniel and Samantha will tell Martouf, but in case they do not, I wish you to know. Should something happen to us, then someone should know, so that they may answer questions that arise.”
“You are telling us that you are going to be injured, are you not, Gwennetha?” Devlin said, as calmly as he could.
Gwennetha looked startled, but she answered immediately, “No, I am not. I will be fine I am sure, but I may have to attend to the injured. If I must leave for Avilion with the injured, I wish you to have this information.” It was obvious she was speaking the truth. She was not expecting to be injured, but obviously, she was expecting injuries, and they would need her. So, now he had at least some idea of what was going on. She did not act as if she expected him to be injured either.
“I believe you, my love. What is it that you wish me to know?”
“Morgasha is the sister of my Grandfather, Artereos. And she was Merdwin’s mate,” she said clearly. “She is a very powerful enchantress, as well as the Dragon of the Blood. She attempted to steal Merdwin’s power and trap him in stasis millennia ago, and she has continued to make attempts on his life and the life of my grandfather, from time to time. Being a First-born, she can get no closer to them than they can to her, so none of them met with success. Just as she can sense them, they can sense her. She will not be expecting my mother and Samantha. She cannot sense them,” she stated quietly.
“Gwennetha, correct me if I am wrong, but is going up against her not very much the same thing as going up against Merdwin? Samantha and Kataya cannot defeat him in practice, how do you expect them to defeat her? This is crazy,” Devlin said, very disturbed at what she had told him. They were defeated before they began, if what she was saying was true. Of course, they had known all along that she was a First-born, but somehow, her being Artereos’s sister and Merdwin’s mate—Dear Universe, Merdwin’s mate—made her suddenly seem invulnerable.
Laying a hand on his arm to calm him and get his complete attention, she said, “Dev, the practice sessions you have seen are not the entire stories. My mother, alone, can fight Merdwin to a draw as only herself, and do not forget that she and Samantha will have manifested as the Dragons.”
“Even as the Dragons though, they will have difficulty, not because they are not as adept as she, but because they cannot heal as quickly from wounds. It is the great regenerative power of a First-born Furling blended with a Goa’uld, which is the problem. Morgasha will be able to heal faster than my mother and Samantha. Please trust me in this, Devlin. My mother and Samantha will be able to defeat Morgasha/Bastet,” she said, firmly and calmly.
Seeing the skepticism in his face she sighed, and continued, “There are things about my mother that are not known outside of our inner circle. You and Malek cannot reveal this to anyone, just as you cannot reveal that both Samantha and my mother are Dragon Slayers. Do I have your word?” She asked.
“Of course. You know that being secretive is a way of life for the Tok’Ra, Gwennetha,” he assured her.
Nodding, she finally said, “My mother has been a student of Merdwin’s in the Mystic and Arcane Arts for millennia, and her power as an enchantress is more than Morgasha’s.”
She stopped for a moment, and as she considered whether to tell him more, Malek came forward to say, “Gwennetha, Dev, and I will say nothing of whatever you tell us, not to anyone, I promise you.”
After looking at him for a long time, she seemed to come to a conclusion. “My mother inherited some powers from her mother. As you know, her mother is Wiccadian.” She smiled grimly, as she realized that they had not even the vaguest notion of what that meant. She would have to explain it to them, then. Thoughts were as words and she began again, saying, “Many Wiccadians, besides being adept empaths, are also mystics with the ability to control the elements. Most to only a moderate degree, but there are some, like my grandmother and my own mother who are very powerful in their abilities. My Grandmother, Gwynnivar, was one of the most powerful of the Nature Enchantresses, and my mother inherited her abilities. In other words, our Wiccadian blood enables some of us to harness the powers of nature.”
“Morgasha is aware of this only in a minimal way. It is not something that we speak of, or use often enough, for it to be widely known. She has no idea of its true power, but I assure you that my mother has the ability to harness immense amounts of power through her connection with nature.”
“If my mother must, she will use that power, along with the power of the Dragon of the Fire. Morgasha Will. Be. Dead., at the end of the day tomorrow, one way or the other.” Again, she seemed to be lost in thought.
“But that is good, is it not? That is what this battle and all of the training is about. It is that toward which we have all been working. Why are you so unsettled? I thought this was what was wanted.”
“It is. We want it, and it will happen. However, other things could happen. Malek, Dev, you must understand…Morgasha is pure evil. It must and will be contained. I just want you to understand that there will still be much left to accomplish once she is dead. Her death does not mean it is completely over for us, although it will be for you and the Tau’ri.”
“You are telling me that you may have duties to perform after the battle tomorrow. You are warning me that you may be called away soon after it,” he said softly.
Nodding, she said, “It is possible. It is also possible that someone will see the resemblance between Grandfather and Morgasha. I wanted you to know, in case someone asks questions. She has tried many times to kill both my grandfather and Merdwin. She wishes to destroy the All and the peoples that populate the universe that do not serve a purpose for her. If she could destroy the All, she could destroy anything and everything. There would be nothing to stop her. For all our sakes, whatever takes place tomorrow; she must be dead when it is over. You promised me unwavering faith, Malek. I am afraid that may soon be tested.”
Seeing the tears in her eyes and the trembling of her lips, Malek reached for her and drew her into his arms. “We will have faith in your love for us, Gwennetha, and we will do our best to understand whatever happens. We promise you, my love. We promise you.” Hearing the sigh of relief she gave, he claimed her lips with his. Soon leaving them, he left a trail of kisses and nibbles down the side of her throat, leaving her gasping. The gown soon lay in a pile under them, along with the pants and jacket he wore.
When morning came, Malek opened his eyes to see her gazing down at him. “You have only been asleep for an hour or so, Malek, you, and Devlin. You should get some more rest before the mission,” she said softly.
“I would rather spend some of our free time loving you instead, my mate,” he said, as he drew her lips to his. Gwennetha relaxed into her mate’s arms and sighed as his lips left soft kisses across the top of her shoulder and up her neck. She smiled, enjoying the feel of him. Soon they were lost in a world of their own once again.
They had loved the night away. Now they loved their few hours of the morning away as well. Never had they ever experienced anything so amazing. When they were not making love, they simply sat and absorbed the essence of one anther. It was a night and morning that they would remember forever. So much love passed between them. If she had to leave and go to Avilion, and they could not accompany her, then this night and morning of loving would light their days until she returned to them.
Malek was stunned. He and Devlin were in shock at the outcome of the battle. Samantha, Kataya, and Morgasha/Bastet were dead, and Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel were all in critical condition from injuries they had sustained during the battle.
Never in his thousands of years had he ever witnessed a battle such as they saw this day. First Kataya and Morgasha/Bastet and then Samantha manifested. Team two, his team, were part of the groups that fought their way into the Fortress’s compound. After they took out the Jaffa in the compound, Morgasha/Bastet appeared.
Her laughter at seeing a group of Tau’ri attempting to do battle with her had turned to an enraged screech when Kataya stood and removed the shielding that kept her true essence from Morgasha’s detection. Enraged, Morgasha began to manifest at once and Kataya had matched and overtaken her in the swiftness with which she accomplished it. They battled fiercely and she almost took Kataya down at one point, before Samantha could manifest. Soon though, Samantha had gone through her own manifestation, Kataya and Samantha had mixed their blood, and their joined power had been immense. So immense that it was almost beyond comprehension.
Still, he mourned, it had not been enough. Even with their combined power, the regenerative power of the First-born Furling joined with a Goa’uld was formidable. In the end, Kataya used her Wiccadian abilities, just as Gwennetha foretold to them, and harnessed the powers of Nature, joining them to her powers of the Dragon of the Fire, to take out the beautiful, but deadly creature. Dear Universe, he would never forget Daniel’s scream of “No!” and the love that Kataya sent flowing toward him, as she prepared to die; for in using all of her power, she left herself open to destruction, as well. Even so, she was smiling in triumph, for there was no doubt that Morgasha and Bastet were dying. However, dying or not, Morgasha still managed to kill Kataya and Sam. Sam attempted to protect her sister, as she stood defenseless, though smiling, thus, all three of the Dragons died. The rest of them stood frozen in place, unable to move, until Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash began running towards their mates.
At least Samantha and Kataya lived long enough to say good-bye to their mates. To say good-bye and to insist they make vows to continue to live and fight the Goa’uld for them. To make them promise they would live and go forward with their lives. The women requested and the men gave promises to take care of one another. Daniel to take care of Martouf and Lantash, and they, in turn, had promised to take care of Daniel. Those vows were probably the only things that would keep these two men alive now. At least, he hoped it would be enough to force them to fight for their lives. There was no doubt that Martouf and Lantash, as well as Daniel, were very severely injured.
Why, why had no one in the teams that had taken up positions to keep the Jaffa out and away from the battle of the dragons, noticed that the far wall had no one protecting it? The fact that most of the Jaffa were on the other two sides was no excuse. Just because it was a short back wall, no more than twenty or so feet long was no excuse. That it came straight up to the buildings themselves was no excuse, either. There had been soldiers within thirty or forty feet of them.
Why had none of them thought to go to the aid of the two men who were not only defending that one short wall, but were also watching as their mates battled for their lives, the lives of the Tok’Ra, the Tau’ri and the universe in general? It was good that so few Jaffa had tried to come through there, but perhaps, if there had been more of them, the soldiers would not have continued to move away from them and toward the more active areas.
He sighed. There was nothing to gain by asking why now he supposed, and O’Neill would be feeling enough guilt without having more poured on him. It was not, after all, a truly active area, and they had needed all the firepower they could get to keep the Jaffa at bay during the battle. He just wished they had at least thought to provide those two men with a Katteri to shield them. He was as much to blame as anyone. As a team leader and third in command, he should have done something, anything to protect them. He did not, none of them did, and now all they could do was get them back to the base and hope they could survive what looked like, and probably were, life-threateningly severe injuries.
“Malek this is not your fault. All of us were engaged in protecting the Dragons from outside interference. You could not have known that Daniel and Martouf would suffer injuries. They appeared to be in one of the safer areas, actually, and you know that is true,” Devlin tried, in vain, to comfort his mate.
“So it seemed at the time, but we were obviously wrong, Dev, and our short-sightedness may very well cost us a very dear friend,” Malek’s tone was harsh with suppressed pain, sorrow, and guilt.
“Do not give up on them,” Devlin said sharply. “We do not yet know how badly they are hurt, and the Katteri are helping them. You must have faith in them, Malek.”
“You are correct, of course. If I allow myself to become despondent, I will be no help to them at all,” Malek replied.
They continued walking beside Jacob and Brialek, as he carried Martouf toward the Chaappa’ai. Lantash’s son, Lanwin, and his daughter, Taesha, were sustaining them as they moved swiftly toward the gate. The Katteri had reiterated repeatedly that they must continue recalling Martouf and Lantash as well as Daniel, by reminding them of their promises to their mates as they lay dying.
Jacob looked lost and Selmak had been in the forefront several times already. Jocasta was seeing to him though, and that would help him. Jack O’Neill was saying almost nothing, looking straight ahead as if he was afraid to say or do anything else. He was worried about Daniel, and he was refusing to acknowledge that Samantha Carter was gone. He could read the signs; O’Neill was refusing to think about any of it yet.
Stepping out the other side of the Chaappa’ai, Malek sighed. He, too, was refusing to think to deeply. Brialek took Martouf to the infirmary and began working on him immediately. Politely, but firmly, Jacob and Malek were ushered from the room. No, they could not remain; they must leave. There were simply too many people in the rooms, and they were in the way. Yes, someone would tell them as soon as they knew anything. Please, wait outside. As soon as Dr. Fraiser finished in surgery and checked on Martouf, she would be out to talk to them.
As they waited in the hall for word on the injured, Malek’s mind traveled back to the end of the battle. Gwennetha was there one moment and gone the next. According to Lanwin, the Billiskner was waiting just far enough away that Morgasha could not pick up Merdwin’ s energy signature, although with his immense power, he could pick up hers. As soon as Merdwin sensed the deaths of Morgasha and Bastet, Thor moved in and took the bodies of the Dragons along with the priestesses, onboard the Billiskner. They would take them to Avilion, where the All would no doubt come for them. He swallowed, thinking about the huge hole this would leave in the lives of Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash. He had no idea how they were going to survive this loss. He missed Gwennetha, but she was alive and well, just not able to be with him.
She was trying to warn them last night, he realized. Moreover, they had spent almost the entire night awake because she had known that she would be gone indefinitely. Thank the Universe; she had given him last night and the assurance that no matter what, she would be back.
Getting up, he paced the floor. Why were the doctors and healers taking so long? They had been waiting for almost four hours now, to hear how Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel were.
“Dr. Fraiser will let us know as soon as she can, Malek, I promise you,” Teal’c told him quietly, as if reading his mind. “We have often waited here for information on one or more of our team members.”
Malek nodded and sat back down. Pacing would help no one. They had no choice but to wait.