Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 8

Heavens Assent

Time. Why when you needed it the most was there never enough of it; and when you needed it to run swiftly, it slowed to a crawl, or even seemed to stop?

Janet in this moment recalled, what Daniel had said of the Malakim. Each faith, each major cultural evolution had its own angelic protectors, guardians, beguine, avengers, divine and benevolent to humankind. Hundreds of cultures had such winged beings held in deified respect. Having met the Malakim first hand it was not hard see why old cultures held them in such high regard. Modern cultures for that matter still held these folk in awe and wonder and lionized them. They were on to like forces of nature. They were the Pure Ones, the Virtues, the choir of celestial power. According to modern dogma, there were seven Choirs of which the Virtues were apart of.

Hy-Brasil World of the Great Aeries home of the Malakim, a land of endless fantastical sites and sounds. A realm of legend and lore of dream and wonder, here the winged beings, dwelled in a haven of wind and stone.

Hy-Brasil, home world of the Virtues, Capital city was called Elysium. It was here that Doctor Janet Fraiser, Colonel of the United States Air Force, CMO of Stargate Command sought out the queen. It was here that General Jack O'Neill and SG9 diplomacy team sought out to make a request on bended knee. Janet would not bend a knee nor would she request anything of the queen. That time had passed.

The Stargate was centralized in the basilica as if it was a holy relic. As all the gates is sat majestically upon a diesis with the DHD directly in front of it. Two broad steps lead down into a widening room crowed with a forest of stone pillars. Archways could be seen in the northern, western and southern walls. Each of these exit archways had three descending steps leading into long snaking corridors beyond.

Twin guards stood watch, foreboding and domineering. The warriors were dressed in a like fashion, wearing the colors of the royal guard silver and blue dragon-scale armor. The leather chemise were low silted and off the shoulders and sternums provided fine protection. Their shoulder plates of overlaid semicircles of silver gave the warriors protection from fierce blows without hiding the alluring lines of shoulder and collarbones. Each wore arm bands of sliver and dark azure leather, the silver work depicting serpentine lions, with eyes of blazing garnets adding not only to their overall fieriness but protective aesthetic qualities. About their throats the winged warriors wore silver torcs each with the heads of roaring lions, into which are set emerald eyes. About their brows accenting the luxurious manes of deepest ebony and brilliant silver. The overall effect was both enticing and freighting.

The warriors turned to the mortals that had passed the gates. They took note of only one.

"You are expected Lady Healer Janet." The sliver maned guard said in a way of salutation. "The Queen said you might appear and thus we are to escort you to the throne room. For if you shown without your Lifemate something monumental and terrible would happen." So dutiful and righteous the guards would take no time to fulfill their queen's orders.

When SG9 started to approach, two more guards ignited their sun swords, trotting any attempt of the team to make a move further. "You shall not pass!" One of the guards who had blue hair snarled. "Your presence was not foretold, you are not welcome here, mortals."

SG9 took a defensive step back; of the diplomatic militia they were hesitant to bring weaponry to arms.

"Whoa, whoa…" Jack raised his hands in a mock surrender. "We are here for Doctor Fraiser's protection. And we come to ask…"

"Lady Healer Janet, life mate to Liege Commander Samantha Carter, needs no mortal guard to safeguard her in the city of the Virtues." Silver hair said in a detached voice as if merely stating a fact.

"We realize this, but it is only our custom to be with her, we mean no disrespect." Joshua Velasco said calmly.

"You are not needed mortal." Sliver hair sneered. She did not apparently care for the CO of SG9. "No harm will befall the Healer. Not in our care. Now be gone. We will not ask again." At this point all four winged warriors ignited their sun-swords the glowing red-orange blades hummed to life.

"Its alright, Velasco. Return to SGC." Jack commanded. The Malakim were a curious race. And he knew if he wanted to get anywhere with them he had to as much as he hated it comply with them. He had been in the SGC long enough to learn a few things about diplomacy. And submitting to 'alien' request sometimes had to be observed no matter how much you're command experience screamed at you not to do so. "I'll go with the doc."

"You are not welcome." The blue haired guard growled.

"Please." Janet stepped forth. "I would like General O'Neill to accompany me."

"It will be done." Obviously there was reluctance in the granting to her request, but nonetheless it was so.

"Forgive us, but we will have to take the extended since you are unfortunately…no insult implied… but wingless." What might have been an obvious observation; to the Malakim to be without wings was a mark of aversion, as if the individual was a suffer of leprosy.

"We don't mind the walk." Janet answered before O'Neill could get a word out.

They passed through an archway to the left and found themselves ascending a narrow arabesque spiral staircase. The steps seemed without end as they delved deeper and higher into the darkness. The edifices were clearly not crafted by mortal architects. As the figures below the raised balconies silently testified, they were aeries of winged beings. Undoubtedly she stood before the home of the great Queen Novalis Queen of the Malakim.

As they walked, the beautiful angelic choir echoed perfectly thru the marble halls. Pure heavenly voice as none on hearth had ever been heard, even in the most glorified boys choir in the Vatican. No human could produce such vocal harmony. No human could generate the perfect acappella melody as heard here these halls. And for a moment Janet felt her soul rising as if she too could fly.

Finally the staircase stopped, and they stepped through an opening into a passageway so broad that it was not so much a corridor as an avenue. A line of basalt columns ran down the center of the hall, supporting the arched ceiling high above. The columns were skillfully carved into the shapes of trees, conjuring the illusion of walking down a human boulevard under the shadows of dusk.

Janet let out a low sigh, turning his head to try to take in the grandeur of the inner-tower road. She was taken in by the glorious surroundings.

"It's the hall of the Throne, it's been here always." Turel the silver maned warrior took in a deep breath. The weight of years hung heavily on this place. She almost could hear the ghostly ringing of ministers shaping chants drifting in the air like echoes from the past. "Just wait…there's more to come."

The gate was on the far side of the compound yet the drawbridge was drawn up to the portcullis, there were no watchtowers, but then there wouldn't been. Anyone who had gotten this far would be worthy of an audience with the Thrones It was not conceit that there was no watchtowers, but confidence. The Malakim had not thought that guard towers necessary, for any soul who came this far must be by the grace of the Heaven deemed worthy.

They would traverse a long catwalk, leading to yet another antechamber and wending hallway. Below them was a series of low buildings constructed out of the same rose-colored stone as the walls. The buildings were arranged symmetrically around the central tower in the middle they had glimpsed earlier, supported by fluted stone columns there was no doubt that the tower was the main temple. Janet could see between the columns into the dusky interior of the basilica, within she could see figures standing.

Instinct drove Jack to duck, and take Janet with him but as he watched the figures had not moved in the last few minuets. Five– then ten – then fifteen heartbeats passed and the figures had not moved.

"Statues." he said sheepishly.

Turel and Zaira (who had the blue hair) would snicker softly for both had known it to be so.

They climbed the rest of the way up over the wall then up. The chill of the air and the perpetual dampness of the moister caused both of the humans to shiver. Once on the other side of the wall, once more they stood in awe. This was the last leg of their journey.

They stood beneath a high stone archway, a great arcade that would lead them from the town center to the doors of the great temple of the Heavens. Behind them, a corridor stretched into endless shadow. Before them lay their goal. It was glorious and they had yet to even enter the temple proper. Walls of pale blue marble flecked with gold soared upward in a vault of dizzying vault. An intricate mosaic adorned the lofty ceiling, depicting a fantastic sky: radiant day shown brilliantly upon one side, while night glittered with jewel like stars upon the other. Light streamed down from the mosaic above–part of it was sun-gold, part moon-pearl–refracting off the polished walls. It filled the chamber with shimmering luminescence.

In keeping with the ceiling, the gallery's expansive floor was a patchwork of marble squares, alternating in a checkered pattern between white-gold noon and onyx black midnight. Each of the squares was perhaps three paces across the floor was bordered on all sides by a swath of mottled green marble. On the far side of the hall, set into a shallow nave, was a door of gold.

Shaking the vertigo from her head, Janet gazed around, her acute vision piercing the dimness of the canopy. They were in the center of a large circular chamber, slinging to the side of some sort of irregular stone. Soon they would find themselves amid a maze of dark passageways and shadow-filled halls. High archways opened to the right and left. Corridors doubled back on themselves or ended abruptly in blank walls. Some stairwells led to nowhere, while others delved higher into the heart of the towers…until at last they came to a majestic door.

The heavy intricate door seemed to open, as if some unknown hands touched them and tossed them slowly apart. Janet couldn't catch her breath. Awe inspiring exhilaration filled her to her very soul. It seemed like her own body was filled with brilliant light from the Heavens. She couldn't move, couldn't talk so overwhelming was this experience. Tears slowly came down her face. The beauty so surreal also struck Turel as well as it always had when ever she entered the temple.

Janet slowly followed her companion up the uneven steps to the door. The young mortal could feel her breath catch in his throat as she entered the temple, her chambers. As they both stop dead in their tracks. Before them lay crystal. The whole chamber was made of crystal. Not only that but the crystal formations hung from the ceiling and jettison up from the floor. There prisms turning the chamber into soft pastels of multicolored lights, slowing relaxing ebbing and flowing with each step Janet and Turel took. The air seemed crisped and clear, yet it wasn't cold immersed all the cool crystal radiated a warmth so inviting so wonderful filling ones soul with easy and complete love.

It took Turel's breath away. Janet's eyes ever left it. Turel seemed to sparkle around the crystal almost placing their light to shame. As tall winged warrior looked to her friend her teal eyes started in wonder, not for the chamber but for her friend, who's light she had seen was brighter still and the faery sworn she had seen wings not unlike the Phoenix glowing in radiant flames behind her.

The crystals reflected all the colors of the universe. Each step was like stepping into a wonderland of grace and majesty. The children stared wonderment with the world everything was new magical. As they step forward, a staircase. The staircase was slender elegant in its simplicity, unlike the last they had traveled. Like the chamber itself it was made out of crystal except this crystal looked fragile handspun. So delicate that one small touch would bring it down shattering it into a million pieces at their feet. Janet hesitated as Turel place her hand on the delicate beauty of the staircase handrail. It felt cool to the touch a degree or two from the warmth of the chamber. She slowly placed her foot tenderly onto the staircase, only to find out that the staircase was deceptive its fragile facade was just that for it underlined a strength stronger then any know metal any had ever known as she placed her whole weight upon it. Together they approached the innermost sanctuary of the Temple where sat the Thrones, the High Wisdom of the Malakim.

It was difficult to believe they were yet inside the massive towers, but it was so, for the Forest even sang to them. Nothing Janet had seen in her all her travels of the Stargate were so awe-inspiring. Her eyes feasted upon the site. It stunning. The central room was an enormous chamber flooded by the warm glow of willow-the-wisps. Its walls were constructed of triangular and trapezoidal panels of ingenious shaped-marble exquisitely striated and glistening with moisture, resembling the forest itself.

The floor of the chamber was an elaborate mosaic of concentric circles – some parts translucent and illuminated from beneath by the same magic glow of the faery-fire – decorated with mysterious yet somehow familiar symbols. At the center of this was a circular table made of primeval ebony-violet crystal, glowing with the same spectral light as the pellucid sections of the walls.

The home of the Queen was in a word, breathtakingly beautiful. It was a perfect marriage between the Hall of the Thrones and the home of the Malakim. Crystal and sculpted stone, carved in eloquent lines of curves and zoomorphic creatures: those that Janet recognized as she-lions, rabbits, stages, horses, dragons, others appeared to be sculpted woman of renowned beauty that only bards had ever dreamed of.

Marble blended, no merged into crystal so seamlessly there was no way to tell were one left off and the other began, white stone made arabesque love to dark crystal, both polished so such smoothness, that the edifice became a child of wonderful creation.

The walls, ceiling, lentils and frames of the doors were carved into glorious depictions of Malakim life. Here in the queen's home the story seemed to be the matriarchal history of each past queen into the beginning of the first Malakim, the Lady herself who gave birth to a nation.

The domicile was both practical and beautiful, was there any home in the Malakim domain that was not so? Janet thought to herself: would she ever grow accustomed to seeing such splendor? The winged-beings seemed to surround themselves with beauty and yet, it was not garish and boastful. Here there was no proclamation of wealth and blatant stature, simply put the Malakim surrounded themselves with the beauty of nature itself. Magically shaped wood carvings, crystal formations, woven leaves of the massive redwoods and a dozen unnamable nuances caused the over all effect of wonder. The angelic beings revealed in the glory of nature.

What drew the doctor's attention the most was a crystalline statue of a beatified female clad in leather and mettle. Not only was the subject enticing, as it was a warrior-queen astride as fanged mountain lion, but whatever material the carving depicted, appeared to bare exacting texture. The leather and mettle chest plate that covered the female's chest, stomach and back was truly an astounding marvel of artistic craftsmanship. Arm-guards, shin-guards, bracers; all carried that same definite appearance of spiraled metal designs upon leather, the loincloth, keen length boots, scabbard of the sword across her back as well as five sheaths of the daggers she was armed with looked as leather should, so much so Janet had to reach out to touch the stone to insure herself that it was stone- crystal she was touching. The skin of the carving bore the appearance of true flesh, and again Janet would stretch out her hand to touch it.

"That's the Queen." Turel whispered to Janet. "Isn't she beautiful?"

For the first time, Janet looked to the woman depicted in the crystal statue. She had almond shaped eyes as did all the Malakim however like Turel her eyes were larger and her eyelashes were almost longer, giving her a very distinctive feline gaze. Her cheekbones were so high the looked almost hollow. Her heart-shaped face gave a very deceptive air of innocence, but there was unmistakable strength in that gaze, in that set mouth. This was a female of who not anger, not if you wanted to live. Her purple mane was wavy hanging in heavy curls down her back and over her shoulder. The sculpture was so exacting she thought that even the delicate feathers of the wings might be real.

"She is beautiful." The Doctor responded. "Does she really ride a mountain lion?"

"I do." Came a voice from behind the women. "When the mood suits me."

Both reeled in their heels, meeting face to face the female depicted in the sculpture. The air of power swirled around her as a cloak both heavy and of wondrous shining light. She was power. She was the queen of a nation, and once more she knew it and was comfortable with her power. Novalis Queen of the Malakim held the very seat of strength, heart, power and essence of what it was to be alive.

Novalis was everything a woman would wish to be, intelligent, strong of heart, spirit and body. She was a more champion than even Lancelot could ever have achieved. This was a Malakim knight.

Immediately, Turel and Zaira knelt, their own wings pressed so flatly against their bodies they seemed to disappear. Even Jack O'Neill bowed a little; Janet herself felt the pull to kneel before her majesty compelled her so.

"Things must be grave indeed if you are here without your life-mate Little Healer."

Janet rose to her feet, the power of persuasion and presence had left her as quickly as it had descended to cause her to kneel.

"They are more then grave." Janet said quickly.

"What cause you to despair?" The question was gentle in tone. "What has happened?"

A shadow passed over Janet's face; then it went deathly white. Before she could conceal it, the queen saw through the mask of the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing for the lack of what to do, dreading it was to late to do anything if given the chance. For a second she hesitated, and no one breathed. Then she spoke, and her voice was cold.

"The Goa'uld have destroyed the Stargate on Chimera. They number into the hundreds if not thousands. Your people…are trapped along with our own…with…" Janet held a steady breath…"my wife, my eldest child…"

"It is so. For there was the felling of stars on the eve of last twilight, in the wake of a comet's passage, it was foreseen that darkness brews in the lands of Chimera. The heaves themselves blaze forth lamenting for the death of noble hearts."

Despite herself, Janet felt a hiccup of dread fill her heart with cold chills. "Sam…" To the doctor's credit she did not allow her emotions to overwhelm her, nor did she allow them to surface. Yet it had not gone unnoticed by the very astute queen of the Malakim.

There was a stall silence. The queen felt her mind going back to an old proverb. The resurrection of an ancient evil most despised by the hearts of the fair and ennobled. If the Diabolicals were to gain power of that part which was mot vile of creation things as the Healer had stated were more then grave.

"You have come here, in the belief that I can offer you assistance?"

"I know you can." Janet was blunt and to the point.

"You come to me…then when I know you to have allies amongst the Asgaurd…and the Tok'ra. Indeed the rebellious System Lords have a relation do they not to your Soul-mate?"

"They do." Janet managed to squash the impatience within her. "But Queen Novalis your people not the Tok'ra are the ones trapped on Chimera. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"Indeed. An evil of the Ancient World, is stirring. Its power touches me even here. I am concerned for its shadow is moving over the World Symphony in great strides. It allowed to awaken it will become the harbinger of doom." Novalis said. "If allowed, this union between Diabolicals and the Nemesis will prove the undoing of many worlds." The queen said gravely. Her silver eyes looked to the small statured human in front of her. "Do you know the reasoning behind the destruction of the Stargate?" This question she put to O'Neill.

"Who knows why the snakes do anything? I guess they felt they had an advantage to gain from doing it. Probably have a Gate on one of their ships. If I was there, I'd try to infiltrate the ships to find one, if I couldn't I'd blow the ships…suicidal…Knowing Carter she'd probably try to steal one of them."

Novalis seemed to consider his words. "Perhaps…" Her great wings fluttered as her mind dove deeper into unvoiced thought. "Had the Gate been optional, and word of grave attack came hens to you would you have sent in an army of your own, without coming to us for aid?"

"First response…" Jack said. "My knee-jerk reaction, yeah I would have sent in some troops to locate my people and get them out of there."

"Without a word to our sovereignty?"

"You wanted the truth." Jack said earnestly. Diplomacy was never his strong suit that was way he brought SG9, of course with them sent home by the demands of the crown he was crippled in this diplomatic juncture. He saw that he was quickly soloing his strength talking to the winged queen of the Malakim. Where the hell was Daniel when you need a space monkey?

"I didn't come before you to wait for you to make up your mind while good people could be dying. I will not defer to you or anyone else so you talk over procedure with my CO!" Janet declared, her eyes locked on Novalis.

"Janet." Jack uttered out of the side of his mouth. "You are way out of line. Don't make me order you back…"

"Sir." Janet warned. "Either you let me handle this my way, or I will do it as a civilian."

"Are you giving me an ultimatum?" O'Neill was shocked. The stress of the situation was eating away at the normally logical and very professional doctor. He like Hammond before him had butted heads with her concerning medical concerns over military judgment, but he had never known her to behave like this. No…he took that back there was one time very vividly burning in his mind when Janet had reacted violently. Once again it had dealt with a dire situation with her family. Cassie at sixteen had been dieing and there was nothing she could do. Janet had attacked Nurrti forcing her to heal her daughter, and then of course Janet had challenged Anise because of the armbands…

Her Napoleonanic temper was not without course. Jack had come to respect her, and besides a CMO with large needles…and in charge of biannual physicals sometimes deferring to her was the most wise command decision. Janet took a deep breath her only concern was getting to Sam and Cassie and there was only one way. Her eyes rested on the magnificent figure of the winged queen.

"Let us talk plainly, then." The queen said softly. Her sliver orbs rested upon O'Neill who was trailing them like a puppy. "But I speak only to the Liege-mate, Healer Janet. You will depart O'Neill."

"Wait a minute." Jack began to protest. "I am not leaving her…she is my CMO…"

"You forget to whom you speak." The order was clear and precise. Turel and Zaira stepped forth emphasizing the queen's will, their hands going to their waists for their sun-swords, their wings stretched slightly allowing their bodies to seem taller if at all possible.

'Damn these guys could give Jaffa lessons in duty.'

The Malakim guards had not been given orders but they seem to know exactly what it was their queen wanted. "You do not have a claim on Liege-Healer Janet, that claim belongs to Liege Commander Samantha." The queen said her tone as cold as the frozen north. Once more the Guards stepped forward each on either side of the diminutive human their weapons, drawn though not yet ignited. They were to defend the virtue of Janet.

"Oh!" Jack blinked suddenly understanding the near hostile reaction to the winged woman. She had to have thought his wording that Janet was his CMO, meant something other. "No I meant…she is the um…Liege…Healer of my Command…Chief…Medical Officer…her safety is very important." The general said.

"She can have no better protectors then my own knights." The queen was confident. "On to death, or the pain of an enemy's hand they will protector her, until the end of her natural days, if I command it so."

"That's not necessary." Janet said stopping the argument before it could grow. "I don't need body guards."

"Perhaps…however, Turel, Zaira…heed."

Both knights bowed their head, their wings folded tight against their bodies in submission, and saluted by pressing their hands over their hearts.

"A vow upon your crown our Majesty, upon our blood our swords, no harm will befall Liege-Healer Janet; life and soul-mate to Liege-Commander Samantha." Both said in unison.

Janet cut a glance to Jack; neither human knew where to proceed from here. Obviously they had interrupted O'Neill's words to be direct challenge to the queen. Instead of offering further protest, O'Neill thought it wise simply to remain quite on the entire subject.

"Queen Novalis…Chimera it is in the borders of your empire. The Goa'uld have landed there…can you just stand there and do nothing?" Janet seethed, challenged the queen. The guards did nothing to stop her. Their orders were to protect the Healer, their duty to the queen as lessened. If their queen made a physical move toward the Healer, they would intervene, even if it meant to stand against their ruler. Thus was the oath they swore

Novalis's mind traced the fragments of the old tale: When the souls of the oppressed fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand? When the whirlwind of fury comes from the throne of Virtue, when frowns of it countenance drive the nations together, who can stand? When sin claps his broad wings over the battle, and sails rejoicing in the flood of death; when souls are torn to everlasting fire, and fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain, o who can stand? O who hath caused this? O who can answer to the throne of Virtue? The Lieges and Nobles of the land have done it! Hear if not, Heaven, they Ministers have done it!

Who can stand? Was this it then? The souls of the oppressed: The innocents of the galaxy under the carnage hand vengeful hand of the Goa'uld empire. The souls of the oppressed fight in troubled air: Was this the trapped souls on Chimera? When the whirlwind of fury comes from the throne of Virtue, when frowns of its countenance drive the nations together: this was then the alliance between the races? Asgard, Human, Nox, Malakim, Tok'ra, Tollen… When sin claps his broad wings over the battle and sails rejoicing in the flood of death: Achelous, the Remnants? When the souls are torn to everlasting fire, and fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain: the Goa'uld?

By not answering the call, would the Virtues in the end cause this, as had the first war of the Heavens? The World Symphony had been torn asunder before, now it appeared that it would happen again. And if it did, who indeed could stand? The human born Liege-lord the commander of mortal warriors of the Stargate, she would stand.

Janet was stunned to see all color vanish from the angelic face of the Queen of Malakim. Dread filled the silver eyes. If something terrified such a formidable figure, what had caused it?

"Guards!" Novalis's voice echoed off the crystal walls reverberating into every crevice of the temple.

Jack's mind fluttered, he knew the doctor was pressing it. The Malakim were fickle and more arrogant then even the Tok'ra and Goa'uld and more easily offended then the Nox. They adhered to the idea of Honor with a more ridged code then the Jaffa, and he knew Janet had crossed a line.

"Doctor Fraiser!" His voice took a note of authority. "That's enough…"

"No sir." Janet spun around. "It isn't enough, in fact not by half. They asked us to help them set up a military station on Chimera to station a front line offensive against the Goa'uld. Well guess what the System Lords picked up the gauntlet. I want to know what she intends to do about it."

"Colonel Fraiser, you are dangerously close to insubordination." Jack warned. "You are not acting in a professional manor, don't make me relieve you of duty."

"Put me on report if you want. But I'm not going to back down." Janet hissed. Dark eyes flashed back to the queen. "Call your guards, but if you don't send help…you're a cowered."

"Fraiser!" Jack barked stepping closer to the small enraged doctor.

Janet's guards moved forward blocking O'Neil from closing his steps onto the doctor, their blades this time became ignited.

"You are passionate." The queen said softly, her voice a gentle whisper of a flutes melodic tone once more.

At that moment a score of winged beings flew in from the south balcony. Their weapons drawn, their hearts steadfast, unquestionably they positioned themselves between their queen the humans, Turel, and Zaira. They waited only the word of their queen to act.

"There is a majesty to your heart little-one. You defy your commander and face me with a challenge to my honor. Indeed Chimera is besieged by a number of thousand fold of warriors and only a resilient number of hearty souls stand against this hoard of vileness. You wish to know what I intend to do about this." Her wings fluttered causing the ruffled feathers to fall back into aliment. Very well at least you are honest about your heart. You do not simper and cater to me as bureaucrats." With her last word, her silver eyes rested upon the general.

"I am not a bureaucrat." General Jack O'Neill muttered under his breath, taking the statement as pure insult. "I hate bureaucrats…"

"If the Goa'uld have made an alliance with the Remnants and rogue draconian nations, then all we have fought for will be lost. For eons our people stood in battle against the Goa'uld, it was they who caused the rift in our own people. They were the spark to the fire, we are separated and battled in an apocalyptic war. A great war raged in the heavens. We nearly fell to oblivion. If they number a thousand, we shall number ten thousand."

To saw the humans were astonished by this sunned proclamation was an understatement.

"Hebe, Borease, Tailtie, fly and messenger word to the Northern Army, they are to be called to assemble. The fleet will move out in three days."

Immediately the three named warriors dropped to one knee saluting their mistress. "We heed, and we obey." As a single unit they moved with such precision that any parade military commander would have been exceptionally impressed.

In fact Jack was awed with the exact drilled movements of the warriors. A loud thumb sounded as the winged warriors came about face, marched with timed precision this time to the northern balcony. More daunting was their aeronautical flight patterns. Though impossible to stay too close together fir the wingspans topping twelve feet, they all required a great deal of room to maneuver. Still they fell into a formal pattern with Hebe in the lead.

"Turel, Zaira, guide the Pristine Healer to the Liege-Commander's chambers. Insure all her needs are attended to. I wish to speak with General O'Neill."

Both knights bowed their heads, complying with their queen's orders without question. Janet for the moment could do nothing more then to defer to the request and allow herself to be guided back to the suite Sam had been given the last time they were here.

Silver eyes drifted back to O'Neill. "I realize General that she is own of your own. But she is also the bonded soulmate of my Liege commander, who yes is also a warrior under your command. Liege-Commander Samantha never renounced her loyalty to you or the your world. Had she we would not have honored her as we do. "

"Carter is loyal to the SGC." O'Neill said softly. "I never once questioned that. I also know because she saved your tail feathers that she was given a…I guess knighthood by you guys. Hell the woman deserves it. But …I got a feeling this is going to be about Doctor Fraiser's actions."

"Do you intend to punisher her?"

"I should." O'Neill said. "You have a valid reason why I shouldn't put this on her record?"

"I told her to speak plainly…by your own definition of diplomatic rules of engagement she complied with my requests."

It was right there in his lap, personally Jack couldn't blame Janet's unprofessional outburst. In military turns, she had defied a direct order and was completely insubordinate. Not that she regularly made a habit out of defying the chain of command; normally the doc was cool and collective, albeit passionate about the protocols of medicine. However…there was another set of protocols to consider. But with what the queen just said, Janet Fraiser had indeed complied with the sovereign's request to speak plainly. In fact this let the frazzled doctor off the hook. Not for a moment did Jack O'Neill believe that his CMO could not function properly because her wife was probably dying in a Goa'uld ship. Thus he had no reason to fill a report against her.

"Since you said she complied with your request to speak plainly then…as a representative of Earth, she has diplomatic immunity."

"So there is wisdom after all in the Command of SGC." Novalis commented dryly.

Jack flashed her a cystic smile. 'God arrogant aliens can really piss a guy off.'

Somewhere in the peripheral senses of hearing Janet noted a change in the harmony of the constant sinning of the temple. She didn't know why, but the diminutive doctor thought of words her own beloved had told her once.

"Janet, to me…singing is like…making love. I only want to share it with someone I do love. I am not one for public performance."

"Babe, we're not talking you should cut a record, though with that voice you could…but what about karaoke at Graystokes?" Janet pressed. She had fallen in love yet again with her statuesque blonde lover. Sam was constantly surprising her. This time as they had nuzzled together looking up at the stars, Sam so loved, she had started to softly sing to her.

"Janet, the last time I sang in public…" The blonde took in a very heavy sigh; she rested her check upon the top of the dark burnet hair. In a whisper so soft, Janet had to strain to hear, she heard Sam utter, "was at my Mama's funeral."

Janet moved in the arms that had instinctively gone tighter around her, so now she could face her lover. She saw deeply buried pain behind the blue eyes, despite the bravado of the smile. Janet's hands slid up cupping the sides of the aquiline face into her hands. Her thumbs stroking the sides of her face with ginger, tender care. Showering Sam with whispered deep love. "I didn't mean to open up old wounds." The smaller woman attempted a smile. "As a doctor you'd think I now better."

"Not old wounds Jan, just old memories. Sometimes there is pain." She looked down trying to categorize the flood of emotions she was feeling. "And yes it hurt. It hurts but it is such a sweet pain. She would have adored you, you know." Sam leaned in placing a kiss upon her beloved's forehead. "When I was…a few days before she died, I talked to her about what she thought would be…" Sam sucked in a breath of warm July air once again trying to assimilate all that she was feeling into one concise thought before she spoke. "I asked what kind of person she would approve of that I would be with. She told me a heart that complemented my own, not competed. She said a spirit was passionate as my own, who loved deeply, without question and could be loved without question. She said it is a little hard to beloved so deeply, because the wrong person is always looking for motive as to why the love is so deep. Mama said that if the person you love with every fiber of your being doesn't question it, the motive of it, then they are a soul worthy of love.

"She also said that interests play a very important role, that the soul I love should have some of the same interests and some that differ but have the same affection for their interests as I do mine. I always loved the stars…always…she said the person I should be with should understand that, as much that I should understand what ever interest they love."

Sam placed yet another kiss upon Janet. "She said that my love interest must be a fiery-tempered sort to at least contend with my own. That two people should be complete equals. She really didn't have that with Dad. He was always domineering, and she fought him on every level with that. " Sam smiled. "I was pretty proud of her that she didn't submit to him. He called her Lilith a few times." The blonde chuckled when I was really little I thought he loved another woman and got her confused with my Mamma, but she told me who Lilith was…in some story apparently she was the first wife of Adam and wouldn't submit to him…" she chuckled. "She wasn't a Bottom…"

"Of course now Lilith is a saint in lesbian circles." Janet smirked. "So you're mom was like Lilith huh?"

Sam shivered. "Look I really don't want to try to imagine my what parents sex life…was. What is it kids say…eww? Parents and sex don't mesh, when you're a kid."

"Apparently as an adult kid."

"Okay think of your parents and sex."

"Eww." Janet smiled. "I just went to a very scary visual place. Don't want to go there again."

"My point exactly." Sam's face was alight with the heart-stopping butterfly churning smile. "I think though Mamma was describing you, Janet." She kissed tenderly the warm welcoming lips. "When I asked what sort of person I should be with…" she kissed Janet once more… "She never once said 'him' it was always an asexual pronoun." Sam placed another kiss upon wanton lips. "I think she already knew of my preferences." This time the kiss deepened. Tongues dueled for one another for supremacy, mouths hungry and searching wanting more.

Janet moved so slightly that Sam's mouth continued their assault down the alabaster column of neck down to the pulse point. Barely managing to find her voice, Janet shaking asked. "If you wont sing in public...sing now for me, my golden haired goddess."

"You have only to ask." Sam said pulling away so slightly, the melody she started was one of Janet's favored artists. True, her Southern lover had a tendency for country, which Sam hated, but endured for her lover as much as Janet tolerated some of Sam's music, they both agreed upon Loreena Mckennitt. It was this muse, which Sam chose to serenade her beloved.

Upon a darkened night
The flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
While all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without guide or light
Than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire 'twas led me on
And shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
It was a place where no one else could come

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

Within my pounding heart
Which kept itself entirely for her
She fell into her sleep
Beneath the cedars all my love I gave

From o'er the forests walls
The wind would brush her hair against her brow
And with its smoothest hand
Caressed my ever sense it would allow

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

I lost myself to her
And laid my face upon my lover's breast and care and grief grew dim
As in the morning's mist became the light

There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

Janet pulled back from the memory, shutting down any thoughts that she would never hear that sweet tender voice again. A voice that Sam finally allowed to be heard by the crowd at their favored watering hole was still only for her. Sam's blue eyes boar in to Janet's own dark orbs with the purity of her love, that any who looked upon it, thought Sam made love to Janet with only her eyes. It wasn't lust. But love. As if love wasn't an action but a deep feeling. Sam made love to Janet even as they sat in silence watching a movie, sat in their respective labs at SGC working on some new research that came from the Gate. Sam made love to her as they cuddled watching the stars, as they walked hand and hand in the park at night, or in the picnicked in the Garden of the Gods. Making love was defiantly not simply an action; it was something nether had felt before with any former lover. This had been new to both of them. It had started the first time they proclaimed their hearts to one anther on a fateful raining night a little more then twelve years ago.

It was dark out by the time Janet was led to her quarters…to the magnificent suite Sam had been given nearly a year ago. It made the presidential suite in the Ritz look like some roach-motel hovel in comparison. But the beauty remained unseen by its inhabitant. For her fixation was upon the stars, trying to find something…anything in the heavens that looked like Jan-an-I, the special constellation that Sam had named for them.

Her eyes glazed over; and her mind opened as the harmony of the Choir penetrated her consciences. What had felt, before, like spinning seemed now to Janet Fraiser a continual inner vibration. It became different motions, intensifying every emotion into lunching, uncontrolled pendulum sings. The one constant was that it was never still. Sometimes it felt like terror, or rage. At times it was a shivering incredulous hope.

She sees a gathering in the distance and approaches it, curious. A group of people are clustered together– men, women. There is a bonfire, in a central pit, surrounded by wall of black cinder blocks. It isn't until she draws near that she notices something odd about the people. Their clothes, they are wearing red robes.

Then her eyes fix upon a single man. He stands apart from the cowed. He stands to one side, but that is not what stands him apart from the others. His skin jaundice, glowing Goa'uld eyes, his hair is worn long, white. His mustaches drooping on either side of his thin pasty lips like the tusks of a walrus. His white robe covered a skeletal frame. His bony arms raised in the air, high in praise.

And, then just as if it were the very first time, Janet's dream eye turns to fallow the dead gaze from the 'Summoner'. She sees Sam a prisoner. The fire. The pile of wood that fuels the flames is high and broad, an enormous bonfire. The flames rear up of their heads of the crowd. The she sees something in the flames, some matter, tall and dark, and it takes her a moment to categorize in her mind because, truly she has never seen anything like this before and the image will not register.

It's a six-eyed mammoth Goa'uld parasite. They weren't burning it. They were summoning it! Calling in from the bowls of Hell!

It struck her then: shock, horror, and guilt. She feels terrible guilt, although she does not know why. She's afraid, too, as she looks at it. She feels helpless and profane— it knows her deepest sin.

The serpentine head is thrown back in the flames; Sam utters a mute scream of agony to the sky. The serpent lowers its head and looks threw her. Its body unmarred by the flames. It laughs at her, white fangs gleam. It comes slithering towards her. Its black forked tongue flickers out laps at her face. She moans with repletion. Janet doesn't want to watch, as it is Sam's body in the flames. Her skin is melting. The Goa'uld serpent screams at her in fury. The flame roars, higher in the sky, the fire spreads out all around her, consuming a building of steel and glass. The flames lick out grasping at her. Sam turns runs, but it she isn't fast enough to out run the inferno. She flees, a pool. The water is her sanctuary. She drives. Its not water. Blood. Blood. The serpent is upon her, ravenous. 'The Blood! Blood!'

So locked into vision Janet gave a great start when she saw a dark shadow approach her from above. The mortal woman simply was not used to winged beings landing upon a balcony.

When she registered who it was, Janet found herself almost compelled to lower her eyes. The presence of the Queen was overwhelming. No one the doctor had ever encountered had this kind of affect upon her; no one held this kind of majesty. Unlike the Goa'uld who used fear to dominate their minions, The Malakim was naturally commanding, a grandeur that is overcomes all before her with awe.

"Tell me…what is it that you saw." Her voice was soft and gentle, quietly pulling Janet into her, as surly as the doctor pulled Rebecca into her embrace after an equally disturbing nightmare.

"Death." Janet answered. "I saw death…Sam's…" Dark mahogany orbs closed tight. "She's in pain…so much pain…" Janet pulled back from the angelic woman who had embraced her.

"You are bonded." It was a statement. "Your race is not often empathic."

Janet tried to smile. "The Nox…Nafrayu…he awakened the certain subroutines in…" Janet paused. "He changed us…. we are only empathic to each other, we know what the other is feeling, where the other is…well actually to a certain extent our Bond covers Rebecca our birth-daughter. Thanks to the Nox we have her too. They were able to gen-splice my DNA with Sam's…I carried her." Janet knew she was rambling, and was more then grateful that Novalis simply let her.

"I miss her when she is offworld…hell I miss her when we are not together and she is planet side and we have different days off...but…this is different…I don't want to lose her…but I feel…her slipping from me…"

"Love is something that cannot be forgotten. It has a life of its own. Once you have it, it lives in you. To live by it requires all your strength. Worry not for your beloved, she has this strength as do you."

Curtly polite, Janet responded, "Why is it I feel helpless to protect her? She is in so much pain...I can feel it. And there is not a damn thing right now I can do about it."

For a moment, they regarded each other sadly in their destined rolls of seeker and guide, helpless not to enact them. Janet couldn't not ask; once asked, Novalis couldn't refuse to conduct her into her shoes realm of forces, voices, and spirits. Janet's need had somehow summoned her for in Novalis's world, there were no coincidences.

"Janet…your wife is reaching out to you in a desperate grabbling for a measure of hope. Yes she is in grave pain, this is distinctly possible, so in that knowledge, you must burry your own fears, and pains to be there for her. As you always have been. And always shall be."

Part 9

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