Nephalim's Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Ten

Frozen Fire

The followers of the Nephalim cried out in their agony.

A disquieting stillness lay where the heart of the Nephalim rested. The ominous truth of the climatic doom that would bring the Empire into ruin. In their arrogance the Malakim had lifted up she who was mortal born yet carried the Song of Malakim Archangel. And in so doing they had set a series of events into motion. A single dislodged pebble can bring the most terrible of avalanches.

Frozen storms, tempestuous hurricanes were not the only malady the earth of Grigori suffered. On the far side of Grigori on the continent Katsau-Kogoro where dwelled seven dozen Wings, their families and traders, and thousands of mortal kind, a great volcano Koytotakata rumbled.

Great rents opened its side. All about it the earth gapped, and from deep rifts and pits smoke and fumes leaped up. The mountain convulsed again. Steam belched from Koytotakata and the side of the cone was riven open, a huge fiery vomit of molten rock rolled in a slow thunderous cascade down the eastern slope. Lava rivers burned, scorching, raping the land. The people in desperate plight scream out their terror.

Wings of Malakim take to the sky, their Songs of Ecomancy nearly deafening. Their wings torn asunder by pumice rain in the fall out of the volcano's eruption.

The weight of the pumice pebbles though light, but not even Malakim construction could hold the tonnage of volcanic rock. Small boulders hurling to the earth at a velocity of hundred and twenty-five miles would crush the backs of fliers smashing them to the ground where the pumice fallout pummeled their shattered bodies. Ash, so thick in the air it clotted lungs until breathing became torture. The mortals could not withstand much more, already there had been many casualties.

Nine hours after the eruption and things grew worse. Chambers of molten magma forced heavier volcanic rocks into the air, presenting a more terrible threat. Pumice and ash suck moisture from the air parching the mouth and lungs. Ash so thick it blinds any who venture to seek safety.

Pyroclastic surges, waves of superheated ash and magma cascaded, incarcerated everything and anything in its path. Five times hotter than boiling water it would spare no one not even the immortal. The searing heat was so intense death was instantaneous. Victims did not merely burn they turned to charcoal. People who managed to escape the cascade would perish in thermal shock; bones, teeth shattered, brains and blood boiled.

For seventeen hours the volcano had been erupting. The worst was yet to come. The small continent was utterly in danger. None would be safe, now. A massive earthquake creates another change. The heart of the volcano collapsed, thrusting out yet another pyroclastic surge. Toxic gases: hydrogen chloride a lethal acidic cocktail burns the eyes, rips into the air stealing oxygen from already deprived lungs.

Three meters of pyroclastic materials covered the smaller cities, only the eyries remained uncovered, though far from safe. Now traveling well over sixty miles an hour, nothing remains safe from the cascade of super-heated rock, lava and ash.

It was not an easy death. The gases in the air make one gasp trying to drink in oxygen, instead the breath draws in ash. With the first breath the ash makes the lungs fill with fluid, it would be like breathing fire. The second breath causes the fluid to mix with ash making a cement, the third breath hardens the cement and the victim suffocates. Volcanic ash hardens over fallen bodies, encasing them in tombs.

How horrid to know you can not out run death. The Malakim would not abandon their mortal charges. Hundreds of years later, minds would shrink from the memory. The sky became so dark, so black like as the only lamp put out in a closed room. The shouts of warriors, the wailing of children, mate calling out to mate, trying to recognize one another from their voices. People bewailed their own fate. Some sang for their deaths in light of the terror of their own torment to come.

Quivering bursts of fire, covering the sea, the land and so dense was the black cloud covering the earth like a flood, it was a poor consolation the whole world was dying. The great thick ruin of clouds blackened the skies thousands of miles away.

The plinian devastation was too great for the Songs of Ecomancers to waylay, megatons of ashen debris became the new land. Their final moments immortalized, not in Song but in casts of ash. And the followers of the Nephalim cry out in their agony.

Fallout from the volcano would reach as far distant as frozen Kalevala the Capital city of the plant and home of the Nephalim and her family.

The Virtues heard that cry. The Grigori Stargate Command ordered ships into space, into a geosynchronous orbit above Katsau-Kogoro to transport all survivors aboard and whisk them to the relative safety of the now glacial city of Kalevala.

A look of surprise washed over the former Malakim warrior's face as her eyes fell upon the astonishing and terrible form on the bed in Anise's laboratory. A chimera creation. Malakim, human, and symbiote composed of this thing. Wheat sun-touched blonde hair, wings of the same blonde with the flight feathers of purple. Its skin the color of milk so pale it was almost luminescent.

The chimera creature was an abomination. There was no doubt in Arian's mind that the amalgamation would have vanquished by Kurak Archangel of the Malakite. It is well known throughout the Empire the Malakite take Dissonance very seriously. A single note will make them a pariah amongst their own Choir, worse still when an Archangel carries such Discord. For a Malakite it is often grounds for Fading if not death. What then would the Choirs think of this creature? A cornucopia of iniquities had generated this hodgepodge conglomeration of life. Such as it was. Arian shivered to the marrow of her soul as she felt a certain unnamed kinship with this being.

The creature was locked into what could only be called hibernation. She was out of the maturation chamber and stasis, now slumbering the deep sleep of healing. What motivated Anise to create this thing, not even Xad knew, though he could speculate. Anise was always after a superior host. In a way that made her more akin to the renegade Nirrti than Tok'ra that she was. She was obsessed with the Atoniek armbands and their gifts as she was with Ascension, the Ancients and now apparently the Malakim and the World Symphony.

"What are you doing in here? These are my private chambers." Anise growled seeing the intruder in the center of her quarters.

"What have you done?" Arian ignored the question. "Have you taken leave of your senses? This is an abomination."

"This is our salvation." the scientist pushed past the former Malakim warrior. "I do not need to explain to you, Xad. You above all understand the necessity of unorthodox measures to ensure our survival. We can not hope to defeat the Kull Warriors operating as we are now. You know it."

"It won't survive. Even now it weakens, its Song cannot hold. This will stop Anubis warriors? It can not even survive its own creation." Arian remarked. "Its fate is fixed."

"Fate can be changed if one's courage holds." Arian retorted. "I will find a way to make it live. For it to exist. I found a way to create it. I will change its fate."

"Garshaw will not approve the genesis of this chimaera." Xad was now speaking. "Selmac surely won't."

"I don't need their approval nor do I seek it." Anise spat. "I will not justify what is necessary for the Tok'ra survival. At long last we have a way to rid this universe of the Goa'uld. We have a way to continue when there are no willing hosts to be had. We can now make them. We now have empty vessels to carry us."

Arian looked at the child-like face of the golden haired winged creature. "She bares a striking resemblance to the Nephalim."

"Raw materials, Xad. She is created by raw materials, DNA harvested from several sources, including Samantha Carter, you Arian, myself and a few others."

"Raw materials......" Xad repeated. "Selmac is protective of Samantha. As am I. Don't be careless with your science Anise. Or your host will live without her symbiote. And you will find yourself in the same position as your creature. Fading into death."

"Your words are feeble, Arian. Your fear is expensive. You will do well to police your tongue and keep your voice still. I do not seek to undermine the Council, I mean to uplift it. I mean to uplift us all." With an almost maternal touch Anise stroked the face of her inspiring creation.... her....'child'.

Arian looked down once more at the soft features of the near featherling. "She will gain more attention than you are counting on, Anise. Your threats pass over me, but the repercussions of this," the former warrior pointed to the chimera, "will not pass over. Even now her Song trembles the vibrations of the World Symphony. You play with powers of Song you can not possibly understand. Even if you are able to maneuver yourself from grievance from the Council and Selmac, you will not outmaneuver the Malakim." Arian's back muscles flexed automatically but there were no wings now to shift in her display of emotion. "The Malakim will know of her. If they do not already. If I be you I would seek sanctuary far from their reach because if a Malakite seeks you, there is no running. They do not suffer Discord well. And this creature is ripe with it."

The Malakite also called the Virtues suffer not Discord to thrive, they cut it down where it dwells. The same is said for an Archangel for they are the superiors of their Choir. What of a Nephalim?

Frozen Wasteland.

Of all the memories Sam had felt filtering through her mind, Antarctic was the first. As she had before when she and then Colonel O'Neill fell into a solitudes of ice because of a 'gate accident Sam gazed stymied at the blanket of ice that now infiltrated her home. The walls, furnishings, ceiling, practically everything in the den was now white save for a small semi-circle that had been secured because of the quick decisive actions of the blue wing.

Malachi, Razeal, Boudicca and Rambim, Cassandra still held onto the expressions of disbelief. Their minds refusing to wrap around the truth now revealed to them. All the harrowing of the weather was the fault of the Nephalim and her consort, the Nephalim of the Ancients.

And all of them Blue Wing, daughter and wife looked at Sam "Fix it" Carter with the same quasi-religious belief that Sam could make things right once more. Blow up a sun, turn a sky red and return it to normal were every day activities for this blonde genius. Fix an apocalyptic climatic upheaval was par of the course. And if it was decreed impossible, it would take a half an hour longer.

After all she had designed and built a particle accelerator, naquada reactors, the UAV and Mini UAV, diverted asteroids through planets, found a way to travel through time, designed the X-303 reconstructed hyper-drives, wrote life saving computer programs, and made the Stargate work and wrote and installed the SGC supercomputer that substituted for a DHD and designed the safety protocols for the gate. And Sam made a hell of a souffle.

Those that knew her had an obstinate refusal to disbelieve that there wasn't anything she couldn't do given time. Hell show her where to stand and she might even find a way reverse the orbit of a planet around its own sun.

And she at times hated it. Admit it. She didn't like all the attention she got from it even if it was fun to build, make and do all the things she had done.

"Oh Sam..."

"This is a thing unheard of." Boudicca uttered astounded.

"How can we be responsible? It isn't logical. Our personal arguments cannot affect the weather any more than a butterfly beating its wings in Katsau-Kogorcan causes a hurricane off the coast of Kalevala." Sam argued. She didn't prescribe to chaos theory. A series of unrelated events that conjoined together to a final circumstance and happening. And even if the butterfly's wing flapping caused a breeze that caused a hurricane. Emotions could not affect climate.

Angry continence filled Sam's eyes for the illogic of it. Yes she could not dismiss the evidence she had seen the more vicious the argument between herself and her wife had escalated the more frozen the world around them became. Literally.

"There is more to this." Malachi stated. "I can feel it in the wind. Malakim and Ancient Nephalim are not in totality taxed with guilt of the Discord. It is the resonance of the Malakite to feel it. Above all other Choirs it is the Virtues that feel the burning cold sting of Dissonance. It is why we hunt it so. And though it is abound in this dwelling within the Songs of the Nephalim it is not theirs to carry alone."

"How can . I don't get it my mothers are pissed at each other and the whole Empire goes to hell in a hand basket?" Cassandra among the others was utterly confused how her parents bickering over the Ancient gene gestalt was the cause of so much hurt and destruction.

"Malachi you said we are not alone in the blame..... who else, you must feel where it is strongest," Janet demanded.

"There is Discord even now in the Conclave of the Archangels, as with the Queen. More I can not tell you, for I carry not the knowledge." The massively built Malachi answered. For all the Great Song he wished he did know. And he was terrified what this revelation betwixt the Nephalims would wrought. He was duty bound on an oath of his own Song to protect and serve the Nephalim. And yet he was a Malakite and his resonance begged him to vanquish the Dark where it bred.

Typically he would go to his Archangel when charged with such a dilemma, the Malakite knew now would not be the time for an impartial answer. Woe to the Nephalims for they know not what they do.

Kurak Archangel of the Malakite, had a mission before her in accordance to her own Resonance the role given to her by the Great Song. She now faced the Nephalim because of it.

The Blue Wing were not at all surprised by the appearance of Kurak the great Archangel of the Malakite. Only her blade, her Song would charge the Nephalim. For none other would dare. Rigid code of honor, oaths sworn and adhered to without fail.

"Come, Archangel of the Grigori. Nephalim of the Empire. It is known in the World Symphony the cause of this apocalypse. The Great Song sings to all who have ears to hear it." Kurak demanded, her voice never rising above a low rumble, like the thrumming of a growl deep in the throat of a lioness.

"I am the one, it's my fault. I can't accept what happened to me. I saw everyone else change....Sam especially. I saw her transformed a dozen times over. General O'Neill... changed by the Ancients twice. Even he possesses the Ancient gene....his whole body was being re-written.... and he accepted it, better than I have." Janet seemed to be talking more to herself than to any other ear in the room.

Yet when Kurak took a step forward, Janet snatched from Sam's belt her sun sword, ignited it, her gaze unwavering as she pinned the Archangel with an icy stare. "You place one hand on her and you'd find it lying beside your head! Oath or no oath." Janet spat, thrusting her wife behind her with her free hand as if to shield the taller woman.

Kurak was not moved, regardless of the humming energy blade poised in her way. "I will give you discharge of immediate judgment, in which you have three days which to solve this dilemma or to the Fading the three of you will go. Novalis uncreated a great evil, she did not merely kill it was uncreated all the evil he made was left behind."

"It created a paradox!" Sam reasoned.

"Yes." Kurak gravely answered, "Now something as equally dark must take its place."

"Baal is pretty damn close." Cassie remarked, having had her fair share of run ins with the System Lord."

"No. Dark though he is he carries not the same powers, someone as strong in the World Symphony must take Anubis' place. For he was ripped from Creation. Because of this, where there is great good, great light there must be great dark, evil to balance the World Symphony. You are the Scion of Balance surely you feel this." Kurak's eyes fell upon the Nephalim.

"Yes I do." Sam nodded solemnly. Even Janet felt her head nodding as if on its own accord. Had Anubis merely been killed in battle things would have been different, indeed, Baal would have taken the void left by Anubis. But as things are, this could not come to pass. The void was a cavity in the World Symphony that needed filling for proper dispatching.

The three words Sam had spoken became as an admission to the Malakite. This time when she spoke her words were targeted for Janet, who still stood before the Archangel of the Virtues "You have always have had untapped power within you Samantha. Now that you have accessed it you've changed. Use this power to change your Discord. Three days. No more, no less. The Empire is dying Scion of Healing: Nephalim of the Ancients. Heal it. Or Fade for it." Words given as any military officer's orders and there would be no reprieve, no recant, no acquittal. .

"Fuck you!" Cassie blurted out pushing past Boudicca and Razeal. "My mothers helped save the life of your queen, defeat Usiel, Morpheus and that speckled snake creature and you fucking threaten their lives! Well FUCK YOU, you feathered bitch."

"I do not do this in malice, Cassandra but for the Resonance I am bound to follow. Balance must be restored. That is all that is of concern. A Malakite is bound to their Resonance. Three days to restore the equilibrium of this Discord between the Nephalim. Whatever the measures you two must make you will do." Kurak gave no apology for her words. Her luminescent eyes fell upon Janet. "It is to you this falls, Healer. Your Song is a dissonance to you, your dissonance is discord to your wife. It is known you must act in accordance to your nature or risk disturbing the delicate harmony between your resonance and the rest of existence. This lost of celestial balance is dissonance. The more dissonance the more difficult to touch the resonance within you, the farther you move from the clarity of extraordinary perception." the Malakite Archangel explained to Cassandra as if she were a child.

Accusatory eyes fell upon Janet. "You took an oath, Janet of the Ancients. Seneschal you protect, you heal and you betray them. They cry out for healing and you turn your Resonance, your Song from them. Find a way to heal the rift, or the Nephalim of the Empire will be banished to the Fading to restore the Balance of the World Symphony."

"Wait!" Sam said. "If I go with you, you let my family go free?"

"To restore the Balance of the World Symphony, the Fading of the Nephalim is required. Or the genesis of something equally as significant." Kurak said. "Three days." Wings folded lightly about her, "That is all the reprieve you will receive. Three days."

"Mom!" Cassie grasped her mother's arm in a vicegrip born of fear, desperation the frustration of not knowing what to do. Ever since she came to earth Janet was the cradle of security and all that was safe. Sam was the warrior, and yes forever Cassandra's hero and idol. Janet made things better and chased away the night terrors. "Mom you won't let them hurt Sam." the girl was pleading.

The mother stroked her daughter's cheek as she had done when Cassie was so very little. "No I won't. That I promise you."

That was good enough for the girl. She knew she could always rely on Mom's promises. Cassandra looked back to Sam and saw a disturbing _expression of vacancy reflected in blue eyes.

"Come Cassandra." Boudicca pulled at her friend knowing she would receive some resistance. "Let them converse unimpeded by our presence."

"What?" Cassie was shocked that the angelic could even propose such a suggestion. "We found out my Ma has three days or that big windbag will....."

"That feathered windbag is my Archangel." Malachi said in defense. "And though my loyalty to The Nephalim will never waver, I can not allow you to disparage her. She does this not out of Malice. Indeed she wishes she need not do so at all. But so strong is her bond to the Great Song, to her Resonance, her oath to vanquish Discord, she has no recourse but to follow that which is her Calling. A Malakite can not suffer Dissonance to exist."

Cassandra turned on her Wingmate. "Oh wait one god damn minute fly-boy you would turn on Sam?"

"I cannot." Malachi said. "I would create my own Discord within me if I did, for my oath to the Nephalim. Nor can I stand against my Archangel for my Resonance to the Great Song, it would go against my Song."

"So you will stand blithely by and witness as the Malakite Archangel strikes down our Nephalim?" Razeal roared. "WE ALL TOOK AN OATH TO BECOME GRIGORI. The Nephalim is your Archangel now."

Boudicca ignored the arguments between her wingmates, it seemed the plague of argument had spread now to the entire Blue Wing. The lead flier had eyes only for her beloved Nephalim and the Liege Healer. In their eyes burned frozen fire. "Blue Wing, hear me!" She ordered. "We are away now."

That snapped the others including Cassandra from their heated word flinging. "We heed and obey." they all chimed. Though they would not travel far. They got as far as the large sliding double doors of the den and lingered there, their words still hurling about carelessly.

Following with wary tact, Sam formulated, "Our arguments added to the climate disturbances. I still don't buy that, but then the whole connection to the World Symphony and the Great Song is still just out of my reach. Your rejection of your Ancient Song, added to this whole menagerie."

"You're not worried about Kurak coming back to send you to the Fading?" Janet seemed appalled her wife was not taking her pending death more seriously. A Malakim might survive almost anything save for their hearts being plucked out, but a mortal could not. And Nephalim or no Nephalim, Sam was still very Mortal. Janet winced inwardly she had almost forgotten Sam was now because of her bond to Novalis quasi-immortal and by a smaller degree so to was Janet.

"Of course I am concerned. But I can't let that stop me from figuring this out. Janet, you don't get it, if I can figure out how to make a particle accelerator, naquada reactors, the UAV and Mini UAV. I figured out how to blow up a sun, diverted asteroids through planets, found a way to travel through time, and reconstruct hyper-drives, I can with your help solve this."

Janet had seen the blonde slip into this mode several times before. Sam would become so locked into solving what ever the problem was she would neglect herself. First lack of sleep, then anemia due to lack of food, hyper tension only accelerated by caffeine. Sam had three days in which to solve the climatic holocaust. She didn't think beyond that, to the promised Fading from the Archangel of the Malakite.

"And if we can't solve this." Janet pressed.

"I can't afford to think like that or I already lost." Sam said.

"You? You lost?" Janet seethed. "What and your family just brushes it off? You going to tell me some bullshit like, Cassie's a tough kid, she can get through it? What about Little-Bit? Seven years old and grows up with out Mama. You going to try and tell me she's tough. That like Cassie she can get through it? And what about me?"

Janet would help Sam sort fear from thought from unthinking panic. At least that was what the blonde had believed. Interrupted, losing the elusive sequence she was trying to reconstruct, Sam shook her head, frustrated. "What about you? You seem to phase me out when it suits you, blame me when the mood takes you, and cling to me when you run out of options. What about you Janet? We are as we do Janet. So what about you?"

Wandering back to a frosted frozen chair, droppingly heavily into it, causing it to creak under the frozen strain, then around to lean locked and shuddering on the reading desk. "Sammy, I'm losing my hold. I can feel it."

Coming around the desk, Sam asked very tentatively, "What about you, Janet. Tell me?"

The desk was no barrier, and no support. Janet left it, again circling to the far side of the den. Seemingly of themselves, her hands closed into fists and clenched before her. "You have to ask? Can't you feel? Can't you feel my love for you burning through me?"

"I felt only your coldness." Sam admitted. "I had felt it since we became daughters of the House of Thrones. Since you underwent the dream questing. I have felt only the chill of your distance."

It was terribly important to Sam that they abandon all consoling falsehoods and evasions: that finally between them, there should be only the truth, however devastating.

But Janet declared strongly, "It is true, you felt my distance, it drove our daughter away, and before the unification between us and the House of Thrones I had even dreamt of having another baby. I became terrified of what the future held. So much so I pushed you away, froze you out of my heart. Sam, I never meant for that to happen. For any of THIS to happen."

"Please, Janet you can't believe our bitching at one another is the reason for..."

"You saw the evidence the more heated our words, the more chilled our hearts to the other, the more frozen our world became. Literally the temperature in the room dropped by degrees. Sam these people can affect the climate, the environment we are icons in their mythology. You are their Nephalim. WE caused this holocaust. Now we have to fix it. I won't let you pay for my Discord. I won't! We won't lose the struggle. We'll watch it carefully. Now more than ever before. We'll be aware of everything— our physical...and emotional states." Janet considered a moment, biting her lip, and then reluctantly spoke her thought. "Whatever happens, whatever comes, we will stand together."

It took a very great darkness to render precious the shared vow of loving promises of so small a light. Their immutable love enforced their vows of love and protection. Although fleeting, the certainty in Sam's mind was: 'If I am to be sent to the Fading, I will leave Janet our second-born child.'

"I won't let you Fade Sammy-bear, even if you don't think we caused this climatic upheaval. I won't let her near you and either will Cassandra. All this effort to make a difference to turn back this holocaust hangs in the balance. Sammy.... I love you. I have always and will always love you."

They could not have known as their eyes were locked onto the other, the tide of ice receded back from the floors, ceilings and walls of the den. The ice was melting.

"Restore harmony?" Novalis questioned the painting of her mother, Gabriele. "I summed the Word of the Unmaking, Mother. There is no restoration of harmony from that, save for my own Fading. Mother, I am lost and I don't have a voice to turn to. My wife, my child gone from me. The Nephalim in her own turmoil that clouds her from the bond we share. Mother....I need your counsel."

"Oh child how lost you have become. The Resonance of the World Symphony is Fading from your hearing. It is the unmaking that separates you." Gabriele's soft voice drifted into Novalis' waking mind.

"I came to you for your wisdom, Mother. Not a running commentary of what I already know. To restore the balance of harmony what must I do?"

"You unmade a great evil." Gabriele chose to apparently ignore her daughter's snideness. "Anubis was neither a Diabolical nor Ascended, and yet he was of both, a chimera. You unmade him, you obliterated his Song from all creation for all time. When you unmade him you did not merely kill you, he is forever gone, as if he never was, and yet his evil remains. A paradox. The Great Song abhors a paradox."

"So I must replace that evil?" Novalis was unsure of where her thoughts were taking her.
"Balance must be restored. Dark or Light, Novalis it is of little relevance next to the power of the Song that was snuffed out."

"Power? I have to find something as powerful as a half Ascended Diabolical?" The ancient queen's purple wings fluffed in her confusion. "The Nephalim of the Ancients, has newly awakened to her Song."

"Balance. This Ancient Nephalim is balance to the Malakim Nephalim they are in discordance with themselves they must create their own new genesis, a new Song between them. The unmaking of Anubis must be balanced with the genesis of an equal Song; or this Paradox will spread its infection as disease and more will Fade and perish. More worlds will taste the Sundering. For this is what the Paradox has wrought oh child of mine."

The Malakite also called the Virtues suffer not Discord to thrive, they cut it down where it dwells. The same is said for an Archangel for they are the superiors of their Choir. What of a Queen?

Part 11

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