Nephalim's Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Twenty-Two

Scions' Songs

'Medical Emergency to the Gate-room! Medical Emergency to the Gate-room!'

The hail was so very familiar, in an unfamiliar setting. Danger seemed to cling to the words.

A look was exchanged between the two doctors, they rose as one and with the combined efforts of the medical staff dashed for what ever reason they had been called. No call of off-world activation had been made, no klaxon ringing out only the call of a medical emergency. Not knowing the specifics a crash-cart and two gurneys had also been included with the amenities for what ever might be needed.

It was Janet who reacted first when she saw broken form of Rodney Mackay on the marbled-tiled floor of the Ancient's city. The pool of blood encircled the head of the body like some dark halo. They had called the wrong people, they needed a coroner.

Ronon, Teyla and Shepard who were spent from the stress of trying to secure the situation, the death of their friend and the still vanished angelics that had yet to appear. Boudicca and Malachi both had their sun-swords ignited. The great Kha'antar snarled at Ronon just waiting for the great man to move just so he could justifiably bite him in half.

Elizabeth and Sam were both determined. "Stand down!" both women commanded in a single voice. Scornfully Sheppard moved back, the sun swords were disengaged, and only then did Ronon lowered the muzzle of his gun but his finger still flagged the trigger.

Carson moved past the warriors to the shattered body, a blank look reached Elizabeth not sure what she expected of him. He couldn't raise the dead. Yes the defibrillator could bring a body back, drugs but this…? There was no coming back from this sort of destruction to a human body.

The Scottish physician glanced back to his colleague as if to confirm there was no helping Mackay now, despite the proclamations of what skills the Malakim had given her. Janet wasn't near the body now having left it for her own team of medics, her own prognosis must have been the same to Carson's, and yet she seemed bent on doing more than simply concurring with the fact their patient was dead.

Ronon noticed first the shimmering appearance of the Malakim that had disappeared. All seven of the blue-silver armored warriors had now become unified once more and all of them surrounding their beloved Nephalim.

Carson turned to Elizabeth ignoring all actions of the Malakim and the Flagship-team of Atlantis. Elizabeth was once more talking with Samantha and one of the Malakim chaps now caught between two of the winged females. It was Samantha's voice that caught Carson's true attention.

"You will lend Janet your quintessence to heal MacKay."

"No I will not." Razeal defied.

"I gave you an order!"


"You refuse to comply with a direct order?"

Ronon's finger twitched twice by the trigger of his gun, another Malakim noticed this and his own hand moved to the hilt of a sun sword. "I think it wise you stay your hand warrior, and let this play out." He gave s smile of a man who knew he had all the power.

Ronon ignored the unnecessary threat as he acknowledged the fact he could be bested by the winged male standing next to him. It was perhaps the best course of action to allow the blonde goddess to deal with her own guardians.

"I am Grigori! I will NOT be scourged!" Razeal defied his mistress.

"Hold on no one said anything about being flogged." Sam argued. "I gave you an order to aid Janet in healing Mackay…"

Elizabeth held an expression to the contrary. Right now flogging seemed too good for the rabid Malakim. She was just short of ordering the male's imprisonment herself, but held back waiting to see the Nephalim would do with her own people. If it wasn't good enough then the Atlantian Commander would insist on something of equal measure. Even Boudicca hesitated with the orders given by Samantha.

"He will be Scourged if he does so." Boudicca informed her voice a slight whisper as if she were speaking of things better left secret.

"I don't understand no one ordered him whipped…" Sam started but was interrupted.

"Mortal definitions are not our definitions. Human ways are not our ways." Boudicca said. Her voice remained still as one would whisper at a funeral. "If Razeal complies he will be Scourged for acting against his own Resonance deliberately. He will be plagued by something from the Deep Umbra. Something dark and terrible is sent to punish those with Dissonance so abound they can not shed it easily. So deep is this Discord often even the Fading can not cleanse the Song that carries it. To be plagued with the Scourge is worse than Fading, worse than Final Death. This is the cruellest of all punishments sent by the Great Song."

Sam frowned, her mind still bound in mortal dogma and understanding refused to grasp the superstitions of the Malakim. "Scourged? Why, because he was aiding a doctor in healing a patient? That isn't Discordant. I don't understand."

"That male is no mortal simply to be healed; he is the despised enemy of the Nephalim. You loathe him so deeply, Razeal acted in accordance to your will Nephalim and threw him through a wall as you desired it in your mind. You can not have it both ways, Nephalim. You can not will MacKay to his fate then turn and order us to aid in his recovery because you feel some strange guilt over your orders."

"What?!" She looked unhappily at the Wing, she didn't want to understand what they had told her. But she did. More than she was ever willing to admit to anyone, her eyes shone with discontent and at a loss, like one who has handled a young bird, knowing it can never return to the nest.

"Your will commanded us, Nephalim, do not pretend you did not use your Songs. We heard the commands clearly within our minds. Razeal was first to fulfil your desire. You Sent to us your will. "I wish someone would ram that fucking bastard's face into a wall." These are your thoughts, you also wish him to suck on lemons. You desire him dead. That desire became command, Nephalim. You have the Songs of Presence and Domination how can you not know this?"

Sam teetered on her feet swaying under the weight not from her pregnancy but from the guilt and understanding of what her mind had commanded without her consent. What RepliCarter had told her was never truer now than the day it had been uttered.

'You have untapped greatness inside you, Sam. But you're limited by your own fears. You play by the rules, you do as you're told and you deny yourself your own desires.'

Once more she felt the wave of nausea of enormous guilt fall hard on her shoulders now sending her to the hard marble-tiled floor.







Several hands and arms hoisted Sam upon from the floor to one of the two gurneys, including those of Ronon Dex. Sam felt none of them, her world was spinning, spiralling out of control because of her subconscious, because of her anger and loathing of a man. The Malakim had misinterpreted those thoughts as a command, her desire, her will to see Rodney Mackay brutalized and killed.

Torn between the body of a man Janet knew she could save even from death and to the woman and unborn daughter she loved, the doctor found herself hailing Cassandra. "See to your mother!" she commanded after checking Sam's vitals and ensuring that the blonde was fine other than the fainting spell. And after hearing what the Malakim believed to be true of their Nephalim's desires there could be no blaming Sam for becoming overwhelmed by the sheer weight if it.

"I just need a moment." Sam sputtered embarrassed she had become so weak. "She still had yet to assimilate all that the Malakim had told her, one thing was sure if Razeal remained on Atlantis the inhabitants would surely retaliate. More for his own good and partly due to Sam had no idea how to cope with him right now she had to order the young warrior away. "Razeal, until you get your act together, you're going back to the ship, and you're confined to quarters…" Sam's voice was faltering even now. She need not look at the angelic to know her orders would be heeded, besides her head thudded and throbbed, her heart ached for the knowledge she now held. And once more she swooned, sickened by it.

Knowing Sam would be fine with Cassandra, four of the seven Blue Wing and Kha'antar looking after her, Janet turned her attention to the cause of the alarm. Rodney Mackay. Apparently Janet's earlier conversation with her team had much to do with that they were doing now, and less with any medical procedures. The seven of them tilted their heads and sang long mournful notes of lament rising into the surge of spring's renewal of life. A Song of darkness and brightness.

A movement caught Elizabeth's eyes, as two other of the Malakim took guard over the captive Razael, and it was Boudicca who called to them commanded them to take Razael back to the ship from whence they came. There he would stay until the Nephalim bade him come back into her audience. The commander of Atlantis watched as each of the Guards clapped their fists over their hearts, tilted their heads with their wings pressed to their bodies. And then at once the three vanished.

Janet ignored all but the voices of her own Wing. She allowed the notes to fill her, soaking through her, engorging her heart with the waves of music. Outside even the waves of the ocean seemed to hit against the side of city as if trying to gain egress to the courtyard so it too could hear the notes of the Malakim.

Elizabeth saw this and reacted immediately, depressing the switch in the ear-piece of her wireless radio she ordered the Command-Centre to activate the shields lest the city become swamped and sink once more.

Janet moved from the gurney of her wife to the body of Mackay, which Carson and his team had placed upon the remaining gurney. Janet was staggering like a dancing bear made to turn around too often, then stopped as if paralyzed. No she wasn't paralyzed; she was transfigured from physician to the Scion of Healing. Her hands outstretched Janet knelt down before the bloodied crippled form. From her hands golden light emanated, heat-of healing glowed brightly.

The angelics raised their voices, their notes danced drunkenly in the air and the ocean answered. The waves surged hard against the city with almost hurricane force. It was this power Janet needed, the power of nature itself. For it was nature she was battling against, the nature of death.

The shield designed to keep torments of the sea at bay fed on the power of the ZPM but it had long since been used as a conduit by a true Ancient. The invisible shield hummed once- twice-thrice before it too glowed golden in the pale silver light that peeked its way from the storm thrashing wildly outside. Sheppard and Ronon both stared fixedly at the small woman who beckoned glowing in golden light. The power wrapped around her like a cloak, a power equal to the crashing ocean against the shields that was keeping the waves at bay.

The golden glow intensified as it did the storm seemed to subside or rather it answering to the silent call of the tiny woman. Bones in the corpse righted themselves with snaps and pops that echoed loudly in the hall despite the voices raised in song. The neck snapped back and the vertebra that jutted out now appeared to go in reverse as if the scene was a video and someone had hit the rewind button. Only when the corpse was in fit condition did Janet lay her open hands over MacKay's chest and head.

The golden glow sparked into a white blinding light.

Elizabeth was astounded the last time she had seen anything in the like was when she had accidentally been flung into Atlantis' past and has seen the true living Ancients. And here now was another Ancient. Janet didn't just share a common gene with the long gone race, she was an Ancient! Sheppard and Teyla recognized this too and became fixed in their place, watching as the woman pulled the very energy from the wailing gales on the other side of the shield. Ronon was paralyzed with astonishment, for he had never seen such benign magnificent gleam in an enchantress.

A groan muttered out of the once dead lips of Rodney MacKay.

Eyes of the Atlantians grew wide and staring in disbelief as they witnessed their comrade resurrected the anger and rage against the dark-winged Razael lost for the moment in this new astonishment.

MacKay opened his mouth wide, and screamed. It was a sound of terror and of memory of what had happened to him only moments ago.

"Rodney!" Elizabeth commanded drawing the terrified man's attention. "You're alive. Dr. Frasier….saved you." She was still trying to assimilate all that she had seen.

"I was dead!" bellowed the scientists. "That thing killed me."

Sheppard gave an uneasy glace to the eight Malakim still centred on the tiny doctor. Hoping against hope they wouldn't take offence.

"Carson can you take it from here? I need to check on Sam."

"Of…cor…course." stuttered the amazed physician. Yes he had listened intently to the accounts of his counterpart. Apart from the astounding records of both the Ancients and the Nox bringing people back from the dead, Carson had never seen it until now, at least not from a contemporary. Not like this.

"Thank you." Elizabeth looked to Janet and gave a forgiving smile.

"Yeah, what she said." Sheppard echoed his CO. "I know he's a pain in the ass, and god knows I've wanted to run his head into a wall a few times." He said with a very Jack-O'Neill-smirk. "But we kinda need him."

Janet gave a guarded nod of the head. "You're welcome. He should have bed rest for time but he should be okay, if not stiff in the muscles for a little while, but he should be fine." This she said looking at Weir. "But do me a favor. Keep him away from Sam, Razael was the first to react he would not have been the only one, to..." She didn't finish. "It's just healthier for both of them."

Weir nodded. Hell she had been warned by O'Neill himself to keep MacKay far away from Sam as possible. He even hinted that it would end like this. Strange, Weir had laid no blame on the one called Razael, if only because she had the prior warnings of both O'Neill and Ambassador Midthunder. And she knew that there were many a person in both the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxies that wanted to do as the angelic had done and ram MacKay through a wall. He had a habit of annoying just about everyone including herself on occasion. Still the incident could make negotiations all that more difficult but not yet impossible. If her flagship team / cabinet had any qualms with striking a deal with the Malakim, Weir prepared to show them the letter O'Neill and Midthunder had sent added to her conversation with Teyla that MacKay should have stayed with the Kids rather then whine his way back to Atlantis. He was safer with the painted children, mud and feathers than he was the winged warriors.

MacKay looked around the chamber frantically relived that he didn't see the winged beast that threw him through the plate-glass window of the control center. Nor did he see Carter and the tiny physician was leaving him on the gurney still soaked with the blood of his now healed wounds.

"Someone want to tell me what happened?" He demanded, but his voice cracked it sounded more like a petulant whine than it did with authority.

"You died." Ronon said simply. "You pissed off one to many people and one of them finally did what most of wanted to do. Oh and the small woman resurrected you."

The World Symphony hissed as its notes had been assembled and reassembled into a new opus of life. Something had caused it to stir with such force all that had ears to hear it had heard the clamoring cacophony. It caused even those far and distant to recognize its rearrangement of notes.

Amaterasu the Queen of the Wraith heard the notes for what they were. The Awakened Ancient had caused the vibrations, the Scion of Healing forced life into the dead. That was not an easy task and it always caused the World Symphony to shudder as if conductor-less for a few measures, before it sought to right itself. The Scion of the Ancients, Amaterasu had dubbed the creature that controlled the "Birds'" Nephalim.

"Liegen," addressed his queen, the blue pale features of Sub-commander Ujimitsu forever schooled into a look of unreadable ice. "The scouts have triangulated the source of the previous shift in the World Symphony a Hive mother ship is ready to deploy at your command."

"Where lies this disturbance?"

"On the edge of the Malakim space boarding on the territories once occupied by the troublesome Diabolicals." Most Wraith never gave much stock to the legends of the Diabolicals viewing them nothing more than Bird bedtime story and fancy.

"I care not of that disturbance now," Amaterasu dismissed the words of her subordinate, "but send one of our fleet's ships regardless; perhaps along the way they can unfold new feeding grounds for the Hive."

"As you desire my Queen so shall it be." The sub-commander bowed his head in a sign of submission. His back muscles twitched slightly as if to fold wings only his genetic memory ever recalled having. Of course the first Wraith had wings but with the inter mingling of the Hives of Iratis wasp the wings had become a relic of the past. Even still the instinct remained to fold them in submission.

And so it was with all Wraith, the space-faring race no longer had a home planet to call their own but lived in a contingent of Hive-ships born into military servitude. They carried because of the insect DNA genetic memories back to the first time the Wraith emerged because of the tampering of Achelous the Unmaker.

Amaterasu tilted her head as if straining to hear the new vibrations upon the World Symphony and the cords struck in the Great Song. This new song was as bright and loud as the notes struck by the Nephalim. But where the Nephalim was a song of infinite light this new Song was a funeral paean. A death knell and it interested Amaterasu greatly. She felt its great disturbance, and knew in her twin hearts this new Song had much to do with the disturbance in the far off reaches of the Bird's space.

A shifting thing.

Transmogrifying Song of being, a sound that was not heard since before the fell days of Achelous the Unmaker. A chimera was close. A creature whose Song was Death. A Song that had through the Deep Umbra been able to follow the Nephalim, to what purpose Amaterasu could not say. Her mind decided she would follow the Scion of Death that had tracked the Scion of Balance.

Razael was in trouble. Intellectually he knew it. Spiritually he knew it. His feelings for the Nephalim were pure. The Malakite philosophies he had studied gave him comfort. His nature was to be impulsive, to say or do and then to think about it. But he had studied hard. He had overcome his nature. He had improved himself.

And yet he had almost killed the human. In thinking to serve his Nephalim, to gain her trust in him he had displeased her. She had sent him away from her presence until 'he got his act together'. He had failed.

He was born Kyriotate, one of the Muse, and he had forsaken the path. The music of improvisational woodwinds squeaked and squawked as his Song's music wavered. Dissidence had been created by leaving a situation worse than he had found it. The Discord within him had left Razael to become contrary and unstable. So unstable there had been a point a year ago he had been willing to sever his wings so he might pass as a mortal human so he could be close to his beloved Liege Commander turned Nephalim.

His downward spiral of psychosis had slowly grown more malignant. Razeal was falling into psychotic behaviour. He had been since the climatic holocaust his beloved Nephalim had been partly responsible for. His heart refused to accept it and it had started a chain reaction within his Song, indeed he was in grave trouble. The Malakite would hunt him, if they weren't already for his wavering.

From the shadows of the Pen-Umbra Chimaera watched him. It was as Anise had said. She could feel the discord rippling from him and wondered how his compatriots were deaf to it. This one was ripe.

Razeal stiffened, furling his wings closer to him in his distress. There was something here with him, watching him. He almost recognised the presence. It was her, his Nephalim, his goddess. But how she was changed. Deep purple wings tipped with palest gold that matched her hair settled around her and her blue eyes, always depthless now seemed ancient. "Nephalim?"

The veil between parted, she drew him inside. His face was wide eyed in shock as he took in her appearance.

"You see me truly here," she said. "As I allow it."

"Nephalim?" he asked again, his voice shaking.

"Yes. This is how I will be, must be, once my transformation truly begins. For me, time itself is but another veil. I need you, Razael."

"I am yours to command, Nephalim." He dropped to his knees before her beauty, her power.

"Yes. Yes, you are," her fingers combed through his hair. "I must ask you to do something for me now, Razeal. Something that you will not want to do but it is the only way. Sometimes individual sacrifices must be made to ensure the greater good. Do you believe that?"

"Yes, Nephalim. I swore an oath to serve you always. I will not forget that."

"You must contrive to be alone with the Nephalim – with the 'me' that exists in this timeframe. When you are, you must blow this into her face, she must inhale it." She pressed a vial of powder into his hand. "This is very important, Razeal. She must inhale it. It will not harm her or her child; it will open her mind to what must be. Then you must bring her into the Pen Umbra. I will be waiting for you there. Can you do this for me, Razeal?"

He closed his fist over the vial of powder. "Yes, Nephalim."

She smiled on him and his heart soared. "You will not fail me, Razeal, I know. You are an exemplar amongst the Malakim." He thought his hearts would burst with pride as she raised him to his feet again and then she pressed her lips to his brow. "Do not fail us, Razeal."

Then he was standing in his quarters again and would have thought it all a dream were it not for the vial of silver powder in the palm of his hand.

He sat in his chamber and the elation that had gladdened his heart and bolstered his angry confused spirit slowly faded and changed. The memory of her touch was no consolation. Something was wrong, something for which he had no explanation. He could feel the fear ooze out of the cold walls around him. It seemed to be everywhere, a malicious disembodied creature that had just been waiting for the light to go out so it could steal close to him in the darkness and take him into its cold arms.

Part 23

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