DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
By Elizabeth Carter
The realm of possibility exists within every Song within a person. What you do with that realm, that possibility extends outside one's own purview perhaps without even realizing it. But if you ignore that opportunity your chance to change things atrophies. It had not been Sam's intention of change the Realm of the Malakim Empire and turn it upside down. She certainly had no intention of blending with her wife into a Triumvirate with the potentate of a vast empire. Now Sam Carter was a Prime Minister. Not only of a small settlement on a planet as she had first assumed but of the 'entire' Malakim Empire!
Now here she was with her family preparing to undergo a ritual that would induct them into the Queen's own House. Not only the Queen's House but her family, making Sam her immediate heir.
Novalis' own daughter Arion had forfeited her rights when she allowed herself to be swayed to break her oath and betray her Liege Commander and Nephalim. Granted it had been the Tok'ra Anise who used a form of Nishta on Arion, but the Malakim viewed oath-breaking as a very serious crime, so serious, and so terrible a crime that Arion was Exiled. The daughter of the Queen had Fallen. To brand her shame Arion would forever be banned from fully taking the winds. Her wings had been struck with sun swords in such a way the regenerating physiology of the Malakim body could not restore the wounds. Her flight feathers had been completely removed and the tendons that controlled the wings had been severed making anything more than short glides impossible. She could not fly. Arion was cast out of the Malakim Empire for a hundred years for her crimes as an Oathbreaker. Of course that was before she had taken a Tok'ra Symbiote now she was Exiled forever, she was no longer Malakim. She was a Remnant and any warrior of the Virtues who crossed paths with her had the right to slay her for allowing such dissonance to taint her.
Sam and the rest of her family followed both Namcheal Minister of the Guild of Alien Affairs, and Khurden who was not only Archangel of the Seraphim but also Minister of Ceremonies. Khurden oversaw all 'religious' adherence to the codes and observances and rituals surrounding Great Song from House Adoption to Exile.
The Malakim were if anything more Zen-Buddhist / Samurai-Bushido in Sam's eye than say anything close to the Christian-Catholic faiths she knew of on Earth. Which suited her fine. The forever young woman said she was Zen-Buddhist in belief if she was anything religious at all.
"Mama?' Rebecca said. As she held onto her mother's hand trailing behind the two taller winged females. "How come we have to walk all naked in the garden?"
"Because it's a part of the ritual so we can be apart of Queen Novalis' family." Sam explained. Going into the dynamics of the nudity might be lost on a girl of six going on seven. But the idea was that you came into the world into your birth family naked and so when inducted into a new House you shed all things of your old House and entered into your new House without attachments. The members of the Blue Wing, and a few from the SGC Jennifer Hailey, Graham Simmons, Alicia Rush were also present, as were those of the Crimson Wing, the Wisdoms of the Empire and of course the Queen. The latter of course would not be seen until further along in the ceremony. Of those present none were to look upon the inductees, instead they were to have their backs to them, giving both dignity and silent support.
"What if someone peeks?" Rebecca asked the question that was running around in Cassandra's own mind as well as Sam and Janet's. The one thing Sam hated was to be noticed in a non-military social gathering. The unflappable scientist / warrior / Air Force officer became Miss Shy in two nanoseconds in a social setting. Janet was perfectly fine in any gathering be it military, professional or social, still she was not entirely at ease of striding down the gardens in the buff.
"No one will peek Little-Bit." Janet answered. "They all gave their word, a promise they wouldn't break."
This seemed to placate the child for she let matter drop. The 'pride' didn't last long as Namcheal and Khurden led the four into a small domed structure made from cedar. "You are to enter the sauna and cleanse yourself." Khurden instructed. "Your body and your mind will elevate into the Umbra where each of you will hear your new Song."
"Rebecca is far too young to go in a sauna, the heat will make her susceptible to dehydration, low blood pressure and heat stroke." Janet said defiantly. "It is far too dangerous."
"Liege Healer, we are fully aware the limits of a featherling......"Namcheal started but Janet interrupted her.
"Not a mortal featherling, she doesn't regenerate like a Malakim and she is very vulnerable."
"I assure you, Rebecca will not be within the sauna for long, a moment only. She need only be present for minute. Once she has sat for that long we will call for her to withdraw and we will submerge her in a bath filled with tepid water so her body will not go into shock. And so she will not dehydrate we will giver her water as well as a fruit drink to replenish her." Khurden tried to explain as concisely as possible.
Janet thought about it. A minute for a small child in a sauna wouldn't harm her. And she knew her daughter she would cry out for someone to turn the heat off just as she did when the car's interior became hot in the summer. Rebecca wouldn't last the whole minute without complaining she wanted out. A tepid bath and plenty of water to drink would terminate any threat of heatstroke or dehydration.
Sam looked to her wife, she knew as well as the physician the dangers of having one so young in such an environment. The guarantee that Becca would only be in the sauna for a minute relaxed her a bit, but still the nagging resistance of protection loomed over her and would not let her go.
"Should Rebecca not go in are you implying she wont be adopted into the House of Thrones?"
"Your Grace, she must." Khurden said. "Please do not think we would purposely endanger her life. She will not be in distress."
"Janet?" Sam turned to her wife, she would oppose the sauna if the Janet recommended it.
"A minute tops then she's out of there." The tiny woman said, her hands crossed over her bare chest. Despite her nudity she was not humbled by it nor felt the vulnerability that the lingering taboo that being naked in front of dozens of observers might indicate, Janet was very much empowered.
"As agreed." The Minister of Ceremony tilted her emerald mane. "My word as Archangel of the Seraphim and as Minister of Ceremonies of the Great Song, Rebecca Marjorie Fraiser-Carter will not be in harm's way."
Both Sam and Janet knew above all else the Malakim kept their oaths. For a Malakim their greatest sin was to break an oath. No trial, no reprieve no exceptions an Oathbreaker was cast out for all time and their wings severed from the wind. Their shame would be forever broken wings a sort of brand that all would see and know the reason why.
"Then we know she is safe." Janet answered, for she was the one most vocal about the idea of a six year old in a sauna. Coming from her the endorsement carried far more weight than if it had come from the Nephalim.
"Can we assume that the rest of us when we come out of the sweat lodge that we will all have a bath in lukewarm water?" asked Cassie.
"That will be so." Khurden nodded. For the little one we have a separate bath drawn for her but for the rest of you where is a natural hot spring that awaits your emergence from the 'Cleansing'. Once you are properly cleansed you will be garbed in tabards of an acolyte. Where upon you will greet Her Majesty and she will adorn you in the Colors of the House of Thrones."
At last the party of six stood before the very threshold of the sauna, the idea of purification through a sweat lodge was not an uncommon occurrence. Culturally speaking the humans knew of several populations of their own planet that had done this same thing, from the Romans to Natives of several continents to the Japanese and Chinese. Even the medical circles had said a good sweat was good for the body to rid itself of the impurities through the pores. Of course constant monitoring of the person within the sauna was called for lest they tax their body and send it into a heatstroke and dehydrate resulting in a fatality. Janet knew that was not going to be an issue with the Malakim attendants so close. Khurden had two acolytes for each human seeing to their needs throughout the entire ceremony.
Sam ducked in first followed by Cassie, then Rebecca with Janet taking the rear. Inside the chamber the effects of the sauna was immediately felt, as the heaviness of the dry air struck the lungs as a sledge hammer.
In the center of the chamber was a vault filled with glowing red stones. It was upon these stones that water was doused filling the room with a cloud of thick steam.
"This place is too hot!" Rebecca complained in the voice of young honesty. "Mommy can't we turn on the air conditioning?"
Janet knelt in front of her youngest, "It's supposed to be hot. But you only have to stay a moment okay, then you can leave. Jenny is outside sweetheart and she will take care of you. Mama and Sassy have to stay with me in here for a while. But Jenny and Jailil are outside waiting.
The girl gave a dubious look over her shoulder to the wooden door that lead outside then back to her parents. "Mama you staying in here too?" Rebecca couldn't understand the ceremonial ramifications the sweat-purification was symbolizing. Though remarkably intelligent sometimes she was after all just a six year old child.
"Only for a little while, Little Bit." Sam assured her daughter. "I want you to go outside now and let Jenny help you."
Of course both mothers were referring to Jennifer Hailey. The girl had become apart of the Carter-Fraiser family long before Rebecca had been born. After the presidential emancipation for homosexuals in the military, the young scientist had come out of the closet but in doing so cost her, her own family. The Carter-Fraiser women took the young girl into their home and family. And like Cassie, Jennifer cared deeply for the little girl and would protect her. The women trusted Jennifer as they would Cassie.
"Kay. See you soon." The girl kissed each of her mothers before she took her tiny body outside where Jennifer immediately wrapped her in a terry cloth robe and led her to the bathing area.
The lodge had no furniture, one had to sit upon the wooden floor to enjoy the offerings of the sauna. Cassandra couldn't help but wonder just how sanitary it was, but she gathered the angelics would not want to sit down upon a grimy floor anymore than she did.
Apparently Cassandra's apprehension was well read for it was Khurden who spoke. "I assure you the room was thoroughly cleansed before the ceremony today. It is quite sanitary." The Minister of Ceremonies silver wings flared out to the full eighteen foot span. Her black hair was a stark contrast next to her feathers making her a stunning image of Malakim grace. "Allow for the Great Song to drift into you and give you its own Melody, when it passes leave this place and the old notes of your former House behind." It was said by rote yes but no less powerful because they had been spoken a thousand times over.
Sam closed her blue eyes, her trust that her family was safe gave her the confidence to give herself to the great music already playing within her mind. For a moment she concentrated on her breathing, aware of the sounds all around her. The hiss of water against the heated stones, the labored breathing of her wife and eldest child. The giggles of her youngest as she spoke to Jennifer about how cool it was to ride 'Aslan'. She heart the soft lyrical voices of the Grigori raising their in a flowing notes of pure sound. In this stillness she could even hear the soft whisper of the Nox-enhanced Bond she shared with her beloved Janet.
Sam could feel the sweat trickling down her back, her neck and down her cleavage. Her lungs filled with the heavy air of heat and carried her into a dazed place of half-dream. Sam felt herself floating, rising into the air as if she was astride Kha'antar. Before her another flew, not her Janet mounted upon Elladan but a Malakim. She had golden blonde hair, and cerulean wings, but Sam could not see the face she only knew this Malakim had a familiar presence.
"Who are you?" Sam asked as she would of anyone on first-contact on a mission filled with strength and confidence meant to encourage strangers into a state of trust. .
"You have shown forth your measure and power declared to you." the unknown warrior responded. "Sit and hearken and be glad that through you, great beauty has been wakened into Song." The voice was that likened to harps and flutes, lutes and pipes, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, and began to fashion the theme of wondrous music. The voice was a sound arising of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights of creation.
"You are the Great Song." Sam uttered, the awe clearly evident upon her face. The Malakim gave no face to the entity, the energy they called the Great Song, but then again Karma, Chakra, Chi how could one place a face to such things.
"I am manifest, not imagined it is true. When I appear to Novalis it is her mother I form, so she can relate to that which troubles her brow. I do not know if I am the Great Song or the World Symphony, I know only I be here." The Shimmering One said. "Behold your Music, Nephalim. Your minstrelsy is in the like not heard in eons within eons. The World Symphony sings of the memory of the Nephalim that came first and ascended into the Great Song until their melodies fused into one cord."
"I'm not what you might think I am. I am only the Nephalim because I chanced upon Queen Novalis and gave her CPR. Janet was the one who really saved her life."
"Your breath gave the Queen back her Song, when that happened, your like to the World Symphony was realized by your heart your souls were forever linked."
"I know that part," Sam said off handedly. "I can even hear the Great Song now."
"You had another Song in your ears before." The Shimmering One commented.
"Science, always science. It's reliable, eternal and ever changing. I filled my life with it."
"Your Song now is different than the coldness of pure science."
"Janet." Sam said automatically. "She and our girls... when it comes down to it they are what matter to me, science, the Air Force even the Stargate... it's nothing without them."
"And yet you have allowed the Song of Science and the Song of the Stargate lure you from the side of your family. May times even to the immanent threat to thine own health."
"Is that an accusation?' Sam challenged the entity she had mentally called the Great Song. "Yeah I have. It happens. But I am not the type of woman who would leave her wife to take some cab home......or her kids to believe the work was always more important than they are. I made vow, you want to challenge me on that fine. You'll lose. I get carried away, yeah I won't deny it, but they will always come first. Not even being the Nephalim or this Prime Minister has meaning without them, and they will always be a priority to me."
The sapphire wings fanned out not in agitation, for Sam had long since learned to discern the body language of the Malakim. This was a warrior's challenge having been met, the eloquent of surrendering one's sword to one's conquer. "Beware the Dark, Samantha Nephalim of the Malakim, for it comes in may guises. Some would even call themselves friends to you, friends to the Throne yet they are not so. Know you well your own Song."
"I know my Song," Sam said again.
"Samantha..." The voice was now changed not the multilayered sound of orchestra, but the sound of her mother! The blonde mane was now more distinct, the blue eyes more clear and the face no longer a blinding whiteness of light, but that of Rebecca Amanda Carter. The blue wings that were once displayed fully now faded into nothingness.
"Mama..."Sam couldn't help it, but her eye brimmed with tears as the sight of the manifestation of her mother. "Why...why her form?" The Nephalim lamented.
"Because she was the one your mind will never forgive you for not protecting. Thus the discord will live within you." The other blonde said.
Sam recalled Novalis speaking of this entity, this force taking on the form of Gabriele first of the Thrones. So it was only logical Sam would see her own mother, the one person other than Janet, Sam deferred to for security and strength. "Not all can be protected, Samantha. Know in your heart that sometimes there are those who lay beyond your ability to protect, and the fault is not your own. Samantha." The form of Rebecca was more and more now the direct personality of the dead woman. "Its okay if you don't succeed. Your father's opinion, that of the Pentagon, General O'Neill carry nothing if you do not allow it and you have proven your worth to them, my child. You have shown your qualities as a good soldier, a scientist, a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife." The entity Sam saw as her mother cupped her face as Rebecca had done a thousand times in the past.
"Many voices were heard in the Great Song, and so stirs the World Symphony. Always there must be a balance when great power is used. The Song of Unmaking was sung, The Harrowing summoned but unleashed.. Samantha go with great care. Those you love will be protected under the House of Thrones, but you will be hunted."
"I've been hunted before." Sam said nonchalantly. "Are you telling me this time I'll die?"
"There is always a balance to all things, Samantha. Sometimes it isn't life that dies."
Sam could have sworn that she was truly talking to her mother. Rebecca always was so Zen about Cosmic Balance which was why Sam herself turned to Zen-Buddhistic philosophy rather than any other religious dogma. The Zen-Bushido code of the Malakim was something Sam could appreciate and understand. Balance - everything in nature had a counter balance, basic physics proved this to be true. Sam took the warning with no small measure.
Janet felt the heaviness take her, instead of the feeling of flying she was feeling pressure, immense pressure on her chest. Something was burning....smelling foully like human flesh on fire. The tiny doctor snapped her eyes open thinking at first Rebecca had burned her hand on the hot rocks or that Cassie had.......
........Janet was in a forest, in a ravine filed with cold mud and swamps made of blood. It was not uncommon to feel disorientated after dreams that become so real. But this was not a dream if it was she should be walking up in the sweat lodge, not on her back, her chest coated in blood......her blood. It was her chest that was rank with burning. She was losing so much blood!
Her hand shaking reached for the wound, touching it...pain so much pain! "Oh God!" Janet cried. Her blood oozed from the wounds coating her olive-green BDU's like some macabre Christmas wrapping. Looking around her Janet knew, she knew where she was
Where she had died.
Where she lay in darkness, lay in pain - pain that localized in her shoulders, back and stomach, pain that stabbed her with the clouded reminiscence of times greater agony every time she drew breath. It had been too easy to let go.
Blasts of war erupted around her indiscriminately taking life after life. So much death, so much pain. And Janet was helpless to stop it. She couldn't heal them. She couldn't even heal herself.
Their cries went unanswered, their hurt uncomforted, their pain unhealed. Too much pain, too much hurt. All screaming crying out for her to heal them, to save them. And Janet was helpless. She couldn't reach them. They spun away like brown leaves from the seat of a whirled merry-go-round, drifting into darkness.
Janet looked up to see her wife, her beloved screaming at her to open her eyes. "My eyes are open! Sam I am here! I am right here!"
"Janet ! Janet! JANET! COME BACK TO ME GOD DAMMIT! No Nonononononono!" Sam cradled a small woman to her. "No no no no." Sam's face was red from blood, from tears, from her agony. "No...JANET open your eyes."
Janet's mind accessed the damage to her downed-self. How did she even survive that? How could she? There was a staff blast that had torn a hole in her chest the size of a grapefruit which would have severely damaged her heart, lungs and spine. She watched as Sam was giving her CPR, forcing life back into her crippled body. Blood mixed with tears as Sam continued to force life back into a body that was giving it up.
"Not without me.. You're too important too important. The world...needs you Janet! Janet please....please...... you can't go.....you can't you're not supposed to die......angels don't die.....you... can't die......I need you...."
Janet's chest wouldn't stop hurting, the pain wouldn't stop throbbing. The blood wouldn't stop pumping from her wound. Her head hurt so badly. Its own separate pain, apart from her chest. Her left hand coated in her own blood reached up to feel a bump at her temple, a large gouge marred her flesh. 'A concussion.....'
A stab of pain in her ribs brought back the black horror of her death again. Her mouth hurt, swollen and half numb; something was covering her eyes, had the staff blast taken her eyes? But she was dead and the dead do not see.... Everything within her flinched with terror at the sound of the screams of the dying.
The tiny woman closed her dark brown eyes willing the sounds of those she could not save to fade...but she couldn't she was a healer the Liege Healer she had taken an Oath.....
Her head bleeding, her chest a gaping whole Janet found herself standing before a console aboard the Prometheus bridge. Sam was there, on her forehead the gash that mirrored Janet's own wounds. Her sympathy for her lover had made manifest with the wounds she now carried. She saw another image of herself dressed in green fatigues addressing the woman she loved.
"Sam you can't sleep." Ghost- Janet was standing before her wife. "If you sleep you die."
"I know." Sam uttered in a voice thick with pain from a body too weary to fight anymore.
Time was relative. On Earth Janet had waited four days for Sam to return to her and when she had it was with a severe concussion. One that had nearly killed her, Janet had a profound sense of loss and inability as she wasn't there to save her lover, to protect her to keep her healthy. Sam was dying on the Prometheus and there had be little Janet could have done if Sam hadn't returned when she did. If it hadn't been for the grace of Providence.....Grace.
Even Providence was there when Sam was hunted by the Kull Drone. The super soldier had stalked and hunted Sam down, again for four days and Sam was continuously on the run. Another concussion, a staff blast to a leg that had suffered so much tendon damage and a hairline fracture, it was amazing Sam had the use of it at all.
Janet looked down the thundering ache in her chest was mirrored as she saw a new wound appear on her leg. The acrid stink of burning human flesh, the glossiness of blood captured the doctor's attention for the pain was nearly more than she could bear. Janet crumpled under her pain, her eyes blurred in tears, stumbling she lay her back against the trunk of a tree. She couldn't feel her leg...beyond the numbing quake of pain. She had to stop the bleeding. But she had nothing on her there had been no time to get geared up when the drone attacked the lab...
......Drone? Lab? No it was a Jaffa with a staff weapon in a ravine......
More flesh burnt, feathers as dark as midnight covering her.......
"Turel...!" Janet cried.
The sickbay, the tree, the bridge of Prometheus, the ravine all fell away and here in a place of nothingness a Void, stood the dark winged Turel, her blue mane hung along her shoulders as it had that first day Janet was introduced to the emotionally stunted warrior.
"I am Manifest of the Music." Turel's monotone commented.
"Okay...so my mind has constructed you just as Sam's had her loved ones on the Prometheus. I know I don't have a concussion nor did I take any drugs to hallucinate." Janet started to reason out the logistics of what she was seeing and why.
"You wish to medically explain me." Turel commented. "You will not beyond I merely am a manifestation of a shell of one with whom you once knew. Now dead."
"She gave her life to save mine." Janet said. "I couldn't save her. Not even in the re-growth tanks could she be saved. Both her hearts had been removed. One gone I might have been able to save her but not with both removed." She shuddered. It was only then she felt the pain in her body vanish as if vanquished. "I see you because I couldn't save you." Janet reasoned.
"Your Song is greater even than that of the Nephalim. Because she carries the song of a Warrior. Your battle is with a greater foe. That of the unknown, the unseen. Your battle often is time, for rarely is it your ally. You are a healer....beyond all healers. That is the power of your Song. Healing and Compassion are your Greats Songs. Your every essence dominates the Nephalim otherwise she would not have turned away from the Harrowing, the making of the Sundering. Seek ye well your path, Liege Healer. Guard ye well the edges of Life for lo there shall be those to seek to purloin it from those you cherish most. One will fall to death and you must allow it so; for even your compassion will decimate the greater whole. One will fall and can not pass into death, for their demise will decimate the greater whole."
"I took an oath, 'First do no harm' I am a healer and everything I believe in is to give medical help to those who needed. I didn't turn away help from one of Earth's greatest foes. And yes he had tortured the woman I love, killed her even before the Nox brought her back to life, but everything I hold dear, everything I am I must be true to. I will NOT go against that. And as much as I loathe the man, I would have helped Usiel if it came down to it."
"And yet you took a gun to face off Hathor." Turel countered.
"Yes I did. And just because I am a doctor first, doesn't mean I won't protect those I love, or those I serve with. I'm also a Colonel in the Air Force......or .....the Malakim Mercenary Guild."
"You are Balanced in your Harmony." The Turel image complimented, her hand reached out and touched the small woman's shoulder. "The World Symphony is rife with Discord. There are wounds you will not be able to heal, beware Liege Healer of the Malakim of the plague of averse that infects like a disease. You pulled the Nephalim from the Abyss, and turned her power of the Harrowing benign, you resolved the turmoil the First Fallen created. You may be required to do something similar."
Cassandra opened her eyes the feeling of deep disorientation flooded her mind, making her almost dizzy. She saw both her mothers still sitting cross legged, their naked bodies dripping in sweat as was her own. She knew they had to be sore and stiff from sitting tailor-style for however long they had been sitting. It had felt like centuries.
Cassandra tried rubbing feeling back into her long legs before she tried to stand, and felt the familiar pins and needles of a body part that had 'fallen asleep' due to lack of circulation. Her lungs burned and after several tries to clear her throat Cassie knew she was seriously dehydrated. Which could lead to severe problems. Cassie after all was a registered nurse having followed Janet's medical footsteps. Yes she worshiped Sam, for her blonde mother would always be a heroic figure for her but Janet was her mom. And Cassandra adored her mother.
In her sweat-lodge vision she had had her birth mother had said it was fine that Cassandra love Janet, and that if she were to know she was going to die, she would have had hand chosen Janet Fraiser to care for her child. It was then the girl woke.
"You must not wake them," Khurden warned. "They will wake in their own time. Go now and bathe, your sister awaits you."
Cassie gave one last look to the women she held dear to her heart. Forever compassionate Janet, and always protective Sam. Neither would ever abandon her, or leave her to die, neither would ever give up on her. Satisfying herself that neither woman was in distress at the moment Cassandra slipped passed the wooden door of the sauna and nearly shivered as the cold air of the Gregorian evening struck her overheated flesh.
Boudicca was upon her almost instantly cloaking Cassie's nude body with a sheer silk robe. "Come the pools are just over here. You'll feel a thousand times better believe me," the young warrior gently said. Her white wings fanning out to give Cassie much needed privacy.
"Thanks." Cassandra nodded her body still shivering from the contrast between the outside and the heat of the sauna. "Say..um did you ever do that?"
"Sit in a sauna? Yes it helps cleanse one of Dissonance. You face that which disconcerts you the most and either come to terms with it, understand the dissonance or you conquer it. I take it you had such visions?"
"Yeah." Cassie wouldn't explain further and Boudicca wouldn't press for details. The lanky female knew as did all Malakim that each person's cleansing was a deep personal epiphany and must be dealt with on individual accordance.
Cassie hesitated at first but she was shivering so badly that the warmth of the water seemed to make the shakes less prominent. Sinking into water up to her waist, indeed felt wonderful. Submersing herself further she had to touch the water to make sure she was in it as the temperature matched that of her body perfectly. Letting out a satisfying sigh, Cassandra leaned back and allowed the hot tub to work its magic upon her muscles.
"Hey now here come your mothers." Boudicca pointed to Janet and Sam both being lead by Khurden, Zephon and Jennifer, and a very excitable Rebecca astride the ever tolerant Elladan. The beast of course immediately went to Janet's side either knowing the mother would be concerned for her cub or to be rid of the forever hyperactive tot. Of course Rebecca referred to her Mommy's mount as Bagheera which sounded to the child's tongue infinitely better than Elladan.
Kha'antar a.k.a. Aslan seemed a bit put out he couldn't join his mistress in the heated chamber and went about showing his displeasure by not 'talking' to her. He went as far as to walk several passes in front of her to further show his indignation at being snubbed.
"The water's great." Cassie said as soon as she saw her mothers approach the lip of the pools. "Bodie's right, it feels great after that sauna."
The bathing wasn't to relax of course but to wash off the sweat and dead skin cells shed in the sauna. Rose petals floated in the water already sweetened by jasmine and lavender, it would soften the skin and eloquently perfume the flesh and hair. A thorough washing and the four Carter-Fraiser women were ready to face the rest of the ceremony. They would dress themselves in the ceremonial armor that Novalis had brought with her that first night of the feast. The silver was thin and highly polished to a mirror shine, the sapphire mithral plating of the armor was light and extremely durable, offering more protection than any armor Earth had to offer. Even little Rebecca had a miniature set of the armor, matching identically to that of her mothers, minus the official seal of office.
The female attendants with whom Sam was not familiar, adorned the four in simple unbleached cotton tabards that would cover the breastplate. Only Queen Novalis would remove them. Once they had finished the whole procession marched from the bathing pools down a path strewn with rose petals and this time the whole of the Grigori were present and facing their cherished Lieges.
Half way down the winding path standing proud with their wings half flared stood the Blue Wing. They fell in line half on one side of Janet the other flanking Sam as the procession continued its way to the classical marble gazebo. Here each of the seven steps stood in greetings the Crimson Wing atop the seventh step was Novalis herself. And flanking the queen Khurden and Namcheal as were the Secretary of Defense Kidumiel and Adjunct Briel
Novalis was a spectacle to behold with her great purple wings arching upwards to their full twenty foot span, giving her a Divine Imperial appearance. She was garbed in the deep crimson robes of her Wing over it the black and gold tabard of her House. Within her hands the Queen held an unadorned silver chalice in which Khurden would pour the deep rich red wine reserved only for honored ceremonies. Once the goblet was filled with wine the Queen turned to the gathered crowd within the Basilica. She would say no words as she held the silver vessel above her head for a heartbeat before lowering it.
Briel took from the altar a knife forged from gold and brought it before the Minister of Ceremonies. Who now held a second coffer of wine, this one of headiest of white wines. She would pour the liquid over the blade to sanctify it before presented it to Novalis. She took hold the Queens left hand and decisively cut a small incision into the flesh. Novalis allowed for her blood to pool in the center of her palm before she turned it over to allow the life-force to drain into the chalice of wine. There would be no need to bind the wound after all the Malakim regenerated such tiny flesh wounds quickly.
Novalis now held the blade so that Khurden could pour the white wine once again over the blade. And with gold dagger and silver goblet the Queen stood before Samantha. She too took hold of the chalice and held it over her head for a moment, and then with her right hand held it while presenting her left to the Queen. And like Novalis before her, her hand was cut, the incision small but deep enough for blood to pool. Sam waited a moment longer and sprinkled her blood into the contents already in the grail.
The procedure was repeated once more between Sam and Janet, Janet and Cassandra, each time the blade cleaned by the Minister of Ceremonies. When it came to Rebecca, both of her mothers knelt on either side of the girl and held her in their arms. They clasped the child's hand upon the stem of the grail with their own. Gingerly Cassandra took her sister's hand and only with a nod of the head between her mothers did she quickly make the incision in the girl's palm. It was so quick at first Rebecca didn't even know her hand was cut. The pain lanced in the girl and she tried to be brave like her mothers, and sister but she cried out hiding her face in Janet's neck.
"I am sorry." Cassie uttered in a very hushed tone. "Little-Bit I am sorry, your Sassy didn't mean to hurt you." The older girl placed her hand on her sister's shoulder and kissed the top of her head.
"It hurts Momma." Rebecca winced as Sam folded her into her arms. "Mommy you make it better..."
Janet took a hold of her baby girls hand and allowed the tot's blood to spill into the goblet before she took the tiny hand into her own. She wanted so badly to take her daughter's pain away. If she could she would take it onto herself, to that Rebecca would no longer feel pain.
The desire was so strong and so profound, Janet imagined her will of her essence lifting into the heavens with the voices of the angelics raised note of song. Here she thought of a warmth, a light to sooth the hurt and take it away. A mother's touch to sooth the hurt. For a moment she felt the warmth and glow of the sun fill her and she lifted her will into that feeling, here in this orb of life, she would heal her baby's hurt.
Sam stared with wide blue eyes as her wife's hands ebbed in a golden bath of light and sheer warmth. It flowed from Janet's hands into Rebecca's. "Holy Hannah!" gasped the blonde. Before her eyes the marred flesh and muscle on Rebecca's palm unified and grew whole. It was as if all of Janet's medical knowledge, and her will amalgamated into one power...one Song and became manifest. No exam of the child would ever reveal the laceration had ever existed upon her tiny hand.
It was uttered about in the hushed tones of gathered of the sheer awe and wonder of what they had witnessed. Of course this was no mere mortal Janet Elizabeth Fraiser was Consort to the Nephalim, bound by an empathic tie to her wife. They were Triumvirate with the Queen of the Empire. Perhaps it had never occurred to anyone that Janet was as much as the prophesied Nephalim as Samantha was. Now here was her Song made real. The Song of Healing.
Only Novalis and Rebecca seemed to take this new genius of power within Janet in their stride. A Queen who had lived eons and had seen much such was the coming of twin Nephalims and child who so believed in her mothers that nothing to her was impossible. Mommy was a doctor and doctors heal, and Mommy always makes things better.
Janet herself was more surprised than any of the gathered, she could only stare at her child's hand and think 'I did that! I healed her because I wanted it so badly! To heal so quickly, to end suffering so rapidly filled the tiny woman with undeniable glee.
"That was incredible." Sam whispered. "You're amazing you know that? This isn't just big Janet this is huge!"
Janet only smiled and hoped this Song of Healing wasn't a one time thing.
Novalis knew they had to finish the ceremony, but she too wanted to speak with the Liege Healer and this new Song. If Khurden, Namcheal, Kidumiel and Briel questioned the Triumvirate they did not now. Samantha had the Songs of Presence and Domination, and now with this new manifestation of the Song of Healing in the Consort it was only wise to keep the Carter-Fraiser clan in the House of Thrones.
Khurden stepped forward and took the knife and as before she sanctified it with the white wine, once this was completed she took the chalice from the astonished Cassandra, so that the Minister of Ceremonies might present them to her Queen.
The Host of Choirs lifted their voices and sweet was the sound of their voices in all their purity. Layered in soft tones and perfect in pitch as never to be heard by ears of mortals. So magnificent the sound that tears found their way to the corners of eyes and hearts swelled.
Once more Novalis stretched out her great purple wings but this time instead of going far over her head they circled around her own body so that she might pluck a pen-feather. With it she would dip the tip into the mixture of red wine and blood and bring a droplet to her own lips, this she would do again for Sam, and as they had with the golden blade, Sam would dip the feather into the chalice held by the Queen and place a droplet to Janet. Janet to Cassie. Because Cassandra was first daughter of her family and the eldest thus her sister's keeper, the older girl would dip the feather into the wine and a droplet onto Rebecca's lips. The child grimaced as she instinctively tasted the mixture. Her little face scrunched up, wine was not something she thought she ever wanted to taste again.
What was to follow had all been perfectly choreographed. From Cassie the chalice of silver now filled with both the blood of the Queen and the Carter-Fraiser clan was handed to the matriarch of the family to the matriarch of the Empire. Upon the alter Novalis set the chalice down and as she did the choirs once more lifted up their voices and sang.
Those who held the Song of Pyrokinesis summoned an inferno common to the forges. So intense was the heat the chalice turned from cold silver to bright red. The liquid within boiled filling the air with scorched wine and blood, what wasn't burnt off seeped into the melting metal. The Choirs continued pouring their essence, their will into the Song of Fire. The altar's surface had been grooved specifically so it would pour the molten silver onto the marble flags of the Basilica floor like so much melted wax.
Before the silver had a chance to cool thoroughly Novalis scribed into the surface using the tip of the golden knife. The names of the Carter-Fraiser clan.
Samantha Marie :Nephalim of the Empire, Archangel of the Grigori 8th Choir of the Malakim, Heir to the Throne and Prime Minister of the Empire.
Janet Elizabeth : Nephalim-Consort of the Empire, Master General Medicus Choir Grigori. Matriarch of Carter-Fraiser Clan
Cassandra Carter: First Daughter of Carter- Fraiser Clan, Grigori Choir
Rebecca Marjorie: First Born of Carter-Fraiser Clan, Grigori Choir
Here they now are daughters all to the House of Thrones, and forever beyond the extinction of the Universes shall it be thus.
Novalis last act was to plunge the golden dagger into the new silver flagstone and there it would stay forever marking the adoption of mortals into a Malakim House and thus marking the end of the ceremony. No words were exchanged, no promises offered or made it was simply a matter for writing in a silver stone with blood the words of adoption.
Those who had offered their voices to the Song of Fire now silenced, under their tones was another choir set to summon the elements, they would command the air to cool the silver instantly thus giving it a glassy appearance not unlike obsidian or rather and more appropriately a mirror.
"Come, let us rejoice," Novalis offered, "I have brought with me a great feast to commemorate this occasion of joy and glad-tidings!"
It seemed as if the entire city all at once cried out their jubilation, all save four people, who could not easily pass over the idea of Janet being able to heal as she had.
"Come, Daughters of the House of Thrones. You must have many questions. And I would like if I may speak with you concerning your visions." Novalis's great purple wings fanned out wide giving her an almost mother hen appearance trying to cover her chicks from harm. And as all of Kalevala city celebrated the adoption of the Nephalim and her family into the Queen's own house, Novalis led Sam and the others into their own home, where they might speak unhindered by well-wishers.
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