Nephalim's Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter Six


In a bed large enough to accommodate four grown humans, or two Malakim nestled under down filled comforters slept the Nephalim but her sleep was far from peaceful. In her dreams the voice of the Great Song echoed softly into her ears.

"The World Symphony has changed.
I feel it in the Water.
I feel it in the Earth.
I feel it in the Air
I feel it in the Firmaments.

"It began in the before the age of Mortals. From stardust and air birthed the Malakim, wisest and fairest of all beings. Following came the Wyrm: the Dragon Kings, creatures of great cunning and craftsmanship. The Ancients whose mastery of the skills of Making opened the Universes and crafted the greatest of all cities, Atlantis. Earth-Mother gave birth to the gentle and kind Nox the makers of Peace. Coming forth from the shadow of Trees were the Furlings the self-changers and kin to the beasts. And from the stars came the Asgard, magicians of technology. Who all touched the Great Song and did know the Songs of Power.

"And with the coming of the Light came the Dark.

Diabolicals that fashioned themselves the likeness of Mortal Gods. And came Usiel and following the First Fallen, and his followers the Remnants who were everlastingly Exiled. Came the Twisted Unmaker Achelous, and his abhorrent creations the Wraith crafted from the darkest of Songs.

"And there was War in the Heavens.

To dwell in the past is to die in the present. To hide the ancient lore and call it forbidden is folly. In the time before light and dark there was the Knowledge, but the First One forbade its learning. And with the Darkness was lifted a line a veil and the only light was in the First One's bright eyes. Looking at her consort Usiel, the First One knew he had Awakened. The energies first surged through Usiel and he discovered how to move like lightning, how to borrow the strength of the earth how to be as stone. The First then showed Usiel how she hid herself from the Diabolicals how she commanded obedience and why she demanded respect. Then, Awakening himself further, Usiel found the way to alter forms, the way to have dominion over the beasts, the way to make eyes see past the sight. Then the First One commanded that her consort Usiel stop, saying he had over-reached his bounds that he had gone too far. That he threatened his very essence.

"She used her power and commanded Usiel to stop. Because of her power, he heeded her, but deep within him a seed was planted a seed of rebellion and when she turned her face from him, he opened himself up once more to the serpent, to Achelous and saw the infinite possibilities in the stars and knew that a path of power, a path of blood was his for the taking. And so he Awakened in him this Final Path, from which all other paths would grow. The path of fear, the path of inferno, the path of spirit, the path of vengeance, the path of blood, the ways of Dementation which is the path of madness, Necromancy the path of the dead, Obtenebration the path of darkness and shadow, Sanguineous path of unwholesome vicissitude. He took from the Dragon Lords the darkest of rituals and here he did master them.

"From these newest of powers, he broke the bounds to the First One put on him, he left the Queen of the Firmaments that evening, cloaked himself in shadows, and fled the greatest Eyries and came at last to a place where not even her knights could find him. Here he gleaned the knowledge from the Dark Dragons, and Usiel taught his Fallen, Thaumaturgy. He taught them the paths. He had found the Ancient's Stargate and lo he would flee further away from the sacred lands. The Gate of Stars lay hidden far beneath the mountains Forever Dark, in that place he called Achelous to him and they knew the Diabolicals and did lay with them. The Diabolicals hungered for Usiel's masteries.

"And Achelous the Unmaker did take to him captured Malakim and corrupted their bodies by the Song Sanguineous path of unwholesome vicissitude and he did change their form. No longer Malakim they were cursed with forever Hunger and must they steal from life, that which gives them life. And lo came those that call themselves the Wraith. Translucent skin did cover their bones and their eyes gleaming in baleful fire. Their teeth snatching, catching like the beasts they became. And unto them they summoned the Dark of the Great Song and did master it. And did call to the them the wretched Song of the World Symphony, Thaumaturgy the hidden ways of Obfuscation, and lo they lost the Song of Ecomancy, the Song of Elements but greater still did they take with them Dementation, Necromancy Obtenebration the path of darkness and shadow They carry with them the Song of Potency and Fortitude. And lo they are the scourge, greater than the Fallen.

"Usiel called Gehenna and would bring asunder the war of the Heavens, but the knights of the Queen of the Firmaments cast out Usiel and his followers to the land of Unmaking. And so they would come to the Mountains of Forever Dark. For his crimes Usiel would never reach the heavens for his wings were torn from him. Achelous was bound forever until the time that a mortal champion spirit born of a Malakim knight's heart, life given as sacrifice will resurrect the defiled serpent. And the Keepers of the Lambent Reproach with the Calabim mortal born will cast themselves to the coils of the illusions of the Serpent Kings.

"The Remnant Outcasts fell from the Virtues and were exiled and with them the Wraith. Banished for all time for seeking forbidden knowledge. They were cast out of the Eyries never to return and sent into the great wilderness, they chose the darkest mountains as a refuge. There it is said they found a Stargate, and learned its ways. They traveled the galaxies pretending to be something more then what they are. Spirits that lead evolving man to believe them descendants of Gods. Their temples are Diabolical and they are a sacrilege to all Malakim.

"See the colossus of Ancient Stargate astride the world beheld the Wraith in their hearts, as the giant staggers, the Wraith rejoice, for there will be souls aplenty when the giant falls. See the broken chamber of three thousand years and the shattered crystal upon the floor. For the second Gate of Stars is not put asunder, and those of Usiel will be free. See the stones weeping blood and Achelous is free. Hear the howls in the night and the souls of mortals cast themselves into the Dragon's coils. Then Falls the second war of the Firmaments, The War of the Nephalim, it is the Queen that shall know the pain of the shattering of life.

"The Nephalim who would fell Usiel First Fallen, and Achelous the Unmaker. The Nephalim who though mortal born yet has all the power of the Malakim. The Nephalim Archangel of the Grigori the Eighth Choir. The Nephalim: the Scion of Balance summons the Harrowing, the echo of the Sundering of worlds. And in this greatest of all Songs is that which can still the Harrowing comes the Archangel of Healing. She is the brightest of all lights, of all songs yet remains in the shadow of the Nephalim. Consort of the Nephalim softest of Songs bears the greatest of Powers is coveted for her power. She could still the hurricane's gale and quiet the celestial cacophony that brings the Sundering of worlds but for her presence before the Nephalim and her children the Grigori."

At first Sam had only seen a blanket of thick fog surrounding her when the Great Voice spoke; now it seemed the world was awaking from a primeval slumber, mists lapped around her body like great waves of intangible water. The ground crunched underfoot as it was frozen under a blanket of hard snow. A part of her mind went to the memories of her childhood when she thought it was the coolest thing in the world to be able to walk on the thick frozen crust of snow just before her foot sank into a softer patch and she'd be up to her knees in the chilling white.

The thick fog laced frozen air stung her delicate nostrils and bit into her throat. Swallowing painfully, Sam recalled briefly another moment the cold was so bitter when she was upon the glacier in the Antarctic. At the time she hadn't known that was where the Gate had flung her and O'Neill. The frozen nights, the cold so biting Sam hadn't been able to think clearly or she would have dialed the Land of Light and escape with O'Neill. As it was all she could think of was to get him home so that Janet could heal him.


Sam spun even in this lucid dream she searched for her wife, hoping to find her. This fog lost everything just as Janet was lost in what had happened to her. The cold representative of the chill that had come between them. Sam couldn't move past the cold, at every turn her wife shut her out. And like the mind-numbing cold of the Antarctic, Sam couldn't think of the solution even as it was right there before her, a solution so easy it was beyond her grasp. It was a night fall of winter that comes without a star. In this lingering cold and darkness, Sam felt utterly spent, why was she so separate from her wife?

Janet was possessed by her own dreams

And in her dreams she heard the exacting words spoke to Sam though she did not know it. And further her dreams spoke. "You wanted to protect your child. It is your fate. Your bloodline awoken. Why resist it?"

"I don't want that power, I never wanted it." Janet would argue.

"You must hold your course in what you think is right of course. But you think wrongly if it's the Choirs you blame for the gestalt. No mother of pure virtue would ever allow her child harm but do all she could to heal it."

"I am to blame for this? Spontaneous evolution isn't natural!" Janet retorted.

"The gestalt quickened your path of your bloodline, already your child is of the Ancient bloodline, though lack you do the knowledge. What is it that you can heal? What is it that your bring peace and compassion, your gifts are merely augmented, enhanced you possess no more than you had before. Tis only stronger now."

"Strong enough to be physical." Janet said to the voice in the thick fog. "Wait! You said bloodline - Rebecca is an Ancient!"

"Has she not always outpaced her peers? Is she not keen? A child too brilliant? A child of an old soul so remarked, by many voiced? She is Ancient."

"But she's not at all like General O'Neill.....she doesn't have the knowledge."

"He gained all from the repository all the knowledge of the Ancients. Generations of knowledge in one moment without the full mental capacity of Ancient blood he would die soon after its touch. Simply being of the Ancient blood does not give one the knowledge of the Ancients."

"So I am not going to just start making things, and speaking in an Alien language. Well that's good to know," the doctor's tone was still biting. "And Rebecca?"

"Or any child yet to be born? You are a healer. You know the way of bloodlines," the voice was as clear as the thickening fog. "Despair you not healer, there are other forces in the World Symphony that lead our paths. In your visions you heard the cries of those that needed your touch, and wished you had the power to heal them. Now you do and you wish for it not. You are contrary Liege Healer, Nephalim of Ancients."

"Nephalim! That's Samantha!"

"A Nephalim born mortal with all the powers of the angelic. Is this not you also Healer? Mortal born with Ancient Song?" the Great Song argued effectively silencing Janet. "Many of those who achieve greatness have the humblest of origins. You bring great hope with you, what you chose to do with it Healer is your choice. Remember your Oath. First do no Harm! Who do you bring harm to if you turn your back on that which sets before you?"

The fog parted like some great epic special effect created in Charlton Heston's 'The Ten Commandments.' In it falling from white shadow the image of her wife. Her Sam. Her voice was likened to the Malakim when they sang, a twin voice of such purity, such awe that Janet felt herself pulled to it. Was this her Song? This the essence of the Nephalim's power. Was this task appointed to Samantha even as her own was to be a healer? The Liege Healer: Nephalim of the Ancients.

"Janet! Janet!" Sam's voice carried with it a strange note of desperation rarely heard in tone and inflection. "Janet!"

"I'm here Sam!" Janet waved her hand but the fog was thickening around her and the air temperature dropped several degrees. Underfoot something crunched and sweeched like the sound of ice and snow under a boot. Janet frowned she hadn't recalled what it was she had been standing upon before but she was positive it wasn't snow.

The air was more temperate prior her finding of Sam. Now it was frozen as if her breath would form crystals upon the air. The chill was deep and quickening to the marrow of the bone making them ache.

Sam's ever desperation echoed in her voice, she could sense Janet but she was far from sight and sound. The fear of what had happened to her. A shadow and a threat had been growing in her mind since the ill parting at the infirmary. Sam was so lost in what to do for her wife's disparity over the gestalt that she didn't know where she should turn next, what her next move should be. This desperation manifested itself now in her dreams. The cold and frozen fog parted her from her Janet.

"Janet!" Sam cried out. "Please tell me what you want me to do! Janet!"

Janet rushed towards the image of her wife and went to put her arms around the tall slender form but all she embraced was ice and fog. Sam was but a figment, a mirage created by the haze of whiteness. But what could not be mimicked was the bond. "Sam ... give me time baby. Give me time, Sammy-bear."

Something very cold and very wet touched Sam's face in a sandpaper caress. Sam's blue eyes snapped open to see twin sapphire eyes staring back at her. "Dammit Kha'antar!" the blonde shoved the massive lion muzzle from her heedless of the maw of very sharp teeth. "You big dope!"

The pumacia snorted in retort to the insult. Again the great cat pushed Sam with his thick muzzle, he even went as far as to grab hold of her arm and as gently as a parent moving a cub the great beast tugged at his mistress.

"Impatient aren't you?" Sam slid her arm free of the row of thick dagger teeth. Sam turned to see her wife's slumbering body only to discover that it was a pillow and a small note penned in Janet's fluidic delicate writing. 'I took Little Bit and Elladan for a ride, not to worry Lover but you looked too cute to wake all snuggled up. I love you Sammy-Bear. Always yours Janet.'

"So that's why you're in a huff." Sam accused Kha'antar. "Your brother got to go play and you're stuck at home. You want to go for a fly I bet."

The white head cocked to the side as if to say 'Well of course I want to go for a fly! What a dumb question. I thought you were a genius or something.'

"Guess it was a dumb question." Sam answered the silent question. "Alright give me a moment to get ready." Sam got up out of the bed and as soon as she made a few steps toward the bathroom Kha'antar pushed her back with his head, causing the blonde to lurch forward. "You know!" she turned around glaring at the massively muscled feline. "I wonder what you would look like with a mohawk."

White wings pressed hard against his body and Kha'antar's cerulean eyes stared as if saying 'you wouldn't dare!'

"Just try me buster!" Sam folded her arms over her chest glaring. Kha'antar padded up, his head lowered as he nuzzled his mistress' side. "Oh trying to butter me up now are you?" she said with a large toothy smile. Ruffling the thick mane, Sam dropped a small kiss upon the pumacia's forehead making sure her mount knew she was joking about the haircut.

Sam was scarcely mounted when Kha'antar took to the wind. He leapt off the open balcony just as an updraft wafted, with a great rumbling roar. Surging forward the mass of muscles in the creatures withers rippled under the light saddle into Sam's own body making her feel as if she were the one capturing the wind with her own wings. For a time the blonde rider thought to miss her motorcycle but upon the back of a pumacia that could take the winds at a speeds near ninety-five miles an hour the sensation was more than equal to the thrill she felt upon the back of her Harley. In the penumbra the pumaica could press mach one and Sam loved the utter adrenalin rush of such a ride. Kha'antar too loved the rush of flying so swiftly more so as he dodged in and out of the spires of Kalevala.

At times he tried to out race the Blue Wing or other Malakim as he never liked to have any other flyer ahead of him. Sam would offer no argument. Even now dominating the winds as he was, the blonde rider searched the skies for signs of her wife and child astride the more sensible Elladan. Janet's mount was just as swift but like his mistress he was more practical when it came to taking the winds. He wasn't reckless nor did he risk his riders safety if only to overtake another flyer. But never could he be said to be weak-willed or cowardly, he was as willful and commanding as his rider.

Sam smiled as she thought of the pragmatic Bagheera the panther Rebecca had named Elladan for. Bagheera was always the more sensible one, never careless and never risking the life of those under his care, but vigilant brave, curious and scholarly and ever reliable and slow to rise in anger. When so provoked a fury so swift and so hard it is in the like of a storm, a cyclone of destruction. And then it was over and calm ensued. It was wise never to risk the anger.

'That's so Janet....' Sam said aloud but her words were lost in the wind.

Kha'antar was spirited, laconic and tough a steady strength, forever protective of his loved ones. Vicious when pushed and dominating. He always took daredevil chances when the situation presented itself. Charismatic and commanding, he brought with him a presence of safety and security, much like the great cat Rebecca named him for: Aslan. And Sam had to admit it was a bit like herself.

Novalis did well when she fitted the pumacia to their humans. Both beasts as with their riders were filled with honor, strength and self-reliance. And just like felines everywhere were held in a secret mystery and even begrudging respect and yes perhaps even a smidgen of fear so too were the riders. Perhaps it was this that spurred many to take the hunt against them, or perhaps merely it was because they were twin titled Nephalim.

And it was this now that parted two lovers. Sam's brow was heavy with thought and distraught at what would become of her beloved. She had a single hope that it was but time that Janet needed and nothing more.

"Kha'antar taste the wind, find your brother and Janet." Sam commanded. "Fly to them."

For his part the great beast roared his compliance. His blue maned head was thrown back, the muzzle wrinkled as he sifted the air for any fleeting lingering scent familiar to him. Snorting the great beast shifted turning sharply to the right making Sam's thighs clench tightly having been an old pro at riding bikes she was not dislodged. A deep rumble keening told the blonde her swift mount had indeed caught something upon the wind.

Like the Malakim the pumacia's flight feathers measured five feet in length and eight inches wide but considering its wingspan was a little over twenty five feet it wasn't that unbelievable. Sam was mounted upon a powerful creature capable of navigating the wind like an F16, a beast that cruised at 90 miles an hour as a leisurely pace. Banking in and out of the eyrie towers Kha'antar's great white-blue wings pumped hard catching an updraft.

Kha'antar felt his mistress' need to unwind and took the corners with greater speeds pushing his body to the limits zig-zagging in and out of clouds, spires and arches of the flying buttresses of many of the buildings. Sam leaned her body close to her mount she was nearly horizontal. Her hand's clenching his mane, a large smile upon her face. As Kha'antar rose into the air higher and higher the microprocessors activated and the full face descended down upon the motorcycle like helmet, the oxygen tanks pumping in fresh reserves.

The great winged beast torced his body so he spun down, his wings flush against his body diving hard for the earth below, and the last possible moment he pulled up, his wings now widespread so he caught the up-draft and soared skimming the surface of the lake that surrounded the Academy, his paws hitting the water causing a light spray to rush up and hit Sam.

Sam could see her wife and daughter sitting on the bank of the lake skipping stones. Elladan was lying nearby, sunning himself. Kha'antar lifted into the air banked hard to the left knowing full well his mistress would leap from his back. How he hated having to avoid hitting her with his massive wings so he learned to circle hovering just right so the Nephalim could jump from his back.

True to form Sam leapt from the pumacia's back landing as nimbly as the feline she was just riding and padded up to her wife. Kha'antar circled once more before landing shaking himself before he trotted to the lakes edge and started lapping up the water.

"Hey two of my favorite girls." came Sam's greetings.

"Mama!" Rebecca ran and launched herself into her blonde mother's arms. "Mommy and I went for a fly. She said you were a sleepy head so we went out ahead of you."

Sam kissed her child's brow loving the feeling of the slight weight in her arms. She swiftly shifted the tiny girl so she was now piggy-back riding, her arms free Sam made to embrace her wife but stopped wondering if Janet would welcome her touch.

The physician moved on automatic pilot for her wife's arms, stopped short and simply kissed Sam nearly chastely upon the lips, pulling away before the contact became lasting. Sam felt a bit chastened over the abrupt touch, her smile covered for her disappointment but Janet felt it rush into her like a seventeen ton elephant.

"I need time." Janet said.

"I'll try....." Sam murmured, her blue eyes reflecting what she hid behind a face of pure calm. Sam's blue eyes always spoke volumes, never hiding truthfully her emotions. No one could long withstand the severity and magnitude of her gaze for long without casting their look elsewhere, or be drawn into the depth of the blue oceans. "Expecting me to stand by..."

"Little pitchers, Sam." Janet warned.

"She's talking about me, Mama." Rebecca said. Both her mothers looked at the child who merely shrugged. "I figured it out, cus' every time you want to talk Tall-talk you say Little-pitchers. I'm not dumb, moms."

"No Sweety you're not." Janet said maneuvering her body so she could kiss her girl's cheek. "In fact you're very very smart." Janet thought of the Great Song's Voice lingering in her ears… Rebecca was born an Ancient.... everything now about her girl's amazing abilities all became so much the clearer.

Rebecca flashed a smug smile. "Mama let me down, I want to sit on Aslan."

Sam knelt down so that her daughter could go scamper off and play with a lion-like beast that was as large as a draught horse. She knew that Kha'antar would never harm the girl. If ever he was upset over her presence he merely walked away or if he could, fly so he was left undisturbed by the spirited girl. A few times he flicked her away with a swipe of his wing and Rebecca would leave the massive beast alone. Elladan was far more tolerant and allowed Rebecca to even braid his mane. Both enjoyed the child's presence, both were fiercely protective over the 'kit' and even the Blue Wing had to be leery when approaching her if they were on guard which they were a great deal of the time. Elladan especially, in a way viewed Rebecca as his own cub, though Rebecca firmly drew the line at regurgitated food he once tried to offer her so she might be fed as any pumacia youngling.

"You dreamt." Sam said.

"So did you." Janet answered. "Same dream? Snow, fog and the Great Song."

"Yeah. I could feel you but I couldn't find you. I thought I might have heard you...you said you needed time."

Neither woman looked at the other but kept their eyes fixed upon Rebecca now astride the magnificent Kha'antar as he trotted about.

"Don't shut me out." Sam said her eyes brimming with unshed tears. She couldn't help but think of the ice in the dream and what it represented the parting of herself and Janet. "Janet you're not alone… You're not. Janet you pulled me back from that abyss when I was filled with so much rage and hate. All I wanted to do was obliterate Usiel for his attempt to kill you and Cassandra. He threatened you Janet... and I wanted to make him pay," this was said in nothing short of a growl.

The disturbance in the air vibrated so acoustically that even Rebecca glanced up from her place upon 'Aslan's' back. Sam tried to smile to reassure her little girl it was going to be okay. Kha'antar had felt it to and decided a bit of distraction was needed and he shook his body jostling the tiny child until she giggled so hard she nearly lost her grip on his broad back.

"You are always, always there for me. I need to be here for you now Baby." implored the more subdued blonde. "You're not the only who changed! I have the ability to tap in to a lot of power, the Malakim's link to the Great Song. I can feel the course of the World Symphony running through me. Now that you're actually more aware of it you think you're singled out? That you're the one so adversely affected? Well you're not Janet. God Novalis is severed from the Great Song and I took her place. Like Novalis said 'The connection to the Great Song is protean, changing from one user to the other and nearly impossible to contain but readily disbursed. That's why everyone has a different will over the World Symphony. Some Ecomancers, others Elementalist, Illusionists, and so on.' The strongest connection is now me. Do you think this is just some fucking game....."

"Sam just don't! Don't raise your voice to me. Don't try to make me feel guilty for needing time. I love you, that's going to have to be enough right now." She cupped Sam's face, but even as she moved in to kiss the delicate lips, Janet pulled back at the last moment her mouth opened as if to say something then snapped shut. "Look I know you worry about what the Malakim expect from you and I know your fears I know them so well they've become my own. And your fears only serve to augment mine."

Sam ground her teeth, feeling she had failed her family yet again, failed to keep them safe. Here of all places, Janet was harmed the most. Despite what the dream had conveyed Sam couldn't shake the feeling she failed. It was her fault and hers alone. "Fine. Take all the time you need Janet Fraiser. Tell me when you think I can be allowed to be a part of your life again." Sam pushed past her wife storming to Kha'antar and Rebecca. She didn't even look behind her when she swung up upon the great beast and took to the wind with her child securely held in front of her.

Janet stared after the blue space in the sky and the speck her family had quickly become. Elladan mewled pushing against Janet. The woman turned and found massive blue eyes looking at her with quiet intensity. The blue was the same grey-blue as Sam's eyes. Janet all but lost her self-control she leaned into her great mount weeping. Soft white wings arched about her in a shelter of down. Tears of anger and frustration burned her deep brown eyes. She wiped them away with the pads of her fingers unwilling to allow her heart to shatter. She didn't have the time for it now.

Part 7

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