DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
By Elizabeth Carter
Balance and Harmony
The Nephalim is the Scion of Balance.
The World Symphony is not in balance. The Grigori lifted up their voices in lamentation and yet they did not know for what they lamented. Their voices crying out in a dirge of remorse they could not fathom. What was this twilight of discontent that rested upon the mantle of the Empire?
The climate shifted on an intergalactic scale unbalancing everything. The World Symphony is the foundation of all creation of nature, with little nor no harmony nature turns against itself and becomes unstable. Storms grow and become hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, they fester and feed on each other, much like anger and wounded hearts. Nature encourages mutual dependence not unlike love, they are not mutually exclusive. So long as something doesn't upset this balance of nature it can maintain itself indefinitely. An interesting metaphor for relationships between two hearts.
The center cannot hold things fall apart.
Everything seemed frozen.
Frozen in time, frozen in heart, frozen in angst.
It was not just the Grigori that was affected or the planet named for them. The World Symphony is in chaos, thrusting the Malakim Empire in turmoil. Not the turmoil that comes with despair though there is enough around to spread throughout all those within the Empire Malakim and Mortal alike.
Turmoil of the seas, the air, even the cores of worlds were eruptive. A run-away climate shift that could thrust entire worlds into chaos. The cause of these global shifts, the fragile environments were breaking apart. Rough seas, sudden temperature drops in the air and surfaces of the oceans, hail the size of baseballs that fell with such velocity that it became lethal, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes in record strengths ripping apart coastlines, class five tornados and blizzards converging, raping the inner regions, floods of biblical proportions, earthquakes shuddered and took its own prisoners and there were not the only ones to take hostages. Volcanic activity churned magma spewing onto the surface not just exploding volcanoes but gaseous pools of viscous tar slithered to the surface, lakes of magma snailed its path along lands molesting them in its wake.
Enter Wings of Malakim: both the Military and Mercenary guilds were deployed to try to stop this climatic unrest. In fact anyone who had the Songs of Ecomancy and Element were sent to worlds to Quiet the Cacophony of its climates. Others were deployed to help in humanitarian capacities, medical, food and shelter needs for those rescued from the super storms of the worlds afflicted.
There were cells of storms where the air descended too rapidly to warm so the super cool air from upper troposphere, plunged the air to negative 120' degrees Fahrenheit. In these areas the Malakim were unable to fly let alone go out of doors, those stuck in the mass storm cells if they did not keep inside and warm they died.
Even the Penumbra was as ravaged in the tormented squalls of a climatic disdain. And in this Galactic Shadow it was worse for here one could hear the lament of the World's Symphony's despair. The Malakim could not tolerate the discord long. Those exposed to the wails of discordance became so locked into despair they could not be shaken from it and fell in to so deep a depression they became catatonic.
It was an epidemic. Having no recourse, no answers, no hope Novalis sought only the voices that could offer answers. She would seek out the Wisdoms. This plight was something far beyond her ken. The Wisdoms were masters of all songs, and they pulled back from all interaction because of such power. To use it would unbalance the World Symphony and so they taught others how to use their Songs.
Novalis passed through an archway to the left and found herself ascending a narrow arabesque spiral staircase. The steps seemed without end as they delved deeper and higher into the darkness. The edifices were clearly aeries of winged beings.
Even the beautiful angelic choir that echoed perfectly thru the marble halls could not bring solace to the Queen. Her thoughts were too dark, too far beyond harmony to be reached by the beauty of voice. Finally the staircase stopped, and she glided through an opening into a passageway so broad that it was not so much a corridor as an avenue. Wide enough of course for a Malakim to take the wind. A line of basalt columns ran down the center of the hall, supporting the arched ceiling high above. The columns were skillfully carved into the shapes of trees, conjuring the illusion of walking down a leafy boulevard under the shadows of dusk.
Novalis flew by rote, paying little heed to the gate on the far side of the compound yet the drawbridge was drawn up to the portcullis, there were no watchtowers, but then there wouldn't have been. Anyone who had gotten this far would be worthy of an audience with the Thrones. It was not conceit that there were no watchtowers, but confidence.
Spreading her great purple wings the Queen of the Malakim captured the air traversing the long catwalk, leading to yet another antechamber and wending hallway. Below her was a series of low buildings constructed out of the same rose-colored stone as the walls. The buildings of Hy-Basil were arranged symmetrically around the central tower in the middle she had glimpsed earlier, supported by fluted stone columns there was no doubt that the tower was the main temple.
She flew the rest of the way up over the wall then up again not completely concentrating on her flight path. It was a route after all she could take to wing in her sleep. The perpetual moist chill of the air caused the angelic to shiver, but she ignored it. How many of her people suffered worse?
At last Novalis stood beneath a high stone archway, a great arcade that would lead her from the town center to the doors of the great temple of the Heavens. Behind the tall angelic, a corridor stretched into endless shadow. Before her lay her goal. Walls of pale blue marble flecked with gold soared upward in a vault of dizzying height. An intricate mosaic adorned the lofty ceiling, depicting a fantastic sky: radiant day shown brilliantly upon one side, while night glittered with jewel like stars upon the other. Light streamed down from the mosaic above-part of it was sun-gold, part moon-pearl-refracting off the polished walls. It filled the chamber with shimmering luminescence.
In keeping with the ceiling, the gallery's expansive floor was a patchwork of marble squares, alternating in a chequered pattern between white-gold noon and onyx black midnight. Each of the squares was perhaps three paces across the floor was bordered on all sides by a swathe of mottled green marble. On the far side of the hall, set into a shallow nave, was a door of gold.
Novalis gazed around, her acute vision piercing the dimness of the canopy. At one time she would have enjoyed the beauty and splendour of the central chamber, today however she had other things upon her mind. Soon the Queen would find herself amid a maze of familiar dark passageways and shadow-filled halls. High archways opened to the right and left. Corridors doubled back on themselves or ended abruptly in blank walls. Some stairwells led to nowhere, while others delved higher into the heart of the towers...until at last she came to a majestic door.
The heavy intricate door opened as if some unseen hands touched them and pushed them slowly apart. Before the queen lay crystal. The whole chamber was made of crystal. Not only that but more crystal formations hung from the ceiling and fountained up from the floor. Their prisms turning, the chamber gifted with soft pastels of multicolored lights, slowing relaxing ebbing and flowing with each step Novalis took. The air seemed crisped and clear, yet it wasn't cold immersed all the cool crystal radiated a warmth so inviting so wonderful filling ones soul with easy and complete love. Well normally it did. Today however Novalis felt only a vague emptiness.
The crystals reflected all the colors of the universe. Each step was like stepping into a wonderland of grace and majesty. The staircase was slender elegant in its simplicity, unlike the last they had travelled. Like the chamber itself it was made out of crystal except this crystal looked fragile, handspun. So delicate that one small touch would bring it down shattering it into a million pieces at their feet. Novalis of course knew the fragility was only a seeming facade.
She approached the innermost sanctuary of the Temple where sat the Thrones, the High Wisdom of the Malakim. The central room was an enormous chamber flooded by the warm glow of willow-the-wisps. Its walls were constructed of triangular and trapezoidal panels of ingeniously shaped marble exquisitely striated and glistening with moisture, resembling the forest itself.
The floor of the chamber was an elaborate mosaic of concentric circles - some parts translucent and illuminated from beneath by the same magic glow of the faery-fire - decorated familiar mystic symbols. At the center of this was a circular table made of primeval ebony-violet crystal, glowing with the same spectral light as the pellucid sections of the walls.
Marble blended, no merged into crystal so seamlessly there was no way to tell where one left off and the other began, white stone made arabesque love to dark crystal, both polished to such smoothness, that the edifice became a child of wonderful creation. The walls, ceiling, lintels and frames of the doors were carved into glorious depictions of Malakim life. Here in the queen's home the story seemed to be the matriarchal history of each past queen unto the beginning of the first Malakim, the Lady herself who gave birth to a nation.
The domicile was both practical and beautiful, was there any home in the Malakim domain that was not so? The winged-beings surround themselves with beauty and yet, it was not garish and boastful. Here there was no proclamation of wealth and blatant stature, simply put the Malakim surrounded themselves with the beauty of nature itself. Magically shaped wood carvings, crystal formations, woven leaves of the massive redwoods and a dozen unnameable nuances caused the over all effect of wonder. The angelic beings revealed in the glory of nature. And it was here that Novalis Queen of the Malakim sought out the voices of the Wisdoms.
Novalis faced them upon bended knee with wings pressed against her body. "You have knowledge. You must give it to me. Tell me why the Great Song laments."
"There are very few who had faced the Harrowing of the Unmaking and lived to speak of it. And so when a soul chooses to speak of it, one should choose to listen. This Elemental war will destroy all life unless the universe can be balanced again." The first Wisdom whose name was Pronoia had spoken.
The second of the Wisdoms, Meririm took voice, "And it is the greatest of all Songs that can still the Harrowing, it is sung by the Archangel of Healing. She is the brightest of all lights, of all songs yet remains in the shadow of the Nephalim. She who is the Consort of the Nephalim bears softest of Songs and holds the greatest of Powers."
"She could still the hurricane's gale and quiet the celestial cacophony that brings the Sundering of worlds but for her presence. She had done so with the Nephalim and her children the Grigori. She too must still the storm within her." Tufriel The Third Wisdom now spoke. Her pink eyes gazing steadily. "It is the Harrowing of the Unmaking that adds power to this unrest."
Novalis flinched. She knew that her calling upon the power she had used to destroy Anubis would have a great debt to pay. She had thought payment was the severance she suffered from the Great Song. Apparently this was not so. Much more was being asked and the taxation could not be met.
"You told me why, now tell me how to stop it." The queen demanded.
"Balance comes with Harmony." the three spoke in unison.
"Our people, our mortal wards are in grave danger and all you can tell me is to create Balance through Harmony?" The Queen rose, supplication no longer a factor, her great purple wings flared out in her agitation. "By the Dark you three are the Wisdoms! So do something Wise! How do I save my people?"
"We have told you. The Discord must be vanquished to do that Balance must be restored. Harmony must be generated." the three spoke as one, once more.
"I am sure that will come to great comfort to those who have lost so much." Novalis snapped sardonically. She would say nothing more but turn upon her heels, her wings fanning out behind her as she strode in quick strides back down the crystalline steps of the citadel. 'Idiots. They are supposed to be the Wisdoms, and all they can give me is spiritual rhetoric crap. The Dark take them all!' she mouthed to no one.
It was a precarious concept especially in the fields of science.
For months Anise of the Tok'ra had been desperately trying to find the delicate balance between the genes of a Tok'ra symbiote and that of a Malakim and Tau'ri. So far all twelve of her attempts had ended up as abominable failures. Anise had nearly given up all hope of finding the perfect harmonious connection between the donor genes. Nearly but not quite.
Creating clones wasn't a difficult task, for the most part she would start out with a blank slate clone of each specimen, it was the hybridization that wouldn't function. The Malakim DNA simply wouldn't meld with the Tau'ri or the Tok'ra. She could make a Tokra-Tau'ri clone but the cross species cloning with the Malakim was proving futile.
Anise had bone marrow from both Samantha Carter and Arian, as well as from a symbiote. Brain fluid from Samantha could be the catalyst to form all three together. But gaining the perfect balance was her dilemma, the failed experiments had proven to be horrific mutations. From what Anise had heard from Jacob and gleaned from Arian, is that the 'harmony' between the Tau'ri and Malakim is embodied in Samantha. The Tau'ri colonel is literally and physically a bridge between the two species.
'Perhaps this can not be done.' Freya said internally. 'The cloning of each subject alone isn't the problem nor is blending Tau'ri to Symbiote. The Malakim are simply too diverse.'
'Arian blended with Xad, it can be done.' Anise pointed out. 'We are fighting a war for our very existence, we do not apologize or shrink from the means.'
'I don't disagree, but twelve failures is evidence enough to point out the Malakim are not viable. Anise you are micro-visioned you must see outside the scope,' Freya argued, 'there must be another way. The gene manipulation isn't working as we are working it now.'
Anise smirked, 'There is a way to make it work. Nanoprobes will alleviate the compatibility issues. They will rework the genes on a cellular level, and blend the mitochondria.'
Taking out the cells she had cultured from the unknowing donors, Anise once again began the cross ovum gene splicing first the Tok'ra with Tau'ri' using the knowledge she gleaned from the copious notes of the Kull Warriors, she had smuggled out. She had paid a heavy price for the technology but in the end it had been well worth it, even if a Tok'ra agent had died. Of course her actions had already lead to the demise of Xad's former host, it was all for the better. The good of all Tok'ra. Anise was convinced that even Egeria mother of all Tok'ra would approve of her desperate measures. to insure the survival of a dying race.
It was early dawn when Janet woke up. Night was fading over the forests as if the rain had washed the darkness out of the hem of its garment. The chill of the passing night still hung thick in the air threatening to freeze the lungs. Plumes of vapour hung in the air as one breathed or spoke, numbing the cheeks and nose. Frostbitten was the morn, without the peppermint the forever young doctor always associated with winter.
The air was bitter, cold almost brooding for its unnatural summoning and her it sat upon the known worlds as a pouting child. It would not be moved. Frostbitten were the groves of trees, gardens of flowers and twigs upon every branch upon every bough upon every tree. The cold made Janet feel an age her she would never become. Ancient. Ironic because that was exactly what she had become. An Ancient.
"Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble, by the prinking of my thumb something wicked this way comes." Janet quoted the Bard. "Toil and trouble that is exactly what is bubbling." Her breath hung in the very air for a moment the doctor almost thought she might have actually seen the words form from out of her mouth. "Too much of Rebecca's Harry Potter." she grumbled as she wrapped around her small frame the terry cloth robe Sam had given her for Christmas one year. It was still soft and very warm. Janet often used some of Sam's cologne on it when she was away off world for long periods of she might feel Sam's warmth encircle her and taken in her scent.
'Oh Sammy, I love you....' she brought the cloth up to her nose once more taking in her wife's scent. Falling in the euphoria of love, dream and memory. Or maybe it was just the cold.
Janet looked up to the sky, it shocked her how dark it was, how pregnant the black clouds were with rain something else darkened the horizon. Not clouds but a Wing of Warrior, flying for the Nephalim's home. The presence didn't shock her as much as concern her. The only reason a Wing would come to the bastion was if there was a dire emergency. More so if the Wing in question was the Blue Wing, which had always been Sam Carter's personal wing.
Boudicca was the first to touch down, her wings pressed close to her body. She bent low over one knee, her clenched fist clutched over her left heart. Despite the fact she and the rest of the Blue Wing were now out the Military Guild and members of the Mercenary Guild where such saluting wasn't necessary old habits as they say are difficult to break.
"Liege Healer," Boudicca rose to her seven plus height.
"You need the Nephalim?" Janet was ready to retreat indoors to wake her wife.
The commander of the Blue Wing shook her red-maned head. "It is in fact your presence we flew to seek. Another Wing has fallen attempting to control the climate shifts to Grigori. The Blue Wing was dispatched for better efficiency. We must tarry not, my Liege."
At a gesture from Boudicca, Pumba, Razeal and Zephon stepped forward each carrying heavy ALICE like packs with a painted red-cross upon them, a mortal design but one easily recognizable as medical emergency supplies. If needs be the Malakim could erect a mobile emergency hospital.
"The blue Wing will protect ...." Boudicca faltered for a moment as if summoning up a word in her memory, then a faint trace of a smile slipped upon her lips, "protect your six."
What the commander of the Blue Wing didn't say was that the Nephalim 'only' trusted the Blue Wing fully with her wife, her family. Sam trusted of course the Grigori and the other choirs as she did the members of the SGC but it was the Blue Wing that had Sam's full trust as much as any member of SG1.
"Give me a moment to get dressed." Janet answered. She turned her small body and returned to the full warmth of her cavernous bedroom. She stopped near a small ante chamber where both the pumaica slept and touched Elladan on the muzzle. "We're going to fly." she said waking the massive winged lion like beast.
Elladan crouched on his forepaws while keeping upon his hind legs much like any house cat and yawned, his six inch fangs shown brightly in the dim glow of the fireplace. He stretched out his indigo wings, shook and yawned once more before he padded out onto the balcony. He muffled a small noise of acknowledgment to the seven members of the Blue Wing. If his mistress didn't want them there she would have indicated. Boudicca made a move for the doors of the balcony. This Elladan wouldn't allow. He growled, fanned his wings and sat staring at the seven angelics.
No one made an advance for the door, each quite content to remain rooted where they were.
Having woke her mount the next bit she had to do was wake her wife. Janet couldn't help but smile as she saw Sam was now cuddled up on her side of the bed, her arms clutching Janet's own pillow to her body, as if she was cuddling her absent wife. 'I love you Sammy-bear. I love you so much. You are everything to me, baby.'
Again Janet felt a pang of regret for the bitterness that had developed between them. It was obvious she missed her Sammy-bear. Her own intoxication with Sam's perfume on the old robe and now the sight of Sam on Janet's side of the bed with her pillow. For weeks there had been no sharing of intimacy, no words of love offered, looks quickly adverted fearful they would not be wanted. The chill between them was as frigid as the air outside.
"Sam, wake up." Janet said sitting beside her wife.
Blue eyes blinked trying to vanquish the fog in her head. Sam smiled at her first sight of her wife. Aware it was a gray morning, Sam watched as the mist drifted over the treetops and open doors of the balcony spilling into the threshold of the French windows, and for a moment the blonde woman felt as if the shadows of the night were still hiding among the trees.
"Its cold. You left the doors open." she grumbled, pulling the blankets up over her head.
"Sorry, I have to leave, medical emergency. The Blue Wing have my Six, Sam I have to go out into the field."
That if anything woke Sam. She bolted so quickly out of bed she nearly smashed her forehead against Janet's. "Say again?" she said as if on a radio.
"Sam, I don't have time to explain." Janet shed her robe and proceeded to do the same with her silk pyjamas. "I'm needed on the field. A Wing went down. They need me." As with anyone long careered in the military, Janet had her uniform at the ready and could quickly don it. In this case Malakim leather BDU's of blue and black to match the Blue Wing.
Sam had dashed quickly to the wardrobe that contained only their uniforms and had Janet's armor at the ready. The Mithril pressed Antimantium was nigh on indestructible. Under her orders no Wing, no Grigori Gate personnel was allowed off base unless armored. Sam had commissioned armor for all medical and scientific personal, and all such personnel would have no less than three guardians at any time. The CMO would have a full Wing at her Six at all times when on duty and off base. Preferably the Blue Wing. Sam was terrified of another P3X-666 occurring.
With the swiftness born from years in the military Janet was ready within four minutes including donning the armor. Sam spun Janet around in her arms, pressed her lips firmly against those of her wife's reluctant mouth. Her blue eyes burning into Janet's own chocolate orbs. "Be safe, Janet. I don't care about this damn fight or you needing fucking time I won't let you go without you knowing I love you. I will always love you."
Janet could feel the attempt Sam was making to hide her fear of another P3X-666. In fact if anything terrified Sam the most it was Janet's death. The blonde had managed for the most part to distance herself in the bond that Nefreyu so long ago had created. All in the assumption Janet needed time, thus Sam had pulled away from her beloved. The blonde had a fire for science for her children, her passion for her position with the Malakim had never diminished nor had her love for Janet but it was closed off. Until now.
In that small moment, Janet could have sworn the chill air wafting in from the still open balcony warmed to a soft spring breeze rather then a flurry of winter wind. "Don't worry, 'your' Wing has my Six." Janet said instead of repaying with her own profession of love.
Once more Jane felt a shifting of the temperature. For a moment there was hope of warmth, but in seconds it seemed to drop several degrees at once, so cold in fact the doctor felt her teeth want to chatter.
'Is that all you have to say to me? My Wing has your six?' Sam glowered.
The wind outside started to howl.
"With all due respect, Liege Healer we must away!" Boudicca said. "The barometer is dropping, flying is already cautionary at best."
"I'm coming." Janet turned rushing the open doors. The thick curtains bucked venomously as she passed. "Later Sam. We'll talk when I get back. Don't worry, Sammy."
Sam turned her back on her wife, 'Why didn't you just leave me a note and go without waking me. I'd get about the same amount of response.' The shiver in Sam's body had nothing at all to do with the biting cold stealing into the room. 'You didn't even tell me you loved me. Do you love me?'
Kha'antar sleeping in the same nook as his brother once had grumped as he moved slowly to the fire as the chill in the air was now cutting into him. He did not envy his den-mate this early morn flight at all. He cracked open a dozy eye as his mistress passed him, her anger filing his nose thickly with the tang of it.
He continued to watch with half lidded eyes as his mistress garbed herself in the leather and armor of a Malakim warrior. He knew all too soon his warm spot by the fire would be as if a dream. Coughing out a protest he caught his mistress attention.
"Excuse you Hairball! But it looks like it's a new day out there to me." Sam flung her hand out gesturing to the now waving curtains. "We have work to do. In case you haven't noticed we have a freaking climatic holocaust on our hands." The words were all but growled out between clenched teeth.
The blue maned beast turned his head and shook it as if to say 'Look its not my fault you and your mate are at each other throats. Don't blame me if she's not respective to your mating dance.'
He was not looking forward to this flight at all. His mistress bounded on his back and despite the un-necessity of it she kicked him in the ribs. Kha'antar roared half in protest half in his own growing anger as he leapt for the balcony and bounded into the air. The cold, the fighting the wind currents and his mistress' dark mood had added to his own discontent. So much so that more than once he had gotten into a knock out brag out, tooth, claw and wing battle with his brother Elladan.
All things were not harmonious.
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