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The village was small, and it was immediately apparent that the priests of Mordred retained power through intimidation and terror. The priests refused to speak to Daniel until Casey told them that they would answer all of his questions, and truthfully. She wandered the village with Jack, leaving Teal'c with Daniel. "These people need medical care. All of them seem to have been beaten or hurt. Probably tortured. They could use a good meal, too, from the looks of it."
Jack nodded. "I noticed that the…uh…temple is in good condition, and those priests seem to be well-fed."
"I noticed that too. The problem is, how are we going to convince these folks that Mordred is no god if they think I’m a goddess?"
Jack laughed. "I’m gonna let you come up with the answer to that."
She cast a sideways glance at him. "Gee, thanks." They had reached the edge of the village and were heading back to the temple when she saw it. A large statue of a man wielding a sword, his foot on the neck of another man. "I think I have it," she said softly.
"That statue. We tear the damned thing down."
Jack looked at the statue for a minute. "Might work."
"We won’t know unless we try," she argued.
"Okay. Get Teal'c out here."
At that moment Daniel hurried to where the two of them were standing, the Jaffa right behind him. "According to these priests, it’s been several hundred years since Mordred made an appearance. Evidently the robes keep the people from knowing just who the priests are. When a priest is needed, three young men are chosen, taken out to the woods, and only one comes back. The other two are killed and buried. No one ever knows which one the priest is. Initiation is painful, from what I could find in their scrolls. Lots of humiliation as well. Keeps them all…loyal…to one another."
Casey groaned. "The deprivation of those freakin’ snakes never ceases to amaze me," she hissed. "C’mon, Jack, let’s do it, now!"
"Do what?" Daniel asked, looking from Casey to Jack and back again.
"Casey thinks if we get rid of the statue, we might be able to convince these people that Mordred isn’t a god," Jack explained.
"If you convince them of that, those priests aren’t going to survive," Daniel said.
Casey pulled her lip between her teeth. "Payback can be such a bitch! Those ‘priests’ have been just as victimized. So we have to protect those guys. Taking the robes off will be a start. I’m betting that they all have family here."
"I agree," Daniel said, nodding. "The best way to start the healing is to let those men return to their families free from fear of Mordred."
"Okay, then campers, let’s do it. Think a little C-4 will do the job?" Jack asked, looking over that the large black man beside him.
"Okay, get those people back."
Casey stood at the base of the statue. Daniel smiled at her, nodded his encouragement. "Mordred is no god. He’s a Goa’uld. They’re nasty snake parasites that infest a body, take it over. You don’t have to be afraid of him any longer. Those who serve him need not fear him any longer. You can be free of this false god. We’ll prove it."
The priests were standing huddled at the entrance of the temple, unsure of what to do. They were sure that they were in the presence of Morganna. Perhaps she had become angry with Mordred, and had destroyed him. Perhaps this was a test of their faith. The High Priest led the others back inside the temple, and they fell to their knees to pray that they would be found worthy.
The explosion rocked the village, several stones from the temple walls rolled to the ground with resounding ‘whumps’. The villagers cowered, watching the sky, waiting for their vengeful god to strike. After a few minutes, when nothing happened, several of the men became brave enough to approach the team.
Daniel told them that his people would be happy to help them; that food, clothing, blankets and medical care would be sent to them as soon as possible. The men, suddenly thrust into the position of leadership, accepted the offer gratefully.
The men looked at the temple, then at one another. It wasn't difficult to see the anger in their eyes, to understand that revenge was on their minds. Jack, Daniel and Teal'c moved up to the top step of the temple, Casey stood on the step just below them. She looked down into the faces of the villagers.
"Okay, Case, try to keep that mob from getting out of hand," Jack whispered.
She gave a subtle nod of understanding. "The men inside have been victimized as much as you have. They were forced to endure torture and humiliation to become priests. These men are your sons, your brothers. I’m sure that you’re angry with them, but please, can’t you find it in your hearts to forgive them? If you can, they will be able to help you."
The people looked at each other, then back at her. Several of the men began shaking their heads, others began to plead with them. One woman, quite old from her appearance, spoke softly to the men. Eventually they all nodded.
Daniel and Teal'c brought the priests out. "You’ve been worshipping a false god," Daniel said gently. "You’ve endured much, suffered much because of him. You’ve done things that you probably didn’t want to do. But that’s over now. You can go back to your families. They’re waiting for you."
"It’s okay, you can take your robes off. You’re free of Mordred," Casey said, giving the men a soft smile.
The priests turned to one another, then one...a very young man it was revealed...pushed the hood from his head. There were angry red scars on his face and arms. An older woman cried out, held her arms open. He rushed into them, held her close, both of them crying openly. The other priests slowly pushed the hoods from their heads. Gasps arose among the gathered villagers as they saw who they were, saw that these men were scarred also. For a few seconds, the team was afraid that there would be trouble, but the men were welcomed back by those who appeared to be family members.
Jack grinned, and looked around at his team. "Let’s go campers. We’ll get another team back here ASAP with supplies."
A A A A A A
The man who had been saved by the team’s intervention stood in the middle of the path that they were following to return to the ‘gate. He approached Casey, slowly lowered himself to his knees, then knelt before her, his forehead on the ground. "I would serve you," he said softly
She knelt down beside him. "There is no need for you to do that. I’m just a woman. You were strong enough, wise enough, to see that Mordred was a false god. Your people need your strength, your wisdom."
"You are she who was prophesied to come. The scrolls of the elders, hidden away for all these centuries, foretold of the coming of one who would save the world from those with the eyes that glowed. Great warriors would come and free the people. They would be led by one fair and beautiful," the man said, awe in his voice.
Casey shook her head. "I don’t know about that. All I know is that you’re free, and you sure don’t need to be looking for somebody else to worship. Your people will govern themselves, take care of themselves. We’ll help for as long as you need our help." She stood to her feet, raised the man with her. "Go on, your people need you," she said, nodding in the direction of the now gathered villagers. "Others like us will be here soon to help you."
The man nodded, and slowly made his way back to the village.
The three men around her started grinning.
"What?" she asked, hands on her hips.
"Come on, oh fair and beautiful goddess, let’s go home," Daniel chuckled.
"Hey, at least we’re ‘great warriors’," Jack said.
"Bite me. Both of you," Casey huffed. She walked ahead of them.
"Got to admit, she looks like a goddess," Daniel said softly. "I’d like to see that scroll. Makes me wonder if those time travelers had something to do with this." The team had investigated a planet where the indigenous population, a small group of farmers, had let them investigate what appeared to be a temple constructed by the Ancients. Text on the walls had referred to those who 'traveled the streams of time, to align all as it should be'. Something that confused Daniel, knowing what he did about the rules of non-inference by 'higher levels' of beings.
"Good question. We can ask to see the scrolls, if you think it will help," Jack replied. "Wonder how many other people have ‘prophecies’ given to them by those Ancient time-travelers?"
"We should ask Aaron and Erin what they know about this," Daniel said. He grinned as they approached the 'gate. Casey was waiting, her arms crossed over her chest. Her eyes were still flashing, as well. He winked at her, his grin getting broader when she lost her internal battle and smiled, finally winking back at him.
A A A A A A
Emily was asleep, and thankfully slept through the night now. Casey turned off the bathroom light and walked into the hallway. The light in the den was on. She went in, found Daniel staring at the yellow legal pad he had been writing on.
"Daniel, it’s late. Let’s go to bed," she said softly. She ran her fingers through his hair.
"Honey, come on, give it a rest for tonight. Whatever it is will be here tomorrow."
"Sure, babe." He began to write again.
She shook her head and grinned. She dropped her robe to the floor, pushed her teddy from her body, and knelt down beside his chair. "Thy wish is my command, Master," she said softly.
She could count the seconds before the quiet scratching of the pencil against the paper stopped. She glanced up, saw Daniel smiling down at her. He dropped the pad to the floor, tossed the pencil over his shoulder and reached for her. She caught his hands, stood up, and pulled him to his feet.
"What is your wish, Master?" she whispered.
"Take me to bed, babe," he replied.
She led him to the bedroom, then slowly pulled his sweats from his body. When he was naked, she took him to the bed, crawled onto it, then tugged until he followed. With a giggle, she settled herself beside him, and closed her eyes.
"Hey, what’s this?" he asked.
"You wanted me to take you to bed. I did. You didn’t say you wanted anything else." Her eyes were dancing as she looked up at him.
"Oh, you’re a brazen little slave, aren’t you?" he whispered, grinning.
"I do only as you command," she whispered back, a smile on her own face.
"Make love to me."
"My pleasure," she said breathlessly. She leaned up so she could kiss him, felt his arms go around her, pull her close. Her hands began to roam his body, finally coming to rest on his rising manhood. She stroked him until he was fully erect and hard, then moved her body over his. She lowered herself until he was buried deep inside her. His hands moved to her breasts.
"Love you, Angel," he whispered.
"Love you, my heart." She found their rhythm, slid her fingers between them to caress herself.
"You feel good, babe."
"You do, too."
He was thrusting up into her now. She was clutching him, squeezing at him, felt him throbbing within her. Waves of pleasure flooded her mind, washed over her body. Soon she was whispering, her thighs began to quiver, and a whimper filled her throat.
"That’s it, Angel, come for me," he whispered. He felt her body arch and stiffen, then she fell against him as her orgasm rocked her. He rolled them over and began to pound into her warm well.
"Love me, Daniel," she whispered, her arms and legs holding him against her body.
With a groan he complied, his body shuddering with his release. The flames that had been raging turned into sweet ecstasy. He rolled over again. She was settled with her head on his shoulder, her legs curled by his hips, and her arms around him as much as she could get them. He pulled her closer, tightening his arms around her slender frame. He felt her relax against him, and smiled. It didn’t take him long to follow her into blissful sleep.
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