<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Shadows of the Heart
"…Who will you run to when it all falls
Who's gonna pick you world up off the ground
Who's gonna take away the tears you cry
Who's gonna love you baby as good as I…"
"Who Will You Run To"
The men who held her arms so tightly that they were bruising her dragged her roughly through the castle, her feet rarely touching the cobblestone floor. When they arrived in the courtyard, the people who stood on the perimeter…peasants, judging by the way they were dressed…began to hoot and jeer at her. Fear crept into her being. What the hell was going on?
Near the center of the courtyard, Elta'an stood in front of an impressively ornate throne, the gold and jewels that bedecked it glittering in the sunlight. His belly shook beneath his silk robes as he laughed at her, his heavy jowls bouncing with every guffaw. "You poor, pathetic excuse for a woman! Do you dare to believe that you are worthy of that to which you lay claim? Do you really believe you will be saved?"
"Daniel will save me!" She declared defiantly. She held her chin high, although she was trembling like a leaf in a windstorm. Wrapping her arms around her narrow waist, she realized she was dressed in a simple silk gown - very similar to the one that Zinder had forced her to wear. She shivered slightly.
"We shall see," Elta'an replied. He settled his impressive bulk onto the cushion-covered chair. "Let us begin. If a champion does not come forth to rescue you, I shall allow them to have you, as is only fitting." He pointed toward one end of a long, strange looking machine. The machine reached from one end of the courtyard to the other.
She felt her heart jump into her throat. Clustered together, their faces menacing and full of anger and hate, stood the men who had abused her over the course of the years… Kenny; Wepwawet; Dr. Auldar Suken, who grinned maniacally as he waved a scalpel; Framone; Zinder; Ba'al; Nergal, who had several knives in his hands; Steven Rayner, whose eyes glowed eerily at her. She swallowed as she watched other men she didn't recognize move around behind them, all of them looking at her with angry eyes, waiting for her…waiting to…No! Daniel will save me! she thought desperately. He will!
The guards tossed her onto the machine, which she could see now was a type of conveyor belt. It began to move slowly. One by one men were brought in and given the challenge to save her. Unable to make it through the fire that leapt between her and them, they were taken and chained to the wall, helpless to rescue her; Jack…Teal'c…Duncan…Tony…Trenton…Texas…Major Parker…Turk…Baker…Haberman…Franklin…Methos…Wade…her father. They all looked at her with sad eyes - there was nothing that they could do. All the while she moved ever closer to those angry, hateful men.
She looked around frantically. Where was Daniel? He always saved her! He would save her again!
Loud murmuring from the crowd on one side of the courtyard caught the attention of all. Daniel was pushing through the gathered villagers, his blue eyes focused on her.
She smiled with relief, held her arms out to him. Was puzzled when he stopped, hands in the pockets of his fatigue pants, and merely watched her move ever closer to the men who wished her harm. Several more bodies pushed through the crowd to stand with him. His women. Her heart began to pound against her ribs. "My lord?" she asked, deep, crushing pain already wrapping itself firmly around her soul.
Beside him stood Sha're. The dark haired woman put her arm around his waist possessively. Neferteri stood on the other side, her head on his shoulder. Sarah Gardner stood behind him, and Ishtar pushed to stand in front of him. Another woman…tall, with long dark hair and dark eyes…moved to stand with him. She held out her hand, he took it and kissed it, taking the time to taste each finger.
"My Lord Daniel, this woman is not worthy of you," the unnamed woman said quietly. "Come with us, let us give you hours of pleasure."
"Yes, My Lord Daniel, let us serve you," Neferteri whispered loudly, her hand running up and down his chest, stopping briefly at his crotch.
"Come with us, my Husband," Sha're said softly.
Tears flowing down her cheeks, Casey watched him turn away from her. "My Lord Daniel, I love you! Only you, always you, forever!"
Without speaking a word he put his arms around the two women at his sides, and turned away from her.
Sobs tore from her throat as she watched his back disappear into the throng of people. She was so shocked at his total rejection of her that she couldn't even cry out after him.
Elta'an began to laugh ever louder. "He does not wish to save you, my dear. You can see that he wearies of doing so. He is quite happy with his women, why should he need you? He has a dark-haired beauty to see to his every need, his every desire. One who is much more worthy of his love and affection."
The conveyor belt continued to move her toward her final…inevitable fate…
She sat up, gasping for breath. Her cheeks were wet with tears. She glanced at the man who lay snoring softly beside her. Reached a shaking hand toward him - jerked her fingers back, clenched them tightly; the turbulent emotions of the dream making her hesitant to touch him. She slipped from the bed and went into the bathroom. She turned on the light, waited until her eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness, then looked into the mirror. Ugh. Her eyes were swollen and red, her nose was runny, her hair an unkept mess. She grabbed her brush and began to work it through the tangles that had knitted themselves into her long tresses as she'd tossed and turned with her nightmare.
Staring at her reflection, her mind played back the images, her heart shivering with every remembered emotion. Her dreams were often premonitions. She examined it carefully, wondered who the tall, sultry beauty with dark hair had been. Shuddered when she realized that more than likely, she would be finding out. Dark shadows of fear…of doubt…of impending heartache…moved and stretched deep in the recesses of her mind. Moved forward, pushed black claws of pain into her chest.
She washed her face, slipped back into bed beside him, curled close, smiled when his arm pulled her tighter to his side. In an hour or so he would wake her up, his need too great to ignore. She put her head on his shoulder and drifted back to sleep.
The buzzing of the alarm woke her. She sat up and looked at him, watched him wipe the sleep from his eyes with his finger and thumb. He glanced up at her, smiled, and sat up.
Before she could reach for him, he dropped a kiss on her cheek and crawled out of the bed, heading straight for the bathroom. Stunned, she listened as the water in the shower began to whisper against the slate tile walls. She shivered with dread. Something was wrong. Something was terribly, horribly wrong.
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>