Jolinar frowned as she glanced out over the room. There were no one here she recognized, among the visiting minor Goa'uld. She had made one - as expected failed - attempt to seduce Nemty. His underling, Alim, had not appeared yet, but she had not given up hope that he would. Minor Goa'uld working for others did often have much work to do.
If Alim did not appear, or if it turned out he was not a Tok'ra, she would have to find a way to leave without offending Nemty - if he was going to offer her a position, it might be difficult, but she would find a way.
*How will you determine if he’s Tok'ra, if it’s not someone you recognize?* Sam asked.
*There are questions, codewords, which can be used. They are completely innocent sounding, should they not fall on the right ears,* Jolinar assured her, looking around the room again.
It was a large ball room, richly decorated, and with large tables along the sides. The dinner was over, but there were still plenty of delicacies on the table, so anyone who might want more to eat or drink could get it anytime they wanted.
The Goa'uld visitors were watching a performance by several slaves, who were dancing naked, throwing swords and fire through the air, and performing impressive acrobatic feats. All to the tune of music played by a small group of humans in one of the corners.
Jolinar sighed. It was an impressive display, but she was not really interested. She just wanted this mission to be over with, wanted desperately to find a way to contact the Tok'ra. She was getting anxious to warn them about Cordesh, and fearful for the damage he could do to the Tok’ra cause as well as the many who might be killed, if he was left to go free for long. Most of all she feared for the safety of her mates. Were they even still alive?
She took another sip from her glass of wine, then absentmindedly held it out to Daniel so that he - as her lo'tar - could refill it for her. She straightened a fold in her long skirt, making sure the slit was showing an ample amount of leg. She wore a dress that was even more daring than the one she had worn earlier. She had put on more jewelry - necklace, earrings, several rings, an anklet ring, armlets - all exquisite, and made from gold and gemstones.
One thing she was not wearing, was a hand device, something that was unusual. However, many of the guests at the celebration had been allied to the Goa'uld who had lost the world Nemty currently celebrated conquering, so letting everyone wear hand devices might well have turned deadly. As it was, Jolinar was happy none of them had to wear it, except for Nemty, and probably his underling, as they made eating more difficult.
Of course, it also meant she did not have any weapon on her, except for a hidden knife, and a ring which contained a needle and a drug which would make people sleep for hours. She looked briefly at the ring, and in doing to her gaze also found her little finger - the one that had been cut off some months ago. It had long since grown back, and now looked completely normal. A good thing, she reflected, or it might have drawn unwanted attention to them.
She turned as the large doors at the end of the room opened again, and a young man entered, clearly a Goa’uld, followed by another man who was probably his lo'tar. The man was dressed in expensive clothes, but obviously less expensive than what Nemty wore. It was clear this was Nemty’s underling, Alim.
For a second, Sam and Jolinar both had trouble controlling their reaction, but Jolinar quickly forced her expression back into the neutral, arrogant one she had worn the whole evening.
*Martouf! Lantash!* Jolinar was extremely relieved - and disbelieving, as she realized they were almost certainly 'Alim'. *For them to have agreed to take an undercover mission as Goa’uld,* She shook her head, *the Tok'ra must be in a very bad situation indeed.*
*At least they're alive.* Sam allowed the relief to wash over her, surprised at the strength of her feelings for these men she had never met before. Her heart beat faster, and she wanted to throw herself into their arms. *Well, at least the part about seducing them won't be unpleasant for us, even if I suppose they'll not be too pleased to have to make love to a strange woman.*
*We will make sure they know who I am first, of course, that should remove any remorse they would otherwise feel. They will grieve for Rosha, though, and probably for quite some time, as they loved her deeply.*
*From what I've seen from your memories, they loved you just as deeply, if not deeper, but they will feel nothing for me. I'll just have to hope they can come to like me, at least.*
*As I believe I have already told you, they will like you. No doubt love you, quite soon. You are beautiful, kind, and intelligent, and very much, ah, their 'type'. Yes, they will mourn Rosha for a long time, but it will not stop them from falling in love with you. Trust me.*
*All right. I will.*
They surreptitiously observed Lantash - for it was quite obviously him in control, which was to be expected, since he and Martouf were pretending to be a Goa'uld. After greeting Nemty and a couple of the other Goa'uld respectfully, he walked over to the table with the food, and helped himself to a plate of bread, cold chicken meat, a kind of dipping sauce, and some type of tuber-like vegetables. His lo'tar poured him a glass of the light fruit wine and then he walked straight to a chair that stood some distance from the nearest group of Goa'uld and their personal slaves.
Jolinar remained sitting for some time, to not make it too obvious she had waited for his arrival. Then, just as Lantash had ordered the lo'tar to bring him some dessert, and more of the wine, Jolinar got up and slowly walked over to him. She straightened a fold in her clothing and made sure to walk with a slight sway of her hips, as she approached him. Daniel followed at a discreet distance - as his lo'tar he should be ready for any orders she might have for him, but not be obtrusive otherwise.
Lantash looked up and at her, letting his glance slide over her, clearly appreciating what he saw.
*He is ogling us! Hm, I suppose he is acting his role.*
*His appreciative look is quite genuine, I know him well enough to see that. All things considered, it is fortunate he enjoys our appearance, though I am still going to chastise him later for his obvious appreciation of other women.*
*Well, we are not 'other women', though he doesn't know that.*
*Exactly!* Jolinar 'laughed'. *Do not worry, I am not being serious. I do not mind him looking at beautiful women - I do trust him implicitly, which is why I will tell him who I am as soon as we are alone, so he will not feel remorse longer than necessary for thinking he will have to betray his mates.* She inclined her head to Lantash. "Lord Alim, I presume?"
"Yes. Who are you?" He asked, not very politely, and with an arrogant expression on his face. "I do not know you."
"Not yet, though I hope we will have opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted later." She smiled invitingly at him. "I am Lord Nafretiri, and I expect Lord Nemty to offer me a position looking after his agricultural production."
"I see." Lantash looked less than pleased at the prospect of another Goa'uld at the court. It would be one more obstacle to avoid when he was to report to the Tok'ra. He accepted the plate of dessert his lo'tar brought him, and cut into it with his spoon, then slowly ate the piece.
"I notice you have chosen the fruit pie. I believe Sifton is quite famous for their apples, and I do find this pie quite enjoyable, do you not? It is almost as good as the pie they make on Achilles's world."
Jolinar saw Lantash react, even if it was too slight for anyone else to have noticed. Achilles was the name of a pet panther Egeria had favoured before she became Tok'ra.
Quickly recovering, Lantash ate another spoonful of his pie, then nodded. "That is indeed a famous treat, but not as famous as Achilles's mistress, who is a true queen."
"She is," Jolinar agreed. "Oh, but the dessert is really delicious, and I would very much like to know how it is made. I do have some recipes of my own, which I believe would interest her people, so perhaps I can make an exchange." She smiled, then winked at him. She saw Lantash was aware she was Tok'ra, and that she had extremely important, urgent information. "However, for now I believe I may be more interested in another treat, which is right here before me." She allowed her gaze to roam over his body, then licked her lips suggestively.
*My god, Jolinar, they're even more attractive in reality than from what I saw in your memories, and that was impressive,* Sam admitted, as they admired Lantash and Martouf's body.
*And they are ours.* Jolinar 'smiled'. *Just wait until you experience their skills!*
Lantash frowned, obviously uncomfortable and not happy about what he knew he would have to do with the - undeniably attractive - female Tok'ra who stood before him. He had mates - at least he hoped he still had mates - and he did not want to have to betray them, but he also realized there was no other option but to play along. This was a Tok'ra, and she had vital information. Information that could not wait. In the current situation there was no other way for him to get to talk to her in privacy, quickly. He 'hugged' Martouf, as they assured each other Jolinar and Rosha would understand.
His decision made for him, he slid into the role and smiled seductively at her. "That certainly sounds interesting. Perhaps we could discuss it further somewhere else? Maybe in my chambers?" He picked up his plate and finished off the rest of the dessert, then emptied the glass of wine.
"I would enjoy that very much, my Lord." Jolinar pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear, reminding herself she was happy she had managed to grow Sam's hair out to nearly shoulder-length. She turned to her lo'tar. "I will not need your services further tonight."
Daniel bowed and quickly left, throwing Jolinar - and Lantash in particular - a worried look.
Lantash smiled at Jolinar, and stared openly at her breasts. The deep vee of her dress did not hide much, and he had to admit she had a very attractive body. He put his hand on her arm. "Let us say our goodnights to Lord Nemty, then we can retire to my chambers."
She nodded, and allowed herself to be led to the Goa'uld Lord.
"I thank you for a spectacular show and a delicious feast, my Lord," Jolinar said, bowing respectfully. "I will be retiring for tonight, but I hope there will be time in your busy schedule tomorrow to meet with me again."
"Perhaps. We shall see," Nemty said, looking surprisingly good-natured. He obviously enjoyed being celebrated at his own party.
Jolinar took a few steps back to a discreet distance, where she would wait while Lantash talked to his employer. He bowed to the Goa'uld, just as she had. "Goodnight, Lord Nemty. I will retire as well. I have promised this young lady I would show her my chambers."
Nemty grinned lecherously. "Ah, yes. I see you have taken a liking to the beautiful Nafretiri. Good! I was getting worried you might be a Jaffa-lover, since you have touched neither the female, nor the male, slaves while you have been in my employment."
"Oh, no, my Lord. I was merely waiting for, ah, the right opportunity to present itself. She is fetching." He threw a hungry look at Jolinar.
"True, she is quite beautiful, but not my type. Too exotic, though I suppose so is your host, so I would assume you have a preference. Well, as long as you do not put us all in danger by following your lust, then by all means, take your pleasure from her!" He laughed boisterously.