Chapter 13 summary: A young woman is about to be initiated as an acolyte in the temple. However, her life soon takes a different turn and her future will become much different from what she had expected.
[ Chapter 1: Getting the first host | Chapter 2: Getting Acquainted | Chapter 3: Realizations | Chapter 4: Life and Discoveries | Chapter 5: Choices | Chapter 6: Daily Life? | Chapter 7: Ra's World | Chapter 8: A meeting | Chapter 9: Decisions | Chapter 10: Treason | Chapter 11: War | Chapter 12: On the Run | Chapter 13: A New Life | Chapter 14: Development | Chapter 15: Return | Chapter 16: Home ]
The young woman had just been initiated as a junior priestess at the temple of Apophis. As such, she had to spend the night in the old catacombs under the temple. She only had a flickering oil lamp to light the corridors, and it created scary shadows everywhere.
It was really creepy down here. Many old relics were kept here, from when the god still regularly visited. That was many years ago now. The young woman reflected that they must have angered him. The large fireball that had struck from the sky must have been his punishment to them. It had buried the Ring of the Gods - presumably this signalled that their god wanted nothing to do with them until they had again proven themselves worthy. Fearfully they had continued offering prayers at his temple. They had delivered his tribute in naquadah to the temple instead of taking it to the place near the ring where the Jaffa usually would come to pick it up.
In spite of the houses that also had been destroyed, and the people who had been killed, there had been some relief among the population. At least the Jaffa would not be able to come for hosts during this time were Apophis considered them unworthy.
And so they had no hurry to unbury the Stargate. Besides, Apophis was a god and would likely see to it that it was freed of the rubble when he wanted to contact them, would he not? Of course, the people still followed the religious services and mined the naquadah - you never knew. This might be a test.
Almost 30 years had now passed, with no sign of Apophis or his Jaffa servants.
Merina, the young priestess, had of course only heard stories of this. She had just turned 15, and as the eldest daughter in her family she was given to the temple to be trained as a priestess. She now had to spend the night in this frightening place, filled with artifacts from the old days. Fearfully she thought of the stories she had been told. Of the Jaffa and of the gods themselves. How - it was only whispered about - some of those taken from the village through the Ring of the Gods had been seen again later. However, they were now no longer the same person. Their soul was different - a god was living there now and he or she had taken over the other person so completely, that it no longer existed.
How frightening this was! To be taken over and disappear - leaving only the shell for the god to use. How strange it was! But was it not also an honour, though? To serve your god thus?
Merina pondered all these things. She knew well that it might have been her fate, had Apophis not abandoned them. The original laws had required each family to offer up the eldest son or daughter, if they had more than one. If then the god did not want them, they would serve in the temple. Else they would disappear through the Ring, usually never to be seen again.
She pulled her straying thoughts back to the present. She just needed to get through this lonely night, then she could return to the surface. Now, if she only had something to strengthen her spirit with...
Looking around she had spotted the jar, casually leaning against the wall in a corner of one of the many tunnels in the catacombs. Picking it up, Merina saw it was sealed. She shook it gently, hearing something slush inside. Could it be wine, perhaps? It would make sense to have that in a sealed jar, despite the decorations being rather strange. She thought that wine might surely make the night less frightening. She looked closer at it. There was some text on it as well, written in the language of the gods. She did not now how to read it, so she did not worry too much about that.
She argued back and forth with herself over whether to open it or not. If it was indeed wine it would likely calm her, but what if it belonged to their Lord Apophis? Would he not be mad at her for taking it? However, if he wanted it, he would surely not have left it here for her to find! No, if anything, she was meant to find it!
Resolute, the young woman sat down and took hold of the jar, removing the lid from it. Putting the lid down, she tilted the vessel slightly and looked inside. Some of the liquid spilled. Whatever the fluid was, it emitted a soporific vapour. Merina started to feel tired and dizzy. All of a sudden she thought she saw something move inside the jar. Looking closer she suddenly yawned mightily.
The next thing she knew, she was thrown back against the wall by the force of the symbiote entering her. She had no time to register what was happening before darkness engulfed her and she sank to the floor, unconscious.
Later, she awoke. She heard a voice talking, apologizing. She listened, confused.
"What do you mean...'you're sorry for having taken me as a host'? What do you mean? Who are you? Where are you?"
*You...Merina...you need not speak out loud. I can hear you just fine if you just think the words to me. I am Jolinar of Malkshur, and...and I am in your head...well, neck, mostly, but...you are my host. And for that I am sorry. I...I thought you were volunteering...*
"Host!" Merina suddenly realised what this...this Jolinar was talking about. "You are a god...I thought you had abandoned us...wait, how is it that I can still talk? Feel? Think? Do anything? Do I not cease to exist when a god takes my body to live in?"
*No...that is a lie, spread by the Goa'uld. One they likely believe themselves, most of them at least. And I am no god! And neither are the Goa'uld! But, yes, you are my host...I am living in your body...I thought you were offering. And please, think your answer to me. I do not know who might hear us.*
*No one else will be here until tomorrow. Jolinar...will I still exists? Still be me?* Merina thought to the symbiote.
*Yes, of course. I only wish to share your body. Not take it from you.*
*Then...then...I guess...I am honoured to be permitted to share my humble form with a god!*
*I am not a god!* Then she added more kindly. *If you wish me to leave, I will. As soon as I can find another host.*
*Sorry, I doubt you will easily be able to find a willing host here, and I know of no way off of the planet. At least not until our Lord Apophis sees fit to contact us again.*
*The chaapa'ai...the Ring of the Gods...it does not function?*
*It does not. It was hit by a ball of fire from the sky, surely sent by our god to punish us for our many failings. It buried the ring deep in the ground.*
*A meteor, most likely...I shall have to find another way off this world...and a new host, unless you truly do not mind that I stay?* Jolinar sounded hopeful.
*I...I cannot say that I do not mind at all, but I am not truly against it, I think. May I have a short while to consider? I believe I may end up agreeing to being your...your host.*
*Of course!* Jolinar hugged her. *Think it over. You must be certain of this, as it is not a trivial choice - and it is for life.*
They spent the rest of the night talking and getting to know each other somewhat better. Merina told Jolinar what little she knew of her planet and its connection with Apophis. Jolinar, on the other hand, told Merina about the Goa'uld, the Galaxy, and a little about the Tok'ra. Since she did not yet know if Merina would stay her host, she could not tell too much about her people. There were still more than enough to tell until it was quite late and they both fell asleep.
Next morning, several of the priestesses came to fetch Merina and she followed them to the temple above. Jolinar had made her promise not to say anything about her presence, and she did not.
They were taken to the room that was to be Merina's. She was told to bathe and change into clothing suitable for a young priestess. When she had done so, she gave Jolinar control. She walked around for a little while, getting used to this new body. After a while she went over to stand in front of the mirror.
Jolinar was surprised to see that her young new host was stunningly beautiful! She had long, shining black hair, and the most beautiful green eyes Jolinar had ever seen. Her skin had an almost olive tone to it and was soft and smooth. Jolinar experimentally let her hands slide slowly down her body - and over her breasts which were already full, despite her hosts young age. She turned a little and saw she had an almost perfect figure. She sighed. This young woman would certainly have been chosen as a host if any Goa'uld had seen her. Now fate had made her a host anyway - but to a Tok'ra. Jolinar sighed again. She should be pleased, but all she could really think about was how different Merina looked compared to Arnora. She felt a sudden, sharp pang of grief thinking about the loss. As nearly as Jolinar could determine from what Merina had told her, Arnora had died a thousand years ago. That may be - but to Jolinar it was yesterday.
Her new host felt Jolinar's sudden silence.
*What is it? Do I not please you?*
*Of course you do! You are very beautiful. Any symbiote would love to have you as a host, but...I...I cannot help but think of my former host...*
*You miss her?*
*Yes...yes, very much so. It is a good thing that we have not yet blended fully, or you would be overwhelmed by my grief for her.*
A few days passed and Jolinar slowly started speaking a little more, though she still was very quiet and brooded much over the past.
Merina mostly left her alone, sensing that she needed the privacy. Both to mourn her former host and to think about how to continue from here. Merina was glad of it, since she too needed time to come to terms with everything that had changed in her life. She also needed to decide whether or not she wanted to remain Jolinar's host.
When almost a week had gone by, Merina felt she knew what she wanted. She had spent more time talking to Jolinar and was getting to know her better. There had been much work to do as a newly initiated priestess. Most of it was manual labour, but there was also some studying, mostly of religious texts. She had quickly found she liked neither, especially since several of the others were nasty towards her and let her do much more than her fair share of the work.
*I have made my decision. I wish to remain your host.*
*You are certain?* She sounded cautiously happy.
*I would not have to stay here in the temple as your host?*
*No, of course not. It may take a little time to find an excuse to get away from here, but we have far better things to do than singing praise to Apophis!* Jolinar snorted.
*Then I am very sure.*
*You do understand that if we get away from this planet you will have to fight the Goa'uld? It is a very dangerous occupation.*
*Jolinar...yes, I understand. I will help you fight the Goa'uld, if we should ever get off this world. Which I personally think is doubtful, knowing now that Apophis is no god and thus can not just remove the rubble from the Ring of...the chaapa'ai.*
Jolinar hugged her host happily. *Thank you so much for agreeing to stay my host! As for the chaapa'ai - the people of this world would be able to dig it free themselves...* She was quiet for a little while, *...of course, then Apophis or another Goa'uld could again easily come here and subjugate you once more. Endangering your people like that just so I can conveniently leave this planet is wrong...*
*We are safe while the chaapa'ai is buried?*
*Mostly, but not totally. They can still come in ships - but it is less likely. They would only do so if they could not easily get in other places what they can here - which they can.*
*So we stay here?*
*For now, at least. I have not given up hope of eventually rejoining the Tok'ra. Until then, there must be some way for me...us...to help this people recover from the subjugation they have suffered from the Goa'uld.*
After having blended fully they knew each other better than most people would after years of friendship. They then began to make plans. They could not think of another way of leaving the planet without endangering the population, unless a ship could be found. They decided to do what they could to help this world advance. Jolinar had much knowledge - even of simple technology which could be built at the planets current level of development. Irrigation, windmills, watermills, better sewage, medicinal herbs, reading, writing, mathematics, science...the list went on.
Now they just needed to find a way of getting themselves in a position were people would listen to them.
*Unless you have a better plan, we have to work ourselves up to become leaders of the temple - then they will listen.*
*Could you not just use the...the hand device you found in one of the corridors of the catacombs - and convince them you are a god? Then they will surely listen to you.*
*I suppose I could, but that would not be the correct way to do it - I do not wish to exchange one false god for another when it is not strictly necessary.*
*You promised me I would not have to remain here in the temple long if I let you stay!* Merina accused.
*A promise I intend to keep! With my help you will advance quickly. You will not need to spend years learning to read and write Goa'uld - you already got that knowledge because of the blending. You will show yourself to be a dutiful and intelligent student. Soon they will let us spend our time with the books and working for the higher priestesses. Helping them instead of doing manual labour. With only a little luck we will soon be in a position to contact the village's ruler - or even the planet's ruler, if there is one? Then we will become his or her advisor.* Jolinar sounded both optimistic and enthusiastic.
*Perhaps so...* Merina sounded less than convinced. *Even if it does work, the other novices and lower priestesses in the temple will hate me.*
*So what! Let them! We will soon be gone far from their influence.*
*All right, then. Let us try.*