Chapter 6 summary: Jolinar meets someone from her past.
[ Chapter 1: Goodbyes | Chapter 2: An Audience | Chapter 3: A Conspiracy | Chapter 4: Promotion | Chapter 5: Minor System Lord | Chapter 6: An Old Acquaintance | Chapter 7: Diversions | Chapter 8: Plans | Chapter 9: Happy Moments | Chapter 10: Culmination | Chapter 11: Complications | Chapter 12: Daily Life | Chapter 13: Exposed | Chapter 14: A New Host - and a New Master | Chapter 15: New Challenges | Chapter 16: A Necessary Sacrifice | Chapter 17: Information Gathering | Chapter 18: A Surprise Visit | Chapter 19: Bad News | Chapter 20: War and Power | Chapter 21: Emergencies | Chapter 22: Found Out | Chapter 23: In the Tunnels | Chapter 24: Undercover at Bastet's Court | Chapter 25: Discovered! | Chapter 26: Rosha | Chapter 27: Host | Chapter 28: Getting Along | Chapter 29: Safe | Chapter 30: Lantash | Chapter 31: Shared Missions | Chapter 32: Taking A Chance | Chapter 33: Danger and Betrayal | Chapter 34: Some Realizations | Chapter 35: Hiding | Chapter 36: Time for the Truth | Chapter 37: Home | Chapter 38: Together | Chapter 39: Martouf ]
About six months later when the palace looked more to Jolinar's liking, she held a small-ish celebration for her - and Cronus's - allies, as well as for a few independent Goa'uld, mostly from planets nearby.
This was something that was expected of her from time to time, and it was also an opportunity to introduce Korra to Hera, who would attend.
"I will introduce you - and praise your work here." Jolinar said.
"Perhaps you should not praise it too much - I would rather not have to decorate yet another palace - and this time in Goa'uld style!" He looked both horrified and disgusted at the thought.
Jolinar grinned. "Do not concern yourself - I hardly believe she would want one of her palaces decorated in your style...it is much too subdued. Hera's taste actually makes most other Goa'uld seem restrained! I have seen her palace. Like her dresses, it is painful on the eyes. Just wait - you will regret having to work for her!"
"Perhaps she will not be interested in hiring me - it might be a good idea for you to praise my unique style." Korra sounded hopeful.
"Come now! We cannot do that to the council! I shall inform Hera you are an excellent trader and diplomat. I believe she is actually in need of both, after her latest fit of rage." Jolinar looked very serious. "Korra. If you do get to work for her, you must be very careful. She has a nasty temper."
"Do not worry. I can be diplomatic." He smiled reassuringly, happy she cared.
The celebration went ahead as expected. The various minor Goa'uld and Lords had greeted Jolinar politely, brought her presents, given her fake praise, and told her how happy they were with her success.
Jolinar sighed inaudibly. She quickly grew tired of this hypocrisy. She knew very well none of them really liked her, and that they would have much preferred the system had instead been added to one of their domains. Nothing new there.
However, one thing seemed to be going unexpectedly well. Hera appeared interested in hiring Korra - immediately. When Jolinar realised this, she had done her best to encourage her - in a backward way by openly discouraging her. This only made Hera more interested in stealing this obviously valuable underling from Jolinar.
Their plan had succeeded beyond all their expectations! The council would be pleased.
Satisfied, Jolinar slowly mingled with the other guests. There were not really any of them she had any wish to spend time with, but she had to be a perfect host - more so than usual, since she was the new Lord wanting to make an impression. Besides, she always hoped one of them might get drunk or high enough to let his tongue slip, and allow her to learn something useful. People's tongues - even Goa'uld - loosened when they got good food and drink. Jolinar had ensured she served the very best - along with copious amounts of alcohol and drugs.
Then, suddenly, a late guest was announced. Normally, she would be expected to take this as an insult, unless the person was important, or had a very good excuse.
Here, neither was the case. According to her servant, he merely claimed to have just learned she was celebrating her new position, and wanted to meet her and introduce himself.
Jolinar was about to tell her servant to send this insolent cur on his way, when she took note of two things.
First; he called himself an independent 'procurer', and second; he promised he would be able to get her anything she wanted. From slaves, art, and clothing, to exotic food, and even small ships and weaponry. Such diversity was rare, and Jolinar suddenly felt her heart beat faster at this information.
She had once known someone of that description. Someone who could not care less about correct behaviour - like arriving on time - and who was so useful and needed that it was tolerated. He would trade with anyone, and no one would dare try to tell him not to trade with their enemy - lest they risk he would spurn them instead.
Before she dared think it might be him, her servant announced the name of the Goa'uld who wanted an audience.
So it was him. Jolinar did not know how to react. Of course, he did not know Siwa was Jolinar.
*You like him - a lot.* Sannya observed.
*I did once, at any rate. I have not seen him in almost 1500 years. He may have changed. Besides, we never really had a relationship. He is not the type for that - and I am not sure I am either. In any case...he is fun company - and not a bad lover. We would meet and spend a couple days together now and then - whenever he happened to pass by.*
*Well, he seems to be passing by now.*
*There is no way for him to know I am Jolinar - it is just a coincidence.*
*Then - have him taken before us, and we can decide if we want to tell him who we are? I could use a good lover after Cronus.*
Jolinar grinned a little to herself. *That is certain!* She sobered. *I wonder if he still is an...unusual Goa'uld.*
*Yes. He talked to his host, and he does not care for power and star systems.*
*Why is he not with the Tok'ra, then?*
*I...actually asked him once, shortly after the Tok'ra was founded. Or rather, I began to ask him. He told me he did not want to hear anything about it, or be involved in any way whatsoever. I was disappointed then, resented him for it, but I guess I can understand. He does not want to risk his life. He and his host just wants to live a good life and be left alone. Yes, it is a little hypocritical, since he seems to agree with our ideas, but it is his choice. He always said, that if he did not know anything about what we did, he could feign ignorance. And that he did, when the Tok'ra became openly hunted and my allegiance with them became known. However, he once told me he would trade with anyone, without asking any questions, and he actually did sell many useful things to the Tok'ra, including weapons. Yes, he may be a bit amoral, but he us useful, and generally a pleasant person.*
*I do think he should join the Tok'ra if he really shares our ideas - and that he is wrong for not doing so!*
*Not everyone was born for a life as an illegal resistance fighter, even if they agree with our ideas, in principle.*
*Unless they have no choice? Jolinar, you choose the Tok'ra. Most of the others...they did not really have a choice, did they? They were born into it, and even those that are not 'operative material' and better suited for other work, live a dangerous life. All because they - without ever getting a choice - became members of the most hated group of heretics the Goa'uld have ever known. Is that fair?*
Jolinar sighed. *Life is rarely fair. It was...necessary, and the only way to do it for Egeria. Nothing short of absolute loyalty is enough, and it is not as if her children want it to be any other way. Whether it was originally a choice, or not. Later, when the Goa'uld are gone, future Tok'ra children could perhaps be allowed more free will on this matter - if we ever have a queen again and get the chance to decide. However, do not forget...given the nature of our species, a completely free choice may be difficult - and will probably never be acceptable, seeing what it can do to the Galaxy. Some might choose to be Goa'uld. No, there will always have to be some ideas and philosophies imposed on them before birth.*
*I guess I have to agree...it is unfortunate, though.* Sannya observed. *Now, I believe you better tell your servant what he should do about Travik. He is getting very nervous.*
*Of course.* Somewhat bashful, Jolinar looked at the man standing before her. He was looking rather uncomfortable. How long had she talked to Sannya? "Bring him!" She told the servant.
"Yes, my Lord."
Relieved, the man fled from the room, after first bowing respectfully.
A short while later, Travik was shown into the room. With a self-assured expression, he walked up to the throne and made a sweeping bow.
"Greetings, Lord Siwa. You look stunning." He smiled smugly as he admired her shape unashamedly.
Jolinar quickly took in Travik's appearance. He obviously had a new host - not surprising, as she had not seen him for 1500 years, and he did not like sarcophagi.
He had short, dark hair and brown eyes. He was a little above average height, and somewhat more muscular than what most Goa'uld preferred. His skin had a dark, almost olive tone, that reminded Jolinar of one of her own, previous hosts. She felt a sharp pang of pain, as she thought about Merina. She had been a good friend - as had all Jolinar's hosts - and she had loved her deeply, as she always did.
Travik had on a red, Greek style tunic, with gold embroidery along the hem. A gold belt studded with jewels adorned his waist, and a short cloak in a shimmering golden material covered his broad shoulders. He wore a pair of leather sandals, made from thin strips.
"Thank you, tradesman Travik." Jolinar decided to use his profession as title, to see how he reacted.
If he felt insulted, he did not show it. He merely smiled cryptically and bowed again.
"I am honoured to get the opportunity to visit you at such a fortuitous time. Not only does it enable me to participate in your celebration, but I can see you have just made...changes to your palace. Changes for the better, I might add. I have been her during the reign of the...ah...previous ruler, and the place looked rather...cheap."
"Yes, I am rather pleased with how it looks now."
"Of course. However, if you will allow it, I can help you put the finishing, personal touch to it. The little extra that tell everyone what a refined, sophisticated ruler you are. I would suggest several figurines, a couple statues, an assortment of elegant vases...and a few select pieces of fine furniture. Yes, I believe that is exactly what this place needs to make it perfect. Do you not agree?"
"Perhaps. I suppose you will be able to provide me with all that?" Jolinar said, amused.
"Naturally. Also, I am certain someone with an obviously discerning taste such as yourself, is interested in the very best in fashion. Directly from the place that delivers to Ra's court. I just sold a dress the other day to..."
Jolinar almost giggled at his sales-talk. It was so similar to the one he had given her the first time they had met.
"...and you absolutely must see my selection of exotic slaves! They are the very finest and most skilled you will find anywhere. Selectively bred purely for your pleasure for countless generations..." He stopped and looked closely at her. "Something I said amuses you?"
"Not at all. You merely remind me...of someone...someone I once knew."
"I do not believe anyone is quite like me, however, as I am certain I would remember someone as charming and attractive as yourself, if we had ever met before...I suppose I shall have to accept your claim that someone, somewhere may be similar to me in a small way..."
"Perhaps..." Jolinar agreed.
*Why do you not tell him? Surely you can trust him not to give your secret away!* Sannya pointed out.
*While he may, of course, have changed, I do not believe so. I can most likely trust him. However, this is not the place. Later, maybe.*
"So, can I bring you some items to study?" Travik asked.
Jolinar pretended to think it over. "I may be interested in some of what you can deliver. However, tonight we celebrate. Could I convince you to come to lunch tomorrow? Then we may talk business in private."
"It will be my honour."
"Good. Now, go and enjoy my celebration if you wish. I have other, more important guests I must attend to."
Next day, Jolinar was standing at the window in her personal chambers, thinking - and discussing recent events with Sannya.
*So...Hera actually wants Korra to work for her. I am certain the High Council will be pleased.* Sannya commented.
*Yes. Poor Korra. I really hope he does not do anything to incur her wrath.*
*He is an experienced undercover operative. He will manage.* Sannya reassured her. *I wonder how long it will be before the Council sends us another agent they want us to find a position for.*
*Probably only marginally long enough that it will not seem suspicious.* Jolinar sighed. *No more than a few months, I am sure.*
*Let us talk about something more interesting. Travik will be here in less than one hour. You have already spent three full ours obsessing over our hair and outfit - and the servants are preparing a lavish lunch. I assume you are looking forward to this?* Sannya teased.
*I just want to appear at my best. It is always a good idea to impress a trader before you start bargaining with him - and Travik is one of the very best.*
*Oh, so the nervousness I am detecting from you is purely from your desire to make a good deal?*
"It was a most satisfactory lunch, Lord Siwa. I hope this means you are interested in what I have to offer." He smiled mischievously.
"I am. I will probably buy several smaller vases and figurines - and perhaps a couple tapestries, if you have something worthy of hanging on my walls. This place has really been neglected!"
"I know exactly what would look good. I shall bring you several samples in a couple weeks, for you to choose from. Should I not bring some dresses for you to look at as well? Your gorgeous body literally begs for the latest in fashion." He shamelessly ogled her breasts, then let his gaze slide down her body, smiling.
Jolinar thought it over, secretly pleased he approved. "I may take a look at a few of the more...modest ones." She rose to indicate the audience was over.
"I will bring some. Until then..." He bowed deeply and gave Jolinar's ass a quick look before he left.
*Why did you not tell him who you are?* Sannya asked, surprised. *He certainly seemed interested enough! He was quite impolite in his staring at our...ah...attributes.*
*He does tend to express his interest quite directly.* Jolinar smiled to herself, then sighed. *I...did not think it would be wise to tell him the truth. Not yet. Besides, I need a better situation. He will be more friendly and open when I have purchased something from him.*
*I hope so!* Sannya sighed. *Though I am not sure I understand why you find him attractive. Yes, physically - I can see he is handsome, but you need more than that...and to me - frankly - he seems like just another arrogant Goa'uld, just as full of himself as all of them!*
*I thought so, too, when I had first met him. Though I admit his host then was even more attractive... However, I soon learned he is so much more than most Goa'uld are!* Jolinar sounded a bit dreamy, then returned to the present. *Besides, I just want to have some fun. I am not interested in marrying him!*
Sannya mentally rolled her eyes at Jolinar, but decided to let it go.
Chapter 7: Diversions