Author's Notes: This is my first attempt at Stargate fic, so I kept it real short. Just a little dabble. *smile*
DISCLAIMER: All characters and property of Stargate SG-1 belong to MGM/UA, World Gekko Corp. and Double Secret Productions. This fan fiction was created solely for entertainment and no money was made from it. Also, no copyright or trademark infringement was intended. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. Any other characters, the storyline and the actual story are the property of the author.
The chaotic tumble of shimmering light abruptly ended as her feet contacted cold unmoving granite. Standing again on solid ground she found herself sucking in a sharp, sweet breath of air. She had almost forgotten the heady rush of excitement she felt when traveling the Stargate. Stepping away from the portal she turned as the watery surface ruptured and faded like a bubble bursting. It was night on this world. Midsummer, she assumed, based on the sharp, fragrant tang of shalla blossoms filling the warm, moist air. Inhaling, she savored the unique fragrance of the night blooming shalla. The air was warmer than she remembered. But she had been gone a long time, and time had not stood still in this place.
As her eyes quickly adjusted to the moonless darkness, she realized how time had ravaged her sanctuary. The Stargate had once been the central piece of a cobbled court leading to a small but opulent palace, teaming with subjects devoted to satisfying her every whim. Instead of the shuffle of sandaled feet rushing to do her bidding, or the clang of her guard's armor, her ear was met by night sounds, chirping insects, the soft whisper of wind in the foliage, the slither of a reptile moving across the cracked marble at her feet. She stepped farther away from the gate, senses alert for movement. In her mind she saw the gilt ornaments, and fluttering silk banners that once adorned this grand entrance, now filled with tumbled masonry and the creeping invasion of vegetation. Only the Stargate remained unchanged.
Surrounded by the stark vista of her dominion in shambles, she was filled with a mixture of disgust and regret that all she had gained had been destroyed. Cold anger slowly filled her breast for all that had been stolen from her. This enclave had been her stronghold against all who opposed her. Here she had rested from her labors, plotted her intrigues, nurtured her all consuming lust for power, dallied with her lovers, seducing and subjugating those who would not come to her willing. No one knew of this place except her hand picked courtiers, and no one brought here for her pleasure or service *ever* left. And yet they were all gone.
Her hands balled into fists, and had there been anything or anyone present on which she could vent her anger she would have lashed out.
"Who dares enter the realm of our Queen Hathor."
Turning she faced the sound of the rasping voice, at once familiar and yet changed, as though it spoke to her across the ages. From the darkness beside the Stargate a shadow detached itself from the blackness and stepped into the brighter area in which she stood, carefully keeping its distance. It held a now-antiquated blast lance leveled at her midsection.
"Identify yourself," the ancient humanoid said again.
"Val't, have your eyes so dimmed with age that you do not recognize me," she said, softening her tone, as she recognized her minister, a Goa'uld, old by even their standards when she had last walked on this land.
She could hear the doubt in his voice and moved closer so he could distinguish her features in the dim light.
"Lady Hathor," Val't repeated with conviction, dropping to one knee, his forehead almost touching the cold stone courtyard. "Forgive me, mistress. It has been so long, and I have dreamed of this moment so many times, that I thought myself caught in yet another dream."
Hathor closed the gap between herself and her loyal minion, somewhat awed that her old minister was, unlike so many of the other Goa'uld she had known, still alive. She sensed that he waited her permission to speak further. "Tell me, old one, are any others left?"
"Only a few, mistress. We waited for your return and kept your memory alive as best we could. But the gate to other worlds remained silent, year after endless year, century after century. As the millennia passed some began to loose faith. The old ones began to die and there was no way to renew our numbers. Then disaster struck our human population. Disease ravaged their youth until only a handful were left, many of those sterile. With no human slaves we could no longer maintain your city and it began to decay." Without looking up at her Val't raised his blast lance, holding it out to her like an offering. "I have failed you, mistress. If you choose to end the life of this miserable servant, it will be a well deserved end."
In a rare show of magnanimity, Hathor reached down and took Val't by the shoulders, drawing him up to his feet and looking him directly in the eye. "On the contrary, Val't, you have served me well. I still have need of your services, for there is much to do."
"You have but to command me, mistress," Val't bowed his head in acknowledgment of her power, then stood straight, weapon to the ready. Time seemed to melt from his tall frame as his endless life was given purpose once again.
Hathor smiled. *Would that I had a thousand such as you.* "Ra is dead," she said bluntly. "That fool, Apophis, has attempted to assume his place." Hathor felt a surge of raw ambition course through her. "We will prove him a greater fool by usurping the power and title he stole from our Lord Ra. I visited Chulak before coming here. There are those who would still be loyal to me, should I call upon them. It will take time, but we can rebuild what we have lost."
"Mistress," Val't ventured tentatively.
"Yes, my loyal one."
"Among those who could not wait for your return were many of your closest servants, including..." Val't hesitated, "...including, your husband." Val't dropped his head as though expecting to be punished for bringing this news. "He waited valiantly for your return, but in the end succumbed to time." Val't added quickly, as though defending the memory of his late master.
Hathor laughed, and was secretly delighted to see Val't start with surprise. Her former husband had been a weak willed idiot, hand chosen for her by Ra, who intended on keeping her beneath his thumb in any way he could. She was glad to be rid of them both. "Do not fear, Val't. For I have found another." Hathor's pulse quickened at the memory of her new chosen one. "You will find him quite unique. Like no human you have seen before, with hair of spun sunlight, and eyes the color of the midsummer sky on Chulak. His face has the innocent beauty of a child, yet he has hidden strengths even he has not discovered." For a moment she let her mind drift, caught again in the memory of her chosen one, the touch of his flesh upon her flesh, the smell of his body as it pressed against hers. The look on his face as he succumbed to her spell.
"Will he come willingly to rule beside you?" Val't asked
Hathor opened her eyes. "No. Not this time. This time he will resist with all his power. But therein lies the challenge, and the excitement. He *will* be mine. As soon as we free him from those who protect him, we can begin to make him ours." Looking at Val't, Hathor smiled again. "Now come, loyal one, is there a place where a weary traveler might rest."
Val't bowed once more. "Yes, my Queen. Those of us that are left have kept your house as best we could. It is warm and light, and there is good food."
"Then take me there."
Val't turned, and proceeded into the darkness. Before she followed, Hathor faced the now lifeless Stargate. "I will return, my beloved. Wherever you are, I will find you. However hard you resist, I will conquer your spirit. It is only a matter of time."
A thousand light years away, in a bed of twisted, sweat soaked sheets, he awoke with a start, not for the first time, as her cruel face laughed in his nightmares. He sat up, drawing his knees to his chest and resting his head upon them, waiting for his heart to stop its manic pounding. As he raised his head, tousled blond hair fell across his eyes, and he stared out into the darkness, telling himself for the hundredth time that it was just a dream, that the voice could not be real. *She* was a half a lifetime away. Then, why he asked silently, did the voice in his dreams whisper so convincingly in his ear as though she were in bed beside him... "I will return, my beloved."
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