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Title: Bra'tac and the Jaffa Alphabet Soup - U is for Unspoken
Season: PreSeries through Post Series
Spoilers: Minor for Bloodlines and The Warrior
Warnings: Since this was written when all God-fearing betas are abed, it's unbeta'd
Synopsis: It isn't only the notes that make the music. It's also the rests.
Disclaimer: I still don't command any Jaffa, despite the fact that my kids sometimes think I'm acting like an evil overlord, nor do I own SG-1, their heirs or assigns. I borrow them, make them do my bidding, and then let them go. They'll eventually, in the fullness of time, die free, and I'll die uncompensated, monetarily speaking.




U is for Unspoken



Bra’tac had learned from childhood that a warrior used an economy of effort and energy in everything he did, but he had only left the ranks of the chal’tii for a mere day to join the exalted ranks of the warriors when it was brought home to him in a way that he was never to forget that this applied to words as well as deeds. That year’s new warriors were all assembled in their ranks before Apophis, that their god might look them over, when Apophis decided to test their loyalty.

Pointing to Bra’tac, the god addressed the warrior to Bra’tac’s immediate right, a massive blond fellow who towered over Bra’tac by at least half a head, saying “That one” – here he pointed to Bra’tac – “has marked skin, and for a Jaffa he is slight. Kill him.”

“But Milord,” the fellow blurted out, “That is Bra’tac the fastest and most skilled at-“

Apophis was displeased, and before Bra’tac got a chance to wonder if surviving the pox before he was old enough for a symbiote was going to be the death of him, before his unfortunate neighbor could finish his sentence, Apophis had unleashed the power of his hand device, and the fellow was dead. Apophis stalked off, having proven conclusively that he was a capricious god, and Bra’tac lived, having learned that it was best that some things, indeed all unnecessary things, go unspoken.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Bra’tac!” bellowed the First Prime, his voice sharp and angry. “Why do you lurk in the shadows there? Report!”

Bra’tac had not been lurking, nor was he in the shadows. He had just barely cleared the doorway to the Throne Room, and was proceeding as quickly as he could towards the daĩs where his god lounged. Silently he continued his approach, trying to hide his limp as best he could. It would be a few hours more before his symbiote could heal the staff burn. He reached the area before the first step where the First Prime stood, and, careful not to glance at the exalted figure on the throne, stood at attention.

“Well! Why did you not hasten? What is your report?”

Bra’tac cast his glance to the floor, and ignored the first question. Surely both Apophis and his commander could see that he was hampered by his wound. The second question was the important one.

“We are the victors,” he said. “The forces of Ra have retreated, and we hold the planet.”

The fact that over half the warriors that had been dispatched to the planet would never return he kept to himself. Over half of fifteen squads. There would be much wailing among the women tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Bra’tac had high hopes for this chal’tii. It was not just the physical skills, which Teal’c had in abundance, nor his courage. Courage was common among the Jaffa, and many a bold warrior and agile warrior had been a glitter in the sun and vanished into untimely death. It was not his mastery of strategy and tactics either, although that was a skill that unsubtle minds often stumbled over. No, it was the way that this one listened both to the words and the silence, and grasped that both had equal importance. This one learned as much from what Bra’tac did not tell him as from what he told him. This one would learn the lessons that Bra’tac wished to impart.

Apophis took a last look at the trainees disheveled but standing proud in their ranks after their first encounter with the trained forces of Ra. They had been in the rear guard, and they had not been in the worst of it, but they had tasted fear and seen death, and several of their number had failed this test, and lay dead on the field of battle. The engagement had been inconclusive, except for one detail: Ra’s First Prime was also among the fallen, as were his two lieutenants.

“Fight for your god always as you have fought for me today, and we will see that Ra’s First Prime Ken’dac is carrion fodder, and after that Ra himself.”

From his place to Apophis’ left side, Bra’tac could see the consternation on the faces of most of the youngsters. Apophis was a god! How was it that he did not know that Ken’dac was dead? But Teal’c’s face was without expression. When he noted Bra’tac’s gaze upon him, his eyes softened with a hint of private amusement, and he bowed his head fractionally.

Apophis had only been gone a short time when Gra’nesh, an able fighter with a marble head said what all those around him had been thinking.

“He is a god! How is it that he does not know of Ken’dac’s fall?”

All eyes turned to Bra’tac for the answer, except Teal’c’s which went to Gra’nesh, one eyebrow raised ironically.

“Gra’nesh, I predict that your life will be short, but that you will attract the notice of your god before you die,” said Bra’tac.

Teal’c’s expression conveyed what he did not say.

How unfortunate.

Yes, Bra’tac had high hopes for this one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Tau’ri were a puzzle to Bra’tac. They had females in their ranks. Among the Jaffa all women were taught the skills of a warrior from childhood. Women were the defenders of the home, and should the enemy think to attack the home front while the warriors of the city were fighting their god’s battles, the women must take up weapons in defense of the children, the priests, and the larval Goa’uld the priests tended, but to have women fighting among the ranks of the warriors was not the Jaffa way. The one called Daniel Jackson wore the clothes of a Tau’ri warrior and he could wield their weapons, but he had the ever-inquiring mind of a priest. In Hammond of Texas he recognized a kindred spirit. This man, like Bra’tac, had molded men and commanded them, and understood the burdens that this entailed. In spite of his great youth, he had the wily hard-earned wisdom of a seasoned warrior. He saw nothing special about the rank and file of the Tau’ri. As a rule they were young, and not very subtle, although their healer seemed shrewd.

It was O’Neill that puzzled him most of all. When Bra’tac had first met him, he fell completely for a trick that would not have fooled a Jaffa boy of twelve years, and Bra’tac had pulled him to the ground. Much of what came out of his mouth was inane nonsense, and he seemed to have no more sense than an infant as to when to be silent. Bra’tac would have dismissed him for a fool if it were not for the fact that this man had been the one to cause Teal’c to betray his god. There must be something there that Bra’tac had missed.

In the aftermath of the unmasking of Imhotep, Bra’tac began to see some of what Teal’c had seen. This time O’Neill had seemed to listen more and say less, and each of his words had been uttered with purpose and intent, even the frivolous ones. More importantly, where he and Teal’c had been blinded, O’Neill had not.

What impressed Bra’tac the most, though, was that even after he and Teal’c joined the rest of SG-1 and the escaping Jaffa on the other side of the wormhole, O’Neill never said “I told you so.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Bra’tac had spent his entire life dreaming of the day that all Jaffa would be free. His every action, his every choice, his every plan had been bent to that end. It was his greatest hope, his dearest wish, his oldest dream. He found it ironic that it had never occurred to him in all those long years how very, very difficult it would be to live life as a free Jaffa. O’Neill was right. Nation building was a bitch.

It was with enormous pleasure, then that he spotted the familiar figure of Teal’c, dressed in his traditional robes, striding towards him as he exited the council chamber. Here was the one person in all the universe with whom he most saw eye to eye. It did his old heart good to see this former student who had taught an old man so much. The master had become the recruit, although Teal’c’s greeting, as it always had and always would, honored him with the deference due his teacher.

“You have delayed your arrival just long enough to avoid a long and contentious meeting,” said Bra’tac.

Teal’c merely inclined his head in response, although his eyes twinkled. They turned as one to head for Bra’tac’s quarters, where ingredients for a simple supper were laid out on the table awaiting them. Bra’tac had been expecting the visit, and he had made sure that he had a few delicacies, fruits, and richly spiced breads, and a collection of vegetables that he knew Teal’c particularly loved. The stew was bubbling softly in its heavy earthen pot over an oil brazier. They helped themselves and ate in silence, enjoying the view of Dakara’s ancient and storied stones through the window, and listening to the ever changing whistles of the wind.

Finally they were both replete, and pushed their chairs back from the table.

Bra’tac looked at Teal’c and waited for him to speak.

For a long time Teal’c was silent, but then he sighed.

“I am a Jaffa,” he said. “These are my people. This is my nation. The future of my race, my son, and my grandson are here. It is for the freedom of the Jaffa race that I have fought for so long.”

“As have I,” said Bra’tac.

Teal’c smiled.

“Even longer for you, old man,” said Teal’c with a smile.

Bra’tac ignored the jibe, gazing pointedly at the striking white hair at Teal’c’s temples, and instead asked “And why do you tell me this?”

“I am a Jaffa,” said Teal’c again, “and yet when I am here, after a few days, I find that I miss the Tau’ri and the things of Earth that I have grown accustomed to, and yet when I am there, I am apart from my people, my family, my nation.”

“You have never chosen the easy path, Teal’c” said Bra’tac.

“Indeed,” said Teal’c after a moment’s thought.

The two men sat in silence for a time, digesting their meal, and gazing out at the sunset and watching for the first stars as they appeared.

“It is this that I sometimes wish I could teach the Tau’ri,” said Teal’c.

Bra’tac raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

“The beauty of silence,” said Teal’c.

Bra’tac just nodded.


********************



The entire collection of Bra'tac and the Jaffa Alphabet Soup offerings is here on Dreamwidth.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
aelfgyfu_mead
Jul. 1st, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
Lovely, thoughtful fic. You must show well over a century of Bra'tac's life here! You do a good job with his perceptions of the characters we know, especially as they change over time.
thothmes
Jul. 1st, 2012 04:58 am (UTC)
I am absolutely delighted that you liked this, because I had a germ of the idea way back when when Fig was first asking for authors, but did nothing with it, because I'd already claimed T, and Fig was (rightly) holding out for 26 authors for 26 letters. I did all the fleshing out on this one as I did my daily run, and then as soon as my youngest was in bed, I started writing, checked it over a few times for glaring errors and then posted.

I should perhaps mention that I am not a marathoner. I was on a 5 mile run, so about an hour's thought, then getting it down on paper.
wanderingsmith
Jul. 12th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
sorry its taken so long to comment. I blame too-young technology (i.e., I use my phone to check lj.. but it's not so great for reading ong posts.. and I kept forgetting to pull this up when on the lappy..) anyway, excuses aside

“The beauty of silence,” said Teal’c.
vulcans feel the same, I think, lol

love Bra'tac learning to figure out Jack. Jack'd be mighty pleased to know he'd managed to fool the old boy so long (a good trick to make an enemy think less of you..).

poor T'. the disadvantage of traveling: one learns that there is not necessarily just *one* place that is 'home', which seems like it should be a good thing... but as a place lays the word home upon you, it also slips reins being your heart, and buggies don't do so well controlled by multiple rivers...
thothmes
Jul. 13th, 2012 06:43 am (UTC)
vulcans feel the same, I think, lol

So do I, of late! The Whirlwind is off her ADHD meds for the summer, and it somehow makes her a complete motor mouth. Definitely a case of "write what you know"!

I agree about Jack's delight, if he ever came to know this.

I agree. Travel broadens, but it also pulls and tugs at us, and once we broaden our mind, there is no putting it back in the little box it once fit in, and there will always be a tidal pull on our hearts.
wanderingsmith
Jul. 15th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
sympathies at motor mouth... :( hang in there. cotton in the ears every few days to lower the volume to a dull background roar?

once we broaden our mind, there is no putting it back in the little box it once fit in, and there will always be a tidal pull on our hearts.
well said
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep

~~~~~~~~~~


In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

~~~~~~~~~~


But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.


-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2

~~~~~~~~~~


To Know the Dark


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.


-Wendell Berry

~~~~~~~~~~


Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns

~~~~~~~~~~


Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui


Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.


-Ch'ien Ch'i

~~~~~~~~~~


Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.


-Pindar

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Every Gaudy colour
Is a bit of truth.


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