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I originally posted this on nandamai's journal, and I'm reposting it for archival purposes (something I seldom think of doing. Ooops.).

Title: Of Honey Cakes and Honor
Author: Thothmes
Season: Some 90 years before Season 1
Spoilers: None
Summary: One of Teal'c's youthful indiscretions. Every kid tries this at least once.
Disclaimer: Their characters. My sandbox. I'll put 'em back without (*sniff*) making any money.

 

Of Honey Cakes and Honor

 

by Thothmes

 

 

Jaffa cuisine tended to be pretty simple. Breakfast was a heaping bowl of grains and dried fruit, well softened in goat's milk (Jaffa did not believe in using cow's milk, finding it too indigestible), and a handful of fruits in season, with water for the young, or a toasted grain infusion not dissimilar to coffee for adults. Jaffa with pretensions to high society often had herbal tea, traded for, warrior-to-warrior and planet by planet. Luncheon was a portion of cold meat, raw vegetables, and a hard unleavened barley bread called "kren'ath", with water for all ages, and dinner often consisted of various stews, seasoned with spices brought back from distant planets by Jaffa warriors, either as gifts for their wives and girlfriends, as temple offerings, or to make a profit. Higher status families would have roasted meat to go with the stew, and blends and subtleties of spicing in their stews was phenomenal. At dinner the drink of choice was tendak, a fermented fruit drink similar in taste and in variety to wine, but not alcoholic, since the bacterium (abundant in the tanks were the priests kept the larval Goa'uld) did not produce it as they broke down the sugars in the fruit. Children were given their tendak watered, since it contained traces of naquidah, and the priests declared that it was unsafe for young souls in too high a concentration. Dessert was generally cheese from sheep or goats, and fruit.

 

Teal'c was very young when his father was murdered by Cronus, so he is not sure of how things were in the service of other Goa'uld, but Apophis' Jaffa celebrated ten holidays in the course of the year, starting with the Larval Moon (the rising of the full larger moon in the month when the Goa'uld larvae spawned), and ending (at least for the past few thousand years) with Blending Day, celebrating the good fortune of Apophis' current host to have been blessed with a god. On these ten holidays, and only on these ten holidays, there were honey cakes, leavened fried dough, dipped in honey, and rolled in multi-colored grana seeds. They were a little taste of Kheb, and young Jaffa were told that if they were strong and brave and served their god well, then in Kheb they would feast on honey cakes and a mythical - or at least it was assumed to be mythical in Teal'c's childhood - delight called "Choh'klat".

 

Jaffa children did not have toys as the Tau'ri would recognize them, although they fashioned amusements for themselves out of items at hand, and of course every Jaffa old enough to toddle had an appropriate sized wooden staff weapon which was supposed to be within arms reach at all times, lest an adult find the child with out it and administer swift and highly corporeal justice, so for Teal'c and the other Jaffa children, the honey cakes were anticipated with all the glee and covetousness that most American children reserve for Christmas. One anniversary of the Battle of Lentoth, commonly known as Anubis' Death Day, (of course Teal'c found out in adulthood that this celebration had jumped the gun by a few thousand years!) when he was eight, Teal'c could not wait for the rising of the suns and the start of the feasting. He crept out of his tent, and moving as silently as he could, he moved through the dark to the tent of Dreln'auc, the baker, a woman whom Teal'c liked, for she had been kind to him. He knew that what he was contemplating was theft, but he would only take one, and there were so many. What could it hurt?

 

Still, Teal'c was well aware that what he did was without honor. He would practice his stick drills today, twice, and surely Apophis would see that he had paid well for the price of one extra honey cake! But his heart was beating fast, from somewhere near the back of his tongue, and his stomach was jumping like the warriors at drill as he reached carefully down to lift the tent flap and steal inside. He could hear nothing but Dreln'auc's soft snores and the pounding thump of his heart when he was suddenly seized by the collar, lifted backwards and flung to the ground.

 

"Teal'c is it not?" said his nemesis. "Hassak! Have you no honor?"

 

Teal'c could feel the blush of shame and the pallor of guilt at war in his chest, before they began to alternate on his face. Of all things, to have been caught by this man, his hero, the man whose approval he most desperately wanted of all the great warriors of Apophis!

 

"Master Bra'tac!" he said, looking into the great man's eyes. "I am without honor, and unworthy of my god! I shall have no honey cakes this day in penance." And he handed the master his wooden staff for the chastisement that he knew would follow.

 

"Not this day, nor any other holiday between now and the Larval Moon! Perhaps that and the beating that is to come will teach you the importance of honor."

 

"Yes, Master Bra'tac!" he whispered, eyes cast down, then he drew himself up straight to receive his punishment.

 

"You will tell no one of this. Nor will you tell them why you do not partake," said Bra'tac as he handed Teal'c back his staff. "I will have my eye on you!"

 

Teal'c had told no one and ate no honey cakes, and the sight of his mother's distress that she could not give him this one small gift she knew so pleased him made sure that he remembered the lesson to his dying day. Nor did he tell the Master of Striplings that he was sore all over at drill the following week.

 

Years later, he found out from Master Bra'tac that he had indeed had his eye on Teal'c from that day forward. The night before each holiday Bra'tac made a habit of lying in wait for younglings who were too tempted by the sweet treat to come. In all the years he had done this, Teal'c was the first to face him and look him in the eyes. And then he had taken his punishment with great fortitude. Bra'tac had not stayed his hand. Clearly young Teal'c's father had named him well. This was the kind of clay that Bra'tac was seeking to mold.

 

To Teal'c it was one of the great marvels of life among the Tau'ri that honey-glazed donuts with chocolate and sprinkles were available for purchase any day of the week. As a warrior he did not allow himself to overindulge (much), and sometimes if O'Neill, for whatever reason of O'Neill's own, looked a bit too sharply or closely at him as he enjoyed his treat, he could feel his cheeks flame in remembered guilt.


Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
a_loquita
Oct. 22nd, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Aww, very cute! I like it :)
thothmes
Oct. 23rd, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. Teal'c is (of course) awesome, but this is the very first time I've had anything to say about Jaffa culture whatsoever, I think because on the show it's all mostly about Jaffa politics, which kind of bore me (although I am in favor of all the flavors of emancipation that they are fighting for!).
bluewillowtree
Oct. 23rd, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
I like it! The last paragraph especially made me laugh. Also, the Jaffa breakfast sounds tasty :)
thothmes
Oct. 23rd, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology major. Jaffa breakfast is much like that of the early Romans. Coincidence? I think not! :D

Glad you enjoyed it, because this one was kinda fun, so I'm happy to see glee spread.
wanderingsmith
Oct. 23rd, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
and sometimes if O'Neill, for whatever reason of O'Neill's own, looked a bit too sharply or closely at him as he enjoyed his treat, he could feel his cheeks flame in remembered guilt.

(eg) such a change for it to be Jack playing the adult between those two... eheh

very nice :)
thothmes
Oct. 24th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, let's not let Jack know he's been caught being the grown-up. He works so hard to hide that side of himself! ;)

sg_fignewton
Oct. 20th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
It's a great pleasure to rec this. :)

Although if you don't mind a suggestion - adding spaces between your paragraphs would make the fic a bit more readable for most people.
thothmes
Oct. 20th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it's an honor, and done.

This had spaces between paragraphs in the original document, but somehow in the posting process they evaporated, and I was Lazy. But thank you for pointing it out, because ultimately it shouldn't be about me, but about the reader's experience!
sg_wonderland
Oct. 20th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Here via Fig's rec. Excellent story! It's so hard to find any Teal'c fic, much less a good one so this was both a gem and surprise.
thothmes
Oct. 21st, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
I blame the writers. It was so rare, except in the final seasons, for Teal'c to have anything to say but "Indeed.", unless it was something purely informational about Goa'uld practices . There wasn't much for us fic writers to grab on to and use. But as we all know, Teal'c is awesome. He's just secure enough in that fact that he doesn't feel the need to advertise unlike some [*ahem*... Jack... *ahem*].

Not that I'm not fond of Jack, and my other fic will bear that out.

I'm glad you enjoyed my take.

aelfgyfu_mead
Oct. 20th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
Teal'c's love of donuts explained!

I enjoyed reading of Teal'c and Bra'tac's first meeting.
thothmes
Oct. 21st, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
Well, that and donuts are very good...

I was a day camp counselor for many years, and I found that it was always the "bad boys" that ended up being the leaders and fighters for truth if you could just capture their attention and get them working to please you. I figured young Jaffa would not be all that different, and Bra'tac is experienced enough to understand that.

Glad you enjoyed.
rdamel
Jan. 17th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
Good one--I'm glad Teal'c can have all the goodies he wants, now (or maybe not, if he's back with the Free Jaffa--but he'd probably find a way to make donuts a more everyday occurence, don't you think?)

Melissa M.
not_a_zatarc
May. 15th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
LOL! Aw, that was cute! No wonder Teal'c loves donuts so much. hehehe. XD
thothmes
May. 15th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
Indeed.

Although I suspect that he would have been pretty fond of them, regardless. They don't have any bovine lactose, after all.
not_a_zatarc
May. 15th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
LOL. Ah, yes! Teal'c's distaste for milk. hehehe.
"I prefer not to consume bovine lactose at any temperature." :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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