Fandom: Stargate SG1
Word Count: ~1000
Author's Note: This is a remix of Pale Battalions by beatrice_otter. My thanks to scrollgirl for her very helpful comments! All remaining flaws are my own. Written for remixduello 2010.
Summary: Teal'c goes to war in the name of Apophis.
There was nothing remarkable about the battle. It was bloodier and muddier than any Teal'c had recently faced, yes, but it went as it was meant to. They surrounded the city with armed Jaffa before breaching the walls. (Why had Amaterasu bothered with walls, knowing how easily they would fall?) The canons cleared a path for them, disintegrating wood and metal and stone, and Teal'c led his Jaffa through the breach into the arms of the waiting enemy.
"Hold your head up," his mother told him, hand gentle on his shoulder, before they left their home for the last time. "Show no fear, and no hesitation. No matter what they do, keep walking. Remember that you are the son of a warrior."
The first line of defense in Teal'c's sector was trained Jaffa. Not, Teal'c thought, the best Amaterasu had, but almost certainly the best she had left behind to guard this planet. They were well-organized and well-equipped and very desperate, each of them knowing that they were badly out-numbered, and each knowing their probable fate should they lose this battle. They fought well, with their goddess's name on their lips, though Teal'c knew she was too far away to answer any prayers they might make. A blasphemous thought, perhaps, but experience had taught him the truth of it. Even the gods could not be everywhere at once.
The training master surveyed the circle of would-be warriors sternly. "Your duty is to fight for our lord god Apophis...to win for him if you can, to die for him if you need to. There is no room in Apophis's army for those who fear to act. Remember that, all of you."
Teal'c quickly lost count of how many times he fired his staff, how many blasts he dodged, how many Jaffa he killed. His first training master would have been disappointed to witness such a lapse in concentration, but Teal'c could not find the energy to care about such things. Or perhaps he simply did not want to know the numbers. There had been a great many battles lately as Apophis sought to expand his territory. Many cities conquered. Many streets running with blood. Many bodies stacked high, slaves and women and children as well as warriors, all of them dying because they clung to belief in a god who was not there to save them. Teal'c tried to put their faces out of his mind, focusing instead on the glory the battles brought to Apophis, and on the people waiting for him back on Chulak.
Drey'auc smiling warmly at him, skin glowing in the bright sun as she wordlessly invited him to join her in the dance.
Most of the Jaffa under Teal'c's command were experienced soldiers, veterans of many great battles, but he had also recently been assigned a handful of trainees, sent to replace those who had fallen during the last fight. Teal'c had eyed them with concern when they joined the barracks, noting how they reacted just a little bit more slowly than they should during training, watching how each was a half-step behind the more experienced Jaffa, and he wondered silently whether Apophis's eagerness to continue his campaign had led to trainees being promoted ahead of their time. More blasphemy, and nothing he would dare voice even to his closest friends, but he kept the trainees in the center of the ranks, and as close to himself as he could manage. For the first while that was enough, and then suddenly it wasn't as Ma'lac was pulled into the mob of resisters surrounding them, and Ka'lem, only two weeks in the barracks, abruptly jerked backwards, an expression of shock blossoming on his face as he collapsed at Teal'c's feet. Teal'c shot down the Jaffa who had fired on him and kept moving.
"There may come a moment," the training master said, "when you are tempted to hesitate. Perhaps a staff blast will stray to close, or an enemy's blow will nearly land, or perhaps the noise and dust and blood will creep beneath your skin, and suddenly will you find yourself wishing to be elsewhere. There is no shame in these feelings...as long as you do not act on them. Your lives and bodies belong to Apophis, and you must school them to obedience. Your feelings you may keep for yourselves, as long as you keep them to yourselves."
The woman nearly had him before he spotted her. She stood in the shelter of a nearby doorway, tall and straight and defiant. Somehow she had acquired a staff weapon, and she held it firmly, aiming it squarely at his chest.
The world stopped. The noise and heat and screams faded away--his awareness narrowing to the pounding of his heart and the terrible, brave, desperate look in the woman's eyes--and for a moment, he could not move.
Then her lips twisted in a snarl and she fired. He dodged automatically, already raising his own staff as her blast brushed past him, and returned fire without conscious thought. His return blast caught her torso on one side, twisting her sideways as she fell into the blood-washed street, long brown hair trailing behind her. (Drey'auc dancing in the sun, bright light glinting off the gold beads in her hair.) For a heartbeat he stared down at the brightly-clad body now surrounded by mud. And then the world started up again and Teal'c rejoined the battle.
They were victorious in the end, of course. Teal'c had known going in that they would be; the logic of numbers demanded it. It had been a harder fight than he had expected, though, and he was weary by the end. As he led his Jaffa away from the city, leaving Fro'tak to ready it for Apophis's inspection, he assured himself that was all it was: weariness. With some rest and some time for kel'no'reem, he would be restored. (Drey'auc dancing. Ka'lem falling. Long brown hair flying.)
There was nothing remarkable about the battle. Nothing at all.
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