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A Storm of Shadows
It wasn’t long before an older female servant entered Jessie’s room. Bowing slightly she announced, "I am Akari; I serve Lord Kutkh. Please follow me."
Jessie took that as a slightly positive sign—Ba’al wasn’t charging in nor were any of his guard. She grabbed the veil that was lying on the bed and quickly placed it over her hair, leaving it unwrapped and draped over the front of her body. The silk top and pants clung to her like a second skin when she walked, and the extra layer of fabric afforded a bit of modesty. Jessie didn’t see anyone around, and she vaguely wondered how many people were aboard the ship. Going by the structure and design, she was fairly certain it was a ha’tak.
The servant ushered her into a room that was about the size of the briefing room back at the SGC. The décor, however, was decidedly different. Columns of hieroglyphs adorned the back wall, seemingly cast out of gold, while a throne-like chair of solid black was placed in the center. A lone figure occupied that chair, and a simple wave of his hand dismissed the servant and guards, leaving just the two of them. He was silent for a moment, before beckoning her in the standard Goa’uld dual-toned voice. "Kree tal lok".
Jessie was quite certain if Casey had been there, she would have burst out laughing at the command to ‘kneel before your god’. If she hadn’t been so scared, she probably would have rolled her eyes at him. But, given the circumstances she did as he directed, keeping some distance between them just in case. ‘In case what?’ that inner voice taunted. ‘You’re stuck in space on a Goa’uld ship. Where the hell are you going to run to?’
The Goa’uld seemed more amused with her actions than anything else. "I am Lord Kutkh," he said as he leaned back, his forearms resting casually on the armrests. "And who might you be?"
Remembering her conversation with Delek she replied, "I am Miele." Jessie looked at the Goa’uld before her with her characteristic curiosity. The host couldn’t have been much older than she when he was taken, yet his eyes reflected a knowledge that belied his years. Even with the distance between them, she could see his eyes were a dark ocean blue fringed by ridiculously thick lashes. Deep brown hair touched with dark gold highlights, sculpted cheekbones, a strong jaw, topped off with a full, sensuous mouth definitely fit the profile of a suitable host for a Goa’uld.
Kutkh tilted his head to the right, as if considering her answer. "Miele," he said, turning the name over slowly on his tongue. "Miele…strange, but I don’t recall seeing you before." He rose from the chair, coming over until he was standing directly in front of her. "And I am absolutely certain I would have remembered you." He walked around her slowly, circling until he was in front of her once again. "Absolutely certain," he repeated.
"I just newly arrived, my lord," she said softly, praying Delek’s cover story would hold water.
"Hmmm. You did take your meal in the antro dos deuses. Were you summoned by Lord Ba’al?"
Jessie’s mind was racing. Delek had told her to eat with the other gediklis in the general housing quarters he had pointed out on the map. ‘Antro dos deuses’ translated into ‘den of the gods’. Trying to stall, she looked at him questioningly. "My lord?"
Kutkh squatted down in front of her until they were eye to eye. With a knowing grin he said, "You were in the room where the odalisques wait after being summoned by their god. Had Lord Ba’al called you?"
Without a doubt, she was going to kill a Tok’ra. Delek knew the inside of the stronghold—the bastard had sent her into the devil’s den. "No, my lord. As I said, I had just arrived. I was told to take my meal there with the other women."
"Ah, I see," he said, rising, holding his hand out to her. "That would explain why I hadn’t seen you, considering I attended the last auction and personally oversaw the new arrivals." Dropping the duality tone in his voice as she stood, he said, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Miele."
Jessie’s head snapped up, looking hard at the Goa’uld. That voice. ‘Don’t worry, beauty…I’ll take care of everything.’ "You…you were the one who saved me." A silent smile was her reply. "But why?"
The amused expression was back. Glancing at the silver filigree on her forehead, he replied, "Gediklis are highly valuable. To lose one because of a go’tak would be inexcusable."
Jessie dropped her gaze at the insult. So he had heard what she called the guard who shot her.
Voices echoed down the corridor, and they were growing closer. Kutkh glanced at the door, then back at her. "If anyone asks, you were coming to me when you were struck down. We will talk more later."
Apparently they were not as alone as she had thought. With a wave of his hand, his guards reappeared, along with Akari, who escorted her back to her room.
For the next few hours, Jessie was left alone. The servant, Akari, brought her some food shortly after she had returned to the room. She hadn’t reappeared until later that evening. When she did, she took her to a private bathing room where she was able to bathe without being disturbed. When she emerged from the tub, she found a white silk caftan in place of the garment she had worn before. Unfortunately the fabric was just as clingy as the gedikli garb, and she didn’t have the veil to afford any modesty this time. Jessie was worried; surely it couldn’t come down to this…being taken by a Goa’uld…could it? The mission had supposed to be simple, straightforward. She should have been home with Cam by now. Glancing at the portal, she watched the stars race past. Where was the proverbial cavalry? Then again, she didn’t know where the hell she was…how would they know where to find her? Any other thought along that line was interrupted by Akari’s return, and her summons to Lord Kutkh’s quarters.
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