Tjenenyet was living in a state of near perpetual terror. She'd never been a particularly well connected goddess - her husband's decision to sell her as part of his terms of surrender to Heka had been as close as she'd likely come to power or relevance in the goa'uld courts. She lacked beauty, guile, or a fertile womb to make her of strategic relevance - a fact that she'd weaponized to protect herself from involving herself within the politics of the Goa'uld pantheons.
Ambition was a game for those with resources and armies. One could live for millennia in obscurity while "great" empires died for glory. She'd been the consort of three Lords this far, and had been expecting to be claimed as the spoils of victory by whomever defeated Heka. She was only one of many sub-lords, but she was afforded greater lattitude by her new concubinadge than her previous arrangement.
In fairness "consort" was a title of political convenience rather than one of physical or emotional obligation. She'd never warmed the bed of any Lord to which she'd been attached. Tjenenyet had a superb talent for brewing drinks stiff enough to rob even a god of his potency, if not of his will. Once inebriated to the degree that memory was beyond recovery she only needed to wait for the next day to tell her husbands of their "magnificent performance" in bed to meet the obligations of a wife. Their egos sated, she then went about her business in peace.
She'd even gone out of her way to select hosts that, while striking, did not appeal to the standards of physical beauty favored by the Goa'uld Lords. One only needed to choose a host slightly beyond the favored preferences of one's Lord to avoid their potential lust without the added lubrication of alcohol.
Given her most recent husband's perverse hobby of raising humans from childhood to mold them into perfect disposable enjoyments, she'd not even had to even expend that much effort. Heka was content to ignore her as long as she oversaw his mine and brewed enough beer for his armies. But since the sudden change to his mantle and the constant state of war in the Kindom of Nekheb, a summons to the palace from her reborn husband was inevitable.
Or at least it ought to have been. Tjenenyet understood that the coronation was not something that made sense for her to attend. The Winter Queen held no love for Tjenenyet or her former husband Montu, but she'd expected a summons out of mere formality just to demand her pledge of loyalty.
But it never came. She wasn't even in disfavor with the court of the Lord Warden. She was nothing within it. Disfavor would be an upgrade because she could at least beg pardon for the offense she'd committed. Heka hadn't ever been an especially invested patron, but he'd at least pretended that she and the other sub-lords of Nekheb were part of his dominion.
But not only was he actively disinterested in Tjenenyets dominion as of late, he'd tasked Jaffa with the role of ensuring the proper quotas of naquadah, grain, and beer as though it were unmonitored. Her immediate inclination had been to slay the Jaffa in question for having the unmitigated gall to ask her to account for the lack of production but she'd been unwilling to risk a close quarters confrontation with the heavily armed and armored Unas shock troops they'd brought with them. The brutes were too stubborn to realize that they were dead until after disemboweling the one who killed them.
It was boded ill that the Jaffa of Heka's inner circle felt comfortable addressing her as an equal. Generals within Jaffa armies were afforded greater familiarity than was traditional for an inferior interacting with their God, but Tjenenyet had never ever seen the degree of horrifying casual comfort with which the inner circle of Heka's Jaffa warriors seemed willing to treat her with. Simply put, they weren't afraid of her divinity. They met her eyes without even pretending to look away from her.
She wasn't entirely confident that she'd be able to administer corporal punishment upon the armies of Heka without the Generals' consent. Given that she was outnumbered by Jaffa soldiers by 35,000 to one on her outpost that left her in a more precarious position than she would have cared to be in. What in the name of the ancestors was Heka thinking?
She sat in her throne room feeling entirely superfluous to the flow of conversation as she listened to Jaffa generals from the Third and Ninth fleets got into a discussion of their planned advance into Chrono's territory. Her presence was a required formality, but she couldn't help but feel wholly out of her depth as the warriors discussed the nuances of supply chains and long term logistics in a way that bored her to tears. She envied the younger broods of Jaffa - those young enough to have been spawned after the mortal limitations of the Terms were imposed upon them. Those old enough to have been spawned when the Goa'uld first began the Empire had been forced to learn the nuances of modern warfare techniques through trial and error. Upstart gods could stand upon the teachings of their progenitor without fear.
Tjenenyet had never been relevant enough to require her to learn any particular degree of talent for warfare or logistics. Even at the height of her power, as a goddess granted the ability to manipulate the universe at her fingertips, the King of Gods had relegated her to the role of celestial beer mistress. So she stood next to the table, saying little and doing her best to maintain the illusion that she was keeping track of the seemingly random details with which the Jaffa troubled themselves.
At least the human auxiliaries of the Third Fleet seemed to hold the proper degree of reverence for her craft if not for her station. The fair haired human soldiers and their leather clad commander had thoroughly availed themselves of her cellars, imbibing the beer, wine, mead, and liquor she'd been stockpiling for the past thousand years. She didn't appreciate their Asgardian nickname for her palace but having somebody appreciate her was enough to tolerate them calling her "the beer mistress of Valhalla."
She was willing to tolerate many such indignities given the human General's near religious devotion publicly embarrassing the Jaffa Generals by demonstrating how much cleverer she was than they were. Given the rudeness with which the Jaffa had been treating her, watching someone inflict the same idignity upon them was greatly refreshing.
"This will not work, Generalfeldmarschall Tor'kal." The General shook her head emphatically. "You will lose many soldiers for virtually no gains."
The Jaffa commander's eye twitched. "I have fought campaigns for longer than your entire society has lived General Winter. And I assure you that we will be victorious."
"Und if you are not pig-headedly determined to win that victory at the cost of the blood of thousands we can take that fortress two weeks later without loosingk nearly as many men, munitions, or putting ourselves in a place where our opponents can easily tell from where our attack has come. I tell you that mortars from the tree line paired with a rapid insertion of forces is far superior to a brute assault." She tutted her tongue irritatedly. "We have no need to blindly rush through the Eye of the Gods."
"The planet is too well guarded for us to arrive by ship. We'd be blown to pieces by the defense satellites unless we bought a fleet and I can't safely do that without opening us to Moloch's counter offense from our last advance." The General disagreed emphatically. She was utterly butchering the Goa'uld language, her words punctuated with her native tongue seemingly at random. The Human auxiliaries of the Third Fleet were extremely capable warriors, but they conceptually seemed to struggle with the idea of people not innately understanding their own native tongue.
"Generalfeldmarschall Tor'kal, we have no need of either." The human general scoffed. "The Furlings assure me that they can get our troops into place without difficulty and they have agreed to tolerate Iron in their realms for the duration of our passage."
"You are too willing to trust the Furlings." The Jaffa General replied, a slight snarl to his voice that Tjenenyet felt justified. She knew that there were furlings allied with the armies of Heka but she had been blissfully spared of their presence thus far. The faster the assault was planned, however, the faster these interlopers would leave her world.
Tjenenyet spoke in a firm tone. "The Furlings do not lie. If they offer safe passage, they mean it."
And if they were lying, it would still get them off Tjenenyet's world.
The human grinned wolfishly at the goddess before looking at the Jaffa General. "I promise you Generalfeldmarschall Tor'kal, you can trust in the word of the Furling as soundly as you can trust in my own."
Tor'kal's eyes narrowed. The Jaffa seemed to regard the human the same way one might a pet viper, safe only when kept under observation and treated with deadly caution. He replied with ice in his voice. "Indeed."
"I believe that concludes today's buisness." Spoke the General in charge of the Ninth Fleet, cracking his staff on the ground twice. "We will reconvene in four hours to discuss this further."
Tjenenyet's blood boiled as the collected Jaffa and auxiliaries left the table without first asking her leave to depart, but she couldn't address the insult without admitting that she was insulted. And she couldn't politically afford to make a fuss given how unsure she was of her standing within the court of Heka.
She blinked in realization as it hit her that she was not alone in her throne room. The human general was still standing next to the table, nursing a mug of beer in one hand as she tapped a pair of leather gloves against her shoulder with the other. Tjenenyet growled in annoyance. "Was there something you required?"
"I have never met a god before." The woman replied in a voice of measured calm. "I am in no hurry to end the experience. I have many questions I was hoping to answer."
Tjenenyet blinked. "You want to… ask questions of your God."
"I want to ask questions of a god certainly. I'm at least willing to entertain the concept of your divinity after having sampled your brew." The human replied glibly enough that Tjenenyet sincerely considered the idea of slaying in spite of how pleased she felt it would make Tor'kal.
"You try my patience mortal." Tjenenyet crossed her arms, allowing her eyes to flash.
"Yes, I have seen this before. I have seen the powers you claim, they did not prevent us from defeating Nirrti when first we came to Himmel." She waved away the Tjenenyet's display of power as she drank more beer, smacking her lips in satisfaction. "As I said, the beer was already more impressive. I want to know why the Lord Warden scares the rest of you."
"I am not afraid of Heka." Lied Tjenenyet, unable to convince even herself.
The human snorted into her mug. "Clearly you are not a goddess of deception."
"You realize that I can kill you with a wave of my hand?" The Goddess curled her fingers around her hand device, flaring the weapon brightly.
"Mortals can kill me without much effort, oh ye Goddess of the Brew. We're fragile creatures." She held up her mug. "And I think you would not do me the disservice of killing me before I've had the opportunity to finish this. Wasting something of this quality would be a grievous sin."
Tjenenyet laughed. "Are you attempting to flatter me into allowing you to live?"
"I had hoped." Replied the human as she shook her tankard. "Or at least to allow me to drink another stein before you slay me."
Tjenenyet rolled her eyes, grabbed a waterskin full of the brew, and refilled the human's vessel. "Be glad that you amuse me."
"If the brew continues, I shall play your fool for as long as I may." The woman waggled her brows exaggeratedly.
"You are mad, mortal." Tjenenyet spoke, her voice softening in exasperated amusement. A metallic ring of laughter chimed in her tone in spite of herself. "I will satisfy your curiosity if you satisfy my own."
"Oh?" The human cooed in surprise. "And what can this mere mortal offer her better?"
"Your icon marks you as a devotee of Kali or Ganesha… perhaps even Brama or Sura, but your men walk around speaking in tongues of the Asgard while serving the Pantheon of Ra." Tjenenyet reached over to pinch the red armband over the woman's black, leather coat. "Exactly which God did my Lord Heka offend or entreat to enlist your services?"
"Deutschland kneels before no one save the Führer." The woman balked at her suggestion. "We are not bound by the superstitions of old or the foolishness of the Far East."
"And yet you find yourself in the presence of a Goddess. Are you perhaps foolish to continue to dismiss our divinity as mere superstition." Tjenenyet drank from the waterskin. "While fighting in the armies of a God."
"We fight for Himmel, not for your Zaubergottkaiser." The woman shook her head. "Our alliance is one of necessity, not of choice. Without the aid of the Warden's Jaffa, Himmel would be a province of Moloch's realm. Given the relative indignities of serving the Warden versus serving Moloch, I will gladly subordinate myself to Reichsprotektor Zaubergottkaiser."
Tjenenyet couldn't find any fault in that logic, though historically subordinating oneself to Heka rather than Moloch could be at best described as a lateral move for human females in his service should they catch his attention. The fair haired woman in front of Tjenenyet seemed likely to soon discover the folly of her hubris in serving him.
She shrugged it off, it was not her place to correct the mortal's misapprehensions. She'd figure it out eventually and it was really no affair of hers what happened to the chattel. "Very well - then I will answer your question as best I may."
"Danke schön." Replied the human general.
"We don't fear Heka." Tjenenyet chose her words carefully, opting to go with a measured truth rather than an outright lie. "Not any more than we fear any man in power. What we fear how ambition can over-reach the limits of even great men and how those of us who are less than he can get swept up in its wake."
The woman smiled sadly. "You sound like my Pater. He often spoke of the mision to Himmel as such. 'A grand design in which we were swept.' But we flourish in spite of the winds of fate taking us in directions we'd never anticipated. Should not the gods flourish as mortals do?"
Tjenenyet took another swig from the waterskin, finishing the brew within. "Mortal, you are too young to truly understand the winds of fate. It is easy to ride the swell when one cannot live till the breaking of the waves and get swept up in the undertow."
"Then I should learn from my elders - over another brew perhaps!" The human held up her empty mug hopefully.
Tjenenyet laughed. "Come foolish mortal. You have amused me enough to open one a cask of something worth drinking."
"This was not sufficient for your taste?" The woman queried reverently.
"That swill?" Tjenenyet laughed. "Child - that was brewed by one of our apprentices barely a year into his training. He was barely old enough to be allowed to sip his own brew. Let me know you what a master of the craft can produce with millennia of skill behind it."
"My men will never forgive me if I don't at least ask if they can join me." General Winter looked out the door to a cadre of grey uniform wearing soldiers.
Tjenenyet rolled her eyes. "Only if you promise to leave offerings at my temple commensurate with this indulgence."
"Dear Lady Tjenenyet, if imbibing this ambrosia is your sacrament, you may well convert all of Himmel before I leave here." Winter replied.
Tjenenyet smirked. Perhaps something productive could come from today after all. The woman pocketed her gloves in her black leather greatcoat, pulling at the neck of it to allow hot air to escape the constricting garment. It was obvious that she'd dressed for effect rather than practicality, there was no sane reason for someone to be wearing that much clothing on a desert world. Tjenenyet's own choice of clothing consisted of a wig, jewelry, and a sheer wrap around her waist more as a demonstration of opulence than a functional garment. The Himmelites seemed to have a particular aversion to nudity that she found impractical in chattel.
General Winter seemed to realize the futility of wearing the garment under Tjenenyet's uncredulous gaze, pulling the leather from her shoulders and laying it across the back of a chair. Her grey uniform underneath was heavily stained from sweat, thought that too was quickly evaporating now that it was no longer confined beneath the black leather. "I confess that I am accustomed to this heat. I was born on Himmel, even at the height of summer it never gets this warm."
"You are too familiar with your betters, General Winter." Tjenenyet replied in equal parts amusement and anger.
"A german woman is forced to interact with the likes of a Goddess to find her betters, my Lady Tjenenyet." The woman pulled a pair of spectacles from her pocket, covering her eyes with shaded glass to protect from the sun's glare. "I am unaccustomed to meeting my betters to even know how one should act. Surely you understand the situation?"
Tjenenyet let out a throaty laugh. "My, but you are the arrogant one."
"Arrogance is the provenance of lessers. I am General born of Himmel - not some quivering Judenratte." The woman snorted.
"Judenratte?" Tjenenyet queried, unfamiliar with the term.
"My apologies, I am still learning the Goa'uld language…" She thought about it. "I speak of one of the lesser breeds from the old world. The followers of Moses, undesirables who we've done our best to rid ourselves... "
"What do you mean, "rid yourselves?" Tjenenyet spoke in a voice of utter horror, memories flashing back to doors coated in Lamb's blood.
"I was not involved in the mechanics - mind you - but my understanding is that they had a very sophisticated process in place for removing the vermin." Winter shrugged. "I would imagine that there are a few remaining pockets of them who the Fhurer was unable to take when he conquered Earth, but they should be nothing but a memory now."
"You… you tried to kill the disciples of Moses." Tjenenyet repeated the phrase in uncomprehending panic. "And felt the need to brag about it while under guest protections in my palace?"
"I do not understand the confusion. What are you doing!" General Winter yelped in surprise as Tjenenyet screamed, grabbed her forcefully and shoved her hand into the General's mouth to prevent her from talking further. Tjenenyet contined her forceful grip on the general, even as she bit the goddess' fist, looking up at the ceiling as profusely apologizing. "She means no offense! This error in judgement will be corrected immediately! I do not presume to touch that which is not mine! Please do not associate me with this madness!"
The General extricated herself from the goddess as she continued to babble up at the ceiling, offering every apology and prostration she could think to throw skyward. Tjenenyet was one of the few who remembered what happened in Egypt when the slaves had rebelled under the banner of Moses. She was extremely unwilling to draw the attention of the entities with which Heka had recently aligned himself.
"Du Flachwichser! Why did you do that?" General Winder spat out the naquadah laced blood before gargling with beer to wash the taste from her mouth.
" I will not repeat the mistakes of Ra's arrogance! You are no longer my guest! Your people are not my guests! I offer you no hospitality in my home! If you ever speak a word that would risk bringing the rage of Moses down upon my kingdom, I will end you in worse ways than you ever imagined coming from Moloch." Tjenenyet blasted the ground in front of the woman as her men rushed into the room with weapons drawn. "Leave my palace - and know that you must beg supplication if you ever wish entry again. Beg it from me and apologize to the spirits of those you've taken from the Children of Moses. Do that and you will be welcome in my house."
General Winter looked utterly betrayed as Tjenenyet aimed her hand device at her. "Leave. Now."
Her soldiers had the presence of mind to drag her away even as she shouted insults at the goddess, cursing her for having insulted a "proud german woman." Tjenenyet thumbed the control device on her wrist, locking the doors after the departed before activating the communicator to speak with her Lo'tar. "Itu."
"Yes mistress." Replied her servant immediately.
"Cut off the Human auxiliaries from the Third Fleet from all alcohol entirely." Tjenenyet spoke words she never believed she'd find herself saying.
"Mistress?" Her Lo'tar queried, unwilling to disobey but baffled at the order. It went against her very nature.
"Just do it." She spoke firmly, deactivating her communicator. If the Himmelites were willing to risk the judgement of Moses after just a few beers, she didn't dare find out what might happen if they were properly drunk.