AN: I figured this would do for a start. Hopefully someone knows how to leave review.
House of the Huntress
The Stargate opened with a loud whoosh of air, bright light flashed in the temple and quickly settled to a glow and the soothing sound of flowing water. A moment later five figures stepped out of the gate. Strange figures dressed in black, carrying outdated weapons, looking around at the marble walls and pillars. They spread out, their voices low and kept careful watch on each entrance.
A moment later the Stargate closed leaving them in the dimly lit temple which was still bright enough not to need artificial lights.
"Any signs of life, McKay?"
The question echoed in the high ceiling of the temple. The scientist barely gave a grunt of acknowledgement, analyzing the readings on his hand held LSD. He moved to the far wall, away from the rectangular pool of water in the center of the building. It was strange; a pool of water a few yards from the StarGate, at least none of them had seen another… Large heat signatures blipped on his screen and he straightened.
The others turned to McKay, hands firmly kept on their weapons and waited for him to elucidate the 'A-ha!'.
"Oh…" he muttered then his brow furrowed as he studied the screen. The large shapes flickered, turning from a deep blue to bright white appearing at different locations. He knew no animal or human could travel as quickly as it appeared on his device. He was reassured by the color since red would mean there were Wraith on the planet.
"A-ha and Oh…?" Sheppard questioned taking a few steps towards the scientist. "Care to explain that, McKay?"
He sighed seemingly exasperated with the Maj. He turned towards him waving the device but before he could give one of his annoyingly smart explanations Beckett called their attention. The group moved off to where he stood half kneeling in front of the wall. A rectangular panel at least seven feet long had a delicate mural carved in the smooth stone.
A woman, wearing a short robe, a bow in her hand seemed to run on a background of trees chasing down a stag.
"Unusual wouldn't you say?" Beckett murmured. His eyes ran over the bare wall in front of them but kept coming back to the mural. The others noticed his smile; one Sheppard would've liked an explanation for.
"Not exactly." McKay said, his head slightly angled as he studied the mural. "I mean there are no glyphs, no markings, nothing to suggest…" but he trailed off as a new thought occurred to him.
"We should expand our search." Teyla suggested before Sheppard could argue with Rodney. "There may be other such images on other walls."
Ronon was the first to find another panel. It depicted another such hunt, a single woman with a bow and a stag. He found the image disturbing in that it evoked a sense of peace in him which troubled the Runner considering he spent seven years being hunted by the Wraith.
"I found another one." He called to the others. "No writing of any kind." He moved away, glancing once more at the woman carved into the smooth stone. He was drawn to the details of the features; it wasn't exactly something he expected to find in a world that presumably had no technology. Delicate murals in a temple housing the StarGate. They all knew it might not be the case; the inhabitants could very well be another Genii.
"Alright," Sheppard sighed. "Let's explore, Atlantis won't be expecting us to report for another five hours."
The group moved out of the temple and into the cool green forest alive with the sound of birds. They walked down the steps keeping a careful eye on their surroundings and spreading out. Beckett turned around and found himself so in awe of the snowy building that he stopped to stare with his head tilted back as far as it would go.
The sun shone behind the stone structure, haloing it in a white-gold light. Its roof was shaped like a triangle but stretched far back giving the building its large and open feel. On the front, recessed into the overhang were statues- female statues all bearing weapons; bows, swords, spears… There was no mistaking the importance of the central figure with its helmet and long robe and to the right, just behind that, another figure in a short robe bearing a bow in one hand, a sword in the other and on her head a laurel leafed coronet.
"What?" Ronon asked moving to stand at his side. He also had to tilt his head back in order to see the beautiful figures. A sigh rose to his lips at the sight but he choked it down and scowled.
"What are they?" Teyla questioned eyeing the statues critically. Beside her Sheppard and McKay looked up, heads tilting back.
"The Goddess Athena…" McKay murmured with a little frown.
"Who?" Teyla asked not taking her eyes from the statues though she walked a little to the right finding more statues on another panel. The images stirred something in her mind but she couldn't exactly remember what.
"She's one of Zeus' children; her emblem was the Owl, like the one on that shield… my God." He breathed excitedly. "This- this- this cant be one of the Ancients- unbelievable!"
"McKay…" Sheppard warned in a low growl but the scientist was too busy being excited over what other things they'd find. How would images of Greek mythology appear on some planet in the Pegasus galaxy? He was curious about the temple housing the StarGate because nowhere- not any planet he'd been too had protected their gate in such a way.
"They have to have built a city." McKay exclaimed. "Somewhere on this planet there is a city with the Ancients technology, we might even find some of them here which I highly doubt but-."
"Woa, woa, woa." Sheppard cut into the excited blabber raising a hand to stop the waving arms of their scientist. "All we've found so far is a nice…building of some sort housing the Stargate and some statues of women. Not exactly Ancient… anything, McKay."
"Not- not-." But McKay could not voice his disbelief at being discredited so easily. After all, he did have two PHD's. What did Sheppard have?
"Didn't you say there were no life signs on this planet?"
McKay opened and closed his mouth but too many words were trying to get out at the same time.
"Let's keep moving." Sheppard ordered. He took point seemingly walking without a care though his eyes searched out any danger.
"We could probably find a usable Zed-PM!" McKay exclaimed at his back.
The cool feel of the water on her skin was soothing after days of standing watch in the Star Temple. She could not remember a day when life had been different than the endless quiet and peace. Her dreams of course, were not full of peace and quiet. The dreams held only blood and gore, the faces of dead- Wraith and sisters alike. Few times had she dreamt her own demise, violent deaths full of blood and pain so that she woke in the night covered in a cold sweat, her limbs trembling in weakening fear.
Diving under the water she sought relief from the disturbing thoughts. There had been successful battles, ones in which she had survived- no not her, she hadn't fought. There had been no war during her generation and those that had triumphed over the Wraith were long gone. More times than not death had gone its way without troubling her or her sisters…
Her head broke the surface, water rippling all around as she swam the length of the clear spring. The sudden prickling between her breasts stilled her and she listened. The earth was silent, the wind still and the soft touch at her temples made her lie motionless in the water.
Her sister's voice reached her mind, soft and gentle with a strange note of curiosity.
"Strangers have come through the Stargate."
Her first thought was of danger. It had been so long since anyone remembered the Stargate opening. None on Hë'lîa had traveled through it, no one in the last five generations.
"No. These are not Wraith. There are men…"
There was awe in her voice and something else, something she could not put a name to.
That was unusual, she could not remember having seen one on Hë'lîa and now there was more than one.
"They seem to be armed." There was a soft laugh and then, "Shiny black toys… We should have no trouble but-."
"Wait for us."
There was no question of her order being disobeyed.
"Of course. They walk the path from the Star Temple due west towards our city."
She swam to the bank where her sister's had almost finished dressing.
"Tread softly, Ahšmara."
The prickling sensation dissolved and the gentle touch of her sister's voice was replaced by the sounds of the forest around them.
She took her short robe from the neat pile of her uniform and slipped it over her body. A leather belt was looped around her waist; simple weapons- knife and small sword- were set in their sheaths. She snapped the personal cloaking bracelet to her upper arm, standard issue for all Triads and on her wrist her favored weapon, their newest stunner design.
"There are visitors on Hë'lîa." She told them taking her long hair and wringing it out as much as she could. The inky strands fell over her shoulders and back moistening the thin material almost immediately. "Ahšmara, Łhunâ and Xhÿdreå await us on this path. The others will remain in the temple."
"As you say, Huntress." Both women set their right hand, palm down over their hearts. She nodded and adjusted the leather belt, setting it on her hips once again with her weapons. Barefoot and in the thin robe she led her Triad through the forest wasting no time on the buckles and straps of her uniform. All she would need was at her waist.
The forest blurred as they ran, cutting the time to the Stargate by more than half and soon found themselves able to identify the foreign scent of their 'visitors'.
She stopped with a raised fist beside a tree. Her eyes searched the greenery, piercing the dense leaves to find the slight shadows of the strangers. Tilting her head, she picked up the sounds of their feet, the swish of their clothing as they moved and the soft sound of their beating hearts.
Five fingers shone though her sister's could already see and hear for themselves how many strangers were ahead. They nodded as the Huntress motioned them to opposite directions and she took to the trees, graceful as any feline.
"So she was a warrior." Ronon replied as he listened to Beckett talk about the Gods of Mount Olympus. He was interested, found the idea of a woman like that ever existing, curious.
"She was more than that. Athena was the Goddess of War in its strategic aspects, wisdom, weaving, the protector of Athens. The Romans called her by Minerva."
"The other figure, the one to her right…?" Teyla questioned with a glance over her shoulder to Beckett who walked with Ronon at the rear. She vaguely remembered stories told by the elders among her people. Stories of women who'd fought n won against the Wraith but those had all been fairy tales…
"I canna be sure though I assume it was the Huntress Artemis." His Scottish brogue thickened as he grew more animated. "She was also the daughter of Zeus, Goddess of the hunt, childbirth- her symbols were the crescent moon, the bow and the arrows."
McKay frowned and tapped the screen again ignoring the talking as three more blotches on his screen suddenly appeared. The heat signature was too high for any human but the mass was too big for any animal, at least not any he'd want to run into.
Sheppard turned realizing his team had stopped and were gathered around Rodney.
"Now what?" he muttered moving to Teyla's side as McKay kept abusing the LSD.
"This thing is either malfunctioning or there are huge animals on this planet." He wasn't sure it was an animal but it couldn't be a human, not with the temperature signature that high.
"What?" Sheppard straightened quickly, turning to view the forest around them. He raised his weapon, aiming into the woods but couldn't see anything.
McKay frowned at his LSD trying to pinpoint the source of the large white blotch in their center when there was obviously only five of them, five blue dots. The sixth figure made no sense but then he wondered… maybe…
McKay looked up, mouth hanging open as the lithe figure, a blur of white dropped down into their midst. In a single move she dropped Sheppard and Teyla leaving them unarmed. He barely had a chance to see two others emerge from the green forest to keep Teyla and Sheppard down. A strong grip on his standard issue vest hauled him around to face a beautiful, angry woman. Suddenly unarmed and on the ground beside Beckett he watched Ronon fight two others while the woman in white stood back watching.
Ronon took down his first attacker, that she was a woman didn't affect his ability to hurt them. The second woman moved back at a sharp command that came from behind. He turned to find a petite woman in a short white tunic, barefoot and unarmed. She nodded once and moved in. Her fist in his stomach, the sudden force of the blow, had Ronon gasping for a new breath. At the same time he tried to counter her attack with his own and felt the viselike grip circle his wrist. His arm was pulled sharply up and back but that barely registered as he felt his face stinging. When he blinked his tearing eyes and focused, Ronon found himself lying in the leaf covered ground staring up at the woman in white. Her head tilted slightly, her face showing curiosity and then his body jerked, spasmed and he was out.
"Haec altera eccere fortis."
McKay glanced sharply at the woman standing over him.
Hearing the other woman speak, McKay turned to Beckett who lay half sitting beside him.
"Did I just hear them correctly?" he whispered to the doctor.
Beckett nodded, his attention on the women holding them captive and what they were saying.
"Is that a-." McKay winced as he was taped harshly for obviously interrupting them.
"Covenit eo ad nostra Regina." The woman in white said though her dark eyes studied him.
"A little warning would have been good." Sheppard grumbled then winced as his weight pulled on the ropes tied around his wrists. He grabbed onto the pole again. His body swung gently from side to side as the leather clad women carried him on a pole, as though he were some animal they caught in the woods. Beside him swung Beckett, similarly trussed up. He'd seen them lift the poles onto their shoulders easily even with Ronon's heavy weight, not one of them looked tired or out breath.
The only one not carrying a pole was the one in white, the one who dropped Ronon and obviously the leader of this group of- of-. Well, what were they?
"Warning?" McKay echoed incredulous. "Did I not say the LSD was malfunctioning?"
"That's not the same thing." Sheppard groused angling his head to look at McKay but all he got was a leather clad thigh.
"I said there were large animals in the woods!" McKay exclaimed.
"Arguing is not going to remedy the situation." Teyla tried to intervene and draw their attention to more productive matters but Rodney didn't bother listening to the only voice of reason in the group. Then again, any time John and Rodney started an argument they tended to ignore everything else.
"Do they look like large animals?" Sheppard demanded. Because to him they looked like very capable women, armed and dangerous. All his squirming to glare at McKay got him swaying on the pole. He did notice the scowl and flat lips of his captor and offered a lopsided smile, half apology before frowning. Again he wondered how this Greek legend would end up on a world so far from the Milky Way and Earth.
"Hey, I wasn't spouting off about Greek mythology-."
"Oy!" Beckett objected offended.
"Oh stuff it, all that nonsense about the Huntress and Artemis-."
"At least he had something productive to add." Sheppard cut in. "All you had to do was look at the LSD and tell us if we had company."
"I was looking!" McKay yelled.
"We should make that one walk." Äthłas growled, the bright green eyes bore into McKay but he was too busy complaining about his ties to notice.
"Then one of us would have to go after him." Jånssën replied evenly. "That is if he managed to escape."
A grunt was the only response. Nûvex didn't bother interfering, her Triad would not consider disobeying her orders nor would any of the others.
"You could always cut out his tongue." Łhunâ seemed particularly eager at the prospect. "Please Huntress, may I?"
Nûvex looked over her shoulder at the bright eyed and excited look, giving into a slight smile before shaking her head.
"No, Łhunâ. Queen Venåtici might need that one with its tongue."
Łhunâ's face fell, an almost comical expression on her features but then she brightened once more.
"What about a gag? It wouldn't hurt to cover his mouth and then he wouldn't be making such bothersome noises." She frowned and studied McKay in a manner that made him uncomfortable. "Why is it necessary for them to speak at all? Talking is not what they are made for."
"How would you know what they are made for?" Jånssën teased. Her laugh drew McKay's attention as well as Beckett's and Sheppard. Teyla continued to survey their surroundings, picking landmarks in case they had to return to the StarGate in a hurry.
"Alright." Nûvex conceded with a sigh. "Set them all down."
The four women set down their load while Nûvex motioned for Teyla to stop. She made her kneel facing the men still tied to their poles.
Łhunâ was quick to gather the leather strap from her side pouch. The sight of the Amazon approaching made McKay shift on the leaf covered ground. He called for Sheppard to help trying to inch away from the pale hands as they yanked his head. The leather strap went around his mouth and then it was securely tied with Łhunâ frowning.
"Huntress, he is still making noise." She pouted looking over her shoulder.
Nûvex spared a glance at the struggling male, her mind turning to memories- a story…
Long ago, before the Goddess Athena made her presence known to the Amazon women, they had all coexisted. Male and female living together on a planet called Earth. Nûvex had no idea when that had changed, no one had ever written of the events that lead to their separation. Only the capture by beings of immense power. Beings that had transported them on a great ship and then had crashed. It was then the Goddess had appeared to the survivors, female and male alike. It was not long before only the women were left; the men were not as robust. That had always bothered her, not knowing why they had separated, why the males did not survive for long but standing in the woods on her way to the Queen, listening to the grunts and indistinguishable noises the male was making- maybe this was the reason.
They just weren't as strong.
"Don't kill it, Łhunâ." Nûvex ordered motioning Teyla to stand as the others lifted the poles onto their shoulders again. She turned her back on the garbled exclamations as Łhunâ happily stunned the male.
AN: I'll include Latin translations when I see actual progress on this fic n if anyone is interested enough to leave a review.