TITLE: Early Beginnings
AUTHOR: Roeskva
CATEGORY: Drama
DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece
of fan fiction was created for entertainment only and not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Any similarity
to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
SUMMARY: This story is about the very early days of the Tok'ra.
RATING: PG-13
PAIRING: None
CHARACTERS: Jolinar, Egeria
STATUS: Incomplete
SPOILERS: Tok'ra episodes.
AUTHORS NOTES: * denotes thoughts or symbiote/host communication. Pre-series.

The horrified lo'tar ran to his fallen master's side. "My Lord Shu!" He looked with shock at the blood seeping out along the edge of an ugly looking knife, planted deep in the back of Lord Shu's neck. "What happened!"

"Treason! He...lp me get...get to the..." he coughed, and a small trickle of blood ran from his mouth, "...to the sarcophagus..."

The lo'tar helped the Goa'uld get up on his feet. "Do you not wish the knife pulled out?"

"NO! Not...not before I get to...the sarcophagus. I...I would prefer..." he drew a shaky breath, "...to walk there myself. No one must...see me...like...like this..."

"..and pulling out the knife would make you bleed enough to loose consciousness. I understand." He supported his Lord when he was about to fall, but otherwise let him walk unassisted.

When they were almost at the door to the sarcophagus room, an explosion was heard from inside. Suspecting the worst, the lo'tar helped his master to sit before he ran inside. He returned moments later.

"I..." he swallowed, "...I regret to inform you, my Lord, that the sarcophagus has been destroyed...completely."

Shu closed his eyes and sighed deeply. He knew this was the end. The ashrak had succeeded this time. He thought fleetingly about who might have sent him, but it was now irrelevant. The knife wound was bad, and had damaged both his host and himself severely. Still, he might have been able to heal it, were it not for the poison that was on it. He felt it spreading through his body even now. It, too, was very bad, but without the wound he might have survived it. Both things at the same time was a death sentence not even a new host would save him from. He opened his eyes again and looked at his loyal lo'tar.

"Then I am out of luck. The knife...an ashrak stabbed me with it...and...and it is coated with...an extreme...ly potent poison. There is no way I...can survive both without a...sarcophagus."

"A...a new host, perhaps?" The lo'tar asked nervously, well aware that he was the only one present.

"No, unfortunately I am...too damaged..." he tried to get up, and his lo'tar again helped him stand. "Find a...a healer, I need to get this...this knife out. He must...bandage me...stop the bleeding long enough..." he almost fell, and supported by his lo'tar he managed to get to a chair and sat down heavily. "Hurry...and bring me my heir...as well as a selection of hosts...but do not take too long. I must see my heir in a host...ready to rule..."

"Of course, my Lord." The lo'tar hurried to complete his task, confused and unsure of what the future would bring. He knew, of course, that the Goa'uld were not truly gods. Someone in his position could hardly be unaware. Still, he almost thought of his Lord as such, and the idea of him dying was unreal and terrifying. He could only hope his Lord's heir would let him keep his position, unlikely as it was.

-
About an hour later the Jaffa carrying Shu's heir, as well as a group of the best potential hosts that could be found on such short notice, were all gathered in Shu's chamber.

The Goa'uld sat in his throne chair, leaning weakly against one of the arm rests. He had a new bandage around his neck, blood already seeping through, despite his own and the doctor's best efforts. At least the knife was gone. If only his commander in chief, Akori, was here. He was the only other Goa'uld in his service, and if he had been present he might have been able to do something with a healing device. Regrettably, he was on a mission and thus unavailable. Suspiciously unavailable. He might not be trustworthy.

The poison was too strong for Shu to filter out, given his weakened state. He knew he would not live long. He sighed. His chosen heir was really too young to take a host. His child was only 8 years, and would have great trouble controlling its host. However, an heir was needed now to take over his empire, or other, enemy Goa'uld would. He straightened up as best he could, wanting to appear as strong as possible.

"Bring forth the hosts - and let my child have a look at each."

One after another, the terrified humans were dragged over to the Jaffa standing beside Shu. Each time a small head would appear from the Jaffa's pouch. The symbiote looked the potential host over - sometimes long, sometimes only for a short time. It did not seem interested in any of them. Then, one of the last was a beautiful young woman with a rare golden hair and unusual, deep-blue eyes. The symbiote turned towards its father and made a few satisfied squeals.

Relieved, Lord Shu made a sign with his hand, and the two guards holding the scared woman forced her down on her knees. There was no time for a more dignified transference, and the symbiote merely jumped from the pouch to the woman's neck, burrowing in immediately.

Shu looked at his lo'tar. "Leave us...and kill the rest."

"Yes, my Lord." He bowed deeply, then signalled the Jaffa. Moments later the room was empty, save for Shu and his young heir who was still kneeling on the floor, seemingly struggling.

Suddenly, the symbiote won and assumed control. She stood up, her chin raised proudly and her eyes flashing. "Father. I am Jolinar. I thank you for this host." She bowed for him.

Lord Shu smiled weakly - but proudly. "Jolinar, my...daughter..." he was a little surprised by her choice of a female host, but he had to admit that the host looked good on her, "...and heir..." He coughed. "There is much I need to tell you, and precious little time. Trust no one, least an attempt be made on your life as well. I fear my commander in chief, Akori, had a hand in my demise and may have given the ashrak information. He is not the leader, though, I have some suspects..."

Thus he quickly gave his daughter as much advice as he had time for. It was really too bad that she was so young and inexperienced, otherwise she might have been able to save him with a healing device. However, she would not have the control nor the strength for something like that so soon after taking a host, even if she had been fully mature. There was nothing to do about that - at least Shu's heir would now be able to rule and his enemies would not be able to take over his empire without a fight.

Less than an hour later, Shu, Lord of Malkshur, was dead. Jolinar exited the room, having sworn to avenge her father's death. She looked around and spotted her father's lo'tar...her lo'tar. "I am your new god, Lord Jolinar of Malkshur. My father is dead. Have him buried somewhere, quietly..."

The lo'tar had knelt in front of for his new Lord the moment he saw her, but now hurried to obey her command. Jolinar looked thoughtfully after him for a moment. Then, when he was out of sight she almost ran into a nearby room. Relieved, she closed the door behind her and sank down into the nearest chair. Her host was fighting her mightily, and it took almost all her strength just to keep control. She could not let the Jaffa and human slaves see their new Lord like this! If she lost control in front of them, appeared weak - even for an instance - they would loose faith in her as their god.

*They told me nothing of the host remains. Then why do this host still fight me? HOW?* Jolinar wondered to herself.

*Perhaps you're just weak?* A voice suggested.

"What! Who dare say that!" Jolinar screamed at the silent room.

*Or perhaps they lied to you...* the voice continued.

"Who are you? Show yourself! Coward!"

*In here...I'm Arnora!*

"And that's supposed to mean anything to me?"

*I'm your host! Talk about being slow...*

"My host!" Jolinar pulled herself together and tried thinking the answer to the voice. That way she expected to prove it was someone outside and not her host - when no one answered. *Nothing of the host remains - you cannot be my host.*

*I am...they lied to you...*

Jolinar felt her head spin. Her host! She was talking to her host! How could this be? Why had they lied to her and said all of the host would be gone when she took over? What else had they lied about? Or did they believe the same she had? And were they right and she was just weak?

*Do the host normally talk?* She asked, confused, immediately realising the stupidity of the question.

*How should I know? I haven't been a host before...hadn't expected to be one now either...* She got up and walked leisurely over to the window, opening it. She then climbed up into the window frame and looked down. It was really a long way down. *It looks like concrete or stone down there - it will most certainly kill both of us if I jumped...*

*No! Wait!* Jolinar fought frantically for control and finally managed to wrench it from her host. Dripping with sweat and on knees that were weak from fear, she managed to stumble down and further into the room. With a relieved sigh she slid down to the floor and leaned against the wall. *Why did you do that?*

*I will not live like this - a prisoner in my own body!*

*I am you god! You should be honored to share your body with me!*

*Some god!* Arnora snorted. *You are no more a god than I am!*

*Insolence. I could kill you for that remark.*

*Yes, and where would you be then? Crawling on the floor, perhaps? I think not! Remember, I did see you in your true form. What a disappointment!*

Jolinar fumed, but could not come up with anything suitable to reply.

Just then it knocked on the door.

*Damnation...Arnora, you have to let me stay in control whenever anyone is around. If they even suspect for a moment that I cannot control my host, they will no longer believe I am a god - no longer respect my authority. We would have a rebellion on our hands!* Jolinar almost pleaded.

*And why would I care?*

*They would kill us! Both of us! Can we please settle this later?*

*As you wish - for now.* Arnora pulled back and let Jolinar have control uncontested.

Visibly relieved, Jolinar got up and straightened her clothing. "Enter."