A/N: (Feel free to skip my useless rambling) O.O Midterms will soon be upon us! So if my updating times get weird then that's why - I have a buttload of studying. I do hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am, so far, by your reviews - I think you are :) and that's lovely to see. So special kudos to EvenMoor, Sukki-Aldrea, PheonixRe, and redDaeth for the reviews! You guys are awesome! For this chapter, we are back with Sam and Daniel- though don't worry, we'll soon figure out what's going in Jack and Teal'c, if you're wondering. Just hang in there! I do hope my set-up for all of this isn't taking too long for any of you. Anyway, I'll shut up now so you can actually go read the story! Please get comfortable, grab a cookie and a hot beverage, and enjoy. Don't forget to leave the dishes in the sink and drop me a review (or constructive criticism) on your way out. I appreciate each and every one. See you all next week!
"After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of truth." - J.R.R . Tolkien
At the next sunrise, Daniel and Sam were exiting the tunnel into a deceptively peaceful morning. The sun shone fair - but it was a cold, pale kind of light. The kind that warmed one's face but left one's bones still chilled. It wasn't strong enough to extend its fingers into the shadows that sheltered the brumal ground. The temperature seemed fitting to the destruction around them. Half the town was shredded. Roofs had been torn off, doors lifted from their hinges. A few bodies lay strewn about. Daniel glanced at Sam and watched as her face tightened and she took a deep breath, her chest rising and then quickly falling.
They poked around the rubble a bit, just to make sure that Jack and Teal'c weren't there. Sam tried reaching them through the radio several times with a "sir? If you're there, please respond", and "Teal'c?" - but she received only static in reply. It was then easily concluded that either their radios were compromised or they were out of range. Daniel wasn't sure which he preferred. Both had their risks and implications. They hadn't any idea what had happened to their friends.
They began their trek going vaguely north-east. The gate was east, and the cliffs were north. They knew that much. Soon, the forest opened to that wide, grassy plain, bounded on three sides by the wood and on the forth the rushing river. In the center stood the Stargate, lit up by the rising sun. Daniel took a breath as his eyes caught what they hadn't seen when they'd stepped out of the Stargate yesterday - the jagged, mesa-like cliffs that rose up over the wood and river roughly to their left. As he saw that warm, dusty rose color - so alien, yet faintly reminiscent of the Painted Hills he'd visited over and over to see the fossil beds - something strange rose inside of him. It was the same feeling he had whenever he had that realization of adventure (may it be on a new planet, or simply digging around in a fossil bed at home, or finding a new theory about a connection between two myths). It was something distinctly Ballard that woke inside him. He may be a Jackson, but the mad brilliance of his grandfather, Nicholas, would never quite be lost in Daniel's genetics. Perhaps it was that Ballard side that was always getting him into trouble - wandering off and touching things out of curiosity and wonder.
Whatever the reason, all he knew was that he had the desire to scale the cliffs rather than read a book, to see for himself the uncertain wonders of this new planet and to grasp them with both hands by the throat and wrangle them into understanding. The Keeper, the Monster, the connection to the Ancients - this was a singular mystery like he hadn't seen since he was first discovering the Goa'uld and who the Ancients were. He found himself getting his feet on the path to the cliffs before he even had time to think about where he was going, or ask Sam what might be the best route, or to ponder what evil thing might be waiting for him in the forest.
He just had to know. He had to understand.
And he had to find Jack and Teal'c.
Sam caught up with him, looking over at her friend and seeing that faraway look in those blue eyes, the brim his hat and his glasses hiding what he might be thinking. "Daniel?" she called, frowning. Normally when he was like this he had a new theory.
When he didn't answer, she again called his name, and finally the Archaeologist looked at her and blinked. "I'm sorry, what?"
Sam gave him a patient smile. "We'll find them."
He looked down at the stony ground where they walked and nodded - the skin around his eyes tightened. "I know."
Sam gave him a knowing look. "But?" she prodded.
"It's not that," Daniel shook his head, "It's just that - I have this weird feeling that we're about to stumble across something that's- I don't know - so vast and important. Like I did when I thought up the theory about the pyramids being landing platforms for aliens."
They were entering the wood now, and it was dark. They had to squint to see the cliffs beneath the deep foliage. The faint cry of that hawk-like bird could be heard in the distance, chilling, a little ominous. Daniel began to look around, his gaze flitting from tree to tree - though there was that unnerving voice in the back of his mind that said that even if that monster was here he wouldn't be able to see it.
"I've been thinking," Daniel began again after some measure of silence had passed between them. "Grandfather would have to have been a real person."
This gave the airman-scientist pause for a moment and she nodded. "Yeah. Because he pushed out the Goa'uld."
Daniel frowned and nodded. "Right. But- if he's Ancient then he's probably ascended."
Sam nodded again, seeming to grasp where his theory was going about all of the myths surrounded the mystic figure. The Ancients had been just that - an ancient race that had built the Stargates and had been the most powerful beings for some time, until they discovered how to turn their bodies into pure energy - "ascending" -
"- Oh my god."
Daniel had stopped short in his path, staring at nothing in particular and blinking furiously. He pushed his glasses up his nose and it forced Sam to pause and looked at him quizzically.
He turned to Sam and then demanded, "What if he's Merlin?"
Sam also blinked and then shrugged. "It's - it's possible."
"It makes so much sense - Merlin was one of the few Ancients that ever interfered with any other cultures..."
"But that doesn't mean it's Merlin, Daniel."
"True," he sighed and folded his arms and continued walking - though he was still turning about that theory in his mind.
This theory was still fumbling about, bouncing around, and being turned inside out when a great shout erupted from a distance in the wood, followed like thunder by a roar and the sound of a weapon firing that sounded vaguely like a staff-weapon.
Sam looked at Daniel. "That's Teal'c," she murmured before breaking into a run through the trees, Daniel hot on her heels.
What they saw when they broke into a clearing and witnessed the source of the noise was not what they expected. Actually - that was an understatement. They never even would have thought in their wildest dreams that they'd see the creature battling with a woman with the curliest, blondest hair in the world and a gangly man wearing a bowtie. The latter figure was trying to grab onto the former's arm, tugging her away from the beast frantically.
"You can't kill it!"
"I can try!"
"We have to run!"
"Husband, shut up!"
Sam and Daniel didn't have time to even think before the pair was headed in their direction and bony fingers grasped theirs and dragged them along toward the cliffs, the creature hot on their heels.
"What were you doing just standing there?" was the shouted reprimand from the strange man.
Before either could reply he shook it off, running, muttering under his breath. "Beautiful planet, unkillable monster - ah! Someone has been checking my Christmas list!"
He had a distinctly British accent and Daniel hadn't time to wonder if Britain had somehow gotten interplanetary travel as they tore through the foliage. A log came into view that formed a sort of shelter amidst some rocks and a sort of burrow, and before anybody in the party could protest, they were sliding down the mud, an earthy musk assaulting their senses. They'd managed to lose the invisible monster in the run, and they could hear it slithering then, pawing now, and roaring soon after as it tried to find its prey.
They were all breathing hard, trying not to make too much noise, until finally all was quiet and the woman with that mad hair was scrambling out from the press of bodies crammed into too small a space and making sure the coast was clear. At some signal, presently the man followed suit and he pulled Daniel and Sam out of the hole as well. Daniel dusted himself off and Sam stretched a bit, shaking out a few cramps before taking off her cap and running a hand through her hair.
"Don't tell me Britain has interplanetary travel," she breathed, eyeing the two strangers.
The man blinked and then laughed a bit, waving it off. "We're not British- though we've spent a lot of time in Britain. Good place, that is. So tell me, what are two humans doing wandering around Fembur at this time of day? Where'd you come from?" He paused and then said more gravely, "More importantly, when did you come from?"
"When?" Daniel stared at him, perplexed.
The woman walked forward, eyeing their weapons with what looked like a practiced eye. "You're from the 21st century, aren't you?"
Sam frowned and nodded. "Yeah."
Daniel stuck out his hand, "I'm Dr. Daniel Jackson, this is Major Sam Carter. I'm an archaeologist. We're exploring. Where are you from?"
The woman shot him a dazzling, demure smile and took his hand, shaking it firmly. "Ah! A man after my own heart! I'm Professor River Song, Archaeologist."
"And I'm the Doctor - a time traveler. I point and laugh at Archaeologists," the bow-tied man introduced himself bluntly with an aloof roll of his eyes.
"Well, do you have to be so rude?" River frowned at him.
"You're not from Britain?" Daniel clarified again. He couldn't fathom how they'd gotten the accents. Sam decided she wasn't even going to bother with asking the Doctor about the time-travel comment.
"No, technically I'm from Gallifrey. River is technically from England but she was born in space," the Doctor replied. "We're aliens."
He delivered this all with such cool, spastic casualness that Sam and Daniel had no choice but to believe him. Sam's eyes narrowed as she looked them up and down. "You look human."
"No, you look Time Lord," the man automatically corrected.
"We're from an ancient race that has- well- long since died out. We're the only ones left," River's voice had a softened, sad tremor to it, but she smiled nonetheless. "I wasn't aware that 21st century humans were capable of interplanetary travel."
"We use the Stargate," Sam replied.
"Ah!" A grin came over the Doctor's face. "Brilliant device, that is! Absolutely brilliant! River uses it every once in awhile - though she prefers her vortex manipulator. It works like a mini-Stargate."
Sam was immediately hooked when River showed her the device strapped to her arm. She immediately began asking all sorts of questions about how it worked, why it worked, and how it was made. All these Dr. Song patiently answered with a hint of amusement twinkling in her sea-green eyes.
While that happy conversation was going on, Daniel's mind had begun to digest the two new travelers. The first was the more attractive of the two, what with her mad hair and contagious smile that seemed to light up everyone in its vicinity. Her eyes seemed to shine as she explained why they were in Fembur - the archaeology she'd found - the creature. With a small twist in his chest he realized that she reminded him a great deal of what little he could remember of his mother. The second: the tall, gangly fellow, stood with his hands clasped behind his back, making interjections and comments every now and then and interrupting his companion much to her chagrin.
"Sam," Daniel called as he glanced back at the cliffs as his mind turned to more serious matters, "Do you think we can take that on the road?"
The scientist deflated slightly and gave a brief nod, remembering where she was and why she was there and what she was doing. "'course."
"What are we doing?" River asked, her tone flamboyant and curious.
Sam sighed. "That thing-whatever it was-" she paused and blinked, "It really needs a name! - attacked a village we were visiting. We lost two of our friends out here during it and the townspeople said we'd be able to find them if we got help from the-" she paused and glanced at Daniel for help.
"-Keeper. She said we could get help from her. She apparently was last seen by those cliffs, so that's where we're headed." Daniel pointed.
A grin spread over the Doctor's face. "Ah! A rescue! I love a good rescue, me!"
"We'll help you look, then, shall we?" was the answer from River as she strapped her vortex manipulator to her wrist.
Sam glanced at Daniel, and Daniel glanced at Sam, and then Daniel shrugged. "I don't see why not."
So, the group continued on, and Daniel didn't give much thought to his new companions - he was too busy discussing his finds in the catacombs with his fellow Archaeologist and listening to her enthusiastic expressions of her desire to visit them while the Doctor was seeming to refute some theory about physics that Sam was talking to him about. His mind was happily engaged, keeping him away from worrying about his friends even as they drew nearer to finding someone who could help them deal with the problem that the townspeople seemed to think they had created.
Little did Daniel know that he was walking among Legends.