rigel: (tealc desert)

Ficlet Post: "G is for Glory" (G)

Title: "G is for Glory"
Author: Rigel
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Rating: G
Categories: Gen, Teal'c and Bra'tac Friendship, Pre-series
Wordcount: 951
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] sg_fignewton's Teal'c Alphabet Soup



The evening shadows deepened, throwing the figure of Bra'tac into stark relief against the darkening sky. He was clad in his full battle regalia, the heavy cloak of his office flapping at the hem as the wind caught at it. He stood with one foot braced against a hummock of grass. Somehow, it had flourished amongst the barren scree that surrounded the encampment, a lone note of green against rock and shale.

The guards at his side snapped to attention, and he turned his gaze toward his finest apprentice, who was now approaching the command post.

"First Prime Bra'tac, Nu'man sends orders from our god." Teal'c halted and bowed his head, slightly awed by the air of authority that his master radiated.

"Speak." An impatient note had crept into Bra'tac's voice, no doubt a result of the long day spent marshalling the vast force now assembled behind him on the plains. He gestured and Teal'c stepped forward, unrolling a scroll that had been covered with carefully inked glyphs.

Teal'c swallowed hard, and read the missive. "Bring glory to your god this day and serve our divine purpose. Our will is strong, and our path is clear…"

Bra'tac listened to the charges dictated to him, his expression impassive as the terms of the demanded victory grew impossible to achieve, even for renowned Jaffa that had been bred solely for the purpose of war.

As he drew to a close, Teal'c felt the first seeds of unease blossom within him. He concentrated on the engraved pattern of entwined serpents on his gauntlets and set aside his fears. Bra'tac was the warrior who had led the charge against a ten thousand strong army with only two thousand under his command and prevailed, earning a golden tattoo and the approval of a god – it was disloyal to doubt his abilities.

"Come, Teal'c," said Bra'tac. "Walk with me a while." Grasping his staff weapon, he used it to point in a sweeping arc across the plain. "Tell me what you see."

Teal'c took a moment to consider, glancing at his surroundings. "I see the vanguard of our army; warriors preparing for battle and honing their skills."

"And beyond?"

"There is nothing, only the dark of the battlefield."

"Truly?"

"There is only wind and rock, Master."

"I see the fires of the enemy." Bra'tac sighed uncharacteristically. "And they are gathered as the bee is to honey. Every warrior there burning with the desire to destroy us and win acclaim."

Teal'c felt uncomfortable. His mentor rarely showed any kind of emotion – it was almost unseemly, even unnatural for a Jaffa.

The silence between them lingered.

"Perhaps it is unwise to dwell on such things," he suggested. "Tomorrow we shall triumph, for your strategy is sound."

"I think of the morrow and I am saddened, Teal'c," Bra'tac said gravely. "For after we have claimed victory, so many of our people will lie slain on these grounds. Even now, I can see their shadows among us."

"It is an honor to die in the service of our god," Teal'c said. "I do not fear death."

Bra'tac turned to look at him; his eyes seemed veiled and distant. "Those are the words of youth. When you have as many years as I, then perhaps you will see that death is not to be feared, as it comes to us all; but there is no shame in mourning its coming." He paused, and readjusted his grip on the staff weapon, resting it against his shoulder. "Many of those who will fall in battle have sons who will rise and take their place, it is true. But I am grieved by the futility of this conflict."

"Master?"

"One hundred and eighty years past, I stood at this very place and looked to the lines of the enemy massed over on that rise. I dreamed of the glory that I would win, of the many foes that I would slay as I cried the name of our god to strike fear in their hearts." His fingers loosened on the staff and it gave a hollow ring against his armor. "Every Jaffa in my cohort died beside me, and I stepped over them as they fell, looking only to my goal."

"And yet you prevailed; the battle is legend among us. There are many tales of your bravery."

Bra'tac shook his head. "Ten thousand died that day, all for this barren strip of land on which no crop grows, which has no value save to the gods for their petty squabbles of power."

Teal'c's eyes widened in shock, such a thought was traitorous, and to even voice it was a death sentence – he should call for the guards and see his master dragged from the field. But he remained silent, a small part of him wanted to hear why the First Prime would dare to speak such a thing.

"Teal'c, you must understand, as the sun rises tomorrow we shall fight. And perhaps you shall pass over my fallen body, but know this: you shall repeat this scenario many times. The life of a Jaffa is to serve his god as a warrior, and you will know little else but the sounds of men dying beside you and the bleak task of sending them to die to achieve nothing."

Bra'tac looked straight into his eyes, his expression fierce and unflinching. "There is no glory in this, only death."

"It is our duty."

"Can you not conceive of a better purpose for your life?"

"Perhaps…" Teal'c broke off, almost unable to believe that he was about to speak his thoughts. "Perhaps it will not always be so."

"It is my long held dream, my friend."

Comments

Oh, Rigel, well worth the slight delay!

::kicks internet for you::

Love the image of Bra'tac all imposing. Love the cadence of their words, and Teal'c's unspoken unease, and Bra'tac oh so carefully prodding those first stirrings of rebellious thought. Beautiful. :)
Heee! Lawd, it was just driving me nuts - because every time I'd hit post, there would be this stupid error message from LJ about not being able to connect with the server database, and then no pages would load at all! *kicks internet again*

But yay! Thank you. I can't remember who said it, but it is known that Bra'tac generally adds 30% more awesome to any scene in which he appears. :D
I like how you get the futility of war just right. It makes me think of WW1 and how the british sent us ANZACs (aussie and Kiwi) to the wrong place to fight a battle we had no chance of winning.
*grins*

I'm an Aussie as well - and the ANZAC mythos is well steeped in my family tradition.

Thank you for the lovely feedback :D
"Can you not conceive of a better purpose for your life?"

This? This is awesome. I quite love it.
Bra'tac always gets the best lines - he's just pure bottled awesome :D
Pure bottled awesome, indeed.
:P

*smishes*
Wonderful!Imagine Teal'c without the influence of Bra'tac! Great story!
Bra'tac is still my favourite Jaffa - he's just too awesome for words :D
Bra'tac will always be Teal'c's teacher, the man just oozes confidence and wisdom. :) And you did a wonderful job of showing us that. I do have to admit though, that I am in awe of your characterization of Bra'tac. I didn't realize that you were so wise and confident. :)

Beautiful story, Rigel. I love this!!
Yay! Thank you!

I've always thought that Bra'tac has this kind of brilliant gravitas, in that every move he makes and everything he says is always considered and deliberate - he's a great character to play with :D
Oh, yum. I love the ghosts of battlefields past and future that the fic raises on this dark plain, and the windy rocky barrenness (and the metaphor of that one green hummock), and the mixture of pain and anger and wistful sadness and pure courage that threads through it. Evening coming on, a bloody battle to come with the sunrise, and on that cusp between different kinds of dark and light, Teal'c struggling toward a re-definition of 'glory' -- wonderfully evocative.
Thank you!!

I *might* have been mainlining a fair few books set in the trenches of WW1 recently - it's certainly given me some visceral images to inspire me; most of all about the overwhelming sadness that warfare brings.

*hugs you*
Lovely Bra'tac here, and early Teal'c. Nice work!
Thank you!

Bra'tac is awesome, he just seems to lend any scene a sense of dignity :D
Oh, this was just all kinds of amazing.

Bra'tac kicks ass, as usual. Wise and full of gravitas and his own special brand of awesomesauce. And when he decides to take a chance on Teal'c, even knowing he could turn Bra'tac in as a traitor -that's the courageous Jaffa we all know and love.

And Teal'c! So young, so naive. And you wove in the beginnings of his doubt so perfectly. It's easy to imagine Bra'tac taking that and nurturing it until Teal'c is ready to take his stand.

Love this. So, so much.
Thank you!

*hugs your words to myself*

I really think that it must have been a huge leap of faith on Bra'tac's part, to stir those first feelings of rebellion amongst the Jaffa and particularly Teal'c, who had such a burning desire to prove himself worthy.
Oh! Bra'tac and Teal'c awesomeness!

I love everything about this fic. The setting, the dialogue, the bravado of Teal'c's innocence, the insecurity of his doubts, and the heaviness of Bra'tac's heart as he views the battlefield and events to come.

Just wonderful.
*smishes*

Thank you! I have to confess that I love Bra'tac as a character - he has a whole heap of awesome to him.
I loved this look at the first stirrings of change within Teal'c, and the gentle, subtle way Bra'tac encourages it.
Thank you! The dynamic between Teal'c and Bra'tac was definitely interesting to explore.

:D