Once upon a time, in a land far away, a young prince stood on a mountaintop, surveying the kingdom spread out below him. Stargate was a beautiful land, made prosperous by the long and happy reign of the house of Hammond. The only fly in the ointment being the evil enchanter who ruled the barren wastelands of the west. But Stargate was strong, and had easily repelled his many attempts at invasion.
Daniel was the last of the line, at least for now. The loss of his mother many years ago had been a sad blow to Daniel's father, King George. The old man had adored his beautiful, delicate wife and grieved sorely at her death long after the first shock of bereavement had passed. His only consolation had been his infant son, and the two had become very close. But now things were about to change.
Growing worried at his father's continued isolation, Daniel had consulted a close friend. The Lady Janet was known to be skilled in the healing arts, and the Prince hoped that she could find a way to ease the King's despair. His plan worked far better than he had hoped, as, before the month was out, King George had come to love the Countess dearly, a feeling she reciprocated in full. The marriage was announced without delay, much to Daniel's delight, the young man happy to see his father so content at last.
The few malicious whisperers who predicted that the Prince would have his nose put out of joint by the King's new wife were confounded, the friendship between Lady Janet and Daniel only made stronger by their new relationship. Daniel adored the new Queen, and also his new stepsister, Princess Cassandra. And the little princess, in turn, worshipped her big brother, liking nothing more than to curl up in his lap while he entertained her with stories of distant lands, adventure and magic.
It was, in fact, because of his sister that Daniel had made this journey. He remembered his old nurse telling him tales of a tree where golden apples grew, and he had come to find it, intending to take this special gift home for the little girl. He had had no luck so far, and was beginning to think that the tree may have been a myth. He strolled over to where his faithful steed was tethered, petting the magnificent beast and feeding him mints. "So, Teal'c, what do you think? Was old Nursey spinning a yarn to send me to sleep?"
The big stallion butted is head affectionately against his master's chest, snorting in response.
"Yes, I think you're probably right, no golden apples for Cassie today. Time to go home, I think." With a final pat, Daniel turned to retrieve his cloak. Hearing a sound from the trees, he called out, moving to investigate, but before he had gone two steps, strong arms caught him up. The young prince struggled to no avail as a rough sack was thrown over his head, his attackers far too strong and numerous for him to fight.
The mighty Teal'c pulled at his reins, desperate to go to his master's aid, but he, too, was helpless, only able to watch as the kidnappers escaped with their precious captive.
Jack O'Neill watched in horror from the shelter of the trees as the young man was thrown over a saddle and carried off. His warrior instincts urged him forward, but the mark borne by the attackers kept him back. He instantly recognised the emblem of the evil enchanter Apophis, the cruel and despotic serpent lord who ruled over the badlands of Chulak.
Many years of hiring out his fighting skills to the highest bidder had hardened the mercenary. He had, himself, committed many acts of which he was not proud, and so the assault on the young man should not have shocked him. And yet it had. There was something special about this boy, an innocence and purity of the soul. Whatever it was, it called to him, melting the ice that had formed around his heart. For the first time in a very long time, he felt a sense a purpose, rightness to his actions. He was going to rescue that boy, whatever the risk.
Striding forward, he moved toward the young man's abandoned mount, intending to ride to the rescue. The magnificent animal clearly had other ideas. He stamped and snorted, flattening his ears threateningly. After several attempts, Jack gave in to his frustration. "Oh, for crying out loud! Will you keep still, you dumb animal. I only want to save your master. I'm not trying to steal you."
At that, loyal Teal'c stilled, seeming to scrutinise the man standing before him. Jack could have sworn he saw one eyebrow raised in inquiry. But no, that was impossible, right? Well, whatever, it looked like he was going to be allowed into the saddle at last. Within moments, the two were headed into the forest, both determined to fulfil their quest.
Daniel stood defiantly in front of the oversized throne. He had recognised Apophis, bane of Stargate, instantly. The serpent lord's cruelty was legendary, and being an intelligent man, Daniel was properly afraid. He longed to be home, safe, with his beloved family. None of this showed in his expression, however, as he courageously faced down his enemy.
Apophis descended from his throne, approaching the young man. "So, you are the beauteous Daniel, Prince of Stargate. I expected more."
"I could say the same about you, but then tyrants rarely live up to their press. And do you have to stand so close, because, damn, you could use a can or two of raid. Possibly some mouthwash."
"You know, I always thought they called you the Serpent Lord because of your slimy, low-down tricks. But I guess it was the snake breath, right?"
The blow sent Daniel sprawling. He wiped the blood from his lip as he rose, smiling. "Oh, I'm sorry, did I upset you? No, I take that back...I'm not sorry." Once again, the young prince displayed his talent for royally pissing off the bad guys. Maybe not the smartest action in his current predicament, but definitely the most satisfying.
Apophis turned away, resisting the urge to grind his troublesome prisoner into dust. Time enough for that once the ransom was paid. "Say what you will, boy, soon Stargate will be mine."
"That is *not* going to happen, my father would never allow it."
"We shall see. I think the King would be willing to pay a great deal for the safe return of his son and heir."
Daniel though furiously. Dammit, snakeboy was right, his father *would* give anything to get him back. He had to do something, stop this from happening. He couldn't allow the faithful citizen's of Stargate to come under the power of this evil man, even if it meant his own death. There was only one way; he had to make Apophis believe him to be worthless. "My father will probably be glad to be rid of me, give him more time to spend with his new family."
"Check it out, stinky. Your spies must have told you about the royal marriage, big news in these parts, you can't have missed it."
"I am aware of the union. It makes no difference."
"Sure it does. That bitch my father married hates me, wants to replace me with her own brat. She's infected my poor papa's mind with her poison, he listens to every word she says."
"I had heard she had some skill with herbs and potions, but I had not thought..."
"Well, no, it's pretty obvious you didn't think. If everything was rosy in Stargate, then what was I doing all alone and unprotected on that mountain, Huh? Can't answer, can you? I'll tell you what I was doing...leaving to seek my fortune elsewhere, that's what. There's nothing left for me in my home...nothing and no-one." Even knowing that if his story was believed he would probably die, Daniel prayed that his misdirection would work, that Stargate would be spared.
Apophis returned to his throne, deep in thought. This ruined all his plans, although horribly killing the annoying prince would be some compensation. The more he considered his options, the more attractive disposing of this thorn in his side became. A violent, painful death would be best, and he had just the thing. And the best part was that young prince had condemned himself to his end. "You are a fool boy. Had you kept silent, you would have lived a little longer. Since your father has no more use for you, your life is of no value to me. Guards, take him and hurl him into the unas pit. None can prevail against those fearsome beasts."
Daniel followed the guards, his head held high as he bravely went to meet his fate.
"Dammit, how could we lose the trail so completely? Okay, lets try that way. Uh...going the wrong way, big guy, we should be...ah what the hell, guess this way is as good as any other. And why the hell am I talking to a horse anyway? This is *so* the last time I try to rescue anyone."
Teal'c continued on his chosen path without comment. He, at least, seemed to know where he was going.
After a short time, they came to a small clearing, where the large steed came to a halt before a seemingly impenetrable wall of rock.
"Damn, dead end, we better head back." Nothing. "Look, buddy, we tried your way, no luck, now lets try my way." Still no reaction. "What are you waiting for? Erosion? Let's go, time's a wasting. Gee up. Hi ho, silver, away. Ah, crap."
No one could have been more shocked than Jack when the solid rock face slid back, revealing a large cavern full of strange and unusual objects. "Now *this* is an open sesame moment."
"Identify yourself, Stranger." The query came from a cloaked figure standing in the shadows at far end of the cave.
"Jack O'Neill. And you would be?"
Throwing back her cowl, revealing golden hair, the cavern's resident stepped forward to examine the horse and his rider. To Jack's continuing amazement, she addressed herself to his mount. "I am the sorceress Samantha, but you knew that. Isn't that why you came to me?"
"Look, lady, I have no idea who you are, and I didn't *come to you*."
"I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to him."
Could this day get any stranger? How was he supposed to deal with this mad woman who talked to animals? And dammed if the stupid animal wasn't nodding. What was going on here?
"I see you're confused, Jack. Dismount, and all will become clear to you."
"Fine, whatever, explain away."
The beautiful sorceress reached for a small hand device, passing it over the large stallion. A strange humming sound issued forth from the machine, and then a shimmering enveloped Teal'c. Jack watched, stunned, as the mighty beast took human shape. A very large human, granted, but still, definitely human. Now that was unexpected. "That was unexpected."
"Indeed. It is good to once more assume my natural form."
"Ya think? And about this all becoming clear thing? Still confused, here."
"I am Teal'c, former First Prime of Apophis."
"You worked for that slimy snakehead?"
"I regret that I did, until I came to realise that he was not the leader I had believed him to be. Once I became aware of his duplicity, I instigated a rebellion. I failed. Many of my followers were killed, and I was transformed into the beast you saw before. He intended to subjugate me, but I escaped. I wandered many leagues until finally, near death, I was found by Prince Daniel. He cared for me, and thereby won my everlasting loyalty."
"Peachy. And Prince Daniel would be..."
"The youth who was taken by my former master's minions."
"Prince, huh? Sweet. So, what are we waiting for, lets go get him back."
"I am ready."
"I'd better come too, just in case you get into any trouble."
"Works for me. You gonna bring any of your doohickeys along?"
"Yes, we'll need them to counteract Apophis' wizardry. He's a very powerful enchanter."
"Whatever. He's human, so he can die. And I intend to see that he does."
So saying, the intrepid trio once more sallied forth, Jack only slightly miffed to be on foot, being as his horse was now a man.
Daniel came to with a start, testing his limbs for damage. That had been quite a drop, but amazingly, apart from a few bruises, he seemed to be unhurt. That was a good start, anyway. Looking around, he spotted a series of drawings on the wall opposite, and set about deciphering them. The more he knew about this place and its inhabitants, the better his chances of survival.
He had barely begun when he heard a low growling behind him. He spun around to see an enormous monster bearing down on him. He instantly sank to his knees, adopting a submissive posture. He reasoned that the less confrontational he appeared, the less likely he was to be killed out of hand. After all, these creatures had the intelligence to depict their lives in drawings, so it must be possible to communicate with them. Daniel was a strong believer in communication.
So far, his strategy had been successful. The creature, Daniel assumed this to be the unas that Apophis had referred to, halted a few feet away. Clearly, he was not used to this kind of reaction, and seemed unsure of what to do next. Daniel risked a peek upwards. As he looked into the eyes of the beast, seeing the intelligence there, he lost much of his fear. Yes, this was doable. "Hi, I'm Daniel. I mean you no harm." The creature began to move around him, scenting him. "Daniel, I'm Daniel," he repeated.
The Unas sat on his haunches, beginning a strange chant. Daniel tried to make out the words, only one, repeated often, was clear to him. "Chaka, is that you're name? Chaka?" The unas stopped, surprised, looking suspiciously at Daniel. Once more, Daniel pointed to himself, repeating his own name, then pointed at the unas, "Chaka. Yes, that's you? Chaka? Okay, this is good, we're bonding. Oh, wait, I know what you'd like." Still talking soothingly, Daniel reached into his pocket and drew out one of his favourite snacks, a wedge of rich chocolate.
Chaka looked on, curious, but still a little wary, as Daniel unwrapped the bar, closing his eyes blissfully as he took a bite of the creamy treat. The unas' gaze was much more curious now, and he reached out to take the chocolate being offered to him. His eyes opened wide as his taste buds joyfully embraced this new sensation. He began to hum, eying Daniel in anticipation of further gifts.
The chocolate gone, Chaka rose to his feet, indicating that Daniel should do the same, and then he led him back the way he had come. Daniel followed, much more hopeful than he had been only a short time before.
"Hey, kids, don't you think it's time to work out a plan? We're going to be there pretty damn soon."
"I have a plan."
"You do? That's great, big guy, care to share it with the rest of us?"
"I will surrender myself to the guards. Once brought before Apophis, I will demand that he reunite me with my master."
"That's it? That's your plan? Just to ask for your prince back? Well, that plan sucks."
"I believe that a man should face his destiny without fear."
"Yeah, very noble, but it's not going to get Prince Daniel out of there."
"Teal'c, I'd have to agree with Jack on this one."
"Very well. I have another plan."
"Does this one involve full frontal entry, T?"
"Sweet, let's hear it, then."
"I believe that it will be possible to contact the Chulakian resistance. They know many ways to infiltrate the citadel."
"Now that's more like it. How do we find them?"
"Finding them will not be a problem, O'Neill. They have been watching us for some time."
"What, where? Dammit, Teal'c give a guy the necessary information, would you?"
Almost immediately, well-armed warriors surrounded the three. Teal'c spoke a few words to them in his own language, and after a short debate, Jack, Samantha and Teal'c were blindfolded and led into the dense forest.
Daniel sat at the campfire with his new friends, trying to convince them that the time for rebellion was now. The waiting was over. He was interrupted by a commotion from the edge of the camp. He watched as three blindfold strangers were led to where he stood with the resistance leaders. He listened carefully to the explanation, the language still new to him.
The largest of the three was strangely familiar to him, although he couldn't quite put his finger on it. There was something else though, something about these people that instinctively made him trust them. "Jacob, Ferretti, I don't think they're any threat to us. Please, release them."
Teal'c tensed at his voice, searching blindly for his master. "My Prince, you are here?"
"Uh, yeah. Do I know you?"
"I am Teal'c."
"Teal'c! But how...?"
"I was under a curse laid upon me by Apophis. The Sorceress Samantha freed me, and I am now as you see me."
"Oh, well, that's great. I'm very happy for you. What are you doing here?"
The other male captive answered him. "Jack O'Neill at your service. We came to rescue you, kid."
"Oh...uh...thank-you, that's very nice of you."
"How come you speak chulak...uh...chulakian...chulakinese...their language?"
"You *do*. You just were."
"Oh, well obviously I've picked up a few words, I mean, you have to communicate."
As the blindfolds were removed Jack got his first good look at his rescuee. Not as young as he had first thought, but just as seemingly innocent. So how had he escaped the clutches of the evil Apophis? "So how did you escape, then?"
"Oh, I convinced Apophis I was of no value to him, so he threw me to the unas, who was a bit scary at first, but fine once I got to know it. Once I'd gained his confidence, he brought me here, to safety."
"Very resourceful. That would be that communication thing again, right?" Jack was beginning to feel a little redundant. It looked like this was one prince who could take care of himself. "Okay then, your safe, time to head home. Off we go."
"What...no, we can't leave yet, there's still so much to do. We have to help these people."
"Dammit, this is *not* your fight. Your a prince, you have to be kept safe."
"How can you say that? The tyranny here is *wrong*. We can't just stand by and let it continue, we have a responsibility to help end it. Jack, this is *everyone's* fight."
"I knew following my conscience was a mistake."
"Please, join us, we could really use your help."
"For what? You seem to have everything well in hand."
"It's time to finish Apophis once and for all. If you came to rescue me, you must know something about fighting."
"Yes sure you betcha. Soldier through and through."
"I was first Prime to Apophis."
"I'm a sorceress, I have all kinds of devices to battle Apophis."
"That's perfect. Jacob, oh, these are the leaders of the resistance, Ferretti and Jacob, Jacob, why don't you have Jack and Teal'c work with warriors, and I'll take Samantha to the labs."
"You have labs?"
"Yes, one of the resistance fighters is a sorceress also. I'll introduce you to her, she's a little odd, but I'm sure you'll work things out."
"She's two people in the one body. Freya is fine, but that Anise is a cold-hearted bitch. Still, she knows her stuff."
And so the preparations for the destruction of Apophis began. The slimy serpent wouldn't know what hit him.
Daniel couldn't believe how easy it had ultimately been. As it turned out, there had been little resistance, the people happy to be liberated. Only those most loyal to Apophis put up any kind of a fight. They were easily overcome. And now here he was, once again in the cavernous throne room, facing his hated enemy. But this time, he was not alone. His new friends stood by his side. The battle had created an unbreakable bond between the four, turning them into an unbeatable team.
Despite his overwhelming defeat, the serpent lord remained defiant. His armies were gone, his people freed from his tyranny, yet he still had his sorcery.
"Teal'c I see you have escaped my curse. I was too generous last time. I will correct that error. You will spend the rest of your life scurrying in the shadows, transformed into the rat you are. And you, Prince, for you I have something special. You will be my pet, my own little..."
"Yadda yadda yadda. I don't know about you Daniel, but I've heard quite enough from this windbag."
"Who are you to defy me? Do you not know who I am?" I can destroy you all with one snap of my fingers."
"Yeah, I get it, you're evil. And that snapping the fingers thing? Ain't gonna happen."
Apophis rose in anger, intoning the words of his spell and waving his arms manically. Samantha stepped forward, pressing some buttons on the device she held. A shimmering dome rose over the four friends, protecting them from any enchantment. The furious despot screeched in frustration, rushing forward to snatch away the object blocking his machinations.
Too late, he realised that Samantha, too, was casting a spell. As the device shattered, the spell was complete, and in the place where Apophis once stood, was a wailing baby.
"Sweet. What do we do with the kid?"
"I intend to raise him, and train him. He has great power, and with the proper care, those powers can be used to help, not destroy."
"I'm glad, Samantha. Maybe with your help he can become what he should always have been. I'll be happy to help."
"Thank-you, Prince Daniel, with the help of the heir of Stargate, how can I fail. And if I do, I can always turn him into a frog."
"Now you're talking, sorceress."
"Ja-ack. Samantha, will you come back to the castle with me?"
"No. I belong in my own home, but I'll come and visit. Often."
"What about you, Teal'c. Will you come home with me?"
"I cannot, my Prince. My place is here, with my people. We have much rebuilding to do. However, I, too, will visit."
"So that just leaves you, Jack. Any plans?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe I should stick with you, keep you out of trouble."
"I'd like that, Jack."
"Well then, it's decided."
And so it was. Teal'c led the Chulakian council, ably supported by Jacob and Ferretti. Samantha raised the child Apophis, instilling him with her own sense of honour, and he grew to be a great and powerful sorcerer. He did *not* become a frog. And as for Prince Daniel, he returned to the loving arms of his family. In due course, he became a wise and benevolent ruler. His friendship with Teal'c formed a valuable alliance with Chulak, bringing prosperity to both lands. And always, through it all, constantly by his side could be found his most trusted advisor, and closest friend, the former mercenary, Jack O'Neill.
|Genres:||Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe|
|Summary:||Daniel is kidnapped, Daniel escapes, the others come to save him, they defeat an evil enemy, same old same old.|