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Wraith Worshippers again

draco_stellaris asked for a preview of the Wraith Worshippers I had said were really different from the ones in The Lost that are coming up in Secrets, if it wasn't too spoilery.

Which...ok, a little spoilery! So read at your own risk! If you want to be completely unspoiled, avoid it. If you don't mind some general spoilers, go ahead.



"A marsh? You had to land in a marsh?" Rodney pulled his boot out of four inches of stinking mud. "There's a whole planet full of rocks and you had to land in a marsh!"

"Suck it up, McKay," Ronon said, stepping off the back of the puddle jumper confidently and striding toward the fishing village. Teyla followed him down the ramp, an expression on her face that said louder than words that it was good to hear what passed for normal around here.

"Hang on," John said, waiting until Teyla was clear of the ramp to close it up and cloak the jumper. "Wait for us."

"I can't believe you landed in a marsh."

"Because in the ocean is a bad idea, and so is in the river. Which left on the cliff or in the marsh. And since I can't park vertically…." John replied.

Ronon turned around, arms spread. "I don't know what you expect to get out of these people," he said.

"They may know something," Teyla said. "Often there are stories about old ruins, even if there is not much that is visible from the air. And there were sea caves beneath the tower. The caves may still be there even if the tower is gone after ten thousand years."

"Should have brought Lynn," Ronon said. "He's pretty good with those things."

"If we find anything interesting we'll go get him," John said. And he meant it. He'd learned his lesson about not going back for specialists when you needed them.

Some children with baskets were heading toward the sea cliffs, a big black dog with them. The dog snarled, but one of the kids, a girl about twelve, held him by his leather collar.

"Hey, kids," John said, taking off his sunglasses and giving them a big smile. "What's up?"

"We're going egg hunting," the littlest one piped up, a blond boy maybe six or seven. "On the cliffs."

The older girl hushed him. "You are travelers from afar?"

"Yes," Teyla said, coming forward with her best trader's smile. "We have come a long distance, and we do not know our way around here."

"We don't have an inn," the girl said, lifting her chin. "Not like some. But we do have a Pilgrim House. Are you Pilgrims?" Her eyes flickered over Ronon and Rodney, then came to rest on Rodney. "Is he sick?"

"Yes," Teyla said. "He is our friend and he has been very sick. But it is not an illness you can catch."

She nodded. What Teyla had said seemed to pass muster somehow. "I'm Lyra."

"I am Teyla," Teyla said. "And I am grateful for your name and your welcome."

Small population, John thought, looking at the kids. All that red and blond hair was recessive, and tended to be rare on planets that had a lot of contact with other worlds. These kids were mostly tow headed, with the exception of one kid with hair as red as Halling's. Boys and girls alike wore rough wool trousers and tunics with woolen jackets and caps. There must be sheep somewhere, and that dog looked like it was probably bred for herding and sent with the kids to keep an eye on them.

"Are you here to seek healing for your friend?" Lyra asked, still looking at Rodney appraisingly. "He ought to get well soon with so many people to intercede for him."

"We hope he will be well soon," Teyla said. "But we do not know how to find what we are looking for. Perhaps you can help us?"

"Are you looking for the Shrine?" the oldest boy asked. "I know the way. I'll guide you for a token!"

Lyra shoved him quiet. "You know it's not nice to ask Pilgrims for tokens! Showing a Pilgrim the way is an act of charity!"

"The Shrine?" Rodney asked. "Is that like the…thing… that time?" He looked at Ronon inquiringly.

"Like the Shrine of Talus?" Ronon's eyebrows rose. They'd taken Rodney to the Shrine of Talus a year ago and more, when he'd contracted a deadly brain parasite. It had been Ronon's idea, and despite Jennifer and Woolsey's objections, taking Rodney there had proved to be the right thing to do.

"I don't know this Shrine of Talus you speak of," Lyra said respectfully. "Ours is the Shrine of the Bride. But Pilgrims come from a long way to seek healing for their kindred there. Lots of people are healed." She put her hand on the head of the littlest boy, the loud one. "My brother would have died when he was a baby if it hadn't been for the Shrine. He was born with a hole in his heart, the Bride said, but my grandfather made the intercession and he's just fine. So I know it works," she said solemnly.

"He looks strong and healthy now," Teyla said, and only John would have heard the tiny catch in her voice. Birth defects like that killed on Athos too.

"I am!" the boy yelled at the top of his voice. "I'm really strong!"

"I see you are," Teyla said, and her mouth twitched with amusement.

So what do you think? :)

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
draco_stellaris
Oct. 27th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Eek! Thank you so much for this! :D
Now there are some very intersting points to think over. I wonder about the Bride, and about the intercession. Something tells me the grandfather had to pay a price, or seeing as these are worshippers, a sacrifce.
jo_graham
Oct. 27th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
I will say that Ciannwn over on the WDC was hitting close to some interesting ideas that do indeed bear on the Bride.... And certainly the grandfather had to pay a price. But what price is your infant grandson's life worth, with a heart defect that will only let him live a few weeks on a world without the technology to treat it?
jetnova16
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
Just a guess, but possibly a life for a life. The grandfather had to either give up his life or someone else had to in order for the child to live and be saved.
jo_graham
Oct. 27th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
Humm. I would say that's certainly an interesting idea! :)
draco_stellaris
Oct. 28th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Greek (or welsh) mythology comes to mind again...
I think it's a price everyone would pay for the well-being of their children.
jo_graham
Oct. 29th, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
Greek (or welsh) mythology comes to mind again...

It does, doesn't it? *big grin*

I think the Wraith are very much the denizens of a classical underworld, and certainly the queens, coldly beautiful and strange, ruling over cave shaped hive ships, are absolutely stand ins for the Lady of the Dead! Taking life and returning it, leaving you changed....

But of course the Lady of the Dead has her other aspect, doesn't she? The one when she is Undescended.
draco_stellaris
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Kore, bringer of life - that's something about the Wraith that fascinates me no end, the average viewer tends to see only the dark side, the killing side, but what about the Gift of Life? The price may be high but isn't it truly a Gift?
jo_graham
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
It is! We know the Wraith can heal physical damage with the Gift of Life, as in Enemy at the Gate Ronon was stabbed in the lungs, but when he's been brought back with the Gift of Life he no longer has the injury. If it can heal a stab wound in the lung, couldn't it heal a birth defect, a hole in the ventricular wall? The price is high, but is it too high to pay for your grandchild's life? Rather, that is a Gift, and a price many would willingly pay.
jansma
Oct. 27th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Well, well... This does raise some questions for the role of Worshippers, and also how they are treated by Wraith? I don't see scared children here, not at all. I do see kids that are used to the presence of Wraith, and possibly they may even see them as benefactors. It's certain this little herd are looked after by someone - a good shepherd, perhaps, and they already have the dog to guard his/her stock from predation.

I see Rodney is back to himself, but where is Jen? Still with Guide?

jo_graham
Oct. 28th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC)
These kids are definitely not scared. Whatever is going on with the Wraith on this world, it's not something scary to these kids. And I think it's something that's going to be a surprise to team and readers both.

You know I can't tell you where Jen is! Spoiler! :)
draco_stellaris
Oct. 28th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
And I think it's something that's going to be a surprise to team and readers both.

Curious and even curiouser! :D
jansma
Oct. 28th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Well, I know that on a an intellectual level, but emotionally it was worth a shot. :P

A surprise, eh? The Bride? Hmmm...
jo_graham
Oct. 29th, 2011 10:03 am (UTC)
Yep, the Bride! I had a really interesting discussion with Ciannwn over on WDC that bears on this!
jansma
Oct. 29th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I recall, and I also went all the way through the archive to refresh my memory. As you do.

I will add one more observation. The Bride said that the kid was born with a hole in the heart eh? So either she's a female Wraith with an interest in medical procedures, and performs regular ops, or she might be someone we know? All supposition though, of course.

Which would make the granddad's sacrifice far more intriguing, wouldn't it? A test subject, perhaps?
draco_stellaris
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Now I'm burning with curiosity for the answer to these questions...
jo_graham
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
*g* This was such a fun part of the book to write!
jo_graham
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
It would indeed! And this must have happened five or six years ago, since the kid was born with a hole in his heart, and he's now five or six. The Bride has been here at least that long. A female Wraith with an interest in Sciences Biological....
jansma
Oct. 30th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
That might be someone Guide knows, in particular. :)
2bluaeryn
Oct. 27th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Cool.

And all I can say is...RODNEY!!

Haven't been on LJ in a while so likely I am behind here, but that was nice and spoilery for me \0/.
jo_graham
Oct. 28th, 2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
Rodney! I mean, you know they're going to rescue him eventually, right? It's not like we can just leave him captured forever. It's not that kind of show!
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