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The Mysteries of Emege

I'm currently working on a Stargate Atlantis novella to come out late spring/early summer, and I thought I'd share a little taste of it. One thing I discovered I really enjoyed when I was writing Secrets is the friendship between Teyla and Rodney. It was wonderful to develop that relationship in Legacy, and I'm enjoying continuing it in this novella, The Mysteries of Emege, which sees Teyla and Rodney undertaking a mission on their own. So here's a little bit as a preview!



They stopped to rest halfway around the lake, Rodney taking sips from his water bottle and then offering it to Teyla, who took it gravely. They sat for a moment.

“This story about Saite is all great and all,” Rodney said, “but how does it tell us about the city?” His words had no heat in them, and he seemed in no hurry to actually get up and get moving. Perhaps he was mellowing, Teyla thought. The Rodney she had first met would have been too impatient to wait even a little, too disinterested to hear her out. Perhaps being in a tale himself had given him a greater appreciation of them.

“I am just coming to that part,” Teyla said. “Now when Saite came to Emege, this is the form of the city. The city was built in three parts. Oldest and prime was the Old City, which was built on the hillside following the curve of the land, more or less in the shape of a tava bean. It had been walled and made of stone long ago, before the Ancestors walked among their children. The second part of the city was the Outer City, which had grown up outside the great walls and was made of wood with roofs of pottery. Last and newest was the High Citadel, which had been built in the very center, in the curve of the Old City, by the Ancestors themselves. The highest tower surpassed all, and from its height the entire plain could be seen as far as the southern mountain peaks on the other side. All the land that could be seen from the high tower, Arda ruled.”

Rodney nodded. “So the human city predated the Ancients.”

“That is what I take from it, yes. The Ancestors brought us here and then left us for some considerable amount of time, long enough for us to build cities of our own, before they returned.”

“That makes sense. Lots of the Ancient installations we’ve found were built not long before the war.”

“Yes.” Teyla got to her feet, clipping Rodney’s water bottle back to the back of his pack. “I wish I understood what changed among them. Why did they begin to bring these peoples under their rule, no matter how benign it might have been, when they had been content to watch from afar? Why did they…” Her voice trailed off.

“Why did they start experimenting on people?” Rodney asked. He had his familiar quirky smile. “You want to know what I think?”

And time was she would have brushed off his opinion as irrelevant, based on Earth prejudices that had nothing to do with the situation, but she had learned better than that. “Yes, Rodney. I do.”

“I think that the more stuff you have, the more you want.” Rodney shrugged his pack back on. “I mean, look at them. They had all this stuff and more besides. They could blow up suns and they understood time and space like nobody else, maybe even more than the Asgard! They could do anything they wanted. Except live forever.”

“The Asgard wanted that too,” Teyla observed, falling into step beside him.

“Yeah, and look how they screwed up! They got their individual immortality at the expense of the future of their species.”

“The Ancestors wanted to Ascend. But only a few were good enough to do so on their own.”

“I don’t know about good,” Rodney said. “But most people couldn’t do it. And their devices don’t really work. So they tried to figure out how to genetically engineer bodies that wouldn’t age.”

“And created the Wraith,” Teyla said grimly. Now that she had opened them, Osprey’s memories were always there just beneath the surface, as close as her own. Sometimes they were horrific and sometimes searingly sad, but often they were happy, a thing astonishing and appalling in its own right. Surely someone so destroyed, so altered and twisted and doomed, would be pitiable. Yet Osprey was not. The more of her memories Teyla recalled, the more she found indomitable joy. She had loved her people and her children and her Consort and had lived a long life full of love despite all sorrow and pain. Surely that was not what one should expect of the legacy of tainted Wraith blood. It would be easier to pity. It would be easier to reconcile with all she had been taught.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
little_firestar
Jan. 28th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
rather interesting! I was wondering, will it be set in the Legacy universe or not?
jo_graham
Jan. 28th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, this is set in the Legacy universe and takes place several months after Third Path.
draco_stellaris
Jan. 29th, 2016 02:12 pm (UTC)
Woohoo, that's wonderful news! Very interesting snippet, thanks for sharing. Now I have something to look forward to read! You can never have enough Teyla and Rodney (and wraithy memories). :)
jo_graham
Jan. 30th, 2016 01:01 pm (UTC)
Teyla and Rodney are a lot of fun to write. I like breaking the team up in unusual ways, like Radek and Ronon, and seeing what happens. (And it's nice to see you again. I haven't seen you around in a while!)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )