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Title: A Tragic Tale of Deforestation (and Sex)
Genre: AU, OT4, Slight Crack
Length: just shy of 2,000 words
Rating: R (to be safe)
Synopsis: After a devastating attack, how will they survive?
Author’s Notes: For the team_sga May Day AU Fest. Possibility of Pagan in-jokes and mention of the traditional rites of May Day. Oh yeah, and they are elves.
Disclaimer: Not mine, which is probably for the best. They belong to people with far more money than me and I am making no profit from this.


~~~~~~~~~~

The Queen was not pleased. These were her lands: hers to rule and hers to protect. These... encroachers had defiled that. They had been pressing at her borders for quite some time now, but appeared to have finally made their move. The results were devastating.

“And there is nothing we can do?” Teyla confirmed. She rubbed at her forehead, the weight of the crown, both figuratively and literally, wearing on her.

“It was a targeted attack,” Ronon confirmed. He was pacing, knife flipping in his hand. It was not a good sign, but it was a sentiment she understood. There were times she longed for the days of her youth, running through grasses taller than her head, taking down her enemies outright instead of ordering their disposal from the safety of the throne.

John looked frazzled, hair in even more disarray than usual, but ready to do what was needed as he added, “They knew exactly what they were going for. They hit and hit hard. Nothing survived.” He stood by the right-hand side of her throne, as usual, but his hand did not leave the hilt of his weapon. The message was clear: he too was more than ready for battle if necessary.

Whatever her response was to be was interrupted by Rodney running in at top speed, completely ignoring all decorum, as usual. “That’s not exactly true,” he said, holding his prize aloft. There in his hands, in a tiny, fragile container, was the last of their hope.

It was so small, so delicate, and yet her heart warmed upon seeing it. She stood, soft leather boots padding across the stone floor, gown draping behind her as she approached in awe. Slowly, carefully, she reached out a hand, the barest tip of a finger brushing against a single frond of the sapling. “How?” she breathed, feeling the others press up close behind her.

“It was too small, they must have missed it in their raid,” her mage explained.

“Or they figured it wasn’t going to survive anyway, at least not for their needs,” John scoffed. She noticed that, despite his words, his own hand was hovering over the tiny leaves, as pointed as his own ears.

“But it exists,” she countered. She returned to her throne, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her own ear, trying not to get it tangled in the intricacies of the crown she wore in the process.

Her advisor retreated slightly, nodding in agreement. “The next question is: how do we protect it?”

“We could keep it here, in the Hold,” Ronon suggested, eyes never leaving the miniscule form.

She raised an eyebrow, considering it. Ronon was not originally of her people, but his counsel was always wise and accepted as he was one of few survivors of an attack that had decimated his people. Her own people always kept the Sacred Flora in the Holy Gardens in times past. Those gardens were destroyed in a similar attack cycles ago, and they had scattered the remains at the far side of their lands, letting them grow free and wild, harnessing their energy from Nature ever since. Perhaps it was time to bring them home once more.

“Wouldn’t that make the Hold itself a target?” Rodney asked.

“If they even knew this little guy existed,” John countered. He looked out the stained glass towards the sun and sparkling waters. “Besides, we have to face the fact the Hold itself is a target, or at least it will be, and probably soon.”

Teyla nodded in agreement with her security advisor, even as her mage demanded, “How can you be sure of that?”

“It was a direct attack, against the Groves, right before the Welcoming Ceremony,” Ronon pointed out. “They sent a message. The next one’s probably going to be more direct.”

“But the Hold,” Rodney tried. “It’s just...”

“Don’t think your magic is strong enough to defend it?” John baited.

That brought him up. Her mage stood tall, blue cape-like robe unfurling behind him, face flushing red to the tips of his own sharply angled ears. “My magic is the best there is to offer,” he boasted. “Every spell, every charm, every possible defense has been accounted for.”

“Then what’s the problem?” John shrugged. He had faith in what Rodney was capable of, as did Teyla herself. However, she had yet to know the magician to worry this loudly without a sound reason.

Rodney handed her the sapling, delicate vase and all. She knew this was an act as much of trust she would keep it safe as it was simply to free his hands so he could wave them as he paced. Not disappointing her, he began, “Our reserves are too low. Normally, the Welcoming Ceremony helps raise the power for the cycle, giving us more than enough energy to defend ourselves and the Hold as a whole.”

“And the damage to the trees?” she guessed.

He turned on his heel, finger waving. “One a cycle. We sacrifice one and only one. The loss of the strength of that single tree in the grand scheme of things is more than made up for when it’s used to create the Pole for the Dance.” He paused, sighing. “The energy the Dance raises strengthens the remaining trees as well as our defenses as a whole.”

This was basic, common knowledge. She would be offended at the implication she was not aware of such crucial information, but knew he was simply spelling it out to emphasize just how truly horrid the situation had become.

Every cycle, a single sacred tree was felled. The branches were stripped to be used in the fires to light the night. The trunk was carefully carved with the Ancient runes, silken ribbons adorning the top, the long lines carefully woven together with the Dance, tying together the energy of the land and of the people, raising both into a greater whole. Should more than one sacred tree be felled, for whatever the reason, the balance of power and harmony for the land felt off in a way nearly impossible to right, let alone restore.

Looking at the sapling in her hands, knowing it was the last of its kind, she knew there was no way she would allow it to be sacrificed, to take the last of that form of power, no matter how desperately it was needed. Even remembering the Old Ways, older than any Elf who still existed, it simply was not large enough to perform the ritual, planted and whole, or felled and carved. She looked to the others and saw the same truth reflected in their eyes.

“Then what do we do?” John asked.

“We need a way to raise the energy,” Rodney shrugged, as close to defeated as she had seen him in a long time. “Without it, we’re as good as dead.”

Teyla shared a knowing look with Ronon. Though not a prince by any standards, his family had been high enough in the royal hierarchy back in his native land to have studied the full histories and know exactly what they entailed. “There are other ways to raise the needed energy,” she advised.

“Sorry, just not seeing it,” Rodney said, looking as if ready to resume his pacing. “It doesn’t matter how pretty the little crystals are, or how many neat little circles are cast, it’s just not going to be enough.”

“You follow the Ceremonial Path, right?” Ronon asked, eying the far more elaborate robes and accoutrements the mage wore, then looking to his own stitched from hides and the rawer woven fabrics.

“They have served me, and this kingdom, well for longer than you have graced us with your presence,” Rodney retorted, drawing himself up to his full two-foot height.

Ronon was less than impressed, still towering over him. He tossed his carefully coiled hair over his shoulder and offered, “There are other ways, more natural ways, to restore the order of things.”

Rodney balked at the suggestion. “Surely you don’t suggest that...”

“Served my people for centuries,” Ronon shrugged. “The energy raised, not to mention the bonds formed, protected the Hold and everything within it.”

Teyla nodded thoughtfully. As Queen, she had access to the old scrolls, memorized them all. She had to admit, the stories told were quite impressive and the evidence of their success was far from insubstantial. “Our people followed that path at one time as well,” she admitted. “The oldest of the Old Ways, the most basic of all energy and magic. It is highly adaptable and its strength cannot be questioned.”

“It’s sex magic!” Rodney exclaimed. “Don’t try to make it more than it is.”

“It’s sharing an intense energy and bond between the one thing that can never be broken: Love,” Teyla countered. “It is a rite of fertility and grace that will help protect our fields and make them bountiful, bind us to each other and to the Earth upon which we dwell.”

She could see him wavering. He eyed the little sapling, then gazed out towards the rolling waves and swaying grasses. There was so much beauty to protect, and an act of that same beauty could be the very means of doing so.

He turned back to face them, the light of the sun forming an aura around him as it filtered through the stained glass. He sighed. “Fine, we do this. It is for the Hold and all its people after all,” he agreed.

She smirked at his air of reluctance as she could already see the eagerness vibrating off of him. “It may take more than once,” she warned with amusement. “To maintain our defenses, we may need to add this... ritual... to all of our holy ceremonies until such time as order is restored.”

John leaned upon the edge of her throne, eyes twinkling. “Trees take a long time to grow, and we really need to up our defenses,” he mused. “We might need to continue outside of just ceremonial times.”

Rodney rolled his eyes, but there was a hint of a smile to his features as he commented, “Seriously, it always comes down to sex with you three, doesn’t it? Not enough rain? Sex. Fields not fertile enough? Sex. Your team won the latest rounds of Berry Ball in the Hollow? Sex.”

“You complaining?” Ronon asked, eying him up and down in a far more than simply assessing manner.

“Of course not – you always include me in it,” Rodney scoffed. He clapped his hands before rubbing them together. “Shall we get to it? I think we need some practice before the Welcoming Ceremony, just to make sure our energy aligns and all that.”

“You’d hate for us to be unaligned,” John agreed with mock seriousness.

Teyla nodded, not bothering to hold back her smile. “It would be most unfortunate,” she agreed. She handed John the sapling and ordered, “Find the safest place you can for this, and then join us. We’d hate for you to miss out on anything.”

His grin lit up the room. As he walked towards the door, sapling carefully balanced in his capable hands, she heard him whisper, “Let’s see if we can make you grow.”


End.

~~~~~~~~~~


Feedback is always welcomed.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
melagan
May. 1st, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)
WOOT This was wicked delightful
cat_77
May. 2nd, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
ceitie
May. 1st, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Aw, I love Rodney's rant at the end about everything coming down to sex, and how protective everyone is of the sapling. *g*
cat_77
May. 2nd, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You know he wasn't going to truly fight it, not when it was those three involved. *g*
michelel72
May. 2nd, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
How can something be so cute and yet so very wrong? :> They'll make the wood grow, indeed. Snerk.
cat_77
May. 2nd, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Heh. Very happy you enjoyed it! Thanks!
lovetheboys
May. 2nd, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
Yay!
Ha! And also: Glee! Wonderful!

Solemn, yet so playful and mischievous and sexy at the end there!

Whee!
cat_77
May. 2nd, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
Hee! Once I got past the writers block, I had some fun with this one. So happy you liked it! Thanks so much.
briar_pipe
May. 3rd, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
Fuck or die with elves! *falls over laughing*

On a more serious note: the poor trees! Chopped down for maypoles! We reuse ours every year; darn those elves for not being environmentally conscious.
cat_77
May. 3rd, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Hee! So glad you enjoyed this one!

Re: Maypoles - Er, let's see... They use the branches for the fires that night (*big* fires) and the wood from the tree itself for other rituals throughout the year cycle? Carry the magic through and all that. *nods* Does that work? *peeks through hands*
rustler
May. 3rd, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Hee! And this:

She noticed that, despite his words, his own hand was hovering over the tiny leaves, as pointed as his own ears.

is priceless! Thank you for the smile. :-)
cat_77
May. 3rd, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for both reading and letting me know you enjoyed this!
emeraldteal
May. 4th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
“Of course not – you always include me in it,” Rodney scoffed. He clapped his hands before rubbing them together. “Shall we get to it? I think we need some practice before the Welcoming Ceremony, just to make sure our energy aligns and all that.”

“You’d hate for us to be unaligned,” John agreed with mock seriousness.


Ahaha. I miss my team. I can see them clearly in their elf roles. *g*

Thanks for sharing. <3
cat_77
May. 4th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
Would Rodney ever truly object to anything that involved him and the possibility of orgasms? *g*

Thank you very much for reading!
rellan
Jul. 17th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
They *have* to have sex to protect and save everyone. Tis a great sacrifice, I imagine. lol
cat_77
Jul. 19th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
'Tis the greatest sacrifice of all, to be sure. *nods seriously*

Hee!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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