Title: Non Nobis Domine
Series: General xover universe
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: C/U
Category: Crossover: Highlander/SG:SG1/The Sentinel
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic.  Stargate  general understanding of
the series is assumed.  The Sentinel, after TSbBS, though here its only
mentioned as a character in history
Disclaimers:  D/P, Pet Fly and Gekko really DO own them.  If you don't
recognize it, its probably mine.  If it's silly or crazy, definitely is
mine.  But if anyone sends the lawyers after me, I'm sending out the
boys with swords ;)  Oh yeah, and imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery.  If you recognize a specific fanfic creation, it belongs to
its author (when this series is finished, I may tally them up). 
Rating: PG, prob.  Hey, I'm not offended by much, if it should be rated
higher, tell me! 
Content Warning: purists beware.  Language may offend some readers. 
Summary: A mission offworld resonates strongly with an important
experience in Daniel's past...
Dedication:  To Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris, for getting
me started on the Templars in the first place! 
Notes:  The title is the first part of the Templar's "slogan"  I'll
let you Latin buffs figure it out ;) 
On with the show! 

 ~##~

The books were burning.  Long tongues of flame caressed and licked
their way along spines, growing stronger and brighter as they consumed
the words and pages.  Eyes brimming with tears that were more than a
reaction to the acrid smoke, he watched the flames.  The rising wind
ruffled the pages, the rustle of pages like a last whisper for mercy.

'Forgive us,' his whispered back in his accented French.  'But it must
be done.'  He took the next volume that Luc handed him, ignoring the
tears that were streaming unabashedly down the old man's face.  He
threw the book in a high arc to join the others on the pyre.

The flames grew higher.

Daniel's nose was full of wood smoke as his eyes flicked open on his
khaki green world.  The sleeping bag had twisted around his feet,
tangling him up during his restless night.  He sat up on his mat to
straighten his bedding, then laid back down for a moment to regather
his wits.  Outside he could hear Sam and Jack murmuring each other as
they stoked the camp fire, set water to boil, rechecked the perimeter
in the first light of day.

It was only a dream.  The smoke of the camp fire was what he smelt, not
the bonfire of books.  That time was well past him now, lost in
history.  It was the twenty-first century, not the fourteenth.  Hell,
it wasn't even the same planet!

Resigning himself to the fact that he was now well and truly awake, he
unzipped himself and pulled on his boots before climbing out of his
tent.

Jack was no where to be seen, probably still checking the area.  Sam
was crouched by the fire, smiling up at him as she offered him a tin
mug.  "Morning."

He blew across the surface to cool it as he returned her greeting.
"How much further do you think we've got to go?"  he asked as he knelt
on the ground.

"Probably at least another six hours to the foothills, if we maintain
the pace we set yesterday.  Once we get there, I'll be able to assess
where a naquada seam might be, and we can organize the tests.  We may
need to hike right into the mountains proper to get the results I need,
though."

Daniel nodded thoughtfully.  "Yeah, I agree.  But since the UV found it
difficult to penetrate more than a kilometre over the range, it may be
tough to forge a track to where we need to go.  It's strange that the
Stargate was set so far from any feature  water course, ocean,
mountain, settlement.  Normally the Gate is either right in the thick
of it, or the transplanted civilization moves to make it right
in the middle.  But this Gate looked like it had just been stuck in a
field and forgotten."

Sam shrugged.  "Maybe a colony wasn't founded here?"

"But if you're right, those mountains are full of naquada.  The Goa'uld
wouldn't just leave a resource like that unexploited, and they'd bring
in slaves to do the hard labour."

"Perhaps they died out?  You said yourself, we're nowhere near a
watercourse, and we've seen no sign of agriculture.  Perhaps a self-
sufficient colony wasn't viable?"

Daniel shrugged.  "Maybe.  Guess we just have to climb into those
mountains and see.  Where's Teal'c?" he asked, changing the subject.

"Helping the Colonel pack up the perimeter scanners."  Sam stirred the
embers with a stick.  "Daniel, tell me if it's none of my business, but
you and the Colonel..."

"...are fine.  Really, Sam."  He shot her his best 'brotherly' grin.

"You don't look fine.  You don't act fine," she persisted.  "When was
the last time you two just hung out, like you used to?"  She blushed
ever so slightly, and looked away for a second before asking outright. 
"Is it because ...he doesn't have a problem with your age, does he?"

"There's no problem, Sam," he repeated.  "Really."

Her eyes broadcast her disbelief.  But before she could press further,
the other two members of SG-1 appeared.

"Morning campers," Jack greeted them.  "It's a beautiful day, so let's
get packing."

  ~~##~~

'Heather,' he identified as he rode in column with his brothers.

'That it is, Brother,' the smaller man replied.  'Tis late this year.
Normally whole fields and pastures would be covered with it by now.'

'It has been a bad year for many of God's creations, not just the
heather.'  His words cast a somber pall as others in their small
company nodded in agreement.

'Well, with grace and luck, our mission may yet prove unnecessary,' the
other man replied with a forced smile.

'You've been away from Paris for how long now?'

'It has been nearly four years since I left the Paris Temple for
Balantrodoch.'

He nodded as he loosened his grasp on the rein slightly to give his
mount its head climbing the road's slight incline.  'Paris has changed
much in those four years, Brother.  And while I pray in my heart that
you are right, in my head I fear you are wrong.'

Large eyes were solemn above a rusty coloured beard.  'In that case,'
he said, gesturing to the Highlands that dominated the skyline.  'You
have come to the right place to hide the Treasures we have been
entrusted with.  These Mountains can hide much more than the heather.'


"Those are some serious hills," Jack observed from behind his aviator
shades.  "Please tell me we don't have to climb them?"

"I don't think so, sir.  The geological events which would form a chain
like this suggest that..." Sam looked at her superior's expression and
jumped straight to the conclusion.  "The naquada, if it's here, will be
at the bottom, sir.  So no climbing."

Jack nodded, satisfied.  "That's all I needed to hear, Major."

Daniel watched Sam resume collecting her samples from a little way
apart from the rest of his team. He crouched down on his haunches to
float his hands gently across the very tips of the foliage which
covered the area.

"It is indeed an interesting colour, DanielJackson."

Daniel smiled as he turned his head to look out over the small area.
"It's like heather," he said more to himself than to Teal'c.  "Same
colour, texture, everything."

"Okay, I'm done," Sam called out.

"Let's keep moving people!"

Daniel saw a small look pass between Teal'c and Sam, and knew they were
planning something.  So he was not surprised when the group seemed to
split into pairs, still in sight of each other, but out of easy
eavesdropping range.

He felt no inclination to start conversation, and they walked in
silence for nearly an hour, up and down increasingly steep slopes.  The
sun was hanging low in the sky when they came across a small flat
ridge.

"This is probably the only flat piece of real estate going, kids.
Let's set up camp."

  ~~##~~

'We are not far now, but we can't risk walking at night.  The ground is
too treacherous, we'd most likely break our necks if we continued.'

The other five men  two more knights and three trusted sergeants from
Balantrodoch  split off to find any sheltered spot they could, to wrap
themselves up in their cloaks and grab what sleep they could.  He
watched them go, marking where they lay as he himself tightened his own
borrowed cloak around his shoulders and settled in for his watch.

Another figure, almost unnoticeable in his black cloak, came and
hunkered down beside him, pulling up his hood against the icy breezes
blowing down the ravine.

They sat in companionable silence as the stars came out between the
racing clouds.  Finally, the smaller man broke the silence with a
whisper in another tongue.  'I think tomorrow we should send them back
to wait with the horses.'

'Do you think that wise, old friend?'

'If they don't turn back, I fear they will see something not meant for
mortal eyes.'

'Is the way that difficult?'

'The physical path is manageable, with care.  Especially for ones like
us.  But that is not what I fear them seeing.   There is something else
you are carrying, something far more precious than the golden baubles
in that saddle bag.'  He reached out to nudge the leather satchel with
a booted foot.

He smiled despite it being too dark to be seen.  'Were you always this
observant, or is it a recent development, Blaer?'

He heard the slight snort of air from his companion.  'I like to think
I've learnt something about you over the centuries we have known each
other Danya,' he said after a long pause.  'If things are as bad as you
say they are in Paris, then I can guess at what the Order does not want
to be found.'

'They are, and you can,' Danya agreed.  'We will send the others off to
find hiding places for the lesser valuables.  You and I alone will hide
the most important prize in my care.'

'And afterwards, you and I will return to the preceptory and hear what
news from Paris.  Now, get some rest, my friend.  I will keep this
watch.'

Daniel awoke with a start, his hand automatically reaching out to curl
around the exposed neck.

"Woah! Daniel, just me!"

Daniel retracted his clawing hand instantly, propping himself up on his
elbows.  "Sorry, Jack, you startled me."

"Ya think?" he retorted sarcastically, one hand rubbing his throat.
After a moment, he asked in a more concerned voice "are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Daniel replied instantly.  "You just..."

"...surprised you," Jack finished for him flatly.  "Your watch."  Without
another word, he had backed out of the tent and was gone.

"My watch," Daniel sighed to himself as he reached for his boots.

He stirred the fire with a stick, added some more fuel, poured himself
a half-cup from the pot they always kept warm during offworld nights.
That made two nights in a row he had dreamt of that time.  His thoughts
seemed preoccupied, as if he were only half here.  The other half
seemed stuck in the events of 1314, replaying for him, whenever his
mind was unoccupied, and with vivid clarity, those terrifying days.

He had always remembered his time with the Templars with a kind of soft
yearning.  It was a life that he enjoyed, a good life.  Sword in one
hand, book in the other, holy ground under his feet.  He had worn the
mantle for over a century, accepting and abiding by the triple oath of
chastity, poverty and obedience easily in return for what he gained.

Safety.  Security.  A home and good men who he felt proud to call
Brothers.  Over time, the inner circle of the Temple became aware of
him, had been aware of his kind for some time.  They welcomed him
rather than feared him, saw the blessing and the gifts of Immortality
rather than a demon in human form.

As a witness to the inner sanctums of the Temple, as their agent to the
outside world, he even found a kind of peace.

When it shattered, he had felt the blow like a physical pain.  It had
taken him a long time to get over the hurt, even if he had found his
footing easily enough.  He was a survivor.

He watched the alien dawn in silence contemplation of all that had
been.

  ~~##~~

"I still say the northern branch would be the more likely area!"

Daniel shook his head, arms folded across his chest in his most
argumentative stance.  "And I understand what you're saying.  I just
think that the other valley would yield better results."

Jack stepped up between the two combatants, hands up in a warding
gesture.  "Okay, okay!  Time out kids.  We'll do both."

Sam nodded once, lips pursed.  Then a slight smile touched her lips and
she nodded again.  "Okay, sir.  Teal'c and I will take the northern
branch then."

Jack nodded, not seeing, or perhaps just not acknowledging the subtext.
"Right.  Daniel, you're with me.  Rendezvous here in an hour, use the
radios if you see anything unusual."

"Yes, sir!"  She and Teal'c struck out with purposeful stride down the
northern slope towards the sheltered valley Sam favoured.

Daniel sighed and shifted his pack straps slightly.  Sam was still
trying to force a healing of the breach.  For even though he denied it
to her, his friendship with Jack had been damaged, perhaps irrevocably.
It would take more than a walk together to heal the breach between them
 if it could be healed at all.

They walked towards the second valley in uncomfortable silence,
Daniel's long stride carrying him slightly ahead of Jack at all times.

It took only minutes to take the appropriate samples and run the
preliminary tests.  "As I suspected."

"Naquada?"

Daniel nodded, not tearing his eyes from the slim glass tube.  "A
fairly pure seam, if this is correct."

"Good.  Let's head back."  As Daniel packed up his kit and stowed it in
his pack, Jack thumbed the radio resting on his shoulder.  "Carter,
report."

Static and silence.

"Carter, come in."  Still nothing.  "Teal'c, report."

Worried now, Daniel shouldered his pack.  "Perhaps we're too deep in
the valley for a signal to get out.  Let's try a little higher up."

They stopped to rest and radio in every few minutes.  But there was no
response.  It took them nearly half an hour to make it to the
rendezvous point, and by that stage the tension in the air was
palpable. 

They stopped at the point for a minute, Jack scanning three hundred and
sixty degrees.

"We're heading down.  Be ready."

Their descent was fast and silent, each man on the alert for any sign
of danger.

Daniel heard it first, and held up a hand to stop.

"What?" Jack hissed.

"Horses."  They swapped a look.  Horses usually meant people.  And
since Carter or Teal'c wasn't responding, maybe not friendly people
either.

Without speaking further, they drifted apart, taking the final, uneven
stage of the descent to the valley floor slowly.  Moving from cover to
cover, they followed the occasional noise of hooves.

Half a dozen mounted warriors, to judge by the gauntlets, swords and
other accoutrements of war.  Sam was already unconscious, slung across
the back of a saddle, blood pouring from a gash above her right
eyebrow.  Teal'c was still barely conscious, but was being held at
sword point whilst another bound his hands before being forced to mount
a sturdy little rouncey.  Both had been disarmed, and their packs were
being pulled apart and redistributed to saddle bags.

Jack was eyeing the attackers down the length of his weapon.  Daniel
shook his head, and could see that Jack had come to the same
conclusion.  They could never take them all down before they killed
their prisoners.  But before they could come up with an alternative
plan, the attackers were kicking their horses into action, setting the
pace at a fast trot.  

Daniel and Jack soon lost them as they sped up along the valley floor. 
Leaving Jack, Daniel descended to the floor and studied the tracks in
the dirt.

"Can you follow them."

"Yes.  But they're moving fast.  We won't be able to catch up with them
unless they stop."

"Let's get moving then."

  ~~##~~

'Edward's men?'

Blaer nodded as he swung back into his saddle.  'I can't be sure, but I
believe so.'

'Are we in danger?' one of the other knight's asked.

'No,' Blaer replied confidently.  'Since we swear allegiance to no
temporal authority, he cannot arrest us as Scottish sympathizers.'

Danya stood up in the saddle to address the small company.  'You will
ride on to Balantrodoch.  Tell the Master there that the brother and I
are completing my orders from the Paris Preceptory.  We will return as
soon as we can.'

He could tell that the knight was not happy to split their little group
in these hazardous times, but he had sworn to obey his superiors.
'Yes, sir.'

Danya and Blaer moved their horses to the side of the road, watching as
the knights and sergeants kicked their horses into a canter that
carried them swiftly down the road and out of sight.

'So, what are we going to do?'

In reply, Danya slid from his horse and led the beast by it's rein to
the stone wall which marked the boundary between thoroughfare and
farmland.

Rummaging through his saddlebags, he produced a cloth bundle.  'First,
we change.'  Putting action to word, he slung his cloak over his saddle
and pulled his mantle  distinctive in its colour and markings  and
replaced it with non-descript woven garments.  Blaer dismounted and
followed suit, not even hesitating despite not wearing the colours
being against the Rule.

'Now,' Danya told his companion as he remounted.  'We follow the
English and find out what they're up to.'

  ~~##~~

They grew more and more despondent as the minutes turned into hours and
they were still following the trail.  They both knew that the further
ahead the unknown attackers got, the worse their chances became to
execute a successful rescue.

"Jack?  Don't react.  We've got a shadow.  At least one on the ridge
behind me."

"There's also another one, mounted, pacing us at the top of the slope
behind you."  Jack added.  Their shadow was good, he had barely caught
sign of them.  "Keep walking.  We can't afford to be ambushed here."

But it was too late.  A clatter of hooves was their only warning, then
there was a horseman cutting off their path forward.  As one, Jack and
Daniel turned, but that escape route was already cut off.

Jack looked at Daniel.  "They're good."

"Let's hope so."  Taking a deep breath, he began his spiel.  "My name
is Daniel," he began, pointing to himself.  "This is Jack."

The bearded giant in the saddle of the chestnut in front of then kneed
his horse a few steps closer.  At this range, both Jack and Daniel
could clearly see the intricate work of his gauntlets, the well-patched
tunic over a studded leather battle jerkin.  The reply he gave was a
curious mixture of Latin and old Arabic.  

 "Who are you, trespassers?"

Quickly, Daniel ran through his 'peaceful explorer, meant no
disrespect' routine, the words coming to him easier that he would have
expected.  He then took a chance, and explained what had happened to
their friends.

The man in the saddle nodded briskly.  "I know of what you speak.
Raiders.  We were hunting for them when we found you."  He wheeled his
horse around in a circle, bellowing orders.  When he completed his
turn, he asked them directly.  "We have one horse to spare.  Either
share, or stay behind while we go recover your friends."

Daniel answered at once.  "We can share."  If they bred horses to carry
the giant here, then one horse would not be overly taxed carrying them
both.

A dappled gelding was produced as more of the leader's men appeared.
Shucking off his pack, which was taken by one of the other riders to be
tied to the rump of his own mount, Daniel put his foot in the stirrup
and pulled himself into the saddle.  Grudgingly, Jack allowed his own
pack to be taken from him, but resolutely kept a hold of his P-90.

"It's hard to shoot from horseback, Jack." Daniel teased as he took up
the reins.

Ignoring the rebuke, Jack instead addressed the leader in his own,
badly accented Latin.  "Do you have a name?"

The bearded giant grinned.  "I'm the Master of these men.  You may
address me as Salran."  With a yell, he wheeled his horse around again
and set off at a gallop.  Daniel dug his stirrups into their mounts'
flanks and they took off with a burst of speed.

Despite being double-mounted, the gelding kept easy pace with the
leader.  One by one, the rest of his men melted off up the slope, until
it was only the pair of them riding directly down the valley. Daniel
let Salran take the lead slightly as their path twisted and weaved.

Behind him, he felt Jack tighten his grip slightly, and smiled.
Beneath the hooves of the horses, the ground was sloping up slightly as
the valley gave way to another hill.  Slowing, he reined in to a halt
beside Salran at the small hill's peak.

The giant man cursed under his breath.  "They've beaten us to their
territory."  A gnarled finger pointed to the plateau in the distance.
Daniel shook his head in amazement at the speed at which the raider's
had moved to get clear of the hills.  

"Can we follow and win?"

"No.  If you want your friends back alive, you will have to ransom
them.  Come, no doubt they will send message of their conditions soon."

"Where are we going?" Jack asked from his position behind Daniel.  Two
of his 'kids' were in trouble, and his best bet was a stranger.  To say
he was not happy with the situation would be an understatement.

"To our compound.  It is where the ransom will be sent, since your
friends were kidnapped in our territory.  Do not fear, they will not
harm your friends unless we reject the ransom demand." Salran looked
down his nose at Jack.  "I give my solemn word, stranger.  You will be
our honoured guests while you wait for the demand to come."

Daniel interjected before Jack could insult the Master's offer.  "We
thank you for your hospitality, Master Salran."

Slowly, the two horses headed back into the mountains.


'Brothers, welcome!'  As porters appeared from the gatehouse and stable
to take care of the horses, the tonsured monk extended his arms to
embrace his warrior brothers in the fraternal kiss of peace.

'Thankyou, Brother Ninian, and pax," Blaer replied with obvious
fondness.  'Let me introduce to you Brother Daniel.  Don't let his
simple robes distract you, for his is a Templar like I.'

Brother Ninian took Danya's hand in warm greeting.  'I welcome you to
our humble House of God, good Brother.  Please, come.'  As their horses
were led away to the stables, Brother Ninian took them around past the
dormitories and the chapel to the refectory.  Entering by a side door,
he bade his guests to sit at a simple wooden bench as he gathered up
the elements of a simple but sustaining repast.

'Here, please, eat.  You both look like you have not seen the ghost of
a decent meal in days.  Or a restful nights sleep.  I shall have beds
prepared for you.'

Blaer waved his friend down, hastily swallowing a lump of bread.
'Brother, thankyou, but no.  We have far to travel tonight, and no time
for rest.  We stop only to beg a favour.'

Ninian's answer was instant.  'Name it, brother.'

'The English are approaching. Whilst the Templars claim no part in the
politics of nations, we have a...special interest in the fate of
Scotland.  You know the brethren at Scone?'

'Aye,' the monk replied. 'The Abbot and I have a long association.'

'Well, we have no such links with the Abbot, and fear that if our
warning came from untrusted foreign mouths, he would be disinclined to
act on our information.'

Brother Ninian was intrigued.  'And what advice would that be?'

'Edward seeks the Scottish crown.  To have it, he must control the
symbols of Scottish monarchy.'

The monk's eyes grew wide.  'The Stone of Destiny.'

Daniel pushed away his bowl of gruel and joined the conversation.
'Edward's men are less than a day's march away.  Can you send warning
in time?'

'By God's Grace, it will be done,' Brother Ninian swore fervently.

'That is all we ask,' Blaer told the monk kindly.  As one, the two
Immortal knights rose from the bench.

'You are continuing your journey so soon?'

'Yes, we need to return to our Master and send word.'

 'About the Stone?'

Danya and Blaer swapped a look.  'About the hostages he intends to use
to ensure his ascension to the throne of Scotland.'

  ~~##~~

Night was falling as the two horses were led at a walk through the
final narrow pass and into the village carved into the walls of the
cliffs themselves.  Jack's eyes flicked from one carved opening to the
next, seeing each and every dark hole a possible sniper nest.  The skin
on the back of his neck tingled.

Daniel too was staring about him, but with wonder.  The resourcefulness
and will to survive must be great, to create so much out of so little.
Salran was obviously a senior figure in this community, from the
respectful bows he gracefully received from the few people who had not
retreated into the cliff face at the presence of strangers.

Ducking his head, he led them under a low archway and into a chamber
with a sandy floor housing several horses tethered in a simple corral. 
Two young boys, about nine years old, appeared to lead the horses away
to be groomed and tended to.

Daniel winced and stretched out the slight stiffness he felt at being
in the saddle all day.  Jack hissed in pain as his feet touched the
ground. Salran found it all very amusing.  "Come," he said simply as he
led them through another carved archway, human-sized, and up a spiral
staircase built into a natural sinkhole.  There was another large room
on the second 'floor' of the cliff building.  The tables, chairs and
other equipment clearly marked it as some kind of cafeteria or common
room for his horsemen.  Currently it was empty, but the smell of food
wafting down from one of the side corridors announced that soon it
would be full of hungry men.

Salran led them down a narrow passage on the opposite side of the
chamber.  The rooms and halls had been carved to take maximum advantage
of the natural formations they had found, and the route Salran lead
them down was dizzying.

"Here," he said finally, gesturing into a small chamber.  "Rest.  Wash.
Ransom won't come till morning.  We eat after prayers."

And he was gone.

"Prayers?" Jack asked with a raised eyebrow.  "As in, pray to our
friends the snakeheads."

Daniel shrugged absently as he investigated the chamber.  "Probably,
given that they seem to be a transplanted culture.  I think they may
have come from somewhere in the Middle East, with some Mediterranean in
the mix to add the Latin influences.  I have to admit, its an unusual
situation, I wonder if they have any tradition about how they came
here..."  He sighed and forced himself back on topic.  "But given the
level of technology, and the obvious authority of Salran, I think that
any Goa'uld that were here are now probably long gone."

Jack shook his head.  "But you said you found high quality Naquada?
Why would they leave a resource like that?"

"I'll ask Salran some questions when he comes back," Daniel promised as
he found the local equivalent of a flint box and lit a lamp.  "In the
meantime, there's some water and washcloths over there, and some local
robes."

Jack groaned and rubbed his temples.  "So we wash behind our ears and
play dress up while Teal'c and Carter are held hostage.  This sucks."

"It's the best we can do. Salran seems confident that Sam and Teal'c
won't be harmed until they get our response to their demands."  He
watched Jack move with obvious pain.  "Are you okay?  Saddle-sore?"

"Yeah, aren't you...oh..." His words faded off into an uncomfortable
silence.

Daniel tried to rescue the conversation.  "I've spent way more time in
the saddle than you have."

"That too," Jack mumbled as he wet a cloth and scrubbed his face.

Daniel folded his arms across his chest, feeling his ribs expand under
his arms as he silently sighed.  Leaving Jack by the wash basin, he
walked into the adjoining chamber which had an opening overlooking the
valley floor below.  

The community was emerging in the cool of the evening to meet, trade,
mingle and gossip.  No doubt he and Jack were a hot topic of
conversation and speculation down there.

  ~~##~~

'Gossip.  No matter where you are, no matter the time of year, there it
is.  The thread that holds the fabric of society together!' Blaer was
in good spirits as he rejoined his friend.

'What did you hear?'  The two Templars were walking their horses side
by side as they headed, finally, down the road to Balantrodoch.  

'Longshanks is ailing, he may not live to see the Spring.'

Danya allowed a slight smile to flit across his face.  'I've heard
rumours about the son.'

'If the rumour is that the son is an idiot, then I've heard it too.'

Danya chuckled.  'Perhaps this illness is a blessing in disguise.'

'Do you think that Longshanks death will also be the end of English
campaigns against the Scots?'

'Hopefully.  Then we can work on reestablishing the monarchy here.  If
Scotland can stabilize her government, then there will be no reason not
to gather together the remaining threads of our Order here.'

Blaer was studying his friend with a candid gaze.  'The fate of the
Order is truly important to you, isn't it?'

'It is,' he replied simply.  'Because it is a place where I can
belong.'

The robes hung long and large on the two men as they followed one of
Salran's men through the maze of tunnels and passages.  As they walked,
they saw more and more men, all of whom wore the apparatus of mounted
fighters underneath their robes.  Merging with the group, they moved
through a large archway, the only carved one so far they had seen so
far.

Daniel jerked as he crossed the threshold and caught sight of the
symbol dominating the far end of the chamber.

"A cross?" Jack hissed.

"We've seen Christian societies transplanted before, Jack."  He could
speak no more, because the service was starting.

To Jack, the service reminded him of barely remembered Sunday school
lessons combined with aspects of Arabic culture he had observed during
his time in the Middle East.  He paid attention, trying to spot any
reference to any 'glowing eyed gods,' but could find none.

Daniel shrugged when asked about it as they filed out of the chamber
and followed the others towards the smell of food.  "I don't know.
Perhaps whoever transplanted their ancestors here didn't try to act as
their god?  Or maybe their existing faith was too strong to be
supplanted.  I really can't say without more information."

"Okay, explain why that Salran guy was leading the service?  I thought
he was their equivalent of..."

"You, Jack?"  He smiled. "Why can't he be both?"

"A soldier and a priest?"

Daniel nodded thanks as he accepted a bowl of food that look like a
kind of stew.  "Exactly."

"Isn't that kind of mutually exclusive?  Especially if they practice
some kind of Christianity?  You know, thou shalt not kill and all
that."

"Aren't you Catholic, Jack?  Yet you don't seem to have any problems."

Jack straddled the bench opposite Daniel stiffly.  "Firstly, I'm not a
practicing Catholic.  Never had much faith, and stopped even faking it
when I first ran into a slug with a God complex.  Second, even if I
did have faith, I'm not a priest."

Daniel tentatively tasted his food, then took a decent mouthful.  "I
was."

"What?"

"A soldier and a priest."

Jack grinned.  "At the same time?"

Daniel nodded.  "Ever heard of the Knights Templar?"

Jack sat back as far as his saddle sores could allow.  "You're kidding
me, right?  You, a Templar?"

Daniel nodded.  "Sanctified, solemnly swore and sword at the ready."
He smiled as he stirred the stew, cooling it slightly.  "But my point
is that the two occupations are not mutually exclusive."

Jack shook his head slightly.  "Jeez. Every time I think I'm starting
to understand you, you pull out a doozy like that."

"I did say you didn't know me as well as you thought."  Even as the
words left his mouth, Daniel was regretting them.  He and Jack were
actually managing to have a normal conversation which acknowledged the
truth of both men  and he had to throw Jack's words back at him like
that.

But to his surprise and relief, Jack only nodded.  "I'm starting to
understand that."

The silence that followed was not uncomfortable.

  ~~##~~

'The English forces obey none of the conventions of civilized warfare.'
The Master of the Temple of Scotland paced the length of the candle-lit
cell.  Behind his back, Danya bowed his head to hide his twisted grin. 
To his mind, there was no such thing as civilized warfare  only
civilized peace.

'He is marching under the banner of the Dragon, sir,' Blaer observed.
'It was not as if there was no warning of his intentions.'

'But still,' the Master snapped.  'You no doubt have heard the reports,
Brother.  You always hear.'

Blaer's face darkened slightly.  'I have heard that he has taken the
woman of Bruce's immediate family and imprisoned them...'

'...in a cage hanging from the wall of the castle!' The Master raged.
'If this is the way he treats innocent women and children, how will we
fare under him when he becomes King here?'

Danya raised an eyebrow  when, not if.  But instead of calling the
Master on it, he instead ask 'what about the ransom?  Can the not the
Bruce pay it and free them?'

The Master's eyes were dark above his thick beard.  'The price is too
high.'


"You must be kidding me," Jack groaned as he slumped onto a bench that,
like nearly everything here, was carved into the stone.

"That is the price they have set for the ransom," Salran said darkly.
"They must be very special, for the ransom to be set this high."

"They are special to us," Daniel said cautiously.  "Though I am not
sure what the raider's have seen that makes them set the ransom so
high."

"There must be something," Salran said firmly.  "Describe them to me.
What makes them so special to you?"

"They are friends...no, closer.  They're like family."  Behind him,
Daniel saw Jack push himself to his feet.

"Teal'c might interest them.  He is a highly trained warrior of his
people and ours.  A very impressive and imposing man."

Salran nodded sagely.  "Fighting men are always more valuable.  And the
other?  Is he too a fighter?"

"She," Daniel said.  "And she is, as well as being a scientist...a
scholar."

Salran sat straight upright, his eyes fierce on them both.  "A woman?
Why do you travel with a woman?"

Jack was having none of it, and dived into the fray despite his halting
grasp of the language.  "She is a soldier and my second in command.
She is an excellent warrior and she has many other skills."

Salran was looking at them with contempt.  "You let your women fight?"

Jack groaned.  "For crying out loud," he said in English.  "Carter's
gonna hate this.  Rescued by a bunch of misogynists!  We're gonna have
to find a planet of Amazon's for her just to even the score."

Daniel ignored Jack's rant.  His mind was racing, trying to find the
words to save this alliance  and by extension, his friends.  "Master
Salran, I understand that you do not let woman here fight in battle.
But in our culture, we do.  We are not asking you to change you ways.
Please don't ask us to change ours.  If they are in trouble, we will
help them.  So far, you have shown us impeccable hospitality.  But if
you cannot help us now, we must leave and try ourselves."

Daniel held his breath as Salran sat, silent and imposing, considering
the arguments.  "Very well," he said finally.  "We will help you."

Daniel exhaled shakily.  "Thankyou."

"The ransom is high.  Even if your people could pay it, there is no
time to send word.  And we do not have the resources to loan you such
an amount."

"Do you have another alternative, Salran?"

"Can you fight from a horse?"

"I can."

"And you, O'Neill?"

"I can learn, if it will help my people."

"You carry arms?"

Jack nodded.  "We have weapons different to yours."

"Will they be effective against the sword?"

Daniel nodded thoughtfully.  "In certain circumstances.  If not, Jack
can help rescue our people  they will trust him."

"And you?"

Daniel smiled wolfishly.  "I'll fight."

Salran returned the expression, then turned and yelled for his
lieutenants.

  ~~##~~ 

For the first time in nearly a century, Danya was facing battle without
the familiar white and red of his mantle about him.  Above the battle
camp flew not the Beauceant, but the Scottish standard.  But around him
were good men  simple men for the most part, commoners, farmers,
traders  who had gathered at the call to defend their homeland.

And with their fate Danya found his own.

His mount stood steady beneath him, patient in the way that well bred
and trained horses were.  Beside him, astride a small, docile grey
mare, Jack was scanning the plateau below with his binoculars.

"Any sign of them?"

Jack shook his head, a curt negative.  "No.  They may be inside one of
the tent things."

"Bound, gagged and waiting for our reply to the ransom."

Jack lowered the binoculars and stashed them into the folds of his
borrowed robe.  Under one of those voluptuous sleeves, Daniel knew, was
hidden his P-90.  "Let's go give them our reply, then."

They rode in silence, side by side, eyes always focussed on their goal.
Soon another rider appeared, took stock of their robes and mounts, the
message cylinder in Daniel's hand, the obvious weight of their saddle
bags and the two pack horses they led.  He fell in behind them, sword
drawn and balanced across his lap as he rode escort into the raider's
encampment.

The smell was the first thing they noticed  charred meat, unwashed
bodies, waste and detritus of a community that knew it would just move
on when they'd polluted this spot.  As they rode between the stockade
and past the first of the simple skin tents, the people vanished only
to reappear, curious and greedy. 

Everyone they saw, even the boys, were armed.  Jack silently wished he
could look away.

In the centre of the camp, waiting for them, was the Raider leader.
The biggest bully of them all, he would have even overshadowed Salran
in terms of size and bulk.

Jack, on the smaller mount, tried to make himself look unobvious and
uninteresting.  For the moment, it was Daniel's show.  He was glad he
had his hood up, so no one could clearly see his face.  For all their
combined experience, this was the best plan they could come up with?

"We received your ransom demands."

"And you have brought all we asked?" The leader asked with a wave at
the packhorses.  Two of his lieutenants moved towards them, but stopped
at the point of Daniel's sword.  His sword, not a borrowed one like
Jack had strapped to his saddle.

Later, when this was all over, he and Daniel were going to have a
little talk about him taking his own sword on missions.  He tuned back
into the conversation.

"First, we want to see our people."

The leader laughed.  "Be at ease.  We did not harm them.  Even if the
woman was very tempting." He licked his lips in an obscene manner, but
Daniel refused to allow himself to be baited.

"Bring them to us.  Then you can have your ransom."

The leader just whistled.  From a nearby tent, Teal'c and Sam were
brought forth, both bound and stumbling, wincing in the bright
sunlight.  The blood from her gash had dried on Sam's face, making her
seem even paler than she was.  She and Teal'c were stood side-by-side,
and Daniel grew alarmed at the way Sam swayed slightly as Teal'c
surreptitiously sidled close so she could lean on him.

Concussion.  The escape was going to be harsh on her head, but they
were committed to this course of action.

Jack stayed in the saddle, watching with hawk-like eyes as Daniel slid
easily off his mount and strode over to inspect the hostages.  His lips
moved in quiet whisper as Daniel gave them quick instructions in the
language of the Goa'uld.  

He turned, glanced over his shoulder.

Jack pulled his P-90 clear and fired, bringing chaos down on the
Raider's camp.

  ~~##~~

They rode hard up and down slope, sacrificing exposure for speed.  If
they could make the Gate before the Raider's caught up with them, then
they would be safe.  Some part of Jack's mind grumbled at the thought
of leaving Salran behind to clean up their mess, but the big man was
adamant.  They had been fighting the raider clans for generations.  If
their attack was successful, he had told Jack, their people would sing
their praises for years.

So it came to pass the SG-1 left the battle behind.  Turning his
attentions to his kids, he looked Teal'c over as the man road uneasily
in the saddle just ahead of him.  Junior seemed to have dealt with
whatever physical injuries Teal'c had sustained.  Carter was another
story.  She did not ride so much as was lead, Jack having snatched up
the horse's guide rope when it became apparent that she was in no fit
state to ride.  She was slouching in the shadow, and seemed to be
struggling to stay awake.

The sound of flying hoof beats had Jack swiveling in the saddle,
bringing his pistol to bear.  Firing the P-90 had almost caused his
mount to rear and topple him out of the saddle.  He recognized Daniel's
chestnut gelding as it galloped up and slowed down slightly to draw
level.

"I don't think we're being followed, but I'd like to set a fast pace
anyway," he told Jack.

"I don't think Carter can handle much more," he said quietly.

Daniel looked over to his friend and nodded sadly.  "Slow down for a
second, Jack."  Reigning in his mount, he saw Teal'c ahead also slowing
down.  Kneeing his horse into a prancing sideways step, Daniel came
right up besides Sam.

"Sam?  Sam, I'm going to move you across now.  Okay?"  Slowly and
awkwardly, he grasped her around the waist and almost bodily hauled her
out of her saddle and onto his.  Wrapping his arms around her to steady
her, he nodded to Jack.  "Let's go."

  ~~##~~

Daniel walked slowly across the battle field, seeing corpse after
corpse but not feeling much at all.  He was numb.  Every battle, every
war, seemed worse than the last.  More dead, more wounded, more
families that would never be the same again.

The Buzz ignited in his mind and he looked up, one hand automatically
going to the hilt of his sword.  At the top of the slope which backed
the battlefield, he saw a familiar form watching him.  Slowly, he
trudged up the incline, moving around bodies, slipping on the muddy
ground beneath his boots.

'Do you think it is enough?'

Danya drew up level with his friend and turned to survey the scene of
destruction below them.  'I hope so.  Because I fear they have nothing
left.'

The sun had set, and the unfamiliar stars had risen in the sky.  They
rode abreast, walking now to rest the horses as best they could after
forcing them to ride hard for so long.  Daniel's voice rose up and down
in cadences as he told the stories he had been dreaming of ever since
they had arrived on this world.  It was all he could think of to give
Sam something to focus on, to stop her from slipping into a concussion-
based sleep that she might not wake from.

The other two rode on either side, listening silently as he told his
story to Sam, ever watchful for ambush from outside.  The ride had
taken on a surreal, dreamlike quality.  They felt lost in their little
bubble, all alone in the night.  The small moon had risen, casting hazy
shadows along the ground that only heightened the sensation.

Sam lolled gently in Daniel's cautious embrace, her head pillowed on
his chest.  He put a hand to her forehead, but the fever had increased.
Reluctantly, he increased their pace slightly.

"Daniel," Sam slurred slightly, jolting out of her doze momentarily as
the rhythm of the hooves changed beneath them.

"Shh, Sam, we're almost home," he crooned, gently stroking her brow.
On either side, he was aware of Jack and Teal'c concern.  But neither
of them suggested stopping to rest.  They knew that home was their best
bet.

"Was it enough?"  Daniel craned his face slightly to look at her.  "Did
you save the Order?"

He exhaled slowly.  "Yes and no.  The Order survived, well, mostly
survived.  But not because of what happened in Scotland.  We lost the
battle there."

"And if you had won?"  Daniel had thought long and hard over the years
on that very question.

"I honestly don't know."  He put his hand to her brow again.  It was
still too hot, but she was coherent enough to ask questions  she might
just be alright, if they could get her home.

As if in reply to his unvoiced prayer, the distant arc of the Gate
appeared on the starlight horizon.

  ~~##~~

The black habit the Friar had lent him sat uncomfortably across his
shoulders, but he made no move to try and adjust it.  His head, freshly
shaven into the tonsure, felt cold in the draft as he followed the
soldier down into the dungeons of what was once the grand Preceptory of
Paris.

What he saw down there brought tears to his eyes.  'Leave us,' he told
the guard.  'I am to hear their confession.'  Without demur, the
soldier of the French guard left, locking the stout wood and iron door
behind him.

'Oh Brother Luc,' he whispered through the bars.  In reply to his name,
the white-haired man who sat slumped against the cold stones looked up.

'Brother Daniel?  Heaven have mercy, what are you doing here?'

Danya crouched down at floor level.  The twisted and raw mess that were
once his feet and the unnatural angles of his joints showed clearly
that Brother Luc, once a highly respected senior member of the Order
would never walk again.  Torture had done this to the man, broken his
body.

Danya had come to ensure that they did not break his spirit.  It was
all he could think to do for the man who had done so much for him.
'Father Arnaud, do you remember him?  He remembered you.  He organized
my pass in here.  The guard thinks I am hearing your confession.'

'Will you, Brother?'  As a Templar, he was both a soldier and a priest.
He could, and would hear the confession.  But first he had to make his
own.

'I will.  But I came to tell you my news.  Scotland fights on, damaged
but still defiant.  I believe the treasures you entrusted me with will
be safe there until we are ready for them again.'

'That is good to know,' the old man said in relief.  'At least I have
not failed in that duty.'

'You have not failed.'  He snaked a hand through the bars, reaching out
to take Luc's.  'You have been a good friend, Luc.  I doubt I will ever
know another man like you.'  Seeing the small smile touch the old man's
ravaged face, he bowed his head and began to pray.

"How is she?"

Janet walk slowly towards the three men leaning against the wall,
waiting for news.  "She's going to be just fine.  She has severe
concussion, dehydration, some cuts and bruises, and she might never
want to ride a horse again, but she'll make a full recovery."

She watched as the tension left their bodies.  "Thanks Janet, that's
great news.  Can we see her?"

She nodded.  "Yes, later.  First, I want all three of you to have a
shower.  This entire infirmary smells like horse hair!"  She grinned
wider as they scuffed their feet and apologized.

"Go!  Shower, clean clothes, debrief!  Then you can come back, not
before."  With rapid gestures, she waved them out of her infirmary
before returning to tend to her patient.

  ~~##~~

A knock on the doorway caused Daniel to look up from the keyboard.
"Oh, hi Jack, come in!"  He had noticed lately that Jack no longer
barged in like he used to, but rather waited until invited.

Jack closed the door behind him and found a seat.  "Hey Daniel, whatcha
doing?"

"Writing up my report on what happened."  Jack nodded, looking
everywhere but Daniel.

"What is it, Jack?  What did you want?"

He shrugged, obviously not comfortable.  "I just wanted to
know...Templars?"

Daniel smiled.  "Yeah, Templars.  I think that world reminded me a bit
of Scotland when I was there on Templar business, for Luc.  Guys going
to church and running around on horses just added to the atmosphere."

"Who's Luc?"

Daniel turned to face Jack fully.  "Luc was a friend of mine from the
Order.  In fact, you remind me a lot of him."

Jack smiled, a full-force Jack-grin.  Daniel didn't realize how much he
had missed it until now.  "Tell me about him, Daniel?  I'm all ears."

With a laugh, he began to tell the story.

 ~~##~~

fin

NOTE: for those interested, the complete motto is:
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam
Not to us, Lord, not unto us but unto Thy Name be the glory