The Singer of Tales
by Melissa Beattie
Disclaimer: the universe isn't mine, but the story and character is.
Author Notes: Thanks to my beta-readers!
Yiannis Petrakis missed the wind.
Certainly he could go out to one of the balconies -- he used to, when the Athosians had first arrived. They often sat out under the foreign stars, he with his guitar, they with their songs. Oh, the words and music never matched -- no Beatle had ever toured in the Pegasus Galaxy -- but to listen to their ancient tales...how like it must have been in the ancient days, when Homer sang of a history long forgotten and an heroic ancestral race.
Those Hellenes, his ancestors, had reclaimed their identity from those songs after civilisation had been destroyed by an enemy lost to time.
He hoped the Athosian songs would serve the same purpose.
He had begun to record them, those nights when they had sat together and shared music. He had perhaps a dozen to listen to and to translate.
Barely a beginning.
And now, they were not here.
And to play unbidden, to only the seas...it was not the same.
Perhaps the ancient poets could draw down the mountains and cause the trees to dance. But he had none of these things.
Only the sea.
Had he been Athenian, or an Islander, this might have been enough. But he was of strong Spartan stock, born to the land.
And now, he lived upon the sea.
The Romans would be disappointed.
They, like himself and his Laconian ancestors, were uncomfortable with sailing the seas, even if they had claimed it as their own.
And yet their teachers, the Ancients, chose it as their home.
And now, their descendants had come again.
He laughed quietly as he thought of what his teachers would say if they had heard such thoughts. Alien teachers of the Romans. And before this, alien gods of the Egyptians. Always aliens.
But perhaps no more alien to them than the Athosians, in some cases.
But they were on the mainland.
With the wind...
He sighed, imagining them sitting together around a fire, listening to their heritage in song...
They had found no Ancient tales.
Perhaps they remained to be discovered, deep in the database. He knew that the scientists were finding and decrypting new information every day. At times, they would even call him in, to ask their questions before determining what to do with each file.
They were always so rushed.
Their leader, McKay, was the worst of the lot. Drinking the weak and bitter swill Americans called coffee, he would stand impatiently over the linguist's shoulder and complain until his answers were found.
The man would last not one day in philology.
Or, in fact, any time spent in Greece.
Though perhaps, then he would learn to drink a proper coffee...
The others were not so bad. A few could even be helpful, those times when his equipment would become difficult or when something unusual had been found.
But they had no tales.
No songs of who they were.
At least, none that he could understand.
He was told by others that the stories lived in the mathematics, in letters he knew but spelling words beyond his awareness. Neither spoken nor sung, and yet containing the nature of the universe itself.
But the beauty they saw, and the poems they read... were forever closed to him.
He sighed with the infinite sadness he always felt at such things. But it was not his to truly know such tales, nor those of the soldiers.
In that, he thought he was better spared.
Those shadowed figures, whose eyes were never still...their tales were of war and bloodshed, and a darkness more terrible than any other.
In that, they were much the same as those epics he knew.
"Sing, goddess, of the dreadful wrath of Akhilleus, son of Peleus..."
He supposed that pain and loss were the same in all generations.
So it seemed from the Athosians.
Their songs of the Wraith were variations on a single theme.
And they would soon come again for Atlantis.
"...which hurled many strong souls down to the house of Hades..."
That tale would be a glorious one to hear.
If any should be left alive to sing.
The story of Atlantis was originally lost to all but the Egyptians, who passed it to Solon, who spoke of it where Plato could hear.
Were it not for these, the Ancients would have been forgotten.
And the Earth would now be under Goa'uld control.
But like Ilion before her, Atlantis had been found on the strength of a tale.
May they also keep her safe.
Lest her song fade away forever.