Rya'c comes home early, and Drey'auc turns startled from the tray of bread she has just set to rise. "You should be at weapons practice," she says.
"There is no practice today," Rya'c says. "Something has happened, some kind of prison break. They sent all the Serpent Guards to guard the chappa'ai."
She can see the worry in his eyes, but he is too old to speak of his fear. "Then you can help me with the baking," she says.
He is too old to have much patience for helping her with domestic tasks, but there is at least the promise of treats at the end to tempt him. He fetches more flour from the pantry without either complaining or trying to coax her to bake his favorite honey cakes, and her own heart goes cold.
"What kind of prison break?" she asks as lightly as she can.
"All the humans brought for the choosing," Rya'c says. "The ones that were not chosen. They say three Serpent Guards are dead, and more badly hurt." He bites his lip, a childish gesture that only surfaces now under great stress. "Nobody seemed to know if Father was one of them."
"I am sure he was not," Drey'auc says, because there are some lies that a mother must tell. "He will have gone to the chappa'ai, to guard the gods as they depart, and to capture the prisoners."
"Of course," Ry'ac says, but he does not sound as if he believes her. She wonders if someone has already told him that they knew nothing with the news of her husband's death plain to see in their eyes.
If so, then they will come to her soon enough. She tells herself she is jumping at shadows. Teal'c has returned from many battles, and a prison break is not such a great thing. Someone will come soon to tell her who is dead, and she will mourn with the wives of dead men.
She is shaping the next loaf of bread when someone pounds on the door. "Rya'c," she says, and he goes quickly to open it, but she is right behind him, moving him out of the way so that he is not the one to hear whatever news there is.
It is her friend Kes'auc, her face so drawn that at first Drey'auc is sure she knows the next words she will hear. The woman slaps Drey'auc's face instead, the blow so unexpected that she can do nothing but turn her head aside in shock. "Did you know? Did he tell you what he meant to do, your traitor of a husband?"
"How dare you!" Rya'c says, but even in her shock, her face stinging, Drey'auc is aware that she has expected this. His never-ending doubts, all those nights when he could not rest for questioning, haunted by men and women who died because he carried out Apophis's rightful orders.
"Go upstairs," she says to Rya'c. He looks for a moment as if he will argue with her, but he is still only a child before his prim'ta, and he will not defy her in front of her friends. He runs from the room, looking as if he's been slapped himself.
"You will not be able to protect him for long," Kes'auc says. She looks glad of that, as if she were talking about a hated stranger's son, not the baby she held in her arms.
"Explain yourself," Drey'auc says, her voice low and cold.
"Teal'c has turned his back on Apophis. He killed my husband and two others of his own men. He struck my man down to free the worthless humans, and then fled like a coward through the chappa'ai." She is practically shaking with rage. "And you! Tell me you did not know!"
She wishes she did not believe it. She wishes for the comfort of denial to soften the blow, but instead she is wondering how much Bra'tac knew, and if he has not come to tell her himself because to run straight to her would make it look like conspiracy.
"I knew nothing," she says. Her voice breaks on the words, as if she were still a girl too young to be ashamed of crying. Kes'auc is crying, too, her face streaked with angry tears, and there is nothing to say, nothing to do; neither of them can reach out now for the comfort of her friend's arms.