It was a battle of wills. Bra'tac knew this, but he also knew with a certainty the victor would be Kronus. Bra'tac watched as Apophis stood his ground in the face of his adversary and waited for the time when he would be needed.
Several Jaffa scrambled at the order, each determined to protect their god with the unfailing loyalty that had been ingrained in them since childhood. Apophis surveyed his Jaffa for a moment, then turned his attention to the enemy that stood before him.
"You dare raise your weapon against me?" he asked in a careful, controlled tone. "I will kill you where you stand."
"You will not succeed," Kronus replied with a haughty smirk. "It is I who will walk away from this meeting."
"Jaffa!" Aphophis said again. Staff weapons were now primed on all sides as the Jaffa that were loyal to Kronus also took up arms to defend their god. They were at an impasse, one that Bra'tac knew would end soon. It was only a matter of time before Apophis or Kronus would turn and run, either through the active Chappai'ai, or through the portal that led to the corridors of the ha'tak. The possibility that one would kill the other was also a strong possibility, one that Bra'tac would relish with a fervor.
It was apparent though, that Apophis believed differently. He glared at his nemesis, then turned to his First Prime.
Bra'tac bowed in response then with the deftness that came from years of training, he shouted an order to his compatriots as he fired his weapon at the nearest enemy Jaffa, while at the same time, moving to stand in front of Apophis to form a personal shield as was his duty as First Prime.
He fought valiantly, knowing that his own life was at stake. It was imperative that he live to continue his charade of loyalty in order to further the rebellion's cause. He would do whatever it took, even if it meant lying to Apophis.
But as he knew would happen, the battle did not last long.
"No!" Apophis said, his expression filled with rage. Kronus had activated a personal force field and with an arrogant smirk, vanished into the shimmering pool that filled the Chappai'ai. The remaining members of his Jaffa soon followed, although they left in a storm of staff blasts. It was a cowardly deed, an act that provided sustenance to Bra'tac's belief that the Goa'uld were indeed, false gods. A true god would have no need for retreat.
"Bra'tac," Apophis said as his eyes flashed in anger. "Send your Jaffa to finish this." Bra'tac nodded, then turned with the intent of gathering more Jaffa to do his bidding, but stopped when Apophis said in a low voice, "Do not fail me in this."
Bra'tac turned slowly, briefly wondering as he did so if his true feelings had shown through. He stared at Apophis for a moment, then said, "My Lord?"
Apophis did not speak at first. He seemed to be inspecting Bra'tac with a look of distrust. Bra'tac stifled the impulse to squirm while he waited for further clarification. Pride kept him from displaying his disloyalty now, as it has always done in the past.
"I have seen no signs of weakness or disloyalty in your actions," Apophis finally said. "But I have been told otherwise." His eyes flashed again as he squared his shoulders. "Which is it? Loyalty to me? Or do you pledge allegiance to the shol'vah?"
The answer came from Bra'tac immediately, as if it were the only answer he would ever give. "My loyalty will always be with you, my Lord." Apophis stared at him for several long minutes, leaving Bra'tac to wonder if he had been convincing in speaking the lies. He stood his ground, refusing to give Apophis a chance to believe otherwise. His role in the rebellion depended on it.
Apophis had his suspicions. Bra'tac had been the shol'vah's mentor. Surely he had an insight into Teal'c's traitorous thoughts of betrayal throughout the years. Yet Bra'tac showed only anger at the shol'vah's defection, a barely controlled anger so deep that Apophis could only believe to be genuine.
It was the anger that gave him the incentive to appoint Bra'tac the position of First Prime after Teal'c's defection, despite the doubts that filled his thoughts. He did not regret this decision, but he watched the Jaffa, always watching for any signs of the betrayal he feared all his Jaffa were capable of. He would not be defied again.
"Do not fail me on this," he said again with cold finality. Bra'tac bowed his head, then turned to do as he was bidden. Apophis watched him go, his thoughts still on the doubts that simmered within his mind. He would watch Bra'tac, as he watched all his Jaffa. And he would capture Teal'c to show all who would dare betray him the punishment they face.
With the decision made, Apophis turned to sit on the dais to wait news of the fate of Kronus and his Jaffa. He would not be denied again. His role as a god depended on it.