The presence of the Wraith in the Pegasus Galaxy had made natural death a rare and sacred thing. Teyla didn’t know if other cultures honoured or celebrated it, but among her people they revered it almost as much as they revered the Ancestors. So when Charin had called Teyla to her side to proclaim that she was nearing the end of her life, Teyla was surprised at the outrage that burned within her. Charin had been like a mother to her, and the elder woman’s mentor-ship held a special place in the young Athosian’s heart. There was no way that Teyla could let her simply die. Carson, too, was insistent that he could extend the matriarch’s life by several years at the very least, and part of Teyla wanted very much for Charin to accept the offer. In the end, however, Charin’s wisdom had prevailed against Teyla’s brashness. The customs of the Athosians needed to be upheld, not just to preserve them, but to reassure her people that chance and circumstance could not erase their deeply held beliefs.
The arrival of the Atlantis Expedition in Pegasus had shifted the status quo, and Teyla knew many who saw their coming as a harbinger of the end, rather than as the hope and possibility of freedom from the tyranny of the Wraith. Ever since the Athosians had thrown their lot in with Dr. Weir and the others, Teyla had felt torn between two worlds; she struggled to balance the duties and responsibilities of being a member of Shepard’s team, with the duties she held as the leader of her people. And while some of the Athosians may have questioned her loyalties in the past, she had never let them down. And so it had to be in this matter of Charin’s death.
So while the city was torn into chaos, and the impending threat of catastrophe loomed over them, Teyla gathered her people, and together they prepared for the ceremony that would usher Charin into the next life, even as they honoured the legacy she was leaving behind. As Teyla’s voice lifted in song, and the urgency of the city’s possible evacuation melted away upon the lyrics, she felt the words resonate deep within her. Beyond the danger of the present day, a new dawn awaited. One day they would all be free of uncertainty and fear. One day, natural death would become the norm rather than the exception. One day, they would come full circle to what they had been before the Wraith. They would face the new journey together, and they would be stronger for it.