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This is the Sea

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Her people call her far-sighted: it is a gift of her house, like her copper skin and the way the battle-sticks sit so easily in her hands. But when Halling comes into her tent and says there are men who wish to trade, she sees nothing. They are merely traders. The world is not about to change.


And then it does.


It changes when the first man looks past her; and when the second one smiles and jokes about tea. Teyla Emmagen, daughter of Tegan, and of Tenara before him, cannot help but smile back, inviting them to her table. The world has changed then, but she does not see it.


The world changes again when the Wraith come, and again, and again.


When she can breathe again, when the world has stopped changing -- for the moment, a fire settled down to coals -- Teyla stands on a balcony in the City of the Ancestors, watching the sun rise over the sea.


The sky is overcast except in the direction the planet spins away from (and she smiles yet at the sharp-nosed scientist who thought to explain to her about planetary rotation, as if she were a herdsman from Pestral); grey and sere overhead, but a glory of color on the horizon. Pinks and lavenders, and green as well. The green reminds her of the fields in the West Reach, where she and her father had hunted tall-horned emaki the year she came to her majority.


This is a new world; a terrifying one. She runs her hand, rough with calluses from hunting and weapons-work, along the smooth surface of the railing. This place feels so very alien to her: exposed, confined, full of harsh voices and harsher smells. But the beauty charms her, as well. The towers gleaming under the stars; the musical murmur of the city, ever-present; the lights that greet her at each turn in the passageway. She will not be made to fear this place: it is the home of her ancestors, and for all the Earther's technology and weapons, they cannot see it as she does.


The sun creeps over the edge of the world, light filling the sky, showering the city with light reflected off the ocean. It is -- almost -- too much. Teyla gasps and closes her hands about the railing.


She has traveled through the stargate many times on trading expeditions for her people; but she has never before seen the sea.