Everyone in the village had slept late after the party, and it was well after noon when Sam woke from someone knocking at her door.
Sam managed to get out of bed, and to the door, battling a sizeable headache. She barely noticed she was still wearing the clothing she had on yesterday, having just tumbled into bed the moment she got back.
She opened the door and squinted against the bright light outside, which made her headache worse. "Yes?"
Outside stood two young women, smiling at her.
"Hello, Samantha Carter. My name is Jiana, and this is Teona. We will be helping you prepare for your wedding," the one on the right said.
The other, Teona, handed Sam a basket. "First, however, you will want to eat something. Here are some jiat'ka - a nutritious cake, and a jug of nik'ja, which is a fruit juice with several spices added. It will help you recover from the aftereffects of the party yesterday."
Sam had gotten a disgusted look on her face at the mention of food, but now gave them a wry smile. "Thanks. If that actually works, then it sounds really useful right now."
"I assure you, it does work," Teona said.
"We will wait outside while you eat. The nik'ja should make you feel better quickly, and then you will join us," Jiana told her.
The nik'ja actually had a surprising effect, and Sam was again reminded of why they were doing all this; by keeping friends with the locals, they would be getting the recipe for the healing drug. The nik'ja seemed like another drug they might be interested in acquiring - in any case, Sam was feeling completely well now.
The huts had primitive bathing facilities, and there was also small geothermal ponds outside Sam's and Freya/Anise's huts, and that was how they had bathed the other days. Now, however, Jiana and Teona took Sam to a large bathing facility. It was located north of the village, in a place where none of the members of SG-1 or the Tok'ra had been before.
The bath was made up of larger and smaller pools, many of them interconnected. Most of them were fed by water from a geothermal source, but there were a few cold baths as well. The place was normally used by everyone who wanted to in the village, but today it was reserved for those getting married - both the men and the women.
None of her team mates or of the Tok'ra were there when Sam arrived, so they must have been there either earlier, or not have arrived yet. Sam spent almost an hour enjoying the water, and washing and cleaning herself with the pleasantly fragrant soaps they used there. After the bath, she felt very relaxed, but also refreshed.
"These are the clothes I'm supposed to wear today?" Sam asked, indicating the dress made from thin, almost translucent, white material.
"Yes. It is the traditional female wedding dress here," Jiana said.
Sam shrugged. "Okay."
She put the clothing on. The body of the dress was relatively tight fitting at the top, with a moderately deep v-neck, and a high waist. The material flowed loosely below the hips, with both sides open from the top of the legs down to the feet. A sheer, white cape was fastened to the shoulders, and hung down almost to her feet.
"You need this too." Teona handed her a blue sash. "It is the colour that was your symbol during the contest."
"I understand. I tie it around my waist, or what?"
"You tie it just under your breasts," Jiana explained.
Sam nodded, not really surprised, since the dress had a high waist. She just wrapped it around and tied it with a simple knot.
"No, not like that!" Teona told her. "Let me!" She deftly undid the knot and retied it, so the long ends of the sash trailed down Sam's left side. "This knot will not easily loosen by itself, but it will be easy to untie for your mates. They just pull both ends at the same time. Understand?"
"Sure," Sam said.
"Put these on." Teona handed her a pair of thong sandals, made of soft skin. They had been dyed blue, to match her sash.
Jiana looked speculatively at Sam's hair. "All women here have long hair. I do not know what we can do with such short hair as you have."
"Just leave it as is?" Sam suggested, not really caring. By now she was well and truly ready for all of this to be over with.
"I am afraid that is the only option." Jiana looked unhappy. "Teona, will you do her makeup, while I find the jewelry?" She started combing Sam's hair.
Sam sighed deeply, and settled in for what she feared would be a long session.
After a shorter time than expected, Sam was told that she was now correctly dressed for the joining ceremony. They had only put minor makeup on her - lipstick and eyeliner, though they had certainly put on more eyeliner than she would have. It looked better than she had feared, though, emphasizing her eyes nicely. She also wore a couple bangles on each arm, and a golden head band with large turquoises set in.
As she left the bathing facilities, she met Daniel on the way in, followed by a couple of locals who would no doubt help him dress correctly, just as Jiana and Teona had helped her.
"Hi, Daniel!" Sam waved at him.
"Hi, Sam. Wow, you look great!" He gave her an extra look.
"Thanks!" Sam smiled. "I look forward to seeing how they dress up the rest of you guys!"
Jiana and Teona had taken Sam to a building beside the town square, where those who were about to get married waited.
Apparently Jiana and Teona had both gotten married the year before - to two brothers - and they insisted on giving Sam all kinds of advice. It thus took an unreasonably long time for them to get her to where they were taking her, as they kept stopping and giggling, and remembering something they wanted to tell her.
Sam felt deeply relieved when she finally reached the area where her friends were waiting, and she waved goodbye to the two enthusiastic girls.
O'Neill, Freya/Anise, Teal'c, and Aldwin/Gerim had already arrived, and were sitting on benches in the corner of the large room, waiting.
"I see they gave you the same outfit, Freya and Anise." Sam smiled at the Tok'ra.
"Yes, except for the fact that my sandals and my sash are red, whereas yours are blue."
Sam nodded. "Yes." Then she grinned, as she looked at the men. "Wow, you guys certainly are dressed... light!"
They were all wearing loincloths, and no other clothing. It was the type that looked almost like a little skirt, and reached to just over their knees. It was tied in place with a long band, which was heavily gold-embroidered.
O'Neill was wearing a red loincloth, while Aldwin wore a green one, and Teal'c an orange one. Teal'c's differed in that it was hanging lower on his hips than that of the others - no doubt an attempt to avoid placing the band across his symbiote pouch, which might be unpleasant. Apparently the locals had not felt a need to do anything to conceal the pouch.
The men also wore golden armbands, and armlets, and on their feet they had thong type sandals, which were all the same brown colour.
"Very funny, Carter!" O'Neill snorted. "At least you and Freya doesn't look like something out of a history movie!"
"Not so sure I agree with you on that, but why are you complaining? Red is definitely your colour!" Sam laughed.
"Haha." O'Neill grumbled.
"I do wonder why they have chosen these particular colours for us?" Aldwin said.
Daniel came through the door to the room, and walked up to them, clearly having heard what Aldwin had said. "I think I can answer that. See? Jack and I both have red loincloths - and Freya and Anise have a red sash. That's the colour they gave her already when we arrived here, so I'm guessing they simply assign a colour to each unmarried female, and then the men she will be marrying is given clothing of a matching colour."
"That would seem reasonably, Daniel. I agree," Freya said. She smiled at him. "It was nice dancing with you yesterday."
Daniel smiled back at her. "I agree. Very much so." He threw a look at O'Neill, who was frowning, not looking happy at all. For a brief moment Daniel thought O'Neill might be jealous, but then he discarded the idea. "Very... educational," he added.
"Daniel... did you see Martouf on your way over here?" Sam asked.
"Yes, actually I did. He came into the bathing facility just after I did, so I'm guessing he'll be here soon."
"Okay." She smiled to herself, remembering how she and Martouf/Lantash had danced - and kissed - yesterday.
"Yeah, we all saw how you were gushing over the snakehead yesterday, Carter," O'Neill said, disgustedly.
"With all due respect, sir, that's none of your business!" Sam complained.
O'Neill looked no less grumpy, but did not answer her. He got a pained expression when one of the locals, sitting maybe 25 feet away, shouted happily at a friend that entered the door.
"Let me guess - you didn't drink the nik'ja?" Daniel asked, as he sat down on the bench beside Freya/Anise. He suddenly realized what O'Neill's problem was - he had clearly appreciated the local beer very much, and he had drunk a lot of it the day before.
"I don't want any of their local witch brew!" O'Neill complained. "Who knows what it was they were going to try and drug us with - I mean, they're trying to force us to have sex, just for their amusement, right?"
"That's true, but I doubt they'd try to drug us into complying!" Daniel said.
"Well, at least there's nothing nefarious in that juice... the nik'ja, that they gave us. It was a very effective cure for hang-over. You should try it, sir," Sam told O'Neill.
"You really should," Daniel added, getting up. "You know, I'll go get you some of it."
"Hm," O'Neill said, noncommittally, but did not reject the offer.
Daniel returned a short time later, carrying a jug of the juice. "Here you go." He handed it to O'Neill, who took it.
He looked sceptically into the jug, then took a hesitant sip. "Thanks, Daniel."
"You're welcome. It should work quickly," Daniel said.
Sam looked up as Martouf/Lantash entered the room. She smiled at him. "Hi, Martouf, Lantash!"
He smiled back at her. "Hello, Samantha. You look stunning."
"Thank you." She slowly let her gaze slide over him, clearly enjoying the fact that he was only wearing a loincloth, which gave her an undisguised view of his naked chest. "You don't look so bad yourself," she added in a low voice, hoping only Martouf/Lantash would hear it.
"Yesterday was wonderful," Martouf said, getting a look of adoration as he approached Sam, and took both her hands in his.
O'Neill made a disgusted sound, and took another sip of the nik'ja.
"See? His loincloth is blue, matching Sam's sash," Daniel pointed out, pleased that his theory seemed correct.
At that point, Tinnok stepped into the room. "I have been informed that everyone has now arrived. Please, follow me to the town square, where all has been prepared for the joining ceremony."
"Just remember - the wedding is pretend, just so we'll get the healing drug!" O'Neill reminded them, washing down the last of the nik'ja, as they all followed the group of local men and women.
"...now, the women will put a necklace around each of her mates necks," Tinnok said. "And then she will kiss them, one at a time."
Sam smiled at Martouf, and placed a necklace around his neck. He looked very pleased. Sam leaned forward and gave him a loving, but brief, kiss.
"Thank you, Samantha." Martouf bowed his head, and Lantash took control.
Sam took the other necklace she had been given, and put that around Lantash's neck. The two necklaces were identical, made of braided gold and silver. She gave Lantash a kiss, and smiled at him. "It looks nice on you."
"It is now time for the men to each place a necklace on their mate," Tinnok told them. "Then they will kiss her, one at a time."
Lantash took one of the necklaces he and Martouf had been given. "Come here, my Samantha, and let me give you this." He smiled at her, and put the necklace on her. It was thinner than the ones he and Martouf were now wearing, but otherwise identical. He kissed her warmly.
Sam looked very happy. "Thanks!"
Then Martouf was given control, and he put the other necklace on her, before kissing her.
When all the pairs, threesomes, and moresomes had finished placing necklaces on their mates, Tinnok again spoke up, "This concludes the first part of the ceremony. Everyone, partake of the feast that has been prepared. When you have strengthened yourself with food and drink, the second part of the ceremony will commence."