Kali is a Goa'uld System Lord who served under Shiva at the time of the discovery of Earth. One of the first Goa'uld to take a Human host, Kali became worshipped as a Hindu goddess, earning the name the Destroyer. She eventually betrayed Shiva and began to serve under Ra until, after the Tau'ri Rebellion, she broke away from Ra and claimed her own empire. Forming an Alliance with Bastet, the two System Lords became a powerful force after the fall of Ra. During Anubis' return to power, Kali's outpost at Cerador was attacked by Jaffa loyal to Anubis. Despite this, she voted to allow him to resume his place as a System Lord.
Coming to Earth
Little is known of Kali before the time of the Second Goa'uld Dynasty, save that at one time she was trained as an ashrak—a deadly assassin owned by Selket—and became a close ally of Shiva whom she served with her ashrak talents. By the time the Tau'ri were discovered on Earth, Kali's master Shiva was powerful enough that he was granted access to the Humans. It was through this that Kali became one of the first Goa'uld in history to take on a Human host, giving up her former body in favour of this new race. During this time, Kali was quick to eliminate any beings who were opposed to Shiva's rule, including many among the Tau'ri who refused to accept Shiva as a god. It was through this that Kali earned her role in the Hindu pantheon as the destroyer of ignorance, claiming the name the Destroyer.
Downfall of Shiva
Shiva's general behavior soon began having more and more of an impact on Kali's work, however; due to the fact that her master refused to give up his Unas host, the natives frequently believed him to be a demon rather than a god. While this pleased Shiva, Kali quickly recognized that it only increased the potential for unrest and so she pleaded with her master to take a Human host. Shiva refused, and so Kali was forced to kill more and more dissenters among his subjects. The situation soon came to the notice of Ra himself who informed Kali's master that, should he wish to continue to make use of the Tau'ri, he must take a Human host. After refusing, Ra demanded that Shiva an audience with him; Shiva refused this order also, and instead Kali appeared in her master's place to bargain with Ra. Though she had originally simply wished to divert the bloody conflict she knew would arise as the result of Shiva's insolence, Ra had lost his patience. He instead offered her an alternative solution; she would kill Shiva herself.
Although Kali's loyalties to her master meant that she was loath to kill him, she soon realized that she had no choice as Ra was more powerful than any other System Lord and defiance of his orders would only mean that she too would die. Indeed, Kali also realized that—should she refuse—Shiva would simply be killed by other means anyway. It was only when Ra sweetened the deal, however, that she finally accepted; Ra informed Kali that, when Shiva was dead, he would take control of her master's former territories and allow Kali to rule over them as his subordinate. As such, Kali struck down her former master Shiva and joined the ranks of Ra's subordinates, a position of much higher power.
As Ra promised, Kali assumed control of her former master's territories as well as the subjects therein. In exchange for her services, Ra even granted Kali access to a small portion of Tau'ri in an area that would later become known as Bengal. In order to cement her new position, Kali systematically wiped out any of her subjects who still remained loyal to the now-dead Shiva, an act which further fixed her role as the destroyer of ignorance. While doing this, Kali also made sure to promote those who stood loyal to her, be they Tau'ri or subjects from other planets. It was because of these actions that iconography depicting her as a redeemer who stood over the fallen form of her spouse became common among her followers.
Despite this sudden rise in power granted by the Supreme System Lord, Kali still felt chafed under the thumb of Ra as he treated her as little more than a mistrusted Lieutenant. After the Tau'ri Rebellion, and when Ra was having further problems with the Asgard, Kali decided it was her time to strike. Kali withdrew her rule to a few planets which she controlled tightly, carving out her own empire free of the Sun God. Although this displeased Ra, he was unable to commit the forces needed to punish Kali as the Goa'uld Empire had entered into a chaotic state which drew most of his attention. By the time that Ra had calmed his dominion to a state of relative order, Ra had decided that it wasn't worth his time to reclaim the small part of his empire which Kali had wrested from him. Instead, the two Goa'uld negotiated a state of peace during which Ra dictated the terms for Kali's continued independence.
Though Kali now had power of her own, she still recognized that Ra's dominion was much greater than hers and so she accepted the terms that Ra laid down, fearful that his retribution might destroy all she had plotted to create. Rather than struggling against Ra's forces, Kali instead set her sights on other System Lords whose territories bordered her own and whose empires were of about the same strength as her own. Striking quickly, Kali was able to seize control of many worlds which belonged to both Sobek and Shak'ran. Her attacks against the latter earned her the approval of Ra, as Shak'ran was one of his minor foes, and so her territory became even more secure. Just as Kali's power was rising, another System Lord's power was waning; Bastet had been overthrown during the same chaotic period which had given rise to Kali. Recognizing an opportunity to gain a much needed ally who could help Kali defend her newly-acquired territories, Kali offered Bastet an alliance. Bastet, for her part, hoped to use Kali's forces to buttress her own crumbling domain. The duo quickly became a force to be reckoned with, expanding each of their territories exponentially by the end of the Second Goa'uld Dynasty.
By the time of the Third Goa'uld Dynasty, both Kali and Bastet were major players within the Goa'uld hierarchy who were given founding positions among the new System Lords. Though Kali had a powerful army, it was still dwarfed by that of Ra and so she tended to defer to his wishes during summits of the High Council. Despite this, Kali maintained her relationship with the more independent Bastet, albeit with some minor border disputes. This alliance was probably due to the fact that each Goa'uld recognized that, should the might of any of the mightier Goa'uld such as Ra or Ba'al fall upon them, they would be crushed with little to no problem. Together, however, they stood a much better chance should they be attacked.
Following Ra's destruction at the hands of the newly-risen Tau'ri, Kali scrambled to fill the power vacuum which he left behind. She was not the only Goa'uld to do so, however, and her forces frequently clashed with those of Apophis who felt that the worlds Kali stole from Ra millennia ago were rightfully his. Not only that, Kali also suffered losses at the hands of Ba'al until eventually suing for peace with the more powerful Goa'uld so that she could focus her efforts against her mightier foe, Apophis. These conflicts continued for several years before Apophis too was destroyed at the hands of the Tau'ri. As befitted her style, Kali quickly moved to reclaim the territory which she had lost in her struggles against Apophis while wiping out the remnants of his forces in order to once more consolidate her empire. Despite his death, the destruction which Apophis wrought on Kali's dominion had crippled her forces and thus forced her to rebuild by any means necessary.
Having survived Apophis' attacks on her territory, Kali once again battled against Ba'al and was predominantly occupied with maintaining her territory against his depredations. Though she held no particular love for the Tau'ri, neither did she hate them with the fervor of many other System Lords as they had destroyed two of her most powerful opponents without her even having to strike a blow. Indeed, Kali considered the Tau'ri to be a dangerous and unpredictable resource which, if push came to shove, she could use against the other System Lords. (RPG: "Living Gods: Stargate System Lords")
During Anubis' rise to power, Kali's base of operations on Cerador was attacked by Jaffa loyal to Anubis. During the attack, Kali lost two of her own motherships. Most of the Jaffa attackers were formerly in the service of Cronus and Sokar, but since one bore Olokun's mark, she accused him of being the mysterious aggressor. Upon learning that the aggressor was Anubis, risen from the dead, she voted to allow him to resume his place as a System Lord. Despite this, she still harbored him ill-will as, though he did not occupy her planet, she recognized that he could easily have done so. (SG1: "Summit", "Last Stand") (RPG: "Living Gods: Stargate System Lords")
Shortly after this, Kali was able to capture Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson when SG-1 became caught up in a Reetou attack on one of her planets that had resulted in the deaths of several of Kali's Jaffa and most of SG-7. Kali attempted to use Carter's technical experience and Jackson's diplomatic insights to arrange to negotiate a truce with the Reetou, aided by newly-developed technology that allowed the Goa'uld to resist the disruptive influence of the Reetou, but although she spoke with Jackson about her own history with the Tau'ri, Jackson rejected the idea that she was any better than the other Goa'uld by observing her treatment of her host. After SG-1 were able to escape with the aid of Teal'c, Captain Patel (the last survivor of SG-7), Jacob Carter/Selmak, Bra'tac of Chulak, and Kali's former First Prime, the Thakka, Kali herself was gravely wounded by a bomb that had been set off by the Reetou (Stargate SG-1: Kali's Wrath). She survived, but suffered losses among her Jaffa and holdings, as Olokun and Ba'al took advantage of the situation.
Like other Goa'uld, Kali had a massive ego. Despite this, however, she was unusually quiet and rarely ranted or raved, instead choosing to give merely a stony silence to any questions of her divinity. Rather, Kali preferred to let her actions speak for her instead of wasting time with idle words. Indeed, when Kali did strike, her blows were both swift and terrible. She was often known to leave her foe alive just long enough to realize their folly before slaying them without mercy. Despite this seemingly violent personality, Kali treated her subjects with a modicum of fairness and it was only those who defied her that needed to fear her wrath.
In keeping with the other Goa'uld, Kali chose a host who was naturally beautiful, and who was of Hindu ancestry. She was known to dress in extravagant clothes, and usually wore a veil over her face for unknown reasons.