Marion woke to find herself lying on the sofa in Destri’s cottage. She was wearing a warm loose robe and she was dry. The last thing she remembered was struggling out of the shuttle as it filled with ice cold water. Now she was dry and she didn’t worry for the moment who had put her in these warm clothes. Right now there was only one thing pressing upon all her thoughts.

“Kristoph!” she cried out. She also remembered that he was unconscious before the shuttle began to sink. She had tried to pull him out, but he was dead weight and she was barely able to escape herself. She thought she remembered breaking the surface of the choppy, ice cold water and calling out his name. But it was one brief recollection. After that there was nothing.

“It’s all right,” Destri said. He came to her side and helped her sit up on the sofa. He gave her a cup of herbal infusion. It soothed her throat but her heart was pounding with fear.

“Kristoph!” she said again.

“It’s all right,” he assured her again. “He’s here, too. Don’t worry.”

She looked around. The door to the back room was open. She saw that it was a bedroom. Kristoph was lying on the bed. She struggled to her feet. She felt dizzy still, and was unsteady, but she made it to his side. He, too, was dry and had been dressed in a loose robe. But he was deeply unconscious. She put her hand on his face and noted that he was cold. She touched his chest and was relieved to feel one single heartsbeat.

“He’s… in a deep trance?” she asked. “Was he… is he injured?”

“He put himself into a deep state to avoid drowning,” Destri explained. “He closed off his lungs so they would not fill up with water and shut down his brain functions. He’ll be all right in a couple of hours. Come back to the fireside. There’s nothing you can do for him until he wakes.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. Marion touched his face again, hoping for any kind of reaction, any sign that he knew she was there.

“He’s strong,” Destri said. “He’s always been strong. That’s how he survived... what they... what I... did to him all those years ago. He’s going to be all right. Please, trust me.”

Trust me. Those were odd words from a man who had once betrayed the trust of every man, woman and child on Gallifrey. Yet Marion did feel that she could trust him about this, at least.

“Have you contacted the authorities? Do they know we’re stranded without a craft?” she asked as she went back into the main room and sat.

“I have no way of making contact with anyone,” he answered. “That is another part of my exile. There is a receiver by which they send me messages, informing me of visits, usually. Short, terse audio messages. But there is no transmitter to reply to them. I am not even permitted that much interaction with other Gallifreyans.”

“Then... we’re stranded and nobody knows?”

“When you do not arrive back at the appointed time they will send somebody to find out why. By nightfall, I should think. They may come in force, with weapons, imagining I have taken the Lord High President and his wife hostage or some such thing.”

“That doesn’t sound very reassuring,” Marion pointed out.

“I am sorry for that. Rassilon willing they will realise there is no such crisis and hold their fire.”

“Have they got reason to think you would do that?” Marion asked. “Have you... taken hostages? I’m sorry, that does seem a rude question. But... your circumstances here...”

“I have never done anything so precipitous. If they didn’t kill me offhand it would result in the withdrawal of the few favours I am granted. I have nothing to gain by any such action. But legends have grown around me. A generation has come to manhood since my trial who only know the stories about the traitor on the island. What they may think me capable of...”

“It really doesn’t seem fair,” Marion said.

“You are the only person I have met who has said so,” he told her. “It is perfectly fair. I am a terrible person. I did a terrible thing and I have been punished in a terrible way. You... your husband was right. You are a gentle soul. You see the best in everyone.”

“Not everyone,” she contradicted. “I have never been able to see any good in Lord Ravenswode or Lady Oakdaene. I despise both of them. Lord Oakdaene would be on that list too except I have never actually spoken to him directly.”

“Ravenswode and Oakdaene!” Destri smiled. “You have good judgement, dear lady. When I was a man who commanded respect those two were a thorn in my side. They took great delight in my downfall.”

“They would,” she said. “But... I don’t want to talk about them. There are so many nice people that I know.”

“You were reluctant to tell me about them before,” Destri said. “Perhaps... We have more time... tell me about your friends... who are your closest confidents among the ladies of Gallifrey?”

“Lily,” Marion answered. “Without a doubt. Lady Lilliana D’Alba D’Argenlunna... that’s her full name. But I have only ever known her as Lily. She has been my dearest friend since the first day I set foot on this planet. She helped me to learn to cherish a yellow sky above my head more than anyone.”

“Lily.” Destri spoke her name with a smile.

“You knew her? Yes... I suppose you would. She was a young woman when that war began. She told me a little about it. I suppose you know that she and Kristoph were sweethearts then. But she thought him dead and turned to Lord D’Alba for comfort. A sad story, especially since Lord D’Alba died and left her alone. But she never lets any sadness of the past affect her. She is so charming and gracious. She helped me to become a ‘Lady of Gallifrey’. I felt so unsure of myself at first. I was scared even to order lattes at the Conservatory. But she showed me what to do, how to do it all. And even though I have so many friends now, she’s still the one I would go to if I had something I really wanted to talk about... anything that I was worrying about.”

“Has Lily ever... since she was widowed... has there been anyone else in her life?”

Marion hesitated. She wondered why he had asked that question. Why did he want to know so much about Lily?

Then it occurred to her that he had called her ‘Lily’. Everyone else he had talked about, whether to her or to Kristoph, he had called them by their title and surname – Lord Arpexia, Lady Patriclian.

Marion knew that Lily was popular with men in her youth. She had many suitors before she decided upon Kristoph. Was Destri one of those she turned down for him? By the time she married Lord D’Alba he was a convicted felon consigned to his island. He could have had no hopes of that sort. But was it possible he still had feelings for her?

All this she thought behind a carefully constructed mental wall as taught to her by Bolar Lundar while she sought for an answer to his question.

“I... don’t want to talk about Lily’s personal life behind her back,” she answered. “Please, understand... she IS my very good friend. And this feels wrong. Can we... please let’s change the subject.”

“Of course. I am sorry if I have caused you any distress with my questions. Forgive my persistence.”

She forgave him.

“May I offer you... it has been some time since you ate, I think. Would you like some of the fresh bread and cheese that I have?”

“Those were brought to you by Kristoph... as a luxury for you to enjoy. I would not take a morsel of it away from you.”

Destri smiled wryly.

“There are primitive peoples who, even though they were starving, would consider it an insult if a guest refused the very best food offered to them.”

“Yes... I’ve heard of that. But you’re not primitive. You’re a Gallifreyan. Which makes me wonder how you even know about such people. Most Gallifreyans are so insular they don’t even know about the people of the Kasterborus planets.”

“I read,” he answered. “I am allowed books... the printed word. Not as many as I would like. Some of my visitors bring me books. My one and only venture beyond the Transduction Barrier was a disaster. But I am able to travel in my imagination.”

“You like to read.” Marion smiled widely. “So do I. That’s why I...”

She hesitated again. But there was no reason why she couldn’t tell him about her library project. She managed to forget everything else for a little while, even her worry about Kristoph and Destri’s strange circumstances as she told him everything about her plan to bring books to the Caretakers of Gallifrey through her lending libraries.

“That is a magnificent idea,” Destri told her. “Absolutely magnificent. I wish you well, dear lady, in such an endeavour. It is... there is no other word for it. It is magnificent.”

Marion glowed with pride. Many society people had been puzzled by her idea. They had questioned the need for books for Caretakers. A few had given her their support. But Destri was the first high born man who had so wholeheartedly approved of her plan.

And she felt as if she valued that approval. She was glad he thought she was doing something good for the people of Gallifrey.

She wanted him to approve of her.

“I only wish I could avail of the service,” he said. So many books... so much knowledge. You have made me hungry for something I do not have here.”

“I am sorry for that,” Marion told him. “I did not wish to distress you...”

“Destri... Don’t make my wife feel obliged to you.” Kristoph said. Marion turned and saw him standing in the doorway. He looked strong, just as Destri said he was, even though he had been unconscious for so long. His body had renewed and refreshed itself. “Even though we are both obliged to you... for our lives.”

He came and sat at Marion’s side. She reached out to hold him and he was happy for her to do so.

“I know what you did,” he added. “You aren’t supposed to have a rowing boat. If the authorities knew...”

“You are the Lord High President,” Destri pointed out. “You ARE the highest authority in all Gallifrey. I use the boat to catch fish... and sometimes just to enjoy that modicum of freedom... rowing the waters within the shield. But if you want to take that away from me, it is your right.”

“I don’t want to take anything from you,” Kristoph answered. “You have little enough to begin with. I was unconscious for some three hours. We will be missed by now. They may think that you are holding us against our will. The rescue party might be precipitous.”

“I have considered that possibility,” Destri told him.

“We will sit quietly for a while,” Kristoph said. “When we hear the shuttle arrive Marion and I will step outside. You stay here. I will make sure they listen to the truth. You will not be punished in any way for what it not your doing. You have my word.”

They did just that for another hour, talking quietly about small things until the sound of a hover shuttle approaching was heard. Kristoph stood and took Marion by the hand. He nodded courteously to Destri and they went to the door.

Marion was astonished to see guards pointing guns at them. Kristoph squeezed her hand reassuringly and then commanded the men to shoulder their arms and return to their craft. When they had done so, he led her by the hand to the shuttle that waited for them. He said nothing to anyone until they were beyond the shield. Then he contacted the Castellan by videophone and told him clearly what had happened to their craft, emphasising more than once that Destri had not done anything wrong at any point.

“More than that,” Marion said before the video-link was closed. “He saved our lives. He rescued us both from the water and gave us first aid. He acted bravely. I... think it should be put on the record.”

“I agree,” Kristoph added. “See that it is done. That is all.”

They left it at that. Neither of them talked about their day after that until they were home at Mount Lœng House. Even then, it was not until after dinner, when they sat in the drawing room together, that Marion mentioned anything. And then her question surprised Kristoph.

“Was Destri one of your rivals for Lily’s hand?” she asked. “When you were younger. Is that...”

Kristoph took a sip from his after dinner glass of brandy before he asked her what prompted the question. Marion explained about Destri calling Lily by her first name as well as his questions about her that had become difficult to answer. He took another sip and considered his response carefully.

“I didn’t want to get into this,” he said. “But since you’ve worked out so much already... There is no point in trying to hide the truth.”

“And the truth is...”

“No. He wasn’t a rival. It is much more complicated than that. And much more tragic.” He paused and sighed deeply. “Marion, Destri’s real name is RubenGreyheartfelldaren de Argenlunna.”

“Argenlunna?” Marion repeated. “You mean... he…”

“He is Lily’s older brother. Or he was. He was disowned. The estate passed to Lily. She inherited all the titles and properties of the Argenlunna House and when Jules passed away, the House of Alba was hers, too.”

“Yes… but… never mind that. I never knew Lily had a brother. I always assumed she was an only child. I’ve seen pictures of her as a girl. There are none with a sibling. There is no hint… she has never said anything…. Even when she talked of her younger days… of when you and her were courting… she said nothing.”

“That’s how absolute disowning is in our culture. It wasn’t just as if he was dead to her. It was as if he never existed. She erased him from her life. Only those of her own generation would even know. And we would never speak of him. Those born since assume the same as you, that there was no son born of the House of Argenlunna and the Line ends with her.”

“Poor Lily,” Marion said. “Poor Destri.”

“Yes,” Kristoph said. “Yes, indeed. And there he left the matter. But he knew it probably wasn’t the last he was going to hear about it.