Marion woke in a big comfortable bed with what felt like real fur throws over the linen sheets. It was a half-tester with curtains around the top part which had been drawn back now that it was morning.

The room had tapestries on the walls and the furniture was big and heavy-looking like a bedroom in a Tudor manor on show to tourists. There was sunlight coming through an unfamiliar window and somebody had left a breakfast tray on the side table.

The food was unfamiliar - a sort of toasted flat bread with aromatic oil drizzled on it and unusual fruits. The tea was an aromatic herbal infusion. It tasted pleasant but it also served as a reminder, as if the strange room wasn’t clue enough, that she was not in her own home where her imported English tea was always served in the morning.

Next to the tray was a note from Kristoph. He was in the garage with his 'cousin'.

Marion ate at her leisure and thought about the journey last night across the dark plain, arriving at the grey stone house with very tall, thick trunked trees screening it from the heaviest southwest winds. She was almost falling asleep as she entered the hall. She vaguely recalled hardwood floors with fur rugs and panelled walls engraved with complicated pictures. She was reminded of the panels in the TARDIS that told stories from Gallifreyan history, but she was too tired to try to look at them properly.

Her plight was fully understood, at least. A woman quickly brought her to a room where she was able to wash and put on a nightdress then get into bed before a supper tray was brought. The food was real, not the energy bars provided in the city though she was too tired to fully appreciate it. She slept immediately after eating and was uncertain what time Kristoph came to her side.

He was late to bed and early rising. That was not strange for him, but Marion wondered what he had been doing, all the same.

She ate her breakfast and then washed and dressed in clothes that had been left out for her. The fashion was strange, especially the underwear, but they were freshly laundered and fitted as well as clothes that weren't made for her ought to fit.

She found her way downstairs and in the hallway a footman asked her if she needed anything.

“I was wondering where the garage was,” she answered. “My husband and your master went there early this morning.”

“It is at the back of the house, madam. You may walk around by the kitchen garden or down the side stairs and past the butler's pantry. It is a fine morning. The garden would be pleasant.”

“Yes, I will do that,” Marion decided. “Thank you, Mr...."

“Caolan,” the footman answered. “Just Caolan.”

“Caolan?” she queried. “How strange. That name is almost the same as our butler at home…. He is Caoilin.”

“Yes, madam, I expect so,” the footman answered. “Can I do anything else for you?”

She was keeping him from his duties with her conversation. She shook her head and thanked him politely. He opened the front door for her and bid her good morning.

It WAS a very pleasant morning with the sun shining from a yellow sky. It could have been home except for the red moon that still hung low over the treeline and the very formal style of the garden in front of the house. The centre of the display was a topiary arrangement in the shape of the Seal of Rassilon. That was surrounded by gravel paths and flower beds that continued the swirling patterns that she knew from the old illuminated sagas of Gallifrey.

She walked around to the side of the house where the kitchen garden was planted with vegetables and row upon row of herbs that would flavour the food. She noticed a particularly fragrant smell that had been in the bedroom. It must be picked and left in bowls as a natural air freshener.

Around the back of the house she easily found the separate building that was the garage. There were voices from inside the open door. She recognised Kristoph speaking with the man they had called ‘cousin’ for simplicity, Lord Bærrow.

She listened to the conversation for a few minutes and was more than a little disturbed by what they were saying to each other.

“Marion, come in!” Kristoph called out to her. Of course he would have sensed her presence. It was foolish to expect to hide behind something as simple as a door and not be detected by a Time Lord with all of his enhanced senses.

She came into the garage slowly. The first thing she noticed was the TARDIS with the doors wide open and thick conduits trailing from it into another capsule, one much less sophisticated but with the same kind of purpose.

Kristoph and Lord Bærrow were working on a complicated component at a workbench. They both looked around at Marion then his Lordship pulled up a chair and invited Marion to sit down.

“You heard something of what we were discussing?” he asked.

“I did. I was… surprised, given the subject matter. I would have expected you to use telepathy.”

“Telepathic conversations can be heard miles away by a particularly sensitive mind reader,” Lord Bærrow answered. “Whereas only your good self or my servants could overhear this conversation. And my servants are steadfast and utterly loyal to my House.”

“You may count on me, also,” Marion assured him. “But… revolution… on Gallifrey. It is… unheard of.”

“It is carefully edited from the history books,” Kristoph noted. “Even the name of the race that is preparing for war with us.”

“That’s the bit I don’t understand. Yesterday, I thought you said Gallifrey WAS at war with the… the Shamin.”

“That is what the secret police said,” Kristoph explained. “But the truth is they are NOT yet at war. The situation is grave, but it can yet be averted if negotiations are allowed to continue.”

“And it’s the government in that dark city that won’t negotiate?”

“Exactly so,” Lord Bærrow agreed. “They are convinced that we should declare war and launch a pre-emptive strike against the Shamin.”

“Unthinkable,” Kristoph growled. “Gallifrey STARTING a war. I have fought against an enemy that attacked our civilian ships and forced us into action, but the very idea that we should be the aggressors….”

“So this revolution is to replace the government that wants war with one that will make peace?”

“Again you understand perfectly, madam.”

“Marion,” she corrected him. “I know it’s not very important in the circumstances, but please call me Marion. We’re supposed to be cousins.”

“I am delighted to do so, Marion. And please call me Jakobin. Only my servants address me as ‘Lordship.’”

That informality between them dispelled the last vestiges of doubt Marion had about their host. She asked some more questions about the difficulties that faced Gallifrey in this time.

“The revolution ought to be bloodless. We have planned long and hard to make it so. I am highly placed within the council, and was able to identify the most ardent dissenters. We are ready to make our move just as soon as the word is given. The arrival of the two of you in the midst of the plan was, at first, a concern, because the secret police were put on such high alert, but it is also a blessing. When I realised that you had such an advanced capsule… one capable of shielding itself from the scanners trained on the upper atmosphere.”

“You mean… you want us to help you in the revolution? Isn’t that…. I mean, I’ve read the Constitution. I know about the Laws of Time. If we interfere in events that happened thousands of years before our time….”

“Yes, I am aware of the rules,” Kristoph assured her. “Nevertheless, I see it as my duty – to family, as much as to the peace of my world – to give assistance where I can.”

“You won’t be in trouble when you get home?”

“I hope not. In any case, my role is purely a passive one. Once we have finished the repairs to the TARDIS Jakobin and I will test it on a short journey to the Shamin diplomatic ship that is waiting outside the Cruciform. You should wait here. You will be as safe in this house as you are in our own.”

“I will be worried,” Marion warned him.

“I know. But you WILL be safe. That is important to me.”

“How long will the repair take?” Marion asked.

“If we make haste, by early evening,” Kristoph answered. “We will dine before the test flight.”

“So soon…. Yes, I suppose that’s the best thing. The longer you delay, the more risk that those wanting war may force the issue.”

“My mother is visiting for lunch,” Jakobin said. “You may find her company pleasant. I will explain your circumstances to her. She will doubtless be sympathetic.”

“That sounds like a pleasant way to spend the afternoon,” Marion agreed. “I shall take a walk in the gardens, meanwhile, if that is all right.”

“You are most welcome to do so,” Jakobin assured her. She said good day to him and to Kristoph and left the garage. She lingered a little while in that fragrant herb garden, wondering about the different plants growing there. Some of them grew in the garden of Mount Lœng House, and Aineytta knew the uses they could be put to, but there were others that might be new even to her. Thousands of years of plant evolution lay between these specimens and those in the later garden.

She moved on to the formal gardens and beyond those to more informally planted meadows. She found a copse of Cúl nut trees. Obviously they had been around for a very long time.

She was a little disappointed to find that there was no rose garden. Perhaps those weren’t yet known on Gallifrey. But there were plenty of other flowers to enjoy in what appeared to be early summer. She wandered around as happily as might be expected when there were, still, so many difficulties ahead and she was so very far from her real home.

At lunch time the two men came from the garage, washed and presentable after a morning of manual labour. Jakobin introduced his mother, an elegant lady who immediately reminded Marion of Thedera de Más??nt?n. She liked her at once and after the men returned to their work in the afternoon she was happy to sit with her in the drawing room and relate her version of all that had happened in the past two days.

“What a dreadful time you have had, my dear,” Lady de Bærrow sympathised. “No wonder you were frightened. The secret police are a dreadful lot. They act as if every citizen is a potential traitor. These are frightening times for everyone.”

“Kristoph says that the history of this time has been erased from the records. I think later Gallifreyans are ashamed of what is happening, now.”

“So they should be. I am only glad that something is being done. These dark days will be over, soon.”

“Very soon, apparently. As long as… as long as nothing goes wrong.”

“It won’t. The prophecies are already coming to pass. Your arrival confirms it.”

“What prophecies?”

“Jakobin’s late wife was a powerful foreteller. She knew the darkness we are living in now was coming. She warned him. She also told of help coming from a place both near and far – help that would herald the dawn of a new Light on Gallifrey.”

“Near and far…..”

“You come from the far future, but your home is very near. Jakobin thinks that the house you live in was built over the foundations of this one. You ARE home in many ways, though it must not feel like it.”

“It… DOES feel right in some ways. The butler here has almost the same name as ours. I think that has to do with the way words change over time. He may well be an ancestor of our man just as you are all ancestors of Kristoph’s. All the same, I DO want to go home to our Gallifrey, to the home I know. I think we must.”

“Indeed, you must. But your visit here will be remembered in many ways. Be sure of that.”

The TARDIS was repaired in time for them all to dine at the proper time. Marion ate slowly, and she was anxious. Kristoph knew she was fretting over what was going to happen once the meal was over. He wanted to reassure her, but there wasn’t much he could say that would do that. What they planned was risky. Many things could go wrong. The consequences might ripple through the ages to their own time.

But he had to try.

And Marion had to wait. At least she had the company of Lady de Bærrow as she kept her vigil by the drawing room window, watching the night fall over the plain and the silver moon she knew rising in the umber sky. The red one still hung over the horizon, but she had learnt to ignore it.

Even with pleasant company the hours dragged and a deep sense of unease refused to leave Marion’s stomach. She fretted as Kristoph knew she would.

Then as a huge clock sounded the tenth hour past midday, Caolan came into the drawing room. He quietly turned on the video screen and tuned it to the news programme. Marion and Lady de Bærrow both sat up and watched as the reporter told of a bloodless coup in the capital city. The Lord High President and seven of the High Council had been impeached for corruption and actions detrimental to the happiness and safety of the Gallifreyan people. A provisional government was sworn in pending constitutional elections to be held in the near future. Jakobin de Bærrow was named as President and seven of his chosen and trusted allies filled the roles of the ousted men.

De Bærrow had been named as Interim President in his absence. He was, the reporter announced, busy completing peace treaty discussions with the Ambassadors from Shamin. War had been averted. Indeed, the reporter continued, it appeared that the intentions of the Shamin had been misconstrued from the start and they had no real ill-will towards Gallifrey. A dangerous misunderstanding had been averted.

“They did it!” Marion gasped. “Oh, they did it.”

“Of course we did it,” Kristoph said. He stepped into the drawing room and took Marion in his arms, holding her close for a long time. He was smiling, but she could feel his deep relief after his mission.

“Where is Jakobin?” she asked. “Is he… tell me he isn’t dead. He can’t be. He’s just been elected president.”

“That’s why I dropped him off in the city before coming back to you. Any minute now he’ll be making a statement to his people.”

Marion didn’t quite believe it until she saw their ‘cousin’ on the video screen. They watched and listened as he spoke calmly and authoritatively about a new dawn and new freedom for the people of Gallifrey. He promised the immediate disbandment of the secret police and the formation of a new civil police for the protection of the people, a government that would be seen to work for the people, not against them, and an assurance that Gallifrey would NEVER be the aggressor in any act of war with other races.

“I think he’s going to make a very good President,” Kristoph said with a note of pride in his voice.

“I think so, too. But then, I think YOU make a very good President. I just hope you don’t get impeached for interfering with the past when we get back to our future.”

“I hope so, too,” Kristoph agreed. “But I still wouldn’t have acted any differently. The TARDIS is fully working, by the way. We can go home any time we choose. I thought we would stay another night. I really want to talk to Jakobin again. We’ll go after breakfast in the morning.”

“Yes, that’s fine,” Marion agreed. “But after that, no delays, not even to argue with that annoying clerk at the Transduction Barrier. Let’s just go HOME.”