Marion was coming to terms with the new security that surrounded her. She fully understood Kristoph’s reasons. The idea that somebody could get to them so easily was frightening. So she accepted the young man, Gallis Limmon, as her bodyguard and made him appreciate Earth jazz music as she drove to school and back.

Eight days after her experience, quite out of the blue there was one pleasant consequence of it all. A parcel was delivered to the house. Kristoph looked concerned at first as Caolin brought the rectangular package into the breakfast room.

“It HAS been thoroughly scanned, sir,” Caolin assured him. “It is addressed to Lady Marion.”

Marion smiled and asked Kristoph if this was some surprise from him. He denied all knowledge of it but said she might open it for herself and find out. He still seemed a little anxious as she ripped off the paper wrapping.

“Oh!” Her smile widened as she looked at the framed watercolour painting of HER, asleep on a couch, with her hand reaching out to stroke the thick golden fur of a leonate whose name, she knew, was Hecate.

She remembered Silis at an artist’s easel but had not dared to ask what he was doing. She had never guessed he was painting HER.

There was no note of any kind with the painting. Marion was not entirely surprised. Silis was hardly a communicative man.

But maybe it didn’t need one.

“I think this is the hermit’s way of saying he considers you a friend,” Kristoph told her.

“How kind of him,” Marion said.

“It’s a very good painting. He has some talent. Put it over there while we finish breakfast. I’ll have one of the servants hang it in your day room later, where you can enjoy it.”

“I’d like it hung in our bedroom,” she answered. “Silis would not want to be talked about constantly. And my friends would surely ask about it. The bedroom is private to us.”

“Quite right,” Kristoph agreed. “Caolin will see that it is done during the morning.”

They went on with their breakfast. Marion glanced often at the painting and smiled.

“He must have been innocent of the crime he was imprisoned for,” she said. “A guilty man could not be so sensitive and creative.”

Kristoph laughed softly. “My dear, have you never heard of prisoners taking art classes? It is done on Earth, if not here. I’m afraid it proves nothing.”

Marion looked hurt that he dismissed her theory so easily. He reached and took her hand and caressed it gently.

“I know you WANT to believe he is innocent. And I do believe, from what you told me, that he IS a man of integrity. I am grateful to him for his kindness to you. And he was correct in judging that your car was deliberately tampered with. Though that may just prove the Earth adage ‘it takes a thief…’”

“Yes, but…”

“Sometimes criminals ARE reformed. Or perhaps it was a crime of passion that he always repented. But he WAS convicted of a heinous crime. And that cannot be set aside by mere sentimentalism.”

“Why can’t you consider the possibility that the Gallifreyan justice system might be flawed?”

“Because I am a Magister who dispenses that justice, my dear. I HAVE to believe in the integrity of our system of justice. Truly, Marion, the chances that we could have been that wrong are VERY slim.”

“The same system that was so very wrong about Li?” Marion pointed out.

“Li never had a trial. His defection was seen as proof of guilt. Silis was convicted by a jury of his peers. The same form of justice that is held up as a tenet of democracy on Earth. And yes, I know, Earth justice sometimes gets it wrong. I don’t deny the possibility, only that it is a remote possibility. It is far more likely that Silis IS guilty and has served a just sentence for his crime. That being so I bear him no ill will and hope that he lives the rest of his life peacefully. But that is all.”

Marion still didn’t seem convinced. Kristoph could see it in her eyes. He didn’t want an argument with her about it, though. And the thought of leaving her this morning with such thoughts disturbing her mind made him unhappy, too.

“You have a free day, do you not? No engagements?”

“I was just going to spend some time in the garden,” she answered. “Though it looks like it might rain later, so that idea might not work out, after all.”

“Come with me. See for yourself how our justice is dispensed.”

“You really want me to see you at work?” she was surprised. “You didn’t want me to before. You didn’t even talk to me about it.”

“Since the beginning of this year I have been engaged in a very unpleasant capital crime. I didn’t want you disturbed by it. But today I just have a couple of cases of smuggling and counterfeiting and a civil land dispute. Some of it will be a bit dull…”

“I should like to see you dispense justice,” Marion said. “I am sure you ARE a good judge.”

She finished her meal before going to change from her brightly coloured day dress suitable for the garden or her drawing room into a more muted russet-brown gown that would be appropriate for the solemn and dignified court. Suitably dressed, she went with Kristoph to the chauffeured car he used to travel to his work.

The court where the Southern Magister sat in judgement was in the beautiful white city by the straits that separated the two continents. Marion had seen it before only from a distance or from the air as they passed over on the shuttle. Now she got to see it close up. And as it came nearer she could see it was everything she thought it was. It truly did glow with the whiteness of the marble-like stone every building was constructed from, as well as the paved, traffic-free streets. The buildings were all very beautiful. This was a city of learning and culture and civilisation built around a series of elegant plazas. There were fountains and statues everywhere. There were libraries and museums, art galleries, theatres and opera houses, and a great building that Kristoph said was a bath house, just like in ancient Rome. All had grand, porticoed entrances with wide, sweeping steps up to them.

“Athenica,” Marion said. The name of the city, which might have inspired the name of Athens on Earth, through those mischievous Gallifreyan students who imprinted their culture upon that part of her planet. “The people are so quiet as they move about. I suppose they talk telepathically?”

“In the streets, they do,” Kristoph said. “And in the theatres and libraries and places of peace. In the court, telepathy is banned as it may be used to manipulate the facts.”

The biggest building of all was the Court of the Southern Continent. Marion and Kristoph stepped out of the car, which which the chauffeur drove into an underground car park as soon as they stepped out, leaving the plaza traffic free again. They walked up the wide steps to the grand entrance with words in High Gallifreyan swirls on the façade. Marion saw them resolve before her eyes into, “Let Justice and Honour Prevail”.

Inside was a cool, brightly lit foyer with a fine mosaic floor in which a symbol of a sword and a set of scales set side by side was inlaid. The symbol of Gallifreyan justice, repeated in the design on a fountain that kept the air moist and was the only sound apart from the footsteps of people going about their business without need for unnecessary conversation. Marion made no unnecessary conversation either. Kristoph beckoned to one of the guards, in blue-uniforms similar to the Chancellery Guard, who brought her to the public gallery while Kristoph went towards a door marked ‘Magister’s Chambers’.

She settled herself in the front row of the public gallery, overlooking what was clearly a courtroom in the way she knew a courtroom to look. There was a dock and a place for the jurors to sit and the lawyers and judge. The places were filled around her before the Bailiff commanded them to rise. Kristoph, dressed in a sombre black gown and a high collar and a sort of close fitting cap over his hair came and took his place. He looked so very dignified and wise. Marion was proud of him. But then, she was proud of him when he was a teacher of English literature.

For the first case there was no need for the jury. This was a civil dispute. Marion watched Kristoph apply the wisdom of Solomon to the two brothers. One was the primogeniture of a high ranking family who had inherited everything on the death of his father. The other was his younger brother. They seemed a lot like Kristoph and Remonte except that these two were so bitterly fighting each other that the only recourse was to the court of law. The problem, as Marion understood it, was that the younger brother had been managing the family estate for many decades and was by far the better businessman of the two, and he argued that having made the family wealthy he should have a share of the property in his own right so that he could make provision for his own son as a first born heir in the course of time. The older brother who preferred politics to business argued that he had no legal obligation to give his brother part of what was his birthright.

“That is true,” Kristoph acknowledged. “The right of primogeniture is absolute. But do you not consider that you have a moral obligation to your brother?”

“Morality does not signify. This is a legal matter only. And legally I am the rightful owner of the property.”

“Brotherly love then?” Kristoph suggested.

“This is a court of law,” the lawyer for the elder brother pointed out. “Love has nothing to do with it.”

“Indeed, it has not,” Kristoph agreed. “Which is why this case should never have been brought here. You ought to have found a way to deal with it between the two of you.”

The primogeniture of the House of Ellixian looked like a schoolboy being ticked off by the teacher as Kristoph looked at him coldly. “The only people who benefit from this are the lawyers who are creaming off your wealth every minute you are here.” Then he turned to the other brother. “If your brother had been managing the estate for the past two decades would it have been as valuable now?”

“No, sir,” replied the younger brother.

“And if he was given control now, would the estate continue to prosper?”

“I don’t believe so, sir.”

Kristoph turned to the older one.

“Is he telling the truth?”

“He is,” the older brother admitted. “But…”

“But does not come into it. You ARE primogeniture. Nevertheless, you owe your wealth to your brother’s skill as a businessman. If the property is divided and he continues to manage both halves you will both continue to be wealthy and have a legacy to leave to both of your sons, and you may call each other brother, still, without enmity between you. I cannot order you to do that, however. The right of primogeniture cannot be subverted in this court. It is up to you to decide what to do.”

The older brother sighed and said he would divide the property. He turned to his brother and said something that was inaudible and then signalled to the lawyers, who brought the necessary contracts forward. Kristoph witnessed the signing.

“Two sons in an Oldblood family is always trouble,” somebody whispered in the Gallery. Marion thought that was true. She had known enough trouble from Idell simply because she had married the younger son.

There was no need for a jury in the next cases, either. In one, two Caretaker men had been committing the sort of confidence tricks that Marion had heard about on Earth often enough, going to houses and one keeping the householder talking while the other robbed any valuables. What made it disgusting, as Kristoph pointed out, was that they had not robbed those who could afford it, in the great houses. They had gone to the small houses of ordinary people like themselves, and taken things that were valued by people who only had a few things to value. Without hesitation he sentenced them to be flogged and then to serve fifty years hard labour at the penal colony in the Red Desert.

The next was a woman, a servant, accused of stealing a brooch from her mistress. The woman denied the charge and stammered fearfully as she was questioned. Kristoph listened carefully to her, then to her mistress, who spoke about the deception of the girl she had trusted with her valuables. The whole case seemed to be based on the accusation of the mistress, the Lady of a good Newblood House, who seemed to think that her word weighed more than that of her servant.

Kristoph did not think so. He directed a series of questions to both women, and to other witnesses, and slowly a story came out that made his eyes glitter angrily. It transpired that the servant woman was friendly with the mistress’s son, who was of age to marry, and she had thought that accusing her of theft would remove her from the household and put paid to any ideas her son had about an unsuitable romance.

Kristoph dismissed the case against the servant woman and fined the mistress several thousand credits for contempt of court. Marion noted that the son went to take the hand of the young woman as they left the court. She thought they would have an uphill struggle to have that relationship accepted, but hoped they would make it.

There was a break for lunch then, and Kristoph met Marion and brought her to his own chambers to eat a quiet meal. She enjoyed being with him in that way and remarked that they rarely got to spend lunchtime together on weekdays.

“We both have our work to do,” Kristoph said.

“Yes,” Marion acknowledged. “You were very good. Very just. Do you LIKE doing this work?”

“It is satisfying to see justice done. It is an honourable position.”

“Are you happier than you would have been if you were still a professor of English literature?”

“I miss that simple life,” he admitted. “But I am doing my duty here. I am content. Are you happy with your work?”

“Yes,” she said. “Very happy. The children are wonderful. I love being a teacher.”

“There you go, then. One of us is upholding the tradition.”

When the court reconvened a jury was brought in and they swore an ancient oath to make a fair judgement in the name of Rassilon. And then four men were brought to the dock. The public gallery was crowded by then and Marion was glad her seat had been reserved for her. This was the third day of a trial of four people, all from Newblood families, who had been caught counterfeiting gold cressits. Marion didn’t see actual money very often on Gallifrey. Everywhere she went there was a family account that was charged for what she bought. But she knew that the currency of Gallifrey was called a ‘cressit’ and there were gold and silver cressits. The gold ones were rectangular plates about the size of a credit card with elaborate patterns on them. But the ones presented as evidence here were a base metal with a thin layer of gold. And they had produced as much as a billion cressits worth of them.

The evidence had all been presented and it was merely a matter of Kristoph summing up the case. The jury soon withdrew and it was not very long after that before they returned and declared that the four men were all guilty. Then Kristoph turned stern eyes upon the four. He told them that they were all men of good families who wanted for nothing and had no need to commit a crime. They did it purely for greed. None had shown any remorse. He therefore had no reason to be lenient towards them. And he sentenced them to five hundred years of hard labour each at the same penal facility he had sent the two Caretaker men.

“Lœngbærrow detests crimes committed by those of the higher castes,” was the comment of somebody very near to Marion in the gallery. “He would have been more lenient with Caretakers.”

“He didn’t order them flogged,” somebody else pointed out. “That was his mercy. For the sake of their mothers.”

There was more talk as the court was cleared - that was the last case of today’s sitting. She didn’t listen to it, though. She headed for that door marked ‘Magister’s Chambers’ and found Kristoph’s room. There were guards in the corridors, of course, but they just nodded politely to Marion as she passed them. They knew who she was and had no cause to hinder her.

Kristoph was not alone in his room. She hesitated by the door and wondered if she ought to have knocked.

“Come in, Marion,” Kristoph said. “This is Lord Dvoratre. He is grandfather to your friend, Madame Lundar. And he has worked in our justice system for many centuries.”

“I began as a humble lawyer and worked my way up to High Magister,” the elderly man replied. He sipped the amber coloured drink Kristoph had passed him. “This is rather interesting. What do you call it again?”

“Talisker,” Kristoph answered. “Ten year matured, single malt whiskey. I brought several cases back from my last trip to Earth. One of many areas of expertise in which Humans are superior to us.”

Marion smiled. She knew his taste for Scots whiskey was something that puzzled his Time Lord friends. She refused an alcoholic drink, but accepted a glass of iced water while the two men talked business.

“You examined the transcripts?” Kristoph asked Dvoratre.

“I did,” he answered. “My, my, it seems so long ago. I was junior prosecuting counsel. It was a high profile case. But, we thought, an open and shut one. There was only ever the one suspect and his guilt was plain to be seen.” He paused and savoured the taste of pure Scottish mountain streams infused with peat. “Or so we always thought.”

“What is he talking about?” Marion asked.

“Come with us,” Kristoph said, putting down his drink and reaching out to take her hand. He led her through a second door in his chamber that brought them to an empty courtroom. Kristoph nodded to Dvoratre and he pressed a series of buttons at the judge’s table.

And suddenly the room was full of people. Marion stared in surprise.

“It’s not real,” Kristoph told her. “It’s a transcript. A recording of a trial.”

“But… it’s…” She reached out and touched one of the guards who stood beside the dock. He felt real. But it was clear he was unaware of her touch.

“It’s a recording. A far more sophisticated definition of the word than you have ever known, but that is all.”

She looked at the prisoner in the dock.

“Silis?” she whispered.

He looked very different. But then this was thousands of years ago. Everyone did. She turned and saw the junior prosecution counsel who was outlining the evidence against the prisoner. Lord Dvoratre, of course, when he was a much younger man.

“Did you have to be so vicious about it?” she asked the old man after listening to the younger version of him for several minutes.

“Yes, I did,” he answered. “That was my job. To prosecute a murderer.”

“Look at him. Look at his face.” Marion stepped towards the dock where the prisoner stood, his hands clenching the bars. She reached out and put her hand over his. “He’s absolutely grief-stricken. Because you lot can’t cry, you don’t show emotions, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Look at his eyes.”

“Marion, we don’t base our judgements on the look in anyone’s EYES,” Kristoph told her. “But come here. Sit down. And watch for a while. This trial went on for WEEKS, but there are some “highlights” we’re going to look at.”

He sat her down on a chair that felt perfectly real and stood behind her. Dvoratre operated the ‘recording’ and she noticed people standing or sitting in different places and the clock on the wall telling different times as she watched what were, indeed, highlights of the trial. She watched the prisoner, often. Sometimes he stood. Sometimes he sat. His expression remained the same. His mouth was set firmly, proudly. But his eyes were pools of emotion.

Then Dvoratre switched off the recording and they were in an empty court again. Marion was still sitting on a chair. The two men stood.

“I never saw it at the time,” Dvoratre said. “I wasn’t looking. My job was to get a conviction. And I never considered the possibility that he was innocent. Even now… there isn’t much to go on.”

“Not much to go on?” Marion was indignant. “Kristoph, you talked to me earlier about the integrity of the Gallifreyan justice system. But WHAT integrity?”


“No,” she answered. “Don’t shush me up, Kristoph. Don’t dismiss me as a puny Earth woman who knows nothing. There were GLARING holes in your case.”

“Not exactly GLARING,” Kristoph pointed out. “And they are only obvious because Dvoratre went through the files and compiled those instances together. If you viewed the case in real time, over the hundreds of hours it went on for, you would not see it so clearly.”


“But two of us have seen the transcripts and have agreed that there is a doubt. We will ask that a court of Appeal is convened. They WILL watch the whole transcript and they will give it their consideration. But even if they do that… even if they DO consider that there has been a wrongful conviction…”

“After all these years…” Marion looked at the two men with a hopeful expression. “Of course, nobody can give him back the years taken from him… But…”

“What is done is done, even for Time Lords,” Dvoratre said. “But we shall see what may come of this.”


Nothing came of it for a while, of course. The High Council had to agree to an Appeal. The panel had to watch all the evidence and then discuss it in detail.

It was nearly three months later, on a warm summer evening, that Marion drove to the Calderon. Kristoph was at her side. They didn’t say very much to each other. There was no need for words.

They parked the car well clear of the lake and walked by its edge for a while. Marion wondered if he would appear at all. He must have known they were there. He had those computer screens that showed him pictures of the whole area.

Then she gave a soft gasp as the golden furred Leonate approached. Afterwards, she realised it might have been a foolish thing to do, because there WERE wild Leonates on the plains, too. But she was certain this was the tame one called Hecate, and she walked up to it and stroked its fur.

“I do not entertain guests,” said Silis Bonnoenfant as he stepped towards her, seeming to appear out of thin air. “Especially ones who come uninvited.”

“I know you don’t,” she replied. “I wanted to thank you for the painting and…” She nodded to Kristoph who had stayed back as she went to speak to her reclusive friend. “This is my husband, Lord de Lœngbærrow. You need not fear him.”

“I fear no-one,” he answered her. But he looked Kristoph in the eye steadily and bowed his head slightly as to a man equal to him. Kristoph did the same.

“My wife has a romantic heart,” Kristoph said. “She believes in happy endings. I think you and I are more practical.” He reached into his pocket and took out a very small memory wafer. “The conclusions of a panel of Appeal who reviewed your case. It is unnecessarily long-winded, as you might expect from our dusty and ancient senators when they convene. But the gist of it… There was doubt cast upon the evidence that convicted you. They have investigated further and decided that the conviction was unsafe. They concluded that another man MAY have been responsible. I think you know of whom I speak. He is long dead and cannot be called to account. But since there is a reasonable doubt, they have declared a mistrial. You are…” Kristoph stopped. “I am sorry. I was about to say ‘you are innocent’. But you don’t need me to tell you that.”

“No, you don’t,” Silis replied. He looked at Marion as Kristoph put his arm around her shoulders. “It changes nothing, you understand.”

“But it DOES,” Marion insisted. “You don’t have to live here, hidden away. You can be a part of Gallifreyan society again. You can hold your head up among them…”

“I could have done that long ago. I am not afraid of them. I live here, I live this way, because I choose to do so. I prefer my solitude. I wish that it was not disturbed.”

“Silis…” Kristoph looked at him and something passed between the two men telepathically. Then Kristoph stepped back and Silis reached out and touched Marion’s hand. He closed his fingers around it.

“Here in my solitude I have no use for the pleasantries and manners of society. The pretence. It makes me seem rude….”

“No, not at all…” she assured him.

“See, that is a pretence. My manners DO offend you. My lack of gratitude for your persistence, hurts you. Marion, your Lordship is right. You ARE a romantic soul. You do need a happy ending. Would it suffice to know that I AM grateful. Not for the exoneration endorsed by those old fools in the Capitol. But… for one pure minded soul who considered the possibility that I WAS innocent, and who made others see that possibility.” He held the memory wafer in his fingers for a moment, then threw it down on the ground and crunched it beneath his feet. “I was ALWAYS innocent.”

He let go of her hand and stepped away. Kristoph took her by the shoulders again.

“Your solitude will not be disturbed again by either of us,” he said. “May you live well, in the manner of your choosing, Silis Bonnoenfant.”

“May you have a good, long life, Lord de Lœngbærrow,” Silis replied. “Marion…”

He didn’t need to say anything to her. He smiled warmly. The warmest smile she had seen from him. She smiled back. Then Kristoph made her turn away and they walked back to the car. By the time they reached it, he and his Leonate were gone.

“I’ll never see him again?” she said as they drove back home.

“That’s as it should be. His choice. Now, remember him as a friend who passed through your life, and leave it at that.”

“Yes,” Marion said with a sigh. As happy endings go, it wasn’t exactly what she might have hoped for. But it was an ending. And it seemed that was enough.