Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Chris Campbell walked around the medieval section of the National Museum of Finland in a bewildered and slightly disinterested daze, wondering just what it was that his brother wanted him to see. Most of the glass cases held dull, thousand year old lengths of encrusted metal that had once been swords. As a pacifist, weapons of war didn’t really excite him on principle, and he wasn’t sure he could care less about the difference between an early Viking sword and a late Viking Sword and their different lengths and widths, pointed tips and sharpened edges. They were just swords.

Davie was the ‘warrior’ of their Ying Yang relationship. To him the subtle differences between each broken blade dug up from the cold soil of rural Finland were of immense importance. He understood perfectly why a sword wasn’t just a sword. He not only understood why the sword of a Viking warrior differed from that of his Christianised descendant of the second Millennia AD, but also that it was a powerful symbol that marked the swordsman from the ploughman, marked the swordsman as a man of noble birth, and as a man with a code of honour that shaped his life.

Chris really couldn’t get that excited about that sort of thing.

“This is it,” Davie pronounced, stopping by a long display case with two swords, one broken, the other twisted and distorted by age. The two swords rested in moulded foam to protect them and were subtly lit in iron red light.

Chris looked at his brother questioningly. They didn’t look any different from the several dozen or so other swords he had seen already.

“They’re the Janakkala swords, found in 2013 in a field near the southern Finnish village of… well, Janakkala. They’re important because both swords were buried with the same body but they were forged about three hundred years apart.”

“Well, that’s interesting,” Chris admitted. “But why do they matter to you?”

“Touch the glass above them,” Davie told him. Chris did so. He looked at his brother again. “You don’t feel anything?”

“Nothing… what did you expect me to feel?”

Davie put his right palm down on the glass case and with the other grasped Chris’s hand tightly. They must have looked to any passing museum visitor like they were either making a sacred oath or a love tryst. Neither was quite socially acceptable in a museum.

Chris gasped as he felt what his brother was feeling. Images flashed through his mind of swords wielded in battle, slashing at flesh and bone. Blood flowed. Horses trampled over the dead and dying.


“That’s what I get from these relics,” Davie explained. “The last hours of the sword’s owner imbued in the metal. I noticed it last week. I was on my way back from visiting the Seed Banks at Svalbard and there was a delayed transfer in Helsinki. I had a couple of hours to kill and wandered into the National Museum of Finland.”

“A country you knew precisely nothing about up until then?” Chris guessed.

“Petter Solberg, Keke Rosberg, Mika Häkkinen, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen,” Davie answered, naming the first six Finnish born motor racing legends that entered his head.

“Ok, you’re practically a native speaker.”

“No,” Davie admitted. “I knew practically nothing about Finland before I visited this museum last week. That was in our own century, of course. I’ve brought us to Twenty-Fifteen because the swords have just come here and I thought the psychic transference would be stronger. It WAS for me. I saw a hell of a lot more. But... you got nothing except the bits I passed on to you?”

“I got nothing,” Chris confirmed. “Are you sure….”

“I thought you would,” Davie said in disappointed and uncertain tones. “If anything, you were always more sensitive to psychic energy than me. I thought….”

“You’re the warrior,” Chris reasoned. “If there is any sort of psychic echo here of an ancient battle, you’re the one most likely to pick up on it.”

“Are we really that far apart now? I really thought you would have felt it, too, not just through me.”

“We’re not apart. We’re still two sides of the same coin… we’re Ying and Yang, complementing each other. Usually that balance is found in one soul… like the Shaolin monks who practice martial arts and do peaceful meditations to balance themselves or….” He glanced at the wall display behind the sword cabinet. The body of the ancient warrior was not in the museum. It was kept somewhere private for research purposes. “The warrior himself… he was a Crusader, apparently. A warrior for God. He balanced the bloodshed his sword caused with prayer and penitence.”

“But you and I balance each other. The warrior and the monk.”

“Something like that.”

Davie nodded and then looked at the image of the medieval warrior’s body intently. “Chris… is it possible I’m having these intense visions for a more obvious reason?”

“Obvious?” Chris was puzzled. “It’s not obvious to me.”

“Chris….” Davie put his hand on the sword case again. His face was pale and set in an expression even his telepathic twin would have to call inscrutable. “I think… the swordsman… the body found at Janakkala… might be me.”


“Me… in a later time, a later incarnation… my last….”

“Davie… are you serious? It couldn’t be.... It’s impossible.”

But it wasn’t impossible. It was perfectly possible. He was a Time Lord. He had the ability to travel to any time and any place.

He could die in any time or place.

“We need to look at that body,” Chris said. “It’s the only thing that will satisfy you. Is it kept here in the museum? I don’t mean on display, obviously. That would be ghastly. But do they have it for research?”

“Yes, I think so.”

He took a wallet from his pocket and selected a psychic paper ID card.

“Two experts from England come to look at the Swordsman of Janakkala?”

Davie nodded. He couldn’t really manage to say anything. His experience with the swords had disturbed him more than he liked to admit. He was used to being in control of his emotions, his actions, but since that chance encounter he had felt restless and uncertain. Brenda had noticed it right away, and he made a vague and unconvincing excuse for it which he knew he was going to pay for some time in the near future. But he was also distracted when he was driving. His pit manager took him to task for some very amateur mistakes when he was practicing for his next race. He knew he had to confide in somebody before he did something really dangerous. Chris was the obvious choice despite his lack of enthusiasm for medieval warfare.

“Either that or we go to thirteenth century Finland,” he suggested.

“I vote no to that for two reasons,” Chris answered. “First, that seems too much like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d like to keep you away from there if I can. Second, I would like to draw your attention to the thirteenth century Finnish notion of men’s underwear.”

He pointed to a muddy-grey-brown example of historical textiles fixed on the wall in a glass frame. It resembled a pair of trousers in the same way an early Mesopotamian hand cart resembled Davie’s McLaren F1.

“Visiting English archaeologists it is,” he agreed.

They both felt a little guilty about making the museum staff think they had forgotten about a visit from two prominent British scholars. The chief archivist looked very close to retirement and it was a shame to make an old man doubt his own memory. They managed to stop him apologising for the confusion by the time they reached the reassuringly hi-tech laboratory-stroke-workshop where the work of preserving important artefacts went on in climate controlled conditions.

The skeletal remains of the Swordsman were kept in something like a slide out drawer with vaguely coffin shaped dimensions. Despite being described as ‘well-preserved’, he was essentially a near complete skeleton with some partially mummified portions of flesh and internal organs.

“He must have been near six foot when he was alive,” Davie commented. “My height.”

That meant nothing, of course. If this was his own remains at the end of his last regeneration he might be any body shape.

Chris was studying a detailed report on the state of the Swordsman’s teeth, the straightness of his bones, his hair colour, the likely food he ate, all of which led researchers to the conclusion that he was a nobleman with none of the calcium deficiencies and other problems that led to disease, deformity and early death in commoners.

He turned to ask a question about how they determined the last meal of a man whose stomach was dried out over a thousand years in ice cold sandy soil. It was a complicated answer and gave Davie the opportunity to do what nobody was supposed to do without special gloves.

He touched the skull.

What he experienced was a lot like the brain burst method by which The Doctor had taught them all the lessons a normal London school didn’t teach, like the Laws and Ordinances of Gallifrey or Theory of Temporal Mechanics. The information burst into his mind in a micro second and expanded until he could barely process it all at once.

Actually, later, he concluded that the swords had been the source of the information, but the skull contact had been the catalyst that opened it all up. Either way, the effect was the same.

It gave him a glazed expression for several minutes as Chris asked another question about medieval eating habits to cover him.

As his mind found places to store all this new and surprising information he was slowly able to pay attention to his immediate surroundings. He heard the curator talking and was aware of the faint smells of ethanol and other biological preservatives used in the museum work. The light seemed a bit too bright, at first. His last memory had been of a murky Finnish dawn a thousand years before.

But he knew, now, and a different kind of restlessness tortured him for the next two hours as he kept up the pretence of being an expert in medieval grave customs. He really wanted to be alone with Chris so that he could talk about what he had discovered.

He smiled to himself when Chris asked the curator if anyone knew the Swordsman’s name.

“We scarcely know anyone’s name from that period of our history,” the Curator admitted. “In England, you had the Domesday Book and the writings of many Christian scribes such as the Venerable Bede or William de Newburgh. But Finland was only just turning from its Pagan era to a Christian country with written records of that sort. Much of this time is a blank canvas that is only slowly being filled in as a result of finds such as the Jannakala Swordsman. But details such as his name remain beyond our grasp.”

“I know his name,” Davie whispered, though so low only his brother could hear it.

“You’ve got no provenance that you could show the curator,” Chris answered him telepathically. “There’s a café in the new wing of the museum. You can tell me over coffee once we’re done here. Try not to burst with excitement until then.”

Davie accepted the mild teasing from his brother mainly because he was still only half paying attention. His mind was still filled with what he had learnt from his contact with the remains and wondering where to start when he came to tell the story.

By the time they were settled in the museum café with coffee and sandwiches he really did feel as if he would burst if he didn’t talk about it.

“It’s not me,” he said, speaking in Low Gallifreyan, the conversational language of his Time Lord ancestry. Most people around him were speaking Finnish or some other Scandinavian language. There was a group in the corner speaking American English, and some Cantonese speakers selecting cake by the counter. Gallifreyan was a safe language for a private conversation.

“Well, that’s a relief,” Chris answered. “Even twelve regenerations down the line I really didn’t like the idea.”

“I think I kind of did,” Davie continued. “Going down fighting, it appealed in a strange way. And yes, that’s something that would keep a team of psychiatrists busy, analysing that aspect of my psyche.”

“Or you can just talk to me about it,” Chris gently advised. “But getting back to the Swordsman….”

“It IS a Time Lord,” Davie confirmed. “That’s why I DID make such a strong connection. “His Gallifreyan name was Vale Dracoll.”

“That’s an ancient name even for Gallifrey,” Chris confirmed. “It must go back before our family line began.”

“It was before the Time Lords got all insular and suspicious of the universe, anyway. When individuals could explore other planets and other cultures. Vale Dracoll came to Scandinavia in the seventh century, when the Vikings were the fiercest warriors in the Northern hemisphere. He was enthralled by the life and took on the name Vagr the Stranger. He fought his way through the ranks to be leader of a Viking horde. He lived about a hundred years and had three wives and was killed in a feud with another Viking horde. He was given a traditional Viking cremation on a pyre with his sword on his chest. He regenerated before the flames destroyed his body and cleared off out of the neighbourhood taking his sword with him before anyone noticed there was no actual organic remains in the cooling ashes.”

“He was dead… placed upon the funeral pyre… which was lit… and then he regenerated….” Chris frowned. “I didn’t think regeneration worked that way.”

“It doesn’t for us…. I was wondering if there is something in the way ‘modern’ Time Lords lived for so long on Gallifrey… did they become ‘softened’, the regeneration process ‘refined’? It’s something I think I might look into if I can. But, anyway, the point is, Vagr the Stranger was dead. Vale Dracoll reinvented himself. He did that every so often, portraying himself as his own kin, carrying a burnt Viking sword as an heirloom of his warrior past until eventually in the late thirteenth century he was living as Valdemar Boyar, a man of wealth and property.”

“Boyar? Interesting choice of name. In most of Northern and Eastern Europe that word means ‘Lord’ or ‘nobleman’. He hadn’t forgotten his Time Lord heritage completely?”

“He seemed to have forgotten it in one respect,” Davie said. “The one thing Time Lords usually try to avoid is local politics, but he threw himself wholeheartedly into being a Warrior for God. By the way, we BOTH forgot when we heard about him being a Crusader that there was more than one military campaign referred to historically as a ‘Crusade’. We’re not talking about Richard the Lionheart and his crew going against the Saracens to wrest Jerusalem from Muslim influence. This was the Northern Crusades to drive Paganism out of Scandinavia and Christianise the people.”

“There is a school of thought that both kinds of Crusade were morally wrong,” Chris pointed out. “Forcing Christianity on Pagans or Muslims at the point of a sword is a long way from the God of Love we learnt about in our school prayers.”

“It was never as simple as that,” Davie conceded. “Besides, what people thought was right, then, and a modern, revisionist view of it are very different.”

“Even so, I can’t help wondering if your Vale, Vagr, Valdemar was a man you ought to admire as much as you do.”

“I never said I admired him.”

“No, but you do. I can feel it. You admire him and you identify with him as the Warrior Lord. You’re even seeing his battles through your own eyes, not his.”

“Yes, all right, I suppose I am. That’s partly because I do see a bit of me in him. But also because it wasn’t completely straightforward. When I said before he ‘seemed’ to have forgotten that he wasn’t a Scandinavian ‘Boyar’, I should have emphasized the ‘seemed’. Valdemar was seeing the bigger picture. He didn’t go on his Crusade just to slaughter Pagans. After all, he had lived as one right up to his latest re-imagining of himself. He did it because a huge swathe of the Pagan hordes were infected by The Yanicxa.”

“Yanicxa?” Chris repeated the word as if it tasted bad on his tongue. “How did Yanicxa get a foothold in medieval Scandinavia?”

Neither of them had ever encountered either a Yanicxa or any of its infected minions, but they had learnt about them in one of those brain burst lessons and once The Doctor had taken them to see a cold, lifeless, scourged planet that had been destroyed by just one of that parasitical species.

The Sire had probably insinuated himself into a tribe in much the same way that Vagr the Stranger had done, but with a more sinister objective of planting ‘seeds’ in the brains of all the humans in the tribe that would gradually turn them into mindless, zombielike adherents who would act on the Yanicxa’s every word. They would be fearsome in battle, killing most of their foes and turning the rest into more mindless adherents.

“The human race could have been wiped out in a few years, in the Twelfth Century,” Chris considered. “The Yanicxa infection could have spread and spread….”

“But it didn’t. A Time Lord stood in the way, with a sword.”

The campaign against the Yanacxa, disguised as a blood soaked imposition of Christianity upon the recalcitrant Pagans, played out in Davie’s mind like an extended montage from an action film. Chris saw it, too, second hand. For as much as twenty minutes, coffees went cold and sandwiches half eaten as they watched through the eyes of the fiercest of God’s Soldiers.

Both of them were fascinated and repulsed by the violence. Whether the warrior or the monk half of their Ying Yang they found the razing of villages where non-combatants were put to the sword horrifying. Knowing that the women, children and elderly were all infected by the Yanicxa, and not strictly human anymore, was only a small consolation. Both realised that those who followed Valdemar Boyar’s orders did it because they thought the Pagans had to die for not accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. It went against everything they knew about Jesus and everything they knew about being on the ‘right’ side in a war. Neither of them quite came to terms with that aspect of human nature, but they did understand what drove Valdemar Boyar.

“I killed at least half a million Dominator cyborgs,” Davie whispered as they found themselves looking at each other across a café table again. “Most by blowing up their ships, but some of them hand to hand like that.”

“We both blew up a Sontaran mothership with hundreds aboard when we were younger,” Chris acknowledged. “And last winter… Spenser and Stuart and I helped a vampire cut the head off something far worse. We both know how to do awful things for the greater good.”

Davie nodded and grasped his brother’s hand as they both witnessed the last chapter of the story as far as the warrior Time Lord was concerned.

It was in a cold, grey place in the far north of the territory defined on modern maps as Finland that Valdemar Boyar’s Crusade reached its goal. The lair of the Sire himself was in a cave beneath a frozen mountain. Valdemar took only a handful of his most skilled swordsmen into the cave to dispatch the once human bodyguards. He himself faced the Yanicxa. Standing nearly eight feet tall and half as wide again it was dressed in animal furs, leather and metal like a Viking warrior, but the face was not even remotely human. The flesh was leathery with a grey horn protruding from the forehead and lumps that might be proto-horns on what passed for cheekbones. This was the Yanicxa in advanced stage when it no longer had to pretend to be a native of this world.

Valdemar struck the first blow, but the sword fight was long and hard fought between two warriors of near equal strength and determination. The two young men seeing it through Valdemar’s eyes both thought more than once that a scene like this in a Hollywood film would be edited down to a few minutes, probably to fit in a love scene and a hit power ballad.

But Valdemar Boyar had no love scenes and no music. This wasn’t a film. It was blow by blow, slice by slice reality. Davie, as something of a military expert recognised that the Crusader’s cavalry sword was actually wrong for this hand to hand fight. It was made for a mounted warrior and too long for close fighting. Even so, Valdemar overcame that disadvantage and used the length to stab at the Yanicxa again and again while avoiding its shorter blade.

At the climax of the fight, Valdemar looked as if he was going to lose, despite the watchers being fairly sure they knew how the ‘film’ ended. He fell and lost his mighty sword. The Yanicxa stood above him ready to deal a blow that would have cleaved him in two.

“For the sake of Humanity,” Valdemar cried and in a swift, unexpected move pulled from beneath his cloak the Viking sword he had been cremated with in another life. The ancient blade went hilt deep into the Yanicxa’s body, piercing its heart. When Valdemar withdrew, the blade had broken, half its length remaining in the mortally wounded body.

It took the Yanicxa more time than a film editor would allow to actually die, and before it did, Valdemar suffered one fatal blow himself. Neither Davie nor Chris were sure when his left heart had been pierced in the long struggle, but now the right was stabbed through as well.

Valdemar’s men carried him out of the cave and away from the ichor covered remains of his deadly foe. They placed him on a wagon, his two swords beside him and furs over him to try to keep him warm. But they all knew he was dying. His closest lieutenant listened to his last requests, painfully whispered through blood stained lips.

He asked to be cremated like his ancestors. He probably meant his Time Lord ancestors as well as his Viking ones, but the lieutenant did not know that.

He also asked for his swords to be with him in his death.

The lieutenant promised on his soul to do as the dying man asked. Valdemar Boyar breathed his last breath. So did Vagr the Stranger and Vale Dracoll. Chris and Davie saw the thirteenth essence of the Time Lord escape his mortal shell as a multi-hued light that streamed away into the night. Both of them knew that there would be a very old, very black, pyramid on the plain under the two moons of SangcLune where the Warrior was finally at peace. They decided not to look for it. There was no need.

But there was one more thing to do.

“This is where we’re needed,” Chris said. “We’ve got to go to Janakkala in Thirteen Hundred.”

“As long as I don’t have to wear the ACTUAL trousers on display in this museum I can handle that,” Davie agreed.

They had to go because Valdemar Boyar’s last wishes were not acceded to. He was not cremated somewhere near the scene of his last battle. The faithful lieutenant was outvoted by the piously Christian captains of the army and their priest.

Cremation was the ungodly act of the Pagans they had fought. The body was embalmed and carried in ceremony back to his home, a journey of hundreds of icy and unnecessary miles. A grave was prepared for the Christian Soldier and prayers said for his soul.

Even his wish to be buried with his swords, the long Crusader sword for dispatching the enemies of Christianity and the now broken blade of his Viking ancestors, was dismissed. Christian men were not buried with grave goods for the afterlife. That was pagan thinking.

On the eve of the funeral the point was still being argued as the body of Valdemar Boyar lay before the Christian altar in the church at Janakkala. Nobody noticed two strangers, one dressed as a warrior, one as a monk, both wearing underwear of their own choosing, who came into the sanctified place. Nobody witnessed the strange ritual that took place there.

“He should have been cremated,” Davie Campbell insisted. “His Time Lord DNA poses a danger to us all if it is simply left to decay in the ground. We can, at least, do one other thing.”

It had never been done before. A Chameleon Arch had never been used on a dead Time Lord. But there was no reason why it couldn’t. When the ritual was done, the body had only one heart and the DNA of a twelfth century Scandinavian. That much would be found by twenty-first century scientists who took samples of tissue from the Warrior with the Two Swords.

The essence of the Time Lord was fused with the metal of the Crusader sword. Pocket watches and clocks were the usual choice for such keepsafes, but the sword was the appropriate thing for this Time Lord. Davie placed the two swords upon the body and covered them with the nobleman’s fine velvet cloak that was chosen to be his winding sheet. That part of his last request could be fulfilled, at least.

The two young Time Lords kept an all-night vigil, something else that the zealous new Christians of Finland would not understand. They were busy praying for the warrior’s swift journey through Purgatory and into Heaven.

Chris and Davie Campbell didn’t pray. They had never been taught to do that except in outward form to fit in with their human peers. Instead they remembered the Time Lord, the Viking Warrior, the Crusader. They acknowledged that not all of his actions were as noble as they ought to be, that he had shed innocent blood more than once. But all the same, they honoured the man whom, like themselves and like The Doctor before them, had saved the human race and, like them, like The Doctor, had never been recognised for his efforts.

In the dawn, they walked quietly away before the funeral rites began. They had done their part.

“Twelfth Century Finland is cold,” Davie remarked as they headed back to the Gothic TARDIS disguised as a rough hut by the even rougher roadside.

“Father Christmas is supposed to come from here,” Chris acknowledged. “It’s not all frostbite, though. We could visit the 1952 Summer Olympics or the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. You’d like that. The Finnish winner from the previous year is your sort of music.”

“So, Finland is more than Vikings and motorsports legends, then? I’ve learnt something, today.”

Chris smiled. They had both learnt a lot today, about Finland and about themselves.