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

The Sanctuary was finished, right down to the artwork on all the walls, provided by Chris’s friend, Chivney Ross, who came up from Cornwall with his brother to spend a joyful week on it.

“It looks fantastic,” Chiv told him as they stood in the silent and empty courtyard and looked around. “It’s going to be a wonderful place to live and work, and learn. Well done.”

“Well done, you,” Chris answered. “You made it look beautiful.”

“Your first artistic commission, brother,” said MacKenzie, squeezing his brother’s hand. Chris saw the gesture and smiled as he felt his own brother take his hand in the same way.

“Tell you what,” Davie said. “I think you two deserve a treat. Fancy a spin in the TARDIS?”

“You mean…” Mac and Chiv both looked astonished. “Go into outer space?”

“Or travel in time,” Davie suggested. “Whichever you like.”

“Space,” the two brothers answered emphatically. “To step out onto another world. That would be the most incredible thing.”

“Ok,” Davie grinned. “Just let me ring mum and tell her we won’t be in for supper.”

That made the two Human brothers laugh. Chris watched his brother on his mobile phone and knew it was more significant than anyone realised. Next week, when the Sanctuary opened, the two of them were moving into the private apartment that had been built as part of the structure. They would be officially leaving home. Suppers with their mum were going to be a different kind of affair from now on. So missing one was quite significant for her. But she had come to terms, slowly, with their growing up, their independence from her, their becoming young men, not boys.

Everyone had come to terms with that. Except, possibly, The Doctor. He still called them “boys”. Though at 1,000 years old, just about everyone he knew seemed like an infant, of course.

Chiv and Mac had been in the Chinese TARDIS before. Its doors, and that of its Gothic twin, had stood open in the half completed Sanctuary most days as they had all pitched in to get the work done. But they had never properly travelled in it. They watched in fascination as Davie, with Chris as navigator, piloted the TARDIS through the solar system that only the men and women of the space corps ever saw this way. It amazed them that Chris and Davie, who were almost the same age as they were, had seen all of this so often it was almost mundane.

“You’ve been travelling in space since you were eight?” Chiv asked his friends.

“Oh, yes,” Davie answered. But the real freedom was having our OWN TARDIS.”

“And getting mum to stop worrying,” Chris added.

“Mum will never stop worrying about us. She’s MUM. But granddad will always be there to reassure her, and remind her of the fun they used to have travelling together.”

“Not sure that will help. Mum only ever remembers the DANGEROUS bits.”

“You could be right!”

Chris smiled. “Anyway, Captain Davie, where do you plan to take us this afternoon?”

“Tem-Enara I,” Davie answered. “It’s another one in the Time Lord database that Granddad never got to yet. I thought you might enjoy it, brother. It has a very peaceful religion based on meditation and balanced karmas. Just the sort of thing you’re into.”

“Excellent,” Chris said with a smile. Chiv and Mac nodded happily. It was THEIR first planet of any kind. They were perfectly satisfied.

But when they materialised outside what was meant to be the peaceful centre of that religion, they were immediately aware that there was very little meditation and karmas were far from balanced.

“I’m reading fires all over the place and lifesigns fading out,” Davie said. “People are dying.”

Chris was already searching for the first aid kit and slinging it across his shoulder.

“We’ll do what we can to help,” he said. “And try to find out what happened.” He looked at his friends. “Not quite what we planned for your first planet. If you want to stay in here…”

“While people are dying?” Mac answered for them both. “We’ve both done basic first aid. We can help.”

“You take the medical box then,” Chris said, offering it to them. “Davie and I can use our sonic screwdrivers in tissue repair mode. We’ll all help as many as we can.”

They stepped out of the TARDIS. It had disguised itself as a small religious shrine – a broken pillar with a carved figure lain on it that looked to the Earth born friends a lot like the baby Jesus in the manger, though they knew it was nothing whatsoever to do with Earth religion. They got their bearings and then headed towards the source of the fires and the scene of so many deaths that Davie was reading on his hand held scanner. They steeled themselves against what was going to be a traumatic sight.

And what they had expected didn’t begin to cover it. As they walked through the remains of a small, pre-industrial town of one storey wood and thatch houses they bit back tears and tried not to retch as the smell of death assailed them.

The fires were dying down now in the early morning light. But during the night the whole village must have been alight. There wasn’t a building untouched. And it was clear that people had died in the fires. The smell of burnt flesh was obvious even if Davie’s hand held monitor wasn’t reading the presence of organic material among the debris.

“Organic material?” Mac queried.

“I know,” Davie agreed. “It’s a horrible phrase. That’s what the computer interprets the remains as.”

“Was it accidental?” Chiv asked. “Or…”

Chris closed his eyes and concentrated. When something traumatic had happened in a place, it was possible to ‘read’ it like a recording on a camera. He saw it so very clearly, and through him Davie and the telepathic humans who accompanied them saw it too.

Horsemen, wearing leather with steel breastplates and helmets rode into the village and began slaughtering and firing. There were screams and panic. There were a few who stood their ground and were cut down in their own homes. But the majority of the people were herded towards the centre of the village, to the temple.

In the memory that he sensed in the very smoking ruins of the village, the temple was the only stone built building. It was the biggest building and the most magnificent, the centre of the peaceful religion followed by the people.

And it was nothing but rubble and ashes now. He groaned in empathic grief as he ran towards the ruin. The ashes and cinders beneath his feet were still warm. And he knew, though there was nothing identifiable as once living tissue, that Davie’s machine would show that he was standing with his leather shoes covered in ‘organic matter’. It didn’t take very much concentration this time to see the people crowded into the temple, to see combustible material thrown in among them – straw bales and jars of oil. Then the door, the windows, were sealed and the building set alight.

They would have been choked to death by the smoke before their bodies were roasted and burnt by the fire. That was the one merciful thing about it. Suffocation was a marginally less horrible death than being burnt alive. But he felt their fear, their pain, their agony keenly.

“Stop!” Mac and Chiv cried out as they saw the same images in their own heads and felt the same overwhelming grief that made tears roll down Chris’s cheeks. “Please, stop!”

He broke the connection and was surprised to find himself in daylight with breathable air even if it was tainted by the smell of burning and death.

“They killed them all,” he said.

“But I’m reading lifesigns,” Davie answered him, looking at the computer display. “Dying lifesigns. Weak… but still alive…”

“A temple… would have a crypt,” Mac said. “There must be an entrance…”

“Yes,” Chris agreed. “Wait…” He focussed his mind again and turned around until he had his bearings. Then he went to the east corner of the ruin and kicked away the ash until he found what he was looking for - a metal ring set into the stone floor. His Time Lord strength made short work of pulling at the flag until it was raised. He looked down a rough cut flight of steps.

“Hello,” he called out. “Are you all right? How many of you are there?”

“Hello,” replied a weak voice. At first he thought it was an echo of his own voice. But then he saw movement. A figure appeared at the bottom of the steps and began to crawl towards the light and air. Chris heard Davie say something about the carbon-monoxide levels in the crypt below. They were almost at the level where death occurred in oxygen-breathing humanoids.

“I’m reading about thirty people down there,” he said as the first scrambled to the top and Mac reached out to hold him steady. He was a boy, maybe fifteen years of age. He looked around at the ruin and burst into tears, crying for his parents. They could guess the rest even without Chris’s empathic reading of the situation.

“The adults put the children down there,” he said. “The children and the mothers. The men and the older people sacrificed themselves to save the children.”

“Why didn’t they ALL get down there?” Chiv asked as more people followed the first one. Youths and young women with children climbed out and keened dismally when they saw what they had only guessed at while they were entombed in the crypt.

“Not enough air,” Davie answered. “The whole village would have suffocated. By choosing who lived… they ensured they WOULD live.”

“Oh, my…..”

“Come on,” he added. “We have to get the rest of them out. They may be too weak to help themselves.”

Mac looked nervous. Chris saw his expression and felt his apprehension. He didn’t want to go into that dark, underground place. But he didn’t want anyone else to know he was afraid of enclosed spaces in that way.

“No point in us all crowding down those steps,” he said. “Davie, you take Chiv. Mac and I will look after them when you get them up. We should get them away from this place as quickly as possible.”

Davie nodded and he and Chiv quickly descended.

“Thanks,” Mac whispered. Then they both turned to look at the people who had already been liberated from that suffocating tomb. Chris could easily read in their minds the memory of what had taken place; the horsemen forcing them into the temple, and the elders calculating how many and who would survive in the crypt. He remembered the long, terrifying wait in the dark, all sounds from above cut off by the thick stone flags of the temple floor, but their imaginations filling in the rest.

“WHY?” Chris asked. “What was all this for?”

“They came for the Pashivas,” said a tall boy who clung to a large leather bound book as if it was the most precious thing in the universe. “But he was hidden already. And so their retribution was on us all.”

“Who came and what is…” Chris began, but the others were coming up the stairs now. Air was getting down into the crypt and people who were fainting and near unconsciousness were able to climb to safety. Some forty youths and girls, mothers and children, had been saved from the inferno. All were dismayed by the sight that met their eyes, but not entirely surprised by it.

Chiv and Davie came up at last, blinking in the light. Davie hurried with a small baby in his arms while Chiv helped the child’s mother to climb the steps. Davie ran across the ash-strewn rubble and came to a grassy place where he laid the child on the ground and bent over, performing CPR. Around him, Chris saw the other survivors kneeling and praying with their hands clasped in front of their faces. He heard the word ‘Pashivas’ repeated over and over.

Davie sat up and gave a relieved gasp. He picked up the baby and hugged it gently, soothing it until the mother reached him and he pressed the child into her hands instead. He stood up and looked around. The people rose to their feet, murmuring excitedly. Chris caught some of their words, and some of their thoughts and there was something strange about both.

“Let’s get away from here,” he said. He looked around. There was a stand of trees not far from the village. They looked cultivated. It looked a place where they could rest in shade, away from the devastation. A place where they could think about what to do next.

It was an orchard, in fact, with a sort of soft fruit growing. The less traumatised among the group picked enough for everyone to eat. They ate and were refreshed and rested. But there was something in the quiet conversations that puzzled the Time Lords and their Human friends.

“These people… these kids. Their parents, grandparents, older siblings… have all been murdered by some kind of ravaging horde. But they seem… I don’t know…”

“Excited,” Mac suggested.

“Expectant,” Chiv added.

“Yes,” Chris confirmed. “That’s it. They seem… as if they’ve reached some kind of epiphany in their lives and are waiting for further developments.”

“Strange. They should be overcome with grief,” Davie remarked. “I bloody well would be.”

“They’re not like us,” Mac observed.

“They’re enough like us to feel PAIN,” Chris answered. “But they’re not. They were shocked by the devastation in the village. And they must have realised how many people died in the temple. But none of them are actually grieving. It’s possible they’re in shock, a delayed reaction, or its mass hysteria or…”

The boy who had emerged first from the crypt came to where they sat and spoke to Davie quietly.

“He says we must attend to the word of the prophets,” Davie said to the rest of them. “I guess they want to do some kind of religious service. Perhaps it’s their way of dealing with their loss. Maybe that’s why they’re not crying and grief-stricken like we expected.”

The four visitors were invited to sit in the rough circle with the survivors. One young man, aged about eighteen, which made him one of the elders other than the mothers of babies, sat in the middle of the ring. He was the one who had clung to the large, leather backed book through his ordeal. Now it rested on his lap. The young woman called Mishiko, mother of the baby Davie had saved came to the centre, too. The others clasped their hands again and murmured the word ‘Pashivas’.

Then the young man, whose name was Ecklar, began to read from the book. It had a style not unlike the Old Testament of the Earth Bible and was a passage of prophetic writing. It told of the birth of a child called The Pashivas, a child born of humble parentage who would be king of all Tem-Enara and peace would reign over the whole planet.

“That sounds kind of familiar,” Davie commented telepathically to his brother and companions. “Is this some kind of remnant of Earth Christianity?”

“Is Earth Christianity some remnant of Tem-Enaran religion?” Chris countered.

“Listen…” Mac warned them. “I think this is important.” But Chris and Davie WERE listening. Growing up and going to an ordinary school, listening to what their teacher was telling them, while at the same time listening to what their great-grandfather was teaching them telepathically, and holding a discussion about it among themselves, gave both of them the ability to concentrate on more than one thing at once quite easily. The prophecy went on to say that when the child was still an infant the Enemies of Peace would come to the village where he was born. They would search for the Pashivas, meaning to put him to death and ensure their reign of force over the people. But they would not find him, for a vision would warn his mother and she would take refuge. The Enemies of Peace would take their vengeance out upon the village and lay it waste. Many would die that dark night. But a few would look upon the sun the next morning. And out of the light would come the Four, strangers to Tem-Enara, sent by the prophets to lead the Pashivas and his mother, and those who had suffered the dark night with them, to the Mountain of Grace and the Temple of Harmony from whence his Light would shine forever.

Chris looked at the mother and child and remembered the shrine that the TARDIS had disguised itself as. He thought of the New Testament of the Earth Bible and the promise of a child who would be King of the World. Did such a mythology exist all over the universe, he wondered, in some shape or form?

“Chris!” Davie whispered to him even in his telepathic message. “This isn’t just a mythology. Look around you. The prophecy has… ‘come to pass’!”

Around them, the praying was going on. But they were no longer looking at the group in the middle of the ring. Everyone was looking at them - at the four strangers.

Chiv and Mac didn’t whisper. They both exclaimed loudly, overwhelming Chris’s telepathic nerves. As the ringing died down everything clicked into place for him, too, and he wondered why he had been so uncharacteristically slow on the uptake.

“We’re the FOUR. We’re here to fulfil the prophecy and lead them to the mountain of…”

“The Mountain of Grace and the Temple of Harmony,” said Mac.

“From whence his Light would shine forever,” added Chiv.

“Oh, hell!” Chris groaned.

“NO!” Davie exclaimed out loud. He stood up and walked into the middle of the ring. “Oh, no. No. NO! You mean to say that you all just let this happen. Your elders allowed themselves to be burned alive – the rest of you sat quietly in the crypt – Nobody resisted, because this was WRITTEN in your holy books as some kind of predestination? You put yourselves through all of that…”

“And it has all come to pass,” said Mishiko in a calm, quiet, sweet voice as she hugged her child to her breast and looked for all the world like a Madonna painted by one of the Old Masters. “You are the saviours of the Pashivas who were foretold by the prophets.”

“No, we’re NOT,” Davie protested, tears pricking his eyes. “I’m sorry. But we’re not. This was a terrible, terrible act of murder and horror. A senseless act. It has nothing to do with prophecies and we’re NOT the saviours of anyone – except so far as doing what I did to help the child breathe when he was in trouble.”

Mac stepped forward, too. He took the holy book from Ecklar and read the words to himself. Then he turned the page and saw something that astonished him.

“Oh…” he said. “I think this IS to do with us. Look.”

They didn’t have to look. All of them were fully tuned in to him, psychically. They saw through his eyes the two images on the page. One was of a shrine shaped like a broken pillar with a child laid upon it. The other was a Ying Yang symbol with dragons chasing each other around the circle. The symbol that Chris and Davie had adopted as their identifying mark, twins, two separate beings, opposites in many ways, yet joined, their lives complementing each other.

It was a symbol that they had never seen anywhere other than on Earth.

“We were expected,” Chris said. “It IS our responsibility. We have to take this woman and her child to the mountains.” He looked up. He had not taken much notice of the scenery so far. The immediate tragedy had occupied his mind. But there WAS a mountain range that cut across the horizon. They looked like the mountains of the English Lake District, pushed up by seismic forces and then shaped by glaciers. “Is that where we have to go?” he asked.

“Yes,” Ecklar said. “The tallest peak…. See it yonder. That is The Mountain of Grace. The Temple of Harmony lies at its foot, beside the Lake of Contemplation.”

“Ok,” Davie decided. “That’s not a problem.” He reached into his pocket and pressed his TARDIS key. A moment later it materialised beside him in default mode with the ying yang symbol on the front of the grey, rectangular box and the seal of Rassilon on the other sides. “Everyone inside, and we’ll be at the mountain in a few minutes.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as that,” Mac told him as he turned another page of the book. “And the strangers will bring with them a great magical box that would give protection over the children of Tem-Enara and provide them with sustenance as it leads them on their Way.”

And again they all saw the picture through Mac’s eyes. A procession of the mothers, youths, girls and children, all following a rectangular box that hovered at the front of the line, leading them through a mountain pass towards the shining goal at the end of the trek.

“Oh, for Rassilon’s sake!” He turned and spoke to Mishiko. “There is nothing to be afraid of in that box. It is safety. And it will bring you to the place where you and your child will be safe. If you will go in, I am sure the others will follow.”

“No, sire,” she answered. “It is written. We shall go to the mountains, following the source of our redemption. But we may not set foot in it.”

“Where is it written?” Davie asked, looking at Mac.

“It’s written right here,” he answered. “But… I’m not kidding you, now. It WASN’T written a minute ago. This prophecy… it’s being written as we go along. Look…”

He showed the book to Davie. He looked at the pages in astonishment. Three quarters of the book was filled with the rules of life for the people of Tem-Enara, like the books of the Earth Old Testament that gave the Jewish people their laws and instructions for a holy and righteous life. The last chapter dealt with the Birth of the Pashivas, the subsequent massacre and the coming of the Four.

It got as far as saying that they couldn’t travel within the magic box, but must follow it as it led them on foot, and then there was nothing. The rest of the book was empty pages of fine, cream coloured paper, waiting to be written upon.

“So there’s nothing to say whether we make it or not?” Chris asked. “No guide to what we might expect on the journey?”


Chris sighed theatrically and grinned. “Ok, I suppose we’d better go with it for now. We’re none of us afraid of walking and it can’t be more than a two or three day’s hike, even with the little ones to think of. The terrain doesn’t look too bad, and it seems to be summer. It’s not exactly the Israelites fleeing Egypt.”

“I calculate maybe nine hours of daylight,” Davie said, looking towards the sun that was climbing higher in the sky. “They’ve rested a bit and they’ve eaten. Let’s get them moving.” He turned and stepped into his TARDIS. Chris turned to tell the ‘Children of Tem Enara’ to get ready for their journey, but as soon as they saw Davie go into the TARDIS they began doing it. The mothers of small children picked them up in their arms. Smaller children took hold of the hands of older ones. They formed themselves into a crocodile. Mishiko and her child were at the front. So was Ecklar, whose role as keeper of the Book had been usurped by Mac. Chiv seemed to have taken upon himself the protection of the Pashivas and his mother. He stood at their side, his arm around the shoulder of the young mother who was at the centre of all this prophecy.

Chris picked up a little girl who didn’t seem to belong to anyone and carried her piggy back style. Davie emerged from the TARDIS and took charge in the same way of a small boy. The TARDIS shuddered slightly and rose up about two feet into the air and hovered.

“You set it to automatic pilot?”

“I worked out a safe route. It will move along in front of us at a steady walking pace.”

“We ARE the Israelites fleeing Egypt!” Mac commented. “’And The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night; the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.’"

“We’re not travelling by night,” Davie said. “These kids will need their rest once the sun goes down. I didn’t know you were that good at bible quotes, by the way.”

“I’m not, really,” he answered. “Not in a pious sort of way. But we did this stuff at school, and I’ve always had a really good memory for anything I’ve ever read.”

“When we stop for a rest, read some more of that Book, then,” Davie told him. “It might help us get to know what we’re dealing with, and what we might expect. I know the immediate future is a blank page, but there may be some clues in the pre-written pages.”

“I’ll try my best,” he promised.

They made good speed, considering that so many of the Children of Tem-Enara WERE children. It would probably be harder later, of course, when they were tired and footsore. But they made a good start. They covered several miles in relatively good humour before some of the children started to talk about being hungry and thirsty and they found a place to rest. The mountains still looked dishearteningly far away, but that was only to be expected. The Children sat and rested and Davie went into the TARDIS, emerging with cartons of cool orange juice and a basket of bread, butter and cheese.

“Where did all this come from?” Chiv asked as he shared a portion of the bread and cheese with Mishiko and they both drank the orange juice thankfully.

“It was waiting in the TARDIS kitchen,” Davie answered. “It is obviously reading our needs and…”

“Providing sustenance,” Mac said. “That’s what the Book says it will do. Since we set off without food or drink, it’s just as well.”

“Since all the food was burnt in the houses, we had no choice,” Chris pointed out. “They would have been desperate without us.”

“But we were meant to be here,” Mac answered him. “The Book… we were expected.”

“Yes.” Davie’s one word answer was best described as terse. They felt his frustration as a palpable thing. “I just find this whole predestination thing annoying,” he added in explanation. “Like we’re being FORCED to accept this situation because ‘it’s written’.”

“But even if it wasn’t,” Chris told him. “We’d have helped. It’s what we do. Saving innocents from the forces of darkness… it’s the family business. So I suppose we might as well go with the flow.”

“I agree,” Chiv said, looking at Mishiko, who was feeding the baby and looking even more Madonna-like. “We’ve GOT to help them. They’re so vulnerable.”

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t,” Davie assured them. “It just annoys me. And I’m still not happy about the way these people have been USED… YES, I mean that word. USED. The horror they have been put through just to make the prophecy come true. It’s like… did you ever really think about it when we did Bible stuff at school? I mean, I know we never really believed in Earth religions. By the time we were old enough to think about it we already knew we were half Gallifreyan and it was nothing to do with us. But… you know the bit about King Herod killing all the children in Bethlehem… Just imagine being one of those parents, with all that grief, just like THESE people here, fulfilling a prophecy.”

“They’ve lived with it all their lives,” Chiv said. “I was talking to Mishiko while we were walking. She said that the Book was always blank beyond the arrival of the strangers after the massacre – the point where we turned up. But it’s the reason why none of them are grieving about what happened. Because they know they’re the CHOSEN ones, destined to write the next chapter.”

“Was she…” Mac began. “I mean… I’ve been reading… the mother of the Pashivas… we’re talking Virgin Birth.”

“Yes,” Chiv answered. “She told me about it. They were all in the temple one day. And there was a ‘visitation’ by the prophets. Ethereal voices and golden light that picked her out from among the people and lifted her bodily into the air. She was told she would bear the Pashivas. And from then on, everyone knew… they expected it all to ‘come to pass’. They…”

“They WAITED to die!” Davie still felt a burning resentment of that particular part of the events. He felt strongly that the Tem-Enarans should not have been made to accept their own doom so easily.

“They were used. Used HORRIBLY. And now we’re being used. And… I keep wondering, how much control do we have of events? Are we writing the next chapter of the Book of Pashivas or is the Book writing us?”

“I think the first,” Mac said. “That’s why it’s blank. WE are in control of events from here on. It’s down to us whether the forces of light or darkness prevail.”

“Light,” Chris insisted. “Light prevailing over dark runs in our family, too. Granddad wouldn’t hesitate. And he taught us to do the same.”

They walked again through the afternoon. It got harder. Not only were the children tired, but the terrain was rough. The mountains rose up from a wide plain, but it was far from a grassland. They crossed rough, rugged, rock strewn ground. Children stumbled and grazed themselves and Mac, as well as keeper of the Book, was still keeper of the sticking plasters and antiseptic wipes and tended to the minor cuts and bruises. More serious ones were repaired by Chris and Davie with the tissue repair mode of their sonic screwdrivers.

They moved on, little by little.

They stopped again at what, by Earth measure, at least, would be six o’clock in the evening. Chris and Davie went around the whole group using the same tissue repair mode to soothe away blisters on tired feet. Mac applied antiseptic cream to insect bites and general sources of discomfort. Again the TARDIS provided cool drinks and food to sustain them all.

Then they set off again. Sunset was three hours away. They would get as far as they could before the time came when they had to stop.

“We’ve made good time,” Chris said when they finally did stop with the sun dropping low to the southern horizon. He and his brother found blankets and pillows in the TARDIS, which was still providing for them, and portable heaters that meant they didn’t have to build fires that might attract the attention of any forces of darkness. They ate another good meal and drank hot drinks while blisters and minor medical problems were dealt with. Then the Children of Tem-Enara prayed, thanking the Pashivas for their blessings. The Pashivas sat on his mother’s knee sucking his thumb throughout the worship and seemed unaware of the devotion to him.

Then they settled to sleep, and they did so relatively easily. After the night they had spent in a closed crypt, with air dangerously low, sleeping under the stars on a blissfully warm night was no hardship to them.

Davie set the TARDIS to scan the area around them for anything remotely organic that might infiltrate their camp and then came to sit with his brother and Chiv and Mac. Chiv kept Mishiko and the baby close to him still. He seemed to have taken particular responsibility for her. Mac was reading the Book of the Pashivas by torchlight.

“So,” Chris said to him. “Did you find anything out about those forces of darkness? Who ARE the Enemies of Peace? Who do they serve? Who sent them to commit that atrocity back there?”

“According to the First Chapter of the Book of Pashivas,” Mac answered. “The people of Tem-Enara have been waiting for the birth of the Pashivas and the dawn of a new golden age of sinless joy and perfection for a thousand generations. Ten generations ago a man called Lucigire got impatient and gave up waiting. He vowed to kill the Pashivas and rule Tem-Enara for eternity. The Book says that he performed some dark rite that gave him longevity, and he gathered around him others who sought a share of his power. The Darkmen who destroyed the village…”

“They’ve been around for ten generations?” Mac asked. “Is that possible?”

“By Earth lifetimes, granddad has lived that long and more. It’s possible,” Chris mused. “Perhaps this man, Lucigire DID find a way to extend himself and his followers. Or perhaps they’re descendents? Either way, that’s what we’re up against. A band of children and women and us. Against a possibly immortal evil who wants to get through us to kill a baby.”

“Are you scared?” Davie asked.

“No. I’m just thinking about the odds against us.”

“The Book says that the ‘magic box’ will protect the Children on their quest,” Mac said.

“My TARDIS doesn’t have any weaponry,” Davie pointed out. “Granddad made sure of that.”

“It’s what it says.”

“The TARDIS has always protected us,” Chris noted. “I think we’ll be ok.”

“When we reach the mountains, will there be people there who will protect the children against these Darkmen? What happens then?”

“That’s the bit we don’t know,” Mac said. “It hasn’t been written yet. The Book just says that the Pashivas will manifest his Divine Destiny and the golden age will begin. It seems as if it WILL all sort itself out when we get there with the child.”

“How can a baby manifest a Divine Destiny?” Davie asked. “Even Jesus had to grow up before he started doing miracles.”

“And then he had to DIE to manifest his divinity,” Chris added, touching his silver crucifix that was a symbol of that sacrifice. He looked at Mishiko’s baby – the Pashivas in corporeal form. Was that his Destiny? The thought disturbed him.

“Everyone else is asleep,” Davie said. “We should do the same. We need our strength for tomorrow, too.”

They could have gone into the TARDIS to sleep, of course. But if none of the Children would do so, it seemed right that they should share their open air camp.

The two pairs of brothers slept close to each other. Mishiko and her divine child slept as near to Chiv as they could without actually sleeping IN the same bedroll as he was.

“Well, somebody needs to look after her,” Chris thought in his last moments before sleep came to him.

Chris woke early the next morning and saw that the sun was just rising over the northern horizon. He felt stiff, as he expected from sleeping rough. But he also felt strangely unsettled. He had dreamt in the night, but he could not remember what he had dreamt. Except that he was sure it was something to do with the day ahead.

“Water!” he said aloud.

“Coffee,” Davie answered and passed him a cup.

“No,” he insisted, through he took the coffee and enjoyed its taste in his mouth. “No, something to do with water… we’re going to have some kind of problem with it, today. And… also… also… Davie… I think you ought to find out HOW the TARDIS can protect us all if we CAN’T persuade the Children of Tem-Enara to get INTO it.”

“You’re expecting trouble?”

“Not… expecting so much as….” He told his brother about his dreams, as much as he could remember them.

“You had a VISION!” The excited exclamation was from Ecklar, the former keeper of the Book, now fully usurped by Mac, who was searching through it for references to water. “You have been blessed by the Pashivas with knowledge of the road ahead.”

“I had a dream,” Chris answered. “And a vague one at that. I’m not sure it was anything useful at all.”

“Nonetheless…” Ecklar began.

“Come on, let’s get everyone ready to move,” Davie said, practically. “Chris, if you remember anything more substantial, let us know.”

He really hoped he WOULDN’T. He wanted it to be just a vague dream that meant nothing in the light of day.

Just after midday, though, with the sun at its highest, they came to water – in the form of an obstacle nobody had expected.

“That’s a wide river!” Chiv noted as they looked at the fast flowing torrent.

“If I materialised the TARDIS as a boat – do you think that this lot would get in it?”

“Davie’s Ark!” Mac laughed softly. “Another biblical reference.”

“No,” Chiv answered Davie’s question. “I don’t think they would. They are a little afraid of it. They believe it is sent by the prophet and it is a sanctified thing. They won’t cross the threshold for fear of defiling it.”

“You know, that is rather silly,” Davie said. “Can’t we make them see that?”

Chris looked at Mac. He had opened the Book again. He went and stood by him and looked at the page.

“And on the second day the Children of Tem-Enara would reach the Great River, and there being no bridge or ford thought themselves lost. But the Strangers knew that a Way could be found through the torrent.

“But we DON’T know!” Davie protested.

“Yes, we DO!” Chris answered him, and telepathically sent him the image that was on the newest page. “I don’t know which one of us thought of it, but it is WRITTEN now. So one of us must have had it in our heads. Not the Ark. Try the Book of Exodus, like we said yesterday!”

Davie laughed softly and turned towards his TARDIS.

“Get them all ready to move as soon as I do it. That sort of thing puts a hell of a strain on the engines. I won’t be able to hold it for long.”

He went inside as Chris and the others got the Children of Tem-Enara ready and waiting at the water’s edge. They all watched as Davie piloted the TARDIS over the river and hovered there. They saw it begin to spin slowly and below it, the river began to act strangely. A long trough appeared, walls of foaming water either side. There was still maybe a foot of water over the shingle and mud river bed, but it was passable.

“Oh!” Mac cried. “He’s PARTING THE WAVES!”

“He IS!” Chris exclaimed proudly. “Come on, run, everyone. Be careful. Don’t fall in. But run as fast as you can to the other side.”

He brought up the rear, making sure everyone else was safe, knowing that, if he was caught in the waves he was a strong enough swimmer. The walls of water either side looked terrifying and he was as relieved as any of them when he finally reached the far bank of the river and sank down onto the grassy meadow beside it. They watched as the TARDIS rose higher and the river, released from its gravitational pull, went back to normal.

“It’s not a miracle,” he said to Mac as Davie landed the TARDIS and came out, smiling widely. “It’s science. Gravity. And if that Book says anything else, I am going to be cross.”

“Sorry,” Mac apologised. “The prophets caused the magic box to stop the flood and allowed the safe passage of the Children of Tem-Enara across the Great River.”

“It might be plagiarism!” Davie teased. “After all, the Bible did it first.”

“Homage,” Chiv replied. “Besides, I think the Bible is out of copyright. So it’s ok.”

They laughed, because it was that or be overwhelmed by the enormity of what they had done.

“Trouble is,” Chris said as they got ready to walk on again after a brief rest by the river. “If THAT part of my dreams came true… What about the other?”

“It IS a vision,” Ecklar insisted. “Just as Mishiko was warned that the night of tribulation was upon us.”

“The BOOK says that the box will protect,” Mac said.

“And it WILL,” Davie told them all. “I know how it can do it. The Book of Exodus might get homaged again. But don’t worry. Let’s just get as many more miles done as we can before nightfall.”

And they made good progress. The Children of Tem-Anara were heartened by the ‘miracle’ that they had witnessed and they pressed on quickly, eager to reach their destination. They rarely complained of tiredness or blisters or hunger or thirst. And when they did, the TARDIS had food and drink and Chris and Davie had their sonic screwdrivers to soothe away the blisters. Regular rest stops stopped them from being completely exhausted.

By sundown they were at the foot of the mountains. In the dying light Davie surveyed the pass between two rugged peaks that was their way forward in the morning. It all seemed straightforward enough. He hoped.

“But look there,” Chris said, pointing towards the southern horizon where the sun had just set. There was no mistake. Torchlights had been lit and they were moving – moving towards them.

“We’re being pursued.”

“Get everyone settled down,” Davie said to his brother. “I’m going to put the TARDIS in perception filter mode and go have a look.”

The Children of Tem-Enara were more dismayed by the idea of the TARDIS not being there than of anything on the horizon. But Mac assured them it was all right. He said it was written in the Book that the magic box would come and go and all would be well.

“It says nothing of the sort,” Chris chided him. “You’re getting the hang of the prose style, I think.”

“Yep. It makes them happy, anyway.”

The Children settled down to rest, safe in the knowledge that the TARDIS would return. Chiv settled down with them. Mac and Chris both noticed that Mishiko WAS sleeping under the same blanket with him tonight.

“I felt the same when Davie fell in love with Brenda,” Chris told Mac. “As if I was surplus to requirements in his life. It’s not true, of course. He’ll always need me – the other half of his soul. Chiv will be the same.”

“But how can he fall in love with her? She’s from a different planet. I mean… I know Brenda is, too. But she travels to Earth with Davie. I don’t think Mishiko…”

“I don’t know,” Chris admitted. “But I have a feeling – I think it will be all right. It will work out.”

“I hope that’s not another vision. I think Davie is right about this pre-destination stuff. It’s creepy.”

“It only bothers him because the two of us HAVE our own destinies that we know about. He knows he has to follow in Granddad’s footsteps. And I am going to do amazing things with my Sanctuary. But this feels less like destiny and more like manipulation. And I really hope whoever is doing the manipulation is on our side.”

“The Pashivas… that’s who is leading us. At least that’s what they all believe. And… I think… hearing Mishiko talking to Chiv about it, and reading the Book… I think I believe it, too. Even though the Pashivas IS a baby who seems to need OUR protection and help at the moment, I think he WILL help us when the time comes.”

“I think I’ll put my trust in Davie and the TARDIS,” Chris said. He looked around as he heard the familiar thrum of the TARDIS engines. It landed close by and Davie stepped out and came to join his brother. He brought with him four swords from the dojo. When he said that the TARDIS was unarmed, he meant that it had no thermic torpedoes or phasers or any such thing. But there were always sharp Shaolin swords in the dojo.

“We need these?” Chris asked.

“We might,” Davie answered. “There are ten Enemies of Peace heading for us. I think the one in the lead is Lucigire himself. He has something about him that FEELS evil. He looks like he’d run a baby through with his sword in a heartsbeat.” They all turned at that thought and looked at the child nestled in Mishiko’s arms, protected by Chiv’s arm around them both.

“Ten men, possibly immortal, and four of us?” Chris weighed up the odds. “And Chiv and Mac have hardly ever USED a sword. WE’VE never used them outside of a practice dojo.”

“No,” Mac said. “One only will carry a sword. One prophet will defend the Pashivas with steel forged on another world.”

“Mac… does it REALLY say that?” Davie took the Book from him and read the newest words to appear on the pages. He sighed.

“It’s got to be me, hasn’t it?” he said. “I’m the best of the two of us, and anyway, you’ve planned to open a Sanctuary of Peace and Learning. You shouldn’t do that with blood on your hands. Not even a murderer’s blood.” He took all but one of the swords back to the TARDIS. The one, he kept by his side as he sat watching over the sleeping camp.

“Aren’t you going to rest?” Chris asked him.

“Later,” he answered. “I want to keep my eye out for…”

“They’re going to reach us, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” Davie replied. “But if I’ve done it right, they won’t bother any of us.”

“Done what right?” Mac asked. But Chris thought he knew. He sat with his brother and waited. Soon the torchlights in the dark drew closer. The Enemies of Peace rode without rest and they rode on the same path as the Children. They had done little to disguise their route, after all. There would have been disturbed ground to show where they had walked, where they had rested.

“How did THEY cross the river?” Mac asked. Chris wondered why he never thought of that, himself.

“There’s a ford ten, fifteen miles downriver,” Davie replied. “A shallow place – relatively speaking, anyway. Horses would be able to cross without trouble. We couldn’t. Not with the children. Even if a ten or fifteen mile diversion had been possible.”

“Slowed them down a BIT, then,” Chris noted. “But they’ll reach here before dawn. Even if we broke camp and set out now, they’d overtake us.”

“We’re safe,” Davie said. “Just keep calm.”

Another hour and the Enemies of Peace were upon them. They were dark-eyed, swarthy men who rode huge stallion horses. The leader was a cruel-faced man who looked as if he had been hardened and bittered by centuries of hate.

But they didn’t even look at the camp. They kept on moving past them without so much as a sideways glance.

“How?” asked Mac when the last of the horsemen had disappeared along the mountain pass.

“Perception filter,” Chris said with a soft laugh. “The TARDIS has one built in. It can be used along with the Chameleon circuit when it needs to be especially unnoticed. Davie extended the filter to take in all of the camp.


“Basically, we were invisible to them.”

“They may be unnaturally old for their kind, but they aren’t omniscient and I don’t think they’re immortal, either, even Lucigire. He can die. I can deal with him and his gang. When the time comes.”

“What time?” Chris asked. “What are you expecting?”

“They won’t find us, so they’ll go straight to the Temple of Harmony. They’ll wait to ambush us at the last.”

“And what do we do about it?” Chris asked.

“Can’t we stay invisible all the way and sneak up on them?” Mac asked.

“No, that would drain the TARDIS,” Davie answered. “It has limits. But we can use it when we have to. I’ll think of how we do it when we get there. Meanwhile, we should sleep now.”

They slept what was left of the night and again they rose with the dawn. The mountain pass was shadowy as they entered it and colder than the open plain. But the Children of Tem-Enara were happy to know that their journey would be over before sundown on this day. They made steady progress.

“Wait!” Davie halted them with a sharp command. He looked up and around at the high bluffs that flanked their path. Then he went into the TARDIS and Chris knew he had adjusted the perception filter again. They were invisible.

“What’s wrong?” Chris asked.

“Up there… look…” he answered. Chris looked. Mac and Chiv looked, too. They saw the shadowy figures partially concealed behind the rocks.

“Stop looking, Mac said. “Don’t let the children know there’s anything wrong. Just keep moving.”

They kept moving. The Enemies of Peace didn’t see them. But Davie decided he would leave the perception filter on after all. There were only a few more miles. If they were lucky the power would last just long enough.

“If there are two back there, then we only have eight ahead,” he pointed out. “The odds are better.”

“8-1 instead of 10-1? I still don’t like it.”

“I’ve got a plan,” Davie assured his brother. “Well, sort of. Well, I’m winging it. But I’m winging it with a plan. Like granddad always does.”

“Yeah!” Chris laughed. “Family tradition.”

“Make that six to one,” Mac commented as he spotted another pair of dark figures waiting in ambush.

“What was the point of that?” Chris asked. “Did they think the first ones would miss?”

“They expected a few of us to die to allow the mother and child to escape. This lot would be ready to cut them down once they thought they were safe.”

“Davie,” Mac said to him telepathically. “You’d better look at this. The Book’s been writing again.”

He looked. There were details of the Children of Tem-Enara passing through the mountains, hidden from the view of the Enemies and a new picture for them to look at.

It was the Temple of Harmony - a finely drawn picture of it from the outside, where it was like something classically Greek with steps leading up to a porticoed door. There was a drawing of the inside, too - a huge, cool, cathedral like place with an elaborate mosaic floor and a domed roof, gilded and painted with scenes from the Book of Pashivas. At the far end was the altar – not shaped as they expected an altar, but in the form of a broken pillar with a sort of basin where the child was to lay.

The picture of the outside showed four of the Enemies of Peace guarding the steps. The inside showed Lucigire standing by the altar and one of his men just inside the door.

They none of them had any doubt that THIS was what they had ahead of them.

“So what’s your plan, Davie?” Chris asked him.

“Get the child to the altar. That is our mission. That’s what we have to do.”

“We can do that,” Chris said. “The problem is, what happens then? What stops Lucigire from killing him on the altar?”

“I do,” Davie answered. “I stop him.”

“Davie!” Chris looked at his brother, but he couldn’t find the words to express what he needed to say.

“I think… we just have to trust this damn destiny. I think we have to assume it’s going to be ok.”

“It WILL be,” Chiv told them. They were surprised. He had talked to them so seldom in the past days. He had been much closer to Mishiko and the child. “The Pashivas will protect you.”

“Chiv… do you believe all this?” Chris asked him, “I mean… REALLY believe?”

“Yes, I do,” he answered. “

“Ok,” Davie conceded. “We’re putting our trust in the Pashivas.”

They reached the Temple of Harmony as the sun was beginning to set on that day. From inside the perception filter they looked at the Enemies of Peace guarding the entrance and sized up the odds.

“We won’t all get past,” Davie said. “It would be insane to try.

“We could get past in the TARDIS. But that leaves the Children exposed without the filter.”

“We don’t do that. The TARDIS stays here. Chris, you’re the man of peace. You take the child. You get him to the altar. I’ll deal with Lucigire.”

“The two of us?”


Chris nodded. He turned to Mishiko. At first she was reluctant to give up the child to him. Chiv whispered something to her and she did as he asked. Chris took the baby in his arms and held him. He didn’t feel like a God, or a prophet or anything of the sort. He was just a baby. He held him tight as he went to stand with his brother.

They both took a deep breath and looked time square in the face. Time looked back and recognised its masters. Around them it slowed. When they moved, safe within a bubble of folded time, they were a blur to everyone outside it. The Enemies of Peace on the steps to the Temple were aware of something, but by the time they pulled their swords it was gone.

The time fold collapsed, as they expected, when they were half way across the great mosaic floor. Lucigire looked at them with a momentary expression of surprise and uncertainty before snarling angrily and stepping forward, sword raised, to kill these challengers of his authority. Behind him, Davie knew the other one was coming towards him, too. His own sword was in his hands.

“Run,” he told his brother. “Don’t look back at me. Just get the child to the altar!”

As he spoke he swung around and decapitated the Enemy of Peace that was creeping up behind him. As Chris left his side, running towards the altar, he turned back and parried Lucigire’s attempt to cut down his brother in his tracks. He grunted as he felt the strength of his enemy transmitted down the sword to his arm. Lucigire was a huge man, tall, broad-shouldered, muscles rippling under the leather armlets. Davie knew he would never beat him with a sword. The best he could do was hold him off for the few seconds it took Chris to complete their mission.

That was all he needed. A few seconds. He reached the broken pillar. There was a sort of basin in it. It was full of some kind of water. Was he really supposed to put the child in that?

“Do it!” Davie yelled and Chris glanced back to see him sliding to the floor as Lucigire withdrew his sword, glistening with light orange coloured blood. Davie’s sword fell from his hands as he clutched at a grievous wound in his stomach. Lucigire raised his sword to complete his victory by striking his opponent’s head from his body. Chris turned back, tears pricking his eyes and obeyed his brother’s last command. He put the baby into the basin on the altar. He looked at him. He didn’t dare look around at what he knew was happening. He could feel Davie’s agony anyway. He would know when it was over.

Then something began to happen. There was a glow around the child, and it was expanding outwards. Chris felt as if the air was suddenly full of static electricity. He turned despite himself and saw Lucigire, his sword inches from Davie’s neck, enveloped by the glow. Davie was enveloped, too. Lucigire screamed that he was burning, and his body was charring before their eyes. Davie stood up, his wound repaired even faster than he could repair it in the ordinary way. He looked refreshed and revived such as three days of deep meditation could not do for him. He stepped away from the fireball that was Lucigire and ran to his brother’s side. The Enemy of Peace crumbled before their eyes into red glowing molecules that vanished into the air.

They turned back to the Pashivas. He was no longer a baby. Before their eyes he grew to a toddler, a boy, a youth, then the body of a slender young man, clothed in a white robe, rose above the altar for a few seconds before standing before them, almost as if he was their equal in age and experience and power.

“All is well,” he said. “Darkness is vanished. The Enemies of Peace are destroyed. The friends of peace have life.”

“I was dying,” Davie commented. “I felt it. Such pain as I have never felt. But then.. Wow… it was… even more incredible than when we transcended. I felt such peace and joy within me.”

The Pashivas smiled. His arms were still raised and he repeated the last words – “The friends of peace have life.”

The temple door opened and three people ran in. The girl who was the mother of the Pashivas, Chiv beside her, and Mac, carrying the book.

“We knew it was all right,” Mac said to them. “The Book… it all appeared. Davie, you being wounded by Lucigire, Chris putting the baby on the altar – then the transformation, and Lucigire and the other Enemies of Peace burning. And.. Look.”

Chris looked at the page in the book. He gasped. The picture was of the devastated village they had come from. But he saw people alive among the rubble. The parents and elders of the village who had died in the massacre. He turned to the Pashivas.

“They’re alive? All who were sacrificed to protect you?”

“They are,” he answered.

“Ok…” Chris said. “Ok… good… but…”

“Step forward, mother who bore me in corporeal form,” he said, and Chris stepped back as Mishiko approached him. He embraced her in his arms and kissed her cheek. “You did your duty to me. And now that duty is over. You shall always be honoured as my birth mother. But you are free of all responsibility and obligation.”

“My son…” she whispered. “I…”

Chiv stepped forward and touched her shoulder. The Pashivas looked at him and said nothing. But he nodded and smiled as if giving permission for something. Chiv took Mishiko in his arms and kissed her in the same place the Pashivas had kissed her. And a soft glow enveloped them both briefly.

“That’s it?” Davie asked. “All over, now? Good triumphs, evil vanquished?”

“You did not understand,” The Pashivas said to him. “The deaths angered you. You blamed me for it.”

“Not exactly blamed,” he answered. “But you USED those people. Ok, they’re alive again. But what they SUFFERED… what YOU put them through… to fulfil your destiny.”

“For that, they will always be my chosen, the ones who sacrificed themselves willingly for me. They will be especially blessed in the golden age that begins from this day. They shall never know a moment’s fear or dismay their lives long. They protected me. Now I shall protect them.”

“And that makes it all right?”

“You never quite believed,” The Pashivas added. “Yet you were also prepared to die for me.”

“I would die to protect the innocent…”

“Then you, too, did your duty and I thank you. And, I release you from that duty. Your box… the… T…A…R…D…I…S…. It WILL have power enough to take you home. Be sure of that.”

He waved his hand and Davie gave an astonished cry as the TARDIS materialised in the middle of the mosaic floor. He knew he didn’t have to check. It would have the power, as promised.

Then the main doors of the temple opened again. The rest of the Children of Tem-Enara ran inside. They had waited patiently, but after the magic box disappeared they could wait no more. They ran across the floor and then knelt before the Pashivas, astonished, awed and excited by the sight of him. He smiled and stepped towards them. He walked among them and touched them. They gasped with the joy that his touch gave to them.

“He said we were done,” Davie said, looking at his TARDIS. “Do you think we should just go?”

“How many of us are going?” Chris answered, looking at Chiv as he kissed Mishiko on the lips and she reciprocated joyfully.

“Three,” Mac replied to him. “We talked it over. Chiv is staying. I’m returning to Earth, to spend a year learning all I can of your Way of Peace, Chris. I’ll sort things out with dad, meanwhile, make him understand that we’re going to be leaving. He always knew we would, of course. Penzance is too small a place for us. He expected we’d be in London or possibly America or somewhere like that. I’ll explain it to him. And… and at the end of the year, when I’m ready, Davie, you can bring me back here. I will take my place here. Because I know there IS a place for me. Keeper of the Book, Keeper of the Temple… that sort of thing. Chiv and Mishiko… He released her. She is young and healthy and she will bear children in the ordinary way. Maybe there’s a girl in the village for me, too. Or maybe I’ll be too dedicated to the Book and the Temple. But anyway, I think we’ll both be happy here.”

“You will be,” The Pashivas said, returning to their side. “You shall have my protection, and my blessing.” He touched Mac on the forehead and he smiled joyfully. He reached and touched Chris and Davie, too. They felt a kind of elation in their souls. But not as strong, they thought, as the others had felt.

“You are already blessed by a power beyond mine,” The Pashivas said. “You two have an even greater destiny than I could imagine.”

“Is it a blessing or a curse?” Davie asked him. “This Destiny of ours?”

The Pashivas smiled. “Only you can decide that, my friends. But go in peace now, and when you return to us, you return in honour. Be assured of that.”

Davie WAS assured. He bowed his head respectfully to The Pashivas. Chris and Mac did, too. Then they turned and went into the TARDIS. Davie set the co-ordinates for home. A moment later the TARDIS vanished. The Children of Tem-Enara watched it go without too much surprise. They had seen enough wondrous things already this day. A magic box that vanished was almost mundane.

“Good journey,” said the Pashivas.