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

he red and white moons of SangC’lune shone with washed out colours in the late afternoon of a summer’s day with the sun starting to drop low in a cloudless sky. The Gothic TARDIS materialised under that sky on the high meadow above the pyramid plain, a half a mile away from the village. A few moments later the doors opened and Chris led his acolytes out onto the grass. They all looked up at the sky. For some of them it was their first sky other than Earth. But all of them looked at the twin moons and felt a sense of distance from their home.

“An hour,” said Tony. “That’s all it took and we’re here, on a planet… how many light years from Earth?”

“180 million,” said Darryl Harvey as she stood beside her sweetheart, clutching hands with him.

“180 million light years from Earth, from Liverpool. That’s where I come from, you know. And right now, it might not even be there. Those ships… they could be nuking Liverpool right now.”

Not all of his friends had ever been to Liverpool, but they all understood his feelings. They all had home towns. They all had family.

“Chris, what about our families?” Brón, one of the young Gallifreyans, asked. “Can we contact them?”

“Best not,” he said. “We don’t know if communications could be intercepted. We don’t want the enemy knowing where we are.”

“Chris,” Dale replied. “Your family are all safe. They got away, too. But the rest of us… you’ve got to realise, there are a lot of scared people here. We came with you, without even really thinking about it. But…”

“My sister,” cried one of the girls. “She’s only eight. She was at school. What if they’ve attacked the school?”

“I’m sorry,” Chris answered them all. “I couldn’t. There wasn’t time. I had to save you all. I had to protect you. The Dominators… that’s the name of the enemy… If they captured you… us… telepaths and people with all kinds of extra powers… they would use us… make us their weapons. We had to get away… if only to protect everyone else on Earth.”

“But what do we do, now we’re here?” Dale asked. “Are there people on this planet?”

“Yes, there are,” Chris replied. He turned as he saw some of the people coming to greet them. “Everyone, sit down on the grass for a minute. I have to speak to the Elders. I have to tell them what’s happened and why we’re all here. They’re not used to crowds like this.”

Chris walked away from the group, stealing himself to greet the Elders alone. He had never done that before. Usually he was either with The Doctor or with his brother. Davie always assumed leadership when they were together. Chris didn’t mind that one little bit. He was happy to be by his side at times like this.

Spenser was by Davie’s side now, and they were facing scarier things than an old man in a long robe. He hoped his brother was safe. He wished he wasn’t so far away.

Then he pushed those thoughts aside and drew himself up proudly. He WAS a Time Lord. The people of SangC’lune thought of the Time Lords as their gods. He had to present himself as such.

He stepped closer and the Elder dropped to his knees with bowed head. Chris reached out and touched the old man and spoke to him formally in High Gallifreyan before asking him to rise.

“My Lord,” said the Elder. “You bring many followers this time?”

“I beg your pardon for that,” he answered. “It was because of an urgent need that we did so. We need to stay here. For a short or a long time, I don’t know. But we have need of sanctuary here.”

“Lord, we will be of service to you and your people. Only tell us your needs. But won’t you all come to the village now. We can give you food and drink, and our prayers. I feel restless spirits, worried souls. Perhaps we can ease your burdens.”

“Thank you,” Chris said, startled to discover he had ‘people’. But he did, of course. They were all his responsibility, now even more than ever. And he had to lead them in this crisis.

Any offer to ease his burden was gratefully accepted. He returned to the group and told them to come along, quietly. And not to mind what happened when they reached the village. The Elder waited until they were all ready before he led the way, Chris walking with him and the others following behind. At the village, as always happened when one of the Lords of Time visited, the people bowed. Chris had inherited his great-grandfather’s sense of embarrassment about that, but some of the Gallifreyans were startled to discover that the SangC’lune people thought of them as gods, and the Humans and other races among them were even more surprised.

“Don’t play up to it,” Chris told them telepathically. “This is wrong. We’re not gods, any of us. Just be respectful.”

They took his word and walked quietly through the streets, looking at the people, taking note of their simple clothing and their hand built houses, their market where the products of their toil were sold, the craftsman’s workshops. It was what many on Earth regarded as an idyllic pre-industrial lifestyle. And here, at least, it almost certainly was idyllic. Chris was anxious most of all that their presence didn’t disturb that idyll.

The Elder brought them to the village green in front of the Great Hall where Chris and his brother had slept many nights when they had visited SangC’lune before. It was big, but not big enough for more than seventy people. Instead, silk cloths were spread on the green and they were invited to sit there. Food, in the form of bread, cheese, meat and fruit was brought in baskets and wine in flagons, as well as cooled goats milk. The refugees ate their fill and their spirits were raised by the simple kindness of the villagers. They were further cheered when the SangC’lune people came and moved among them, sitting by them, so that there was soon one SangC’lune man, woman or child to each of the visitors. They reached out and took their hands gently and began a simple, beautiful chanting prayer that began as a whisper and rose to a song. The effect was soothing to the mind and to the body. Chris felt his own worries melting away in the song, and he could sense that his friends, his ‘people’, were feeling the same effect. It didn’t take away the very real concerns they all had, the shock of being suddenly transplanted to this strange world, their fears for the families they had left behind, but it did help them come to terms with those problems and gave them the strength to face the uncertain future.

“Half your soul is not with you,” said the woman who had taken his hands as the song died away to a whisper again. “But do not fear. He will be safe.”

“I hope so,” Chris answered. “I don’t know what I would do without him. But thank you for the assurance.” He stood up and looked around. Everyone was calmer now, and they looked expectantly at him. “Let’s go and visit the pyramids,” he said. “It will be educational at least.”

All of those of Gallifreyan descent had heard of the Pyramids of the Time Lords, and by the time they descended into the valley, the others had been told all about them. So when they walked among the black pyramids of all the dead Time Lords, many of them killed on the day Gallifrey was destroyed, they walked with awe and with respect for the dead.

“So, every Time Lord has a pyramid?” Dale asked. “That’s how it works? You’ve got one, Chris?”

“Yes,” he answered. “Do you want to see it?”

Everyone did. Chris led them along the marble-flagged avenues that the SangC’lune people tended to reverently in between the work of feeding and clothing and housing themselves, until they were in the avenue of the House of Lœngbærrow. Most of the pyramids were black, of course. They were the resting places of the spirits of his ancestors, long, long dead. But at the end of the avenue were a row of shining, white pyramids. He wasn’t sure, but the one that belonged to his great-grandfather, The Doctor, seemed bigger than the others. Or it seemed to glow brighter. All but one of the obelisks that surrounded his pyramid were black. He had given up his remaining Time Lord lives in order to live one good, long life with Rose. The one next to it was Christopher’s. He was on his second life. One black obelisk marked that fact. Beyond that, were two pristine white ones, his and Davie’s. He noted the symbols on them, the fiery ying yang symbol that represented their twin lives, and their individual identifying symbols.

There were other pyramids beyond theirs, now. Small ones, not yet fully covering the space they would occupy when they were complete. Chris was surprised at first, then not surprised. Vicki had begun to learn to be a Time Lord. Her future was represented by the pyramid the size of a family car that was beside his own pyramid. She would be the next one of the family to transcend. Sukie, of course, wouldn’t.

“Whose are those?” Brón asked as they walked beyond the Lœngbærrow Avenue and looked at a new group of small pyramids that were not there the last time Chris had visited.

“Well,” he said. “One of them is yours. It began to grow at the Solstice, when you were accepted by our ancestors as a candidate. All of you who were there at Tara that night have a pyramid, now. It will grow as you come closer to your goal of becoming a Time Lord.”

The candidates and their friends were a little less solemn and reverent as they looked around the new group of pyramids and identified their own monuments by marks or symbols that represented their names. They were excited by this unexpected connection with the planet.

Chris looked back along the line of white pyramids of his own family and remembered when he first came here as a boy, with his great-grandfather, and only one of them was white. Then there had only been one Time Lord left in the whole universe, and the burden had been a hard one for him to bear. But now, he had changed all of that. Now there were four Time Lords, and in due course there would be many more.

“Chris, there’s another new one over that way,” Dale told him. “At the end of a line of black ones.”

“Over where?” he asked. Dale showed him. He was surprised. The partially formed pyramid was at the end of an avenue representing one of the Oldblood Houses, as if there was a successor to their line.

“Spenser?” That was the obvious explanation. Spenser was the son of Mortimus Draxic, who, though not a Time Lord in his own right, having never qualified, came from an Oldblood line of Gallifrey, from generations of men who had been Time Lords. And since he had been declared a candidate he was bound to have a pyramid of his own.

But this wasn’t the House of Draxic. He and Davie had explored the pyramid plain with The Doctor many times when they were growing up. They had plotted the lines of pyramids as a history lesson as they learnt about the Twelve Ancient Houses, of which their own, Lœngbærrow, was one, and the other Oldblood and Newblood lines.

The Draxic pyramids were about a mile away. This was a House that was related to Lœngbærrow by blood or by marriage at some point in its history.

He drew closer and as he did so he shuddered involuntarily. He didn’t know why until he was close enough to recognise the symbol of the House.

Two oak leaves and a sword. The symbol of the House of Oakdae?e,

His blood froze as he remembered the last time he had looked closely at this particular line of Pyramids.

It was the very first time he and his brother had come to SangC’lune, when they were boys. Eight years old, and only just learning about their true heritage. They had only just come to terms with the fact that their mother came from another planet, that they were only half Human, and the other half of them had potential power beyond anything they could begin to imagine.

And while they were still baffled and over-awed by it all, Davie had been taken by the followers of the Time Lord called The Master, to be used as a vessel for resurrecting that evil man. The Doctor had put an end to their scheme, of course. And in the fight, The Master’s pyramid had been destroyed.

But in the place where it had been, a new pyramid was growing.

Did that mean somebody had succeeded in that terrible aim after all? Was The Master reborn?

“Don’t say anything to the others,” Chris said to Dale. “This could mean trouble. And we don’t need any more of that.”

“You know, I'm a journalist,” Dale reminded him. “Keeping secrets is sort of the opposite to what I usually do.”

Chris smiled wryly. “You’re a long way from your editorial desk. I don’t think there’s a story you could sell here, anyway.”

“The story is happening on Earth, I think,” Dale noted. “But I’m not sure anyone will be reading it. They might all be dead already?”

“No.” Chris was sure of that. The planet was in terrible peril, but the very worst that could happen hadn’t. At least not yet.

He knew that because his grandfather, Christopher, was still on Earth, and his pyramid was still white. The very worst, the total destruction of the planet, hadn’t happened yet.

His great grandfather’s pyramid was white, too. Wherever he was, he was alive. He was fighting.

“Stay alive, granddad,” Chris thought. They had all broken off telepathic contact with each other. They had to. The Doctor was on his own. So was Christopher. Even he and Davie were separated as they so rarely were. It was the only way to protect each other if one of them should be captured.

He missed his brother. They had been living separate lives for quite some time now. He had been busy with his sanctuary, Davie with his time machines. Davie had his strangely complicated love life. He had his meditation and his dreams for the future. But before, if he had wanted him, even if he was a long way off, he could reach out and find him. He was his comfort, his reassurance. Davie looked to him in the same way. They supported each other.

But now they had to get through this separately. He wasn’t even sure what Davie was doing. He hadn’t dared to tell him. He suspected he was fighting the enemy, the Dominators, somehow. He and Spenser, alone against that great army.

At least Davie had Spenser. Their relationship was a strange one, but it was a comforting one. They could look after each other.

“Take care, brother,” he thought. “You and Spenser, both take care of each other.”

He looked around, surprised to find himself still standing by that mysterious pyramid. Dale was there. He had been joined by Darryl, who had obviously missed him.

“It’s getting late. We should set off back to the village. They have a special ceremony at sunset. They’ll want us to take part. Then we ought to think about where we’re all going to sleep tonight – and for as many nights as we’re likely to be here.”

Yes, the people of SangC’lune did want them to join in their Daygone ceremony, a simple gathering that saw the setting of the sun and the coming of night after a hard day’s toil, the time of resting for them all. Chris fully expected to be asked to sit in a place of honour as the only Time Lord among them. He chose a few of his acolytes to join him, not out of any special sense of favouritism, but as far as possible, representing the worlds they came from. Dale and Darryl joined him, representing Earth and Gallifrey, and his friend Mac, also representing Earth, and Marton, the Tiboran. They sat with him on the wooden veranda of the Great Hall while the rest mingled happily with the people of the village for this daily ceremony of thanksgiving.

When it was over, Chris was surprised to find that the question of where they would all sleep was mostly solved. The villagers were happy to make room in their humble homes for most of them. The group who had shared the veranda with him elected to stay with him in the Great Hall. Food was brought to them, and lamps to light the inside of the hall now it was dark, and they were comfortable enough. It never really seemed to get cold at night, anyway on SangC’lune. It was always sweet-scented balmy nights with the twin moons and the stars shining down.

“People go to bed quickly once it gets dark, here,” Chris explained to the others. “They rise early with the sun. We should do the same. Matching our lifestyle with theirs as best as we can would cause them less disruption.”

He noted that Dale and Darryl had already settled themselves together on satin covered cushions with a sheet of fine silk thrown over them. They were doing nothing that thwarted his ideals of celibacy and sobriety. They just took comfort from each other’s nearness on this first night of their exile from Earth. The others sorted out makeshift beds for themselves, too.

“We could be here a long time,” Mac pointed out. “The Dalek war went on for more than a year.”

“If that’s so,” Marton answered. “We cannot expect them to feed us for all that time for nothing. We ought to help them, work for our keep. That would be fair.”

“Yes,” Chris agreed. “We’ll do that. If it comes to it. I hope not. We should try to carry on the meditation practice, too. The ideals of the Sanctuary are just as valid here.”

“The people here already seem to live by your ideals,” Mac commented. “They’re so gentle, serene. It shouldn’t be hard to keep to the same principles.”

“I always wanted to build a second Sanctuary here, and to bring students. I never meant it to happen this way, though.”

He sighed as he laid his own head down on a pillow. He hadn’t realised until then just how tired he was. It had been a very long, emotionally wearing day for them all. He closed his eyes and thought of his loved ones scattered far from him. His brother, his mother and father and sister, who by now should be safe on Tibora. He thought of people he knew back on Earth, and hoped for their deliverance from the evil that was upon them. He thought of his great-grandfather, who was their best chance of that deliverance. Then he cleared his mind and let himself sleep, knowing he would need all his strength in the days to come.

Those days soon formed a pattern. They did, indeed, rise early with the people of SangC’lune. They breakfasted with them. They spent their mornings with Chris, at their meditation and the disciplines he wanted them to learn. In the afternoon, they worked with the people of the village, to earn their keep and ensure that they were not a burden. In the evening, they joined them to give thanks for their day.

There was no news from Earth, or from Tibora, or from wherever Davie was. Chris worried about his brother, but he was reassured each day when he went down to the pyramid plain and found that Davie’s pyramid was still glistening white. So was The Doctor’s. So was Christopher’s. Wherever all three of them were, whatever way they were fighting the enemy that had sent him into exile here, they were all of them alive.

That strange pyramid belonging to the descendent of the House of Oakdae?e remained white, too. He often looked at it and wondered. What did it mean? Was it something that would trouble them in these already troubled days?

If he had a god he believed in, these would have been the things he would have prayed about. But he didn’t. Here on SangC’lune, he WAS the god the people believed in. And he understood now why The Doctor always found that troublesome. When everyone else looked to you, who did you look to?

But most of the time he didn’t let those things trouble him too much. For the sake of those who looked up to him, both the SangC’lune people and those he brought with him into exile, he tried to be positive. He put aside his worries and made the best of it with them as the days slipped into weeks.

He learnt to make cheese. In the various processes that turned milk to the solid blocked that were stored in the cheese house, he found an unexpected satisfaction. He had always been a thinker, a dreamer. He had never really done manual labour of any kind before. But he found it an interesting and rewarding experience.

He was in the cheese house, turning some of the cheeses he had made and ensuring that the rind was forming evenly when Daryl and Dale sought him out one evening.

“They take eight months to mature, you know,” he said as he placed the rounded blocks back on the shelf and turned to his friends. They all sat on stools in the cool room with its sharp, slightly sour but not unpleasant smell of ripening cheese. “I really hope that we won’t be here to taste them. They’re something I want to leave behind for the people who have been so good to us.”

“I hope you’re right,” Dale said to him. “But a lot of us are thinking… that maybe we’ll be here for a while, yet. And… if so, then it’s ok. This is a good place. If only we knew that our folks on Earth were all right, we could all be happy. That’s the only thing that bothers any of us.”

“Yes,” Chris agreed. That was his chief source of sorrow, too.

“You could rebuild the Sanctuary here,” Dale continued. “Your dream would go on.”

“I’ve thought of it,” he said. “But I don’t want to make a decision like that until… unless… I have to keep hoping that we will go back.”

“None of us have given up that hope. But… in the meantime. Chris… you know about the ceremony tomorrow evening…”

Chris nodded. Yes, he knew about it in two ways. As the Lord of Time that the Elders looked up to, he was expected to take a place of honour in the ritual. As the apprentice cheesemaker, he had counted out a dozen fully ripe cheeses made and stored ten months ago for the feast.

Fifteen young SangC’lune couples were to be married in a joint ceremony at sunset tomorrow. Weddings could take place singularly, and often did. But being a part of the annual group ceremony was a choice many of the young people made. It was a time of celebration for all the town. It was going to be a very special night.

“We asked the Elders who will perform the ceremony,” Darryl said. “And there is no reason why we can’t… If you don’t mind. If….”

Chris looked at his two acolytes as they clung to each other’s hands tightly.

“You want to get married, too?”

“I know we’re letting you down, Chris,” Dale added. “We made promises of celibacy and obedience to your philosophy and we haven’t even got through the first year. But we love each other. And… the war on Earth… It made us realise… none of us know the future. We don’t know how long we have together. And we…..”

“You’re asking my permission to get married?” Chris was taken aback by the notion. “You’re both older than me. You don’t need anyone’s permission, least of all mine. I can’t hold you if you really want…”

“Your blessing on us would mean a lot,” Dale told him. “But we also want… I know the phrase having your cake and eating it comes into it. But… we want to be together. But we also want to carry on belonging to the Sanctuary. We want to complete what we signed up for with you.”

“You have my blessing, willingly,” Chris assured them. “As for the other… The celibacy rule… it just proves I’m no god. I’m not so clever as I thought I was. It was a stupid rule and it never worked. I mean… I know everyone has behaved honourably within the Sanctuary, and here on SangC’lune. But I also know there are at least four other couples who might have come to me with the same request. And a few others… I blame Davie for it. Him and Spenser!” Chris smiled fondly. “I could name three couples at least that we’d need a different form of ceremony for.”

Dale smiled knowingly and said he could think of two more in that category and he didn’t think it was anything to do with Davie and Spenser. It was just the way things went, sometimes.

“Nobody wants to give up on you. Chris,” he said. “We’re all dedicated to your Way. Even me, and you know I came to you for different reasons at the start. We all want to see it through. But some of us have other needs, too.”

“Do it,” Chris told him. “With my blessing and my love.” He reached and hugged Darryl and shook Dale’s hand warmly. “Be happy, both of you. Be a good example to those who follow your path. And… if we do build a new sanctuary here… we’ll make it one with married quarters.”

The news that he had given them leave to take part in the ceremony passed among the acolytes quickly, and Chris felt their raised spirits deep in his soul as he watched their preparations through the next day. It was just what they all needed. It was a way of showing that they did have a future, one way or another, and they weren’t just marking time here in their exile.

And so, in the dusk of that next day sixteen couples came to the village green to be married. Chris watched from a place of honour and was proud to see Dale and Darryl pledge their love to each other in the ancient vows of the SangC’lune wedding ceremony. He saw among the watching crowds the couples who would almost certainly follow in their footsteps before long. He saw the other partnerships that had formed, too. He noticed a young Gallifreyan called Callon who stood with his hand entwined with that of a Human called Preston. And elsewhere there were two young Human women who had giggled on their first day at the Sanctuary because they had a bit of a crush on him. Now they looked to each other. But they still wanted to be his acolytes and learn all they could of his philosophy. All four of them, in fact, had already decided to stay for the full three years and become masters of his disciplines.

He wouldn’t stand in their way, he decided. It did mean changing his rules. But he would let the pure love he saw among his acolytes blossom. He himself, would stick by his own vow of celibacy. He would never love anyone in that physical way that Dale and Darryl anticipated before the sun rose on SangC’lune once more. He had made his choice, as they had.

There was only one exception to that vow, of course. The one person he had loved unconditionally all his life. Much later that night, when the newlyweds had all retired to their honeymoon beds and the feasting was over, he sat quietly on the veranda of the great hall alone. Everyone else was asleep or in deep meditations that he had taught them as an alternative to sleep. He knew he ought to do the same himself, soon. But in the anticlimax after the celebrations, something of a melancholy had come upon him and he sat there, wide awake, and thinking of his brother. All those weeks ago, that woman who held his hand on the green had put her finger on the trouble. The other half of his soul was missing, and in quiet moments like this, he needed him so badly that it hurt.

When he heard Davie’s voice calling his name, he thought at first it was his imagination taunting him. Then he looked around and his hearts burned with joy. His brother was there, coming up the wooden steps of the veranda at a run. Spenser was close behind, but he waited on the steps as the two siblings hugged each other joyfully.

“I’ve missed you,” Chris told him. “I have so missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” Davie assured him.

“Come on,” Chris said to him and to Spenser as he hovered uncertainly, supplanted from Davie’s affections by the greater love he always had for his brother. “Come and sit down. Both of you. There was a wedding earlier, you know. There’s plenty of food and wine left over. Or I’ve got some SangC’lune goats milk here. Come and have some with me.”

They sat and ate the food and drank the cooled milk, though neither were especially hungry or thirsty. Just having this respite in the peace of a SangC’lune night was refreshment enough for them.

“Are you all right?” Davie asked his brother. “Is everyone safe here?”

“Yes,” he answered. “We’re all right. All of us. What about.…”

“I can’t tell you too much,” Davie replied. “It’s better that way. But there’s hope. I can tell you that, at least. There’s hope that this won’t go on for much longer. Don’t tell anyone that, yet. I don’t know for sure what’s been happening on Earth, but it sounds bad. There might be a lot of people dead. And it might be best if they don’t dwell on it.”

“That’s going to be hard on them,” Chris told him. “They’ve settled down fine here. I think the background atmosphere of this place helps, and the people with their tranquil ways. But when reality catches up on them, it will be hard.”

“I know,” Davie said in a tone that startled Chris. “I’ve been… in that reality all along.”

“Davie.…” Chris reached out and touched his brother’s face, caressing his cheek gently. “What have you been doing? You feel scarred inside… you’ve fought those creatures… the clones.”

“We’ve been trying to sabotage the ships,” he said. “There are thousands of them. It’s an endless job. But each one we cripple puts a few thousand more of those clone soldiers out of action.”

“You’re a soldier, Davie? Fighting on the front line.”

“I am the front line,” he said. “There’s just me, and Spenser, and granddad, somewhere, fighting against them. At least until help gets to us.”

“Is help coming?” Chris asked.

“Yes,” Davie promised. “Yes, it is. That’s why we have hope. It’s why we came away from the fight. I’ve got to go on and do something, soon, that could make the difference. Something granddad knew I would do. He left the message in my TARDIS to tell me what to do. And it might just work. But before… I had to see you again, Chris. I can’t stay long. I’ll have to leave again, tomorrow. But I had to see you for a while.”

Chris looked at his brother in the moonlight. It was Davie, still. He looked like Davie. He still felt like Davie inside his mind. But he was changed. He was a fighting man. He had killed. Not just clones. Chris looked into his memories and saw a hand to hand fight to the death with one of the enemy, a Dominator who had almost caught them in one of their sabotage efforts. He had fought the man to the ground and broken his neck. And that wasn’t the only time. Davie had fired guns taken from the enemy. He had stopped counting how many of the Dominators and their clone army he had killed.

“I did what I had to do,” Davie told him. “I killed enemy soldiers. I had to. I don’t regret that. They started this, not me. I'm fighting for my family, for my planet. For you, and for Brenda, for everyone.”

“You, too, Spenser?” Chris asked.

“I go where Davie goes,” he said. “I fight alongside him. If I must… I’ll die with him.”

“No, you won’t,” Chris told him. “Both of you will stay alive. You’ll stay safe. That’s my order to you. If you’re going to be soldiers… be live soldiers. Be safe.”

“I’ll try,” Davie promised. “But if I don’t… if I should….”

“No.” Chris refused to hear any of that sort of talk. “No more of it for tonight. You’re here. You’re not fighting now. Let’s have a little bit of peace. Just the two of us, as it should be.”

He realised as he said that, about the two of them, that it was cruel to Spenser. But he didn’t seem to mind. He stood up and said he would go and sleep inside the Hall.

“You don’t have to go,” Chris assured him. “I’m glad to see you, too, Spenser.”

“But the two of you DO need to have some time,” Spenser answered. “I’m all right.” He went into the Hall. Chris stood up and leant on the wooden rail of the veranda. Davie stood next to him. He put his arm around his brother’s waist and held him as they both looked up at the blood moon and its brighter sister. Chris did the same. They locked arms as they held each other.

“I don’t think any less of you,” Chris assured his brother. “You’re still my brother. Still you. But it feels strange… knowing that you’ve had to do things like that. You do feel different. As if your soul is etched with it.”

“It is,” Davie admitted. “I’ve seen and done things in these weeks that I will never forget. But as long as you’re still the better half of me, I’ll survive.”

“That’s what you used to call girly talk,” Chris teased him. “You used to tease me about it.”

“I know,” he laughed. “Funny how, having to be hard, to fight hard, do hard things… makes me understand those fuzzy, soft dreams of yours so much better. I feel as if I’m fighting for you to keep those dreams alive.”

“Yes. Underneath it all, you’re a softie, too.” They laughed together. Then the mood turned serious again. Chris told his brother about the Oakdaene pyramid, and his fears that The Master was alive again.

“It’s Marton,” Davie told him.


“Marton Pallister.” He spoke in a low voice, knowing that Marton was one of those asleep inside the Hall. He explained to Chris about the cloning procedure that had allowed Mr and Mrs Pallister to have the son they longed for.

Chris was astonished.

“Why didn’t you tell me? Or granddad? Why didn’t he tell me? Marton is one of my students. I’ve been teaching him….”

“Because it wasn’t our secret to tell. Marton doesn’t even know. He doesn’t need to know. He shouldn’t have to know that his real biological father is.…”

“It’s not even that,” Chris told him. “Davie, the new pyramid isn’t next to The Master’s. It’s where The Master’s pyramid used to be. Marton isn’t The Master’s son, he IS The Master reborn.”

“But without his malice,” Davie insisted. “That’s what granddad believes. That’s why he let Marton become his apprentice. He wants The Master to live again, but with a clean, pure soul that won’t turn to evil.”

“Granddad wants that? But The Master… he was his deadliest enemy. He hated him.”

“That’s why he wants that,” Davie explained. “To make it right, this time.”

“There’s Spenser trying to make up for his father’s deeds. Now this?”

“Don’t treat him any different, now you know.”

“I won’t,” Chris assured him. “But Davie… that pyramid. What happens if the Followers of The Master get wind that their Lord is reborn?

“Just hope they don’t,” Davie said. “We have enough problems right now.”

“And what happens when Marton finds out where his pyramid is?” Chris added. “He wasn’t a candidate at Tara, so I don’t think he realised he HAD one. But sooner or later, he’s bound to ask.”

“That, I don’t know,” Davie admitted. “If you and I are lucky, that might be granddad’s problem, not ours. Right now, we don’t have to worry about it. I don’t really want to worry about anything. I want to lay a couple of blankets down there on the boards, and a pillow or two, and I want to sleep with you beside me this night, like we used to do when we came to SangC’lune as kids.”

“Sounds good to me,” Chris told him. “Won’t Spenser be jealous?”

“No, he won’t,” Davie answered as they organised their open air bed for the night and laid down on the pillows side by side. He only had this one night before he had to go back to the war that had already cost so much of himself. His brother’s love would soothe his scarred soul for that time. And he, for that short time, could be Chris’s shoulder to lean on, just as he had always been.

Yes, Chris thought as he laid his head, literally, on Davie’s shoulder and closed his eyes. The future was a frightening place, full of uncertainties. But the present moment had himself and his brother together again, and that was all that mattered.