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

Chris Campbell walked up to the high meadow that overlooked the Pyramid Valley. He looked up at the pale blue sky with the two moons hanging in it like jewels, one white, one red. He looked the other way towards the ruined temple on the distant hill. He looked down to the village and in another direction to the fields where many of the SangC’lune people and a lot of his own students alongside them were working to bring in their harvest. He closed his eyes and let the background psyche of the blessed planet envelop him.

He opened his eyes and looked around at the meadow. His imagination built walls on it - walls of glittering white stone, decorated with symbols of peace. He saw it clearly. A duplicate of his Sanctuary at home in London. The vision was so easy to create because he knew it would happen in the future. This was where his second Sanctuary would be. Not yet, not even in the immediate future, to be sure. He needed more of his students to become masters. He needed enough of them who were dedicated to his philosophy to commit themselves to living on this planet, so far from their home and families. It would take a while. Maybe ten or twenty years before they even dug the foundations. But it would happen. He knew it would.

In the meantime, he could bring his students once a month or so to SangC’lune. They loved it here. Most of them had friends among the community. They had been accepted by the people during their exile and they kept up those friendships.

For that matter, he thought some of them might have gone beyond friendship to something deeper and more permanent. He smiled softly to himself as he considered that. He, himself, had made a vow of chastity, and almost broke it when he fell in love with a SangC’lune girl. He looked across to the temple again, where her grave was. He allowed himself a moment of remembrance of the tender kisses and caresses of his one brief love affair. He had renewed his vow afterwards. He planned to live his life without need of physical love of that kind. And his initial idea had been for the young people who came to his Sanctuary to do the same. But that didn’t work out in practice. Dale and Daryl were the first. Other partnerships had emerged. There was Gill and Cól, another Human/Gallifreyan combination, but this one between two young men who found each other’s company irresistible. And there were two female Gallifreyans that he would not have broken up for anything. And he knew perfectly well that Brón and Rhys, two more of his students, were likely to come to him some time and talk about how they felt for each other.

And it was all right. His ideal about celibacy had been too high for them to attain. He had not considered their natural emotions in the equation. And on reflection, it didn’t seem to do any harm. Those of his students who had formed alliances gave themselves just as wholeheartedly to the disciplines he taught them. They pushed their minds and bodies to the same limits and beyond. And in the long run, they might well be the ones who would be happy to come to SangC’lune, with each other for company, and make his new Sanctuary a reality.

“Chrístõdavõreendiam?ndh?rtmallõupdracœfire-delunmiancuimhnemilágrolúzio de Lœngbærrow-Campbell!” Chris was stunned when somebody spoke his name. Not the name he was known by – Chris Campbell, but his Gallifreyan name. He almost didn’t answer. He used it so very rarely that it didn’t quite feel as if it belonged to him. Only a very few people would ever address him by it.

He turned and saw the man standing a few feet away. He was tall, broad-shouldered, seeming even taller and broader due to the black and gold robe he wore with a high Gallifreyan collar. He had a well-trimmed beard and eyes that seemed to bore into Chris’s soul as he stepped closer to him.

“My Lord,” he whispered and then knelt before the great man, his head bowed. “Lord Rassilon. I am sorry. I did not know you at first…”

“Why should you? It has been some time since you were last in my presence. And I had a different face then.”

“I still should have known you,” Chris replied.

“Stand up, proud son of my proud descendents. You needn’t prostrate yourself before me.”

“I… was taught to respect my elders… and my heritage,” he answered as he stood and faced the great man. “Lord Rassilon… I am honoured by your presence.”

“And you honour me by your very existence. Permit me….” He reached out his hand and touched Chris’s shoulder. He shivered with something like religious ecstasy. The Creator of his race, the greatest Time Lord, the First Time Lord, reached into his mind. His hearts leapt as his mind was filled with the misty abstracts he used to teach his meditations to his students. He felt himself being entranced by them instead.

When he opened his eyes again he gasped in astonishment. He was looking at the Sanctuary in the high meadow that he had dreamt of. It was real. It was actually there before him.

“We’ve travelled into the future?” he asked.

“I won’t tell you how many years,” Rassilon answered him. “But less than you think. I thought you deserved to know that your dreams have substance.”

“Thank you,” Chris replied. “But… you didn’t manifest yourself just to do that, surely?”

“I came to find you, Chrístõ Lúzio. To see if your dreams were being realised. I am proud of all that you have done, almost entirely by your own endeavours. You have upheld the honour of Gallifrey even though you were born far from the home world of your forefathers.”

“I was taught to keep faith with my ancestors. My brother, too. We both learned to be proud of Gallifrey. And the men whose names we both bear.”

“Would you like to meet one of them?” Rassilon asked him.

“Meet who?”

“One of the ancestors whose name you bear.”

“I… would like to, yes. But surely it isn’t possible. Gallifrey is…”

“Gallifrey is in your hearts and soul, in your very being. You have dreamt of seeing it, of walking on its soil, under the yellow sky.”

“Yes, I have. You can see into my dreams? Yes, of course, you can. I am an open book to you.”

“Then let me make your dream come true for a brief time.”

“I have responsibilities here,” he said. “My students… they will expect me in the village for Daygone.”

Rassilon smiled indulgently.

“I am the greatest Time Lord who ever lived. Do you think I am not capable of returning you to this place before you are missed?”

“Forgive me for doubting you,” Chris answered. “But… do you have a TARDIS?”

“I don’t need a TARDIS,” Rassilon put his hand on Chris’s shoulder again. “What you are seeing is just a comfortable illusion. It makes the journey less traumatic.”

Chris let out a long, awestruck breath as he looked around at the swirling, colourful clouds around him. They were the abstracts that filled his mind. He felt as if he was floating inside his own head.

Then the mist cleared. He felt solid ground under his feet. He looked down and saw hard packed snow around his shoes. He looked up and saw a sky that was burnt orange turning to yellow as a winter morning dawned. He looked around and saw that he was in a broad valley between two long ridges of snow-covered hills. A wide, fast flowing river cut through the valley. In the far distance, in sharp, dark outline against the dawn light, were some higher peaks that must have been the source of the river.

There was a man kneeling in the snow beside the river. He was dressed in a white robe not unlike the one Chris was wearing himself, except his had the Seal of Rassilon in gold thread across the front in the way the Crusaders in Earth history wore the Cross of Christ.

“Who is he? And why is he kneeling in the snow in a robe made of the thinnest fabric?” Chris asked. “Even Time Lords feel the cold.”

Rassilon laughed softly. “It was all I could do to persuade him he didn’t have to prostrate himself in the snow in nothing but a loincloth for modesty. He is a very keen and earnest young man by name of Davõreen de Lœngbærrow. He is the brother of the first Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow, the patriarch of that scion of the Oldblood family of which you are a direct descendent. He is your uncle many times removed. His elder brother, of course, is the primogeniture, inheriting the land and money. Davõreen, like all second sons in the known galaxy, has to make his own way in life, and make his own mark upon his world.”

“It was different for me,” Chris, himself a second son, remarked. “We don’t have that idea of primogeniture on Earth in our time. I was always equal with my brother. Have you noticed, by the way… we’re opposites. In his generation the one called Chrístõ is the elder and Davõreen is younger. Davie is older than I am. By a few minutes at least. His Gallifreyan name is Davõreen.”

“They are twins, too,” Rassilon told him. “But the rules of inheritance are absolute. Except by his brother’s generosity he has nothing to call his own.”

“Then what will he do?”

“He wants to give himself to contemplation and meditation. Yes, just like you. He has the hearts of a philosopher. He wants to serve me as one of the Brotherhood of Contemplation.”

“Does he know we’re watching him?” Chris asked. They were standing not very far from the young man, but he seemed unaware of them even though he didn’t seem to be in a particularly deep meditation.

“He doesn’t yet. But he will. He is preparing himself for a quest that he intends to complete, to prove himself worthy of his ambition. I promised him a companion on the journey. I thought that you would like to be that companion.

“What journey?”

“He has to reach those mountains where the river begins, on foot, with only a few basic rations and his own wits.”

“In the snow.”


“That’s a task, all right. Did you set it?”

“He asked me to challenge him. He wanted to prove himself worthy of being a Servant of Rassilon.”

“Do you mean to kill him?”

“No, I mean to test his determination. But there is no reason why he has to do it alone. If you are prepared to take up the challenge with him, the rewards for you both will be satisfactory.”

Chris looked at his ancestor. He looked about twenty-five, which meant he was probably a little over two hundred years old – a youth of Gallifrey. He had stood up from his contemplation and was looking now at those far off mountains, maybe forty miles away across the snow-covered valley.

“I’ll go with him,” he said. “I don’t suppose we could have a couple of winter coats, though?”

“Yes,” Rassilon answered him with a laugh. “You may. I don’t expect either of you to die of exposure. He thinks he has to make it hard for himself. But it’s his resolve I want to test, not his resistance to frostbite.” At that, Rassilon waved his hand in a wide, all-encompassing movement. Davõreen de Lœngbærrow looked around in surprise and then knelt again. Rassilon sighed in exasperation.

“Rise,” he said. “It is too cold for that.”

Davõreen rose, though his head was still bowed. His eyes turned to look at Chris, standing beside Rassilon with a bundle of warm cloth in his arms.

“This is your companion on your journey. He has ambitions very similar to yours, though a little more advanced. I think you can learn from each other. I will see you when you have reached the end of your journey. Until then, farewell.”

Rassilon vanished. Chris didn’t even bother to wonder how. Nor did Davõreen de Lœngbærrow. He raised his head, though, now his Creator was not present. Chris saw that he had deep brown eyes like his own. He looked a little bit like Davie, though thinner and less sure of himself.

“We… should begin the journey…” he said.

“Put one of these on first,” Chris told him, passing a full length woollen cloak with a fur lined hood. He slipped one around his own shoulders and realised just how cold he had been. Davõreen looked at him closely.

“You have the Lœngbærrow crest on your cloak fastening,” he said. “Does that mean…”

“We’re related,” Chris said. “My Gallifreyan name is Chrístõ Lúzio. But I prefer to be called Chris.”

“Davõreen… There isn’t any short version of it.”

“It’s a good name,” Chris assured him. He could have shortened it to Dave, or even Davie. But that felt wrong. There was only one Davie in his life.

“Shall we get on, then,” he added. “Did Lord Rassilon say if there was a deadline for completing this quest?”

“No… but… it might not be a good idea to be out here at nightfall. There isn’t much in the way of shelter between here and the Valley of Eternal Night?”

“That’s where we’re going?” Chris asked, slightly surprised. “To…”

“To the place where the sun does not shine,” Davõreen said with a soft laugh. “I never got that joke. But Lord Rassilon seemed to think it was funny.”

“Lord Rassilon has an odd sense of humour,” Chris noted as he walked beside his ancestor, both of them making long, but careful strides in the snow. “For a man who created a race of people known for being serious and stoic, he’s almost… laid back.”

“Laid back?” Davõreen was puzzled. “I don’t quite understand the phrase… but it seems to fit. Where are you from? Your idiom… your accent… it is odd. It almost sounds as if Gallifreyan was not your native language.”

Chris wondered how much he ought to say about that. He decided the truth would be best.

“It isn’t,” he admitted. “It is the language of my ancestors, taught to me by my great-grandfather. I’m not from Gallifrey.”

“What?” Davõreen was startled by that revelation. “But… you ARE a Time Lord. I felt your psychic identity. You are one of us.”

“Yes, I am,” he said. “My mother was born here. She married a Human and lived on Earth… planet Earth, in the Sol system. I grew up there. But I am a Time Lord. I was taught all the disciplines. I was mentored through my Transcension by that same great-grandfather. He is a very great Time Lord who did a lot of wonderful things.”

“I didn’t know there were Time Lords anywhere but Gallifrey. But… then why did Lord Rassilon bring you here?”

“He thought I should see Gallifrey. I wasn’t expecting to see it in winter, though. This isn’t quite how I imagined it. Still…” He looked up at the yellow-orange sky. “I am actually here. I never thought I would get the chance. It is fantastic.”

He was so busy looking at the sky that he missed a hidden tree root and tripped head first into a bank of hard packed snow. As he picked himself up and brushed himself down he laughed.

“Ok, that’s a bit closer to Gallifrey than I wanted to be.” He had twisted his ankle as he fell, and for a while the journey was a little less pleasant. But he bore the pain and walked it off, his eyes on the mountains that refused to get any closer as the hours passed. The sight of a yellow sky over a white valley lost a little of its charm as the morning wore on. The going was gruelling, walking mile after mile in deep snow that froze his feet. But he and his companion kept each other’s spirits up, talking about their experiences as young Time Lords. He answered questions about his family and Davõreen did the same. He talked especially about his brother who had inherited the family line.

“We look alike,” he said. “But we’re not really…. Not inside. He’s a soldier. He’s already fought in two wars. He left the army in order to take up his responsibilities as heir. But I know he still thinks about being a soldier, being an officer with men at his command, leading them into battle.

Davõreen shivered, not from the cold. Chris knew what he was thinking.

“My brother was in a war, too. Defending Earth from invaders. It changed him. It hurt him in a lot of ways, strengthened him in others. He’s very different since. Sometimes I feel I know him less than I used to. Other times… He still feels like the other half of my soul.”

“Yes… I know what you mean. I learnt to fight, of course. I can handle a sword. I have done martial arts. But it doesn’t burn in my veins like it does with him. I just want… I want to serve Lord Rassilon… as one of his brotherhood. That’s why I’m doing this… to prove to him that I have the stamina, the courage, the wit, to serve him. To prove I’m not the weak-minded coward they all think I am.”

“People think that?” Chris was shocked. “Your brother… does he…”

“No, he doesn’t. He understands. But others have questioned my manhood, because I’m not like him.”

“That’s not right,” Chris said. “When the war came… I took my people… the students in my Sanctuary to safety. That was my purpose. To protect them. I did my duty that way. Davie… he did his by fighting. We both did what we had to do.”

“But I didn’t. I spent the whole war practicing meditation. I did nothing.”

“But… you didn’t run away from the battle? Were you meant to fight and didn’t?”

“No,” he said. “Nobody was sent to the front who didn’t choose to be there. Do they do that where you come from? How barbarous.”

“It happened in the past on Earth. But not now. Anyway, the point is, you didn’t do anything cowardly.”

“I didn’t do anything brave, either.”

“If your brother didn’t blame you, then nobody else should. And I don’t think Lord Rassilon questions your courage. But… those wars… I should know. I’ve done Gallifreyan history. But… who were they against?”

“The one they call the First Time War… was against a race called the Perssai. They wanted to take the secret of time from us. They were evil, horrible creatures. If they had won, then the galaxy would have been laid barren from the beginning of time. The other war… it was against the Great Vampires. My brother was a General by then. He led the final attack that defeated them ultimately. He was lauded as a hero. But the cost was a high one for all Gallifrey. My brother came home. A lot of men didn’t.”

“Yes… I know.” Chris knew it as history. He and Davie had learnt all of this from The Doctor when they were boys. The Doctor felt they had to know. If they didn’t, nobody else would. Now, he taught it to the young Gallifreyans in his Sanctuary. At least, he taught the facts and figures, the statistics of the dead. They kept that knowledge out of respect for their elders, and in hope that one day the war that Davie had fought would be remembered by their own descendants.

Chris also knew that it was the start of Gallifrey’s insularity, when it turned in on itself, closed its borders, kept out strangers. It was the time when Time Lords watched the universe but took no part in it. The Doctor always spoke soberly about this age of Gallifrey. He railed against that closed attitude. It was what made him yearn to break free and go out into the universe to try to make a difference.

But that was thousands of years in the future. It was another seven generations away. And since each generation of Time Lords lived for thousands of years, it was actually quite mind-boggling.

“What’s that noise?” Davõreen asked, breaking into his thoughts. “It seems to be up ahead.”

“Water?” Chris guessed. “A waterfall?”

“There aren’t any waterfalls. The only thing that stands ahead of us is the river Wey… at the point where it joins the B?rrow. It’s not very wide and there’s a bridge over it. I’ve never heard it sound like that, though.”

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been here before. But…”

They walked another quarter mile through the snow with the sound getting louder. It was quite obviously the sound of rushing water. A river in full flood, raging and boiling.

“But… that’s not the Wey!” Davõreen stared at the wide expanse of white water in front of them. Chris agreed with him. That was not a mere tributary. It looked like a full blown river to him.

He looked at the bridge. It was a simple, single span, built mainly of white wood. It looked as if it had stood for several decades. And in all likelihood it would stand for many decades more.

But there was something about it that made him reluctant to test that hypothesis.

“That’s not right, either,” Davõreen said. “The Wey is only a third of the width of this river, and it’s never as wild as that, even in full spring flood. And the bridge… it should be wide enough to drive a hover car across. And it’s made of stone.”

“It’s a test,” Chris said. “It’s him…Rassilon. He’s testing us.”


“Because… you think you’re a coward. He wants you to prove yourself wrong. This… this river… the width of it. It’s your self-doubt. The bridge… the less you believe in yourself, the more frightening and insecure it looks.”

“But then why does it look the same to you?”

“Because I’ve never been here before. I had no expectations of what it should look like. So if you see a raging river and a rickety old bridge I have to believe you. I have no other concept of how it should look.”

“So… what do we do?” Davõreen asked.

“We… cross the bridge. It’s in the way of our goal. We have to get across.”

Davõreen looked at him hesitantly.

“Look, you’re not a coward. You’re not really afraid to face anything. You’re a Lœngbærrow. We’ve never been scared of anything. And we’ve never not finished what we started. So… come on. Let’s get on with it.”

Chris stepped forward onto the bridge. Davõreen followed him. He had no choice other than turning back on his own and admitting he was a failure.

The bridge wobbled alarmingly. Chris held both handrails and took very tentative steps. He tried not to look at the river below, although the sound of it was off putting enough. He was aware of Davõreen’s equally hesitant footsteps behind him. The two of them moved forward slowly until they were at least halfway across and it was shorter to carry on than to turn back.

Then he felt the slats move beneath his feet. He stopped and looked down as a whole section fell away. He stepped over it and moved forward so that Davõreen could cross the gap. Then an even larger section fell away in front of him, too wide to jump. He looked back and saw a section drop away behind them, too. They were stuck in the middle with the perilous drop below.

“What now?”

“I don’t know,” Chris answered. In fact, he had an idea. But this was the second time Davõreen had asked him what to do and it would do him no good to be led the whole way. He needed to think for himself.

“We could…” he began. Then stopped. He looked both ways as he clung to the handrails. “We should…”

Chris said nothing. He waited for him to work it out.

“You said the bridge was an illusion. So… so the missing parts are an illusion, too. So… that’s the test…. That’s what he wants me to do. Take my courage in my hands… and step forward…” He moved past Chris and stood by the gap in front of them. Then he took a deep breath and stepped forward. He had his eyes closed so that he didn’t see the missing floor and the river below. He didn’t see himself step onto nothing.

He kept walking across the bridge to the far side, then turned and looked at Chris, who grinned at him and stepped forward. He, too, closed his eyes. It was easier to have faith that there was something to step onto if he couldn’t see the gap. He ran across the rest of the bridge.

“We did it,” Davõreen said, hugging him emotionally.

“You did it,” Chris told him. He turned and looked at the river and the bridge. “Look.”

Davõreen looked and laughed. The river was only a third as wide and flowed slowly and placidly. The bridge was a wide stone one, sturdily built.

“See, you had faith in yourself, and you crossed the bridge,” Chris told him. “As for courage… I couldn’t have stepped onto nothing if I hadn’t seen you do it first. Come on. Let’s get going.”

He would have liked to rest, but they still had a long way to go. As long as they had the energy, keeping going was the best thing to do.

“Apart from courage, what else do people think you are lacking?” Chris asked.

“If you ask my father, he’ll tell you I am not as clever as my brother,” he answered.

“So you need brains, too. How about a heart?”

“How did you know?” Davõreen asked.

“Know what?”

“That I was born with only one heart. They said I might have two once I regenerate for the first time. But I’ve grown up with an empty chest cavity on my right side.”

Chris laughed softly. Davõreen was puzzled and a little shocked.

“Sorry,” he said. “I’m not laughing at you. I was thinking of something else. I don’t suppose anyone on Gallifrey knows of a story called The Wizard of Oz?”

“The… what?”

“Thought not. I wonder if Rassilon knows about it? If so… does that make me Dorothy?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Davõreen said. “I have never left Gallifrey. I have no knowledge of any other culture except from books.”

“That’s ok. You don’t need to know those things. I just think that Rassilon really does have a wicked sense of humour. But… hey, you know, we got through that first obstacle pretty well, don’t you think? We’re doing ok.”

“There is an old Gallifreyan proverb,” Davõreen told him. “Pride comes to a fall.”

“Yeah, we say something similar on Earth. Point taken. Let’s take care to look out for each other. The League of Younger Twin Brothers United.”

Davõreen laughed, as Chris hoped he would. It was obviously a lot harder being a younger brother on Gallifrey than on Earth, though. He and Davie had been inseparable as boys and even though they had different lives now, they still had a brotherly bond that made Davie his rock in troubled times and vice versa. If Davõreen didn’t have that, then he felt sorry for him.

“I do,” he said. “I do have a bond with my brother. We love each other very much. The problem is he always seems to be in charge, giving the orders. I’m always the one taking orders.”

“I used to be like that,” Chris said. “When we were both learning to pilot our TARDIS, Davie was always captain and I was first mate. But then we both had our own plans, our own lives. And in my Sanctuary I’m the leader. When you’re one of Rassilon’s chosen few, your family will be proud of you. They’ll respect you.”

“That’s not why I’m doing it. To prove anything to my family. I really do feel the calling… to serve Rassilon. I feel that it’s what my life is for.”

“I understand,” Chris told him. “I’ve felt that same calling, in a different way.”

“We seem to have a lot in common,” Davõreen noted. “Do you think that is why he brought you here?”

“He said you needed a companion on your quest.”

“I’m grateful for that. You have been good company. But what did he suppose you would get out of this? Your ambitions… your calling is already fulfilled, is it not?”

“I got the chance to see Gallifrey, my ancestral home. And to meet one of my ancestors who lived here long before my time.”

“You mean me?”


“I must be a disappointment.”

“I never had any expectations. Besides, you’re young. You can hardly be expected to have done any great deeds that would make the history books.”

“I doubt I ever will. You know, I’m not even your direct ancestor. Your name is Chrístõ…. You are of my brother’s line. I don’t think I’ll even have a line. If I succeed in this endeavour, I will give my life to Lord Rassilon’s service. If I fail… well no woman would want me, anyway.”

“You’re not going to fail. Second son or not, I told you, Lœngbærrows never fail. We don’t give up. We don’t lose. Even if winning hurts more than losing. So come on. Keep going. All we have to do is put one foot in front of the other for a few more hours.”

Chris looked towards the distant peaks they were heading towards and was dismayed to find that he could not see them clearly. They were obscured by a dirty yellow cloud. And it was spreading over the sky rapidly.

“Looks like a sandstorm,” he said.

“Blizzard,” Davõreen replied. “And we’re heading into it.”

“I suppose it’s too much to hope that it’s an illusion like the bridge. Another one of his tests.”

“Even if it is, it’s going to hurt just as much as if it is real.” Davõreen said. “We’ve got no shelter. There’s nowhere we can reach in the time it will take that to overwhelm us.”

“If it is one of his tricks… then he knows we’ll think of something to protect ourselves. He’s expecting us to think this through, quickly, and come up with a plan.”

“What?” Davõreen asked.

“I don’t know. Use your brains.”

The storm was close now. They could feel the icy wind that came before it. It blew straight through their cloaks and made them shiver. The first flakes of snow hit them soon after. At first it was easy to walk through it, even when it got thicker and visibility began to be a problem. But before very long there was no visibility. There was a danger of walking in circles and an even greater danger of freezing to death before it was over.

“Chris…” Davõreen turned and grabbed him around the shoulders, holding him close. Chris felt a strong telepathic force radiating out from him. He felt a difference in the air around him. There was no wind, no pressure, and it was no longer cold. Davõreen had projected a shield around them, a psychic dome around which the blizzard raged and swirled in all its wild fury.

“Let me help,” he whispered. “You’ll exhaust yourself.” Davõreen didn’t answer. His concentration was absolute. Chris closed his arms around him and held him upright, hoping the blizzard would be over soon.

It wasn’t. It went on for two, three hours. All the time Davõreen remained in a semi-trance, maintaining the shield. He couldn’t let Chris help. It would have broken his concentration. His body was rigid. Chris’s body ached with the effort of holding him.

At last the storm began to dissipate. The winter sun began to penetrate the white flurries and then, finally, it was still. Chris looked around at the perfect circle in the deep drifted snow where they stood.

“That was using your brain, my dear scarecrow,” Chris said as he felt Davõreen stir in his arms. He supported him as he came out of his trance and sagged, drained mentally and physically by the effort. “That was brilliant. Just keep still for a few minutes. Gather your strength. I’m afraid there’s no time for rest. We lost most of the morning, and the snow is deeper now. We have to press on.”

Davõreen sighed, but it was a satisfied sigh.

“I never managed to do that before. The shield. It always failed. I was useless at the Academy.”

“When it mattered most, you did it. Good man. Can you walk now?”

“I'm ready,” he replied. He stood up straight and turned towards their destination. “I don’t think it looks so far now. What do you think?”

“It’s still far enough. And we don’t know what other trials we may have to overcome. By the way, do we have any food?”

“I’ve got these,” Davõreen replied. He put his hand into the pocket of his robe and brought out a handful of small flat discs. They looked, to Chris, like communion wafers. He took one and put it in his mouth doubtfully. It tasted like Cúl nut, and he guessed it was a kind of concentrated protein that served instead of a full meal. He still thought he would like a full meal, but he made do.

It was difficult going. The new snow was piled in drifts and they never knew at each step if it would support them or if they would fall through and be waist deep in snow. Their feet were already numb with the cold and Chris wondered if Time Lords were in some way immune to frostbite, otherwise they could both be in big trouble. Even so they kept going. They were both physically fit, of course. Gallifreyan stamina was legendary in the universe. The miles did fall behind them steadily. But it was hard work and neither of them could claim to be enjoying the trek.

“I wouldn’t have made it this far without you with me,” Davõreen said when they took a short rest and ate another of the protein discs with the sun now well past its zenith and throwing their shadows before them onto the snow. That was preferable to having it in their eyes all morning, but the longer the shadows got, the more aware they were of a deadline imposed by nature. Nightfall on a Gallifreyan winter’s day would be a serious impediment to their progress.

“I don’t know about that,” Chris answered. “But, anyway, we’re past the point of no return. If you give up now it’s further than pressing on.”

“You are right about that,” Davõreen admitted. “But I would not have reached that point without you.”

“You really lack self-confidence, Davõreen. Even if people have been mean to you most of your life, comparing you to your brother, you do have the same blood in your veins as he has. The same DNA. All you need to do is find a way of using your strengths that suits you, and stop letting them put you down.”

“I…. don’t,” he said. “I…”

“And stop letting yourself put you down. You think you’re not good enough. But you figured it out at the bridge. You saved both our lives in the blizzard. So come on. Prove yourself wrong. We’ve lost a lot of time, but we should still make it to the foot of the mountains by nightfall.

They pressed on again, gradually getting further west with every step. The sun dropped lower to the east – reminding Chris that he was on another planet where the axis of rotation was different to Earth. Their shadows grew longer. The mountains ahead reflected the golden light. It was beautiful, but they both decided it just taunted them even more.

They were running out of time to complete the quest in one single day.

“He never said we had to do it in one day,” Chris pointed out. “The problem is we might not make it at all unless we find shelter before dark.”

Davõreen sighed. It wasn’t failure. But it felt like it. The blizzard had robbed them of those few hours of daylight they needed. It had taken a lot out of him to maintain the shield, too, though he had not admitted it to his travelling companion.

“We can’t go through the mountains at night,” he admitted. “There are some caves near the opening into the pass. We can rest in those, out of the wind and the biting cold.”

Chris half smiled. Davõreen had come up with a practical plan. He was using his brains again.

“Ok, lead the way.”

He did so. As the sun got so low it was giving almost no heat to them at all and even less light, they reached the foot of the Mountains of Solace and Solitude. In the dying light of the day they found one of the caves. The penlight mode of Chris’s sonic screwdriver showed them it was clean and dry and had not been used as shelter for any animal for some time, though there were some old gnawed bones that suggested it had been, once. Just in case, he put some stones along the entrance and then used the laser mode to heat them up until they glowed. That gave the two of them a little heat and light and would deter wildlife from venturing in.

That done, he took off his cloak and laid it on the rock floor of the cave. He sat down on it wearily. Davõreen did the same. They ate another protein disc each.

“They may be nutritional,” Chris commented. “But when I get home, I’m going to my mum’s for a slap up supper and I’ll thoroughly appreciate it.”

“Don’t you have dietary rules for yourself?” Davõreen asked, shocked by his off the cuff remark. “Isn’t that part of your discipline?”

“Yes, except when I visit my mum,” he answered. “Does Lord Rassilon ask you to give up food with taste in it to serve him?”

“Not as such. But I made certain promises… to live an ascetic life, without luxury and sensual pleasures.”

Chris looked at his earnest face in the blue light of his sonic screwdriver torch. He remembered what Rassilon had said about persuading him not to do the trek naked, just to make it harder for himself. He really did take it terribly seriously. Chris suppressed the urge to laugh at his piety because it would be cruel to do so. Davõreen really was so dedicated to the idea of service that he believed his own physical comforts should be subsumed.

“I need to prove I am fit for his work,” Davõreen added.

“I think you are fit for it,” Chris said. “Come on. There’s nothing else to do now but try to sleep.” He laid himself down on the cloak, leaving room for Davõreen to lay beside him, spreading his own cloak over them both.

“Is sharing bodily warmth permitted in your personal rules?” Chris asked as he reached and pulled him closer. “We’re alone in a cave, miles from the next living thing that doesn’t want us for supper. Don’t reject the idea of feeling hearts next to your own. That won’t sap your strength or make you less worthy.”

The feel of Davõreen’s single heart next to his own was a comfort to Chris. It felt a lot like the times he and Davie had camped together and lain like this. Though they usually had a slightly less inadequate camp bed. Davõreen wasn’t his brother. He wasn’t really like him at all. Davie had always been self-assured, a natural leader. Davõreen had been neither. But his heart was pure and his intentions good, and Chris liked him. He was glad to hug him close as they lay in the darkness and tried not to let the sound of their breathing echo too loudly.

Their hard, barely adequate bed certainly qualified as ascetic. They managed to get some sleep, even so. Chris thought at least five or six hours had passed when he opened his eyes to see Davõreen lying awake and still, his wide open eyes catching the glow of the superheated rocks. Chris felt his fear radiating from him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked telepathically.

“There are wolves in the cave. They jumped over your stones.” They could hear them moving around. Three or four of them. No, five. They could smell them, a mix of fur and sweat, blood on their tongues from their last meal of some prey brought down in the snow.

“Keep still,” Chris told him, though that was needless. “But… can you do a bit of telekinesis. I can’t quite reach my sonic screwdriver…”

They both held their breath as the pack leader sniffed the air and moved closer. Chris felt his sonic screwdriver against his hand and he altered the mode by touch. One of them emitted a powerful perception filter. The two of them could disappear from sight, sound and smell of the wolf.

It worked. They both felt the powerful creature, strong muscles and sinews rippling beneath luxurious fur, actually come right up to them, but it didn’t pay them any attention at all. When it actually laid down up against Chris’s back, settling to sleep on the edge of his cloak, they knew that the perception filter was effective.

“We… just have to stay put,” Chris said. “It doesn’t know we’re here. They just want a place to sleep, too. We’ll be all right until dawn.”

“They’re beautiful,” Davõreen answered. “Terrifying, but beautiful. Pazithi Wolves. The creatures of the moon. Can you feel the mind of that one. The pack leader. He… knows he is the most powerful creature in his territory. All else, even the other wolves, defer to him. He… reminds me of my brother. Or… or Lord Rassilon himself. The greatest of us all.”

That made Chris think of something, but he let it pass. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep again, despite the sounds of five wolves snoring and growling in their sleep close by him.

He woke again a few hours later. It was dawn. The rising sun was behind the mountains but the sky outside the cave was a lighter burnt orange and they could see by it. They stood up carefully. Davõreen put his cloak around himself. Chris noticed that the chief wolf was stretched across half of his.

“We’ll have to manage,” Davõreen said as he took off his cloak and gave it to Chris. “You wear it for the first mile and then we’ll swap.”

They moved slowly. Even though the perception filter still held, they didn’t want to make any sudden movements. These were creatures of instinct and it was possible they might see through the filter if they really thought something was there.

“If you get too cold, ask me for the cloak,” Chris said as they got out of the cave and considered their way forward through a narrow mountain pass that got steadily higher.

“I’ll manage,” Davõreen replied.

It was bitterly cold when they set off. The mountain pass was in shadow even though the sun was rising, and the snow was deep. They had to watch out for sudden falls of snow from above and for barely concealed rocks that tripped them, too. They knew it was only a few miles now, but it was the hardest few miles.

Davõreen let Chris keep the cloak for much longer than the first mile, too. Chris had to practically force it on him when he began to look blue from the cold. He claimed he was all right, but he was far from that.

“It’s not much further anyway,” he said. “Another two miles before we reach the Great Cleft. And through that…”

“Through that is where you meet the Wizard, tin man,” Chris told him with a smile.

“What… in Creation does that mean?” Davõreen asked. “It… sounds blasphemous… irreverent. You mean Lord Rassilon, don’t you?”

“Rassilon isn’t a god, despite the things he can do. So it isn’t blasphemy. Irreverent, just a bit. I get that from my great-grandfather. He is irreverent to just about everyone other than Rassilon. The wizard… it fits him well, though.” He explained the story of The Wizard of Oz to Davõreen as they walked. It passed the time and stopped them both thinking about how cold they were. Davõreen did his best to get his serious, Gallifreyan head around the idea of a world full of colour and magic. He did manage to grasp the analogy with his own situation, though.

“Except,” Chris added. “When they got to meet the wizard, it turned out he was a fake. They all got what they wanted because it was all there inside them all the time and they didn’t know it. The lion proved his courage, the scarecrow was the brains of the outfit. The tin man had the compassion – the heart – for them all. And in fact, they didn’t need the wizard after all. Except, of course, going on the quest to find him was what brought out all of that in them. So they needed the IDEA of the wizard, if not the man.”


“And you’ve done pretty well, too. For somebody who thought he lacked courage and intelligence. As for heart… you’re the one who went cold to give me the cloak. Though I suspect there’s still a bit of that stubborn determination to be the suffering martyr in that, too. But mostly it’s because you’re a kind, generous man, Davõreen.”

“Do you think that’s what he wanted all along? For me to find out these things for myself? Is that why you’re here… with your story about wizards and munchkins and scarecrows, so that I would see my own worth?”

“I don’t know if he meant the munchkins to be part of the plan,” Chris answered. “But I think that was the idea. Clever man, Rassilon. Definitely no fake. He’s…”

“He’s the father of us all,” Davõreen said proudly. “Millennia ago, when he created the Time Lord race and sired the first patriarchs of the twelve houses…. Lœngbærrow was the first. His first born son. And I’m a direct descendent of that son. And so are you. He’s our father.”

“Yes, he is,” Chris agreed. “Though I never thought of it that way. I get lost at the bit about the siring, to be honest. I keep wondering how many wives he had and whether they all got on with each other.” Davõreen was looking scandalised. “Sorry, ignore that. Yes, he’s our ancestral father. And he wants the best for us. But he doesn’t give anything away for free. I mean, he could have just touched you and made you feel self-confident, brave, able to think for yourself. But what use would that be. You had to make this effort for yourself. That is what it’s all about. It’s how he showed his love for you.”

“I will give one thing for free,” said a voice they both knew. They looked up and saw Rassilon standing on a rocky outcrop above them. They blinked and a moment later he was standing in front of them. He reached out and touched Davõreen over the empty cavity of his chest. The young Time Lord gave a startled cry and pressed his hand to his chest. Chris smiled. He didn’t need to be told that Rassilon had gifted him with that second heart he had been missing all his life.

“And you, my child of light, need not be cold for the rest of the journey.” He held out his hands and Chris took the cloak he offered. It was the same one they left behind in the cave. It smelt very slightly of wolf, but he didn’t care as he wrapped it around himself and felt warmer right away.

“My Lord,” he said. “Sir… you don’t have any powers to disguise yourself as other creatures… wolves, for instance… do you?”

Rassilon laughed.

“No, I don’t. Though I do have a certain affinity with the wild creatures of this planet. And with the elements.”

“The blizzard. It WAS your doing.”

“Come,” he said. “Let’s walk the last few miles together.”

“I… think we may have walked them together all along,” Davõreen said. “You were with us, weren’t you? In some invisible form.”

“Do you believe I’m that powerful?” Rassilon asked. He looked at Chris. “You said yourself, I’m not a god. I’m not omnipotent. I don’t wish to be. Do you think I am capable of so much?”

“Yes,” Davõreen said without hesitation.

“Yes,” Chris said, also. “You’re not mortal. Not even mortal in the long lived way of Time Lords. You live beyond the ordinary laws of physics. You always have. So… yes, I think you were there. I think you know all we went through.”

“If we had floundered… in the blizzard… if we had fallen… would you have let us die?” Davõreen asked.

“If you had failed such a simple test, you would have both deserved to die,” Rassilon answered him. “But I was quietly confident that you would have thought of something. I worried slightly that you might have been over-ambitious and tried to create a counter-storm or some such thing. Instead you chose elegant simplicity. I was impressed.”

Davõreen didn’t answer that. But Chris had another question for Rassilon as they reached the Great Cleft – a crack in the mountains just wide enough for two men to walk abreast.

“He has passed, hasn’t he?”

“Almost,” Rassilon answered. “One more test. To see if he has what it takes to serve me in the manner he wishes to serve me or in the way I would wish to be served. And a test for you, too.”

Chris didn’t ask what the test was. Davõreen didn’t dare open his mouth. They neither of them felt they dared question further the Creator of their Race. Chris managed a small comment about how much colder it was now. Davõreen knew why.

“We’re nearly there. The Valley of Eternal Night. No sun ever shone there. It is always night, never summer. It’s a cold, dark place. I was there only once before.”

“When you were a boy of eight and faced the Untempered Schism to prove yourself capable of becoming a Time Lord in the fullness of days,” Rassilon said to him. “You know of that ritual, don’t you, Chrístõ Lúzio?”

“I do, of course. It was part of my learning – Gallifreyan history, the history of Time Lord traditions and rituals.”

“You haven’t faced the schism?” Davõreen was astounded. “Yet you ARE a Time Lord. I knew from the first I set eyes on you.”

“Yes, I am. But…in the future, some things are done differently.” He couldn’t tell Davõreen why, of course. That knowledge was too dangerous. But his young ancestor accepted that answer anyway.

“There it is,” Davõreen said as they came through the Cleft into the valley that had different physical rules to the rest of the planet. It was dark night there, even though a winter morning was dawning on the other side of the mountain. Stars shone in the burnt orange sky and it was bitterly cold as if no warmth ever came to this place except that carried in the blood of the young Time Lord candidates who faced their greatest rite of passage here.

There, indeed, it was. Chris looked at the great round portal into infinity made of a material that seemed both metal and stone at the same time. It stood on a raised place in the middle of the valley. He caught his breath at the sight of it. He was overwhelmed and overawed even from a distance. And yet, it was impossible to turn away from the sight. He felt a compulsion to go closer to it.

“Chris, no,” Davõreen said, catching his arm cautiously. “No. It’s dangerous. You’re not prepared for it.”

“On the contrary,” Rassilon said. “Chrístõ Lúzio has been preparing for a very long time. And if he chooses, he may face the great test. As for you, Davõreen de Lœngbærrow, son of my proudest lineage, what was it that you sought?”

“To serve you, my lord,” he answered.

“And you will. But I offer you a choice of how to do that. You may, with my blessing, join the Brotherhood who serve me with contemplation and meditation, living their ascetic lives and seeking enrichment of the soul. That was what you wanted to prove yourself fit for. Or, you may serve me more fully, as my aide, at my side… my… squire, if you will. Young Lúzio understands the meaning of the term. It is one that has fallen into disuse here.”

“My Lord, I would be honoured,” Davõreen said. “But… how should I do that? Must I die… to be with you?”

“No, it would not be death,” Rassilon told him. “It would be immortal life. But it would be life of a kind you do not know of. And you must leave behind your family, all that you know and love. It is a sacrifice not all men could make.”

“Sire….” Chris cut in quickly. “My Lord… you… I have heard stories… about you offering immortality… as a test… and those who want it… you kill them… or you give them immortality but as a trap…”

Rassilon laughed. It was a laugh that actually might have made some men shiver with fear. But Chris stood his ground.

“Don’t do that to him. He only wants to serve you. He has no ambitions to rule, to usurp you, anything like that. He is a good man, My Lord. Don’t…”

“I am not trying to trick him,” Rassilon assured him. “He has not sought immortality. His hearts are pure. That is why it is offered to him.” He turned to Davõreen again. “It is true. Men who seek that prize are judged unworthy by me. But you didn’t seek it, and therefore it is yours. If you choose.”

“Sire…” Davõreen replied. “I choose to serve you for eternity. What must I do?”

“You must go forward with Chrístõ Lúzio and face the Schism with him. He for the first time, you for the second.”

“It is permitted to look into the Schism twice?” Davõreen asked.

“For you, it is. Go now. Both of you. If you are ready.”

“I’m ready,” Chris said.

“I am, also,” Davõreen confirmed.

“Then face it together, now.”

They turned from Rassilon and walked together, slowly. At first, they reached out and grasped each other’s hands. As they stepped onto the platform at the base of the Schism, though, they put their hands by their sides.

“The League of Younger Brothers, United,” Chris said.

Then they took two more steps and looked into infinity.

Infinity looked back at them.

Chris gave a startled gasp and looked around at the meadow above the Pyramid Plain. He looked up at the twin moons of SangC’lune. He wondered if he had been sleepwalking. If so, that was the most vivid dream he had ever had. And where did the cloak come from? Where did the snow crystals come from that melted in the sunshine that warmed his cold body.

He began to run down the slope towards the pyramids. He wanted to see something. His footsteps echoed on the marble streets between the pyramids of the dead until he found the avenue of the House of Lœngbærrow. He found his great grandfather’s pyramid, the first white one in the line. Before that was the pyramid of Chrístõ Mian, a wise, gentle man who had done great things and scandalised Gallifreyan society by marrying a Human. Before that was the pyramid of Chrístõ de Lún, a great astronomer, who scandalised Gallifreyan society by marrying a woman of the servant class. Before him, Chrístõ Dracœfire who once slew a dragon, and who scandalised his own family by marrying the daughter of a rival House. These stories Chris learnt from his great grandfather about his own ancestors. Chrístõ Mal Lõup, known to all as the Tenacious Wolf – a translation of his suffix – was a great warrior and something of a rebel, too, who never followed orders if they didn’t make sense to him. Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt was a traveller who wanted to reach out to the stars his descendent, Chrístõ de Lún, studied through a telescope. Chrístõ Davõreen, like his father, the first Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow, was a soldier in his youth, and later a politician and a diplomat.

They were all there.

But there was no pyramid for Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow’s twin brother, Davõreen de Lœngbærrow. There was no gap where one ought to be.

Chris was puzzled. Davõreen was a young Time Lord like him. He should have a pyramid here to mark his life.

“Chrístõ Lúzio.” A voice called his name and he turned. A man stood there. He looked old, very old, but not frail. He looked as if he still had all the sturdy vitality of youth, tempered by wisdom and experience.

“Davõreen!” Chris whispered. “It’s you, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” he replied. “You were wondering about my pyramid.”


“When we faced the Schism… do you remember it?”

“No… yes… Yes and no. In one part of my mind, I can feel everything. The most amazing experience of my life. I looked into infinity, and I didn’t feel lost or insignificant. Infinity recognised me as its master… or one who could be its master if I chose that power. But I felt… I chose not to. After that… I don’t remember.”

“You passed out. Lord Rassilon said you have an exceptional mind. He said that you were ‘a chip off the old block’. He meant himself, of course. But he thought you would probably think he meant somebody else.”

“Who am I to argue with him? But what happened to you?”

“I have faced the Schism once before. So this time… what I had already felt was drawn out and expanded until it encompassed me body and soul. And it changed me… I was no longer a Time Lord in the way I understood that term. I was above, beyond, a different being entirely. I was Rassilon’s squire, at his right hand forever. I’ve never had a pyramid because I was no longer part of the Line, no longer part of the ordinary existence. I’m not dead, Chris. I haven’t lost anything. But I have lived and will live for an eternity.”

“You know about…” Chris tried to put his question into words, but he didn’t have to. Davõreen nodded sadly.

“My two hearts almost broke with sorrow that day. His did, too. But we knew all was not lost. We knew his Time Lord race was not completely obliterated. He allowed me a moment of pride that it was one of my brother’s line who lived, who was the patriarch of the new Time Lord society. We have both been proud of your efforts.”

“So… the two of you have watched us… you’ve walked with me all along? Me as I built my Sanctuary, Davie as he fought and bled for planet Earth… our new homeworld. You saw it all?”

“We saw. We don’t interfere. You have to make your own choices. But know that we are watching.”

“You sound like Time Lords. You sounds like gods, too.”

“We are your ancestors. We watch because we’re proud of you and know you won’t act against the precepts we laid down millennia before.”

“Will I see you again?” Chris asked. “Or are you just going to be watching?”

“Do you want to?”

“Yes, I think I do,” he answered. “The next time I am here on SangC’lune, perhaps. I should like to walk and talk with you… with my friend who I took such a journey with.”

Davõreen smiled and his form shifted so that he looked like the young man Chris recognised. He reached out and touched him on the shoulder. He felt real, corporeal. Until that moment Chris hadn’t been sure.

“We will walk together again,” he promised. “For now, farewell, my friend.”

“Good journey,” Chris told him before he vanished into the air. He smiled and turned to walk back towards the village. Gill and Cól met him along the way and fell in step with him. Then they were joined by Tony, the gifted young Human from Liverpool, and Marton, The Doctor’s own apprentice Time Lord.

“Chris, are you ok?” Tony asked. “You seem… different.”

“Good different or bad different,” he asked.

“Good different. Definitely good. You look as if… I don’t know, as if you’ve just discovered religion or something.”

Chris laughed. They all did. He knew he couldn’t share his experience with them. But he wasn’t meant to. They looked to him for leadership and guidance. And now he knew that he had somebody who would guide him if he needed it.

“Come on,” he said. “It’s nearly time for Daygone.”