Chrístõ sighed deeply. He knew his time with the ancestor with whom he had so much in common was ending. Now he really was entering new territory. He didn’t know the man known as Chrístõ Mal Loup at all. He knew no stories, even exaggerated ones, about him. He didn’t even fully understand the suffix that was given to his name. Mal Loup… Bad Wolf. What did that mean?

“I am as much in the dark as you are,” Dracœfire told him. “He married late in life when his deeds were done. I only remember him as an old man. But I am sure there is nothing to fear from him.

“I… am sure,” Chrístõ agreed. But even so, he felt uncertain about this next stage of his journey into his Being.

“Where is this?” he asked. He looked around at the metallic walls and felt the vibration of engines. “A space ship?”

“Battle ship,” Dracœfire said. “My father was a general in our army. That much I do know. He must have been on this ship.”

“I was in command of this ship,” said a deep, authoritative voice. Chrístõ turned. So did Dracœfire. They both looked with surprise and awe at the man who stood before them. He was dressed in a deep maroon and black military uniform that made him look even taller and more broad-shouldered than he really was. He looked magnificent. Dracœfire bowed to him. Chrístõ didn’t. He squared his shoulders and saluted him. He had never been a soldier in the official sense. He had never worn a uniform. But he had fought in a war. As one warrior to another, he saluted. Chrístõ Mal Loup nodded imperceptibly and saluted him in return.

As he did so, he felt Dracœfire leave him.

“You were worried about meeting me?” Mal Loup said.

“Yes,” Chrístõ admitted.

“There is no need. I think we understand each other better than you expected. You are young. And yet… I sense the scars upon your soul…. You’ve been in battle?”

“Yes,” he answered. “I…” He wondered if he ought to tell his ancestor anything more about the war he had fought only too recently. It was in the far future for Mal Loup. Should he know about it?

But he was forgetting. This wasn’t the real man. He wasn’t travelling in time. He was still in his meditation room on Beta Delta IV, seeing these visions of the past and interacting with the long dead spirits of his ancestors.

“You don’t have to tell me anything about it unless you want to. One war is much like another. They told us, when I was a junior officer, that we were going to be fighting a war to ensure peace for future generations. But I am not altogether surprised that it proved an empty promise. Come… we shall go to the bridge. Momentous things are about to happen there.”

Chrístõ walked with his ancestor. He noted how very precise and disciplined he was in his movements and tried to match him. He wanted Mal Loup to be impressed by him. He wasn’t even sure why it mattered, but it did.

“What’s the name of this ship?” Chrístõ asked, trying to find a way to start a conversation with him.

“The Pazithi Wolf,” Mal Loup answered. “Have you heard of it?”

“No,” Chrístõ admitted. “I didn’t really study military history. I did comparative cultures instead.”

“Wouldn’t have been taught anyway,” Mal Loup replied in a gruff, irritated tone. “What happened here isn’t something the High Council wanted posterity to remember. By your generation they will have buried it deep in the Matrix, known only to Presidents and Chancellors. And few of those will want to mull over the lessons I taught them this day.”

They reached the bridge. Chrístõ was surprised how busy it was. In addition to the usual compliment of officers with their appointed tasks, there were a group of men and women in what Chrístõ immediately thought of as paramilitary uniform – that is to say not a uniform in the sense of any kind of uniformity of style, and certainly nothing that indicated rank. But they were clothes for combat. He was reminded of the battledress he wore himself when he commanded the group that retook the citadel from the Mallus. The battledress of resistance fighters, insurgents, rebels, or depending on your viewpoint, terrorists.

He looked at the big viewscreen and recognised the space the ship was travelling through. Gallifrey was a shining red globe coming rapidly closer. They were on their way home. At least those aboard who were Gallifreyan were.

“General, we’re in range of the Transduction Barrier,” said the communications officer.

In the command chair, General Chrístõ Mal Loup de Lœngbærrow nodded in acknowledgement. Beside him was a man who wasn’t an officer of the Gallifreyan Space Fleet. He was a tall, red haired man wearing a leather jerkin over his battledress.

The leader of the insurgents or rebels, Chrístõ guessed.

An alarm sounded. The General snapped a command and it was cut off. Then a voice was heard over the loud speakers, patched through by the communications officer. Chrístõ recognised the supercilious tones of a Gallifreyan civil servant right away. The Transduction Barrier operator was refusing to let the ship through with non-Gallifreyans aboard.

General De Lœngbærrow identified himself and his ship, and the voice was slightly cowed and less certain, but repeated that they could not pass through the Barrier. He signalled to the communications officer and the voice was silenced as the communication was cut and then blocked.

“We’ll do it our way,” he said, nodding to his tactical and navigation officers. Chrístõ wondered if he was about to blow up the transduction barrier. But that would be an act of treason.

“Yes, it would,” Mal Loup said to him. “But so was what I did next. And what I did after that, too.”

The General stood up as he gave the signal to his people. He remained straight and upright even though the ship shuddered violently when it broke through the gap that the tactical command had created in the Transduction Barrier.

“That will have got their attention, anyway,” he said. “Now, take us down to the Capitol.”

“Couldn’t do this in your time,” Mal Loup said to Chrístõ. “They put up the dome over the city to protect it from exactly this sort of thing.”

Chrístõ remembered the dome broken and destroyed by the Mallus, helped by a traitor who told them exactly how to hit it to cause maximum damage. His ancestor wasn’t a traitor. He wasn't going to bombard the Capitol. He knew that much. But he still didn’t understand what he was planning or why.

He felt the forward momentum of the ship slow and stop. On the viewscreen was the Capitol from above, as it looked three generations before his own time. The ship was in a low altitude geo-stationary orbit above it. Then the General put his hand on the shoulder of the young rebel.

“We’re going into the mouth of the dragon as far as you’re concerned. Will you trust me to protect you and your people?”

“I will,” the rebel leader answered. “I have trusted you from the moment you had me at your mercy and did not kill me. I do not believe you have brought me and my people into a trap. I will go with you to face your High Council and have them hear us out.”

“Good man,” the General said. He again had no need for spoken commands. He nodded to those of his people who were going to accompany him and the rebel leader. They stood close together in a tight ring with armed guards around them as the transmat beam enfolded them and they vanished from the bridge.

Chrístõ and his ancestor didn’t use the transmat. They weren’t really there, after all. Rather, like a scene change in a television programme, they were suddenly there, in the Panopticon during a sitting of the High Council. And so were General De Lœngbærrow and his people. As soon as they materialised, the guards raised their weapons. Chrístõ watched in horror as they opened fire on the Chancellery Guards on duty in the Panopticon, then breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that they had used stun guns simply to disable the guards. The General’s own men took up positions around the Panopticon as he stood in the middle of the floor, facing the High Council. There was a silence from the ranks of Councillors, from the public gallery and from the High Council themselves, that was almost palpable. Slowly, the Lord High President rose from his seat on the dais and looked down at the man who had taken the floor in such a dramatic way.

“Loup, what is going on here?” demanded the Lord High President.

“I am in the uniform of a Gallifreyan Space Fleet officer,” the General answered. “It is not appropriate for you to address me by the nickname of our childhood, cousin.”

“It is not appropriate for you to enter the Panopticon with armed guards, interrupting a session of the High Council and…”

“I am here to draw the attention of the High Council to an outrageous injustice which I call upon them to censure. The attempted genocide of a peaceful people who seek only recognition of their struggle for independence from their tyrannical overlords.”

The Lord High President blinked and stared at General de Lœngbærrow.

“What tyrant… what peaceful people?”

“The tyrant is Gallifrey. The peaceful people are the Kutua… of the Dominion planet of Kutuan X.”

The Lord High President frowned. Around the Panopticon there were murmurs of consternation.

“Kutuan X… is the planet where we authorised you to suppress a rebellion.”

“Yes,” General de Lœngbærrow replied. “Yes, that is what you sent me to do. And when I reached the planet, what did I find? A people living by subsistence, continuously on the edge of starvation, worked to death in the mineral mines and never seeing a penny of dividend from their toil. Their needs were ignored by the governor put in place by the High Council.”

“You mean Lord Ravenswode?” The Chancellor dared to interrupt him. When the General turned his gaze on him he almost shrivelled in his seat, but the question waited to be answered.

“Lord Ravenswode is a thief and an embezzler,” cried the rebel leader who stood beside the General. “He fully deserved the sentence of execution that was passed by the provisional government of the Kutuan Republic.”

“Execution?” The word echoed around the Pantopticon.

“Lord Ravenswode is dead?” the Lord High President asked in a worried tone. “And… exactly who is this offworlder you saw fit to bring into the Panopticon?”

“We reached the Governor’s Mansion before the Kutuan Volunteer Army,” General de Lœngbærrow replied. “I placed him under protective custody. He is in the brig aboard the Pazithi Wolf. The evidence proving that he has exploited the people of Kutuan for his own profit is contained in this data wafer.” He held up a small solid state memory chip and then placed it in the pocket of his robe for safekeeping. “This man is Prakis Sheer. He is the President of the Provisional Government of the Kutuan Republic. He is here to make known to you the terms of the Proclamation of Kutuan Independence and to hear your acceptance of those terms. As such, he is under a flag of truce and will have my protection until he is ready to leave Gallifrey and return to his duties as the popular leader of the Kutuan people.”

“Can he do that?” Chrístõ asked, frowning as he ran through all he knew of constitutional law. “I mean… can you….”

“I did it,” Mal Loup replied. “They had to listen to Sheer. They had to look at the evidence that Ravenswode had been making massive profits out of the sweat and toil of the Kutuan people, and cheating the Gallifreyan Treasury into the bargain. They had to accept the legitimacy of the Kutuan Republic. They had to concede their right to independence and then negotiate a trade package that would be favourable to Kutua and allow it to become genuinely self sufficient and prosperous.”

“So… you did good. Even though it looked as if you were committing High Treason… in the end you did good.”

“‘Looked’ wasn’t in it. I DID commit High Treason. So did the officers and men who obeyed my command. If I had failed, I was ready to offer my own life as long as they were exonerated. Even now, when I think about it, I am almost astonished that they listened to me, and to Sheer. We might both have been signing our own death warrants that day.”

“But why have I never heard of this? I’ve never even heard of Kutua. Yet… there was an armed rebellion there against Gallifrey. There was a battle… there was, wasn’t there? You fought the Kutuans?”

“To my shame, we did. Before we saw what they were fighting for. The blood of those insurgents we killed before I called a ceasefire and asked Sheer to talk terms stains my soul. I accept that. Though those who ordered me to lead an attack on those brave, proud people ought to take a share of the guilt.”

“But why is nothing known of this in my time?” Chrístõ insisted. “Even your own son… Dacœfire…. Knew nothing about it.”

“They accepted the terms. Kutua got its independence. But they feared the consequences. We had some seventy Dominion planets at that time. The High Council thought that if news reached them of Kutua’s rebellion there would be anarchy. So everyone who was present in the Panopticon that day, even the civilians in the public gallery, were sworn to secrecy. The events were recorded, of course. My speech, Sheer’s declaration of independence, they were entered into the Matrix. But nobody would ever speak of it. I didn’t even tell my son. A version of the story did get about, of course – a legend that a few people believed to be true, but most dismissed as unlikely. Only two things came out of that day for certain. I lived up to the suffix I was given at birth… Mal Loup – the Tenacious Wolf.”

“Tenacious Wolf?” Chrístõ smiled widely. “I had the translation wrong all these years. But now I understand. What was the other thing?”

“The beginning of the feud between Lœngbærrow and Ravenswode. He wasn’t prosecuted, you understand. To do that would mean publicly acknowledging that a Gallifreyan had been responsible for such an injustice as Kutua. He was dismissed quietly from government service without a pension, and with much of his fortune confiscated and given as restitution to the Kutuan people. He got off lightly. But even so, he held a grudge against me. His children carried on that grudge.”

“Not all of them,” Chrístõ remembered. “His daughter married your son.”

“The one exception. But now you know the cause of the trouble between our families.”

“I know something more than that,” he said. “I know that… I am descended from a man who was prepared to commit treason in order to do what is morally right. That’s something to live up to.”

“You don’t have to emulate me too closely,” Mal Loup told him.

Chrístõ smiled and wondered if his own recent act of rebellion against the intransigence of the Gallifreyan civil service would be considered emulation of Mal Loup’s own tenaciousness.

“It isn’t quite the same body blow to Gallifreyan society,” he said with a soft laugh. “But it seems you are a chip off the old block in many ways.

“I… am glad of that,” Chrístõ said. “And I am glad that I have had a chance to know of this part of your life. It isn’t forgotten after all.”

“Chrístõ Cuimhne…. Remembrance is your sacred task as a son of our noble House. Remember well the deeds of the Tenacious Wolf.”

“I will,” he promised. “But… I suppose now I have to leave you? I wish we could have more time.”

“Ironically, even a Lord of Time cannot have that.”

Mal Loup walked with him through the great doors of the Panopticon, between two Chancellery Guards who said nothing and did nothing to obstruct them since they weren’t really there. Chrístõ was not at all surprised to find that he stepped into the garden of Mount Lœng House, his ancestral home on the southern continent, some thousand miles from the Capitol.

It was almost new in this time. The house he was born in was built when his ancestor called Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt was a boy. It replaced an earlier house that burnt down. Chrístõ knew that because a set of prints of the original architect’s drawings were framed and hung on the first landing of the stairs. He had walked past them so often, seen the dates and the architect’s signature on them thousands of times.

It was his home, and Chrístõ smiled as he stood on the driveway and looked at it. For all his ambivalent feelings about Gallifrey generally, the home of his childhood was a place he was happy to see.

“So was I,” said a voice and Chrístõ looked around to see a man who had to be Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt standing there. He turned back and noted that Mal Loup was gone now. He felt a little sorry about that, but he was surprised by the sight of this new ancestor. He was the youngest looking of them all.

“I’m not as young as I look.” He told him. “This is how I looked in my third regeneration – my last.”

“Last?” Chrístõ looked at him in surprise. “Why?”

“You’ll find out,” Diam?ndh?rt said. “Come…. We’re here to witness my final parting from this house.”

“What?” Chrístõ shivered suddenly and turned to look as the double doors of Mount Lœng House were opened. He recognised a funeral party when he saw one. He had been a part of more than one of them that began by descending those steps, the pall bearers carrying the coffin carefully and reverently.

He looked back at the spirit of Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt.

“We’re… here… to see your funeral?” He was horrified. All the others of his ancestors had brought him to see momentous events in their life. And he knew for a fact that Diam?ndh?rt was an adventurer. At the Malvorian monastery where he had learnt the disciplines of Sun Ko Du, the monks had legends of Do-Re Thup, the Time Lord known as Diam?ndh?rt who defeated the tyrannical overlord who had kept the people of the valley below the monastery in penury. They had long poems and stories about him. Chrístõ had been secretly proud when he heard them, knowing that it was his own ancestor they were remembering.

“Yes,” Diam?ndh?rt said. “Yes, I did all those things. I wasn’t much older than you when I was on Malvoria. Afterwards, I spent the rest of my first lifetime - six hundred years – in the monastery. I became their Grand Master for a while. I died a peaceful death of old age, with the monks singing gentle chants and burning incense around my deathbed. I regenerated into a younger, fitter body and left Malvoria to return to Gallifrey. I felt the pull of home. I think you know what I mean. As magnificent as the universe is, coming here… breathing the air I breathed when I was born, under the sky I first looked upon with a child’s eyes… it pulled me home. But I had no taste for politics or worldly pursuits. I found a monastery here on Gallifrey, high on the mountain from where our name comes from.”

“You joined the Brotherhood of Mount Lœng?” Chrístõ turned from watching the sad procession from the house to look at the spirit of his ancestor.

“It had been there for generations before I climbed the mountain. I may have been among the first of our own family to adopt a life of contemplation, though.”

“I wanted to join the Brotherhood,” Chrístõ said. “But they refused me. They said my destiny was in the wider universe.”

“Then you will find it there,” Diam?ndh?rt told him. “I was content there for a millennium, never leaving the mountain. I would have stayed there. But I am the only son, the Heir. It was my duty…. An Alliance was arranged. That woman…” He pointed to a graceful lady who walked on the arm of an elderly man, behind the coffin. Beside her, clinging to her hand, was a small boy. “Our son… He is master of this House now. May Rassilon have favour for him,”

“Your Alliance was arranged?” Chrístõ queried. “You didn’t marry for love?

“Love?” Diam?ndh?rt smiled. “Yes, love came in time. She was a charming woman, accomplished, elegant, everything an Oldblood heir would want in a wife. And yes, I came to love her. But she was chosen because the Alliance of our two Houses would be advantageous. That is perfectly usual on Gallifrey, of course. At least it is in my time. Is it not in your generation?”

“Not for me,” Chrístõ answered. “Or my father, or my grandfather and great grandfather. I never asked your son. We had other things to think about. But… you said you died in your third regeneration. How?”

Chrístõ felt he had to ask that question, though he slightly dreaded the answer.

“I was murdered.”

That was the answer he was expecting. Few kinds of accidents could kill a Time Lord. He looked at the widow and the boy who would, of course, grow up to be the Tenacious Wolf who would not stand by and see injustice done.

“Murder… how?”

“I married my lady… Ceallia is her name. I took my place as patriarch of the House of Lœngbærrow. We waited for a few centuries before she bore me my son. We both thought there would be time enough. Meanwhile I took up a post as Magister, rising to Inquisitor of Southern Gallifrey. Do you know, by the way, why I am called Diam?ndh?rt ?”

“The monks gave you that name, on Malvoria. Do-Re Thup – the Heart of Diamond.”

“Yes, they did. But that wasn’t especially astute of them since they know full well of the Gallifreyan practice of giving newborn sons names that prophecy their future characteristics. But… what would you say were the principal characteristics of a diamond?”

“The hardest substance in the universe. Brilliant, multi-faceted… cold…”

“That was the Inquisitor of Southern Gallifrey. Hard, brilliant, multi-faceted and cold. I was known as the strictest judge for many generations.”

“But… fair, surely?” Chrístõ asked. “My father has served as Magister in his time. He is known for his fairness in his judgements, punishing the guilty, showing mercy to the innocent.”

“Fair?” Diam?ndh?rt turned the word over. “Yes, I suppose I was. But first and foremost I believed that the guilty should be punished and I rarely listened to any appeal. I sent many wrongdoers to Shada, still more to the atomising chamber.”

Chrístõ shuddered. He hated the death penalty. He felt uncomfortable that his ancestor was so proud to have passed such sentences.

“I was feared by the wicked, respected by the just. At home I was contented with my wife, and in the course of time, my son and heir. There was talk of my being elevated to High Inquisitor.”


“I was hearing a case against a notorious felon. You don’t need to know his crime, only that I had no doubt about his guilt. I had sentenced him to death. But I didn’t know that he had bought off those I should have been able to trust – the Chancellery Guards in the court. I was shot in the head by one of them. As I lay dying, close to entering a regeneration phase, I saw the prisoner above me. He stabbed me in the neck, piercing the medula oblongata. Do you understand the consequences of that?”

“Yes,” Chrístõ answered. “It is one of the most certain ways of killing a Time Lord.”

“My last thoughts were for them… my wife… my poor boy…”

“I’ve seen him,” Chrístõ said. “He grew up to be a brave man. You would have been proud of him.”

“I am proud of him,” Diam?ndh?rt said. “But I bitterly regret not being allowed to see him grow up.”

The funeral procession had reached the place called the Meadow of Ashes, screened from the rest of the Mount Lœng gardens by trees on each side. It was a place where Chrístõ rarely walked even when he was home. He went there only on those rare occasions when the rituals of death had to be performed over a member of his family. They were traumatic occasions he preferred not to think about.

For the family of Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt it was a dark, terrible occasion. Those who stood and watched as the coffin was placed within the funeral pyre bore expressions of deep grief and shock. The widow and her child most especially. They did their best to keep the dignity of their race in this terrible time, though. Or at least they appeared to do so. Because Gallifreyans do not cry tears does not mean they do not feel pain and grief. As Diam?ndh?rt’s father stepped forward and lit the pyre, his widow began a sad keening that was not quite a song, and not quite a chant, an expression of grief that hung on the air just like the smoke from the fire did.

Chrístõ felt the sound reach him in his two hearts. His half Human eyes filled with empathic tears for the sorrow of his ancestors.

“What is this?” Chrístõ Diam?ndh?rt asked. “Tears from the eyes of a Son of the House of Lœngbærrow?”

“My mother was Human,” Chrístõ answered him, blinking hard. “Tears are…” He remembered what his father had always told him. “Tears are her gift to me… to temper the stoicism of my Gallifreyan blood… to… soften the diamonds in the centre of my own hearts.”

“Curious,” Diam?ndh?rt responded. “I would never have thought it. But… I see that your hearts are strong. And your blood is Gallifreyan. You are a true Son of Lœngbærrow.”

“Yes, I am,” he said. “And any man…even you… who doubted that… I would call him to account. Or any who maligned the memory of my mother.”

“And so you should, Son of Lœngbærrow. Come. It is time for you to move on. You saw my father there… near the end of his life. I think you will know him in his younger days, now.”

“Chrístõ Davõreen,” he said, nodding. “I know his name, but nothing more about him.”

“You will, I have no doubt. Come.”

The smell of the funeral pyre was still in his nostrils as they stepped away from the scene and Chrístõ found himself in the Citadel once again. He was standing in the sumptuous foyer before the great doors to the Panopticon itself.

“Hello, boy,” said the spirit of Chrístõ Davõreen. Chrístõ recognised the same man he had seen at the funeral. He looked a little younger, but this was in the same incarnation.

“I am 196,” Chrístõ pointed out. “I am a transcended Time Lord and I have even graduated fully from the Academy. Why do all my ancestors insist on calling me boy?”

His ancestor laughed. “What would you prefer to be called?”

He thought about that for a few moments. He had been called ‘Excellency’ when he represented his world as a diplomat. He was called ‘Highness’ on Adano-Ambrado where he was Penne’s Crown Prince. Even on Beta Delta IV, most of the students at the school called him ‘sir’.

“Chrístõ would be nice,” he answered. “Just for once.”

“Chrístõ, come along and watch the proudest moment of my life.” Chrístõ Davõreen clapped him on the back good-naturedly and turned towards the Panopticon. The wide open doors were flanked by Chancellery Guards in their ceremonial uniforms with so much more shining brass and feathers in their helmets than on ordinary days. They passed unnoticed, of course. Chrístõ looked around at the Panopticon at its most elegant and dignified. All around were Time Lords of every rank in the ceremonial costumes of their Chapters; Lords, Cardinals and High Councillors in all their myriad colours. It looked splendid.

“It’s… a Presidential investiture?” he guessed. He had seen two of those in his own lifetime. It was am impressive sight and a wonderfully dignified ceremony. And if this was Chrístõ Davõreen’s proudest moment, then that must mean…

He watched as the official known by the ancient and mysterious title of ‘Gold Usher’ stepped into the Panopticon followed by the presidential candidate escorted by four Chancellery Guards in full dress uniform. He, himself, was dressed in a simple white cotton robe. That was customary. The investiture was rather like a coronation. It involved the donning of a gown and cloak and more as the trappings of the presidency were accepted by the man. For now, the tall, broad-shouldered, dark haired man stood proudly on the dais. He put his right hand over his left heart as the Gallifreyan National Anthem began. Everyone stood and did the same. Chrístõ followed their example. He was not really there. But he was a loyal son of Gallifrey and he stood to attention as the stirring tune continued.

When it was over, Gold Usher stepped forward, his staff in his hand. He tapped twice on the floor to command attention then he turned to the assembled Time Lords as he began the words of the ceremony.

“Honoured members of the supreme council. Cardinals, Time Lords, Gallifreyans, we are here today to honour the will and the wisdom of Rassilon in investing as Lord High President of the Supreme High Council Chrístõ Davõreen of the House of Lœngbærrow.”

Chrístõ’s hearts swelled with pride as he heard his own ancestor’s name in that context. He wasn’t the only one, of course. His own father had served a short term as President before he was born, and before that, four of the men he had met already in the course of this rite had been President at some time in their lives, including the rebellious Mal Loup.

But it was still a proud moment for him as he watched Gold Usher address the assembly again in the prescribed fashion.

“Is there anyone here to contest the candidate’s right to the Sash of Rassilon?”

He paused for the required time.

“Is there anyone here to contest the candidate’s right to the Rod of Rassilon?”

Again a pause.

“Is there anyone here to contest the candidate’s right to the Great Key of Rassilon?”

Another paused before he spoke again.

“By custom, with wisdom and for honour, I shall strike three times. Should no voice be heard by the third stroke, I will, duty bound, invest the Candidate as Lord President of the Supreme Council of the Time Lords of Gallifrey.”

He struck the floor three times in slow succession. There was not a murmur from the assembled Time Lords. Gold Usher smiled and turned to the Candidate.

“It is my duty and privilege, having the consent of the Time Lords of Gallifrey, to invest you as President of the Supreme Council.”

As he spoke, a black gown embroidered with golden symbols of Gallifrey and of Rassilon, Creator of the Time Lord race, was put onto the candidate over his simple robe. On top of that a gold cloak was fastened. Then three Guards approached bearing velvet cushions on which the ceremonial and sacred symbols of the Presidency lay.

Two of them, at least.

“Accept, therefore, the Sash of Rassilon,” Gold Usher said and placed the heavy sash of gold plates around the neck of the Candidate.

“Accept, therefore, the Rod of Rassilon,” he said as he gave the black and gold sceptre into the Candidate’s hands.

“Seek, therefore, to find the Great Key Sash of Rassilon.”

The Candidate reached out towards the final, empty cushion as was the tradition. The Great Key was lost long ago. Nobody was even entirely sure what it was and why it was significant. This strange empty gesture had been part of the Investiture ceremony for so long it had ceased to matter.

“Do you swear to uphold the laws of Gallifrey?” Gold Usher asked the Candidate.

“I swear!” he replied.

“Do you swear to follow in the wisdom of Rassilon?”

“I swear.”

“Do you swear to protect the laws and the wisdom of Rassilon?”

“I swear.”

“I invest you Lord President of the Supreme Council. I wish you good fortune and strength. I give you the Matrix.”

Lord President Chrístõ Davõreen de Lœngbærrow knelt as Gold Usher placed the Coronet of Rassilon on his head. A descant version of the National Anthem played as he rose up again and everyone else knelt in reverence.

Chrístõ knelt. Again the excitement of the moment overtook him. He was proud of his ancestor and he was glad to do him honour.

Everyone sat after that. The new President was required to make a speech, now.

“You don’t want to listen to that, do you?” Chrístõ heard his ancestor speak by his side. “It was quite a dull speech, I’m afraid. There isn’t a lot of room for inventiveness in presidential investiture speeches. Come. Let’s take a walk.”

Chrístõ turned and stepped out of the Panopticon with his ancestor. They walked through the foyer and then out into the Capitol. Chrístõ looked up at the sky. The city was still open to the elements, not enclosed in the protective dome as it was in his time. But other than that little had changed.

“You’re nearly at the end of your journey, Chrístõ,” his ancestor told him. “When you meet with my father, that will be enough to fulfil your Rite of Being.”

“I hope so. It… has seemed a long journey.”

“Go, then, and walk with him. My blessing on you, Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow.”

“And you,” Chrístõ responded.

He looked around. The ancestor he was speaking to was gone. And he was no longer in the Capitol. He was on the Southern Continent again. He recognised the place even though he reckoned it was something like ten thousand years or more before his own time. He made a mental note to check the dates and draw up a timeline for himself some time soon.

“It is fifteen thousand years before your own time, Son of the House of Lœngbærrow,” said a voice. Chrístõ turned and looked at the man who addressed him. He was old, but not elderly, certainly not frail. Iron grey hair had once been as black as his own. Brown eyes were still full of life. His face bore lines of age, but none so deep as to mar his handsome features.

“You… remind me of my father,” he said.

“I am the first of your line. My blood flows in your veins.”

“I know,” Chrístõ told him. “I… am honoured to be in your presence.” He bowed. The first Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow nodded in acknowledgement of his mark of respect and bid him raise his head.

“Come,” he said. “You are meant to see some aspect of my life… an anecdote that tells you something about who I am, and therefore, who you are, my fine young descendent.”

“Do you think it really does tell me something about who I am?” Chrístõ asked as he walked with his ancestor across the open plain of Southern Gallifrey. “Surely, whatever my blood is made of, the things I choose to do, my actions, my words, are of my own volition. I am a product of my ancestors, but I am an individual.”

“The fact that you have given thought to the matter proves that much. But you have a thirst for knowledge and adventure, you value freedom, your own, and the freedom of others, above diamonds. You are a pacifist who is prepared to fight for peace. You will not stand by and let an injustice go unchallenged. You walk in the light and fight the darkness, Chrístõdavõreendiam?ndh?rtmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow. You are all that your ancestors were. You are the Tenacious Wolf with a Heart of Diamond. Chrístõ Cuimhne… Remembrance. You keep us all in your hearts and remember who we were and what we were as you go forward and carve your own niche in posterity.”

Chrístõ considered that. Then he gave attention to his surroundings. They had come to a building that rose up on the plain quite incongruously. It had white walls with only the tiniest windows in it and a huge door.

Outside that door was a man. He was hammering upon the wood and shouting at the top of his voice. It seemed unlikely that anyone inside the building could fail to hear him. But they kept him waiting quite some time before, finally, the bolts were drawn back and the door opened part way.

A woman stood before him. She was dressed from head to foot in dark blue silk, including a veil that covered her whole face.

“What is this unseemly noise?” she demanded. “This is a House of Contemplation.”

“I beg your pardon,” said the younger version of the first Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow, bowing his head respectfully. “But I must see Shayna Luchessa. Please let me speak with her.”

“Are you the reason she sought the peace of our cloisters?”

“If I am, I am most heartily sorry, and I wish to tell her so,” he answered. “Please… just give me a little time. Let me… let me hear from her own lips that she doesn’t want to join with me in Alliance.”

“Very well,” said the veiled woman. “Come this way. But be silent. Respect our atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.”

He entered the House of Contemplation. Chrístõ and his ancestor followed him unnoticed. The ‘atmosphere of peace and tranquillity’ enveloped them even though they were only there in spirit. Chrístõ thought it must be impossible to feel anxious or agitated in that place.

Yet the young Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow did. He was a worried man and it told in his body language as he sat in the quiet cloister by a tinkling fountain and surrounded by pleasantly scented plants that also should have made him feel more tranquil.

Presently a woman came to him. She was dressed in pale blue silk, but her head was not fully covered. She merely wore a shawl over the crown of her head.

“Shayna,” he said jumping up to greet her. “Oh, my dear…”

“Let us sit,” she answered him. “Sister Evallia says that you have asked an audience with me?”

“I have come to ask you to return to the outside world… and for our Alliance to go ahead as planned.”

“I know,” she replied. “What else would you have come here for? But the answer is no. I will not be trapped in a marriage to a man who loves another.”

“What other?” Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow was visibly stunned by that news. “Shayna… it is true that our parents arranged our Alliance when we were both children. But I have loved you since the day we were introduced.”

“Physical attraction,” she said. “If I were long of face and with skin of leather, would you have loved me?”

“Shayna, my dear, it was not merely physical attraction. I loved you. Do you remember when we walked together, talking of so many things… of books and music, art... You captivated me then. Do you remember when I sat to be painted by Lupe Hucha – his masterpiece, the Twelve Sons of Rassilon. He painted me as his vision of what the first son of Rassilon looked like. You sat in the corner of his studio watching and laughing at my discomfort when my limbs cramped holding the heroic pose. And your laughter… Shayna, the sound of your gentle laughter on that day… I treasured it in my memory through this past decade when I have fought two wars for the sake of Gallifrey. In the darkest nights, in the midst of death, in the face of ghastly enemies, your memory kept me from despair, knowing that when the war was over, when my years of service were over, I was coming home to be with you. And… when I did, when you were there with my parents to meet me, to welcome me home, I could not have been a happier man. But… two days before our Alliance… I discovered you gone. And now you tell me… that I love another? Shayna, I have barely looked at any other woman but you in the last fifty years of my life.”

“You are in love with Sarita Pretarion.”

“I am not,” he protested. “Who told you that?”

“I saw it…. In a vision,” Shayna told him. “You know I have always had the sight. The vision came to me… of you, lying awake at night, yearning for another woman’s love, another woman’s kisses. You spoke her name aloud with such fervour… I knew that it had to be true.”

“It is not true. The vision was false. Shayna… let me… let me touch your mind… I need to see this vision…”

She was reluctant at first, then she slid the shawl from her head and allowed him to put his hands each side of her face. He closed his eyes and reached into her thoughts. His expression as he did so was merely of deep concentration.

“Shayna,” he said at last. “That vision is untrue. You have been duped by one who wished to set us apart… and perhaps drive a wedge between my House and the House of Pretarion into the bargain. I believe I know who it was. But that is a political matter. I will deal with it another time. My only concern right now is to dispel your doubts. Please, Shayna, look again at the vision. The signs are small. But they are there. Tell me what is wrong with that scene.”

She closed her eyes and he waited apprehensively. Then she opened her eyes wide.

“The moon, shining in through your window… Pazithi Gallifreya in her aspect of bronze…. But her aspect has been silver for this past month. It was not a true vision of events as they happened.”

“You are a true seer, Shayna. I know that. But you are young, and your mind is open. You were given a false image that you could not recognise from the real ones…”

“Then my gift is corrupted. I cannot trust my own mind.”

“You need training, that is all. The Sisters here will be able to do that. Shayna… come home now… be joined with me in Alliance… know my unwavering love as a physical joy. But I will forgo that joy on three days out of four in order that you should come here and learn how to focus your mind so that no such falsity can ever be introduced into your thoughts.”

“You would consent to that?” She looked at him hopefully. “But what of my duty to you? As Patriarch of your House it is imperative that you are delivered of an heir…”

“Yes, before I am an old man. But I am a young man, and you are a young woman and we have time enough to know the joys of parenthood. Will we first know the joy of each other?”

“Yes,” she said, reaching for him. Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow embraced his sweetheart and kissed her lovingly.

What happened after that was not witnessed by his descendent. There was no need. Chrístõ found himself on the plain once more, under the Gallifreyan sun. He turned to his ancestor questioningly.

“She married you, of course?”

“She did. And… to anticipate your next question – my political enemy who caused that rift between us was given his just desserts. We lived a happy, prosperous, good life together. She bore me a son and three daughters. My son… you know him already, of course. He made his own mark on history. My daughters – two made good marriages. The third shared her mother’s gift of seeing and joined this House of Contemplation where she could best use that gift. I was content that my Line was assured. And I was correct in that assurance. You stand as proof of that, Son of Lœngbærrow.”

“I am… glad of that,” Chrístõ answered. Then he hesitated. “What now? Where do I go from here? The Rite is over, is it not? It feels as if it is.”

“The Rite of Being… is not quite over for you. But there is no more the sons of our House can guide you through. Good luck, son of my sons, in the continuance of your quest.”

“I… don’t understand,” Chrístõ said. “What isn’t over? What else must I do?”

Then he heard his father’s voice. He opened his eyes and felt the hardness of the floor under his back. He was in his meditation room in his house on Beta Delta IV. It was dark. It was thirteen hours since the dawn on a Beta Deltan winter’s day and night had fallen again. But no natural light came into the Meditation room anyway. The lights in the room had turned themselves down automatically as he entered his meditative phase.

“Chrístõ…” He heard his father’s voice again and felt his hand touch his shoulder as he sat up, stiffly, but otherwise unscathed by his experiences.

“Father?” He snapped his fingers and the lights came on. He looked into his father’s face. “This is real? You’re not a vision?”

“I am real. While you were completing the visionary phase of your Rite of Being I travelled here from Gallifrey. I discovered something that neither of us expected about your participation in this Rite.”

“What?” Chrístõ asked apprehensively.

“For full-blooded Time Lords it is enough to follow the male line as far as it is possible to go. But for you… it seems that we need to follow your Human ancestry back through the patriarchal line.”

“Oh.” Chrístõ wasn’t entirely displeased with the idea. But he was puzzled. “How do we do that?”

“Not by meditative trance,” his father said. “That is why I am here. We shall have to physically pursue your forefathers through time. Go and shower and dress and we shall share a meal together, and then we shall begin that part of your Rite of Being.”