“Avaga Dios,” Christo announced as a planet loomed on the viewscreen.

“Sounds painful,” Garrick remarked.

“It's an M. Class planet in the Ganymede sector. Sentient species is Humanoid. And that’s all the database tells me.”

“But TARDIS databases have information about every populated planet in the universe,” Garrick pointed out.

“MY TARDIS database was tampered with,” Christo answered. “Before I got it.”

Garrick refrained from asking the obvious questions, but his expression spoke volumes.

“Training TARDISes have hundreds of preset destinations for the student pilot to try out. Mine were deliberately set to include a lot more danger and risk of death than necessary. I was meant to either die or fail so completely that it would prove the inferiority of my part Human blood.”

“That didn’t work.”

“No, it didn’t. Anyway, there are a lot of these destinations still in the system. This one, obviously they don’t want to tell me anything about it. I have to find out about it for myself. Seems like a good opportunity for you to learn about a new planet. A training mission, teacher and student, master and apprentice....”

“Brothers,” Garrick suggested. “I’m going to have enough teachers and masters at the Prydonian Academy. Let’s just be brothers.”

“All right, but I’m still your OLDER brother. Remember Rule One.”

Garrick smiled. Rule One still left plenty of leeway.

“The planet has about eight million people living on it,” the boy added, his nimble fingers flying over the environmental scanners. “No advanced technology, no major urban settlements. It has four oceans and six large landmasses. Two really huge ice caps. The planet seems to be at the end of a recent ice age. Temperatures even at the equator are relatively low. Life must be very harsh for the indigenous population.”

“Very good analysis,” Chrístõ said with an approving smile. “But we’ll need to explore and interact with the population to really understand the planet. We need warm clothes of non-specific origin.”

“To the Wardrobe!”

A half hour later the TARDIS had materialised on a cold tundra disguised as a large erratic boulder left behind by the receding ice sheets. Chrístõ and Garrick stepped out dressed in thick, fur-lined linen jerkins, leather boots, fur hats and gloves with woollen cloaks over the whole ensemble. They looked like an amalgam of Cossacks and followers of Genghis Khan.

“I’m not sure if there is a beast of burden like the horse that the locals would utilise,” Chrístõ noted. “We might seem ludicrous travelling on foot. We shall have to play that by ear.”

He had no technology with him, not even his sonic screwdriver, but he had checked the environmental console before he left the TARDIS and knew that there was a settlement eight miles to the west. He looked up at the cold, yellow sun and took a bearing. Then he set off in the right direction. Garrick kept up with his strong pace, easily, but not without questioning his brother’s choice of parking space.

“Eight miles? We couldn’t have got closer?”

“You can’t walk eight miles?”

“Well, yes, I can. But I just wondered why we have to?”

“Because the exercise is good for us. You’ll walk much further on hikes with the Prydonian scouts.”

“What if I don’t want to join the Prydonian Scouts?” Garrick asked. “It’s not compulsory.”

“No, but you are the one who discovered how to surf in a light tunnel and couldn’t wait to come with me for adventure. And you ARE related to me on father’s side, at least. I can’t imagine you’re going to spend your school years swotting for academic examinations?”

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t,” Garrick responded. “But you and father can’t assume I’m going to follow you both exactly.”

“Nor should you. Do it your own way, kiddo. But the scouts are a good way of getting out of the Academy for whole weekends. After a semester of rules, regulations, curfews and gates, you’ll be glad of the opportunity.”

Garrick smiled. THIS was exactly the sort of conversation he wanted with his older brother.

Chrístõ smiled. This was exactly the sort of advice he wanted to share with his half brother as he approached the first major milestones of his life.

Garrick would have it a little easier at the Academy, of course. He wouldn’t be bullied for being half human for a start. Both of his parents were of impeccable Gallifreyan lineage. Besides, as Chrístõ noted with unashamed irony, most of those who once tried to dismiss him as unfit to be a Time Lord, now recognised him as a war hero. If anything, Garrick’s hardest task would be living up to his reputation.

“Just don’t let any of them daunt you,” he said. “Don’t spend that first semester looking for places to hide from them all.”

Garrick thought that an odd piece of advice. He had no intention of hiding from anything, but he took it to his hearts all the same.

Eight miles walking across a bare, freezing tundra that barely looked capable of supporting animal life didn’t daunt either of them. It was a challenge they easily accomplished.

The next, introducing themselves into the indigenous community, was harder.

“Keep your hands visible,” Chrístõ warned as they approached the semi-permanent ‘village’ of yurts made of animal hides and wooden poles centred around a communal fire pit. As they walked through the village they saw signs that this was more than just a ‘hunter-gatherer’ tribe. There were men and women making pottery turned on a wheel before being fired in a kiln and decorated with paints. There was a forge where weapons for hunting meat or defending the camp were made alongside domestic utensils like cooking pots. There were tanners making the raw hides of animals into serviceable materials for clothing in a harsh environment. There was also spinning and weaving of a wool-like material that must have come from a domesticated flock of animals, though not necessarily sheep.

These were the signs of an increasingly sophisticated society, though not quite what archaeologists called ‘civilised’. The wool was woven into warm, protective clothing. They had no use for finer, decorative fabrics like silk. They almost certainly had no form of written communication. Their lives would be coloured by an oral tradition of sagas and songs around that central fire pit.


As the potters and weavers paused in their work and watched the new arrivals cautiously, Chrístõ listened to the whispers they didn’t expect him to hear. Their vocabulary was far less sophisticated than his own. They had no words for ‘vocabulary’ or ‘sophisticated’. But they had sentence structure, verbs, nouns, adjectives. He noted that he and Garrick were both held in some slight awe because of their fair, blemish free faces and their lack of beards.

By the time they reached the centre of the village and stood before the elders a form of Chinese whispers had established them as rather exalted figures whose presence was some kind of honour to the community.

“We are visitors from a far place,” Chrístõ said, perfectly truthfully but utterly ambiguously. Much depended on the tribe’s definition of ‘far’. “We come in peace to learn your stories and your songs.”

A tall, slender man with grey hair and beard stepped forward. Behind him were three others, a little younger, but with the look of authority in their faces.

“You are welcome, sons of a far tribe,” said the chief elder. “I am Jovak, Elder of the Tribe of Ankho. This is Barok, Leader of the Hunt, Berrik, Seer of the Grains, and Jevek, Master of the Prophecies. He sees portents in the stars.”

“I foretold your coming,” Jevek added with a bow of the head, first to Chrístõ, and then, deeper and more obsequiously, to Garrick – much to his surprise. “We have, of course, awaited the arrival of the Boy-Prophet for many years, but the stars told me you would soon arrive.”

“Boy-Prophet?” Garrick queried telepathically. He didn’t dare speak aloud.

“I think… we’d better go with it for now,” Chrístõ answered. “But keep your wits about you. I really didn’t expect this.”

“Come, foretold one,” Jovak said to Garrick. “Come, brother and protector of the Boy-Prophet. Your place is prepared.”

They were brought to a yurt of animal skins carefully bleached white in the cold sunlight. Inside, the floor was covered in fur rugs and so were two raised platforms intended as beds. Food – cheese, cooked meats and a rough, unleavened bread - was served with flagons of cooled milk from some animal other than a cow. When they were alone Chrístõ carefully tested the food and drink before declaring it safe.

“I have no idea what sort of animal either the milk or the meat came from, but both are surprisingly free of bacteria. The cheese only has the natural enzymes that turn it from curds to cheese. The bread is a grain I’ve never tasted before, but it is wholesome.”

“You will have to teach me how to do that,” Garrick admitted as he helped himself to the meal. “Check food without ingesting anything harmful.”

“I will… before the Academy. Putting science experiments into the supper of an unsuspecting tyro is a regular trick. But just now I’m wondering about this ‘Boy-Prophet’ thing.”

“Well, it gets us fed,” Garrick noted, telepathically because he was chewing a piece of the bread.

“Yes, but if they want you to be some kind of religious figure….”

Garrick grinned. The idea appealed to his ego.

“Don’t let it go to your head. Don’t order anyone sacrificed - and be careful of the women until you know what their marriage customs are.”

“Marriage?” Garrick was worried, though it didn’t spoil his appetite.

“This could get tricky,” Chrístõ said. “And not just because you’re too young to take a wife. What do they expect of a Boy-Prophet?”

“Predictions… about the weather and crops… hunting….”

“They have Jevek - Master of the Prophecies - for that, with his portents in the stars. There must be something more.”

“Jevek must be a fraud,” Garrick noted. “People can’t tell the future by the stars.”

“Nor by tea leaves, chicken entrails or crystal balls,” Chrístõ agreed. “But all sorts of societies set store by those who think they can do it. But if he has been predicting some kind of arrival….”

“We don’t have to stay for long. We only came to have a look at this society. We’ve seen it. We could go.”

“I don’t think that’s an option, just now. We’re not exactly under guard in here, but there are people outside, lots of people. They’re gathering… as if for some sort of ceremony or ritual, and I think we’re the central focus of it. The chances of slipping away are remote.”

“Are we in danger?”

“I don’t think so. But we have to play it carefully.”

He was worried. Garrick was the centre of all the preparations and he still had no idea why except for this false proclamation of a ‘Boy-Prophet’.

He could, of course, feel the minds of those outside even without fully concentrating. The excitement was so palpable even the least psychic being could feel it. He hushed Garrick both verbally and mentally and reached out carefully. It was difficult to separate individual minds without physical contact with them, but he was able to read something beyond the raw emotions of the crowd. They were all thinking about a prophecy that was woven through all of their oral history, their stories and songs. A youth, fair of face, without physical blemish, would come to the people of the cold plains. He would be as the sun on the brightest of days and bring Truth.

Chrístõ really didn’t like the sound of that. Truth had a way of causing as much trouble as lies. That was assuming that the two could be distinguished, or that ‘one man’s lie wasn’t another man’s truth’ and vice versa.

And they were all ready to hear Garrick make the distinction for them.

“I wish we COULD get out of here,” he admitted. “But it is too late, now.”

It was far too late. The furs covering the entrance were flung aside and the Elders entered. They beckoned Garrick forward. He rose hesitantly and came with them. Chrístõ followed. Nobody tried to stop him, but he felt very strongly that he was being side-lined. Garrick was the ‘Boy-Prophet’. He was just his brother.

Chrístõ laughed inwardly. There had been a time, when Garrick was younger, when he would have angrily resented being pushed aside in favour of his half brother with the pure Gallifreyan blood who many regarded as superior to him. He would have been jealous of the favours being heaped upon Garrick by this tribe.

He did feel mildly put out by the way he was so thoroughly ignored, but in truth it was to his advantage. He slipped past the Elders and concealed himself in the shadows beyond the glow of the fire in the central pit. He could watch what happened and test the mood of the crowd without hindrance.

What was happening seemed harmless enough in itself. Garrick had been brought to a carved wooden chair set upon a dais carved from a large stone. A crown made of strips of leather was placed on his head and a cloak of thick, soft fur around his shoulders.

There was a long recitation of those passages of oral lore that talked of the coming of a ‘Boy-Prophet’. Chrístõ strongly suspected that these passages were being cherry picked from a much larger body of lore much as early Christians searched the Jewish texts for references to a coming Messiah and decided, retrospectively, that Jesus Christ fulfilled those prophecies. That didn’t necessarily make the Christians wrong, but he was sure that the Tribe of Ankho were, absolutely, mistaken, if they thought Garrick was their prophesised Messiah.

They had to be. Their oral history could not have foretold their arrival on this planet.

The recitations ended and Jovak was the first of the elders to kneel in front of Garrick and pledge his devotion to him. Then certain selected individuals from amongst the crowd were allowed to approach, seeking a blessing from the Boy-Prophet. Garrick looked worried. He sought in the crowd for his brother, looking for advice.

“Just wave your hands over them,” Chrístõ told him telepathically. “Say a few reassuring words – ‘bless you,’ something like that.”

Garrick was still uncertain, but he did as his brother suggested, slowly gaining confidence as the people passed in front of him, seemingly satisfied by his ‘blessing’.

Then a woman with a baby in her arms stood before him. Garrick reached out and touched the child’s forehead.

“Your child will be a great warrior,” he said. “He will bring great honour upon you.”

The woman was thrilled by his pronunciation. She clutched her child to her bosom as she stepped away and another villager approached.

Again, Garrick made a prediction along with his blessing. Others had no prediction, just a blessing, but every so often he saw something worthy of extra comment.

“Garrick, what are you doing?” Chrístõ asked telepathically, but there was no answer. He wasn’t blocking him, but his attention was completely taken up by the people in front of him.

More than an hour later, the ceremony was over. Garrick was taken back to the yurt. Chrístõ slipped through the crowds to join him.

“What was going on?” he demanded when they were alone. “What were you saying to all those people?”

“I… was telling them what I could see in their future,” Garrick answered. “It’s what they wanted me to do.”

“Yes… but you CAN’T see the future. At least… you shouldn’t be able to do that. You’re too young. Your psychic nerves aren’t that developed.”

“I thought so, too,” Garrick admitted. “But suddenly I could do it. At first, I had to concentrate, but then it started to be so very easy. It was an amazing feeling.”

“It is,” Chrístõ admitted. “But you should use the gift sparingly. Knowing too much about other people is nearly as bad as knowing about your own future.”

“How is it bad?”

“Do you want to know the day somebody you care about will die? Foreknowledge is a burden. You were meant to have weeks of boring lectures about the consequences of using it before beginning to PRACTICE the skills.”

“You sound like you’re jealous because I can do it sooner than you did,” Garrick responded.

“No, it isn’t that. You know I wouldn’t be jealous of you. But you’ve had hardly any formal training. You don’t know if you can control your abilities.”

“Now you sound like a teacher. We agreed… brothers. I don’t want to be lectured.”

“All right, no lectures. But… be careful. I’m not sure where any of this is going. I really think we ought to get out of here, now.”

“We can’t,” Garrick answered. “There are other settlements on the tundra. They’ve sent out messengers. Tomorrow, there will be more people coming to see me, to get my blessing and any predictions I can make for them.”

“They told you that?”

“Jevek told me. He said that it was a great honour that we came to this village and not to any other one, but they wish to share the honour with the others.”

“Oh, this is going too far,” Chrístõ protested. “We’ve got to put an end to this right now. Come on, we’re leaving.”

But they couldn’t leave. Not without a fight. This time the yurt WAS guarded on every side. Whether it was to keep them from going outside or to stop overeager villagers getting in was disputable, but the fact remained that they could not leave without attracting unwanted attention.

What if they simply made it clear to the Elders that they didn’t want to stay? The tribe had shown them nothing but friendly welcome until now, but would that mood change if they made their position clear?

He was quite sure it would.

“We’re stuck here, for now. But I’m going to work out a plan. Meanwhile you stick by me and don’t let any of their plans separate us.”

“Why would that happen?” Garrick asked. “I’m so important to them… they wouldn’t harm you.”

“They don’t seem to need me. And a tribe like this… with limited resources… won’t put up with an unproductive mouth to feed for long.”

“I’ll tell them you’re important to me. But… Chrístõ, I don’t WANT to run away from them in the dark. I can do them some good. I’ll explain that we can only stay a little while. But let’s at least stay for these other tribes who want to see me.”

“They DON’T want to see YOU. They want to see the Boy-Prophet of their folklore. I told you not to let all this go to your head.”

“If they all think I’m the Boy-Prophet, then isn’t that exactly what I am? Especially since I am prophesying… just as they want. Maybe the predictions in those stories were all leading up to me coming here.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Why not?”

“Because we’re not a part of their society. We don’t belong here.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Yes, it does.”

“What if I decided to stay here and become their Boy-Prophet for good?”

“You can’t. I’m responsible for you.”

“You were responsible for Cinnamal Hext and the two Malcannan boys, and all three of them found new lives and never came back to Gallifrey. They’re all only a BIT older than me. Cinnamal is practically engaged, and I heard the Malcannans are grandfathers now.”

“’Now’ is not a term we can apply in the Fourth Dimension. I can take you to visit them at any point in their lives. But that’s not the point. All three of them were free to make their own choices. You’re not. You’re underage and you’re going home when father decides that you’ve spent enough time wandering the universe with me. You DON’T have the freedom the others had. We’re leaving this place as soon as it is safe to do so, and that’s the end of it.”

Garrick looked positively mutinous. Chrístõ stood his ground.

“That’s me being a brother. Now, lie down and get some sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll see how things are and decide how we’re going to get away from here.”

Garrick looked as if he was about to protest about being told to go to sleep, but he was tired. He had been using untrained, if natural, psychic powers for longer than most Time Lords ever would. He needed to rest.

Chrístõ wanted to rest, too. He felt he was going to need all the physical and mental strength he had to get through the next phase of Garrick’s elevation to Demi-god.

Even so, he slept only lightly. His mind was alert all night. He reached out with it and was surprised just how many people were wide awake around the village.

He was aware of some very strange tensions among those night wakers. He felt as if a very deep plot was afoot, something dark and deceitful.

He didn’t sense that there was any immediate danger to Garrick or himself, but, all the same, he couldn’t shake the idea that they were central to that dark deceitful plot.

He tried to read the minds around him more fully, but without physical contact it was difficult. Even Garrick had not started reading anything about the future of the tribespeople until he physically touched one of them.

But the fact that so many of them were in on the same conspiracy and thinking the same thoughts made the intention as clear as it might possibly get.

And there was no doubt that he needed to get Garrick away as quickly as possible.

Garrick watched his brother carefully, waiting for his mind to drift into sleep. It took several hours, but it WAS a long night on that cold plain and he saw his opportunity about an hour before the dawn. He moved quietly, taking a knife from the food platter, and carefully cut a small hole in the back of the yurt. He crawled out and moved equally quietly in the shadows.

He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. Perhaps find something that proved to His brother that the people of this tribe meant no harm, and that he COULD help them with his new found gifts.

There were a lot of people up and about, mostly men rather than women. They looked as if they were getting ready for a hunt, gathering by the now merely smouldering fire pit with weapons forged in the village kiln. Garrick hunched low and moved closer unobtrusively.

Jovak was there, in the midst of the crowd, the one who had greeted him and Christo, as well as Jevek who had declared him the Boy-Prophet.

They mentioned him in their hushed conversation with the best hunters, but what he was saying, though prophetic in its way, was nothing to do with helping anyone.

He listened for a long time, then slipped back to the yurt. He made very little sound getting back in, but he wasn’t at all surprised to find Chrístõ wide awake and very angry with him.

“Don’t say anything,” Garrick told him. “Just get us out of here. These people are… they’re… we’ve got to go, now, before it’s too late.”

Garrick’s eyes were wide with horror and his mind whirling with conflicting thoughts about what he had seen and heard. Chrístõ decided lectures could wait. He examined the hole in the back of the yurt and made it a little bigger. The two of them slipped out into the still dark village and moved through the shadows. As Garrick had noticed already, there were a lot of men up and around – enough that the two of them could move through the village without appearing suspicious, but not enough that their beardless faces might be observed.

They reached a rough corral just beyond the village where several creatures with long necks and woolly backs were kept. These were the equivalent of horses on this planet.

Garrick looked at his brother doubtfully.

“I learnt to ride on Ventura… but with saddles and bridles and stirrups. I don’t think….”

Chrístõ mounted one of the creatures and hauled his brother up behind him.

“Just hold onto me,” he said before urging the creature on.

Nobody saw them leave, or if they did, they may have thought it was part of the plan that was being set in motion – another of the messengers going to distant parts of the plain.

By the time the cold, yellow sun brought light and a meagre heat to the plain, they had almost reached the TARDIS. There had been no pursuit. They were safe.

“Look….” As they dismounted and set the beast of burden free to find its way back to the village, Garrick spotted men on similar beasts riding towards them. “They’re not from the village. They’re answering the call to come and see me.”

“Well, they’ll be disappointed,” Chrístõ answered. “We’ll be long gone.”

“No… I have to… I must do this.”

Garrick walked towards the riders, arms outstretched to show that he was unarmed. The leaders slowed their mounts and viewed him suspiciously.

“Listen to me,” Garrick said with surprising authority in his young voice. “I am the Boy-Prophet you have been told of. I speak the Truth. Believe me when I say that those who told you to ride forward without arms spoke the opposite of the Truth.”

The riders looked at him incredulously, but they listened to his words, the leader most attentively.

“Jovak of the Ankho tribe and the other elders have envied your lands and your livestock for many years. They meant to use my Coming to take them from. You and your best men would be set upon within the village… and meanwhile, some of the Ankho warriors have set out to your undefended village to kill the old men, the women, the children….”

The riders cried out in anger at the deception. They murmured amongst themselves before the leader ordered them to turn back to defend their village.

“Jovak has sent many messengers,” Garrick added. “You should warn other villages of the deception. Let my Truth be known. But… if you seek revenge… do not harm the innocents of Ankho. Let their women and elderly, the blameless children, be protected. That is my Truth.”

“It shall be done, my Lord,” the leader said before he turned and rode away, taking his men back to defend their village.

“We can go now,” Garrick said.

“Yes, we can,” Chrístõ agreed.

“I still don’t know if my coming really WAS predicted,” Garrick admitted as the TARDIS brought them away from Dios. He was writing a report about his experience, warning future time and space travellers that the population were warlike and tending towards deceit. Chrístõ felt that wasn’t quite the whole story, but now wasn’t the time to look more closely at the still developing society.

“It’s possible that they just seized the chance to use our arrival as a catalyst for tribal war,” Chrístõ answered.

“Does that make it our fault?” Garrick asked. “There will be war. All I did was make sure the battle was fair… if that’s even possible. But a lot of men are going to die.”

“I think they would have found an excuse sooner or later,” Chrístõ answered. “We’re not to blame for it. Besides, you may have saved some of the non-combatants from harm. You must have, since you made so many predictions about the children of the village. They will survive. You’ve been a force for good.”

Garrick smiled widely.

“Don’t put THAT in your report. Technically, we’re not supposed to interfere with the history of other races. You don’t want a summons before the High Council before your first term as a Time Lord student.”

Garrick’s smile wavered a little, but he still felt a little proud of his effort.

“And in future, Rule Number Two is trust your big brother, and Rule Number Three is no getting resentful of big brother’s advice when you’re in over your head.”

The smile was a little more forced, but Chrístõ moved around the console and hugged him as long as any teenage brother would permit such a thing without embarrassment.

“You did all right, Kiddo,” he said. “Just remember Rule Number One and the rest won’t be necessary.”