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

The Doctor strolled along the country lane with an easy gait, his ridiculously long scarf falling around his legs but never in any danger of tripping him. Adric, a boy who was used to the outdoor life, easily kept pace with him.

“This is Earth, then?” he asked looking back at the quiet village where they had left the TARDIS parked next to an ordinary red telephone box. “The place you’re always talking about?”

“Yorkshire, England, a very fine part of Earth,” The Doctor replied cheerfully.

“It’s windy,” Adric pointed out.

“Just a stiff breeze,” The Doctor insisted. “Very healthy.”

“Where are we going exactly?”

“The castle,” The Doctor said, pointing to a ruined tower that stood above the group of buildings that went by the name of ‘Castle Farm’. They passed along a public footpath that actually ran through the farmyard to reach the castle itself which was on a grassy rise.

“But it’s a wreck,” Adric commented. “Just a heap of old stones.”

“Ah, but if those stones could talk, they would have so much to say.”

A five bar gate closed off the path to the castle itself. There was a sign fixed to it saying that the castle ruins were only open to the public by prior arrangement, but The Doctor climbed over the gate in one swift movement and carried on walking. Adric took a little longer to get over and hurried to catch up with him.

“Sheriff Hutton Castle,” The Doctor explained to him. “Once the home of Lord Henry Fitzroy, Earl of Nottingham, First Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Lord High Admiral of England, Lord President of the Council of the North, Warden of the Marches Towards Scotland and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.”

“He must have been a very powerful man to have held so many titles,” Adric said. “Was he a great leader of armies, a warrior?”

“No,” The Doctor replied. “He was a boy. He died when he was just a bit older than you.”


“He was the favourite illegitimate son of King Henry VIII who gave the boy titles as a way of showing his affection for him. Personally, I’d have preferred a train set when I was his age, but trains hadn’t been invented, so Henry probably preferred the titles. I don’t think anyone ever asked him what he really wanted. They even gave him a wife without consulting him on the matter.”

“A wife… when he was my age?”

“Younger, even. That’s how it was in his day. Still, I think he was happy enough. He was when I knew him. I visited these parts in the sixteenth century and was mistaken for a new tutor appointed to teach the young Lord mathematics. It was a very pleasant, relaxing year. Lucky for me the real tutor never turned up. Never knew what happened to him, at all.”

By the time The Doctor had told his anecdote they had reached the lee of one of the more substantial castle remains, what had been one of the four towers at the corners of the quadrangular structure. He was surprised to find a group of people there working in a trench that had been dug down into the foundations of the tower. They were all quite excited about the things they had found in their archaeological ‘dig’, especially a man in a tweed jacket and brown felt hat who absently put a lit pipe into his jacket pocket before examining the largest find of all, a wooden box that had been partially protected from the ravages of time by a piece of sacking that had fallen apart as soon as it was touched.

“Aged oak,” the man said. “Inlaid with teak. Amazing. The Arms of Henry Fitzroy himself carved into the wood. What treasures might this contain? A box belonging to the young prince himself?”

There was a lock, and it held fast despite the years it had been buried in the ground. The archaeologist was reluctant to break it.

“Allow me, professor,” The Doctor said, stepping forward. He took the box and held it up to the light, then pressed it just above the lock. There was a soft clunk as the lock sprang back and the lid lifted slightly. The Doctor smiled his wide, eye-popping smile. “Just a knack I have. There you go, Professor Harding. You may have the honour of opening it up.”

He gave the box back to the archaeologist, who was too startled to ask who The Doctor was or how he knew his name. He slowly, reverently, opened the box and looked at the contents.

They weren’t ‘treasure’ as most people would imagine – jewels or gold – but to an archaeologist they were just as precious. Professor Harding’s eyes lit with joy as he realised that the box was lead lined and the contents in pristine condition. He gazed at the finely made toy shield with Lord Henry Fitzroy’s crest inlaid in coloured wood and a toy sword that was equally well made. Alongside those was a wax doll, about eight inches tall, dressed in fine embroidered cloth and wearing a coronet that might have been real gold.

“These must have been playthings of Lord Henry himself,” Professor Harding said. “They are in such remarkable condition. It is a find, indeed.”

“The sword and shield, perhaps,” The Doctor said. He carefully picked up the wax figure. “I’m not so sure about this. I don’t think Henry played with dolls.”

Professor Harding looked at The Doctor and seemed on the point of questioning his judgement, but there was something about him, absurd as he looked in his eclectic outfit, that disarmed all criticism.

“What’s your opinion then, sir?” he asked almost meekly.

“It is an effigy of Lord Henry himself, wearing cloth that matched his own clothes, perhaps scraps left over from the tailoring of his robes. This is much more than a toy. In a time of superstition, when witchcraft was fully believed in, this was a tool… a weapon… to be used against his Lordship.”

Professor Harding’s eyes opened wide in surprise.

“You mean some sort of voodoo… sticking pins in a doll… surely that is just legend and myth. The ‘witches’ who were pursued in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were merely women who tried to practice medicine or victims of malicious gossip.”

“Legends and myths all have some foundation,” The Doctor assured him. “But you don’t have to take my word for it. I’ll bid you good day professor. Enjoy your dig.”

With that he swept away. Adric followed him, running to catch up this time. The Doctor’s easy stroll was now a long-legged stride.

“Back to the TARDIS,” he said. “We need to take a trip to the sixteenth century. I think the boy was in trouble. That was practically an SOS message. Except SOS hadn’t been invented then.”

“Boy… you mean Lord Henry, the one with all the titles?”

“A boy, nonetheless, at the mercy of adults who might not all wish him well. He is lucky to have his father’s favour. That is protection against most dangers. King Henry would have the head of any man who threatened the life of his son with any ordinary plot. But there are other kinds of peril… the sort he needs me to investigate.”

Adric accepted that they had a mission. What he wasn’t so sure about was the clothes he was required to wear. The least desirable part of the costume were the tights or ‘hose’ that covered his legs. Over that went what looked like a dress of orange fabric richly embroidered in gold thread. The skirt came to just above his knees making him feel peculiarly vulnerable. Over that was a sleeveless gown of brown velvet and a light orange floral pattern. He had to wear a rather strange hat in the same light orange floral fabric to complete the ensemble.

The Doctor’s outfit was a startling contrast to his usual clothes. It, too, involved the ‘hose’ though his were in black, as was the velvet ‘dress’ which had a red satin shirt underneath. His gown was black satin with a rich fur trim. He had a soft velvet cap on but it was almost lost on top of his unruly hair.

Actually, Adric thought, it was a bit of an improvement for The Doctor. But he didn’t like wearing the hose at all and the layers of clothes felt heavy on him compared to his usual handmade jerkin woven from Alzarian cotton.

“I am a man of learning and social position,” The Doctor said. “Unless you’d prefer to be my servant and spend your time in the kitchen, you’ll have to dress as a gentleman – my pupil, travelling to learn something of the northern customs.”

Adric shrugged. The TARDIS seemed to have materialised somewhere, but the screen only showed darkness.

“Perfect,” The Doctor said and stepped outside. Adric followed and as his eyes became accustomed to the gloom of the cool room lit only by a tiny slit of a window near the ceiling, he saw The Doctor cover the TARDIS with a large piece of sacking. “This is the sixteenth century,” he explained. “Difficult time to be found with a ‘magic box’ in your possession. It’ll be all right here. This is the winter food cellar. Nobody will need to come down here for months.”

Adric followed The Doctor up a narrow set of stone steps. A stout door at the top was locked and bolted from the other side, but the sonic screwdriver made short work of that. They stepped out into a narrow corridor and The Doctor locked the door again before getting his bearings and heading off to the right. Presently they emerged into a wide, high room with shields on the stone walls bearing the arms of Lord Henry Fitroy and those of King Henry VIII. There was a large oak table in the middle of the room with cushioned chairs around it. The Doctor took a seat. Adric hovered uncertainly.

A servant in a red jerkin entered the room and looked at them both curiously. They were dressed as men of social stature so he addressed them politely when he asked what business they had at Sheriff Hutton Castle.

“Pray tell Lord Henry that The Doctor is here,” The Doctor replied. “Then see to it that chambers are provided for myself and my ward. We shall be staying several nights, I think.”

The servant beat a hasty retreat through the west door. Soon after there was the sound of running feet, then a more measured pace as if somebody had been running excitedly before remembering that running was not lordly. The door opened and a young man in deep purple velvet doublet and hose and a gown of gold and ermine stepped into the hall. He looked as if he might break into a run again but managed to walk towards The Doctor and Adric slowly.

“I hardly dared hope that it was you, my Doctor,” he said. “I am so glad that you have come. Now more than any time, I have need of your wisdom and your counsel.”

Lord Henry waved imperiously to the servant that hovered behind him and told him to bring wine and beef. Both were forthcoming very soon. The wine was poured from flagons into large goblets. The beef was a huge cold joint from which Lord Henry cut slices and placed them on a platter from which he ate with a silver knife. Adric copied him, taking care to match his manners. The Doctor took some of the food, too, and ate because it was expected. He drank only a little wine and watched to make sure Adric didn’t over-indulge in that respect.

“You are troubled, my Lord?” he asked. “That you need my counsel?”

Lord Henry paused and looked around as the door opened and closed once again. A young man in brown velvet approached. He bowed his head to Lord Henry and to The Doctor.

“You remember Walter Church, my secretary,” Lord Henry said. “Walter, you recall The Doctor, who was my tutor for a time?”

Walter Church looked at The Doctor and for a moment it looked as if he wasn’t sure he did recognise him. The Doctor met him with his hypnotic eyes and steady gaze. Walter’s face broke into a smile.

“Of course, Doctor, it is good to see you, especially at this strange and unnatural time when we have need of your wisdom.”

“You’d better sit down and tell me the whole story,” The Doctor said.

Walter Church was a commoner who had risen in Lord Henry’s favour and was therefore allowed to wear a velvet doublet and sit with his betters. It was he who began the tale.

“Two weeks ago, now,” he said. “One of the night watch gave witness to me that he had seen Lord Henry sleepwalking in the courtyard. He was pale of face and dressed only in his shift, and gave no acknowledgement when the watchman addressed him. Lord Henry was not aware of any disturbance of his sleep, though he did seem overtired that morning and chose to stay within the castle rather than riding out with his hounds. This occurred twice more. Then Lord Henry asked me to stay awake in his room. I did so. I swear before God that I did not sleep one wink of the night. Lord Henry slept soundly in his bed. But the next morn he was heavy eyed and exhausted, and the watchman that night reported seeing Lord Henry dressed in riding garb take his horse from the stable, returning after two hours upon the moor.”

Walter repeated with emphasis that he had stayed awake all night and that Lord Henry had slept soundly in his bed. Those points needed to be made clear.

“I went to the stables, and found Lord Henry’s favourite horse in a lather and sweat as if it had been ridden hard during the night. That was evidence enough that something was amiss. I questioned the watchman to see if he might have been mistaken. In the dark, could it not have been an imposter, wearing his Lordship’s cloak, but the man swore it was none other than Lord Henry. He said he recognised his countenance even though it was out of sorts.”

“Out of sorts?” The Doctor queried. “What did he mean by that?”

“He said that his Lordship’s face was like the face of a sick man, glossy and pale, the lips bloodless, eyes watery….”

Lord Henry was rather pale of face, it had to be said. A tan gained by healthy exercise in the fresh air had faded. But he didn’t have watery eyes and didn’t look especially sick.

“It is late in the afternoon,” Lord Henry said. “I have consumed wine and red meat and regained much of my strength, but in the morning, of late, that would not be a false description of my visage. Even so, I was not the rider observed by the watchman, unless my good Walter has been false to me, and I do not believe that is so.”

“Nor do I,” The Doctor assured him. “There is something very much amiss here. I shall put my mind to the problem.”

He was on the point of saying something further when an outer door crashed open somewhere and then the west door. A man strode in while a servant closed the door behind him to stop the draughts that were inevitable in a castle. He was dressed in black riding clothes with a long cloak that he folded around himself as he swept across the hall. Lord Henry’s expression changed dramatically. He looked almost frightened. Walter Church sat back in his chair with a fixed look in his eyes. It was quite obvious that he disliked this newcomer.

“Solomon Ashe,” Lord Henry said. “I was not expecting you back from York until the morrow.”

“You know that I am loath to be far from you while you are so troubled, sire,” Ashe answered in a voice best described as oily. “But I see you have guests. Might I know their business?”

“This is The Doctor, my former teacher,” Lord Henry said. “And his pupil, Adric. They are visiting this shire and called upon me as a matter of courtesy. I have prevailed upon them to stay a night or so. Doctor, Master Adric, this is Solomon Ashe, my astrologer.”

“Good day to you, sir,” The Doctor said politely.

“And to you, Doctor,” Ashe responded. “But my Lord, is it wise to have guests when your health is so questionable and the stars so foreboding?”

“The company of convivial friends can only be conducive to my health,” Lord Henry replied. “As for the stars… they are always foreboding. If I listened to all you say I would have to believe they have been so since my birth. Yet I have survived.”

“Do not dismiss what you do not fully understand, my Lord,” Ashe told him.

“Do not presume to tell me what to think,” Lord Henry responded. He was just fifteen years old in this year, 1534, but he was the son of a powerful king and there was strength in his eyes that belied his youth. Adric, who was only a little older watched in surprise as the pale, slightly built youth drew himself up before the older and apparently more powerful man and fixed a commanding stare upon him.

“Forgive me, my Lord,” Ashe said with a bow of the head and a supercilious smile. “Of course you must do as you please.”

“Indeed I must, and it pleases me just now that you retreat to your chambers and consult your star charts while I enjoy hearing of The Doctor’s travels.”

That was a snub, plain and simple. Ashe kept his composure, though. He smiled his insincere smile and bowed to Lord Henry before retreating from the hall.

“My Lord, why do you allow that wizard to influence you so?” Walter asked. “His work is of spurious value. Women have been burnt as witches with less evidence of supernatural dabblings. He should be tried as a sorcerer and put to the sword, not given a place of honour within your household.”

“My father thinks highly of him,” Lord Henry answered. “He sent him to advise me.”

“How long has Ashe been advising you?” The Doctor asked.

“Four months now,” Lord Henry replied. “He is a wise and learned man.”

“This I hold in doubt,” Walter argued. “Doctor, ask my Lord what he has learned from this charlatan’s wisdom.”

The Doctor asked. Lord Henry began to speak, then stopped. His face clouded as he tried to think of an answer to the question.

“He has much wisdom,” he repeated. “I have learned from him.”

But he could not say what he had learned. Walter gave The Doctor a look that expressed his frustration and concern for his young Lord.

“No matter,” Lord Henry said decisively. “This is a joyous day. My old friend The Doctor and my new friend Adric are here to visit. Tonight we shall banquet. We will have music from the lute and tabor and be diverted from our concerns, and I shall sleep soundly when I retire.”

“But not alone, my Lord,” The Doctor insisted. “Adric shall sit in your chamber tonight and take care that you are not troubled. Walter and I shall patrol the castle through the night and keep watch for any knavery.”

“My good Doctor, I thank you,” Lord Henry replied. “I feel sure you will get to the core of this matter.”

The Doctor was sure he would, too. Even before nightfall he intended to begin his investigation. Adric preferred to be conducted to his chamber. He said he would need a nap if he was going to be up all night watching Lord Henry sleep.

The Doctor went in search of Solomon Ashe’s chamber. He found it in one of the upper rooms of the south tower. Ashe was at a cumbersome table looking over a complicated astral chart. Beside him was an ornate brass astroclock with a frowning ‘father sun’ surrounded by the signs of the zodiac and more cryptic symbols framing those. On the walls of the room were mysterious charts. It took The Doctor only a fleeting glance to know that most of them were cleverly designed nonsense.

“What’s my horoscope for tomorrow?” he asked. “Is it a good day to pursue affairs of the heart or should I consider my future financial security?”

“You mock!” Ashe responded angrily.

“Of course, I do. Astrology is just bafflegab and you know it. Your true profession is a darker one, I think. Enchanter, necromancer, wizard… but those practices are illegal in England at this time. Astrology is held in suspicion, but the King thinks of it as a science of sorts so people like you hide behind it. Nevertheless, be warned. I have my eye on you, and I’ll find out what it is you’re doing to Lord Henry every night. Mark my words, Ashe. Your head will roll.”

Ashe looked back at him with murderous intent.

“You underestimate me, Doctor. That is a mistake.”

“No,” he replied. “You underestimate me, and that is YOUR mistake.”

With that he swept from the room. Making Ashe angry, letting him know that his machinations had been rumbled, might have seemed like a bad idea to anyone who thought surprise was the key to unmasking villainy, but The Doctor was confident that he knew what he was doing. This was only the first part of his plan.

When the evening came and the banquet was set out, the Doctor carefully tested all of the wine on the table and sent three flagons back because he said they were sour. He watched Ashe’s face when that was being done. It was perfectly inscrutable, but behind his dark eyes he must have been raging that his plan to put Lord Henry, his secretary and his guests into a drugged stupor before bedtime had failed. They remained awake and alert listening to the music of lute and tabor – a stringed instrument and a drum – until close to midnight when Lord Henry announced that he would be retiring to his bed. This was the cue for everyone else to retire, of course. The Doctor watched Solomon Ashe heading towards the south tower before he followed Lord Henry to the west.

The young Lord had been prepared for bed by his servants and was now in a linen shift and a nightcap with ear covers. Adric was still wearing his day clothes, a fact which irked him more than a little. He was still uncomfortable in so many layers. Walter Church and The Doctor were both clothed, too and were talking over their plans for the night when a maid servant entered the bed chamber with Lord Henry’s nightly posset in a silver cup on a tray.

“I hate the taste,” Henry said. “But Solomon Ashe thinks it an important aid to my sleep.”

The Doctor took the cup. He had no intention of letting the cup near Lord Henry’s lips without testing the contents anyway, but the fact that Ashe was involved made him even more suspicious. “It would certainly do that. It contains copious amounts of opiate.” He went to the window and opened the sash. He threw the contents of the cup out and closed the window again. He left it on the tray by the bed.

“My Lord, how do you know that King Henry thinks highly of Ashe?” The Doctor asked. Lord Henry was surprised by the question. So was Walter Church, but in his case it was more like surprise that he had never thought to ask the question himself.

“He had letters patent with my father’s seal upon them,” Lord Henry replied.

“Did he, indeed? Did you ever consider that they might be forgeries?”

“No, I never did,” Lord Henry responded. “Doctor… do you think….”

“I think Ashe is a villain of the lowest order and he may have much to do with the matters troubling you. I think you ought to have sent a messenger to London to confirm his credentials, but if we are wise we may unmask him tonight, anyway. Now, my Lord, I have an amendment to my original plan. Ashe seems to want you asleep, so I think it better for our purposes that you are awake.”

Adric was surprised and pleased by the first part of the new plan. It involved him swapping clothes with Lord Henry and getting into the big four poster bed. In the shift and nightcap and with all but one candle blown out it was impossible for anyone to guess he wasn’t Fitzroy, the favourite son of Henry VII, and at a glance, Lord Henry in Adric’s doublet and hose was The Doctor’s pupil.

“Now, let us see what Solomon Ashe is up to,” The Doctor said. “Walter, you know the passages best at night. Go and see if he is abed like a decent man ought to be or not.”

The Doctor and Lord Henry went down to the hall while he did so. Two of his Lordship’s watchmen challenged them without recognising their master, who kept his head down and in shadow. The Doctor told them he had orders to keep his own watch during the night and they were satisfied.

Walter returned to report that Ashe was neither in his bedchamber nor his study.

“The plot thickens,” The Doctor said.

“I have been a fool to trust in him,” Lord Henry mused. “But what has he to do with this imposter with my visage who has been seen by night?”

“That we shall discover soon enough, I hope,” The Doctor assured him. “Where has the apparition been seen most often?”

“Right here in the great hall,” Walter answered. “On four separate nights watchmen observed what they thought to be Lord Henry passing this way, coming from his own dayroom.”

The Doctor sat at the table and put his feet up.

“We might as well sit comfortably,” he said. Lord Henry frowned. He wasn’t accustomed to anyone sitting before him, especially not at his own table, and not in such a casual manner. But The Doctor, even when he was his tutor, employed in his household, always had an air of superiority, as if he was, in reality, a prince of a greater kingdom than England. He found himself unable to chastise him for impropriety. He sat opposite him. Walter Church sat, too. Lord Henry was armed with a gilded sword, Walter with a plain steel one. Both would do equally well if the need arose.

None of them spoke. The castle was silent. They sat quietly by the light of one candle. The Doctor and Walter Church both stayed wide awake. Lord Henry tried his best, but after the first hour his head lolled. He wasn’t quite sound asleep, but he dozed, half way between waking and sleeping.

Then a little after three o’clock The Doctor shook him awake. He and Walter had both heard a sound from the day room. It was an odd sound, a grinding sound of stone on stone. Then the door opened. A figure walked into the hall. It looked, at a glance, like Lord Henry, except that Lord Henry was very definitely a Human being. The figure that walked through the hall dressed in fine embroidered silk doublet and hose was not. The flesh was shiny and unnatural. The features were undefined, the eyes mere dark holes without lids or any discernable eyeball inside. The mouth was a slit without lips.

It walked with an awkward gait, stumbling once, bumping into the furniture. It seemed to be heading to the outer door. The Doctor sprinted across the floor and reached the door before it. Walter Church followed him. Between them they closed the heavy oak door and pushed a sideboard across it. The strange facsimile bumped into the obstacles and stopped. Its feet continued to shuffle and its arms swing, but it was going nowhere.

Lord Henry, surprising both of his companions, rushed at the facsimile and ran it through the chest with his sword. He pulled the weapon back and was surprised to find no blood on it. The Doctor took the sword and examined the streaks of something white that hung on the blade.

“Wax,” he said. “This is a wax man…. Animated wax.”

“It is demonic!” Lord Henry exclaimed.

“A thing created by the Devil himself,” Walter agreed.

“It is science,” The Doctor replied. “But it amounts to the same thing. The intent was certainly to do you harm, Lord Henry. Every night when you slept, it was walking abroad, draining your lifeforce, your soul, if you will… taking on more of your self each time. That was why you woke exhausted every morning. It is why the thing looks less realistic this night. You are awake and it cannot make contact with your subconscious.”

“What is the meaning of this foul plan?” Lord Henry asked.

“If it had not been stopped, soon you would not be able to wake at all. It would be able to drain you completely… and take on fully Human form… your form… and take your place as the King’s favourite… the King’s heir if he can persuade parliament to change the succession to allow illegitimate progeny. And doubtless then it would contrive a way to prematurely end your father’s life. With the facsimile of you crowned king, the one who created this puppet would have control of the country.”

“Treason!” Walter exclaimed.

“Exactly so,” Lord Henry agreed. “What do we do?”

“We let the puppet return to the puppet master,” The Doctor replied. “Walter, help me turn it around.”

They pushed and pulled the facsimile until it was facing the opposite direction. It immediately began to walk away, back towards the dayroom. The Doctor, Walter and Lord Henry followed it. The Doctor was not at all surprised to find that there was a hidden door in the dayroom. That had been the grinding sound as it was opened from the inside. Lord Henry was outraged.

“This is MY castle, and demonic creatures know more of its secrets than I do!”

“This demonic creature knows nothing but what the one who made it taught it,” The Doctor replied. “We shall find him if we follow his creation. Though I think we can all guess by now who we are looking for.”

“I shall have his head for this,” Lord Henry insisted.

“Quietly,” Walter Church urged. “Or we shall warn him off.”

The facsimile stumbled into the narrow passage and took an easterly direction, pursued closely by The Doctor and then by Walter and Lord Henry in the rear. It walked some twenty yards before descending a steep flight of steps in an increasingly uncertain and lumbering fashion. The fact that it could not draw on Lord Henry’s lifeforce tonight seemed to be affecting its ability to move in a lifelike way.

At the bottom of the stairs the facsimile stepped through a porchway into a large room that was lit with many candles. The Doctor concealed himself there and urged his companions to do the same. Lord Henry’s hand was on his sword and he was impatient for a fight, but Walter Church urged him to wait.

The room had the sense of one that was underground, a cellar or, given this was a castle, a dungeon. On the floor was a pentangle and around the walls were more symbols of witchcraft and demonic purposes. There was something that resembled an altar, but not to the Christian God prayed to in these parts.

Solomon Ashe was kneeling before the altar with his hands raised in the air, reciting something that sounded half prayer and half ‘spell’.

“What demonic language is that?” Walter Church whispered. “It is not English nor French, nor even the Latin of worship.”

The Doctor knew, but he didn’t reply. He watched carefully as the facsimile stood in the middle of the pentangle and became very still. Solomon Ashe paused in his prayer and looked around. He was clearly surprised to see his creation returning so soon.

“What prevented you?” he demanded, but the facsimile had no answer to him. It was surrounded by an eerie glow and within the glow it was shrinking visibly before Ashe’s eyes, before the eyes of the hidden witnesses. Soon it was no bigger than a doll and was clearly an inanimate thing of wax.

The Doctor waved to Walter and Sir Henry to remain concealed as he stepped from the shadows.

“Simple manipulation of dimensional relativities,” The Doctor said, kicking the wax doll with his toe. “Childsplay where I come from. The animation is the clever part. And the bit of exotic voodoo used to drain his Lordship’s lifeforce. Of course, the game is up, now.”

“I’ll pluck that pasty-faced, lily-livered brat’s heart from his body first,” Ashe replied. He raised his hand and threw something that produced a sudden burst of bright light. The Doctor protected his eyes from the glare but he had wasted precious seconds. Ashe turned and fled from the room by a door on the far side.

“Lord Henry,” The Doctor said urgently. “Go back the way we came and rouse your watchmen. Make haste to your chamber. Walter and I will pursue him directly. Adric may be in danger.”

The Doctor paused to grab the wax doll and concealed it within his doublet as followed after Solomon Ashe. The corridor on the other side of the secret room was one that Walter Church knew, being part of the cellars of the castle. He directed the way to the base of the west tower where stairs led up to his Lord’s chambers.

Lord Henry met them on the landing with two of the burly watchmen of the castle to assist. But when they burst into the chamber they were not needed. Solomon Ashe was lying on the floor, knocked out cold by a blow from a heavy candlestick that Adric still held in his hands as he stood over the black-cloaked wizard looking startled by his own instinctive actions.

“I woke up and he was standing over me,” he gasped. “His hands… ready to strangle... I reached out for this and….”

The Doctor took the candlestick from him and placed it back on the bedside table. He examined Ashe and confirmed he was merely unconscious.

“When he wakes, he will be under lock and key,” Lord Henry vowed as the watchmen dragged the unconscious man out of the chamber. “Later he shall be conveyed to York and will be tried for witchcraft and bodily harm against my royal personage.”

“As he should be,” The Doctor agreed.

“Since the dawn is almost upon us and no further sleep is to be had this night, Walter, rouse a servant and we shall have meat and wine to refresh body and soul,” Lord Henry added. “Adric, my brave friend, put on attire suited to your station and join us.”

Adric wasn’t at all sure about drinking wine at what was too late to be late at night and too early to be morning, but he was pleased to be called a ‘brave friend’ and happily recounted his role in the capture of Solomon Ashe several times.

“What kind of devilry had he employed in this fiendish plot?” Walter asked. “That language he was using….”

The Doctor could have told him that the language was Assilian, from the planet Assilia in the Cassiopean sector, but that might well have landed him in a cell next to Ashe charged with his own brand of witchcraft. Quite how an Assilian had come to Earth and ingratiated himself into the household of one such as Lord Henry he would probably never know, but the end result of his plot was obvious. After letting the faux Henry ascend the throne of England, Wales and Ireland, Ashe could have raised armies of such facsimiles to conquer Europe and the known world, even the unknown world. In a few years he would rule the planet.

“Think nothing of it,” The Doctor told him. “The affair is over. Lord Henry is safe.” He pulled the miniaturised facsimile from within his doublet. “You could safely destroy this, now. It is nothing but common beeswax and cloth.”

“No,” Lord Henry said. “It was imbued with something of my soul. There might yet be a vestige of it within the thing. To destroy it might imperil me further. I shall have it interred within the castle walls with a prayer said over it. I shall sleep easy, then.”

“As you wish, my Lord,” The Doctor answered. If it had been up to him, he would have destroyed it utterly, but he knew that would have caused a paradox since Professor Harding’s archaeological dig had to find it in the twentieth century.