BLOOD SACRIFICE

Chapter Seven

The Doctor was about to lead Rose back out of the TARDIS when he had a sudden thought. They were being hunted now which meant that he couldn't show off and fly around, nor could he go out looking like his usual pale skinned, dark haired self. They needed disguises so he and Rose walked up to the wardrobe room.

"I need clothes and makeup. I need to hide my pale skin," the Doctor said to her as they climbed the steps up to the wardrobe room. "We better disguise ourselves as best we can because Batty Betty will show us no mercy if she catches us."

"But I'm not in any danger. I mean, she wants virgin blood, yeah? I'm not a virgin."

"She did more than that, Rose," the Doctor said, turning to her. "She did more than just drain women's blood."

"What else did she do?" Rose said, dreading the answer.

"Among other things, she tortured women, had them executed while she watched and did fun creative things like making women stand in the courtyard in sub zero temperatures while servants threw bucket after bucket of cold water on them until they literally became ice statues. You and I prevented her from taking a young lady this afternoon and I'm sure she'll eventually suss out that we were responsible which means, virgin or not, you're a target. Hence the disguises."

They took their time, selecting something that would allow them to fit in. The Doctor decided this time to go with native dress, selecting to look like a peasant along with Rose. Both of them chose wigs to hide their real hair and the TARDIS supplied her master with flesh colored rubber prosthetics that would mold to his face like a mask and give the appearance of being alive. In addition to that, the TARDIS also supplied him with realistic looking gloves that mimicked real skin. While the Doctor helped her, Rose used spirit gum and applied each part of the makeup to the Doctor's real skin. She had to admit that it looked convincing and he looked like his normal self again after a couple of hours. She finished up by applying cosmetics to hide the thin lines where the parts rested against each other and to make his face look more realistic. The Doctor finished up by putting on a sandy blonde colored wig that gave him long hair that draped down to his shoulders on both sides. Rose had a black wig that came down to the middle of her back and she tied a red babushka over it to hold it in place. When they were done, both of them looked in the mirror. The Doctor had on tan trousers with leather boots and a red shirt. Rose was wearing a red dress that matched her babushka and black boots that bothered her feet at first since she was used to wearing trainers.

"Now if anyone asks, you are called Roza which is the Hungarian form of Rose. I will be Bela."

Rose nodded and smirked.

"Bela Lugosi, yeah?"

"If you like. I just like the name Bela, it's a good solid Hungarian name that won't raise suspicions. Now, I believe we're ready so follow me, Roza."

"After you, Bela," Rose said.

The Doctor took her hand and they headed towards the steps.

Katalin wandered the courtyard of Castle Csejte, lost in her thoughts. It had been so long since she came here, a young na´ve girl sent by her family because they were starving and wanted both a better life for her and one less mouth to feed. At the time no one suspected Elisabeta of any wrongdoing or insanity, she was viewed as just a harmless old eccentric living in a large drafty castle on the outskirts of the town. But Katalin quickly learned just how deranged her mistress really was when she was forced to participate in the murder of her first young virgin, a girl not much older than herself who had her throat slit callously by Dorottya, a woman who turned out to be just as bloodthirsty and insane as the Countess. Dorottya was a few years older and had been at the castle for a few years when she first arrived. Katalin was left in her care so Dorottya could show her the ropes but instead the older woman abused and beat her, forcing her to take part in the murders and mocking her whenever she would vomit afterwards. She had been ten then and now she was twenty. The past ten years had been a hellish nightmare for her and she was eager to see it end and eager to see the Countess face justice. The only problem was she was followed nearly everywhere she went, kept a close eye on because it was well known that she did not approve of the Countess and her activities and also ten years of beatings had made her timid, afraid that she would end up alongside the many women whose throats she had helped to slit. She often prayed that someone in the town would grow a spine and take action but most people were unaware of the true horrors that went on. Besides, Elisabeta was nobility which meant that any peasant who tried to speak out against her would most likely not only be ignored but killed as well. There had been a few brave souls who had tried to stop her but either they or their young daughters mysteriously vanished and that was enough to silence the rest of the village.

She stopped at one spot and felt revulsion. Last winter, her mistress had ordered the execution of servants she deemed slothful or old and they were forced out here in the freezing cold and Katalin and the other girls who had escaped the death sentence threw buckets of cold water on them while they cried and begged for mercy. Any who tried to move were either forced back into position by the guards or ran through with their spears. In all, forty girls died that night, five by spears and thirty five frozen in place, left in the courtyard all winter as ice sculptures before they were finally burned in the spring. They were left there as both a work of art and a reminder to the other servants that they needed to pull their weight or else. Katalin's mind burned with hatred for the woman and it also burned with hatred for herself knowing that she had been a coward and taken part in all these murders because she didn't have the guts to stand up to Elisabeta and her demonic retinue.

But despite all this, she knew that one day someone would stop her and the reign of terror would finally end. It was only a matter of time and Katalin hoped she would be alive to witness it when it did come.

Rose was relieved when they walked into the town and no one accosted them. Now that they weren't dressed in freakish clothes, the villagers did little more than glance at them before they went on about their lives. She always wondered why they didn't do this more often. She often felt that dressing in anachronistic clothes only added to the trouble they often faced since it drew attention to themselves and pegged them as outsiders. But then Rose thought maybe that's what the Doctor wanted. The more they were labeled as outsiders, the more likely something would happen and that's what the Doctor wanted, something to happen. Then again, Rose figured the Doctor didn't care what people thought of him and he never let people's opinions stop him from being who he was and that was one of the things Rose loved dearly about him.

But for the moment, it was good to go unnoticed, especially since the villagers seemed ready to burn them at the stake before. The Doctor, noticeably, was not his usual cheerful, talkative self. Usually, he would be willing to strike up a conversation with complete strangers but even he must have sensed the need to keep a low profile since he was quiet and somber. The disguise made him look like his old self, save for the blonde hair, but Rose found it odd that she actually missed his vampire look. She was so used to him being pale with jet black hair that she wished he would tear off the rubber prosthetics and go back to his old self.

She also thought about what had just occurred between them, the sharing of blood. She was sure it was going to be an unpleasant experience but to her surprise, she found she actually liked it. The feeling of the Doctor's lips on her wrist and the gentle sucking motion soothed her. She suddenly realized what the attraction was for all those Goths who dreamed about becoming the undead. It struck her for the first time that this was another case of her growing old while the Doctor remained young, except this time he was unlikely even to regenerate but keep the same body throughout the ages until something happened that caused his death. She was filled with sadness that she still wouldn't be able to be with him past a normal human life span and she found herself seriously considering joining him as a vampire. She didn't know if the Doctor would allow that but she had a feeling he would be against it since he seemed so reluctant to take her blood to heal his body.

As they walked through the town, the Doctor's eyes scanned his surroundings, searching for something. When Rose finally asked him what he was looking for, the Doctor's eyes settled on her and she saw that familiar twinkle in them.

"Trouble," he said, half kidding.

"That figures," Rose said.

"No, actually, I'm seeking out someone trustworthy to talk to about the Countess. I want information on how long she's been doing this. I have a general idea from knowing the date but no one was ever sure of just what all went on in that place. I want to know if the locals know anything and they're just reluctant to talk."

"Wouldn't you be if you might end up being someone's bath water," Rose said.

"True. But eventually the Countess was caught and brought to justice. There are always people who are brave enough to fight evil; you just have to know where to look for them and how to give them the courage to fight. It's time for Bathory to face the music and for her slaughter to end but we need someone to assist us that knows what's been going on here andů"

"You stupid girl!"

The Doctor and Rose turned around when they heard a man yelling and they saw the girl they rescued earlier running from an older man who was trying to hit her.

"Papa, I was telling the truth, they almost took me away to the haunted castle!" the girl was protesting as she tried to get away from her angry father.

"Bah, no one would want you, not even the Countess. You're ugly, lazy and you've been a burden on me and your mother since the day you were born. I sent you to market and you come back empty-handed. You most likely were off daydreaming again and needed an excuse for why you didn't do as I command. Now get going and if you come back empty handed again, I'll beat you to within an inch of your life!"

Rose started to go to the girl so she could defend her but the Doctor stopped her.

"No wait, he's leaving," he said, pointing to the man who was now turning and stomping away.

They watched as the girl, tears in her eyes, ran past them. The Doctor nudged Rose.

"I don't know about you, but I think we found the perfect candidate to help us bring down Batty Betty," he said. "Come on, let's go have a chat with her and see if she knows anything."

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