Chapter Eight

Martha let out a frustrated growl, as she tried for the fiftieth time to wriggle out of the ropes around her wrists. She had no idea where she was, or if Donna was alright. All she had seen so far was the hut that served as her prison. An animal skin covered the door preventing her from seeing out, and she was lying on the dirt floor, bound hand and foot. It had been about a half hour since she had woken up, and so far, no one had come in to tell her where she was, or what they planned to do with her. Whatever it was, she knew it couldn't be good.

She raised her head when the skin was pushed aside, and an elderly man entered. Martha steeled herself for what he was going to do to her, but, he merely sat a wooden bowl filled with water down beside her, and helped her to sit up.

"Greetings, child, my name is Gelik," he said, smiling. "I already know your name. Your friend, Donna, told me."

"Donna? Is she alright?"

She let out a sigh of relief when Gelik nodded.

"I saw to her needs, and now, I will see to yours," he said. "I assume you must be thirsty."

Martha nodded. Gelik put the bowl to her lips, and she gulped down the cool liquid.

"Easy, little one. You will make yourself sick," Gelik teased.

Martha finished, and he sat the bowl down beside her.

"Now, do you need to relieve yourself?"


Martha was hoping he would lead her outside, so she could slip away and find the Doctor. However, that hope dwindled to nothing, when Gelik reached outside the door, brought in a small clay pot, and a piece of hide.

"You can use this, Martha."

Martha forced a polite smile on her face.

"Thanks," she said, trying to hold her temper.

After all, he was being nice to her. At least, that was a start. She hoped that meant he might help her and Donna get away. She didn't resist while Gelik untied the ropes around her ankles, pulled down her pants, and helped her squat over the bowl. Martha sighed when she began to urinate in it. The pressure on her bladder had been excruciating. She thanked God the man had been kind enough to think of doing it. She cleared her throat, trying to be delicate with her next request.

"Um…would it be too much trouble if I could see Donna?" she asked him.

Gelik considered that, as he wiped her with the piece of hide.

"I do not know if I can," he said.

"What do you mean? You're the one in charge, aren't ya?"

Gelik shook his head.

"I have been permitted to see to yours and Donna's needs, but I am not the one who is in charge. The chief, Romula, is the one who decides what is to become of you."

"And what do you think will happen to us, then?"

Gelik let out a sad sigh.

"Most likely, you and your friend shall be sacrificed to the gods."

Martha's eyes bulged out of her head.

"But…but, you can't let that happen," she blurted out. "You can't let Donna and me die. Surely, you know that's wrong. You have to set us free."

"I am sorry, my child, that is not my decision."

"But, we've done nothing to you, any of you," Martha protested. "Please, you have to go talk to Romula and ask him to let us go. Please, make him understand that we're innocent. We're not enemies, but, I guarantee you that there is a man that we travel with, that will quickly become your enemy if you do something to us. Please, can you just talk to him?"

Gelik gave her a sad smile.

"I will try, Martha, but I cannot guarantee that Romula will listen. A Wacona raids for a living, and what we take we either give as a sacrifice to the gods, or turn into a slave."

"But, that's wrong. We've done nothing to deserve this."

"I know that, my child, but you cannot change the minds of Wacona warriors so easily. They see you and Donna as trophies, to be disposed of as they see fit."

"Then, why don't you think the same?"

Gelik smiled.

"It was ordained at my birth, that I would follow the path of the mystic and not the warrior. Therefore, I have never felt the thrill that comes from the capture and killing of others. I am the only male here who feels this way, which is why I volunteered to look after the two of you until a decision is made about what to do with you."

"And the women? Do they have bloodlust too?"

"Not really. Most women feel as I do, but Wacona law forbids them from interacting with prisoners. So, if you are hoping to talk to another female, I'm sorry to say that will not happen. Now, are you done?"

Martha nodded. Gelik laid the skin on the side of the bowl, pulled it away from Martha, and helped her to lie down. Martha sighed while he tied the rope around her ankles.

"I trust it is not too tight?" Gelik said, when he finished.

"No, it's fine. It's nice of you to do this for me and Donna."

Gelik nodded.

"I will talk to Romula and plead for you and your friend's release. But, know this. If it is denied, and you are sentenced to death, I have herbs that can numb your bodies, so that neither you nor Donna will have to suffer at the moment of your deaths."

Martha gave him a grateful smile.

"Thanks, I appreciate that, and I know Donna does too," she said. "But, if it's decided that we have to be slaves, and there is no way our friends can help us, do you have any herbs that will kill us?"

"I have a special powder I can mix with water that will stop your hearts and give you a painless crossing into the land of dreams. But, are you sure that is what you want, even if you are allowed to live?"

"Yes, because I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a slave, and I know Donna doesn't either. I still think our friends will come and save us. But, if they can't find us in time, or something happens, then I don't want to live."

"Then, if it comes to that point, I will certainly honor your request," Gelik said, bowing.

"Thank you."

"You're very welcome, Martha. Even though I am Wacona, I am also a mystic, and I value the lives of innocents. I believe that with every innocent life taken, there must come a reckoning eventually. My people will someday pay the price for their cruelty, so I must do all I can to show the gods that there is mercy among our people, so they will not be so harsh when they pass judgment. I know that the gods do not need blood to be appeased, but my people are very superstitious and will not listen when I tell them there is no need to sacrifice their fellow brothers and sisters."

He laid a hand on her shoulder.

"And that is what we are. We are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of the spirits."

Martha smiled and nodded.

"I'm so glad you're here looking after me and Donna, then. I'm sure if you weren't here, we'd already be dead."

"I share that assessment, my child, and I will do all within my power to convince Romula to spare you and your friend. If not, I do hope your friends find you."

He groaned, as he got to his feet.

"Oh, my dear Martha, never grow old. It is not fun," he said, winking.

Martha laughed. Gelik's eyes twinkled when he leaned over and laid a hand on her head.

"No matter what happens, I will be back to tend to you and Donna again. Just keep your spirits up. Whatever is meant to happen will happen. Just ask the spirits that they will look favorable upon you and Donna."

"I will," Martha said.

Gelik looked at her tenderly for a moment, before picking up the bowl and walking out the door.

"Oh God, please lead the Doctor and Rose to us before it's too late," she whispered, to herself.

The Doctor glanced back at Rose, as they rode through the woods. After explaining what they needed to do, Hatarok lent them four large yak-like creatures he called Sintok. Rose had been skeptical of their speed when she first saw the huge, lumbering beasts, but once they got going, she found they were incredibly fast and agile. Both she and the Doctor rode one of them, while the other two were tethered to their saddles and running behind them. Rose held tight to the bridle, trying to stay upright in the saddle, as the Sintok leapt over fallen tree trunks and ran through the underbrush.

"Do you think we'll be able to find the Wacona village?" Rose yelled.

The Doctor looked back at her.

"I think so; we just need to keep going this way for about a day, and we'll run into it. If it's a sizable village, we should be able to spot it long before we reach it."

"I just hope that Donna and Martha are alright."

"Me too, Rose, me too. At least we have transportation, so we can get there quickly and make a fast getaway, I have a feeling as soon as we reach the village, and they figure out what we're up to, all hell will break loose."

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