THE WARRIOR GODDESS

Chapter Ten

Finally, just when it looked like they were going in the wrong direction, the Doctor caught sight of an enormous stone pyramid through the trees. He and Rose stopped the Sintok, tied them to a couple of trees and continued silently on foot. They stopped just before they entered the village and squatted down. The Doctor scanned his surroundings. He could see no sign of Donna or Martha, there were numerous huts between them and the huge pyramid in the center of the village. He cursed. His friends could be in any of them or they could be in the tiny hut built on top of the pyramid. He stared at the dried blood staining the steep steps that went up the front of the pyramid and felt sick to his stomach. What if they were too late? He quickly pushed that thought from his mind. He had to trust that the Bad Wolf was orchestrating events in their favor. He looked at Rose.

"We have to be extremely careful," he said to her. "Donna and Martha could be anywhere and we don't want to alert the villagers that we're here before we can get them out. Hopefully, they're in one of these outer huts, but if they aren't, we have to be ready for anything."

Rose nodded. He took her hand.

"I want you to promise me that if we're ambushed and overwhelmed, you'll make a run for it and go back to the Sintok; do you promise to do that?"

"Doctorů"

"Please, promise me. I may have already lost Donna and Martha; I don't want to lose you too. I don't care if they kill me, but I don't want to see you die. Do you promise?"

Rose nodded.

"I promise."

The Doctor kissed her on the lips. He hesitated a moment, waiting until a couple of villagers passed by and then with a nod of his head, he and Rose quietly stepped out of the trees and crept into the village.

Gelik silently walked towards Romula's hut, a clay vial of sleeping potion hidden in the pouch around his waist. He hated to do this, Romula had been his close friend since childhood and the last thing he wanted to do was betray his trust. But, the lives of his two new friends were just as important to him and if the spirits decreed that he must save them, then he had to obey. He only hoped Romula would forgive him for his transgression and not have him put to death.

Gelik paused at the door to his hut, gently pushed aside the blanket and peered inside. To his relief, he could hear soft snoring coming from Romula. Quietly, he tiptoed inside and reached inside his pouch, taking out the sleeping potion. Mindful of his steps, he inched his way towards his sleeping friend. Reaching his side, he knelt down, slipped the small piece of hide off the top of the vial and positioned it over his open mouth.

Then, slowly and gently, he poured the liquid into his mouth making sure to go slow enough that he didn't choke on it. He tried to keep his hand steady and his breathing calm, watching intently for any sign that Romula was waking up. Much to his relief, his friend stayed asleep. Gelik finished pouring the liquid into his mouth and put the vial and skin back into his pouch. He knelt by his side, listening quietly. He smiled when Romula's snoring stopped and his breathing deepened. Satisfied he was out; Gelik rose and left the hut so he could free his friends.

The Doctor and Rose flattened themselves against the side of a hut when they noticed someone coming out of the hut across from them. To their relief, it was only an old woman carrying a small reed basket. She didn't see them and instead, went on her way towards the woods. So far, their luck had held out. All they had seen were women and children and all of them were going about their daily business with no clue there were two intruders in their village. They had gone from hut to hut, lifting back the blankets a crack and taking a quick peek inside before going on to the next one. So far, no luck in finding them and the Doctor was getting more nervous with each passing minute.

The Doctor peeked around the hut, saw that the woman was almost to the woods and with a nod, he and Rose sprinted towards the next one. They pressed up against the side of it, waiting in case someone came out of it or any of the nearby huts. The Doctor pressed his ear up against the side of the hut, but couldn't hear any sounds or anyone talking inside. They waited a moment more and then scurried around to the front. The Doctor peeked into the hut and stifled a cry of joy when he saw Martha lying there. He looked at Rose; mouthed "Martha!" to her and both of them quickly went inside.

"Doctor!" Martha said, softly. "Oh God, Doctor, Rose! Am I glad to see you guys!"

The Doctor gathered her in his arms and gave her a bear hug, relieved that she was alive. He gave her an affectionate kiss on the cheek and then sat her on her butt while he reached into his jacket pocket. He quickly burned through the ropes with his screwdriver and Martha embraced Rose.

"Martha, did they hurt you?" The Doctor whispered.

Martha shook her head.

"No, actually there's this old man named Gelik, he's been really kind to both me and Donna."

"Where is Donna?" the Doctor asked.

Martha shook her head.

"I don't know. I haven't seen her. Gelik's been in here and told me she's alright, but other than that, I have no clue where they took her."

The Doctor cursed under his breath. He sighed.

"Ah, well, we'll find her. We found you, at least," he said.

Martha nodded. She groaned when the Doctor helped her to her feet.

"Oh God, my legs are asleep from being tied up," she said, hopping.

After a minute, the feeling finally came back and she stopped.

"Okay, I'm ready now," she said.

"Okay then, I want you both to stay by me and keep your eyes peeled for danger. Like I told Rose, if we're overwhelmed, I want you and Rose to run back to the Sintok we have tied up in the woods. Don't worry about me, you got that?"

Martha hesitated and then nodded slowly.

"Okay, now let's get going before Donna ends up with a dagger in her heart andů"

He trailed off when he noticed someone walking up to the hut. Cursing silently, he got in front of Rose and Martha and held his screwdriver at the ready. The blanket was pulled back and he saw an old man staring at him with a shocked look on his face.

"It's alright, Doctor," Martha said. "This is Gelik; he's the one who's been helping us. Gelik, this is the Doctor and Rose."

The Doctor lowered his screwdriver as Gelik stepped inside and dropped the blanket.

"So, you are the ones who have come to rescue Martha and Donna?" Gelik said to the Doctor.

"Yes, do you know where Donna is? Is she safe?"

"Yes, she is safe and I can take you to her."

The Doctor shut his eyes as relief washed over him.

"Thank you so much," he said to Gelik. "You have no idea how much this means to me."

Gelik smiled.

"You're very welcome. I've become friends with both Martha and Donna and I've done everything in my power to make sure they are safe, including drugging our chief, Romula to ensure that you had time to find them."

"If you did all that, then I'm forever in your debt," the Doctor replied. "Now, if you can just take us to Donna, we'll be on our way."

Gelik frowned.

"I'm not sure if that is wise. Perhaps you better wait here and I'll bring Donna to you instead."

"Yes, anything, just please go get her."

Gelik smiled.

"Just wait here then and I'll go and bring her to you."

The Doctor nodded. Gelik turned to leave and he grabbed a hold of his shoulder.

"Wait, Gelik. Umůis there a chance anyone else is gonna come in here while you're gone?"

Gelik considered that.

"I'm not sure, Doctor. I'm the one who is in charge of their care, but that doesn't mean someone else won't be in to check on them. The time of sacrifice is past due now and I know that some of the warriors are becoming agitated. I drugged Romula and he has the final say on when the sacrifices happen, but there are many hotheads in the village who might take it upon themselves to conduct the ritual themselves if it's delayed too long."

"Great," the Doctor muttered. "Then please hurry so we can all be on our way."

"Just wait here, it'll only be a moment," Gelik said.

The Doctor leaned back against the wall when Gelik raised the blanket and went outside.

"I hope this doesn't take too long," he said to them. "Knowing our luck, someone else will just decide to drop in here and check onů"

He froze when he saw two people stopping just outside the hut.

"When will I learn to keep my big trap shut?" he muttered to himself.

The three of them readied themselves when he saw a hand grip the side of the blanket.

"No, Pavan, we must wait," they heard one of them say.

The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief when Pavan let go of the blanket.

"I can't wait any longer, Eroc. I don't know what is keeping Romula, but the sacrifice must begin!" Pavan said. "The women must die, so we may honor the gods!"

"That's what you think," the Doctor muttered under his breath.

"But if you kill them without permission from Romula, then you'll be the next to go!" Eroc protested.

Pavan snorted.

"Romula is old. He no longer knows what is best for the tribe! He has become soft and weak; it is time for others to decide what is best for the people."

"Like you?" Eroc said.

"Yes, like me. I have killed many Quinok. Far more than any other man in the village. By this, I have shown the gods that I am worthy to lead, so I will take it upon myself to sacrifice the women. Now, gather the villagers together, the time of appeasement is now at hand!"

The Doctor tensed his muscles when he saw Eroc walk off. There was a moment's hesitation and then Pavan pulled back the curtain and stepped inside. He paused when he saw the Doctor standing there.

"Hi, my friends and I are visiting your fair village and we're looking for the bus station, this isn't it, by any chance?"

The Doctor lunged at him before he could cry out, but he was too late. Pavan managed to let out a loud piercing cry just before he was knocked out. The three of them froze as Pavan fell to the ground. For a few seconds there was only silence and the Doctor breathed a sigh of relief. Then, they heard angry voices coming towards the hut.

"Like I said, we're the poster children for lousy luck!" the Doctor said. "We can't wait for Gelik; we'll have to make a break for it before we're crammed in here by ninety warriors."

All of them sprinted out of the hut. The moment they ran out, they heard the warrior's piercing trills and war whoops alerting others to their presence. The Doctor, Rose and Martha zigzagged in and out of the huts, trying to elude their pursuers.

"Where's Gelik at?" Rose yelled.

"I don't think it matters," the Doctor yelled back. "Somehow, I doubt that one old man is gonna stop a bunch of angry warriors from ripping us apart. Just keep running towards the woods. We'll figure out a way to get Donna outů"

"Doctor!"

He jerked his head when Martha yelled and noticed she was looking behind her. He followed her gaze and noticed Rose was several feet back, on her knees, barely conscious, with a dart in the back of her neck. Roaring his rage, he turned and ran back to her, ready to defend her at all costs. As he ran, the warriors blew sleeping darts at him, which he deftly eluded. He reached Rose who was now unconscious, scooped her up in his arms and turned. He froze when he noticed he was surrounded and Martha was now on her knees in front of them with several spears being pointed at her body. The warriors holding the spears growled at him menacingly while they started to thrust the spears into her chest.

"No! Don't hurt her! We surrender!" the Doctor screamed.

Suddenly, he felt something slam into the back of his skull. He saw a bright flash of light for a few seconds and then everything went dark.

The men lowered their spears, clubs and blowguns when the Doctor slumped to the ground with Rose still in his arms. Martha screamed her rage and tried to get away, but one of the men holding her grabbed a dagger and pressed it against her throat. She stopped struggling and glared at the men as they came close to the Doctor. They laughed while they turned him over on his back and stared at him with glee.

"Look at this one," one of the men said. "Have you ever seen someone so skinny? He's no bigger than a reed. I bet the summer breeze could blow him away!"

The man grabbed his face and turned it from left to right.

"Look at this. No tattoos, no piercings, the man isn't a man at all. He's a woman!"

They all laughed.

"He's more of a man than any of you will ever be!" Martha growled.

The man grabbed his hand and held it up.

"Look at how pale he is, he must be a woman since he's never even been outside his hut!"

Martha gritted her teeth when all of them howled with laughter. One of the men came forward and grabbed his crotch.

"Wait a moment!" the man said. "He has man parts. Perhaps he's a man, after all."

"Nah, the gods must have gotten confused or distracted when they made him. They were trying to make a girl and made a boy instead!" the other man said.

"Perhaps the gods were blinded by the freak's pale skin and grabbed the wrong parts," someone in the crowd said.

They all roared with laughter. The men closest to the Doctor picked him and Rose up and slung them over their shoulders.

"Come on, let's go put the boygirl out of his misery and send him back to the spirit world where they can fix the freak and make him one sex or the other. Then, perhaps if the gods decide to let him come back for another life, he won't be so confused and do things like spend all his time around other women!"

The men holding Martha forced her to turn around and they pushed her towards the pyramid while the others carried the Doctor and Rose.

Meanwhile, standing in the shadows of a nearby hut, Gelik stood silently and watched with a heavy heart as his new friends were taken to their doom.

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