Chapter Twelve

The Doctor blinked as he was dragged out of the dim hut into direct sunlight. The moment he appeared, the crowd standing at the base of the pyramid began to cheer. The Doctor felt the ropes cut away from his wrists and legs. He tried to run, but was seized on both sides by Pavan and the other warriors. He stood there listening to them taunting him while they stripped him to his waist and threw his clothes over by the door. Ignoring their jokes about his small breasts, he glanced over at a huge stone slab positioned in front of the hut. His blood boiled when he saw the dried blood on top and thought of the countless innocent victims who were sacrificed there. He grunted as the warriors dragged him over to it and forced him to lie down. They grabbed his arms, jerked them above his head and secured them with leather straps. They did the same to his legs and then they stepped back and let Pavan come forward to jeer at the captive Time Lord.

"Scared?" he said.

"Not in the least," the Doctor replied, calmly.

"You aren't afraid to die?"

"Nope, been there, done that, got the t-shirt."

Pavan bent over and looked him in the eyes.

"Do you know what we're going to do to you?"

"Well, this is pure speculation, mind, but I'm thinking you're about to plunge a big old knife into my heart, spill my blood all over the place and then taunt me mercilessly as I die."

"And the thought of this doesn't fill you with fear?"

The Doctor sighed.

"You don't know who I am, do you?" the Doctor asked him.

Pavan chuckled.

"I know you're a scared little girl--"

"No, seriously, you really don't know who I am, do you?"

Pavan snorted.

"Why should it matter to me if I know who you are?"

"Oh, it matters, trust me, it matters a lot. Because you see, I'm no ordinary man."

Pavan rolled his eyes.

"And now, at the moment of your death, you're gonna claim you also have a spirit inside--"

"No, I don't have a spirit inside me. But, there are several things about me that are…shall, we say, not normal for a human being like yourself?"

"Such as?"

"Well, for one thing, when you say you're gonna stab me in the heart, which heart are you talking about?"

Pavan stared at him.

"What do you mean, which heart?"

"I mean, which heart. You see, I have two. Which one are you gonna take? Personally, I like my right one. I think it's a better pick for a sacrificial trophy, but then, that's just my opinion. But, in the end, I guess it doesn't matter because the moment you stab me in the heart, the other thing that sets me apart from humans will happen."

Pavan sighed and stood up.

"This one's brain is addled," he said to the other warriors. "Terror from knowing he's about to die has caused him to go insane. Let's put him out of his misery."

"I'm warning you, the moment you try to kill me, you and your lot are in for a biiiiiiig surprise!"

Pavan put his arms over his chest.

"And what is this big surprise, little girl?"

The Doctor smiled.

"I'll magically change myself into a whole new person and live again."

Pavan rolled his eyes. He turned away from the Doctor.

"Kill the lunatic, Bezor," he said to one of the other warriors.

"No! Leave him alone! Listen to him!" Gelik said.

The Doctor gritted his teeth when Pavan shoved him to the ground.

"Silence, old one, or you'll be next!" he said.

As Bezor stepped forward with the knife, Pavan had a thought.

"Bring the other women out, let them witness his death, so they can get a taste of what's to come!" he said to them.

"No! Leave them alone!" the Doctor said.

He struggled to get free when he heard Rose calling his name from inside the hut. His struggle increased when he heard all of them yelling and the warriors screaming at them to be quiet. A moment later, all of them were dragged outside. The Doctor cursed when they were brought forward and forced to their knees in front of the slab.

"Oh God, Doctor," Rose said.

He gave them a brave smile as Bezor stepped around the slab towards the top step and stood there quietly while the other warriors dressed him in ceremonial robes and headdress.

"I told you guys I would protect you even if I had to lose a life and I'm fully prepared to do that now." The Doctor told them. "Hopefully, if that happens, they'll be so shocked at my regeneration that it might give us a chance to escape. Just be ready for anything."

He winked when he saw the anguish on Rose's face.

"It'll still be me, Rose, just like before," he said, gently. "I didn't stop loving you when I changed into this body and I won't stop loving you when I become a whole new man. Mind you, you may have to love a ginger haired, bucktoothed, overweight, drooling old guy who snores in his sleep and farts every twelve seconds, but you'll get used to that in time."

He grinned when Rose laughed softly. He looked at all of them.

"If I go, I just want to tell all of you that I loved traveling with you. You three are phenomenal. I couldn't ask for better companions."

He gave them a sad smile when he noticed tears streaming down their cheeks.

"Now, quit that. I told you, I'm not going anywhere. I 'm just going to look different and maybe act differently…actually, if I do snore and drool in the next life, you might want to hit me over the head so I'll quit doing that, but other than that, I promise that we'll all be together when this is over, whether it's me or someone different, so stop crying, alright?"

They nodded. He looked over at Bezor who was wearing purple robes and a huge feathered headdress. The Doctor stared at the headdress and looked at the three women.

"Get a load of this nob," he said, jerking his head at him. "They call me a woman, but I'm not the one prancing around looking like a Vegas showgirl."

He smiled when all of them laughed at that. He looked up at Pavan who was glowering at him.

"Well, it's true," he said. "If you're all so manly, then why do you feel the need to conduct the ritual looking like a peacock?"

"Be silent!" he snarled at him.

The Doctor rolled his eyes and looked over at Bezor who was quieting the crowd down.

"Wacona!" Bezor yelled. "Today, we pay tribute to the gods and honor them with sacrifice!"

The crowd cheered. Bezor walked around the slab and waited until the crowd had calmed down before continuing.

"This man will be the first to go!"

"Oh, suddenly I'm a man again, am I?" the Doctor said.

"His heart will be taken as tribute and his blood will flow like the great river that nourishes our bountiful forest!"

"Wow, that's pretty good. Have you ever considered becoming a poet? Why make a killing here when you could make a killing in the literary world--"

"This stranger's soul will rise up to the Land of Dreams on his dying breath and he will tell the gods that the Wacona have honored them."

"P'eh, guess again, Jack the Ripper."

Bezor raised the dagger above his head.

"And now, let the sacrifice begin!"

"No!" Rose, Martha and Donna screamed in unison.

The Doctor shut his eyes preparing for the moment when the dagger would pierce his heart. He held his breath sensing the blade coming towards him.


The Doctor frowned when he heard someone in the crowd yell at them. He opened his eyes and noticed that Bezor had frozen in place with the dagger inches above his left heart. He followed his gaze and noticed everyone was staring at a man who was standing just beyond the crowd.


The Doctor's eyes widened and a smile spread over his face. He looked at Bezor, Pavan and the other stunned warriors.

"Well, lookie here," he said, gleefully. "You lot are in troooooooooooooouble!"

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