Chapter Thirteen

The village was completely silent; the only exception being the Doctor's gleeful laugh. No one moved for a moment and then the crowd parted and fell to their knees as Romula stomped towards the steps.

"Sorry, mate," the Doctor said to Bezor. "I have a feeling you and your friends aren't going to walk away from this with a little wrist slapping."

Bezor glared at him. He raised the knife, preparing to stab the Doctor.

"I SAID STOP!" Romula roared at him.

The Doctor gave him a smug smile as he lowered the knife and backed away. All of the warriors fell to their knees, except for Pavan who stood near the door glowering at him. This act of defiance was not lost on Romula and he made a beeline for him.

"What is the meaning of this treachery?" Romula demanded. "I did not give permission for this!"

Pavan smirked.

"I do not need your permission, old one. I have taken it upon myself to conduct the ritual without your say-so."

Romula was stunned.

"You dare defy my authority?" he said in disbelief.

"Yes," he replied, stepping towards him. "You have been the chief for long enough. You are old and feeble. You have not made war for several seasons. You do not speak for the warriors, as far as I'm concerned. I have performed far greater acts of bravery than you ever have. Therefore, I should be the one to speak for all Wacona warriors, not you!"

The Doctor glanced at Pavan's friends. He took note of the fact that none of the others had risen to his defense. Even Bezor who had been so eager to perform the sacrifice was silent. The Doctor wondered just how much influence Pavan really had. Judging from the fact that he was facing Romula alone, he figured not much.

Romula on the other hand was angry and getting angrier by the second. The Doctor didn't care about the warriors getting hurt, but there was the matter of his three friends who were still on their knees bound and helpless. Not to mention Gelik who at the very least had risked his standing in the community to help them escape. If the situation spun out of control, he was helpless to protect any of them. He had to do something before they all ended up dead. While Romula and Pavan argued, the Doctor managed to lock eyes with Gelik. Gelik glanced around and when he noticed everyone's attention was riveted on the two feuding Wacona, he made his way around to the Doctor's side and bent down.

"Gelik," the Doctor whispered. "Can you grab a dagger and cut me loose, so I can get you and my friends to safety?"

Gelik looked around. The warriors all had their weapons close to them. There was no way he could take one without drawing attention to himself.

"I'm sorry, Doctor, I can't," he whispered back. "Not without the warriors suspecting me."

The Doctor mouthed a curse and looked around.

"There's gotta be some way you can grab a hold of a weapon," he whispered to Gelik. "Some excuse you can come up with. Think. Our lives depend on it."

Gelik's mind raced. He stared at Romula and Pavan who were now screaming at the top of their lungs. Suddenly, he had an idea. He raced over to Romula.

"Excuse me, my friend," he said, taking Romula's arm.

He flinched when Romula turned to him with unbridled anger in his eyes, but he forced himself to keep calm, so he could get his words out.

"Romula, perhaps we should take the captives back to the hut until this matter gets resolved, otherwise they might get hurt or figure out a way to escape."

"Escape? How can they escape?" Pavan said to him. "They are surrounded on all sides by Wacona."

"Ah, but I told you before, the yellow haired one carries a spirit within her. A very powerful spirit that could magically transport them all to safety. As the shaman, it's my duty to bind the spirit within her, so that will not happen. But, in order to do that, I must have privacy, so I'll be able to perform the ritual properly."

"No! They are not going anywhere!" Pavan shouted. "All of them must die!"

"That is not your decision, Pavan!" Romula said. "The sacrifice will take place when I order it!"

"The sacrifice is past due! If you are the one who orders it then where were you when it was time to do it?"

"I was asleep in my hut."


Pavan gasped when Romula seized his throat.

"You have always been a hothead, Pavan. It is no secret that you wish to replace me as chief; your youthful arrogance will be your undoing!"

"And your thinking that we will follow you blindly until you die will be your undoing, old man."

He gasped when Romula slammed him up against the hut. He paused a moment and then looked at Gelik.

"Go and get the captives out of here. There will be no sacrifice until I order it! In the meantime, if there is a spirit within that girl, then bind it, but no one is to kill anyone until I say so. I want this matter settled away from the eyes of strangers."

Gelik smiled.

"Thank you, Romula," he said, bowing his head.

He turned to Bezor.

"Untie the one on the altar and cut the bonds on the women's ankles so they can walk. I will escort them to my hut where they will wait until Romula deems them ready for sacrifice."

Bezor looked at the Doctor.

"I don't know if that is wise, old one. This one might be dangerous; perhaps we should accompany you and guard them."

"No, that will not be necessary. I have ways of keeping control over other beings. Move aside."

Bezor stepped aside as Gelik walked up to the Doctor. He bent over as he reached into his pouch.

"I am going to utter a false incantation," he whispered to him. "I want you to pretend you are hypnotized after I do it."

"Okey-dokey," the Doctor whispered back.

Gelik straightened up. He sprinkled a small amount of powered herbs onto the Doctor's head while he spoke. The Doctor stiffened his body while he got a faraway look in his eyes.

"There, he is completely under my power. Now I will do the same to the women. Stand back, all of you."

Gelik walked over to them. He bent down, whispered his instructions to them and then performed the fake spell. All three of them pretended to be hypnotized when he finished.

"Now, there is no danger of any of them running away. Do as I ask and release them. I will take them back to my hut for safekeeping."

The warriors looked at each other for a moment and then did as Gelik said. The straps around the Doctor's wrists and ankles were loosened and the bonds around the women's ankles were cut.

"Arise, all of you!" Gelik said in a deep, commanding voice.

The four captives stood up.

"Now, follow me."

The three women fell in behind the Doctor and all of them followed Gelik down the steps. The crowd below parted to let them pass and once they were clear, the argument between Romula and Pavan resumed.

"That was sheer brilliance," the Doctor said to Gelik. "I knew you could come up with something."

Gelik chuckled.

"Well, that is one of the advantages of being a shaman. I'm the only one who knows how my rituals work, so I can fake them if I need to. And because all of the villagers are at the pyramid, there will be no one to oppose your leaving. So, my friends, I wish you all well and may the gods protect you."

"Wait," Rose said. "You have to come with us. They'll kill you if they find out what you've done."

Gelik turned and faced them.

"But, if I go with you to the Quinok village, they'll kill me there."

"No, they won't," the Doctor said. "You risked your life to save us and in return, I will give you my protection. No one will lay a finger on you as long as I'm around. Rose is right; it's not safe for you here. Come with us."

Gelik looked deep into the Doctor's eyes and saw that he was telling the truth. He nodded.

"I don't know who you are, but I believe it's no accident that you were sent here among us. All of you radiate power and authority and I have no doubt that you will be able to keep your promise. It would be an honor to accompany you, Doctor."

He smiled.

"Great! And, it would be an honor to have you accompany us. Now, let's get back to the Sintok and get moving before someone figures out what's going on."

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