Chapter Fourteen

The Doctor rode with Rose on the Sintok back towards the Quinok village. The others rode behind them hoping to put as much distance between themselves and the Wacona village as they could before someone found out what happened. Donna grunted when the big furry beast jumped over fallen logs and ran through the tree branches which slapped at her face repeatedly.

"Couldn't have found us better transportation?" she yelled at them.

"My friends, I hope you know what you're doing bringing me along," Gelik said while he rode behind Martha. "I don't think the Quinok will welcome me into their village."

"Let me handle that," the Doctor said. "I told you that you're under my protection now and I mean it. If someone lays a finger on you, they'll have to answer to me."

They hurried on through the woods.

Pavan was growing impatient.

"How long does it take for the old man to bind them?" he asked Romula.

"Gelik knows what he's doing, Pavan."

He snorted.

"Just like you?"

Romula narrowed his eyes.

"I'm warning you. You are talking yourself into a public beating and if you persist, I will execute you as an example of what happens when hotheaded young members of the tribe decide to challenge my authority. So keep your heated words to yourself, Pavan."

"I'm merely stating a fact, old one. Gelik should have been back by now. Surely, it doesn't take long to magically bind four captives. Where is he?"

Romula sighed and gestured to a nearby warrior.

"Rurula, go see what is taking the shaman so long so Pavan will calm down," he said in an irritated voice.

"Yes, Romula."

They watched while he ran down the steps of the pyramid towards his hut. The crowd parted to make way for him and then went back to talking amongst themselves. He returned ten minutes later sprinting for the pyramid. The crowd parted again and he zoomed up the stairs.

"Romula, they are gone!" he yelled at them.

"What? What do you mean they are gone?" Romula said.

He got to the top of the pyramid.

"I checked Gelik's hut and no one is there. Everyone is missing, including Gelik!"

The people below gasped and there were loud murmurs among them. The warriors around Romula joined in. He raised his hand for quiet and the warriors stopped talking.

"Perhaps the shaman led them into the woods to conduct their rituals," he said.

"Or perhaps the captives overpowered him and kidnapped him," Pavan said.

There were more whispers coming from the people below. Romula raised his hands for silence.

"I have no idea what the old shaman does in order to cast his magic spells but I will not allow him to be kidnapped by the captives if that is what's happened. Pavan, I want you to take a couple of warriors and ride through the woods. See if you can locate them or Gelik."

Pavan smiled.

"With pleasure."

He gestured to Rurula and Bezor and the three of the headed down the steps while Romula ordered the crowd to disperse for the moment.

The five friends rode the Sintok as fast as they could through the forest pausing only once to let them get a drink before riding hell for leather again. At the speed they were going it took a half day before they reached the village and by the time they stopped, they were all stiff and sore from riding on the bony backs of the beasts.

They got off them and the Doctor cautioned Gelik to get behind all of them while they slowly walked to the village. While they did, they glanced up at the treetops looking for any sign of Quinoks who wanted to ambush them again but they didn't see anyone. After ten minutes they reached the village and the Doctor stopped them just outside it.

"Let me handle this," he said to them.

They nodded and grouped around Gelik protectively while the Doctor strode into the village. Everyone stopped and stared at him in shock and he knew he they were seeing the purple paint on his face. He walked up to a young man who was sitting just outside his hut and bent down until he was eye level.

"I need to speak to Hatarok; can you fetch him straight away please?"

The man nodded, leapt up and sprinted away to find him while the Doctor sighed and straightened back up. He returned a few minutes later with Hatarok and Baor. Both of them started at the face paint and facial injuries in a stunned silence.

"Doctor? What's happened to you?" Hatarok said.

"I recognize that face paint," Baor said angrily. "The Wacona paint the faces of their sacrifices that way!"

There was an angry buzz from the other villagers.

"Doctor, is this true? Did they actually try to sacrifice you?" Hatarok said.

"Yes, they tried to kill me and Rose and Donna and Martha. But we had help escaping them which is why I need you to come with me."

Hatarok and Baor glanced at each other and followed the Doctor to the edge of the village. They paused when they saw the three women standing there with the same purple paint on their faces.

"Shizara?" Baor said in disbelief.

He became angry.

"They tried to sacrifice the great Shizara!" he yelled.

The Doctor groaned when a bunch of villagers nearby heard him and began relaying it to everyone else.

"Listen, you two, Rose is not this Shizara, alright?" the Doctor said trying to put a lid on the pot that was threatening to boil over. "She's mortal."

"This is an insult! We cannot let it stand!" Baor said. "I…"

He trailed off when he saw Gelik. He neared closer to him.

"Wait, you are the Wacona shaman, aren't you?" he snarled. "Did you have something to do with this?"

"Just…wait," the Doctor said. "Calm down and let me explain!"

But Baor was seeing red now and he walked up to the shaman.

"How dare you sacrifice our goddess and her friends?" he said to him.

"Please, hear me out. I am not to blame for this. I helped them," Gelik said.

By now half the village was clustered on the outskirts listening to them. Hatarok followed behind Baor who had withdrew a dagger and was preparing to stab the Wacona shaman with it.

"You Wacona are lower than dirt!" he said to him.

"Wait! Will you please calm down?" Rose implored him. "It's not him. He saved our lives."

"I will see your blood spilled at my feet for this, shaman!" Baor said.

The Doctor had enough. He jumped in between him and Gelik.

"ENOUGH!" he bellowed.

The tone of his voice stunned everyone into silence, even his companions. Baor stared at his enraged face and found himself backing away.

"This right here is the reason why there is so much bloodshed between your two tribes!" he yelled at them. "No one listens to anyone! You were told repeatedly to calm down and listen to us because he had nothing to do with it. But nooo, you just need to satisfy your personal bloodlust and stab a man who just risked his life to free us. We insisted he come with us because if the other Wacona find out he did this, he'll be put to death. So now that I finally have your attention, calm down and cool off or you'll have me to deal with and trust me that's the last thing you want!"

Baor backed up even more and put his dagger back in his sheath.

"Forgive me, Doctor. It's just that his people have committed atrocity after atrocity over the years," he said.

"I understand that, but believe it or not there are some Wacona who are sick of the bloodshed and Gelik here happens to be one of them. Now, I made a promise to him that I would protect him while he was here and I intend to keep that promise."

He looked past him. By now the whole village was gathered at the outskirts.


The villagers backed up meekly while the Quinok chief and shaman stared at him in amazement. The Doctor took a breath, calming himself down and looked at Baor.

"Now, is there somewhere where we can get cleaned up and rest awhile?" he asked him.

Baor nodded.

"Yes, Doctor, I will allow you to rest in my hut."

"All of us?" the Doctor said, giving him a pointed look.

He nodded.

He smiled.

"Good," he said. "Then lead the way because all of us are stiff and sore from riding the Sintok back here."

Baor nodded. He and Hatarok turned and led them past the villagers towards their hut.

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