Chapter Eighteen

The Doctor stood outside Baor's hut and watched with sinking hearts while the Quinok warriors prepared themselves for battle. People were putting war paint on and readying their weapons. The Doctor watched the scene and felt utterly helpless to stop it. It seemed no matter what he did he was being thwarted at every turn. He felt someone come up beside him and looked at Gelik when he smiled a hello to him.

"And so it has led to this," Gelik said, sweeping his arm out in front of him. "Another useless battle between the Quinok and Wacona."

"Yes," the Doctor said dully.

Gelik studied him for a moment.

"You care what happens here even though you belong to no tribe?" he said.

"I care what happens here because I care about humans and it pains me when they kill each other needlessly. I don't need to be a part of a tribe to feel anger," the Doctor said. "This war is a failure between two groups of people who have blinkered vision and can't get past the cycle of anger and hatred and revenge. What happens here today will be revenged somewhere down the line and that will be revenged and on and on until both tribes are no more."

"You are the voice of reason, my friend, in the middle of a tempest," Gelik said. "I agree with you and I also regret what is happening here but sometimes it takes more than one man to stop the storm."

The Doctor nodded. He didn't say it but the other reason he was angry was because the Bad Wolf was putting the love of his life in the center of the violence. He wondered if the guardian spirit would be able to protect her or would he lose her again? Not to mention Martha and Donna. What started out as a pleasant camping trip turned into a nightmare and guilt plagued his mind that he was the one who thought of it. He decided to go find his friends, resolving to keep them close when the fighting started. He meant to go by himself but Gelik followed at his side and he wondered if he would have to watch him die as well.

He found Rose standing outside the guest hut, quietly staring at the sky. When he drew near, she looked at him and smiled. The Doctor embraced her and promised that he would try to protect her as much as he could.

"I trust you, I always have," Rose whispered back.

"Where are Martha and Donna?" the Doctor said.

"Inside," Rose said, pointing to the covered doorway. "They're upset, especially Donna. I think Martha's trying to calm her down before she finds someone to throttle.

"Rose, I am sorry that all of this is happening to you," Gelik said. "You are not a goddess and yet these people have been blinded into thinking you are their only salvation. You are an innocent and it hurts my heart to see you manipulated by Baor and his people."

"Thank you," Rose said. "It's alright, it's not the first time I've been in danger."

"That still doesn't make it right," Gelik said, shaking his head. "People must listen to reason. They cannot go on into infinity fighting each other. It's time to end this once and for all."

He didn't elaborate as he walked away. Rose and the Doctor watched him go.

"D'ya think he could stop all this?" Rose said.

"I don't know. It seems a fool's errand at the moment but I live in hope," the Doctor said.

He noticed the warriors were massing at the edge of the village and touched Rose's arm before pointing it out to her. Rose sighed and went into the hut.

"Is it time?" Martha asked.

"Nearly. I think they're about to leave," the Doctor said.

His guilt increased when without a word, Martha and Donna stood up and readied themselves. Sometimes he wondered about this effect he had on people that they were willing to face danger and sacrifice themselves so willingly. It put him in mind of the Pied Piper. But he knew he couldn't stop them. They were both adults and they were close to Rose and he knew they wouldn't sit on the sidelines and watch her risk her life by herself.

They heard shouts outside the hut and all of them walked outside. Some warriors were running and some were leading Sintok past them. But all of them were edging for the edge of the village.

"Has it started?" Donna said.

"My guess is yes," the Doctor said as the four of them ran along with the warriors. They reached the outskirts of the village and saw Pavan standing there by himself, a sneer on his face while he faced down thirty snarling warriors.

"I want the captives that are rightfully ours," he yelled. "Including your so-called goddess!"

He looked around and grinned when he saw the Doctor.

"Ah, I didn't know the Quinoks included women among their warriors," he said.

"Yeah, really witty that is," Donna said, rolling her eyes.

Pavan tried to walk over to the Doctor and stopped when several of the warriors thrust spears in his face. He snorted at that and called to the Doctor to come and face him like a man. The Doctor sighed, muttered "Why is it always me?" before walking through the warriors. He stopped a few feet from Pavan, folded his arms over his chest and stared at him.

"Well, the woman does have a spine," Pavan said. "I'm impressed."

"I'm warning you, take your warriors and return to your village now," the Doctor said.

"Not without you and your women. You are to be returned to face sacrifice."

"You won't take Shizara away from us," one of the warriors said.

"Will you stupid Quinok wake up? That pale skinned whore isn't a goddess. She's a stupid girl who is obviously insane. If she's so powerful, why doesn't she come and stop us?"

"Because you called for me so stop talking to them and face me," the Doctor growled at him.

Pavan's lip curled up in a sneer. He withdrew a knife from a leather scabbard at his side and waved it menacingly back and forth in front of the Doctor. The Doctor stared at Pavan with no fear in his face and didn't flinch when Pavan laid the side of the blade against his cheek.

"You are very brave for an outsider," Pavan said, drawing the knife back before the Doctor could grab it.

"I've seen far more bloodshed than you could ever dream," the Doctor said calmly. "Your pitiful little knife doesn't frighten me in the least. Now…are you going to leave or are you going to play games?"

Pavan chuckled.

"I think I'll play games and the game I'd like to play is gut the pale faced woman," he said.

The Doctor noticed Gelik had moved up to the front of the crowd. He glanced at him and Pavan followed his gaze.

"Aha, the traitor. We want him as well," he said.

"Stop this, Pavan, the bloodshed is at an end," Gelik said.

"Says who, old dreamer? The spirits? Did the spirits tell you that?" Pavan said mockingly. "You're just as spineless as the woman here."

"Gelik, move back," the Doctor said.

"No, my friend, this is not your fight," Gelik said. "Someone must make a stand and stop the war."

"And sadly, old dreamer, it won't be you," Pavan sneered.

"No!" the Doctor screamed as Pavan rammed his blade deep into Gelik's chest.

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