|No Such Thing
Author: Runescribe PM
The Doctor finds himself talking to someone who says she's an angel, but surely there's no such thing? Crossover with the Maelstrom role-playing campaign and really very silly.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi - 10th Doctor - Chapters: 3 - Words: 3,896 - Updated: 01-15-10 - Published: 01-09-10 - id: 5654893
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is pure silliness. The Doctor meets one of the other denizens of my head, a character I play in a LARP game. Angels don't exist - right?
With apologies to the BBC, Profound Decisions and everyone whose characters I have borrowed. Ferruc, Auriel and Veritas all belong to other people and no guarantees are made that their behaviour here is in any way in character. For any 'Strommers out there, this contains FOIP for the inner workings of eidolons.
The Doctor strolled through the campsite, not entirely sure where he'd ended up. He was a long way from his usual stomping grounds in the Milky Way. He wasn't exactly sure when he'd ended up, either, but it was definitely before space flight on this particular world.
The campsite was more like a tent city, full of large canvas pavilions and smaller yurts and ridge tents. The air was thick with smoke and sweat and the smells of food and alcohol. Fire pits and braziers, flanked by wooden benches, were dotted among the tents. A glorious sunset lit the horizon pink and gold and shed deep shadows from tents and trees. The grass between the loose rows of pavilions was green and lively, and he'd have bet his boots that this was some kind of festival or trade fair, or the ground would have been walked down. It looked as if the people had arrived in an empty meadow that afternoon and pitched their tents.
And the people were wonderful. The Doctor was sure this place must be pre space flight, because he couldn't see any technology more advanced than clockwork, but this was as cosmopolitan a meadow as he'd ever hoped to see. There were humans, or at least people who looked human, but there were also humanoid felines and canines and avians. One man who hurried past looked rather like a giant panda who'd learned to wear clothes. Clearly, the primates had not had it all their own way here. At one edge of the camp, a little removed from the main crowds, he could see lizard people and what looked like giant humanoid insects, guarding their little encampments warily.
The air hummed with voices of all kinds and the Doctor grinned. He loved places like this, bursting at the seams with life.
"Excuse me," he said, cheerfully accosting a bird-person with black and white plumage and a red fez, "I'm new here, could you tell me where I am?"
"Yes, of course," the man said, beak clicking, "you are in the colony of Nova Fidelia, at the Khan's Naadam."
"The Khan's Naadam, ey? The Khan. He'll be the bloke in charge, then?"
The bird-man looked shocked, unless that was the effect of the beak. "In a sense. He is the host of this festival. I am Ferruc, of the Rhuk, and you are?"
"Oh, I'm the Doctor, of, well, just me really. Very pleased to meet you, Ferruc of the Rhuk. So what's this festival in aid of, then?"
"The Winter Solstice. Though of course many are here to trade and talk politics. Which reminds me, I must go and pay my respects to the Khan. If you will forgive me?"
"Yes, of course, don't let me keep you. I'll just muddle around on my own. Always like a good muddle, me. Enjoy talking to the Khan,. won't you, Ferruc?"
The man raised his fez politely and strode off into the crowds. The Doctor grinned. "Wasn't he a nice bloke?"
The Doctor's feet had brought him to a ring of straw bales ringed by benches and crowds. A banner hung behind the ring proudly proclaimed "Novak's Carnival". He beamed.
After the jugglers and the fire-breathers and the wrestling and the very tall canine people - gnolls, they were called, apparently - the Doctor was strolling through the dark meadow, under the alien stars, listening to the hum of voices around him. He found himself meandering downhill, into the other half of the camp, past the unofficial but heavily armed guards keeping bad influences out of their little haven. They had no consistent uniform, but the four military fellows with muskets gave a very clear impression. He smiled cheerfully at them as he wandered by, and they didn't seem very interested in him. His clothes marked him as a newcomer and anyway, in a world of swords and gunpowder he was clearly unarmed.
There was a roaring campfire burning in one corner of the ring of tents. Around it a mixture of species were sat, peering at little pamphlets and singing lustily. Hymns, he realised. Above the rougher voices of the men and women, an impossibly perfect soprano rose. He squinted against the firelight. The singer looked like a human woman, dressed simply in a pure white robe, dark hair flowing down her back. There was a dark symbol drawn on her forehead, and her ears were pointed and maybe even slightly furry and that, the Doctor realised, was awfully unlikely becuase he'd seen plenty of races today but no crossbreeds. He moved closer, listening to the rousing chorus and the angelic voice that soared into the night.
The hymn dissolved into laughter and drunken chattering, and the group reached some kind of consensus to call it a night. Curiousity roused, the Doctor watched the singer. Her companions nodded respectfully to her as she stood and bowed Oriental-style to them, then moved away, towards where the Doctor was watching.
"Excuse me," he said impulsively, "I was listening and I couldn't help but notice that you've got very strange ears."
"Have I?" She sounded surprised and also, he realised, not very female, now that she wasn't singing. Feeling them, she nodded. "Yes, I suppose I have. They're a bit wemic-y, aren't they, and the rest of me looks pretty human at the moment. I'm the king of diamonds, by the way. Have you prayed today?"
"Have you prayed today? You should."
"No, I mean, you're who?"
"The King of Diamonds. Or at least, that's what you mortals call me."
The Doctor blinked. "Us mortals?"
"Yes." The King of Diamonds, whatever that meant, smiled suddenly. "You don't realise what I am, do you? Where are you from?"
"Nowhere you'd have heard of. So, enlighten me. What are you - some kind of shape-shifter?"
She looked amused. "In a sense. I'm an eidolon. An angel. A messenger of the gods? No? Not ringing any bells?"
"There's no such thing as angels. Or gods."
"Well, here I am."
"Well, yes," he admitted, "but you're just playing games with me. What are you really? Come on, I'm interested."
"I'm a loyal eidolon." King sighed. "This conversation is getting tiresome"
The Doctor couldn't help but look offended.
"Oh, I don't mean this particular iteration. I mean I keep having this conversation of late. I am a loyal eidolon, serving the gods of the old world."
"Loyal," the Doctor mused. "There are disloyal eidolons?"
"Yes. They are called the Fallen, and they would like nothing better than to eat your soul. If you meet one, and you probably will in this glorious new world, don't tell it your true name."
"I'll bear that in mind." The Doctor was increasingly concerned. The poor woman obviously believed what she was saying, but she couldn't possibly be an angel. It must be some kind of religious fiction. "But you said King of Diamonds was a nickname. What's your real name?"
The almost-human's eyes widened. They were grey and slit-pupilled. "This is," she said calmly, gesturing at the symbol on her forehead. "Or at least, this is how you write it in the script of the gods. Surely you don't actually expect me to tell you?" she asked, sounding puzzled.
"Why shouldn't I?"
She looked like a teacher explaining something self-evident. "True names are as important to my kind as to you mortals. We are souls, we are like you in that, but without bodies, and so to truly harm us you need our names."
"Sorry, but - you've got a body."
"Technically, yes," King said, smiling, "but kill me and I will return, starve me, drown me and I will not die. Destroy my body, and I will return to the Maelstrom unharmed, until the gods send me forth again."
"No, not really. I mean, I suppose, technically, you could call it that, but it's not as if I have to be born. Or can be born, for that matter. I form a body from the energy of the Maelstrom, and when I leave it it dissipates."
"Now this, I've got to see," the Doctor said, fascinated. If it wasn't just a trick, then she might be that rare thing, a genuinely energetic being.
King looked taken aback. "I suppose I could show you, but why should I?"
"Well," he answered her smugly, " if you can't do it in front of me, then why should I believe you can do it at all? You might just be a mortal yourself, trying to trick me into worshipping you."
"Oh, no, don't worship me," King answered with a shudder. "It would be a dreadful blasphemy to worship me, I'm an eidolon, not a god. But you said you didn't believe in gods, either. If I can prove the truth of my own nature, will you believe in my masters?"
"I'll consider, it yeah," the Doctor bluffed. "I mean, if angels are real, I'd have to give it some thought, wouldn't I?"
The woman smiled. "Come on then, let's find a shrine. The Weaverites will probably let us borrow theirs. It doesn't actually need to be a shrine, but demanifesting takes concentration and they're usually good places to meditate."
She set off confidently across the dark field and the Doctor followed. As they crossed the open central space of the campsite, a shot rang out and his companion dropped gasping to her knees. The Doctor caught her and eased her to the floor. "It's alright, you're alright, I've got you, you're going to be fine," he said reassuringly, mouth running on automatic while he checked the wound and found a deep red stain spreading over her belly.
"Damn," the woman choked out, "who've I annoyed this much? And I was having such a good day. Hello, Veritas."
"What?" The Doctor followed her gaze and realised a tall black avian in dark robes was looming over him.
"King? What happened?"
"Musket shot. Didn't see them."
She frowned. "The new native encampment. But I've never spoken to them, so it probably wasn't them. I should ask them if they've seen anything."
The avian nodded and ran off at high speed. King let her head fall back and sighed. "I've never been shot before. It's rather strange. There's no need for that, dear fellow - what's your name, by the way? Anyway, staunching the wound won't help. This body's done for."
"It might not be," the Doctor said with determination. "We can find someone, they can fix this."
Another imposing figure in robes had reached them, this one looking for all the world like a moving statue in golden armour.
"Hello, brother. Someone with a musket took a shot at me. Veritas is looking into it."
The newcomer nodded. "I shall inform the Flembics that they can stand down. Would you like me to dispatch you?"
"No, thank you, Auriel," King said quickly. "This body's had it, I shall take the slow route."
"Very well. Will you return tonight? There is a matter we must discuss."
She nodded. The Doctor was still trying to stop the bleeding, and she gestured to him. "My conversation with this mortal was most rudely interrupted, so I shall be around the festival somewhere."
"Good. Until later, then, brother."
She gave him a mock-serious wave and he strode off. "Help me up, would you?" she said. "The ground is rather unpleasantly cold."
"But - you're injured, You'll make it worse."
"Oh, I shouldn't think so. I'm halfway to demanifesting already, it can hardly matter now."
The Doctor gave in and helped pull her to her feet. Her hands tingled strangely. As she stood, he glimpsed for a moment the firelight shining through her head.
"Sorry," he said, "but I'm something of a scholar of - energies, and I wonder if I might take a look at you with some equipment of mine?"
King shrugged. "Certainly, if you're quick about it. I am not long for this world, but feel free to try."
He pulled out the sonic screwdriver and examined her fading figure. The readings were astonishing - her entire body was nothing but coherent energy, condensed down into a solid mass. The musket ball had disrupted the pattern and now the energy was dissolving into strands and fading away. He looked back at her face, bemused. "Doesn't that hurt?"
"Yes," she said thoughtfully, "but not very much now. What's your name, mortal?"
"I'm the Doctor, Just the Doctor."
"Then, Doctor, I shall meet you in the tavern in ten minutes." She flashed him a broad smile and, without fanfare, ceased to exist. The musket ball fell softly to the ground.
The Doctor knelt and picked it up. As he watched, the pool of blood where King had lain was fading away.
"Well," he said to the ball in his hand, "I suppose we'd better go and find the tavern, hadn't we?"