Author's Note: New story. This one will be a bit different from my other stories, but I hope my readers will still enjoy it. This fic was inspired by a drawing and a fic challenge by aragonite on her Tumblr page and I'd like to thank her again for letting me take up this challenge. As mentioned in the summery, time-line wise, it takes place at the very end of Season 6B.

I do not own Doctor Who or any of its characters.

Thank you to everyone who reads/follows/favorites/reviews this. It is always appreciated. :)

Additional note: As for the title, it's Latin and roughly translates to "the beginning foreshadows the end..."

Chapter One

-My child, by now you have heard many tales of how Time Lords, those who are the elite of our world, came into existence. You have learned the history of how Lord Rassilon built their society and how Omega bequeathed them the power to harness Time itself in your lessons at the academy. You have heard the tales of how the Time Lords used this power to travel, to study and observe and to even defend our world and other worlds when necessary. Yes, by now you know how Gallifrey stands, proud and unmoving, in a chaotic universe and you know how those within the society of Time Lords live.

But have you ever considered how exactly a Time Lord dies?

-Excerpt from an old Gallifreyan storybook.

Colus. It was a planet on the fringes of the universe. Of average size and mostly forested, most people paid little attention to Colus. Explorers and merchant ships reported that there was a native humanoid population, but theirs was a simple society with little interest in intergalactic trade or even in advancing their technology beyond gaining a few medical and agricultural advantages.

Eventually, most races in the outermost galaxies came to ignore Colus and would avoid it if possible. No one could say exactly why they were wary of visiting. The people were pleasant and welcoming and the environment seemed to have few natural dangers.

The closest anyone ever came to an answer was when a historian questioned an old space pirate captain who had spent a week stranded on Colus when a malfunction in his ship's engines forced him to land and make repairs. When asked about Colus he said the following:

"We left that wretched place as soon as we could. Mind you, there's no one there who's up for fighting, but there's something…wrong there. That place gets under your skin and it's like there's always something creeping in the corners of your mind, just out of reach. There's something lurking there, hungry and feral. It's looking for something…and me and my men were lucky that it wasn't us."

Almost a century later, a time which was marked by additional sporadic visits to Colus by a variety of alien races, no one was able to come up with a more fitting description for the atmosphere the planet exuded.

In a small cottage within the sole surviving village on Colus, an old man opened his eyes. He raised his head and turned his face toward the window in his bedroom. The sun had reached its summit and the clouds that had threatened rain earlier had vanished. Even though he was still tired, he shifted aching limbs out from under the covers, shoving the blankets aside. His hand found his walking stick, and he hoisted himself to his feet.

He held a withered hand to his face as he walked outside. He hadn't expected the sun to be so bright. The man watched the village around him stir to life, and he slowly sat down onto his porch. The dry wood creaked from the movement.

"Still no change?"

The old man glanced over to see another man, middle-aged, but with far fewer wrinkles and signs of age than him, walking toward him. Concern was etched into every line of his face.

"Not yet," the old man replied, shaking his head sadly. "You said it would happen today."

"Today, tomorrow…it's all the same around here," the other man said. "We've already explained that to you. That is how it is here on Colus. It's been our way of life for decades now."

The man swiped at his brow. Beads of sweat had already started to form in response to the rising heat. The old man lifted a hand in front of his face and stared at the veins that marked his skin.

"How long will it last?" the old man asked. "Will I…will I die before it…?"

"No, no, it won't be that way," the other man said. A couple of quick strides later, he was standing in front of the old man, his hand on the bony shoulder. "It'll be better eventually. It's just a matter of time."

"Time? Time?" the old man wheezed. "You said that time doesn't mean anything anymore."

"I never said that," the man said. "Look, just because time can't be measured by normal means anymore does not mean that it doesn't exist. Time is still here. It still affects all of us. You just have to learn to accept the changes that can happen as a result."

The man crouched down and moved his hands to caress the older man's upper arms.

"But no matter what happens, know that we'll be here to take care of you," the other man assured him. "So don't be scared, ok?"

"All right," the old man said, bobbing his head. "I'll try."

"Good," the man said, patting the older man's arms. "Now, I'm going to be busy in the fields today. The crops have sprung up overnight and we need to take advantage of it while we can. So you stay here and when you feel strong enough, try to get some of your chores done."

The old man gripped his walking stick with both hands, fingers trembling. He managed to nod again as the other man stood back up.

"I'll be back later," the man said.

The old man looked up at him, struggling to hold back the tears in his eyes.

"All right, Dad," he croaked.

About twenty miles away, a TARDIS materialized on the edge of the vast jungle. A few moments later, a Time Lord stepped out and sniffed at the air. His name was Aronoldar, and currently, he was completing a term with the CIA as penance for a failed series of brash political maneuvers in one of the lower levels of the Gallifreyan government. It was a disreputable assignment, but he consoled himself with the knowledge that it would probably only last one or two of his lives. By then, the people who had engineered his downfall would probably either die or get themselves transferred to somewhere else due to the mechanisms from those who had even more power and status.

He sniffed the air again, but could find no trace of any industry or high technology. A frown appeared on his face, but that was not unusual for him.

'Backward planet,' he thought to himself. 'Why do they always send me to these kinds of places? And on the most trivial of errands, no less.'

Aronoldar and looked down at his attire. His normal Time Lord robes would be impractical if he was forced to traipse through the jungle, but he hoped that it wouldn't come to that. He had tried to direct his TARDIS to land near the center of the temporal storms, but now he was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with the navigational systems.

The Time Lord sighed and pulled out a small device from one of his pockets. He recalled the briefing his supervisors had given him about this mission.

'An anomalous cluster of time eddies. That's what they called it,' he thought to himself. 'A slight twisting in the fabric of space-time near Colus. Probably just some local phenomenon, they said. Nothing to worry about, they said. And yet they'll still send me here to set up another monitoring beacon and take readings, even though they have a perfectly good monitoring system in their offices.'

Aronoldar scowled even more. He was convinced that he was being given a near continuous stream of busywork as a way to punish him for exposing the ineptitude of the partner they assigned him with during his last assignment. He had been a new recruit from one of the most prominent houses within the Arcalian chapter. Unfortunately, he was also thoroughly dull and lazy. After their mission was over, Aronoldar had made sure to point out all of this out to his superiors in a loud and public way.

It was immediately after that that these tedious, menial assignments began to come his way. His supervisors tried to tell him that all CIA agents go through cycles of less glamorous assignments, but Aronoldar was sure that he knew better.

Still, it was better than being forced to spend his days in an oubliette like several of his co-workers had to when they weren't working on a mission. At least he still had a measure of freedom.

Aronoldar watched the screen on his device intently, occasionally tapping the screen. The readings continued to fluctuate radically. He knew that if he did not find a suitable site to install the beacon outside the shifting lines of temporal distortion, any data it collected would be rendered useless and his mission would be considered a failure.

'What's wrong with this thing?' he fumed, smacking the device even harder. 'Every time I triangulate a stable pattern of temporal flux, it just fades and reconfigures itself into another pattern. It's almost as if there was something feeding off the energy being produced by the distortions.'

'But that's not possible. There are only a couple of races that organically feed on time energy and none of them venture this far out. And the technology needed to harness such power is far beyond the understanding of the inhabitants of this planet. So why can't I get any fixed readings?'

Aronoldar clenched his fingers around the device in his hand. He couldn't fathom why his supervisor would send him into the field with faulty equipment given how much the people who oversaw the CIA frowned upon failure, no matter how trivial the assignment. Then again, he wasn't naïve enough to think that agents were immune from being used as pawns in some elaborate play for power. Making him look incompetent could be part of some ploy against the people he had aligned himself with in the past.

The Time Lord grimaced and walked toward the jungle. If it was his co-conspirators they were after, so be it. He had no loyalty to them. That did not mean, however, that he would accept being dragged down with them. He would continue to build an unblemished record and gather his own store of favors owed to him.

He certainly would not let a routine survey of a localized time anomaly be the mission that tarnished his reputation.

Aronoldar stomped through the dense vegetation while occasionally bringing up a sweeping arm to brush aside branches that were thick with leaves. A shiver of apprehension worked its way through his body, but he ignored it. The foliage rustled from movement in the underbrush, leaves crackling and twigs snapping. However, Aronoldar remained willfully oblivious to everything but the readout screen on the device in his hand. He wasn't about to let the local animal life distract him from his task.

He did not notice the glint of silver shining from several snake-like appendages that were slithering along the ground. At least not until it was too late.

There was a sharp snap, and Aronoldar felt something wrap itself around his ankle. He looked down to see a long, thin tentacle that was studded with globular protrusions. He reached down to yank it off, but the thing's gripped tightened. Suddenly, another tentacle leapt from the ground and coiled around his wrist.

Aronoldar cried out and yanked at the appendages to no avail. Soon, more crawled up and grabbed hold of his limbs, pulling him down to the ground. The Time Lord writhed desperately, his limbs flaying as he tried to free himself. Another tentacle wrapped itself around his neck, slowly squeezing and cutting off his air supply. Before long, the feelers had covered the Time Lord's prone body. Aronoldar tried to call for help, but could only choke out a string of unintelligible words.

Soon, the tentacles grew still, and for a brief moment, Aronoldar thought that he might be able to wriggle away. However, that hope was crushed a moment later when the tentacles started to glow. The Time Lord felt a prickly heat overtake him. That was soon followed by the feeling of being ripped apart at the cellular level.

'What…what's happening to me? No…no, Rassilon make it stop…Make it….'

Aronoldar screamed, the sound coming out as a strangled cry. The tentacles glowed even brighter, golden particles of energy flowing from the Time Lord's body into the bulbs that lined the appendages. It wasn't long before he stopped trying to get away and instead begged for death to release him from this agony.

There was a flash of light, and at last, the Time Lord's body was still. A few minutes later, the tentacles began to drag what was left away and disappeared into the heart of the jungle.

Back on Gallifrey, Goth frowned at the information on his screen.

Officially, he was no longer the head of the CIA, but that meant little to him or to many within the organization. Goth was not the type to readily give up any source of power, not while it still had uses for him. Thus, even though he had recently been made Chancellor, he continued to monitor the CIA's activities and acted as a sort of advisor whenever the current head, Tevas, a rather ineffectual Time Lord, ran to him to help smooth over anything that went wrong. It was a nuisance to coddle Tevas, but Goth made sure to keep his annoyance mostly under the surface. After all, Tevas had all the potential to be a very productive pawn indeed in his quest for greater control.

Right now, Goth was reading the latest report over the situation near Colus. All communication with the agent who had been sent to investigate had been lost hours ago, and now his TARDIS had returned automatically without its pilot. It wasn't entirely unexpected, at least not to Goth. He was certain now that he had all the evidence he needed to make the argument that the Colus situation would require special attention.

And that meant finally putting into play an endgame he had been wanting to get to for a long time.

"Lord Goth," a voice over his intercom said. "Lord Tevas wishes to see you. He says it's urgent."

"It's Chancellor Goth," Goth snapped back. "And that is the last warning you will get. Now, send Tevas in."

"Yes Chancellor," the voice said. A few seconds later, the door to Goth's main quarters opened and a very nervous Tevas rushed inside.

"Chancellor Goth, have you heard? Aronoldar's TARDIS…."

"Yes, I know," Goth said wearily. "I did warn you, my dear Tevas, that the situation was far graver than your committee seemed to think it was."

"But first Milivousarus, then Regelun, and now Aronoldar," Tevas said, his hands fidgeting. "How am I going to explain all these losses to the High Council?"

"I wouldn't worry so much about that," Goth assured him. "You did well to follow my advice so far about which agents to send on this problematic assignment. There will be official inquiries, of course. Such things are standard procedure in these circumstances. However, I think you'll find that the High Council is not likely to miss bunglers and troublemakers such as they were. You need not worry about your position."

"Thank Rassilon for that at least," Tevas responded. "Still, we need to do something about this situation near Colus. It was one thing when this anomaly remained stable and very localized. But now, it seems to be growing in size and could become a destructive force before too long."

"I am aware of that," Goth said, settling back in his chair. "That is why I've been formulating a plan for some time now, just for such a contingency."

Goth stood up and moved to stand in front of the window. From here, he could look down in several of the main byways in the city and observe what others were doing without them seeing him.

"I think it's time you had the Doctor take over this assignment," Goth added.

"The Doctor?!" Tevas said. "Begging your pardon, Chancellor, but is he really the best agent for this mission? He was past his prime at least a century ago."

"Don't let his exterior appearance fool you," Goth said. "He is still far more spry and cunning than you give him credit for."

"Yes, but are you sure he's up to this task?" Tevas asked. "We've already lost three agents. The Doctor might well end up being the fourth."

"So?" Goth replied, turning back toward him. "What of it? The Doctor is a convicted criminal in the lowest possible standing within his chapter and Time Lord society as a whole. If anything were to happen to him, no one would miss him. Besides, the Doctor does have an impressive solve rate, so there is a good chance that he might be able to clear this up without too much more hassle."

"I see your points, but I'm still not sure about this," Tevas said, pacing. "I mean, it wouldn't be right to put him on this mission without any kind of support, would it? Maybe we should give him a partner."

"The Doctor does not work well with other agents," Goth said dismissively. "You should know that by now. Nevertheless, I believe I have a solution that should satisfy you."

Goth went over to a console near the center of the room and punched a couple of buttons on the keypad. A few seconds later, a file was brought up on the screen and Goth motioned for Tevas to take a look at it. The Time Lord shrugged his shoulders and joined Goth in front of the screen. He scanned the information in front of him for almost a minute before turning to look at the chancellor with open-mouthed shock.

"How were you able to get approval for this?" Tevas inquired. "The High Council…."

"The High Council could hardly object to saving a person's life, now can they?" Goth said with a smile. "If we hadn't intervened, the Tellurian would be dead by now. Besides, he chose to work for our organization years ago. It's no one's fault but his own if he failed to understand how far that commitment can reach. Plus, we were able to learn some valuable information from this procedure that could prove vital to our own survival in the future."

"But if the Doctor finds out about this…."

"Again, what of it?" Goth said. "You know as well as I do that he has a sentimental attachment to these creatures, and to this one in particular. Do not worry so much, Tevas. The Doctor might put up a fuss at first, but it will cool swiftly. Especially when you tell him that the Tellurian will be left in his custody even after the assignment is finished. Trust me, once you explain the problem to him and inform him of these terms, he will not be able to refuse you."

Goth moved closer to Tevas, his gaze steely and more than slightly menacing.

"Keep in mind, Tevas, that there's no reason why we have to tell the Doctor about the more…sensitive aspects of all this," he said, waving a hand at the screen. "As far as he is concerned, he need never know how we were able to arrange this for him."

"All right, I'll defer to your judgment, Chancellor," Tevas said. "I just hope you're right about this."

"You know I am," Goth said. "But if it will ease your mind, I am willing to attend the mission briefing with you."

"Yes, yes that will be most satisfactory," Tevas said. "Yes, I will let you know when I have a meeting time set up. Until then, Chancellor."

"Tevas," Goth responded with a nod. He watched Tevas scurry out of the room before resuming his vigil near the window.

'Yes, this will work out perfectly. Either we will finally have a solution to that vexing problem near Colus or the Doctor will be out of the way permanently. Ideally, both outcomes will be the result.'

Goth smiled again. As useful as the Doctor had been over the years, he had grown weary with the need to watch over his every move. Granted, the CIA might end up losing one of their most productive agents, but as far as Goth was concerned, that was a small price to pay.

'Your time here is at an end, Doctor. Now, it's just a matter of how inglorious that end will be.'