A/N: So here we go with the long awaited Time Witch. Now this is one that you definitely need to have read Inheritance, Legacy and The Sins of the Father to understand as it is the back history of Dana before her 'murder'. I am taking great liberties with both the history of Gallifrey and the Doctor's history here but it works for the story so if you have your own ideas on Gallifrey etc and don't like anyone else's I suggest you turn back now rather than flaming me later on. There is also a shameful use of the Gaelic language but I'm part Irish so its allowed. Anyway, enough of my waffle. As always I own nothing already thought up by the BBC but most of the characters you won't recognise are mine so no stealing without permission. Please review as this is a real departure from the realms of writing that I'm used to so I will need your CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Onwards…
'Circle of tombs of a different age, secret lines carved in ancient stones, heroic kings laid down to rest, forgotten is the race that no one knows.'- Newgrange, Clannad.
The wind screamed as it forced its way through the battlements of the ancient tower of Castelra, shrieking and lilting as it buffeted the stone walls and swept up the hanging tapestries depicting great battles from years below, the faces of Kings that now lay interred in the ground beneath the stones of the tower's floor, from their rest against the wall. Below, in the deep pit at the centre of the tallest tower, fire leapt up from five black plinths, dishes of oil burning a haunting purple, and chasing deep, dark shadows to the five corners of the room. Below the flaming torches, etched into the solid rock of the floor was both history and prophecy, power and weakness, a tool so ancient even those who used it knew not of it origin, the great Pentacle, the great Eye of the Ancients. It was said that twenty millennia of the Coven of White Light had worshipped at the great tower of Castelra, high in the mountains. It was said that from its great towers the Coven watched their people crawl up from the ground to stand tall and proud, to raise their great city of metal and glass, to become the silent sentinels of the great stars beyond but tonight the sister was few in number and joined together once more only in the hope of rescuing that great city and the potential it had.
Deirfiur Tine, the oldest now of the sisterhood of Muron that now held dominion in the Coven, blew out the thin taper she had used to light the great bowls of flame needed for the ritual she had learnt almost four millennia ago when she had been a novice, a witch without proper training, a weakened state of what she was now. Taking the twig brush broom from its place by the wall she began to sweep the falling leaves from the etching beneath her feet, the silver of them now faded to a russet brown in the late season, there were much more advanced devices that she could use for the purpose, the Citadel beyond a haven of technology and advancement but to the sisterhood the ancient ways were the strong ways and strength was needed tonight. She swept clean the five point star with its circle casing and great eye at its heart before returning the broom and beginning to place the stones at the five points of intersection, the large polished stones heavy and trying on her age cracked hands.
Tine sometimes longed that she had been born of the other folk, those who lived in the city with their regenerations, their ability to cheat death but such was the order on Gallifrey, most born to their thirteen lives while few became the servants of the Coven, one life alone that was to be long and arduous without the hope of change before a reincarnation without memory. Placing the last stone she straightened painfully, feeling each vertebrae crack as if counting off the number of centuries she had passed through. Her task not yet complete she opened the small wooden case set on a plinth aside from the etching, taking from it five elegant daggers inlaid with the glittering purple stone long since mined out of the mountains below her, the jewels of Muron they had been called, the wealth of her great family, a name that would die with her soon. The daggers she placed upon each of the stones, laying them carefully and with reverence, blessing each with the words of the ancients and hoping that they would once again watch over them and guide them.
Tine looked up at the open turret above her, the stars glittering beyond the atmosphere of the ancient planet. The moon kissed the edge of the turret, full yet not fully visible to her, an hour more and the time would be at hand when the etching bathed in moonlight would spell either victory or destruction for those who gathered beside it. The Citadel below was blissfully unaware of the fate to be decided in the castle high above them, few even knew of its existence, the sisterhood existing in secrecy, away from the world. Only one knew of them, the great man, son of their long dead Mother Witch. He had united Gallifrey, built it anew and now stood as its head, President Rassilon. Rassilon alone knew of the threat to their now peaceful world, the ancient race searching to destroy to one planet that could spell its downfall. The discontent of the people before Rassilon's reign had raised the negative power that made evil thrive and even the peace that followed could not stifle it fully. Rassilon had sought out the sisterhood, seeking aide from the Coven his mother had led for a millennia and had given him shelter in his childhood. Tine had agreed to help and had called together her three coven sisters, her council of Castelra. The plan had been set, containment of two to weaken the four. Rassilon would be charged with the keep of their enemies and the sisterhood would once more fade to obscurity.
The creak of the door signalled the arrival of another to the castle and Tine looked up with a warm smile to see her youngest Coven sister enter, her hair not yet silvered as the others, a deep chestnut brown in dark contrast to her cerulean blue eyes. Uisce was of the new order of Witches who had chosen to live amongst those in the Capitol, to live as them whilst still returning to the mountains at the Coven's call when help was needed. Tonight though she had traded the fashions of the Time Lord capitol for the ancient black robes of her order, hers edged with the deepest blue whilst her elder sister's flamed with red.
"You're early Deirfuir Uisce," said Tine gently, "The others do not come for a while yet."
"I wanted to see you Deirfuir Tine, to ask you something," said Uisce softly, as she embraced her sister warmly.
"As a friend or as your mother witch?" said Tine, noticing the conflicting emotions on the younger woman's face.
"Both," said Uisce, "For I am not sure which advice I need more. You have allowed us to go into the cities, allowed us to live amongst the people of Gallifrey but there was one subject you never advised us on."
"And what is that?"
"What we…what we were to do if we…if we fell in love because I have Tine and he with me but he is of the other folk, not of our kind and I fear you may not approve for there has always been such distaste whenever one of the Coven takes a husband from the city."
Tine reached out and took the other woman's hand, "You forget Uisce that our lost Mother took a husband from amongst the people below and from their union was born the greatest treasure bestowed on Gallifrey. If his heart is true and yours is resolved then take him and love him. I fear the younger of our order must seek to integrate more fully with those in the city, the Coven is slowly fading and our time will pass."
"Then I have your permission?" said Uisce.
"And my greatest wishes for your happiness," said Tine, pressing a kiss to her forehead, "May the Ancients bless you in your new life."
Uisce smiled but it failed as her eyes fell upon the flames behind her elder sister, "If there is to be a new life," she said, "If we fail tonight then the…"
"Do not speak their name child, they grow nearer with each breath of the wind and to speak of them may hasten their arrival before we have time to act."
"Is there hope Tine, is there even a chance this plan of ours can even work?"
"There is always hope Sister Uisce," came a deep, masculine voice from the door, "I have every faith in the Coven."
Both women gave a slight curtsey as the door opened fully to reveal the President of Gallifrey, his robes nowhere near as ornate as those he wore when if office but still marked in difference to the robes of the Coven.
"Rassilon, welcome," said Tine as all formality was dropped and she brought him into a warm hug, "I only wish we could meet more often when there was not so much at stake."
"Perhaps when this is over," said Rassilon, "Sister Uisce need not worry though, we shall be victorious this night."
"I hope so Lord President," said Uisce, her discomfort at the informality of Tine's greeting hidden but still apparent to both Rassilon and Tine, "I should go and prepare, call me when I am needed."
Without any further discussion she hurried for the door to one of the chambers surrounding the tower, closing it tightly behind her. Rassilon gave a small laugh as he took a seat on the bench at the side of the etching, running his eyes over the carefully laid out stones and daggers.
"If the Council knew where I was tonight I would be removed from my office," he said, "They do not even believe in your existence anymore, the Coven is barely a legend now in the city."
"It is for the best," said Tine, "Our order was persecuted too heavily before you came and there will always be those who seek it for their own gain. The more we are forgotten, especially after tonight, the better I believe, we must pass into time like those before us and allow Gallifrey to choose her own fate."
"Gallifrey's fate never has been chosen by herself, always one has come to guide her, The Ancients, The Coven, The Time Lords and then there is the prophecy written so very long ago," said Rassilon, turning to the wall and running a finger over the writing etched into the stone, "My Mother read this to me so often and even now I look out for its conclusion, he who shall bring peace and destruction."
"And yet with every prophecy we have no idea if or when it shall come true," said Tine, "A child of love, not convention. So many could answer that call yourself included Lord President."
Rassilon smiled, "I doubt I am anything of prophecy, my name shall be forgot over the ages I'm sure. No I am quite sure I am not what the Ancients wrote of, I do not wish that burden either. I have brought my world peace but destruction I could never bring to her."
"Sometimes it is not us that choose our paths," said Tine before the shuffle of feet outside the main door caught her attention, "It seems our party is almost gathered. Would you fetch Uisce?"
"Certainly," said Rassilon, "Tine?"
Tine turned to him.
"Thank you for helping me."
"Anything for you, my brother," said Tine softly before she turned to greet her other two Coven sisters, "Deirfiur Cre, Deirfiur Gaoth, welcome."
The welcomes had been brief, the moon coming to its pinnacle above them and calling them to their work as it bathed the Pentacle in a silvery glow. Each of the four Coven sisters took her place at one of the points of the star, one remaining free until Tine ushered Rassilon into place, his nerves showing despite his easily placed mask of office attempting to hide his emotions. Despite the heat from the great bowls of fire surrounding them the temperature dipped and at once the ground began to shake beneath them and as a unholy rain fell from the open turret.
"They are come!" cried Tine over the din of the rock beneath, "They are come as called. Cyka Vann! Cyka Verden! They are come. For too long you have held dominion over us, Cyka-Idrali but now you come at the call of the blood, for the sacrifice I offered but you meet our force united as one."
The rain seemed to form a great cyclone of water, its point focused on the eye at the centre of the Pentacle. Two sea blue eyes floated in its midst, staring down at Tine with hunger and hatred.
"You have no power over us Time Witch," came the liquiscent voice above, "We come for the offering you made and we shall take it."
"You shall take nothing," said Tine, her voice steady despite the lash of the water against her, soaking her robes, "You shall be contained."
The earth rumbled beneath her, "You have not the power, weakened without the Mother Witch," came the booming voice, "Powerless without the Mother Witch and our time to rise."
Tine said nothing as she took up the dagger at her feet, her sisters doing the same. She raised her hands high, the dagger placed against the palm of the other, the blade already biting into her skin as her sisters did the same. With a cry of agony all four ripped through their palms, the blades coated with the dark red blood that now dripped to the floor beneath, the etching beginning to light as it responded to the ancient rites performed. All four Coven sisters ran their bleeding palms through the fire nearest them, fuelling the power of the Pentacle.
The sea eyes above narrowed with mirth, "Your ancient trickery holds no sway with us, not without the Mother Witch. Your order is incomplete without the Mother Witch."
The sound of a dagger tearing flesh rang out in the din and Cyka-Vann's eyes turned to the silent figure at the head of the Pentacle and in his eyes there flashed a memory of old as his blood dripped down onto the etching, pooling in the fissures as it fed the Pentacle power. Vann began to scream as the water lashed and the ground shook in desperation.
"No Mother Witch," said Rassilon, his eyes not leaving the disembodied ones before him, "But one of her line and raised in her arts, enough to weaken you Cyka-Idrali, no longer will you deal in the souls of our people."
Vann struggled as the earth stilled and the emerald essence of Verden was swept into the red pool in the central eye, "Our vengeance shall be your destruction."
"Eternally confined you shall never have the power," said Tine, "and neither shall your kindred without your unification. It is over Cyka-Vann."
"Upon the souls of your children!" cried Vann as her eyes failed, "Upon the soul of your chosen son! We shall be victorious!"
With a deafening crash the cyclone of water collapsed, extinguishing the flames as it flooded the chamber beneath, knocking the five members of the Coven to the floor with its force before the cerulean blue extinguished in the untouched blood at the centre of the eye. Tine was the first to gather herself, glad to see her three sisters slowly regaining their feet. She hurried pulled a length of material from her pocket and wrapped her still bleeding hand before kneeling by the pooled blood at the centre of the eye. She bent over it, mumbling ancient spells as her hands cupped the air above the eye, slowly filling with the shimmering black-red ball that grew with each passing second. Her spells soon ended and she turned to her gathered friends, the sphere floating between her gnarled hands.
"We have them," she said softly, "And now they must be contained. Rassilon?"
Rassilon picked up a small chest from the floor, the wood inlaid with gold but also several small devices that would alter the simple chest into an adequate temporary containment vessel for the Idrali. Tine laid the sphere in the velvet folds of the interior and the lid was swiftly closed.
"I have a containment device set up in the Panopticon, none shall find it there but with the blessings upon the Sash the wearer may peer into the sphere and see the secrets it chose to unfold, the power of both the Coven and the Idrali may prove useful."
"Mindful of whose hands it falls into though," said Gaoth, "That may one day prove to be a powerful weapon, keep it safe Lord President and let none know of its origin."
"You have my word Deirfiur Gaoth," said Rassilon, "and you all have my thanks, your services to Gallifrey shall not be forgotten."
The three coven sisters bowed their thanks before turning to the inner doors, leaving the site of their work and leaving Tine to her final conference with the President. When the door closed Tine turned to her brother before laying a hand on the chest in his hands.
"We can keep it contained here," she said, "Perhaps not as securely but the sisterhood would not be tempted as some of the Council maybe by its power."
"No one but myself and those who come after me shall get near it," said Rassilon using his free hand to pat the white Sash about his neck, "None but the wearer of this shall have access and I shall hide it well."
"I trust you," said Tine, "But keep close to Uisce, she will be in the city and can help you if needs be."
"I will," said Rassilon, peering down at the chest, "Strange to think this small thing has brought harmony at last. That's what I shall call it, The Eye of Harmony. What do you think Vann meant though when she said their vengeance would be visited on our chosen son?"
Tine smiled up at him, "Vann knew our prophecies as well as we do, she was trying to frighten us. The child written in the stones is no more at risk than we are now. Keep the Eye contained and no harm will come to Gallifrey."
"You sound so sure," said Rassilon.
"I am our Mother's daughter," said Tine, "Come, you should get yourself back to the city before you're missed. Goodbye Rassilon."
"Goodbye Tine," said Rassilon, pressing a kiss to her cheek, "I shall visit in a month or so."
"Until then," said Tine as Rassilon opened the exterior door, the moonlight illuminating the path back to the city below. Without glancing back, Rassilon made his way down the path and out of sight. Tine stood for a moment, admiring the great domed Capitol that sat across the valley from her, the mountains a deep black-red in the moonlight until they became too rocky to support the lush red grass, such a contrast with the lush green fields of the valley. With a sigh she turned her face away from the sight, returning to the inner sanctum of Castelra, back to the silent existence of the Time Witches.
And born shall he be, a child of love, not convention. The tireless warrior raised from ashes to the seat of his Fathers. He shall be the Chosen Son, the mark of Gallifrey, he who shall bring peace and destruction. Guided by the Ancients, from death he shall rise.