The Face Changer
The cave was moist and dark and smelt of things long dead. For most creatures in the Spirit World this was a place despised, cursed and, above all, feared. You did not enter this place; you did not go near it, not for any cause or reason. And yet people came, not often, but enough to please the occupant of the cave. Someone had come again, the sound of their footsteps dampened by some power; a force that exuded tremendous pressure. It was the force of age, sentience and time. It was not good, it was not evil; it was beyond those things. The visitor approached and awaited the owner of that force, the one they should not see. They came and they had a face, one made for wide and beautiful gestures. Koh was pleased.
The Face Stealer appeared before his visitor, not in his usual rush but slowly, quietly. This one was different; familiar somehow. The Face Stealer wished to savour every bit of him.
"Welcome, stranger," Koh said soothingly. He chose the face of The Performer. It was a face he wore often. It was not his first face but it was old and well worn and comfortable.
The stranger was motionless. Koh smiled; this one would be enjoyable. He wore strange clothes, this visitor: a large, brown jacket, tight fitting coat and pants, a necktie and strange boots made of red cloth and bleached white leather. He had thick, dark hair that stuck out oddly. But most unique was his face. Not the sharp nose, long ears or mouth made to express. No, no, those were things any face could possess. It was what lay hidden on his face, the secrets hidden inside it. The hard set of his jaw, the deep lines on his brow and the eyes especially. Those dark, brown eyes held a weight heavier than lead and larger than a mountain. Koh looked at those eyes and began to salivate.
"What brings you to me?" Koh asked. "You are not from here, not even from this planet, I'll bet. What guidance would you need from me?"
The man steadied himself. "I've come in place of a friend."
"Oh?" Koh raised himself in surprise. He switched his face to the Companion. "And who would that be?"
"Aang," the man said flatly.
Koh spun down in a flash and changed to the Blue Demon.
"The Avatar!" he said, his voice betraying his desire and anger. The visitor didn't as much as blink. Koh narrowed his eyes but then pulled away. His face changed to Sad Old Man. "I see. I'm so disappointed that my dear old friend would not visit me himself."
"He wanted to come," the man answered, "I didn't let him."
Koh smiled slyly. He was Cunning Old Woman when he asked: "Why is that?"
The visitor eyed him. "I had to see you for myself, Face Stealer." There was a shift in his eyes, a hidden hard smile. "Or should I say Konarnan?"
Koh's face slide into Canvas – a blank slate. He had not used this face for many, many years, not since the last time he had been so shocked. The Canvas stayed for half a second before it blinked into Serpent.
"Where did you hear that name?" he asked, a bare blade edged in his tone.
"Oh," the man said carefully, "you know, I've heard a little about you throughout the galaxy."
Koh eyed him carefully. "Is that so?"
"Yes," the man continued, "amazing what a gossip flies around out there."
The Face Stealer tasted the air around the stranger and coiled back in surprise. By all the ages why hadn't he recognised it sooner? No wonder this visitor had made his mouth water with hunger. "I know you, traveller." He bared his fangs in a horrifying smile. "I have tasted your kind before. Time Lord."
The Time Lord gave no reaction to this truth. Koh continued to grin and coiled around him. "What luck I've had today, that a Face Changer would willingly walk into my cave. After all these years I did not think I would have the pleasure to feast on one of your kind ever again."
"I am the last of the Time Lords," the man said with a hint of something in his voice.
Koh pulled back and slid into Mourner. "Is that so? I am truly sorry to hear that."
"Yes," the Time Lord said levelly, "I don't doubt you are."
Koh eyed him for a moment, studying his features and their hidden meaning. Abruptly he lunged at him flashing into Male Ape and screeched at him.
The Time Lord remained still. Koh twisted, his face changing into The Performer, and laughed. "Have you come to kill me, Time Lord?"
Koh side-eyed him. "Are you sure?"
"I don't go out looking to kill creatures."
Koh laughed again, harder and harsher. He turned like lightning onto him, becoming the White Demon and screamed: "Liar!"
There was a shift in his face, not enough to take him with but Koh smiled inwardly. Soon, the Time Lord's face would be his.
"I know your race," the Face Stealer purred, now The Performer again. "You are meddlers and interferers. You have your finger in every pie and snoop where you are not wanted." He edged closer to the Time Lord's ear. "And you love to play the hero; to rush down and save the poor unfortunates from the scary, bad monsters."
Koh laughed and watched the noise sink into the man. "But the Time Lords have their own monsters, don't they?" He twisted his body obscenely around him. "Your mother told you stories about the Konarans, who delighted in the taste of Time Lords. Did you cry when you heard those stories? Did you wet yourself thinking that one day we would come for you?" Koh laughed again, faced him and saw the fear brimming from his eyes. "Weep now, Face Changer, for I am KOH."
Koh lunged at him, jaws agape, empty of face and ready to steal a new one. But something happened that the Konaran did not expect. The Time Lord whipped from his clothes a device and flashed it at him. The air around Koh reverberated and disrupted his natural emitting force. Koh recoiled and screamed, his faces cycling uncontrollably. The reverberations finally stopped and he looked up, panting in pain and anger.
The Time Lord looked down at the device in his hand and smiled. "Sonic Screwdriver," He flipped it in his hand and smiled at Koh, "never leave home without one."
Koh raised himself up. "You…"
"No," the Time Lord spat back at him, "you listen to me. You think you know Gallifreyans? Well you don't know me. I hold the secrets to Time and Space. I destroyed the Daleks and sent what was left of them back to the Primordial Age. I wipe clean history and walk through its pages. I am the last of the Time Lords and when my enemies hear my name they do only one thing: Run." He stepped up to him and Koh realised he had made a mistake. What he had seen in the man's eyes was not fear but resolution.
"Fear me, Face Stealer," the Time Lord declared. "I am The Doctor!"
Koh screamed and made one last desperate strike at him. The Doctor stood his ground and met him with his weapon of choice.