Blood and Breath
Rose looked about at the red robed sisters in annoyance. And it was obvious that Donna shared her views.
"You have got to be kidding me," Donna said.
Oh yes, because she could talk… No, really, she could. For some reason she had been gagged, and Donna hadn't! And let's face it, Donna was the one making more noise anyway.
And now, the two woman lay there, tied to a large stone table, the red robed sisters around them, the leader holding a dagger above them. And to top it off, that horrible pain ad come back not long after she was taken. At least it was starting to fade. There was nothing she could do to help, not even talk her way out... God, she wished the Doctor was there.
"The false prophet and her preacher will surrender both their blood and their breath!" the leader cried, holding the knife high.
"Preacher!" Donna said, sounding highly offended. "I'll surrender you in a minute. Don't you dare!"
"You will be silent," she snapped.
"You might have eyes on the back of your hands you'll have eyes in the back of your head by the time I finish with you! Let us GO!"
"You shall die before your prophet. This prattling will cease forever!" She raised the dagger over her head once more, preparing to plunge it down into Donna's chest.
"Oh, that will be the day," the Doctor's voice came from behind them, making everyone whip around to face him. He was leaning casually just off to the side. Rose would have smiled if she didn't have a strip of cloth stiffed in her mouth.
"No man is allowed to enter the Temple of Sybil!"
"Oh, that's alright. Just us girls." The Doctor shrugged cheekily and started walking towards us. "Do you know, I met the Sybil once. Hell of a woman. Blimey, she could dance the tarantella. Nice teeth. Truth be told, I think she had a bit of a thing for me."
"Effy-oh huf a fii fi oo," Rose said through the gag. All the Sisters looked at her, almost in fear. Only the Doctor knew what she meant and as he got the gist of it through their bond. 'Everyone has a thing for you'. He smirked at her.
"I said it would never work. She said, 'I know'. Well, she would." He stopped at the head of the alter and looked down at the two women tied there. "You two alright there?" Rose shot him a death glare.
"Oh, never better," Donna said sarcastically.
"I like the toga, Sweetie… Yours too, Donna," he grinned.
"Weh-he? Aww, aa o hwee…" Rose tried to say in a sweet voice. Then suddenly she jerked at her bonds and started shouting. "Ow, uff heh he uh uf ha!"
"Sorry, I couldn't quite hear that… You know, you look pretty good in those ropes too." More death glairs.
"Oh, keep it in your pants, Spaceman!" Donna cried. "You can do that later. Just bloody well get us out!" Rose nodded her agreement.
"Okay, okay," he said. He pulled the Sonic Screwdriver from his pocket and used it on the ropes. Rose gratefully used the freedom of her hands to take the gag off. She sat there a moment just playing around with her mouth. It had been dried out from the cloth that had been shoved in there… a cloth that tasted terrible to her advanced taste buds.
"What magic is this?" the leader said, looking fearfully at the Sonic. The Doctor ignored the question and flipped the Sonic in the air before putting it back in his pocket.
"Let me tell you about the Sybil," the Doctor said, leaning against the later. "The founder of this religion. She would be ashamed of you. All her wisdom and insight turned sour. Is that how you spread the word, eh? On the blade of a knife?"
"Yes. A knife that now welcomes you!" She raised the knife high, but was stopped when a hand swung round and hit her in the face.
"Don't you bloody well dare!" Rose hissed. "You try to kill me, my partner, my friend! Just because we know something you can't see? What the hell is wrong with you!"
"You have such strong sight, but it is unnatural, and wrong. It is evil. And it shall be destroyed." She raised the knife again, this time at Rose.
"Wait," a frail voice said from somewhere behind a curtain. "Show me this man, and his prophet." All the sisters turned and kneeled facing the curtains as she spoke.
"High Priestess, the strangers would defy us!"
"Let me see, Spurrina. They are different. They carry starlight in their wake."
"Oh, very perceptive." The Doctor said, leading Rose and Donna closer to the curtain. "Where do these words of wisdom come from?"
"The gods whisper to me."
"Oh, they've done far more than that. Might I beg audience, look upon the High Priestess?"
Silently, the two sisters next to the bed parted the curtain.
"Oh my god!" Rose gasped in horror at the sight.
"Hoy crap! What happened to you?" Donna said. The High Priestess sat cross legged on her bed, her skin had turned entirely to stone. Living stone… almost like those other creatures.
"The heavens have blessed me," she rasped.
"If I might…?" the Doctor gestured to her, asking permission to go forward and look at it. The slight sound of stone rubbing stone was heard and the high priestess held her hand out to him. He stepped closer and held her hand delicately in his, testing pressure against it. "Does it hurt?" he asked.
"It is necessary."
"Say's who?!" Rose cried, aghast. She couldn't understand going through that just to see the future. A thing better left unknown.
"The Voices. But you know this, don't you? Do you not pay a price to see the future?"
Rose looked down at the ground. Yes. Yes, she did pay a price. Seeing through the veil of the Time Vortex was painful, but it was nothing like this.
"Is that what's happening to Evelina?" Donna said, turning around to the rest of the sisters. "Is this going to happen to all of you?"
Spurrina walked forward, her arm raised out, baring the stone flesh for them to see. "The blessings are manifold."
"They're stone," Donna whispered.
"All of them," Rose said. "They're all turning to stone, just so they can have foresight… Are you all bonkers?!"
"But who's giving them the foresight?" the Doctor mused. "The people of Pompeii are turning to stone before the volcano erupts. But why?"
"This word… This image in your mind. This… 'volcano'. What is it?"
"More to the point, why don't you know about it?"
"It's a fixed point in time. If I tried, I could see every possible way things could change, and it would still happen," Rose said. This caused the Doctor to look at her oddly. She was always dropping odd little things he didn't know she would do. Just how far had this change gone?
"Exactly," he said, shaking it off. "Who are you?"
"High Priestess of the Sibyline," she replied proudly.
"No, no, no, no. I'm talking to the creature inside of you. The thing that's seeding itself into a human body, in the dust, in the lungs… Taking over the flesh and turning it into… what?"
"Your knowledge… is impossible," she rasped.
"Oh, but you can read my mind. You know it's not. I demand you tell me who you are!"
Suddenly something changed about the woman. And when she spoke, it was echoed by a deep voice. "We… are… awakening!"
"The voice of the gods!" Spurrina gasped loudly.
The sisters around them began to rock and chant. "Words of wisdom, words of power. Words of wisdom, words of power." Over and over again.
"Name yourself!" the Doctor shouted. "Planet of origin, galactic co-ordinates, species designation according to the universal ratification of the Shadow proclamation."
"We… are… rising!"
"Tell me your name!" the Doctor bellowed.
The High Priestess threw off her hood and spread her arms wide. "Pyrovile!" she shouted.
At this, the sisters began chanting out the name. They looked rather freaky, with their strange black and white make up.
"What's a Pyrovile?" Donna asked.
"If I had to guess, I would say that thing that attacked us back at the villa," Rose said.
"Yup," the Doctor said. "And that's a Pyrovile, too… growing inside her. She's at the half way stage."
"How does it do that?" Rose asked. "Change a person into that."
"They are more or less rock and magma. It's possible for them to break apart. The Soothsayers of Pompeii were breathing in fragments of them when they wanted to see. Then the Pyrovile was inside their body and started seeding, and converting them. They are, all of them, slowly becoming adult Pyroviles."
"And the breath of a Pyrovile will incinerate you, Doctor!" The High Priestess shouted, pointing at him.
"I warn you, I'm armed," the Doctor said. And, to Rose's surprise she reached into his pocket and pulled out… a water gun. That had her for a second. "Rose, Donna, get that grille open.
"What the…" Donna said, looking at the water gun in confusion. Rose just grinned at the ridiculous sight. She never thought she'd see him wield any sort of gun. Looks like she was wrong.
"Just…" He jerked his head to the spot and Rose and Donna sped to the hypocaust. Then he aimed the gun at the High Priestess. "What are the Pyrovile doing here?"
"We fell from the heavens. We fell so far and fast, we were rendered into dust."
"Right. Creatures of stone shatter on impact. When was that, seventeen years ago?"
"We have slept beneath for thousands of years."
"Okay, so seventeen years ago woke you up, and now you're using human bodies to reconstitute yourself. But why the psychic powers?"
"We opened their minds and found such gifts!"
"Yeah, okay fine. You force yourself inside a human brain, use the latent psychic talent to bond. I get that. I get that. Yeah, but… seeing the future, that is way beyond psychic, you can see through time. Where does the gift of prophecy come from?"
Off to the side, Donna and Rose struggled to pull off the great. Finally, Rose found the sonic pen she had hidden in her dress and used it on the metal, loosening it enough for them to pull it up.
"We got it!" Donna cried.
"Now get down," he ordered.
"What, down there?"
"But it's sweltering!" Rose gasped. She still didn't understand how he could handle such hot climates when they had the same body temperature.
"Yes, down there," he said, moving towards them, gun still aimed. "Why can't this lot predict the volcano? Why is it being hidden?"
"Sisters!" Spurrina cried. "I see into his mind. The weapon is harmless."
"Well, yeah… but it's got to sting!" Then he sprayed it at the High Priestess who moaned in pain. "Get down there!" he cried at Rose and Donna. The two woman dropped through the opening, followed by the Doctor.
When they dropped down, they were in a boiling hot rock tunnel. The fire around them made it glow red.
"You fought her off, with a water pistol!" Donna cried. "I bloody love you!"
"How do you think I feel!" Rose laughed.
"This way," the Doctor said.
"So where are we going?" Rose said.
"Into the volcano," he replied.
"No way," Donna groaned.
"Yes way," he said cheerfully, twirling the gun around his finger. "Appian way!" He was having too much fun with this Latin thing.
"Honestly," Rose sniggered. "Did you expect something different?" The she stopped a moment to fan herself. She didn't know how long she would last down here.
"But if it's aliens setting off the volcano, doesn't that make it alright for you to stop it?" Donna persisted as they made their way through the tunnels of Vesuvius.
"Still part of history," the Doctor said.
"Well, I'm history to you. You saved me in 2008. You saved us all.-"
"It's not the same," Rose said.
"Why is that different?"
"Some things are fixed, some things are in flux," he explained. "Pompeii is fixed."
"How do you know which is which?"
The Doctor stopped and turned around to face them. He knew Rose somewhat understood what was happening. He knew that she could feel it, and she was smart and had put pieces together. She didn't know like he did.
"Because that's how we see the universe. Me and Rose. Every waking second, we can see what is, what was… what could be, what must not. That's the burden of the Time Lord, Donna. And I was the only one left. And then it was forced onto Rose. Most of us had hundreds of years in the Academy to learn what everything means, and she's just guessing. Very well, I might add. But this place… we can't do anything."
He turned and kept walking, leaving a stunned Rose and an angry Donna.
"How many people died?"
"Donna!" Rose warned.
At the same time the Doctor growled, "stop it!"
"Doctor!" He stopped and turned. "How many people died."
"Twenty thousand," he said darkly.
"Is that what you two can see? All twenty thousand? And you think that's alright-?"
"Of course it isn't!" Rose cried, sick of what Donna was doing to the Doctor. She could feel the guilt coming from him in floods through her mind. "We don't like this, Donna, but there is nothing we can do to stop it. We can't exactly see all of this, but we can feel it. It hurts. I just want to turn and run from this place, because no matter how I try to think of a way to change the outcome, every path hurts. Every path leads to so, so many deaths. It's Pompeii or the world."
"Wait, what?" the Doctor said, surprised at that last part.
"What do you mean Pompeii or the world?" Donna asked fearfully.
Rose shook her head. She didn't truly know where that statement had come from. "I… I've been trying to think of a way to stop this since we were stuck. But when I think of Pompeii not erupting… it hurts more. Like things would get worse."
Suddenly there was a screech from somewhere down the tunnel and their heads shot in that direction.
"They know we're here," he cried. "Come on." With one hand he grabbed Rose's, and with the other he pushed Donna along. Then, they turned and ran.
Further into the heart of Vesuvius.
Hello! Sorry it's been so long updating this one. Turns out I am even more easily distracted than I thought I was. I'm actually do that now.
Me and my boyfriend, Matt, are moving out of this messy flat we're in now, and moving in with his best friend. The flat is smaller, cleaner, less people (there will only be the three of us) and nicer. The point is, that right now, I am meant to be packing right now, so that we can move tomorrow. But I can't keep working that long (especially not on my days off), so I decided to write. It was meant to be a 10 minute break, it's turned into an hour, 20.
So, I also have a few chapters of other stories done, I'll try and post those too.
Hope everyone's having a fun christmas!