(Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter)
The Doctor tried to crawl through the snow towards Elena and Yarox. The Time Lord was so weak and in such tremendous pain from the biting cold, he couldn’t even attempt to stand up. It was taking all his effort just to hobble a few inches closer. Aside from the fearsome weather, the ground was also shaking. In the distance the Doctor could see through the blazing snow what looked like a gigantic blue skinned humanoid stumbling off of its feet. The creature must have been over 70 feet tall and had a gigantic mane of red hair and a long thick beard.
As the Time Lord’s strength quickly depleted, the Doctor could feel the beginning of his next regeneration coming.
“Not now” he thought to himself. The Doctor’s regenerations didn’t have a history of going smoothly at first, and he couldn’t afford to deal with his usual post regenerative sickness in the middle of this crisis. The Doctor had also wanted to get as much out of this body as he could. He felt he had rattled through his regenerations somewhat too quickly.
Still he didn’t have a choice, though the fact that his body had already given in didn’t look hopeful for Yarox and Elena.
“Well here we go again. Hope my next body’s stronger.” The Doctor said as he prepared for the change. A few more minutes passed however and the Doctor didn’t feel any different. In fact he could feel the regenerative powers fading which was not a good sign. The regenerative process was failing, most likely due to the extreme cold which would result in an actual death for the Time Lord.
He had only a few minutes left at the most.
“It can’t end like this.” The Doctor thought to himself. “I have to get somewhere, somewhere” In a few more seconds, the Time Lord’s last ounce of strength depleted. His arms and legs were completely stiff and lifeless from the cold. His breathing was so weak he couldn’t even scream for help. (Not that anyone would have heard in this freezing blizzard.)
Normally the Doctor didn’t fear death. He couldn’t possibly live the type of life he did, if he feared death. He’d had a good innings, (despite having maybe been a bit too reckless with his incarnations) He had lived for over 1500 earth years and over 3500 Gallifreyan years, or round about.
Still the Doctor fought to the very last second, but sadly even the his great strength of will couldn’t save him this time. He hadn’t even managed to make it to the corpses of Elena and Yarox befor collapsing dead, face down in the snow.
“You’re every bit as stubborn as that oaf who stole you. Aren’t you?” Scratchman screamed at the TARDIS.
All around him, the Demon’s entire world was begininning to crumble. The vast armies outside his castle weren’t even fighting one another anymore. They were merely scrambling for safety as more and more of the pitiful remains of this universe crumbled into the dark abyss around.
Much like the creature that had pursued Elena, some of the Demons and their victims were only to happy to fall into the comparitive peacefulness of the abyss, but others including many of Scratchman’s loyal minions desperately tried to cling on.
Scratchman placed a barrier around his castle to protect it. It was just about all he could shelter now.
Only a few hundred of his minions had managed to make it inside, or already were within the castle. Those who were trapped outside pounded furiously on the barrier for help.
“Please, please lord we have served you for centuries, we helped to bring you the Time Lord. Please!”
Scratchman however didn’t even respond. If anything their terror and misery was giving him a small boost.
Scratchman had used every trick he could to hurt the TARDIS, but he had come no closer to breaking it, and time was running out a lot faster than he had initially thought. Suddenly it dawned on him.
“Of course. You and he. You’re two peas in a pod aren’t you? Both fancy yourselves as heroes.”
Scratchman suddenly teleported a group of alien rebels from outside the castle who were fleeing the crumbling planet into the TARDIS.
“You’re too stubborn to break through pain alone. I get and respect that now. However I can break you by bringing you down to my level.” Scratchman said.
“What do you mean” one of the aliens responded.
“I’m not talking to you morons. Listen carefully.” Scratchman said to the TARDIS.
“I’m going to make you take off, but I’m going to tamper with your circuits to some extent. You won’t simply carrry the aliens with you, nor will you merely take off without them. When you dematerialise, you’ll only take the aliens skin with you, or rather you’ll rip their skin off, slowly as I’ll spin out your take off for as long as I can.”
One of the aliens started to beg Scratchman.
“Don’t do that, you know it makes him stronger.” One of the other aliens pleaded.
The TARDIS started to take off against its will, and the aliens fell to the floor in pain. They could feel all of the skin on their body being slowly pulled at by a tremendous force. Cuts, tears and splits started to appear all over their bodies.
As gruesome as it was, the TARDIS couldn’t give in now. These aliens torture would be nothing compared to what Scratchman would do to his own and countless other universes if he were freed.
“How does it feel to know that in a few minutes you’ll be a butcher of innocent people just like me? Oh sure I’m the one who is forcing you to take off, but you are still the one who is ripping their skin off of their bodies slowly. You could stop it at any point. Just drop your shields and give me access to your power centre?”
The aliens started to cough up blood, whilst the largest and strongest who had earlier forbidden his comrade to beg threw himself onto the TARDIS console and started pleading. He didn’t even know who to. It certainly wasn’t Scratchman.
The TARDIS couldn’t take it anymore and let down its shields. Scratchman however still didn’t stop the machine from taking off until the very last second. When the skin on the aliens was stretching to almost breaking point, and some of them began to pass out from the pain.
“Don’t worry.” Scratchman taunted. “I might still need them if you try anymore tricks.
The aliens were suddenly pulled into the green swamp that had replaced the TARDIS floor by several Zombified hands.
“That way I know they’re safe” Scratchman mocked. In truth they were all dead, but the monster had others he could use to force the TARDIS to do its bidding.
“Now then time is of the essence, let’s see how much power you really have. The Time Lords are such an ingenious race. Even their outdated junk is beyond most civilisations. I do so look forward to conquering them.”
“What, what’s going on.” The Doctor said as he was roused from his sleep by a strange, impish creature. It was a Elvian, Elf or Elves for short from the planet Qiras.
They were generally friendly creatures, though some of them were known for having quite a naughty sense of humour.
The Doctor saw that he had been taken to a cave of some sort, with a large fire lit in the middle.
It was still freezing however, but at least the Time Lord had the feeling back in his arms and legs.
“Doctor, Doctor.” Elena said as she came rushing out of a nearby dark cavern, wearing a coat made from some strange kind of animals skin.
“Elena I thought you were dead. In fact I was pretty sure I died out there. Where’s Yarox.”
“I’m fine Doctor.” Yarox said as he came into view from behind.
“You did die out there.” Yarox said. “We all did, but from what I’m told you never stay dead here too long.”
“No matter how you die in this place alien.” The Elf interrupted.
“Frozen out there, stomped by the frost giants, or carried away by that winged horror, or eaten by Scratchman’s guard dog. You’ll be reborn each time to die again and again. I don’t know how many times you died before we managed to drag you in here. When you die out there they all tend to blur into one, but we’ve gathered enough food and torches over the years that you might live a few more years down here without dying.”
“Thank you, but I don’t think that’s possible.” The Doctor said.
Suddenly the ground began to shake violently.
“He’s losing his grip I tell you.” One of the Elves at the back said.
“We can only hope.” Another Elf said.
“The Demon that controls our reality. In the last few years we’ve noticed the ruins of this, once proud world of Heleim crumble. Piece by piece it has begun to fall into the dark. I don’t know what that monster is planning, but now the giants spend much more time fighting among themselves than they do chasing us.” The leader of the Elves said.
“Scratchman isn’t planning anything for you lot.” The Doctor assured.
“He is losing his grip. The remains of the previous universes he’s conquered like this one are all that’s sustaining him, but even that won’t last for much longer. Unless we act fast, he’ll use my vessel to escape into my, or should I say our reality. I know your race. You don’t come from, whatever this reality used to be.”
“No we don’t. May I ask what species are you from.” The Elves leader asked.
“Ah yes I’ve heard of your kind. I always wondered if your people were real or not, but I suppose if the Devil exists.”
“Yes quite” The Doctor said.
“Not to sound rude or anything but it doesn’t really matter how we all ended up in this godforsaken place, all that matters is getting out of it.” The Time Lord continued.
“What makes you think there is a way out.” Elena asked.
“If there is a way in, there’s a way out.”
“There is a gateway” The Elf leader said.
“It’s guarded however by one the Devil’s most ferocious pets. Garmr. It rests atop the largest mountain in the valley, then there are also the Frost Giants and the Corpse Eater.”
“What’s the Corpse Eater” Elena asked.
“A gigantic undead Vulture so large its wings can create snowstorms.” The Doctor replied.
“I remember reading about it in old Norse myths.” The Time Lord continued
“We’ll never get by all those monsters.” Yarox said.
“Well like our friend said if they kill us then we’ll just come back again. Besides you also said those brutes were too busy fighting with themselves. Added to that with Scratchman’s power weakening, I’d say this is our best chance to make it through the gate and stop him.”
“All right.” The Elf leader said.
“Not that I think you have a good chance of stopping Scratchman, but at the very least it will be over. I warn you however at the first sight of Garmr I’m gone. I’ve been killed by him once before. I’d rather die a billion times in that freezing cold out there.”
“Yes well that’s not the most encouraging thing you could have said.” Elena replied.
“Come on Time Lord. You will need the skin of one of the giants for insulation. Even with that you’ll be lucky to last an hour out there in that cold. How do you plan to stop Scratchman once you have reached his palace. I take it your attempts to do so didn’t exactly go well before?”
“His power is depleting. If my ship can just hold out long enough then by the time we get there he’ll be so weak we might just have a chance at overpowering him. If not well then old Harry will have another universe to add to this gruesome collection.
To Be Continued.