Angels, Soldiers, Criminals

Maze of the Dead

"Coming?" River asked, moving to the door and following the Doctor. Evie glanced over her shoulder at Amy, who seemed to be rubbing her eyes.

"Yeah, coming." The red-head agreed. "There's just… something in my eye…"

"Blinking usually gets rid of dust or whatever." The younger girl suggested, waiting for her to leave. After the whole incident with the Angel, Evie felt incredibly guilty and had made up her mind to keep an eye on her grandmother at all times.

"Slightly ironic, don't you think?" Amy asked, her slight Scottish lilt sounding more obvious in her amusement.

Evie laughed. "Fair point… come on, before they leave us behind."

Making their way quickly to the growing huddle of people, Evie stayed close to Amy, earning herself an approving nod from her mother and a curious look from both the Doctor and Father Octavian. The latter was briefing his troops on the situation and what to expect. As they began to disperse, readying themselves for the descent into the catacombs, the Bishop grasped River and Evie by their arms and pulled them away from the rest of the group.

"Best behaviour." He warned them in a growl. "Remember what's at stake."

Evie shot her mother a questioning glance, but River just glared at the Bishop and snatched her arm out of his grip. "Don't worry, I know."

He nodded stiffly, before practically frogmarching them towards the small hole that had been created during the explosion. A ladder made from two lengths of thin, but strong, wire and wooden pegs strung between them dangled down into the darkness. Nervously they descended.

The catacombs below were cold and damp and dark. Evie gave an involuntary shiver as she looked around, flashing her torch into the dark recesses of the rock. She was almost loathed to do the buttons of her scratchy shirt back up, but it was so chilly she had no choice. Reluctantly she fastened a couple, leaving enough undone to make her mother sigh exasperatedly.

"Do we have a gravity globe?" The Doctor asked as River dropped the last foot or so to the ground. She smiled quickly at her daughter, before moving away to examine the space closely.

"Grav globe." Octavian ordered. One of the Clerics scrabbled in his bag and pulled out the device, quickly handing it over to the Doctor with a polite bow of his head. Evie caught his eye and arched an eyebrow, making the Time Lord scowl.

"Where are we?" Amy asked, moving her torchlight erratically around, making the shadows dance. "What is this?"

"It's an Aplan Mortarium. Sometimes called a maze of the dead." River told her, her voice low and ominous. Evie was a little startled; she'd rarely heard her mother sound so nervous of being somewhere before. Then she considered the surroundings with a slight shudder.

"What's that?"

Evie sent Amy a small smile. "Two guesses?"

"Well, if you happen to be a creature of living stone…" The Doctor said, activating the gravity globe and kicking it high into the catacombs. It sent a bright light over everything, illuminating the carved rock face and revealing hundreds and hundreds of stone statues. They seemed to be standing in every available space. Once again, Evie shuddered. "Perfect hiding place."

It was beautiful; there was no denying it. Even Evie, who had no time for ruins and artefacts and all the old and broken things her mother gushed about relentlessly, had to admit that the Mortarium was breath-taking. They stood in stunned silence, taking it all in.

"Well I guess this makes it a bit trickier." Father Octavian said, his face falling slightly as he took in the vast numbers of stone statues around them.

The Doctor chuckled. "A bit, yeah."

"A stone Angel on the loose among stone statues… a lot harder than I prayed for."

"Needle in a haystack." River murmured, staring up at the rows of winding paths cut into the rock above them.

Evie forced a small smirk. "Just your style, River."

"A needle that looks like hay. A hay-like needle. Of death. A hay-like needle of death in a haystack of... err… statues." The Doctor babbled. He took a breath and tugged on the bottom of his tweed jacket, before shrugging and glancing at the archaeologist. "No, yours was fine."

River looked at him incredulously for a moment, before shaking her head slightly and sighing. Then she turned her attention back to the ruins, sweeping the beam of her torch over the rock carefully. Evie took several steps forwards, before feeling a rock-like arm bash her in the chest, holding her back.

"Sorry, Miss." One of the cleric soldiers said apologetically. "But Father Octavian said we were to see you stayed close."

Evie glowered at him, before shooting a similar look at the Bishop. He merely shrugged and began to give orders. "Right. Check every single statue in this chamber. You know what you're looking for. Complete visual inspection. One question; how do we fight it?"

"We find it." The Doctor answered simply. "And hope."

Amy shot Evie a slightly suspicious glance and then followed the Time Lord. The brunette moved towards her mother, still annoyed at the cleric's words. Before she had a chance to open her mouth and complain, Father Octavian approached, gripping River's arm once more. His eyes flickered between his prisoners.

"He doesn't know yet, does he? Who and what you are."

"It's too early in his time stream." River said weakly, gulping slightly as the Doctor glanced back and spotted them.

Father Octavian glanced down at her, stony-faced. "Well make sure he doesn't work it out, or he's not going to help us."

"I won't let you down." River said. "Believe you me; I have no intention of going back to prison."

"What?" Evie asked, much louder than she'd intended. Her voice echoed around the cavern, catching the attention of almost everyone else.

"Shh!" River snapped. Father Octavian glanced down at her and smirked. "Later, Evie."

The woman grabbed her daughter by the wrist and dragged her away from the Bishop, towards Amy and the Doctor. Octavian looked as though he intended to follow, but one of his men spoke, drawing his attention away from them. His eyes, however, only briefly left the retreating figures, before snapping back to observe them closely once more.

"Mum… what did you mean?" Evie demanded in a hushed voice as they got closer to the others.

"I said later, Evie." River shushed her again. The young woman made an annoyed hissing sound in her throat but didn't argue.

There was an odd noise echoing through the tunnels. Evie knew that it was just water dripping onto the ground from the walls and statues, but it sounded unearthly in the large open spaces. She shivered as a fat droplet of freezing water landed on the back of her neck, sliding down inside her shirt. It was all she could do not to scream.

"Unlucky, Miss." One of the Clerics said. He pulled out a handkerchief and handed it to her, grinning.

"Ta." Evie said, almost reluctantly, taking it from him and wiping the back of her neck. She glanced over to where her mother and Amy were talking, their torches shining upwards. "So… you're a soldier, hey? And I'm your prisoner."

He laughed. "It would seem so. Although, they haven't told us what you've done; just that we have to keep a special eye on you both because you're tricky."

"Really?" Evie giggled delightedly. "Brilliant!"

"So? Why are you in Stormcage? You're Doctor Song's cellmate, aren't you?" The soldier asked, leaning against the rock wall and tilting his head to one side.

Evie arched an eyebrow and folded her arms over her chest. "What are you, my biographer?" Then she grinned. "Yeah, River and I… well… she looks out for me. Although, she's also got me into a few scrapes as well. Ever heard of the Fraxon Cystal?"

"Yeah! Didn't it go missing and turn up at the Maldovarium…" He stopped, staring at her self-satisfied smirk. "No way! Was that you?"

"No comment." The girl said with a shrug. "I'm not likely to admit it to a cleric, now am I?"

He was about to reply, when the sound of River's voice made the girl roll her eyes. "Evie! Hurry up."

She grinned cheekily at the man and shot him a wink. "Catch you later, soldier boy."

"It's Bob." He said as she sauntered away, wiggling her hips more than was necessary. "My name is Bob."

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