Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Metropolis Now


“Ah, the striking heights of striped towers! The harrowing pilasters!”

Rassilon waves his arms at the ruins around him, striking a nonchalant pose with his chin up, mental hands in pockets and feet well planted in the dust curtaining the viewing platform. He spins round one more time, then slowly takes a breath of cold air in through his nose, relishing the frost that springs up to cover his nares. His eyes go to her.


His wife.

Her bones he perched beautifully in the stone chair set in this place, the eldest of the Pythia’s temples on Gallifrey.

“Did you know, my lovely one, that only three men living know the location of this temple of ours?” he murmurs, adding a sultry tone in with all the others as he sweeps his hand toward a white slab on which several objects rest, “… and they will be coming soon.”

A silver clawfoot tub sits beside the table, large as half the table itself. Inside the tub’s sharply gleaming bowl, there sits a pool of Flesh, with bits of fingers sticking out, and two young eyes that poke and peer from the top film like ghoulish gems.

He selects one object, a red Prydonian cloak full of little points of golden light. He holds it up for his wife to see, then drops it into the silver tub and says, “Into the SHARDIS with the first of my offerings! And here… Protection from the eyes of Death.”

He picks up the next, a white marble pyramid the size of his head, holding it out and away from him as he calls out its name to her as he drops it into the tub, “A Sacrifice to ensure the spring.”

The third object is a black and white egg half as large as the pyramid, with little etchings like circuitry running over its surface.

“This Rule-Encrusted Egg,” he says, hovering a hand over the egg to indicate it, “… recalls one’s Duty to the future.” He drops it in, and it makes a small well in the Flesh as it disappears.

He moves down the slab-table, counting until he reaches the fourth object, the Rose, and reaches for it, his shoulders quaking softly.

“Stolen love- the spoil of war,” he breathes, picking up the heavy wet bloom, whose petals gleam in shades of jeweled rainbow: blue sky, molten gold, purple dusk, red blood, orange dawn, emerald eyes and dark water. His fingers empty, and the Rose falls in.

Rassilon moves his hands to the next object on the slab-table, a pair of golden rings carved with raised roses. He picks them up, holds them in his hands, rolls them between his fingers. Then he shows them to her, letting the gold glint off those parts of her stained dark sockets that still retain some shine and aren’t hanging with her ancient meat.

“Companionship…” he remembers aloud as he drops the Rose Rings into the bubbling tub, “The Other made these Rose Rings you know… I always meant to torture the means out of him, but well… events followed another path that day, did they not? He stole what was mine. Caused you to suffer.”

Rassilon touches the skeleton’s dried up cheek, caresses a remnant of small chin, pats the fragile kneecap then draws back behind the table and pulls something up from the dark there, a silver slab bent in a number of places.

“Now this… he was keeping this in the deeps, away from me behind a string of teleports. It leads to his old study, I imagine. And what better means of surveying the landscape of the Self then a sentient Mirror? Such a vain man, the Other... and vanity is a weakness that must be kept in check. These baubles have absorbed his psychic energies, Cossie- the tincture I shall make with them will provide you with the breath to dance again!”

He sets the Mirror to the edge of the silver tub and slides it in, watching as it sinks.

“Now there is only one left, dear- the Violin. The instrument of Creation. I will play it for you now, and we shall watch my brew consume the vibrations of its song and complete itself.”

His fingers glide over the bow of the Violin, bringing a tiny bit of noise to the windy pedestals and crumbled stones, summoning a shadow of doom over the hidden temple of the last Pythia. Then he sets the Kaku Inko to his chin, nestles it, and begins to play.

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