“Hello?” I asked, picking up the phone and putting it to my ear. I had just been washing dishes and had nearly missed the call by drying my hands with a towel on the opposite side of the kitchen.
“It’s time,” was all the familiar voice on the other end of the call said.
“Time?” I said, confused. “Time for what?
“Look outside,” it said excitedly.
I stepped across the room to the nearest window and immediately had to shield my eyes. A few layers of snow covered the ground and everything was white, except for a big blue box in the middle of the yard. I hung up the phone absentmindedly, opened the door, and leapt outside. I stood on the doorstep for a few seconds, smiling to myself, and I probably would have kept doing it, but I was shaken from my trance by the creaking sound of a door. I turned slightly to smile at the wonderful bow tied man to my left.
“Look who it is!” he yelled. “Ellie, you are fantastic, as always.” Then he said in a slightly quieter tone, “Are you ready?”
“Ready?” I said, my smile fading. “Oh, I, um, I have to go to school in the morning.”
“That’s hours away, and you’ll be back in no time! Five seconds,” he told me, tapping on his wrist.
“You said that last time and it was three weeks. My parents thought I ran away,” I said in distress.
“Oh. Yeah,” he said sadly. Then his face brightened. “I’ll make sure we get here on time. The Tardis has been very accurate lately.”
“Well, maybe,” I said hesitantly.
“That’s my girl!” he said happily, opening the door of the blue box and letting me walk in first. As I gazed around the familiar room the Doctor jumped to the controls. “Where are we going?”
“Well, last time I said the Middle Ages, but we got stuck on that yacht in Imperial Russia…”
“The Middle Ages it is,” the Doctor said, pulling levers, pushing buttons, and glancing at a screen every once in a while. Finally he stopped and the Tardis came to a standstill. He looked back at the screen one more time. “Aha! The Middle Ages!”
He ran to the door and swung it back open, swiveling around to look at me ecstatically. “What do you want to do first?”
“Um… wander?” I said uncertainly. I walked to the door and stepped into the sunshine. Wow. It was the Middle Ages. The Doctor stepped out after me, shutting the door behind him.
We began to walk down the alleyway. As we neared the street, we heard booing and a few interesting curses. It seemed as though everyone was making angry noises and gestures. It didn’t take long to figure out why. A few solemn ladies and gentlemen passed by on horses. At the end of their procession there were several pack horses weighed down by chests and sacks. There was a slight jingling noise and suddenly the whole crowd went silent in anticipation.
Somewhere near the middle of the crowd, a person raised their right hand, then chaos took over. Masked men in camouflaged clothing sprung from the alleyways on brown and gray horses. The crowd cheered and the guards surrounding the nobles and their treasure failed to contain them. The nobles were dragged off of their horses and only the white and black horses were allowed to wander away from the fight in the street. Some nobles managed to catch a roaming horse and flee from the village, but their gold, clothing, and other valuable belongings were taken by the masked men, who then rode back through the village with the stolen goods. All they left behind were a couple of sacks of gold for the villagers to split amongst themselves.
The Doctor and I pursued them and discovered a forest not far beyond the city limits. We entered the forest, following the fresh sets of hoof prints. They disappeared in the middle of a small clearing. We tried to keep moving forward, but two men intercepted us at the edge of the clearing.
“Why do you come here?” asked the first.
“The man that raised his hand, he is your leader?” asked the Doctor. “Robin Hood?”
The men’s faces hardened. The second man asked, “and what would a strange fellow, like yerself, want with Robin Hood?”
“I was thinking I could help him actually. He has problems too, doesn’t he?”
“You mean with the Children?” the first man asked fearfully.
“Is there something wrong with the children?” asked the Doctor.
“It depends which children yer talking about, sir.”
“I think I can handle it from here, thank you Wein, Will,” said another man, stepping from the foliage.
“It’s Robin Hood,” I said in amazement.
The man gave me a funny look, then gave my clothes a funnier one. I looked down, realizing I had forgotten to change in the Tardis. I was the first woman to ever wear pants.
“Hello,” I said, waving.
He raised his eyebrows and turned to the Doctor, who also received a strange look. His clothes weren’t exactly Middle Ages. Robin Hood shook his head, then said, “You can help us?”
“I believe so. Where are your children?” the Doctor said excitedly.
Robin Hood, laughed. “If I had children like that, I would have killed them myself.”
We looked at him, horrified. He saw our expressions and hurried to reassure us. “They aren’t actually children. We just call them Children of Mephistopheles.”
“One of the seven chief demons of Medieval demonology. Cold, scoffing, relentless friend,” said the Doctor.
A man ran into the clearing and said, “They are coming,” then ran back the way he came. Robin motioned to us to follow him and he followed the other man.
The demon like creatures chased us through the forest without stopping for breath, which was the only thing keeping me going. They gave up eventually, but by that time I felt like I was dying. My lungs felt like they were going to collapse. We took a break in a big clearing with all of Robin’s men.
“Any good news?” he asked them. No one answered. “Well, any bad news then?”
One of the men stepped forward reluctantly. “The King was coming back from the Crusades and he was… taken.”
“Taken?” asked Robin. “By the Children?”
“We think so, yes.”
Robin Hood looked down, and for a moment all was silent. Then the Doctor stood and Robin Hood looked up at him, making eye contact.
“You can save him,” said the Doctor. “We just need to go to church first.”
“And what? Pray for our lives?” asked Robin incredulously.
“What is the one thing that can kill demons?” asked the Doctor.
Robin looked at him in amazement. “Of course! Holy water. Klaus, bring the horses.”
A tall man in camouflaged outfit like the others stepped forward with three gray horses and held them while we jumped onto their backs. He let go and we rode off to the chapel in the village. There, we got a bucket of holy water and filled all three of our canteens with it. Then we leapt back onto our horses and rode to the beach of the English Channel. Where we stole a row boat and paddled across the water to the opposite shore. We then borrowed horses in and rode straight to Austria, to the castle he was being held in. The castle was deserted, but we heard groans from the dungeons, where we found King Richard chained to a wall. After he was unchained, the King drifted out of consciousness and we had to carry him outside and onto a horse. Then we rode back to the channel.
Our journey took twenty-five very uncomfortable days. We took short breaks to sleep and very short breaks to eat and feed and water the horses. King Richard was pretty delirious, but he was slowly regaining his strength. It would take another day to row across the channel and back into the country and another day to make it back to his castle.
The King woke up on the boat and sort of freaked out.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I’m the Doctor,” said the Doctor heavily as he pushed an oar through the water.
“Oh, really?” said Robin Hood in a similar tone. “How silly of me, I never asked your name. I’m Robin Hood.”
“Doctor Who?” asked the King suspiciously.
“Oh, just the Doctor,” I answered, then smiled and said, “I’m Ellie, short for Gabrielle. We saved your life.”
“You are a woman,” said the King. I just nodded, confused. “You are wearing breeches.”
Before I could respond, he sat up and grabbed one of the canteens. He loosened the lid quickly and chugged the water inside.
“That might not have been a good-” I said, half of my sentence broken off by the King’s spit.
“What is this?” he demanded.
“Holy water,” I said casually.
“Have any of you tasted holy water?” he asked curiously.
“I have,” said the Doctor. “Bit of a mishap in Transylvania. They thought I was a vampire.”
“Then you can understand why I never want to taste it again. Do you happen to have any human water on board?”
We looked at each other. None of us had thought about bringing normal water. We had just stopped at rivers and streams on the way. Suddenly we were all thirsty. Robin Hood looked ahead.
“We’re close to shore,” he said, “so we could make it by sunset.”
The sun was already setting. I hoped he was right, because I could only guess what might be waiting for us on the beach.
Robin was off by a few minutes. We made it to shore in the dark, just after the sun had finished setting. Getting the King had been easy. The ideal attack would have taken place when we were all tired, sore, hungry, and thirsty. I assumed that’s why they attacked us as soon as we left the boat. One of the creatures flipped the boat over and the canteens went under. I jumped into the water to save them. It was hard to swim very deep, but I made it just as the canteens had started going back up.
When I broke the surface with the canteens in hand I was several yards away from shore. The demons couldn’t smell me yet, so I was safe for the time being. I quietly swam back to the beach, where the Doctor, Robin Hood, and even King Richard, were giving it all they had. All they had was obviously not enough, but the canteens I had were. The scene reminded me of the third Harry Potter movie and book, when Harry is fighting off the dementors and is losing, but the future Harry saves him and Sirius. That’s sort of what happened.
As I neared the beach, the demons stopped what they were doing and started sniffing around. One got really close to me, just inches away, before I flicked some holy water at it. The demons heard the last cry of their brother and charged in for revenge. The first two rows got sprayed before the others realized they couldn’t win this. They flew off into the night and I would never see them again.
Our last order of business was to get the King back to his castle. Robin Hood assured us he would take care of his leader, so the Doctor and I were free to go.
Once we were in the Tardis, the Doctor asked me the usual question. “Where are we going?”
“Home,” was all I said. He gave me a funny look, but he pulled the levers and pushed the buttons and looked at his screen in silence.
It was daytime when I stepped outside. I walked into the Living Room through the front door and across to the kitchen. The sink was empty. I looked up at the clock and ran out the door, grabbing my backpack on the way.
“Doctor,” I said through gritted teeth. I was late for school.