Description: As just a baby the Rani and her parents are returned to Gallifrey from Earth in disgrace for becoming too entrenched in Human customs. The Rani’s parents are stripped of their regenerations as punishment and thus begins a life long quest on behalf of the Rani to find out how to restore regenerations without the approval of the High Council of the Time Lords. Along her studies the Rani meets such colourful characters as the Doctor and the Master and sets in motion lifelong friendships and feuds.
Enter The Rani (Part 2)
On my first day at the Prydonian Academy I sat under a silver leafed candonwood tree on the orange grass of the grounds utterly alone. We had finished our inductions and had been cleared for a break before beginning our studies in earnest. I pulled at the stiff scarlet robes swamping my tiny frame and scratched absent mindedly at my neck which was itching due to the hot, stiff collar. The robes were utterly unsuitable for the weather, but that probably only made the Council love them more. Anything ghastly and unnecessary seemed to delight them. It meant that they could be held apart. That they were so above everyone else that they could ignore comfort and temperature. And from us, the young Time Lords at the Prydonian Academy, their successors would surely be chosen. We were the best and brightest that Gallifrey had to offer. Tradition dictated that leaders were to be chosen from our school, and there was nothing that the Council loved more than tradition… Except, perhaps, saving face.
I scowled out at the other children talking in groups. They all seemed so happy. They had it so easy. They gained access to this academy by virtue of their lineage. Me, I had to work for it. I had to excel in every aspect so that my entry couldn’t be denied no matter how great a disgrace my family was. I was miles ahead of those soft children yet they despised me. They thought me lesser. The irony burned me like a forge. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to gain access to the finest technology and instruction that Gallifrey had to offer. I had no interest in the rituals and traditions of the Council. I only wanted to save my mother. To give her life as she had me. I would play their games only to meet my own ends.
I was so intent on my glaring at the insipid children of the ruling class that I had failed to notice that a shaggy haired boy was sitting in the tree above me until he nearly came toppling down on top of me. He was a shocking sight. Legs flailing above his head, robe almost suffocating his head and all the while he squeaked,
“I’m alright, I’m alright.”
He awkwardly managed to get his head above his feet and his feet onto the ground and tried to sit nonchalantly next to me. I fixed the boy with a contemptuous glare. I wasn’t there to make friends.
“I’m Theta,” the clumsy boy said sticking out a lanky arm with long bony fingers that seemed to jut out oddly. Bits of candorwood twigs still clung to his disheveled robes and a few silver leaves protruded from his scruffy hair.
“I know who you are,” I responded coolly and stared straight ahead. I knew who all of these foolish Time Lords were. Although they treated me with contempt I made it my business to know who they were, who I had to beat, what their weaknesses were, and how I could use them to my advantage. But even had I not been so attentive I still would have known who this gawky boy was. Everybody knew who Theta was.
“You know me?” He stared at me with his deep brown eyes, like pools of curiosity. It was the closest thing I had ever seen to looking into the Untempered Schism.
“Everybody knows you,” I responded evenly. I began looking straight ahead again. I could see all I needed through my periphery vision. I didn’t need to give him the satisfaction of my attention. He had enough from the rest of the world. Our future commander.
“Ah,” he nodded and looked down at his neglected hand and then placed it awkwardly in his lap. “I guess they know of me in the same way everyone knows of you. “Ushas, the human.”
The insult to my birth right that he so casually delivered struck me like a blow. I turned on him in a fury and hissed,
“You’re the human. You’re the one from a tainted loom. I am of full Time Lord blood, born of a proud linage of Time Lords and Ladies. There is no contamination in my blood.”
I stood up and moved to stalk away but the weedy looking boy grabbed hold of my hand and held it with such intensity that I could not move away.
“I am sorry,” he finally said. “I didn’t mean it as an insult. More that the fame of your unusual birth experience proceeds you. You are unique here, an anomaly. As Am I. I thought that perhaps…” His voice trailed off.
“What?” I snapped looking down at him. Seeing at once how lonely and fragile this child was. That he too was an outcast.
“I thought we could be friends,” he stammered.
“I don’t need friends,” I said and shook his hand free of mine. I began walking away when his soft words halted me.
I turned and stared at him. This pathetic figure, covered in leaves, his Prydonian robes, that would have been worn for the first time today, already tattered, and wondered how is it that he could be prophesized to be the future leader of Gallifrey where as I was denied even being humoured with the thought of being on the Council at all. And his birth was just as scandalous as mine, yet he was destined for greatness and his family revered whilst mine was in ruins. I stared at him contemplating exactly how to respond. The best way to cut him down.
“Hey, human,” I heard a voice behind me sneer. I turned, ready to lash out at who had dared insult me. It was a chubby, older boy, with pink cheeks. He looked like the kind of child who sat about eating all day instead of attending to his studies. Even this disgusting behemoth thought to insult me.
“Cousin,” Theta’s voice rang out resigned, “If being human makes me less like you then I would be glad of it. Call me human all you like. I want to be nothing like you. You revolting Slitheen.”
The ginger boys face flushed redder than his hair and he dove on top of Theta, fists thrashing wildly. At this point it dawned on me that although Theta had been destined for greatness, his abnormal birthing journey made him just as much as an outcast as I was. And that a disenfranchised boy, destined for greatness, would be not only easy to manipulate but endlessly useful. So in that moment I made the worst and best decision of my life. To save the scrawny boy from his beating and to make him my ally.
In my training for joining the Academy I had undertaken much physical training. I could lift far heavier loads than my petite frame belied. I easily pick up the chubby ginger boy and tossed him unceremoniously down onto his rump. He groaned uncomfortably, rubbed at his back and shot a look of pure poison at me. I smiled back in return, as sweetly as a schlenk blossom.
“You’re just as big a freak as he is,” he roared at me. “Stupid humans. You shouldn’t even be allowed here. You’ll dilute our bloodlines. My dad says you’ll bring about our ruin, you will.”
“Well perhaps you better stay away than,” I murmured with irritating calm. “You never know what we barbarous humans might do. Why, we’re just as unstable as any dalek.”
“You’re mad,” the chubby boy yelled getting to his feet. “You pair belong together. They should put all of you freaks together then throw you into the Schism.”
“Enough, Cousin.” Theta had gotten to his feet. He spoke with such intensity that the whole Academy grounds stood still. All the children stopped to stare at him as his authority rang across the yard. I looked at him in awe. How could such a scruff suddenly become so commanding? I could see it now, why he was destined to lead. “Go about your business. I have no more time for you.”
Theta’s cousin fled, almost tripping in his haste to be away. I stared at the boy who had become a man in front of me and simply said,
“I’d like that,” he responded with a warm smile and I could not help but smile back.
“Should we go to class now?” I asked.
“I think so,” Theta responded, “freaks like us can’t afford to be late.”