The plod of camels had been the only companion for the silence, ever since they had left the ruined temple. Ace had been unusually silent.

‘You knew.’ Her voice was little more than a whisper, but the accusing tone bit like ice. ‘You knew, didn't you?’ she shouted. Ace brought her camel to a stop as the truth hit home. ‘You knew Kala was doomed the moment you saw her! You knew she would die!’

The Doctor's voice was a fierce whisper. ‘I knew nothing. And I knew everything. We are cursed. All around us we see life slipping away, like sands in an hourglass. We see it, and yet we are powerless to stop it. Everywhere we see death and decay. Everywhere despair. Worst of all, we look at ourselves, and see the wasting. Oh, the folly of our race. Rassilon's greatest gift to the people of Gallifrey was the greatest evil the universe has known. Rassilon's curse, they named it, when they realized the tragedy of their decision. But by then it was too late. Far too late. He gave us the ability to see the future. But only he saw the despair it would bring. For thousands of years I have fought this curse. I left Gallifrey to try and preserve all that was beautiful and alive. Sometimes I have succeeded in delaying the inevitable, yet at every turn I am thwarted. Everywhere I am pursued by Rassilon's curse. Through time and space, everything I see alive - growing old, dying, reduced to dust. I have failed. And every day I am reminded of the penalty of my failure.’

Torn by the magnitude of his admission the three were silent as the camels plodded towards the sunrise.

Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Epilogue