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The Gravedigger

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“No!” Eledhwen cried as her partner collapsed in front of her, bleeding profusely from the stomach. “Christianne!” she shouted, falling to her knees next to her partner and grabbing her hand. “Hold on!”

“It hurts…” Christianne whimpered, green eyes glossy with pain. Eledhwen felt the hot sting of tears in her eyes, the boiling mixture of anger and despair in the pit of her stomach. Her other hand scrabbled to staunch the wound, even though she knew it wouldn’t help.

“Avo firo, veleth nîn, odulen an gi nestad,” she pleaded. 

“I… love you… Ellie....” Christianne murmured. “‘S fine… hurts, but… fine…”

Eledhwen’s eyes flashed. “Avo garo, Christianne!” she snapped, but Christianne was looking away from her, her green eyes wide.

“Everywhere…” she whispered, and Eledhwen followed her line of sight to see the nearby wall.

What dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil? was written on the wall. Eledhwen looked around her. To be or not to be. The undiscovered country. Ay, there’s the rub. 

There was a woosh, and PPC TARDIS #9D00M5D4Y suddenly loomed before her, disguised as a giant skull. And in that moment, Eledhwen knew.

“You thought the random quoting of Hamlet was circumstantial,” she told Christianne as she summoned all of her strength to gather her into her arms. “‘Tis merely nothing but a happy circumstance. I cannot save you by myself, but I know what I must do.”

With a kiss to her partner’s brow, Eledhwen staggered to her feet and strode to the TARDIS. One of the skull’s teeth opened for her; the elleth stepped inside the console room and took out the sonic pen, aiming it at the console. 

She set the setting to unlock, and pressed the button.

The console opened, revealing bright white light. Eledhwen stared into its depths, into the very reaches of time and space — she could see into the infinite — into what had been, what is now, what could be — even what could have been — and she knew for a moment that this was the power that the Valar wielded, that many of the greatest Elves and Men of Arda had strove to attain. In that moment, had she been in Middle-earth, Eledhwen Elerossiel would have had the power of Eru Ilúvatar.

In that moment, Eledhwen Elerossiel was no more.

Through the fog and haze of pain and the echoing shadows of death, Christianne turned to see a bolt of brilliant white light. Concentrating her remaining energy, Christianne strove to see the figure emerging from a large skull — a stranger in the shell of a lover, a new entity in the form of her best friend.

I am the Mortal Coil Entity,” Eledhwen’s voice rang through the hallway, echoed by a quiet whisper in Sindarin. “I create myself, scattering the words of my partner’s favourite play throughout the Multiverse.”

“Ellie?” Christianne asked weakly, the shadowy greyness of unconsciousness beginning to creep on her vision.

I come with the power to save you,” the Mortal Coil Entity declared, and her mouth opened, issuing bright white light that flowed through the air towards Christianne. Soon, it was all the human could see — white light all around her, no sign of the darkness, and her heart was beating lubb-dupp-lubb-dupp, lubb-dupp-lubb-dupp —  

Four heartbeats?

The whiteness cleared from Christianne’s eyes and now she could see — now she could climb to her feet and walk towards the ethereal, glowing form of Eledhwen, whose eyes were shining white with the energy of the Time Vortex.

“Ellie, what have you done?” demanded Christianne. “You’ve given me —”

A new life,” replied the Mortal Coil Entity. “I have given you life. I have brought a human fëa back to this world, for I have seen what only the Wise have seen before, and I see that I must never leave you, my Christianne.

“You put the Time Vortex into my head,” breathed Christianne. “I can see everything you see, Eledhwen. Wouldn’t it make you mad?”

I have lived for centuries with the burdens of my memories, and even after this body my fëa will live on, immortal until the breaking of this world,” said the Mortal Coil Entity. 

“But your head! Even the Eldar cannot stand pure time energy for that long.” Christianne’s hearts beat faster and faster. “You saved me, Eledhwen. And now I’m going to save you.”

And with that, the newborn Time Lady leaned up on tip-toes and kissed her partner, absorbing the energy of the Time Vortex and casting it back into the PPC TARDIS, where it flew into the console with a lingering shimmer. Christianne then turned to see Eledhwen collapse, unconscious; the elleth was surprisingly light in her arms as the newborn Time Lady carried her partner into the TARDIS, laying her out on the floor.

She took a moment to probe through her human memories for instructions on how to pilot a TARDIS, as given by the Disentangler and the Agent; with a lurch, she slammed a button and pulled a couple levers, just in time to see golden energy wobble and hover about her hands.

The TARDIS dematerialised, leaving PPC HQ behind. Eledhwen slowly came to; she sat up and dusted imaginary dust off her shoulders and looked over at Christianne.

“What… what happened?” she asked. “You were dying, so I…”

“Got some athelas and healed me. Touch of a healer and everything. Elvish medicine. Works wonders!” Christianne grinned at her partner. 

Eledhwen clambered to her feet. “There was a light,” she murmured. “There was a light, and there was song, and the whispered words of someone who sounded like the Lady Galadriel.”

“Oh, you did look like her for a while there,” agreed Christianne as she lurched forward again, feeling the slow decay of all of her body cells. It wasn’t fair! Barely an hour in, and she had to regenerate? It shouldn’t be that way!

“Where are we going?” Eledhwen asked as Christianne slammed another button. 

“Somewhere,” replied Christianne. “Somewhere cool, I suppose. The Arctic is always cool.”

“Are you all right?”

“Peachy keen!” Christianne grinned. “Never felt better — oof! Except when I’m dying.” And she looked down at her gutted stomach wound, at the golden energy around her hands. “I’m regenerating, Eledhwen. I had to absorb the energy of the Time Vortex. You know how it is.”

Eledhwen nodded. “Will you be all right?” she asked quietly.

“No,” admitted Christianne. “I’ll be all right physically, but I wouldn’t be Christianne anymore, you know?”

“I know,” said Eledhwen, moving closer to her partner, tears trickling down her cheeks. Christianne stepped back.

“No, don’t get closer, Ellie, please. It’ll hurt, and it’ll be violent and bright and… I don’t want you hurt as well, you understand? Stand back, please!” There were tears in the newborn Time Lady’s eyes; already golden light was emanating from her hands, her face, her entire body.

“Gi melin,” Eledhwen whispered as Christianne screamed in pain, as the golden light consumed the Time Lady’s body completely.

When the light faded, a new woman stood before the elleth, with a good-natured round face, dirty blonde hair, and a body that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Renaissance painting. “Well!” exclaimed the new Christianne, her brown eyes snapping open as she felt her hair, her face, her body. “This is interesting. You’re shorter!”

“Nay, Chrissy, you have grown,” replied Eledhwen.

“I have?!” Christianne’s grin grew wider; the Time Lady rushed to the nearest mirror to check herself out. “Why, what an ass have I!” she quipped, snickering at her new form. “Ha, this is excellent —” she paused, turning to Eledhwen. “Am I really still called Christianne?”

“If you wish,” replied Eledhwen, raising an eyebrow.

“My dear.” Christianne walked over to her. “Don’t be so cold; I love you still. But oh, I think I should at least get a title, no? That way I could have everyone ask ‘Assassin Who’? ‘Sue Slayer Who’? It’d be brilliant —”

Her gaze fell then on a shovel sitting innocently in the corner of the TARDIS. 

“Oh, that’s brilliant — call me the Gravedigger!”