‘The Tree of Riverloth’, Part One, Chapter 1

riverloth

1. Visiting Riverloth

Roll original 1982 Peter Davison opening credits


SCENE #1 – INT – ADRIC’S BEDROOM, TARDIS – N/A
Aboard the TARDIS, Billy is in his bedroom (formerly Adric’s bedroom). He lies on the bed, feeling solemn and subdued. Just then, there is a knock on the door.

NYSSA
(calls; from outside) “Billy? Billy, are you in there?”

Moment of silence.

NYSSA
(calls; from outside) “Billy, please answer me! I just want to know that you’re alright.”

BILLY
(sighs; subdued) “It’s alright, Nyssa. The door’s open. I’m decent.”

The door opens and Nyssa enters. Shutting the door behind her, Nyssa approaches Billy as he lies on the bed. She sits on the bed beside him.

NYSSA
(gently) “Hello, Billy.”

BILLY
(subdued) “Hello, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “Are you alright?”

BILLY
(subdued) “Yeah I’m fine, Nyssa. Why shouldn’t I be? I’m just relaxing here on the bed. Nothing wrong with that?”

NYSSA
“You’ve been in this bedroom for quite some time, Billy. The Doctor and I haven’t seen you for at least two days.”

BILLY
(surprised) “Two days? Crikey! How time flies!”

NYSSA
“We’ve been worried about you, Billy! The Doctor and I! We’ve wondered what had become of you.”

Moment of silence. Billy then sits up on the bed.

BILLY
(gradually) “Well, I must admit I have been thinking.”

NYSSA
“About whether to stay with us?”

BILLY
(subdued) “Yes. And I’ve come to a decision.” (Pause) “And it’s not the one you’d like to hear.”

NYSSA
(distressed) “Billy! You’re not seriously thinking of leaving us, are you?”

BILLY
“I’m sorry, Nyssa. I know you encouraged me to stay with you and the Doctor in the TARDIS. And I’m very grateful.” (Pause) “But after all we’ve been through with the Daleks and the Dwaxi…”

NYSSA
(finishes) “…and what happened with the Moonraker, yes.”

BILLY
(continues) “Yeah well, if it’s going to be like that for the rest of our adventures as a threesome, then if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not carry on. I’d rather not face any more dangers.”

NYSSA
“You knew there would be dangers, Billy. It’s not like this all the time.”

BILLY
“I know, I know. We’ve had fun when we defeated the Vegrons and Sinroth on Earth and when we sorted out that murder mystery on the space hotel.” (Pause) “But there were dangers in that too. I don’t think I can cope with that anymore.”

NYSSA
“Yes you can, Billy. You can cope with anything.”

BILLY
“You don’t know me well enough to be sure, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
(self-assured) “I know for sure, Billy! I believe you can cope with any dangerous situations. Just like the Doctor and me.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Well…that’s very kind of you to say so.”

Moment of silence.

NYSSA
“Are you sure you haven’t thought this through? Are you sure you don’t want to stay with us a little longer?”

BILLY
“I’ve been in my bedroom for two days, Nyssa. I’ve had plenty of time to think.” (Pause) “I’ve made up my mind. I want to go back home. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Moment of silence.

NYSSA
(saddened) “Well…if that’s what you want. I’m sorry to see you go. I’ve really liked having you with us, Billy.”

BILLY
(laughs) “You’re just saying that.”

NYSSA
(reassuringly) “I’m not, Billy. Truly, I do like you.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Well, I thought you would have preferred to see the last of my ugly face. I thought you would have been pleased to see me go.”

NYSSA
“Don’t say that, Billy. Don’t ever say that!” (Pause) “As a matter of fact, I think you’re handsome.”

BILLY
(surprised) “Really?”

Moment of silence. Nyssa then kisses Billy on the cheek.

BILLY
(startled) “You…you kissed me on the cheek. Why?”

NYSSA
“You needed it, Billy.”

BILLY
(innocently) “Did I?”

Moment of silence.

NYSSA
“The Doctor and I. We’ll be in the console room waiting for you, Billy. You can make your request to return home to the Doctor there. If you wish it.”

BILLY
“Yes. It’s what I wish, yes.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “Alright.”

Nyssa then stands up from the bed and makes her way to leave the bedroom. She then turns back.

NYSSA
“I still think you’re making a mistake, Billy.”

BILLY
(softly) “Thank you, Nyssa.”

Nyssa then opens the door and leaves the bedroom. Billy meanwhile lies back on the bed again. He sighs before he makes his mind about going to the console room to meet the Doctor and Nyssa there.


SCENE #2 – INT – TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM – N/A
In the TARDIS console room, the Doctor is at the console pressing buttons and switches. He moves around the console just as Nyssa enters the room.

NYSSA
“Doctor?”

DOCTOR
(cheerfully) “Ah, Nyssa! There you are! Is Billy alright?”

NYSSA
“He’s fine, Doctor. He’s just been lying on his bed in Adric’s room for two days. He’s been thinking.”

DOCTOR
(distracted) “Well that’s good to hear. I have a place in mind for us to go to. I’m sure Billy will like it. I’m sure you’ll like it too, Nyssa. Come to think of it, I might like it as well. Why didn’t I think of this place before?”

The Doctor works his way around the control console, pressing buttons and switches.

NYSSA
“Doctor, before you set in any destination coordinates…”

DOCTOR
(cheerfully) “Destination coordinates set.”

The TARDIS whooshes and grinds, as the time rotor oscillates, going up and down.

DOCTOR
(continues; cheerfully) “We should be there any time now. We’ll park in high orbit of the planet first before we land. I need to show you and Billy what’s in store for us…”

NYSSA
“Doctor! Billy has come to a decision.”

DOCTOR
(distracted) “Hmm? What was that, Nyssa? Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”

At that moment, Billy enters the room.

BILLY
“Hello, Doctor; Nyssa.”

DOCTOR
“Ah, Billy! There you are! Just in time!”

BILLY
(to Nyssa) “Have you told him, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“No, Billy. I haven’t had a chance.”

BILLY
(to Doctor) “Doctor, I’ve told Nyssa. I might as well tell you…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Before you say anything Billy, I’d like to show you something on the scanner screen!”

The Doctor presses a switch. The scanner screen rises up to reveal what is outside.

BILLY
“Doctor, this is important…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Wait, Billy. Look on the scanner screen and tell me what you and Nyssa see!”

All three look at the scanner screen. Moment of silence.

BILLY
“It’s a planet. An orange tinged planet with a river running through it.”

DOCTOR
“Yes, Billy! But not just any planet! This is a very special planet!”

NYSSA
“What’s the name of this planet, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Riverloth! The planet is called Riverloth, Nyssa!”

NYSSA
“Riverloth! It sounds like a nice place.”

DOCTOR
“It is a nice place, Nyssa! As far as records tell, Riverloth is a planet…or a society…modelled on the Traken union.”

NYSSA
(astonished) “Traken?! Riverloth is modelled on the Traken union!”

DOCTOR
“Yes Nyssa! It certainly is!”

BILLY
“I thought Traken was destroyed! That its union of planets was destroyed by a…” (clears throat) “…by an entropy field…created by the Master.”

DOCTOR
“It was, Billy! But Riverloth is a planet outside the Metulla Orionsis system! It’s not part of the Traken union!”

NYSSA
“So Riverloth is like a surviving colony of Trakenites. Like Serenity.”

DOCTOR
“No Nyssa, not like Serenity. The people of Riverloth aren’t Trakenites. They’re a race of humanoids that admire Traken and its people.”

BILLY
“So…the Riverloth people are like Traken fans.”

DOCTOR
“Exactly, Billy! They’re called Riverlothians. The people of Riverloth have read the history of Traken and its people in records following the destruction of the Traken Union and the Metulla Orionsis system.”

NYSSA
“Fascinating. So Riverloth is like Traken.”

DOCTOR
“It is, Nyssa! And yet it isn’t! Since it has no atmosphere where evil shrivels up and dies. That makes it convenient for us when we land.”

BILLY
“Why have we come here to Riverloth, Doctor? I mean I’m grateful! Don’t get me wrong! But…what’s the reason for it? What’s the occasion?”

DOCTOR
“Well, why not go to Riverloth, Billy? You wanted to go to Traken as your first port of call in the TARDIS, didn’t you?”

BILLY
“Yes but we’ve been to Traken already haven’t we, Doctor? In its past. At the beginning.”

DOCTOR
(slightly embarrassed) “Ah yes. Well that wasn’t exactly Nyssa’s Traken, was it? That’s what you had in mind to see, wasn’t it Billy? So I thought a visit to Riverloth would be the next best thing. It’s not exactly Nyssa’s home, but it is a planet dedicated to Traken standards.”

NYSSA
“So you’ve brought us to Riverloth to fulfil Billy’s wish to see Traken! Just like when I was living there during its golden age!”

DOCTOR
“That’s right, Nyssa!” (to Billy) “So what do you say, Billy? Shall we visit Riverloth and see what it’s like?”

BILLY
(uncertain; gradually) “I’m not sure.”

DOCTOR
(surprised) “Not sure?!” (disappointed) “I was hoping for a more enthusiastic response, Billy! You wanted to see Traken in the first place! I thought you’d be pleased about seeing Riverloth!”

BILLY
“I am pleased, Doctor. Really, I’m very grateful. Thank you for thinking of me with this place. It’s very thoughtful of you.”

DOCTOR
“Then why the hesitation? What’s stopping you wanting to go there?”

BILLY
(hesitatingly) “Well…you see…the thing is Doctor, I…”

Suddenly Nyssa cries out in pain. She falls to the floor, as the Doctor and Billy kneel down to check on her.

DOCTOR
(concerned) “Nyssa? Nyssa, are you alright?!”

BILLY
(anxiously) “Nyssa?! What’s the matter? What’s wrong, Nyssa?!”

Nyssa continues crying out in pain, as she receives psychic contact in her head. A female voice speaks to her.

TREE (V’O)
“Help us! Help me and my people from the evil about to rise on this planet! I know you hear my voice! Please, dearest one! Please help us!”

NYSSA
(cries; in pain) “Who are you?! What…what do you want?!”

DOCTOR
(anxious) “Nyssa? Is someone talking to you?! Nyssa, please tell us!”

TREE (V’O)
“Please, Nyssa of Traken! I know you can hear me! Please help us to stop this evil! Please help us! Please, please, please!”

NYSSA
(feeling faint) “Doctor; Billy.”

Nyssa then faints to the floor. The Doctor and Billy kneel beside her once she faints.

BILLY
(cries; anxiously) “Nyssa? Nyssa, what’s wrong?!” (Pause) “Nyssa, wake up! Please, Nyssa! Wake up!”

DOCTOR
“She’s fainted, Billy. She must have received a psychic contact from someone or something. But who? Or what?”

BILLY
(puzzled) “Psychic contact?” (Pause) “What do we do now, Doctor? How do we wake Nyssa up?”

DOCTOR
“Here! Help me, Billy. We’ll carry Nyssa back to her room. See if we can wake her up in there.”

BILLY
“Alright.”

Billy helps the Doctor carry Nyssa up off the floor, as they take her back to her bedroom in the TARDIS.


SCENE #3 – INT – NYSSA’S BEDROOM, TARDIS – N/A
In Nyssa’s bedroom, the Doctor and Billy carry her and gently place her on the bed.

DOCTOR
“There we are! That should be fine.”

BILLY
“Yeah. What do we do next though? What follows after placing Nyssa on the bed?”

DOCTOR
“Fetch a glass of water, Billy. That will help to revive Nyssa.”

BILLY
“Right. A glass of water.”

Billy goes over to Nyssa’s bedside table to pour a glass of water for her from a jug. Meanwhile, the Doctor attempts to revive Nyssa.

DOCTOR
(gently) “Nyssa? Nyssa, can you hear me?” (Pause; calls) “Nyssa!”

BILLY
(anxious) “She’s not responding, Doctor! What could have happened to her, do you think? Why did she faint like that?”

DOCTOR
“Give her time, Billy. Give her time. There’s bound to be a logical explanation for all this.”

As Billy pours a glass of water from the jug, Nyssa suddenly wakes up. She gasps for breath as she wakes.

NYSSA
(gasps) “Doctor! Billy!”

DOCTOR
(reassuringly) “It’s alright, Nyssa. It’s alright! Billy and I are here. You’re safe in your bedroom now!”

BILLY
(reassuringly) “Hey, Nyssa! It’s alright. The Doctor’s right! You’re safe now. Here! Take this glass of water and drink it. You’ll feel much better.”

Billy sits beside Nyssa on the bed, passing the glass of water to her. Nyssa takes the glass from Billy and begins to drink the water.

DOCTOR
“Not so fast, Nyssa. Drink the water slowly!”

Nyssa does as the Doctor tells her, as she drinks her glass of water down slowly. Eventually, she stops drinking and sighs with relief.

NYSSA
(relieved) “Thank you! Thank you both! I needed that!”

DOCTOR
“Are you sure you’re alright, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“I’m fine. Really, I’m fine! There’s no need to make a fuss!”

BILLY
(concerned) “But what happened, Nyssa? One minute you were hearing somebody talking to you, the next minute you collapsed to the floor.”

DOCTOR
“Billy, give Nyssa a minute. She may not be ready to talk yet.”

NYSSA
“It’s alright, Doctor. I’m fine. I can tell you what happened to me.”

DOCTOR
“Really?” (Pause) “Well go on, Nyssa! Tell us what happened!”

NYSSA
(breathes deep; gradually) “I was…I received a psychic contact…from a very powerful intelligence.”

DOCTOR
“Yes, Nyssa. That we had surmised, Billy and I.”

NYSSA
“It came from the planet Riverloth. I heard it, Doctor! I heard a voice inside my head.” (Pause; realises) “It was a tree! A tree was talking to me!”

BILLY
(bewildered) “A tree?! You heard a tree talking to you?!”

NYSSA
“I know it sounds silly, but it’s true! There’s a sentient intelligence in the form of a tree on the planet Riverloth! I could hear its voice in my head!”

DOCTOR
(intrigued) “Fascinating! How fascinating!”

BILLY
(surprised) “Fascinating? Nyssa got attacked by a psychic shock or something and a tree talked to her! And all you can say is…’Fascinating!’?!”

DOCTOR
“Well it is fascinating, Billy.” (to Nyssa) “What did this tree want from you, Nyssa? What did it say?”

NYSSA
“It said…it needed my help. Our help. It knew my name…and said that a great evil was on the planet. It begged us to help it and the people of Riverloth. At least I think so. To save them from this evil. And…that is all.”

BILLY
(surprised) “The tree knew your name? How? How can it know your name when you’ve never been to Riverloth?”

NYSSA
“I don’t know, Billy. But it clearly knew who I was.” (Pause) “And yet somehow…and I don’t know how it’s possible. But somehow, I felt the tree was familiar. It reminded me of home. Of when I was on Traken. But I can’t say how that’s possible. Not yet anyway.”

DOCTOR
(thinks) “Hmm. This isn’t the first time you’ve received psychic contact from a highly evolved intelligence, Nyssa. Let alone a tree. You’ve had plenty of psychic contact from various species due to your latent psychic abilities.” (to Billy) “Hasn’t she, Billy?”

BILLY
“Don’t I know it?! I remember those dog-like Zegors we met during that railway business on Earth.”

DOCTOR
“Indeed.”

NYSSA
(reassuringly) “Just give me time to recover, Doctor; Billy. I’ll be alright. I just need time to recuperate after the psychic shock I had with this tree.”

DOCTOR
“Well we’ll be in the console room if you need us, Nyssa. Billy and I will wait for you there.”

NYSSA
“Don’t worry about me, Doctor. I shouldn’t be long to recuperate. I just need time to think on this experience I’ve had.”

The Doctor and Billy eventually leave, whilst Nyssa remains in her bedroom to recover and contemplate.


SCENE #4 – INT – TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM – N/A
A short while later, Nyssa enters the console room to find the Doctor and Billy there.

DOCTOR
“Nyssa! There you are! Feeling better?”

NYSSA
“Yes, I’m fine now! Thank you, Doctor.”

BILLY
“Can you still hear this tree inside your head talking to you, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“It seems to have stopped now, Billy. I can’t say I’m relieved. I’m sure that voice will return to speak to me again.”

DOCTOR
“Well if it makes you feel uncomfortable Nyssa, I can always take the TARDIS away out of Riverloth’s orbit. We can go somewhere else…”

NYSSA
(adamant) “No, Doctor! I’m not going to run away from a disembodied voice of a tree talking to me from Riverloth! Besides this was a call for help. Something’s happening on Riverloth, Doctor. A great evil that must be stopped. We must do something to help.”

BILLY
“It could be a trap though, Nyssa. We don’t really know what’s going on.”

DOCTOR
“Billy’s right, Nyssa. Perhaps it’s best we avoid taking unnecessary risks.”

NYSSA
“That doesn’t stop us from finding out what’s going on, does it?” (Pause) “It could be a trap, yes. But I’m determined, Doctor! I’m determined to find out and help the people there!”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “Nyssa, are you sure you’ve thought about this…?”

NYSSA
“I’m sure, Doctor. I’ve made up my mind. Don’t try and stop me!”

BILLY
“I agree.”

DOCTOR
“What?”

NYSSA
“Billy?! I thought…I thought you were unsure about going to Riverloth.”

BILLY
“I was.” (Pause) “But since you had that…mental contact, I don’t see why we should turn away from a request for help. We should go to Riverloth to answer the call. You want to help, Nyssa? So I’ll also help out too.”

NYSSA
“Thank you, Billy.” (Pause) “Well, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “Well since you’re both keen to go to Riverloth, I can’t really protest can I? I’d like to help out as well, like you two.”

NYSSA
“Then it’s settled then.”

DOCTOR
“Good.”

The Doctor presses some buttons on the console.

DOCTOR
(gradually) “Setting TARDIS to Riverloth. Coordinates set.” (to Nyssa; Billy) “Hold on tight, you two! This is going to be a bumpy ride.”

With that, the Doctor pulls the lever to pilot the TARDIS down to Riverloth. Nyssa and Billy hold on for dear life, as the TARDIS plummets its way to the planet surface.


SCENE #5 – EXT – GARDENS OF CORDOW, RIVERLOTH – DAY, AFTERNOON
Later on the planet Riverloth, the TARDIS arrives and lands safely, whooshing and grinding. It chuffs, before making a loud thump as it lands. Soon, the TARDIS doors open and the Doctor; Nyssa and Billy step out. The Traken/Nyssa music theme from ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is played in the background.

BILLY
(amazed) “So this is the planet Riverloth then?” (Pause) “It looks very pretty, doesn’t it?”

NYSSA
“They have gardens on Riverloth! Just like Traken did with its groves at the court buildings.”

BILLY
“Does it bring back happy memories for you, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“It’s hard to say, Billy. We’ve only just arrived. We don’t know what this planet is like yet. How accurate this society is and how modelled it is on the planet Traken.”

BILLY
“Fair enough. All the same, I do like it here.”

NYSSA
“I’m pleased that you do, Billy.”

The TARDIS trio take in their surroundings, until the Doctor spots something in the distance.

DOCTOR
“Nyssa; Billy! Look! Down there in the valley!”

Nyssa and Billy look to see what the Doctor has found.

NYSSA
“Why! It’s the river!”

BILLY
“Yes! The big river you talked about, Doctor.” (awed) “It’s very beautiful!”

NYSSA
(awed) “You’re right, Billy! The river is very beautiful!”

DOCTOR
“The river of Riverloth, yes!” (Pause) “Records say that this is the ‘source’ of Riverloth’s power! For the planet to survive and endure.”

NYSSA
“The source?” (realises) “Just like the Source on Traken, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“Exactly, Nyssa! You can see they need plenty of water flowing in this river to keep the planet surviving.”

BILLY
“So…you had a river like this on Traken then, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“No, Billy. Not a river. On Traken, we had a bio-electronic device called the Source. It sustained the peace on Traken as well as generating its power. It was like a sentient sun that shone light on all Traken and destroyed every evil. It was maintained by the Keeper of Traken who oversaw everything in the Traken union.”

BILLY
“The Keeper of Traken? You mean like…a sort of leader. Someone to rule the planet of Traken. Like a President or a Prime Minister?”

NYSSA
“Something similar, yes.” (thinks) “I wonder if there’s a Keeper-like figure on Riverloth. I should like to find out.”

DOCTOR
“Perhaps we will, Nyssa. Once we’ve explored this planet.”

The trio walk on further through the gardens and away from the TARDIS.

BILLY
(realises) “Say! Nyssa; Doctor! Look up there!”

The trio all look up to see.

DOCTOR
“Why, it’s a tree!”

BILLY
“Yes! A tree on a hill! It’s certainly an unusual and amazingly beautiful tree! Amazingly tall too!”

DOCTOR
(realises; concerned) “Nyssa? Nyssa, are you alright? You’ve gone pale.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “It’s…it’s the tree, Doctor! That’s the tree I saw in my head when I received psychic contact from it. The tree that called for help!”

BILLY
“Are you sure, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“I’m positive, Billy. Truly I am!”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “Well…if that tree is the cause for your psychic contact from earlier Nyssa, we should keep well away from it until we learn more about it. We should find the people that live on Riverloth and get more information about this tree.”

NYSSA
“I agree! Hopefully we should get some answers as soon as possible.”

DOCTOR
“What do you say, Billy?”

BILLY
“I agree too! Where do we go to find these people that live on Riverloth?”

DOCTOR
“Well first, we must get out of this garden. There’s bound to be a court building somewhere. If this world is modelled on Traken as it should be.”

NYSSA
“Let’s try down this path here then.”

The Doctor; Nyssa and Billy make their way down the path to find a way out of the gardens.

BILLY
“Will the TARDIS be alright, Doctor? Parked in the gardens like that?”

DOCTOR
“Oh I’m sure it’ll be alright, Billy. No need to fret about it.”

Moment of silence, as the trio walk on.

BILLY
“Nyssa? Can you sense the tree calling out to you now? Can you hear it?”

NYSSA
“No, Billy. I can’t hear or sense anything from it. I don’t understand. I’m sure I heard it talking to me earlier. It must know that we’re here on Riverloth now. Why doesn’t it speak to me?”

DOCTOR
“I suspect there’s more to this mystery than we realise, Nyssa.”

The Doctor; Nyssa and Billy walk on as they search for a way out.


SCENE #6 – EXT – GARDENS OF CORDOW, RIVERLOTH – DAY, AFTERNOON
A short while later, the Doctor; Nyssa and Billy come to a gate in the gardens they’re in.

DOCTOR
“Here we are!”

NYSSA
“A gate, Doctor! This obviously must be the way out of these gardens.”

DOCTOR
“Supposedly yes, Nyssa.”

The Doctor tugs at the gate. It swings open freely.

DOCTOR
“Oh! And it’s already open!”

BILLY
(surprised) “You’d think the people on this planet would carefully lock their gardens after night-fall, wouldn’t you?”

DOCTOR
“Like I said, Billy. There’s obviously a lot more to find out.”

The trio walk on, leaving the gardens and closing the gate behind them.

NYSSA
(sighs) “We seem to have entered into another set of gardens, Doctor. This feels like a maze.”

DOCTOR
“Oh don’t be faint-hearted, Nyssa. I’m sure we’ll find some civilization.”

The trio walk on. Moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
“So, Nyssa? Tell me more about Traken. How great and peaceful was it?”

NYSSA
“It was one of the most successful empires in the whole universe to achieve harmonious tranquillity. It was highly regarded in my time.”

BILLY
“You must have been really happy on Traken then.”

NYSSA
“Oh yes! I was. We were rather sheltered from the evils surrounding our union. But Traken wasn’t always like that.”

BILLY
“It wasn’t?”

NYSSA
“No. Traken had its own ‘primeval’ age. There were superstitious beliefs and deities long ago before the age of science. The Source that held the unity of Traken wasn’t held in control. There were no Keepers to protect it during the dark times. It was only when an evil god came to Traken that the Source was saved and protected. And when the first Keeper of Traken was established.”

BILLY
“You make it sound like you were there, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
“I was there, Billy! So was the Doctor too!”

BILLY
“You’ve been to Traken before then? In its past? Way before you met me. When travelling with the Doctor.”

NYSSA
“Yes. But there was a good reason why the Doctor took me to Traken in its ‘primeval’ time.”

BILLY
“I see.” (Pause) “But you spent most of your early life on Traken. With your…family. Your mother and father.”

NYSSA
(saddened) “My mother died during childbirth when I was born.”

BILLY
(realises; sympathetic) “Oh. I’m sorry.”

NYSSA
“But I had a very happy childhood. My father brought me up and taught me what I needed to know about science. He raised me to become who I am today. I have happy memories.”

BILLY
“You must have loved your father very much. I’m sorry for what happened to him.”

NYSSA
(saddened) “Yes. I’m sorry too. I would like to be with my father again. But that’s not possible now.”

BILLY
(gradually; cheerfully) “I’m learning more about you every day, Nyssa. Thank you for sharing these things with me.”

NYSSA
“Thank you, Billy. You’ve been very comforting to me.”

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Here we are, you two! Let’s see what’s ‘around the corner’, shall we?”

With that, the trio turn around the corner.


SCENE #7 – EXT – GARDENS OF CORDOW, RIVERLOTH – DAY, AFTERNOON
Around that corner, the TARDIS trio find…

DOCTOR
(urgently) “Nyssa; Billy! Stay still!”

BILLY
“Why, Doctor? What’s the matter?”

DOCTOR
(urgently) “Look! See! Before you!”

NYSSA
(shocked) “It can’t be!”

There, standing before them in one of the rows of the garden, is a Melkur statue. It stands forebodingly still, as the Doctor; Nyssa and Billy look at it.

BILLY
“Why? What’s the matter, you two? It’s just a statue!”

DOCTOR
“That’s no statue, Billy! It’s…”

NYSSA
(terrified) “It’s a Melkur, Billy. One of the Melkur.”

BILLY
(fascinated) “A Melkur? What’s that?”

Billy steps forward.

DOCTOR
(shouts) “Don’t touch it, Billy. Whatever you do, don’t touch it!”

BILLY
(protests) “I wasn’t going to touch it. Why so jumpy, Doctor?”

NYSSA
“The Melkur is what came to Traken, Billy! Out of it came the Master who killed my father and destroyed my home planet.”

DOCTOR
(interjects) “It wasn’t really a Melkur statue, Billy. It was the Master’s TARDIS, disguised as a Melkur, to get his way into Traken before he could unleash his deadly plans. To take control of the Source and gain the powers of the Keepership.”

BILLY
“So…this Melkur statue here before us is the real thing? Not a TARDIS.”

DOCTOR
“I hope not. It could be the real thing. But I’m not so sure.”

NYSSA
(realises; shudders) “Doctor! This isn’t the only Melkur statue in this garden! Look!”

The trio look to see more Melkur statues in the garden. There are rows of them, all situated in different positions about the garden.

DOCTOR
“You’re right, Nyssa. There are more Melkur statues. There must be dozens of them.”

BILLY
“They all look so sad. Like they were…I don’t know. Like they were imprisoned in this garden.”

NYSSA
“In a way they are, Billy. That’s what the Melkurs were. They were evil entities turned into stone whenever one came to Traken. Literally like a fly caught by honey.”

BILLY
“That’s a very elaborate description, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
“There’s a lot to understand about the Melkurs from first glance, Billy. I’ve come to realise that.” (Pause) “There’s one thing that puzzles me.”

BILLY
“What’s that, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“How come there are Melkur statues here? Riverloth doesn’t have an atmosphere that can turn evil people into stone.” (to Doctor) “Isn’t that what you said, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
(intrigued) “Yes! That is a mystery isn’t it?”

BILLY
“So these aren’t real Melkurs then. Is that what you’re suggesting?”

DOCTOR
“I’m not sure. It’s too early to tell at the moment.”

NYSSA
(gradually) “So what do we do, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Do? We carry on, of course!”

NYSSA
“Past these Melkurs?”

DOCTOR
(reassuringly) “We’ll avoid touching them, Nyssa!”

BILLY
(realises) “Hey! Look up there! Do you two see what I see?”

The TARDIS trio look to see a court building ahead.

DOCTOR
(amazed) “A court building! Ah, now that’s more like it!”

NYSSA
“There’ll be people inside there who can answer all our questions about Riverloth and the Melkurs.”

DOCTOR
“Indeed, Nyssa. Hopefully they’ll provide us with good hospitality too.” (eagerly) “Come on, you two! Let’s make our way to the court building!”

NYSSA
(to Billy) “Mind the statues, Billy! Don’t touch them!”

BILLY
“Alright, alright, Nyssa! I wasn’t going to!”

The trio walk on ahead, past the Melkurs statues, to reach the court building. None of them realise, that a few Melkurs are watching them.


SCENE #8 – EXT – COURT BUILDING ENTRANCE, RIVERLOTH – DAY, AFTERNOON
A while later, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy arrive at the court building. They approach the entrance door. Birdsong echoes close by.

DOCTOR
“Here we are, Nyssa; Billy. Here’s the entrance to the court building. Now let’s see if we can get in.”

The Doctor looks for a button or a bell on the door.

DOCTOR
“No switch or button to ring the doorbell. I suppose we have to knock.”

The Doctor knocks on the door.

NYSSA
“Doctor? I know it’s in my imagination. But I have a feeling that we’ve been followed. Ever since we left that garden full of Melkurs.”

DOCTOR
“It is your imagination, Nyssa. There’s nothing to worry about.”

BILLY
“I don’t want to sound apprehensive either, Doctor. But I agree with Nyssa. I feel we’ve been followed too.”

DOCTOR
(sighs) “Oh really, you two!”

BILLY
“It’s so quiet here. All I can hear is birdsong.”

NYSSA
“As a matter of fact Billy, we haven’t seen any people since we arrived on this planet. It’s so empty here.”

BILLY
“Yeah, you’re right Nyssa. There doesn’t seem to be anyone about. Where are the people? They can’t all be inside the court building surely?”

NYSSA
“Perhaps they are, Billy. It does seem very suspicious.”

DOCTOR
(disregarding) “Oh you’re so jumpy, you two! You’ve been like this ever since we saw those Melkurs in the gardens. I tell you, there’s nothing to worry about.”

NYSSA
(wryly) “I’m glad you’re not worried, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(distracted) “Why won’t anyone answer the door?”

The Doctor knocks on the door again.

BILLY
(changes subject) “I like the architecture here on this building. Around this door to the court building. It’s so lavish and…what’s the word…intricate.”

NYSSA
“Yes. The architecture does seem similar to that of Traken standards. I suppose that’s to be expected since Riverloth is modelled on Traken.”

DOCTOR
“Very art nouveau, Nyssa.”

NYSSA/BILLY
“Art nouveau?”

DOCTOR
“Yes! A style of decorative art; architecture and design prominent in the eighteen nineties in Western Europe on Earth. I should probably take you to see that period of Earth history, Nyssa. See how the buildings and architecture matches with Traken standards in terms of their intricate linear designs.”

NYSSA
“I’m sure I’ll be fascinated to see this…Western Europe in the eighteen nineties, Doctor. When we go there, of course.”

DOCTOR
(distracted; frustrated) “Why doesn’t anybody answer the door?!”

The Doctor knocks on the door again.

BILLY
“You’ve done that three times now, Doctor. Knocked on the door.”

NYSSA
“Perhaps there is a switch or button you’ve missed seeing, Doctor. To ring the doorbell.”

DOCTOR
“Nonsense! I’ve checked and there’s nothing.”

NYSSA
“Perhaps you should check again, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(sighs) “Very well.”

The Doctor searches along the door again. Billy meanwhile examines the entrance door himself.

DOCTOR
“See, Nyssa! Nothing! No doorbell whatsoever!”

Billy then pushes the door and it slowly open inwards, making a scraping noise as it does so.

DOCTOR
(shocked) “Billy, what are you doing?”

BILLY
“I was trying to see if I could push the door open. It seems to have done the trick!”

DOCTOR
(appalled) “But you can’t force your way in without being invited, Billy!”

BILLY
(interrupts) “The door was already open, Doctor. It wasn’t locked!”

NYSSA
“Someone forgot to lock it then. When he or she entered the building.”

BILLY
“Or it was deliberately left open for the three of us to get in.”

DOCTOR
(dismissively) “Billy, that’s just silly.” (Pause) “Mind you, it is intriguing and very unusual.” (Pause) “Billy, see if you can push the door further in.”

Billy tries to push the door further into the building. Billy finds it hard to push the door in.

BILLY
(struggles) “It’s stiff, Doctor! The door’s…hard to push!”

DOCTOR
“Here, Billy. Let me give you a hand!”

The Doctor helps Billy to push the door open further. It’s still hard for them both to push the door inwards.

DOCTOR
(impatiently) “Well don’t just stand there, Nyssa! Help us push the door!”

NYSSA
“Alright, alright! I’ll help!”

Nyssa helps as the trio push the door further. Eventually, the door fully opens inwards, allowing Nyssa; Billy and the Doctor to enter inside the court building.

DOCTOR
(pleased) “Excellent!”

BILLY
“We got it open at last!”

NYSSA
“Well done, you two!”

BILLY
“Yeah, well done you Nyssa!”

DOCTOR
“Now! Let’s see if I’ve got a torch!”

The Doctor fumbles in his pockets before taking out a torch.

DOCTOR
“Aha! Here we are!”

BILLY
“Where did you get that torch, Doctor?”

NYSSA
“Have you had that torch in your pocket all the time, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Of course! My coat has got bigger-on-the-inside pockets, hasn’t it?” (Pause) “Now! Let’s go in!”

The Doctor leads the way with Nyssa and Billy following him inside.

NYSSA
(to Billy) “I’ve still got the feeling that we’re being followed.”

BILLY
(to Nyssa) “You’re telling me! Come on! Let’s catch up with the Doctor.”

The trio enter further into the building, not realising that a few Melkurs are behind them. The Melkurs enter the court building, following after the TARDIS trio.


SCENE #9 – INT – CORRIDOR, COURT BUILDING, RIVERLOTH – DAY, AFTERNOON
Inside the court building, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy explore the corridors they’re in. Nyssa and Billy follow the light of the Doctor’s torch. An eerie silence ensues as the trio walk through the corridors of the court building.

NYSSA
“It feels strange. This building feels so Trakenite. And yet…there’s no-one here to reassure us that we’re not alone.”

DOCTOR
“At least they have lamp-lights in these corridors, Nyssa. And they’re switched on. For a moment, I thought there wasn’t going to be any light at all in this building.”

NYSSA
“You probably don’t need that torch now, Doctor. Since there are lamp-lights on in this corridor.”

DOCTOR
“Oh yes! Thank you, Nyssa. I’ll switch the torch off and put it back in my coat pocket.”

The Doctor switches off his torch and puts it back into his pocket. The trio continue down the corridor. Nyssa walks alongside Billy.

BILLY
(to Nyssa) “I feel uneasy. It does seem spooky. As you said Nyssa, there isn’t anyone to find or talk to.”

NYSSA
“Don’t worry, Billy. The Doctor and I are with you. Stick close to us and we won’t let you out of our sight.”

BILLY
“Thank you, Nyssa. That makes me feel so much better. I’d do the same for you and the Doctor of course.”

NYSSA
“Of course! I don’t doubt it.”

They go further, before seeing a gallery of portraits hanging on the walls of the corridor they’re in.

DOCTOR
(intrigued) “Hello! These look interesting!”

The Doctor puts on his glasses to examine the portraits clearly.

BILLY
(jokes; nervously) “Putting on your glasses again, Doctor? Or are you just wearing them to make you look clever.”

DOCTOR
(ignores Billy) “These portraits hanging on the walls of this corridor seem to be portraits of important people that lived on Riverloth from years ago.”

NYSSA
“Can you see their names and what offices they held, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Wait a minute. I’m just checking.”

The Doctor reads the names of the portraits for a short while.

DOCTOR
(reads) “Tuta. Held office thirteen twenty-two to sixteen eighteen. Consul of Riverloth.” (Pause) “Here’s another one.” (reads) “Rarmil. Held office eighteen eighty-one to twenty-one thirty-nine. Consul of Riverloth.” (realises) “These portraits are of the Consuls of Riverloth that lived long ago on this planet.”

NYSSA
(surprised) “Consuls?! So they have Consuls as well on Riverloth!”

DOCTOR
“Apparently. Why shouldn’t they? This is supposed to be a society modelled on Traken after all, isn’t it?”

The Doctor takes off his glasses and puts them back into his coat pocket.

BILLY
“What is a Consul? Is that somebody important?”

NYSSA
“Yes, Billy. On Traken, there were five Consuls that governed the people under the guiding eye of the Keeper. Each Consul was selected by the Keeper. They protected Traken and its people physically whilst the Keeper protected all the minds of the union for thousands of years until the time of his or her reign ended.”

DOCTOR
“When that happened…when a Keeper was coming to the end of his or her reign and about to die…one out of the five Consuls was elected to become his or her successor. That Consul would take over and become the next Keeper of Traken.”

NYSSA
“My father was a Consul, Billy. He was once elected to become Keeper of Traken. Thankfully however, due to unforeseen circumstances, my father didn’t become Keeper and somebody else took his place.”

BILLY
“I see. So…there is a Keeper-like figure here on Riverloth as you hoped for, Nyssa. Just as there was a Keeper of Traken. With this gallery of portraits of Consuls to confirm it.”

DOCTOR
“Just because there are Consuls of Riverloth, it doesn’t mean that there’s a Keeper, Billy. Not in the way you and Nyssa might expect.”

NYSSA
“Then who is it that rules Riverloth, Doctor? I don’t see any other reason to explain why all the Consuls are listed in this gallery of portraits.”

DOCTOR
“I’m not sure, Nyssa. There are a lot of unanswered questions to be answered. About the Melkurs and who or what rules Riverloth. When we find somebody, hopefully Consuls of Riverloth, we should get answers.”

BILLY
(distracted) “Doctor; Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“What is it, Billy? What have you found?”

BILLY
“It’s not just portraits of Consuls that they have in this corridor. They have paintings too! Look! This is an amazing work of art!”

The Doctor and Nyssa look to see. The Doctor puts on his glasses again to read the name of the painting that Billy has found.

DOCTOR
“You’re right, Billy! It is an amazing work of art! It’s called…” (reads) “…‘The Fall of Melkur’.”

BILLY
(amazed) “‘The Fall of Melkur’?!” (Pause) “Hmm, It looks like it was painted during a battle. With all those people jumping onto the Melkur’s…gigantic form. The Melkurs we saw in the gardens weren’t gigantic, were they?”

NYSSA
(solemnly) “It must have been a recovered painting before Traken was destroyed. It looks as if it was taken from the dark times on Traken.”

BILLY
“The Melkurs sound pretty terrifying the way you talk about them, Nyssa.”

NYSSA
(tersely) “The Melkurs were creatures of pure evil and corruption, Billy. Can you blame me for being terrified of them?”

Moment of silence, as the Doctor puts his glasses back in his coat pocket.

DOCTOR
“Come on, you two! Let’s journey forward!”

Eventually, the trio journey on down the corridor. They’re unaware that the Melkurs are following close behind.


© Tim Bradley, 2016

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‘Introduction’ to ‘The Tree of Riverloth’

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‘Part One, Chapter 2’ of ‘The Tree of Riverloth’

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7 Responses to ‘The Tree of Riverloth’, Part One, Chapter 1

  1. Timelord 007 says:

    Tim Bradley’s back & written another gem, this is a cracking opener & really good featuring the three leads, i like Billys inquisitive nature despite him wanting to leave the Tardis & poor Nyssa, she collapses again but I’m intrigued why the tree called out to her?

    The garden full of Melkurs was chilling & added a eerie tone to the story, is this a graveyard for Melkurs or is there something more sinister going on?

    My theory at the minute is Riverloth wants Nyssa to become the first keeper on the planet & I’m sensing the Master maybe involved somehow?

    Overall this is a gripping adventure & i can’t wait to read more, you really do write well for the three lead characters & they bounce off each other superbly & share a great chemistry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley says:

    Thanks Simon.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed reading Chapter 1 of ‘The Tree of Riverloth’. You call it a gem already before finishing the story! 😀

    I’m glad you enjoyed the three leads of this story so far. Yes, Billy goes on another journey about how to adjust to the dangers of time-travel in the TARDIS and accepting that he wants to be a companion with the Doctor and Nyssa despite the dangers. I’m glad you like his inquisitive nature despite wanting to leave the TARDIS at the beginning of the story.

    Yes Nyssa does collapse early on following her first contact with the Tree. But there is a reason for why this has happened and I hope it’ll get interesting later on as you read the story.

    I’m pleased you found the garden full of Melkurs chilling. It provides the spooky, tense atmosphere for the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy when they arrive on Riverloth. It could be a graveyard of Melkurs. You’ll just have to find out as you read the story further. 😀

    I like your theory that ‘Riverloth’ want Nyssa to be their first keeper on the planet. That’s a very intriguing idea of yours there. Whether the Master is involved…ah! Well you just have to read on! 😀 I can’t help but tease you at this point!

    I’m pleased you’re enjoying ‘The Tree of Riverloth’ so far. I look forward to hearing more from you on what you think of the story.

    I’m glad you like how I write for the three regulars and that you find the chemistry between them well-written. Anything specific you liked about the three regulars in this chapter?

    I enjoyed writing for the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy again for this story, especially as I had Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton’s voices in my head as I was writing for them from hearing the audios and meeting them at conventions.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

  3. Timelord007 says:

    The camaraderie between the three leads works, the Doctor is all knowing, Nyssa is the heart who always sacrifices her own needs for others & Billy is the newcomer who is trying to adjust to his feeling & emotions of seeing a bigger universe & the good & bad things about it.

    I like that there’s a understated love story between Nyssa & Billy I just hope nothing goes wrong lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Timelord007 says:

    You have a trick of building pace with mystery by writing just about the threeleads to start with & how Billys feeling post Doom Of The Daleks, this is wonderful character drama.

    Then you expand the plot with mystery with Nyssa collapsing & give a eerie unsettling tone with the Melkurs which I easily could picture in my mind.You effortlessly grip the reader from the off mate I can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tim Bradley says:

    Thanks Simon for sharing your thoughts on the camaraderie between the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy. I enjoyed reading your comments. I like how you describe each of the characters of the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy and how they work with each other.

    I’m pleased you’re enjoying the understated love story between Nyssa and Billy in these Fifth Doctor stories by me. I hope you’ll enjoy it more as it develops later on in the series.

    I’m equally pleased you’re enjoying the pace and mystery being unraveled with the third leads as they’re driving the story forward in the first chapter. I’m glad you’re enjoying the character drama of Billy adjusting from ‘Doom of the Daleks’ in this story.

    Oh good! I’m glad that you could picture the eerie unsettling tone of the Melkurs and that you’re enjoying the mystery with Nyssa collapsing. I’m looking forward to hearing from you again soon as you read the next chapter of the story.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

  6. IWishIHadATardis says:

    Hi Tim

    Oh, I’m really liking this story!

    A really great introduction, with Billy thinking that he doesn’t want to continue travelling with the Doctor and Nyssa; and then a really nice segue into how he decides to stay, with the Doctor blissfully unaware that he had ever decided to leave. I really liked that, I think you’ve really caught the Doctor in this incarnation perfectly, Tim, it’s that lovely blend he has of innocence, cheerfulness, and a real compassion. His slight absent-mindedness, and not hearing when people talk to him because he’s busy thinking, that sort of thing, really is indicative of the Doctor at this stage of his incarnations, isn’t it. Made me laugh when the Doctor puts on his glasses, and has the torch in his coat pocket, as his coat has bigger-on-the-inside pockets!

    The atmosphere which is set up on the landing of the Tardis, with the gardens, a bit like, but slightly unlike that on Traken, is really well done. I could really visualise that. And the Melkur statues, watching the travellers as they pass, very creepy, and I could really see that as it unfolded.

    I thought that the fact that the door to the building didn’t open until all three of them touched it, and pushed on it might be a bit of a clue, too. That seemed really as if they all had to touch the door, even though they’d been so careful not to touch the Melkur statues. Very intriguing, I thought.

    And the painting of the Fall of Melkur – is this going to be a part of the history of Riverloth that the Doctor has to unravel, oh, it’s all very intriguing!

    I like the way the building is really ‘shown’ to us with the portraits on the walls, and the artwork, and the way the building has been built, modelled on the ways of Traken – but is it really?! I’m very intrigued as to whether Riverloth is really a real place modelled on Traken, or whether the whole thing is all part of an elaborate trap. I will find out, I’m sure, but I’m definitely hooked, Tim, and looking forward very much to the next chapter!

    A very good start to a most intriguing story, Tim, great stuff!

    Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tim Bradley says:

    Hi Leigh

    Thanks for your comments on Chapter 1 of ‘The Tree of Riverloth’. Very pleased you enjoyed it.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed the beginnings of this story where Billy is indecisive about whether to stay in the TARDIS with the Doctor and Nyssa. I’m also pleased you enjoyed the way I write the Fifth Doctor in this story. I thought it’d be funny to start with the Doctor not realising Billy is trying to tell him something and he’s trying to impress him with visiting this new Traken-like planet called Riverloth.

    I’m also glad that you like how I set up the atmosphere and setting of Riverloth and its gardens. I’m glad you could feel the almost-Traken like atmosphere on this planet. I’m pleased you found the Melkurs creepy in this story. My mum found this story spooky when she read it for me, so I’m glad its worked on you too.

    Hmm. That is an interesting point you’ve made about the door being already open for the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy. I wonder if this is something that will get addressed later on in the story. You’ll have to find out. Hehe! 😀

    I’m pleased you like the scenes in the corridor where the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy discover portraits of Consuls and the painting of the Fall of Melkur. Maybe the Fall of Melkur was recovered from an old time on Traken. I like how you have your suspicions about Riverloth being a trap for the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy. Perhaps it is. You’ll have to read on to find out. 😀

    Many thanks, Leigh. I’m off to read your comments on Chapter 2.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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