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Ripples In The Lake

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Arawn
Arawn, the Tralka leader
Ripples In The Lake
Writer: Mark Gatiss
Story number: 5.10
Enemy: Morrigan, Tralkas
Setting: Wiltshire, Unknown time
Format: 1x45 minute format
Previous Story: Time Slip
Following Story: Ragnarok

"Ripples In The Lake" is the tenth episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who. It first aired on 11th September 2010.

Synopsis

"Praise the Morrigan!" - Druids

Stonehenge, thought to be created by humans thousands of years ago, is revealed to be part of a mechanism formed by the revanant-like Tralkas, in hopes of opening a hole within reality to bring about their leader, the Morrigan.

Plot

In a misty English field, dozens of cloaked people were moving large slabs of stone with robe and wooden logs, arranging them into a circular formation. One of the workers get angry and refuse to work. He shouts for the 'Head Druid'. A white robed man comes forward, also with a larger figure in a huge black cloak with its hood covering their face. The man is angry with the ceaseless labour and for no apparent reason. The Head Druid warns that if the man doesn't work, his 'associate' will make an example of him. The man goads the larger person and everyone else stop and stare, worried. The black cloaked figure looks up and the man starts screaming when he sees what they look like. The figure then grabs him and apparently devours him. The Head Druid shouts to the terrified crowd that they will continue to work or they will upset the 'Morrigan'. The cloaked figure then spits out the torn, slime-covered clothes of the eaten man. The Head Druid looks at the mess dismissively and shouts to the other workers to get back to work, as the cloaked creature growls and roars.

Inside the TARDIS, Martha is inspecting some of the readings on the console, she notices that the monitor is showing some strange readings. She ushers the Doctor and Kale to the readings, but the Doctor has no idea what it means as 'the Universe is too big for me [him] to know everything'. Kale, however, notices that it is a huge surge of 'Xer energy', a form of energy that can be used as starship fuel but was banned from ever being used because it can only be obtained by recently deceased lifeforms. This revelation worries the Doctor and sets a course to find where the surge is coming from.

They arrive in a murky field, covered in fog. They notice a camp nearby and make their way there. The Doctor notices the large stone pillars scattered in the distance, which means they are witnessing the construction of Stonehenge. However, Kale sees no killings or anything that would cause such a large amount of Xer energy to appear. The Head Druid introduces himself to him and the Doctor tells him that they are travellers from 'abroad' that are here to see how the constuction is going on. The Head Druid excitedly tells them that they should be ready by morning and at the top of his voice praises 'the Morrigan' and is followed by everyone else doing the same. The Head Druid notices in one of the tents (which is very large and black) that one of the figures in the black robes beckons him. The Doctor, Martha and Kale look on as he enters the suspicious looking tent, and Martha remarks that it looks like they've only just started - so how would they be able to create an entire circle of stone pillars by morning. The Doctor repsonds that noone knew of what happened at Stonehenge, or how it was created. All they know is that what happens here must result in the creation of that structure but they will find out as much as they can on what the construction team is planning to do.

The Doctor arrives from the TARDIS with earpeices which he found 'in one of the cupboards' that allow the wearer to patch into voice frequencies and listen into conversations. They all put them on and start listening in for the Head Druid's voice. Martha finds it and the Doctor and Kale rewire into the same frequency. They hear two other voices in the conversation. One is a deep, almost demonic voice that 'the humans are too slow' and that 'they [we] are hungry'. The other voice is more human but had an eerie short echo in it. This voice was ordering the Head Druid to bring out all the humans into the one crowd for 'initiation'. The Head Druid agreed and left. The Doctor, Martha and Kale hid so that he wouldn't notice them. They then seen about four of the large, cloaked figures come out of some of the tents and followed the Head Druid. They seen the Head Druid round up everyone and asked them who was 'younger than 30'. He then told those who raised their hands to go back into their tents. The rest were then surrounded by the large figures who suddenly began tearing them apart. The Doctor felt a tug on his coat and noticed a small child, who told them to follow him as he ran off. They did so and fled to the now finished Stonehenge. The Doctor mentioned that this was impossible, as it wasn't even started a couple of hours ago. The boy explained to the Doctor that Stonehenge has been finished ten times already but 'the ones in black' tear it down every night. Martha asks why they make the humans erect the structure but tear it down by morning. The boy mentions that everyday, more people arrive and 'initiated' and at night, one person vanishes - only their screams and the roars of the 'hooded ones' are heard in the distance. The Doctor, disgusted, asks the boy if he ever seen what they really look like. The boy says yes, and states that they have 'rotten faces, eyes as white as death and devour men whole'.

A voice is heard, behind them. It is the Head Druid, with two hooded figures with him. He thanks 'Emrys' for bringing these 'travellers' to the right location. The Doctor asks the Head Druid to stop and listen, telling him that these creatures do not want to help him. One of the hooded figures answers him, the one with the eerie, echoing voice. It tells the Doctor that they plan on doing plenty for this world and removes his hood, revealing a decayed, human-like face with milky-white eyes and exposed bone. Kale suddenly remembers who they are - Tralkas. The Tralka smiles, and confirms this. He names himself 'Arawn', as in the lord of the Underworld. He states that what they are doing is trying to use Xer energy to help humanity. The Doctor asks how killing innocent people and devouring them is helpful. Arawn responds by stating that it is neccesary to 'open the gate'. Kale looks worried, and looks at Stonehenge. Kale states that Stonehenge is actually a 'Xer portal, a gateway between either spacetime or even between realities that needs the correct sequencing or formation to open the intended portal, like coordinates. It also needs a native lifeform to sacrifice as an energy source using the Xer energy. The Tralkas had perfected the use of these portals but used to never use them because of the unethical circumstances. Martha asks why they are using it now and why they are so diseased. Arawn mentons that there was an accident back in their home planet of Tragora. Once a logical and empathic race, the Tralkas advanced heavily in bioengineering and chemicals. However, a virus went airborne that wiped out the entire Tralka race but in a matter of days - they came back. This drove the entire race into insanity and fashioned themselves as a planet-wide cult, worshipping the first of their ressurected as a deity. Arawn responds by saying that this 'deity' is the Morrigan.

The Doctor states that the Tralkas were known to aspire to reanimate all life in the galaxy as 'Tralka' and thought that 'living death' was the 'new way'. The Head Druid became horrified with the idea and stated how he wished to have no part in this anymore. Arawn merely placed his hand on his shoulder and his flesh instantly melted until only a clean skeleton dressed in the white robes was left. Arawn orders them to be taken and chained to the structure, as the ceremony was about to begin.

That night, the band of Tralkas were amidst Stoonehenge chanting. However, Martha noticed that they were using mathematics and equations, not prayers. The Doctor stated that they are using a voice-activation system and that they are preparing to sacrifice what they see as the perfect human. A human that knows enough about them and has enough youth to create such a powerful surge of Xer energy that the wall between realities is torn - Emrys. They prepare to stab the boy in the heart but the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to jam the chanting's frequency as the portal was beginning to open and hinder the pained Tralkas. This gave Kale enough time to grab hi blasters from his jacket and began shooting the revenents. However, the blasts do nothing to them except push them back and leave holes in their chests. They laugh off the rescue attempt and Arawn is about to stab Emrys when a man suddenly appears and jumps in front and is killed by the blade going into his heart. The man is revealed to be Emrys' father who was watching the whole thing and suddenly knew of the Tralkas' plan to kill his son. He dies in his son's arms but his death also relases the right amount of Xer energy that will open the portal - and it does. Suddenly, the spectral form of a rotting female corpse suddenly appears and begins to fire blasts of energy from her mouth and sets some of the camp on fire.

Arawn laughs and tells them that humanity will now bear witness to their new evolution - 'reborn' as Human Tralkas. He states that the Morrigan will also move on to other plantes and grow stronger, being able to reanimate entire galaxies in one move until the Universe is total Tralka. Emrys, in a rage, pushes Arawn into one of the stone pillars and causes it to tumble and fall. This breaks the connection that the Morrigan had with the Universe as she did not have enough time to gather enough energy to become corporeal. She disappears in a burst of energy which hits Arawn and Emrys but only stuns the boy while Arawn and the other Tralkas are obliterated by the ordeal. The bursts of energy reassemble Stonehenge into its current formation and the Doctor tells Martha and Kale that the Tralkas are still out there - and will always try to release the Morrigan. However, they were never this close before, which makes them more dangerous than ever.

They notice Emrys, his hair turned white from the blast and see that he looks almost familiar. Kale tells him that when he's older he should grow a beard - as he'd suit it. They then leave in the TARDIS with a very bewildered Emrys to deal with the crowd coming to his aid, and he notices that he might have gained some of Arawn's (or the Morrigan's powers) as he is able to move one of the chains with telekinesis.

Cast

Production

  • Emrys is a Welsh varient of 'Ambrose'. Also, Emrys is part of the title of Myrddin Emrys or Merlin Ambrosius, another name for the Arthurian wizard.
  • The Doctor, Martha and Kale notice the possibility that Emrys could be Merlin when they see his white hair.
  • Arawn is the king of the 'otherworld' in Welsh mythology and was generally thought to be a neutral deity. This differs greatly from the Tralka's personality who used his name.
  • The Morrigan was the name of a goddess in Irish mythology. She was associated with death and war, but was also thought to inspire the name of Morgan Le Fey, the evil witch from Arthurian legend. The name 'Morgan' is thought to derive from the Irish word for 'terror'.
  • The exact time where the episode took place is unknown, as although it features Arthurian legend and possible foundations for the myths, Stonehenge was thought to have been built around 3500 BC, long before the basis of the Arthurian legends which were set around the 12th Century.

See Also

Phoenix Saga - Series 5
Red Scar  • Prime  • Trial By Fire  • The Fear  • His Return  • Pentagram  • The Lonely Heart  • Sand Devil  • Time Slip  • Ripples In The Lake  • Ragnarok  • Tree Of Life  • Vengeance Sevenfold

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