Just as Mordred and Ancelyn raised their swords and were about to attack, the Doctor ran in shouting, “Stop! I command it! There will be no battle here!”
“This is no battle.” Mordred laughed. “Tis but a ruse, a diversion. My mother hath summoned the Destroyer, the Lord of Darkness, Eater of Worlds. Look to your children, Merlin, for soon they shall be no more.”
Lilith and the Doctor shared twin looks or horror. “Ace,” he breathed. “What have I done?”
“Tell Morgaine to call off the Destroyer,” Lilith growled.
Mordred stood defiantly. “Surrender to our justice and the children will live.”
“Your justice?” Lilith drew her blaster and pointed it directly between his eyes. “Tell her to call it off or I’ll shoot.”
“Lilith,” the Doctor protested.
“Quiet, Dad,” she snapped.
“You are not a warrior, child of Merlin. You will not kill,” Mordred said, unflinchingly.
Lilith glared at him. “You want to put that to the test?”
“Come then, look me in the eye. End my life.”
She changed her aim and shot his shoulder. “Next time, I won’t miss.” She could see the hesitation in his eyes before Mordred shot her a twisted smile and spoke again.
“It is a scare tactic. You are weak, this lack of spirit.”
The Brigadier put his revolver to Mordred's head. “Try me,” he said.
Mordred's smile faded.
“Brigadier, Lilith, this is not the way,” the Doctor insisted.
“I'm sorry, Doctor,” the Brigadier said. “Can Morgaine hear me?”
“Yes,” Mordred told him.
“Listen to me, Morgaine. Leave my world or your son dies.”
“Deathless Morgaine, save me! Mother!” He glared at the Brigadier. “My mother will destroy you.”
The Brigadier marched them back to Bessie.
“Just between you and me, cobarde, I'm getting sick and tired of hearing about your mother.” Lilith shoved him toward the car. “Get in.”
She climbed into the seat next to the Doctor.
“Hold tight,” the Doctor advised. The car shot off and didn’t stop until they made it back to the inn. Green lights lit up the inside and the door exploded.
“Ace!” the Doctor shouted.
Another explosion knocked the Doctor off his feet, and Mordred, Lilith, and the Brigadier were thrown out of Bessie.
“Morgaine! If they're dead!” The Doctor stormed into the inn and Mordred escaped, running away.
“Decisions, decisions,” the Brigadier muttered.
“I’ll go after my Dad, you take care of Mordred,” Lilith suggested and raced after the Doctor.
Inside was a disaster. The main bar was a charred wreck. The Doctor scanned the room. “Ace? Shou Yuing?”
“We're here, Professor,” coughed a voice from under a pile of rubble. The Doctor and Lilith helped them get an easy chair off their backs.
“What happened?” he asked.
“The hotel fell on us,” Shou coughed.
“There was this woman with a pet demon, and I seem to remember a chalk circle that was supposed to protect us from harm,” Ace said, pointedly.
“From Morgaine and her magic, sure,” Lilith allowed. “But not from the Destroyer.”
“Yes, I get the idea,” the Doctor conceded. “Where's Excalibur?”
Shou hesitated. “Er, the woman seemed to want it very badly.”
“Very, very badly,” Ace added.
“So we gave it to her.”
“Good.” The Doctor nodded.
“But it's not our fault. I mean, if I'd had some Nitro, then maybe I could—” Ace paused. “What do you mean, good?”
“Exotic alien swords are easy to come by. Aces are rare.”
“That’s sweet, Dad, but we have a potential problem.” Lilith nodded to a shimmering curtain of light across the room. “Any idea what that is?”
The Doctor frowned. “I don't know. Which way did Morgaine leave?”
“A flash of light and gone. Where is she now?”
“At the other end of that interstitial vortex.”
“So what's our next move?”
“Well, first we go through this. Lilith, I'll go first. Ace—”
“Stay here.” Ace sighed. “But why does Lilith get to go too?”
Lilith crossed her arms and glared at the Doctor. “Because this incarnation knows better than to try and stop me.”
The Doctor handed the scabbard to Ace and twirled his way into the vortex. Lilith rolled her eyes. “The man’s an old show off.” She stepped through the light and out into the castle on the other side. “Dark, eerie, echo-y. What more does an evil villain want with a lair?”
The Doctor made his way towards the voices and walked into the room where Morgaine had the Destroyer chained. “Morgaine.”
Lilith shot at the Destroyer at least ten times, but it had no effect. “Rassilon damn you, you demonic ogre.”
“Lilith,” the Doctor sighed, exasperated.
She shrugged. “Was worth a shot.”
The Destroyer lassoed Lilith with green energy and threw her across the room into the stone wall. Her vision went black for a moment when her head hit the wall and she crumpled to the ground.
She scrambled to her feet, but stayed put.
“That was uncalled for,” the Doctor snapped. He made for Excalibur, but Morgaine grabbed it first.
“Your move, Merlin.”
They circled each other. “You haven't won the game yet, Morgaine.”
“I could always defeat you at chess, Merlin,” Morgaine sneered.
“Who said anything about playing chess? I'm playing poker,” the Doctor said. Ace stumbled in and knocked Morgaine down before falling over herself. The Doctor caught Excalibur. “And I have an Ace up my sleeve.”
“Very funny,” Ace deadpanned.
“Destroy him!” Morgaine ordered the Destroyer
The creature lifted its arms. “Release me.”
“What is it to be, Morgaine? Who do you fear more?” the Doctor asked.
“This is no idle threat, Merlin. Give me Excalibur or I will loose the Destroyer upon the world.”
“Don't be a fool.”
Morgaine made a gesture, and the Destroyer pulled the chain links apart, then ripped off the silver breastplate.
“Great work, Dad.”
“But I thought she was bluffing.”
The Destroyer ripped at the silver chainmail. “Free!”
“You fool, Morgaine!” the Doctor shouted. Morgaine snatched Excalibur. “Do you think this'll solve anything?”
“Yes. Too late, Merlin. The gateway is open. I am gone and you have lost.”
“Doctor—!” Ace shouted, but was cut off my Mordred entering.
“About time,” the Doctor snorted and took back Excalibur as Mordred joins Morgaine between the glowing spheres.
“You live,” Morgaine breathed.
“In spite of thee, false parent. Witch!” Mordred spat.
“I thought you dead.”
“Thought? Or wished it so.” Morgaine and Mordred vanished in a flash of light.
The Brigadier came in. “Doctor?”
“Brigadier, you're going the wrong way.” The Doctor shoved him outside. Ace picked up a box and followed Lilith outside.
“What was that?” the Brigadier asked.
“That, Brigadier, was the beginning of the end of the world,” the Doctor replied.
Lilith sighed. “It always has to be something.” The four of them ran, putting distance between them and the castle. “Oh, like this’ll do any good in the long run.”
“I can have an air strike here in minutes.
The Doctor shook his head. “It's no good, Brigadier. Conventional weapons won't harm it.”
“No, I didn't think so.”
“Ace, give me the silver bullets.”
Ace looked at him, surprised. “How did you know?”
“Silver bullets'll do the trick. Brigadier, I need your gun.”
The Brigadier handed over his revolver. “Those will stop the Destroyer? What, you just shoot the bullets into it?”
The Doctor loaded the gun. “Simple, isn't it? Just like most killings.”
Lilith eyed the revolver. “Maybe I should do it. Shooting things is sort of my area of expertise.”
“You can’t protect me from everything, Lilith.”
“Good lord, is that a spaceship?” the Brigadier exclaimed. Ace and the Doctor turned and looked up, and the Brigadier knocked the Doctor out. He grabbed back his the revolver.
“You scumbag!” Ace shouted, kneeling next to the Doctor.
“Sorry, but I think I'm rather more expendable than he is. You understand, Collector.” The Brigadier looked at Lilith meaningfully.
“Get out of here before I shoot you,” she muttered, and set about bringing the Doctor back into consciousness.
It took a few minutes. When something inside the castle exploded, the Doctor jerked awake. “We’ve got to stop him.” Lilith and Ace helped him to his feet and they ran towards the castle.
Before they could get close, the whole top of the building exploded in green flame and smoke. “No chance,” Ace said. “He's had it.”
When they reached the rubble, the Doctor found the Brigadier amidst the burning ruin and cradled him in his arms. “You stupid, stubborn, pig-headed numbskull. You were supposed to die in bed. I could have handled it, done your job.”
Lilith snickered. The Doctor jumped back at the sound of the Brigadier’s voice. “You're supposed to be dead.”
“Oh, really, Doctor,” the Brigadier said. “You don't think I'd be so stupid as to stay inside, do you? Have a little faith. Ace, Collector?”
“I'm getting too old for this sort of thing. He's all yours from now on. I'm going home to Doris.”
“Doris?” the Doctor questioned.
“His wife,” Lilith whispered to him.
“Ha, ha, ha. So she caught you in the end.”
“Oi, shouldn't we be getting back?” Ace suggested.
The Brigadier stood. “Yes, Ace is right. I suspect there's some clearing up to be done.
“Yes, just a small nuclear missile bogged down in a nature reserve,” the Doctor said sarcastically.
In the spaceship, Lilith, the Doctor, the Brigadier, Ace, and Ancelyn gathered around the altar. “Ancelyn, replace Excalibur and Arthur will arise,” the Doctor said.
“I think the honor belongs to the Brigadier.” Ancelyn offered the sword to the ex-military man.
“Oh, the Doctor should do it.”
“No, my lord. You were the victor.”
Ace snatched Excalibur. “Give me that.”
“Ace,” the Doctor chided, “have you no sense of occasion?”
“No.” She slid the sword back into the altar and the spacecraft powered up.
Ancelyn looked around. “Listen, she is alive.”
“Which is more than can be said for Arthur the freeze-dried,” Ace noted.
The Doctor frowned. “This is very odd.”
“Well, you put him there.”
“Will put him there,” Lilith corrected.
The Doctor removed Arthur's helm, and sand poured out. There was also a note.
Ace picked up the scrap of paper. “Doctor, this is for you.”
“What does it say?” he asked.
“Dear Doctor,” she read. “King died in final battle. Everything else propaganda.”
“Who signed it?”
Lilith peered at the paper over Ace’s shoulder. “The Doctor. Figures,” she snorted.
“Ah well, that sorts that out.” The Doctor shrugged.
“PS,” Ace continued, “Morgaine has just seized control of the nuclear missile.”
“Oh, great,” Lilith groaned.
“Tut. I could have given myself more warning. Brigadier, you and Ace see to this ship.”
“Explosives, Doctor,” the Brigadier said.
Ace grinned. “Now you're talking.”
“I believe the situation calls for quick transport?” Lilith offered the Doctor her arm that wore the vortex manipulator. The Doctor and Ancelyn placed their hands on the tech and, in a flash, the three appeared a few feet away from where Mordred was laying Bambera’s body on the ground.
Ancelyn let out a shout and attacked the dark haired man. Lilith merely frowned and followed the Doctor as he went inside to confront Morgaine.
The launch countdown passed sixty. “Too late, Merlin,” said Morgaine.
“Is it? Not while there's an abort button.”
Lilith stayed back as the Doctor lunged for the button, but was stopped by the sorceress. “If this missile explodes, millions will die, you will die,” the Doctor warned her.
“I shall die with honor,” she hissed.
“All over the world, fools are poised ready to let death fly. A spark could turn into an inferno.”
“What do I care? This is war.”
“Is it? Death falling from the sky, blind, random, anywhere, anytime. No one is safe, no one is innocent? Machines of death, Morgaine, are screaming from above, of light brighter than the sun. Not a war between armies nor a war between nations, but just death, death gone mad. The child looks up in the sky, his eyes turn to cinders. No more tears, only ashes. Is this honor? Is this war? Are these the weapons you would use? Tell me!”
Morgaine hesitated. “No.”
“Then put a stop to it, Morgaine. End the madness.”
She pressed the abort button, then turned to face the Doctor. “Then tell Arthur to face me with honor in single combat. Tell him to show himself. It's time he ceased hiding behind your coat tails, Merlin.”
Lilith saw the regret in the Doctor’s eyes when he told her, “Arthur is dead.”
“He's dead, Morgaine.”
“Merlin, prince of deceit. Another trick,” Morgaine accused.
The Doctor shook his head. “No.”
“I don't believe you. It can't be.”
“He died over a thousand years ago.”
“Arthur, who burned like star fire," Morgaine said quietly, “and was as beautiful. Where does he lie? I would look at him one final time.”
“He's gone to dust,” the Doctor admitted.
“Then I shall not even have that comfort. I shall never see him again. Arthur, we were together in the woods of Celadon. The air was like honey.”
“I'm sorry, Morgaine,” Lilith said, gently. “It's over.”
The Doctor removed the key from the firing controls and put it in his breast pocket. They went outside to find Mordred standing over a defeated Ancelyn with his sword at his neck. The Doctor stopped Mordred from swinging the weapon. He forced him to his knees and put his fingers on Mordred's temples. “Time and Time Lords wait for no man.”
Mordred fell unconscious. Bambera got up, and so did Ancelyn.
“Ah, Brigadier. Before Mordred recovers, lock him up.”
“And while you're at it, lock up his mother, too.”
Once everything was set, the group returned to the Lethbridge-Stewart household. “Peaceful, isn't it?” the Doctor said.
“The silence after a battle, Doctor,” Ancelyn agreed.
“The calm after the storm,” Lilith added. She sighed.
The Doctor looked at her. “I assume this is where the adventure ends?”
The young Time Lady shrugged. “I’ve got times to visit, Doctors to pester, and Brigadiers to meet.”
“Until my next life, then.” The Doctor hugged Lilith and she hugged him back.
“Until then, Dad.”