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Kynges Games (2/4)

Title: Kynges Games
Author: lareinenoire
Characters: Ten, Martha, and an assortment of sixteenth-century people
Summary: September 1529. Why are there zombies in London? More importantly, who is creating zombies in London using a device from the fifty-first century? But when the Doctor and Martha find themselves in the middle of the biggest royal divorce case in English history, unexplained zombies are the least of their problems.
Rating: PG13
Prompt: There are peculiar alien goings-on at the court of Henry VIII, but the King hasn't noticed; he's more interested in this charming young woman who's appeared from nowhere, much to Anne Boleyn's annoyance.
Warnings: Zombies, bad puns, humanist jokes, Epic Legal Fail (Ecclesiastical), and unintentional drunkenness.
Notes: Bending canon a little, since the Doctor implies at the end of The Last of the Time Lords that they've never met Henry VIII. The title comes from a line in Thomas More's History of King Richard III.

Chapter 1: Two of Oure Companye Beynge Dead (AO3 version)

It had been years since Martha had worn a long dress, but even that hazy experience couldn't compare to being pulled, prodded, and laced into a garment she was certain was crushing her ribs. No wonder women in costume dramas fainted all the time--they could scarcely breathe, and all that fabric in what felt like the middle of summer; she was impressed they didn't all die of heatstroke on the spot.

That being said, she was forced to admit the colour was gorgeous, a deep burgundy with delicate gold details. She looked--literally--like a princess. Tish would have died of shock to see her like this.

"You do have the most unusual colouring, Mistress Jones," Alice More remarked as her maid twisted Martha's hair underneath a very uncomfortable headdress. "Do you come from across the ocean, perhaps? One hears all kinds of stories about the people there."

"Not...exactly," Martha ventured. "Sort of. It's hard to explain."

"Alice, we'll be late!" More's voice echoed from the stairwell.

"Patience is a virtue, husband mine," she called back sweetly before giving Martha another long look. "Now, that's lovely. Catch that Doctor's attention for certain."

Martha glanced at her, trying not to blush. "Is it that obvious?"

"To anyone with daughters, yes," Alice said, steering her toward the stairwell. "A bit bony for my tastes, I must admit, but he's got a nice face, and a decent enough leg."

"You could tell under those trousers?" Martha laughed, only to stop short in the middle of the staircase, hoping with all her heart that her mouth hadn't actually dropped open.

"I meant to warn you," whispered Alice, "but I thought it might be a nice surprise."

"Yeah," she said weakly, "nice."

She had known there was a wardrobe on the TARDIS, and that the Doctor was a dandy in his own inexplicable way. But this was not fair. "Martha Jones," he greeted her with an elaborate bow and a grin that nearly split his face, "don't you look fantastic!"

"You don't clean up too badly yourself," she retorted, prodding him through the deep green velvet. From the corner of her eye, she caught More shooting a smile at his wife. "I never guessed you'd be the type to wear tights."

"When in Rome and all that," the Doctor replied, holding out his arms to study the lace-edged sleeves spilling over his wrists. "I just wish it weren't so hot."


Unfortunately for the Doctor, the interior of Westminster Palace was even hotter, lit by dozens of blazing torches. Martha could feel the sweat snaking down her back, and wondered how she was going to get by in this weather with no drinking water, which immediately led her to wonder if Time Lords could get dehydrated. Well, she thought to herself, all these people had to have survived somehow.

They came to a halt in front of a pair of ornate double doors. More leant close to the man standing beside them and murmured something in his ear. Straightening his gleaming livery, the man--whose face was almost as red as the rose badge pinned to his chest--pushed open the doors and declaimed, "Sir Thomas More, the Doctor, and Mistress Martha Jones."

More smiled in response to Martha's unasked question. "Heralds are very difficult to catch off guard, Mistress Jones."

Martha had been to Hampton Court on school trips, but, rather like seeing the Globe, it was nearly impossible to reconcile that with what she was seeing now. The room was full to bursting, conversations nearly drowning out the music from the gallery above. And, dear God, it stank.

Thankfully, the Doctor seemed to notice and slipped a handkerchief into her hand. She realised it had been dampened with something only after she'd pressed it to her nose and, after a whiff of something vaguely alcoholic, realised she could smell nothing at all.

"Doctor!" she hissed. "What have you done?"

"Never you mind," he muttered. "Tried it out for the first time during the Black Death and I never travel without it. Trust me, you're better off."

"Does it wear off, at least?"

"Oh, yeah. Few days, nothing serious." He waved one hand vaguely and, quite to his surprise, found himself holding a goblet of wine. "Hmm. It's good to be the king. Or to know the king, I suppose. Bottoms up!"

Martha took a sip of the syrupy liquid as the Doctor handed it to her--knowing full well she couldn't taste it properly without being able to smell it--and focused instead on looking round the room, trying her best not to stare. Especially when she realised very quickly that she was the one being stared at. Again.

And, of course, nobody stared at the Doctor. Because, aside from Alice More, nobody ever stared at the Doctor. Martha couldn't understand it for the life of her.

"Thomas!" The single name literally boomed across the room and Martha could see what looked like a massive wave spreading from the far corner of the hall as the crowd swept aside to clear a path. Martha didn't mean to stare, but she couldn't help it.

The man now striding toward them was a giant, glittering with gold and jewels. He wasn't wearing a crown, but it occurred to Martha that he didn't actually need one. The entire world revolved around him and he knew it.

"Thomas, you old devil!" One massive hand clamped down on More's shoulder and he winced beneath its weight. "You've been hiding from us, haven't you?"

"Not at all, Your Majesty." More disentangled himself so quickly that Martha suspected he did it on a regular basis. "I wouldn't dream of it." Lowering his voice, he leant close to the King. "I don't suppose Wolsey's here, is he?"

"You'll venture into Westminster to see him and not me." The King studied him with a wry smile. "Of course, I understand he sets the best table in London, so I suppose I can't fault your logic."1

More shrugged. "I am a hopeless glutton, Your Majesty."

"And a terrible liar, Thomas. Also a man with appalling manners. You've not introduced me to your guests." Martha could feel that blue gaze on her now and kept her eyes on the floor. She supposed she ought to curtsey or something, but had no idea how to do it without falling over in this dress.

"Martha Jones. Your name does you no justice, my lady." At the sound of her name, she jerked her head upward and found herself looking at Henry the Eighth. "You are welcome to Court."

"I...er...thank you, Your Majesty," she said, feeling the colour rise in her cheeks.

"Why, Sir Thomas," a woman's voice, low-pitched and resonant, interjected from just beyond the King, "this is an unexpected pleasure." Martha caught sight of a deep red velvet sleeve and a graceful white hand that More raised to his lips. "And you've brought visitors."

The Doctor was grinning like a lunatic. "Anne Boleyn. You're Anne Boleyn! I've been hoping to meet you for years!"

Anne Boleyn didn't look like the sort of woman who could change an entire country's religion. She couldn't have been much older than Martha, with wide-set dark eyes and a delicate, pointed chin.2 But there was something about her, something in the way the King looked at her, that made Martha shiver in spite of the heat. All she knew about Anne Boleyn was that she caused the English Reformation, gave birth to Elizabeth I, and got her head chopped off for her trouble.

"I don't believe we've met," Anne was saying with a bemused smile. "I'm sure I would remember you."

"I'm the Doctor."


"Just the Doctor. Easier that way. Less confusion."

"His real name's Smith," Martha heard herself saying, to her own horror. "But you know how men love to sound mysterious."

Anne's laughter seemed to dance in the air and Martha realised her glass was empty. Funny how quickly you could drink when you couldn't taste it.

"Well, Doctor," Anne linked her arm possessively through the King's, "I wish you all the pleasure the court has to offer. And you, Mistress Jones. A lady of judgement will do very well here."

After they'd swept past, Martha leant close to the Doctor. "Did that mean what I thought it meant?"

"Oh, Martha Jones," he said, positively gleeful, "you've caught the attention of Henry the Eighth."

"But I don't want--" she cut herself off mid-hiss. "Is that Wolsey?" Not that she'd have recognised the man for himself, so much as the fact that he was wearing one of those massive red robes. There couldn't be that many Cardinals in one court, right?3

"You must be the mysterious Mistress Jones," he said, bending over her hand. "A friend of Sir Thomas?"

"Wait..." Martha glanced at the Doctor in bafflement, "how do you know...?"

"Oh, you're good," the Doctor said. He was practically dancing. "You are really good. I'm impressed. Was it the pageboy with the wine? I bet it was him!"

Wolsey looked at him as though a dog had just started talking to him. "I beg your pardon?"

"The Doctor," More interjected, his voice perfectly deadpan. Martha had to bite her lip to keep from laughing aloud. "If I may introduce the Archbishop of York."

"Cardinale," the Doctor made an elaborate bow, rolling his Rs just a second longer than necessary. "Boy have I got questions for you!"

"Thomas?" Wolsey looked at More. "Explain?"

More was visibly fighting laughter, prompting Martha to stifle her own with her hand. "I think it's just as he said, Your Eminence. He is the Doctor, and he has questions for you."

"For a philosopher, Thomas, you ask remarkably few questions."

"And you too many for a man of God."

"Oh, for goodness' sake, must you bring theology into everything?" As if only then realising he'd said it aloud, he shrugged and sketched a cross in the air. "Benedicite, my son."

The Doctor didn't both to hide his laughter. "You're brilliant, you. What do you know about dead men walking?"

"That if their souls be cleansed by remembrance they may in time sit in glory with our Lord and Saviour, Amen." He kept peering at the Doctor as if trying to read him like a book. "I must confess, Thomas, you have odd friends."

"No odder than yours, Your Eminence, if you don't mind my saying so," the Doctor said. "But what is a nasty divorce but the prime time to pick up unexpected friends? Or enemies, for that matter."

"You are bold, Sir Doctor, for a newcomer to this court. I would watch my steps if I were you. Thomas, be careful of your company." The crowds opened up as he departed, a surge of whispers in his wake.

"I'm going to guess," More said after a moment, "that you were never trained in diplomacy."

"You might say that." The Doctor's eyes were suddenly very far away. "My people weren't known for diplomacy. Not in the end." Then, as if shaking water out of his hair, he grinned. "But he's definitely hiding something."

"Who are you, Sherlock Holmes?" Martha asked, prompting a look of complete bafflement from More and an eyeroll from the Doctor. "Right. Sorry. But how could you tell he was lying?"

"Aside from the fact that he's Cardinal Wolsey?"


More glanced toward the departing figure of the Cardinal. "And, seeing as you've annoyed him, Doctor, how do you propose we confirm this feeling of yours?"

"Well, it never occurred to me that he'd tell anyone, if that's what you mean to imply," the Doctor said, looking hurt. "He doesn't strike me as the sort of person who could be lulled into any sense of security, let alone a false one." Now both Martha and More were looking at him. "Oh, come, now! Did you honestly think it would be that easy? Wolsey's as Machiavellian as one could be without being, well, Machiavelli."

"Oh, not him again." More sighed. "I'm quite sure not all his advice is meant to be taken seriously."4

The Doctor looked at him in a way Martha was beginning to recognise as dangerous. "Be careful, Sir Thomas. Not everyone has your scruples. But," turning back to Martha, he grinned, "I do think we've found the perfect excuse to catch the attention of the one person who can tell Wolsey what to do."

"You don't mean..." Martha didn't even look toward the throne. "No. No way. I'm not doing that." Lowering her voice, she bent very close to the Doctor. "Have you lost your mind? I'm not going anywhere near bloody Henry the Eighth!"

"Oh, I didn't mean him." The Doctor gestured to Anne Boleyn, who raised a mocking toast to him from across the room. "Cherchez la femme, Martha Jones. Tell any King--but especially this one--that there are dead men running amuck in his kingdom, and he'll overreact. Declare war on France, no doubt. But tell the woman who wants to be Queen and you might get something done."

Martha eyed him warily. "How do you know she'll even talk to me?"

"She will." Rather to her surprise, it was Sir Thomas who spoke, the furrow between his brows growing deeper as he too looked at Anne. "Any woman who catches the King's eye does so at her peril."

"Thanks. That's very helpful," muttered Martha. A glance over her shoulder revealed that Lady Anne was once more watching them.

She supposed it was inevitable that, just as they were trying to sneak away--the Doctor was at least two and a half sheets to the wind and going on about the difference between a hunchback and a slight slouch--one of the many pages Martha had seen running about tugged at Sir Thomas' sleeve.

"For Mistress Jones, Sir Thomas. The Lady Anne wishes to see her."

Both men looked at her, their expressions comically identical. Martha rolled her eyes. "Right. Wish me luck."

"You'll be fine." Lowering his voice, the Doctor said, "And if the sixth finger is real, tell me. I never believed it, myself, but I'm sure you'll get close enough to see."

The page led her through what seemed like a maze of corridors and staircases before knocking on a beautifully carved wooden door. Silently cursing the Doctor for sending her off on her own with no help whatsoever, she followed the page into a room easily the size of her entire flat. Outside the windows, Martha could just see the Thames in the setting sun, dotted with boats and torches.

"Impressive, isn't it?" Anne Boleyn's voice startled her and she caught her breath. "I won't deny we've risen higher than anyone expected."

"Um." Martha nodded. "Look, I do want to explain something if that's all right with you..." A bemused smile lit the other woman's face as she nodded. "Right. I'm not interested in the King. Not even a little. Trust me."

"It's that Doctor, isn't it?"

"Wait, how has everybody figured that out already?"

Anne shrugged. "I know a jealous woman when I see one."

"Oh. Well, like I said. No need to be jealous of me. He is completely not my type."

"Not your type?" Admittedly, the words did sound strange when she said them, as if tasting something completely unfamiliar. "I'm afraid I don't follow."

"Well, um." Martha bit her lip. "You know how kings are, right? There are all kinds of stories about how kings behead their wives..."

"Behead their wives?" Anne burst out laughing. "How barbaric. Not that Henry wouldn't appreciate the excuse to take dear Katherine to the block for stubbornness, but one couldn't possibly do that."

Before the restraining power of common sense came back to mind, Martha thought to herself that she could understand why someone might want Anne Boleyn dead. "I think that would depend on the King. But," she took a deep breath, remembering what the Doctor had said, "there is something you probably should know."


"This is going to sound crazy, but...we--the Doctor and I--came here because something wasn't right." After a few false starts, she gave up trying to make it sound plausible. "There are zombies in London."

Anne was looking at her even more strangely now. "There are what?"

"Souls escaped from Purgatory, one might say. The living, walking dead." The Doctor skidded to a halt in front of Anne, his grin positively manic. "We've got a problem."


1. Best table in London: Cardinal Wolsey was known for amassing large quantities of money and property through his many different appointed positions. When he fell from favour, Henry VIII took most of it for himself, including the palaces at York Place (later Whitehall) and Hampton Court.
2. Much older than Martha: Anne's birthday is disputed, with historians unable to decide whether she was born in 1501 or 1507. This fic presupposes 1501 which would make Anne 28 years old to Henry's 38.
3. Cardinals: Yes. Cardinals turned up everywhere.
4. Machiavelli: Although it has not been explicitly stated that Thomas More had read Machiavelli's Il Principe (first printed in Italy in 1516), his close friend Desiderius Erasmus had certainly read it and, indeed, it is possible that his treatise The Education of a Christian Prince (1516) was a response to Machiavelli. Although it was not translated into English until 1640, many members of Henry VIII's court, including Thomas Cromwell, read it in the original Italian.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh. This chapter was great. More's wife is a trip. Thanks for posting!
Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
Very glad you're enjoying it! And Alice is fun to write -- I imagine her husband spends so much time thinking far too hard about things that she's had to be extra-practical to compensate!
Feb. 22nd, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
Aw, poor Martha, *everyone* knows how she feels about the Doctor - except, you know, Mr Oblivious himself!

This was fun. Can I have More? :P
Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
The Doctor is just impressively oblivious in S3. Poor, poor Martha! But at least she doesn't have to flirt with Henry VIII!
Feb. 23rd, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
Mind you, I'm not sure *I* would want Henry VIII showing that much interest in me. Given his head-chopping tendencies!
Feb. 22nd, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Aw, you put the Doctor into Tudor garb as well! Double treat! :) This is so much fun to read.
Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
After LLL, how could I not? ;)
Feb. 23rd, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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I tolerate this century, but I don't enjoy it.

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