“Is there anything you can do?” Clara asked.
“There is… one thing,” Me answered. “But you won’t like it…”
“I don’t like dying, either,” Clara said, her voice wavering. “What is it?”
“The Chronolock can still be transferred,” the mayor said slowly. “I can take it from you… I can face the Raven… in your place.” She reached forward to touch the mark on Clara’s neck, but Clara swatted her hand away.
“What!?” Clara exclaimed, disgustly. “Seriously? That’s your plan? Sacrifice yourself so that I can live? There is no way I would ever let you do that.”
“Clara…” Me spoke softly. “I’ve lived… for centuries. Hundreds of years I should never have had. I should have died long ago, in a Viking village, mowed down by the Mire… but you and the Doctor… you saved me. You saved my whole village. You made me... immortal. I owe you my life. It’s about time I repaid that debt.”
“Ashildr, you don’t owe me anything,” Clara whispered caringly. “And even if you did, you’ve long since repaid the favor. Look at what you’ve done here. All of these people. The most hostile alien races, bitter enemies… you’ve made peace between them here, in this street. And they need you here to help maintain it.”
Me sighs. “Yes… as to that, someone will need to maintain the peace. To keep them in line, administer the proper punishments… Doctor, I trust you’ll find someone who’s up to the task?”
The Doctor nodded slowly.
“No!” Clara yelled. “No, he will not, because that will not be necessary! Ashildr, you can offer to throw away your life all you like…” She began to cry again. “But I will never allow you to do this. I will not give you this mark.”
“Yes. You will.” Me said, her voice suddenly ice-cold. “This is my fault, I did this, I must pay for my actions. I’ve made up my mind. Clara, you will willingly give that Chronolock to me, or else I will create a new one for myself. I will face the Raven tonight. I will die, but you don’t have to. Please, Clara. Let me take it.”
“No!” Clara sobbed. “You’re bluffing, and I will never, ever let you do this…”
“Yes…” Me said. “You will.” She reached out to touch the tattoo again, and this time, Clara didn’t stop her. She tried to step away, but it was too late. In a puff of black smoke, the mark disappeared from Clara’s neck, and moved to Ashildr’s.
“Told you so,” Me said, a sad smile on her lips. “Now then. One minute left. Doctor?”
“I promise,” he replied.
She smiled. “I’ve lived too long,” she said sadly. “Longer than anyone should ever have to endure. I have suffered so long, and now… now it’s time for it to end.” She closed her eyes. “Doctor, I remember her. I remember Ashildr. I remember her dreams, her puppets, her love of stories… I’ve become a story, Doctor. A legend. And this… this is how it ends.” And with that, she stepped out the door.
Moments later, a scream echoed through the walls, and down the cobblestone street. The residents rushed toward the mayor’s body, circling around it.
“You need to go,” The Doctor told Rigsy and Clara. “In a few minutes’ time, they’ll start fighting, then all hell will break loose. Get to the TARDIS. Wait there. I’ll be back, I promise.”
“Where are you going?” Rigsy asked.
“I need to finish this,” The Doctor declared, holding up his arm to display the teleport cuff.
“I’m going with you,” Clara insisted.
“No…” The Doctor whispered. “Wherever I’m going, whatever I’m about to face, I’m meant to face it alone... Bracelet only takes one.”
With that, he disappeared.
“Right, you heard him,” Clara said after a moment. “Let’s get out of here.”
As they neared the exit from the trap street, a hooded figure passed them. They took no notice of this, escaping to safety, but the figure continued toward the place where the refugees were gathered, a few of them beginning to fight each other.
Suddenly, three shots rang out. The cowardly Tivolians quickly retreated. The others turned in the direction of the shots, staring at the hooded figure that had fired them. Still pointing the gun toward the sky, the figure reached up with its other hand to remove the hood. Heaps of golden curls unfurled as she did.
“Hello, sweeties,” she said sweetly. “Heard you needed a new mayor…”