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Emsone's Castle was a comic story published in Doctor Who Annual 1979. It featured the Fourth Doctor and Leela.


The Fourth Doctor and Leela are on Zorka, the uncharted planet, a strange twilight world in variable orbit. The Doctor is undertaking research into the medicinal qualities of a rare Zorkan mountain weed when he is confronted with a strange sight - a walking, talking skeleton asking for his aid! He finds himself thrown into a conflict with the malevolent mystic Emsone, but unbeknownst to the Doctor, Emsone has a deep-laid plot, and his target is - the Doctor himself!


The Doctor and Leela are on the planet Zorka, a mysterious world in a variable orbit, where the Doctor is investigating the medicinal properties of a rare Zorkan mountain weed. They are interrupted by a strange sight - a walking, talking skeleton calling for help "Help me! Please help me! I've got to be changed!" the skeleton cries. The skeleton explains that his name is Krass, and he is an inhabitant of Zorka. He was a perfectly normal humanoid before Emsone, a mystic from a neighbouring mountain, invited him to his castle. There Emsone made Krass' flesh and clothing disappear, leaving him the animated skeleton he now is. But if the Doctor is familiar with the properties of M-rays, he can help.

The Doctor is capable of creating a system that can restore Krass, but as he is carrying out the procedure Gurk, Emsone's trustes assistant, a mountain of a man with horns on his head, attacks. The Doctor, intent on the restoration procedure, does not see Gurk, and Krass, who does, is incapable of warning due to the procedure. Gurk knocks the Doctor unconscious, and while Leela leaps to the attack, she is no match for the man-mountain called Gurk!

It is some time before the Doctor recovers, and when he does he is met by the results of his experiment, and experiment begun - but not ended! Krass has been only partly restored, and is a grotesque creature. The Doctor asks where Leela is, and Krass tells him that Gurk has taken her to Emsone's castle. He has a hover-car, and with Krass as navigator, the Doctor sets out for Emsone's castle.

As they cross the swamp, the Doctor becomes aware of strange thoughts invading his head, telling him to fly down, into the swamp. Suddenly a dinosaur-like monster appears, and the Doctor tries to fly down to avoid it. "No, Doctor! Keep flying!" Krass warns. "It's just an illusion to make you swerve and crash!" And so it is - the hovercar flies right through the monster, for it was never realy there. The Doctor realises that Emsone is trying to take over his mind!

There are no further attacks during the trsnait of the swamp, and the Doctor is able to land safely at Emsone's castle. There he finds the doors open, and deduces that Emsone is expecting them. He must block the thoughts of the malevolent mystic until he reaches him. As he walks through the castle, while Emsone continues his psychic attack, the Doctor forms the single image of an impregnable wall in his mind. The wall holds firm until they reach Emsone's chamber, where the mystic sits upon a throne surrounded by human skulls set on poles!

"Ha, Doctor - so glad you came. I hope your journey was sufficiently exhausting for my purpose. We mystics prefer to prey on tired minds," Emsone mockingly greets the Doctor. "I may not be as tired as you think, Emsone," the Doctor replies.

Emsone explains his plan to the Doctor. Using all his knowledge of science and the black arts, the mystic has built himself a machine that will make him very powerful and very rich. There is only one snag - to complete his machine he needs one more component - the living brain of a Time Lord! All that has happened is part of Emsone's plan to secure the Doctor's brain. A battle of wills begins in silence, but soon the psychic energy generated beginins to shake the castle walls. Emsone believes it is an illusion created by the Doctor, but the Doctor knows it is all too real. With Emsone preoccupied, Leela is free, and the Doctor takes her and runs for the door as the castle walls begin to fall. "But... this isn't how I planned it," Emsone wails. "My castle can't fall down now! What about my machine? This just can't be real... it can't be... It can't be!" A huge chunk of masonry falls directly on Emsone, crusing him to death in an instant. Can't it?

With Emsone dead, the Doctor completely restores Krass' body. The Doctor, Leela, and Krass relax in Krass' home. "If there's anything I can do to assist your experiments with the mountain weeds..." Krass offers gratefully. "I'd be most grateful," the Doctor replies. "If they don't do anything else, at least they make an excellent cup of tea."

"I'll drink to that," Leela laughs.




  • An Emsone used an M-ray on Kass to make his skin and clothes disappear.


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