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The Truth of Peladon was the fourth and final story in the Peladon audio anthology, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Tim Foley and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

Publisher's summary[]

Arla, last of Peladon's great seamstresses, is commissioned to make a great cloak for the latest coronation. She'll need a new assistant to complete her work in time, and one appears: the Eighth Doctor! Determined to show Arla the truth of Peladon, the delicate threads he's drawing together will change Peladon forever.

Plot[]

The monarch of Peladon has died and the coronation of the next approaches. Chancellor Barok commissions Arla Decanto to make the new monarch's Cloak of Coronation, which will be needed in a month. Arla's new apprentice knocks on the door and, once Barok has left, she opens the door to the Eighth Doctor.

Arla is sceptical of the Doctor, who is far older than any apprentice she has been sent before. She is impressed by the tailoring he has done to his trousers and coat and seems not to know about the royal family, for whom there is no mourning in the streets. When the Doctor asks who is next in line, she asks if he is one of Barok's men sent to spy on her. Ultimately, she says, nothing will change no matter who is sat on the throne. She gets him to reach a box containing the original Aggedor fur from the first Cloak of Coronation.

The Doctor cooks dinner for Arla, who does not have access to very much nice food due to her social status as a service worker. She says that the people became hungry a decade ago and things have changed since then, including a sharp decrease in the number of people.

The next morning, Arla tells the Doctor that she heard him talking in his sleep and shows him her initial sketch for the cloak, which Barok has approved. The Doctor is impressed and picks the silk for the lining. Arla has found out that the original cloaks had a map of the stars stitched in and, when the Doctor says that they will need an astral convergence map, she queries his earlier statement that he was not a man of learning. He heads to the observatory, dressed in Arla's cape with the seal of the seamstresses' guild to keep the guards from bothering him.

Arla has been absorbed in her work and realises that the Doctor has been back for some time, having acquired the astral convergence map from the Royal Astronomer and started cooking Megeshra stew for lunch. Afterwards, the Doctor and Arla complete the design tome and decide to check it tomorrow before giving it to Barok for his approval. Arla heads to bed and tells the Doctor that she could not have done it without him; to himself, he says that she should not thank him yet.

Arla is awoken in the night by the sound of the Doctor communicating with somebody on a monitor. He says that he was talking to a friend in the Icelands, but Arla recognised that it was an Ice Warrior. As talking to outsiders is forbidden for service trade, she demands answers, threatening to tell Barok if he does not give them. However, he leads her to believe that he works for Barok and tells her to return to bed.

The next day, Barok has Arla arrested upon seeing her designs and finding that the star map was of the sky of Arcturus. This is, Barok believes, an act of subversion and propagation of a conspiracy theory that Peladon is in the control of the Arcturans. She blames the Doctor and learns that he was not in Barok's employ, but, until her claims can be substantiated, she will be confined and is at the very least guilty of misjudgement.

Arla is unable to sleep in her cell and calls out for the guard, only for the Doctor to walk in. The Doctor says that she will only be there for three nights as she is the last of the great seamstresses and Barok will soon realise that she is not part of the resistance. He offers her a deal: over the course of these three nights, he will attempt to convince her of the cause of the resistance and, if she is not swayed, he will hand himself over. She does not trust his word and tries to tell the guards about his visit, but they do not believe her.

The Doctor enters the cell from a secret passageway and leads Arla away, telling her to bring her gruel. They go to the Loomhouse, which is a factory with obscene working conditions, and meet Gentry, a starving eighty-year-old man to whom the Doctor tells Arla to give her gruel. He was a farmer before falling on hard times and being sent to the Loomhouse where few last longer than a year. Like so many others, Gentry works in the Loomhouse, which was a larder for the castle before it was decided that it was not fit enough for meat. Arla is sympathetic, but says that every society has its rich and poor and that she herself had risen up through training.

On the second night, the Doctor takes Arla on a long hike beyond the outer walls of the city. They follow a red stream which feeds the crops to the Great Lake of Undoing and find the last remaining Aggedors, their coats matted and unhealthy due to trisilicate poisoning. Society had become aware of the trisilicate in the water and had begun to fix it because of a fear of outsiders, workers' disputes and disinterest in the underclass. When Barok took over, he exacerbated the problems and installed a satellite dish which Arla shows little interest in, frightened by the Aggedors. The Doctor, after being contacted by Ssilas, sings the Aggedors a Venusian lullaby. On the way back, Arla says that it is natural that creatures die out.

Having shown Arla the truth of the people and the truth of the land, on the third night the Doctor takes Arla to the chancellor's chamber and uses a hatch to listen to Barok in his private rooms. They hear him talking deferentially to lords of Arcturus about a transition of power before asking a guard to escort him around the Citadel and, once he has gone, descend into his rooms. They learn that miners are no longer required as the trisilicate can be sucked from the ground, broken down and beamed along quantum waves to Arcturus using the satellite dish. The Doctor notes that nothing that he has shown Arla has really come as a surprise and shows his disgust at her looking the other way and having handed over her last apprentice for being part of the resistance.

Barok releases Arla, who apologises and says that she ignored everything that the Doctor told her whilst he was her apprentice. She continues to work on the cloak and is visited by Barok, who is paranoid as the coronation approaches and travels with a group of guards. He is impressed by the cloak and says that she will be given the Royal Astronomer's accommodation and the privilege of watching the new leader on the Pel Walk from the Thalira Chamber. He also thanks her for telling him of the secret passage to the Loomhouse and tells her that he has rounded up the workers and that Gentry, who tried to resist, has been killed. This might, he suggests, be responsible for the current uprisings.

Barok introduces Arla at court and tells her that the new king enjoyed his fitting and has been weeping out of joy. Arla is knocked over by Ambassador Ssilas, whom Barok says should be in the viewing chambers below with the other ambassadors on a screen. The ceremony starts prematurely with the new king on the Pel Walk without Barok, sickly Aggedors out on the street with fur in a condition in stark contrast to that on the king's cloak. Arla says to Barok that the people will likely not appreciate the decadence on display.

Over speakers, the Doctor addresses the Pels, telling them not to be angry of the child in the cloak but with those who made him wear it. He has left the doors to the food stocks open and invites them to feast before bringing about the change they need; the truth is that there are more of them than there are the upper class. Barok is unable to stop the broadcast and is confronted by Arla, who has been working with the Doctor and was supplied with a sonic blaster by Ssilas. The secret power facility has been destroyed, causing feedback with implications for Arcturus. Arla shoots Barok.

Having set the wheels of revolution in motion per his promise to the new king, the Doctor tells Arla that he is leaving, the age of the chancellors having ended. He sees that Arla has fired her sonic blaster and is unhappy that she killed Barok as he wanted him to stand trial. He has told the people of Arla's crimes and how she had assisted his cause, but does not know what the people will make of her actions. He departs and Arla makes a speech about her loyalty to Peladon and her shame in being complicit with the old regime, asking for the people's forgiveness. She will live by the choice of the people and that is, she says, the truth.

Cast[]

References[]

  • Arla has silks woven from the webs of the last grey spider.
  • The Doctor claims to have been sent by the Loomhouse.
  • The Doctor cooks his take on Megeshra stew.
  • Arla's mentor was Keppy Devoni.
  • The Peladonians celebrate Darkentide.
  • Arla had an apprentice who was like a son to her, but whom she handed in upon learning that he was part of the resistance. He was tortured before his body was thrown in a pit.
  • Barok says that expurgation will be necessary in the Slant District.

Notes[]

  • This is the only story in the Peladon anthology to not feature Alpha Centauri.

Continuity[]

External links[]

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