Warnings: Spoilers for the end of Season Five
Summary: Once upon a time, on Gallifrey, the story of the Pandorica was told to a child.
“Once upon a time there was a monster.”
“ – but that's not right!” the child interrupted. “It was a magician, who 'looked beyond the bounds of the mortal world and became twisted in mind and body.' I read it in a book.”
The old man smiled, unperturbed. “Who's telling this story, child?”
“But you're not telling it right,” the child said, and then stopped, abashed. “Oh – I – I don't mean to say – go on, please.”
“It raged through the world, beyond mortal law or comprehension, and It ensnared the minds of the weak and took them as witnesses to its crimes. It had a hundred different faces and a thousand different names, and It rode on a beast which covered itself in illusion and whose true form was of impossible dimensions. The monster brought death and destruction in its wake, for millennia on millennia, until the day came when It would devour the world itself if not stopped. A council of wizards and knights from all the corners of the world came together, setting aside their differences to avert this evil.
“They built a prison for it in the burning heart of the earth, out of diamond and steel and spiderwebs, and they called it the Pandorica. It was the strongest prison imaginable, and nothing could escape it. But then they were faced with the problem of luring the monster into their infallible prison.
“'We will take it by force, and drag it into our prison,' some said, but that would not do, for the monster had defeated armies of thousands and could not be held back.
“'We will bait it with food,' some said, but that would not do, for the monster fed on Its own mount and had no need of food.
“'We will disguise the prison in Its own aspect, and thus convince It that there is another of Its kind,' some said, but that would not do, for the monster had devoured all of Its own kind long ago and would not be fooled.
“So a wizard called Alek cast a spell to confuse It, and intrigue It, and when It stumbled across the spell, It was drawn by the force of Its own cunning to the site of the Pandorica. The wizards and the knights disguised themselves, and lurked hidden in the shadows while the monster and Its thralls came upon the prison. Then they leapt out and chained the monster in the Pandorica, shutting It away for all of time. And they set a guard on it, and they went away, back to their distant homes.
“And there it still lies, in the depths of the world, watched by the Eternal Guard and awaiting the end of the world, when the monster may again break free.”
“That was very dark,” said the child, after a short pause.
“Most fairytales are, Susan,” her grandfather said, tugging on his lapels. “But the important thing to remember is that they're not true.”