Another excerpt from the August 1995 edition of the Doctor Who series bible. Text below the fold
and time shortly after The Doctor’s birth. When he saw the chaos and conflict of the outside universe, he grew resentful of his people’s complacency and forswore his Time Lord vows of non-interference and acted to help.
In his youth he traveled the universe seeking knowledge, and now, after a thousand years of travels, he has become an expert in every alien species and technology. After his long travels, he returned to his insular home world to bring them the accumulated wisdom of the universe. But his meddling had not gone unnoticed by the other great powers of the universe. Jealous of the power of the Time Lords, the warlord VARNAX declared war on them.
THE GREAT TIME WAR
Though they possessed only a fraction of the power of the Time Lords, VARNAX and his coalition were formidable foes, utterly ruthless and skilled in the ways of war. His first attack, launched against an unsuspecting Gallifray ravaged large sections of the planet. Their aura of invincibility thus shattered, numerous other rivals of the Time Lords joined in the fight. The DALEKS, the CYBERMEN and even the QUARKS attacked the planet of the Time Lords.
There is no meaningful way to say how long the war lasted. Its battlefields litter time and space, invisible to mundane beings such as humans. Because of the nature of a war in time, no battle could end except in total annihilation, otherwise, the survivors would simply travel back in time and try again. Most battles would simply play out over and over again until history had been altered so much that the battleground had lost its strategic import. Millennia of time and entire planets would simply cease to exist. Even Earth was touched by the very edges of the War: cities such as Atlantis, Shangri-La and El Dorado may have once represented highly advanced cultures whose entire existence has been erased, leaving behind only legends formed from the “shrapnel” of their destruction.
In a panic, and against the advice of The Doctor, the Time Lords made the desperate move of deploying their ultimate weapon against Varnax: the SANCTION OF RASSILON, which would tear their enemy’s homeworld out of history entirely, making it as though it, and by extension Varnax, had never existed.