The Yssgaroth were horrible, huge, winged snakes with many eyes, but this may have been illusion, since their appearance caused hallucination. They were native to another universe, but they wanted to enter the normal universe.
The Yssgaroth and their universe were discovered by the Great Houses in one of Rassilon's early attempts to create a black hole. Instead, he accidentally punched a hole into Yssgaroth's Universe. The Yssgaroth escaped and caused mass destruction. The Great Houses, led by Kopyion Liall a Mahajetsu, tried to stop them, leading to the thousand years Eternal War (also known as the First Great Time War). Though they were able to push the Yssgaroth back to their own universe, billions of people were killed and whole star systems were destroyed. The Yssgaroth survived and tried to get back into the normal universe.
"Pure Yssgaroth" — that is, beings infected by Yssgaroth "blood" — were more a form of psychotic space than living beings. They were sentient masters of torture, capable of "spreading your nervous system across continents and keeping you unconscious to everything except pain". Yssgaroth "blood" was infectious and exposure created beings dedicated to corruption, destruction and pain. It was possible that the Yssgaroth could infect a timeship. One such time ship was Lolita.
The Yssgaroth's Universe was an alternate dimension. The terrain appeared to be mostly desert, though this may have been an illusion. The universe had unusual proportions and distances, making travel even more difficult. There were many settlements of suffering humans, who were generally used as slave labour.
Many species had been accidentally brought to the universe, including humans, Ogrons, Terileptils, the Galk and Bapputchin. Other species, such as the Cun, were either native or just unknown to the Seventh Doctor. Other species, such as the Hunters, could naturally travel to the Yssgaroth's Universe.
The Great Houses originally discovered the Yssgaroth's Universe during early experiments in making black holes. These experiments accidentally created ruptures in the space-time continuum, releasing the Yssgaroth. Other openings to the Yssgaroth's Universe could be found in 1800s London, near Stonehenge and on the unnamed planet in the Althosian system.
The Mal’akh were a race tainted by the power of the Yssgaroth. They fed on human blood. Those that fed off humans took on the form of unnaturally beautiful, angelic creatures. Those that fed off other Mal'akh degenerated into grotesque, ape-like creatures. A Mal'akh colony was present in Africa for thousands of years prior to the 1400s. In 1491, the Order of the Dragon were familiar with the Mal'akh. In 1763, an army of Mal'akh were seen in Naples. In 1844, a young boy summoned a Mal'akh in Karachi. Three members of Faction Paradox were killed whilst trying to destroy it. The Faction finally managed to capture the Mal'akh, and transported it to the Stacks of the Eleven-Day Empire. Though the Yssgaroth themselves had been driven out of the Spiral Politic at the dawn of history, their taint remained; on Earth, those tainted by the Yssgaroth influence were known as Mal’akh, and fed on human blood. Those who fed off humans took the form of unnaturally beautiful, almost angelic creatures; those who were driven to feed off each other degenerated into grotesque, ape-like creatures. In Western Europe, an order known as the Society of St. George, or the Order of the Garter, was established to fight these beings, but the Order eventually became a front for the Grand Families, the secret powers behind the European thrones. The Star Chamber -- officially the court of highest authority in Great Britain -- was used to prosecute crimes involving the Yssgaroth and punish traitors within the Society of St. George. Since Faction Paradox’s armour appeared to be made out of the bones of Yssgaroth-tainted Homeworld agents, the Star Chamber concluded that they and the Mal’akh were related, and set about planning to destroy them. To this end, the composer J.S. Bach half-composed, half-calculated a musical canon in which the mathematical relationship between the musical notes could open up a doorway to the Eleven-Day Empire. In order to decode this Musical Offering, the Star Chamber funded Charles Babbage’s prototype analytical engine, and moved it into the cellars of Parliament in preparation for the “Clockwork Ouroboros” operation. But the Star Chamber had already been betrayed before the attack could even begin... George Gordon, Lord Byron, had served the Society of St. George until September 1809, at which time they used him as bait to lure a party of Mal’akh out into the open in Malta while their real attack was launched elsewhere. When Byron learned that he’d been used as a distraction, he became disillusioned with the Society, at which point he was approached by agents of Faction Paradox. Seeking to control Byron, the Star Chamber arranged for him to marry Annabella Milbanke, the “Princess of Parallelograms,” but the marriage did not last long; soon, Byron went into exile, while Milbanke raised their daughter, mathematical prodigy Ada Byron. Lord Byron and his friends, the Shelley Cabal, tried to alert the outside world to the threat of the Mal’akh through their poetry and other writings, but eventually the Mal’akh responded, killing off most of the Shelley Cabal one by one in a series of suspicious “accidents.” Byron apparently died fighting the Turks at Missolonghi -- but in fact, he’d defected to the Eleven-Day Empire. The Star Chamber eventually enlisted Ada Byron’s mathematical talents to program the Musical Offering into the Analytical Engine, but her father secretly contacted her while she was working on the problem. Though raised to direct her talents towards the mathematical and mechanical rather than the poetic and allegorical, she nevertheless betrayed the Star Chamber and told her estranged father all about their plans to attack the Eleven-Day Empire. When the attack began, in October 1834, the Faction was thus prepared for the intrusion and successfully fought off the Servicemen trying to pass from the real Westminster into the Shadow Parliament. The result was a fire which destroyed the Houses of Parliament and broke the rule of the Star Chamber, leaving it a shadow of its former self. It is believed that the Great Houses had some influence over the Star Chamber’s assault on the Eleven-Day Empire, and that they subsequently used “ghost clusters” to erase all evidence of their interference. (Ghost clusters are virtual bombs that are detonated in a model of the Universe; as the probably of their actual detonation is increased, the bombs’ victims -- and their descendants -- become increasingly less likely to have existed. These people are known as the walking dead.) Most hard evidence of the Star Chamber’s exploits was destroyed in the Grindlay’s Warehouse fire of 1861, which is believed to have been caused by the Mal’akh. It may be worth noting that the Star Chamber’s power was broken because they attacked the wrong enemy -- and that their final stand in 1940-45 is apparently documented in a missing folio known as the Churchill Index, which is cross-referenced under the Book’s entry for the Enemy. Richard Burton also used to work for the Star Chamber before defecting to Faction Paradox under the name of Father Abdullah. As a young man, he became interested in ritual and ceremony, and participated in a summoning which brought a Mal’akh grotesque to Karachi. He and his friend John Hanning Speke also mounted an expedition to the Mountains of the Moon in Central Africa, ostensibly to find the source of the Nile, but in fact a secret mission for the Star Chamber to smoke out a hidden Mal’akh fortress. Speke became unhinged by his experiences and threatened to go public with what he’d seen, and Faction Paradox thus sent Byron to assassinate him before he could do so. Byron made Speke’s death appear to have been a suicide, and Burton has never forgiven him for this. Burton has conducted a great deal of research into the Mal’akh, both for the Star Chamber and for Faction Paradox, but his researches have been sealed by Faction Paradox, implying that Burton may have learned things about the Mal’akh which could compromise the Faction..
The Great Vampires were massive humanoids in Great Houses legend that lived during the Dark Times. The Great Vampires were colossal humanoids with grey skin and wings. Like lesser vampires, Great Vampires needed blood to survive, but their large size dictated they needed considerably more. Great Vampires were extremely powerful and one individual could drain a whole planet dry. They could absorb energy in almost any form and survive numerous minor wounds. The only way to kill one was to stab them through the heart, usually with a steel bolt. More powerful Great Vampires needed to have their heart fully destroyed in order to kill them. The Great Vampires suddenly appeared in the universe, causing mass destruction and chaos. They rampaged through the cosmos during the Dark Times. Great Vampires created the Vampires on Earth. They may have been the Yssgaroth. Eventually Great Houses hunted these creatures down in a long and bloody war, using bowships firing mighty bolts of steel to pierce their hearts. Though the Great Houses won, they took heavy losses. The leader of the Vampires escaped into the smaller universe of E-Space. Over time records of this war were lost and passed into legend. Rassilon wrote data about the vampires that was installed into every Type 40 time vessel. It said that one vampire, the King Vampire, had vanished and it was a Great Houses's solemn duty to lay down his life to kill it. This war was said to have sickened Great Housess of violence forever. The King Vampire fell into E-Space, using his great power to draw the ship Hydrax with him. He turned the people on this ship, three humans, into vampires. They fed and served him for a thousand years until the Time of Arising. In this projection, a group of Great Houses investigated Rassilon's work on regeneration, time travel, and other projects. The prime investigator was the head of the Arcalian Chapter Houses, Provost Lord Tepesh. In the projection, Tepesh revealed himself as a Great Vampire in disguise, even saying he was a direct descendant of the King Vampire. Tepesh claimed the Great Vampires were a peaceful lot, content to drink the blood of non-sentient, genetically bred cattle, until Rassilon showed up and declared the Vampires should not be allowed to exist. The subsequent 500-year war was more one of extermination than titanic conflict.
House Lolita was a Great House so new that it did not exist prior to the War. As the name suggested, it was Lolita's house. She was its only member. In the early days of the House, Lolita attempted to recruit her sister. Allied with Tracolix, and by association with the Sontarans, House Lolita betrayed them both when it destroyed the Eleven-Day Empire. Lolita refused to allow any other lifeform to join her house. She claimed that the places were reserved for her future children, who, like her, were timeships. By that point, fifty-one years into the War, House Lolita had begun to produce a second generation and its prestige and political power had been so bolstered by its defeat of Faction Paradox that it received approval for the changes the House was making to 18th century history. Lolita predicted that the final confrontation between House Lolita and the survivors of Faction Paradox would take place in that time period.
Lolita was an evolved Type 45 timeship. Lolita was present during the Great Houses war with the Yssgaroth. She may have been infected by it during this time. Under her former master's control, Lolita claimed that he had partly severed her symbiotic relationship with him to allow him to use other timeships. After being freed from her master's control, Lolita attempted to recruit her sister for House Lolita in the years before the War began. Lolita created House Lolita to oppose Faction Paradox in the early years of the War. She entered into an alliance with House Tracolix and the Sontarans to destroy the Eleven-Day Empire. During the invasion, Lolita turned on her allies and killed the entire Seventy Ninth Sontaran Assault Corps. After this Lolita swallowed the Eleven-Day Empire into her internal dimensions, killing the majority of Faction Paradox in the process. Lolita refused to allow any other lifeform to join her house. She claimed that the places were reserved for her future children, who like her were timeships. During the War in Heaven, Lolita consumed the Eleven-Day Empire while under orders from the Great Houses to destroy Faction Paradox. Later she betrayed the Great Houses and consumed the War King of the Homeworld. In doing so she became the War Queen. After becoming the War Queen, she allied herself with Sutekh against Faction Paradox, Anubis and the Great Houses. When Eliza gave her own body to complete Horus in a final attempt to defeat Sutekh, Lolita cut her wrist and put her own biodata in Eliza. This let Lolita control Horus and she gave the final blow against Sutekh. However, Lolita had forgotten one detail; Cousin Justine of Faction Paradox had a safe path to the Homeworld. She led the Mal'akh to attack the Council chambers and Lolita herself directly. After Justine took over the Homeworld, Lolita was trapped in a pyramid by the Osirians as punishment for her crimes.
Timeships were vessels constructed by the Great Houses to travel through time. They could be ships in the traditional Earth navy sense of the word, physical objects that thrust their way through time and often space. Most timeships wore a humanoid form. Their interior was vastly larger than their exterior. The Evil Renegade had a timeship which had a large trophy room in its interior. The Homeworld’s timeships are elaborate models of mathematics and history, and they possess a form of intelligence entirely alien to that of their pilots, or indeed any humanoid life form. When the War first began, an attempt was made to create a timeship that could communicate with its pilots on an equal level, but the first experiments were dismal failures. The Homeworld first tried to build an intelligence, rather than nurture one; the resulting creature was entirely insane. The next attempts to create “pet” timeships by cross-breeding timeships with animals resulted in the timeships “eating” the research team and then vanishing into the continuum. Eventually, through a bizarre series of circumstances which have been related elsewhere, a Remote colonist named Laura Tobin -- later known as “Compassion” -- ended up being transformed into the first humanoid-timeship hybrid. Compassion eventually agreed to participate in the Homeworld’s breeding program, and thus can be considered the mother of all existing 103-type timeships, even though she is no longer directly involved in their creation. Compassion, considering herself a neutral party in the War, travelled through the Spiral Politic for quite some time, both on her own and with other travelling companions. The most famous of these companions, Carmen Yeh, later wrote a fictionalised account of her travels, including an incident that implies that Compassion eventually did choose sides in the War. Though Yeh herself was not privy to all of the events, it seems that Compassion found the remains of a timeship in the posthuman era, and subsequently kidnapped the War King from the Homeworld, accusing him of killing “Percival”. The War King managed to convince Compassion that Percival was killed by the enemy, and Compassion finally agreed to fight the enemy, albeit on her own terms. However, she still claims that the War is just a sideshow, and that the real threat to the Homeworld lies elsewhere. Yeh stopped travelling with Compassion shortly after these events, and now lives somewhere in the posthuman hegemony.