The Horsemen were either the commanders of the armies of a race from another universe similar to the Time Lords known as Time Tyrants. It is unknown if they actually ruled the entire race. The Horsemen based themselves on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and planned to regain their race's ability to travel through time after they lost their equivilant to the Eye of Harmony in their own Time War. They planned to use a Time Lord to power their own stellar manipulator to destroy Earth and conserve the energy produced to create another power source to allow them to travel in time again, rather than relying on vortex manipulators and dimensional transporters.
"The darkest creature ever to wear white." - The Surgeon
War is the first of the Horsemen to arrive on Earth and the second-in-command of the quartet. He arrived on Earth in a white comet-like pod and kidnapped the Master to use in their stellar manipulator. He was sent by the other three to get a Time Lord as a power source. Originally pursuing the Doctor, leaving the strange markings seen in all of the settings where the Doctor has landed in the second Common Series.
Not much is known about War's past. Apparently, he was beaten and violated as a child and was very brutal in his treatment to others as a side effect of his abuse. His love for violence grew more and more unhealthy due to the harsh lifestyle of the Time Tyrants. Before he joined the armada, he only had regenerated once, quite a feat for a young Time Tyrant.
As a Time Tyrant soldier
As a low-ranking soldier, War was reputed to have shown great 'bravery' in combat, slaying hundreds of enemy soldiers single-handedly and almost always with his bare hands.
Despite being almost unbeatable, the Time Tyrant soon to be known as War was heavily damaged and mutilated in a freak bombing accident just days after being named one of the Armada's four commanders. Miraculously, he survived but omly just and was taken to Famine to be 'rebuilt'.
Rise of War
Famine replaced much of War's body with cybernetic armour and weapons, becoming this giant centurion-like white knight, full of pain, rage and love of combat - the ultimate warrior.
As War, he would decimate armies without so much as breaking a sweat. Entire species would fall into extinction because of his hunger for war and bloodshed. He was the most brutal Time Tyrant in all existence and held the biggest number of killings in all of Yerfillag. No one could defeat him one to one.
After the Time War
During their version of the Time War, in which they battled the 'Skadels', their own 'Eye of Harmony' was destroyed by the end of it. Yerfillag managed to survive the onslaught but the Time Tyrants were now unable to travel throughout time and space - their influence on the Universe crumbled.
War was most agitated and furious about this than the other Horsemen. He despised the very notion that he actually 'lost' and was adament that he could find a way to help bring the Tyrants to their former glory. His blind faith in this mission made him the perfect Horsemen to gather their 'power source' to generate their salvaged stellar manipulator.
Fall to Earth
Using an interdimensional transporter and vortex manipulator, he travelled to Earth on a 'white comet' and built the stellar manipulator hidden in the rainforest of the Amazon, where no one would find it. Unknown to him, the parallel universe's Time Tyrant counterpart of the Doctor (the Surgeon) followed him and tried to warn the Doctor of what the Horsemen wanted but he knew War would be watching the Time Lord and tried to warn him with symbols scrawled across the walls in every place the Doctor travels to give a subtle hint. The symbols were shown to be High Yerfillagan, and his desperation made him forget that the Time Lords had a different language and the TARDIS would not translate because it is from a different universe.
War's blindness to detail made him unaware of both the Surgeon's warnings or the Tyrant's very presence. He continued to follow the Doctor but not interfering with the Doctor's missions as that would break the Tyrants' Laws of Time which is the only moral code they have. But before he could get to the Doctor at the end, something always prevents him or makes him too late - allowing the TARDIS to fly off. However, War was always in hot pursuit, following the time energy trail left by the TARDIS within the vortex and landing in the same place as the TARDIS each time.
Capture of the Master
Eventually War gave up on the Doctor when he seen getting the Master (who would be far more easy to persuade than the Doctor - due to his dreams of conquest). He found the Master travelling through the Time Vortex as War was following the Doctor, he accidently managed to get into the Master's TARDIS. He saw him as anther Time Lord and cleverly said that he has come to seek the Master's help in conquering the Universe and that he needs someone more adept in time travel to help. The Master agreed but was still wary of the hulking Tyrant.
When they landed on Earth and the Master bared witness to the stellar manipulator, War restrained him and locked him inside, ready for the other Horsemen to come and activate it.
Beckoning the other Horsemen
War then sent an 'extradimensional siren' which emited a horn-like sound which create a pulse in the sky. The Doctor, The Surgeon, Amy and Rory arrived as soon as he did, finally deciphering the Surgeon's warnings when he found out that War found another Time Lord and directly went to the Doctor for help.
As soon as the pulse faded, in the distance in the sky, coming quickly down towards them were three different coloured meteors. The other Horsemen had arrived.
As the Earth slowly grew weaker and imploding, the Surgeon managed to teleport into a SWARM and kill the Tyrant pilot and drove it into War who was thrown into the stellar manipulator and destroyed it. The Surgeon teleported away with the Master quickly but War was obliterated in the destruction. He was the first Horseman to arrive but also the first to be destroyed.
War is consumed with bloodlust and battle. Headstrong and stubborn, he takes pride in knowing that when the Tyrants reigned supreme in their universe, he stamped out countless hostile races single-handedly and revels in killing and maiming. Despite his penchant for violence, he has a tactical mind and is actually quite intellegent and can be very stealthy when needed be. It is these traits that allowed him to be the first to be sent to Earth and prepare the machine for his brethren.
War is shown to be a hulking but quite lean and stream-lined warrior wearing white glowing armour. His face is obscured by a dark shroud or shadow and only his glowing purple/blue eyes are seen. He carried twin blades on his forearms and reaches about seven feet. It is unknown whether his cybernetic parts have elevated his height or if he was just naturally that tall.
"No happiness, no love, no soul... no pity..." - The Surgeon
Famine is the second Horsemen to arrive on Earth after being summoned by War who was meant to send for them once he found a suitable Time Lord. She is the fourth-in-command and has the smallest portion of the armada to command over. She deals with science and mechanics, creating the machine that War plugs the Master into. She is considered the most intellegent or most technologically literate of the four Horsemen.
Famine has little personality, almost Cyberman in her treatment of biological lifeforms. However, she clearly shows disgust in the bodily functions of biologicals, like eating. This may have earned her her title as 'Famine' as she has a habit of making prisoners starve to death because she literally forgets to register that they need food. Her distance from biological creatures makes her unable to be reasoned with on grounds of mercy, pity or conscience. She lives to conquer, destroy and improve. However, what she sees as improving would seem unethical or downright unspeakable on anyone else's terms.
Famine is a fairly normal-sized humanoid with an almost completely cybernetic form. Her body is encased inside a blue cybernetic armour with vents and piping everywhere. She has a face that is blended in with circuit boards and gives her this blue, engraved face with no hair and unsettling red eyes. Her lack of feet due to the mechanics of her armour, keeping in mid-air through a system that uses an electromagnetic pulse that is forever in time stasis underneath her. She carried a particle cannon in her left arm.
"If poison had a physical form - he would be it." - The Surgeon
Pestilence is the third Horsemen to arrive and the third-in-command of the Time Tyrant armada. He specialises in biology, genetics and chemistry, creating bioweapons and 'evolving' the Time Tyrant race into a more powerful and agile species. He earned the name Pestilence due to his bioweapons, creating deadly viruses that wiped out entire races before their fall in their Time War.
Pestilence is a very bitter and sadistic Tyrant. He spends an obsessive amount of time in dealing with the most depraved and horrific weapons and experiments to use on targets and victims. He is also very bigoted towards other species with almost Dalek-like hatred, trying desperately to improve the Time Tyrants' own biology to show that they are superior. His love for killing is only rivalled by War.
Pestilence appears in a predominantly red attire that seems to be inspired by some armour used in a variation of the Knights Templar during the Holy Crusades (a war that dealed with the prejudice of the Christians against the Muslims - going into Pestilence's racism), complete with cross motifs. His back seems to sprout bat-like wings, possibly due to his genetic tampering. Like War and Death, Pestilence's face is unseen. Only his glowing red eyes are shown from within the helmet and black shroud. He carries two large claymore swords.
"His thoughts are of the screaming of innocents. His voice echoes throughout the very vacuum of space. His desires are as black as whatever heart he still retains. His name is Death and Hell will always follow him." - The Surgeon
Death is the high commander of the entire Time Tyrant armada and highest in command of the four Horsemen. He was the last to come to Earth and is also the most powerful of the quartet. His title is feared above all other Horsemen and Time Tyrants as he has conquered entire galaxies in mere seconds by manipulating black holes and using grotesquely barbaric bombardement tactics to bring them into submission, killing trillions in his wake.
Very little of Death's past is actually known. Many believe he may actually be as old as the universe itself, and be the first of the Tyrants. Others even go as far to speculate he is actually the very embodiement of death in a physical form.
As a soldier
Death's name was never ever known, using the alias 'Yamarah' when he enlisted and never removed his mask or helmet in front of people.
He used his tactical mind and had an uncanny ability to 'just know' where enemies were hiding and could slaughter entire batallions single-handedly, but no one would know how, as the deceased would have no marks or signs of wounds. It was this nigh-supernatural ability to destroy his enemies earned him his title, Death.
He risen to the ranks quickly, and soon became the high commander of the four leaders of the Tyrant armada. It is also noted that the other Horsemen know as much as anyone else about Death, and even fear him - even the ususally emotionless Famine.
Death and the Time War
Death was known for his brutal and pitiless destruction of countless races but not showing malicious rage, or sadism - in fact, he seemed still as he watched trillions burn and die at his command.
In the Time War, Death's troops had the least casulties but were reported to be there during the final part when the Eye of Conquest was destroyed. Death made it clear that they will find another way to control time - as it was their right to control it.
Sending War to Earth
Death had commisioned War to be sent to another Universe to conquer after the fall of the Time Tyrant empire. As their technology would be useless in their universe because of the inability to use Tyrant DNA as a power source, and that no other species are time-faring, they needed another Universe to conquer and use.
War was then deployed into Earth's Amazon rainforest, where he would build Famine's machine to create another 'Eye' and found the Time Lord known as the Master and plugged him into the machine. At that point, Death and the other Horsemen were sent to this Universe to witness the dawn of their new empire.
Coming to Earth
Death was the last to arrive, appearing like a bad omen in the Gold Comet and landing on Earth. He appeared alone with no ship visible, and overseen the destruction of Earth.
Death was the one to widen the wormhole they all used to send the Attack SWARMs to Earth and surround it to become the first set of new time travelling Tyrant devices.
Death did not fight the Doctor or the Surgeon, like his fallen brethren did. Instead, he openly admitted defeat but warned that "no one can truly beat Death" and used a transmat device and disappeared.
Death's disappearance was then followed by the Surgeon's, which worried the Doctor slightly as both mentioned they would see him again.
"No wealth, no ruin, no silver, no gold - nothing satifies me but your soul." - Death
Death is cold, calculating, intelligent and even dry at times. He views conquest of all other life forms as essential and sees the Time Tyrants as 'blessed' with the knowledge of time travel and see them as the only race who should have it and rule over all life to show their glory. He shows no real emotion other than annoyance, satisfaction or anything that is not overly raw like anger or even happiness. He merely wants to conquer to show his power, but he sees no pride in it or any high level of arrogance other than feeling it 'necessary'.
Death's apparent lust for power may be because he feels death is the only true defeat, for those who die will never be able to return and fight back. Death's twisted theology that the Time Tyrants are naturally beyond death because of regeneration has formed the basis for his conquests. Also, it could be argued that Death believes he is death and that he is showing his 'dominance' over life by conquering it and easily extinguishing it whenever he wants. This is evident when people who want to offer Death something in return for their safety are met with refusal as Death has what he wants and the next thing he wants is basically, more death.
Death appears in a golden cloak that drapes over his entire person, revealing only his black-gloved hands. He wears a skull-like gas mask that conceals his face and within the large hood contains only darkness. He speaks in a refined but harsh and almost hissing voice that reeks of apathy and malevolence. The gold in his cloak is dulled and appears black in some spaces. Nothing physically human or biological (such as skin or eyes etc.) can be seen on his person. He normally does not carry any physical weapon but does seem to hold onto a small golden hilted dagger which he fiddles with when bored.
Behind the scenes
- Three of the Horsemen each take on certain traits that are similar to some of the Doctor's greatest enemies. War's love of killing and warfare equals to the Sontarans. Famine's reliance on technology and inability to feel real emotions is like the Cybermen and Pestilence's hatred for all other races is clearly from the Daleks. Death's personality could be from several individual villains rolled into one - like Fenric, the Valeyard and even the Master.
- Death could be seen as the Time Tyrant equivelant to Rassilon. However, his appearance is even more similar to Omega's first form.
- It is unknown whether the same myth of the Four Horsemen was present in their universe or it was by mere coincidence. There is another possibility that they knew about these beings by examining this universe. This could explain why the chose (if they chose) this universe as their new home.
- Death also bears some resemblence to Darth Nihilius from the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
- Strangely, War, Pestilence and Death all bear the images of beings or icons from Earth history - War is based upon a Roman centurion/Medieval knight. Pestilence is a Holy Crusader and Death is clearly based on the Grim Reaper. Only Famine is a truly unique looking creature.
- Death's 'no silver, no gold' line from when he responds to Amy's questioning of why he kills and why will he not leave is directly from an old Appalachian dirge called O Death.