Name: Cinder; real name undisclosed
Time of Origin: Maldox, during the Time War
Time Span: “Engines of War”
Doctor: The War Doctor
Fellow Companions: None
Although Cinder only spent a brief period of time with The Doctor, she nevertheless made a crucial impact on him, serving as one of his few real friends during the dark days of the Time War, The Doctor having abandoned his usual role as a healer to become ‘The War Doctor’ to save the universe from the threat posed by the Daleks, committing himself to the war to the exclusion of all else.
Very young when the War began to impact her era, Cinder was orphaned when Daleks attacked her homestead on the planet Moldox, with her entire family being exterminated and Cinder only surviving by hiding. She was subsequently rescued by fellow survivor Coyne, and spent the next several years as a Dalek-hunter with him and other survivors on Moldox, learning such varied skills as picking locks or re-powering Dalek weapons for use by the resistance, coming to be known as ‘Cinder’ due to her flame-coloured hair.
When she was a young woman, Cinder encountered the War Doctor, who had crashed on Moldox in his TARDIS after a Dalek fleet destroyed the Battle TARDIS platoon he’d been leading. Although naturally anxious in the presence of a Time Lord given the collateral damage caused by the War, Cinder nevertheless agreed to help The Doctor investigate the Dalek presence on Moldox in exchange for him taking her away from the planet. When their investigation revealed that the Daleks were using the Tantalus Eye – a temporal anomaly near Moldox – to create a Demat weapon that could erase people from history (Although only The Doctor remembered seeing it demonstrated due to his nature as a Time Lord), The Doctor took Cinder back to Gallifrey when he tried to warn the Time Lords of the Dalek’s plan, realising that the Daleks intended to use the large-scale weapon to erase Gallifrey itself from history.
Despite having grown up in a war zone and forced to constantly fight against the Daleks, demonstrating quick thought when she and The Doctor were under fire that allowed them to escape a Dalek base, Cinder was not naturally a ruthless person, appreciating the peace she felt after her initial arrival on Gallifrey and when she subsequently spent a night resting in the TARDIS. Although she quickly took the opportunity to escape Moldox with The Doctor when the chance arose rather than staying to fight for her planet, Cinder didn’t consider herself a coward, reasoning that she was leaving Moldox as nothing she did there made a difference due to the scale of Dalek forces on the planet. Despite her relatively brief association with the War Doctor, Cinder soon recognised that he was not a soldier by nature, realising that he was at his most natural when he was able to have some fun, such as when he neatly outmanoeuvred a Time Lord agent’s attempt to stop him disposing of a dangerous weapon.
Although she and the War Doctor soon struck up a friendship despite the War Doctor’s current lack of interest in taking on new companions during the War, events after they returned to Gallifrey forced the two of them to remain together as they faced an even greater challenge. After The Doctor revealed the reasons for the Daleks’ presence on Maldox, Cinder was subjected to a brutal mind probe by the current Castellan and Karlax – a Time Lord warrior who had some history with The Doctor – just to confirm The Doctor’s story while The Doctor was occupied with Rassilon, the two subsequently being imprisoned when The Doctor objected to Rassilon’s plan to stop the Daleks by destroying the Tantalus Eye with the Tear of Isha – a smaller-scale version of the Hand of Omega (“Remembrance Of The Daleks”) – despite the fact that this would kill all Of The Daleks’ human prisoners. Fortunately, The Doctor and Cinder were able to escape from the Capitol cells due to the Time Lords making their cells too complex; while the Capitol cells were immune to the sonic screwdriver, Cinder could still pick their locks. Having reacquired the TARDIS, the two travelled to the Death Zone, where they ‘stole’ the retro-evolved Borusa from his imprisonment in the Dark Tower, intending to use his new nature as a possibility engine to find another way to stop the Daleks. Although Karlax attempted to pursue The Doctor with a fleet of Battle TARDISes, his ships were all destroyed by a Dalek attack force, with Karlax only surviving because The Doctor materialised around him and left him to regenerate in the Zero Room.
Having disposed of the Tear of Isha in the far future to prevent it being used on the Tantalus Eye, The Doctor and Cinder travelled deeper into the Eye to confront the Daleks in charge, The Doctor knowing that the Daleks would want to execute him personally. Although The Doctor and Cinder were saved from extermination when the newly-regenerated Karlax tried to steal the TARDIS – The Doctor having programmed the ship to home in on a tracking device that the Time Lords had hidden on Cinder if Karlax tried to dematerialise – the enraged Karlax then tried to shoot The Doctor, only for Cinder to intercept the blast in The Doctor’s place. The Doctor was so outraged and remorseful at her death that he not only abandoned Karlax on the Dalek ship by dematerialising the TARDIS from around Karlax, but was briefly tempted to try and use Borusa to control the Eye to find a timeline where Cinder lived rather than a timeline where the Daleks were defeated, before he remembered that her last words were that her life for billions was a fair trade and realised that she would never forgive him for saving her at the cost of all others. Driven by this insight, The Doctor instead asked Borusa to use the Eye to erase the Dalek forces from Maldox and the surrounding planets, undoing the Daleks’ plot once and for all.
With the Daleks erased, The Doctor spent some time on Maldox to track down Cinder’s old home, allowing him to and bury her with her family under her original name. In honour of her sacrifice, The Doctor promised he would put an end to the War, subsequently stealing the ancient Time Lord weapon known as the Moment to end the war by destroying both sides in the conflict (“The Day of The Doctor”).