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Story (from the manual)

When the archevil Mondain was finally overcome by a gallant knight, the ravaged world rejoiced. The warlock who had called himself immortal was indeed dead, and a long-sought peace slowly healed the wounds of the people.

Certainly, the good folk of Earth had no ear for the quiet, insistent rumors of wars still to come. Kings and commoners alike eased the last dark vestiges of Mondain's evil out of their minds and away from their lives. Their souls began to know happiness once more... but only for a short, blissful time.

The most virulent of the rumors that surrounded Mondain's demise spoke vaguely a warning that Mondain had been training an apprentice, a young and impressionable protege with an indescribably powerful gift of magic. This rumor was all but squelched when companions of the warlock's slayer entered the shattered chambers of Mondain's fortress and found nothing but smoking rubble and dust-clotted blood stains on the floor. Not so much as a single shard of Mondain's dread Gem of Immortality lay among the wreckage ... but many, many years would pass before the awful import of that detail would come to light.

When nothing came of the talk of a potential heir to Mondain's curse, people were only too eager to embrace its falsehood and throw off their cloaks of fear. The evils of the past were gone with their creator and perpetrator. Indeed, the world was a beautiful place again; life was to be savored, enjoyed.

The rule of Lord British brought the diverse kingdoms together under a common flag of unprecedented fellowship and goodwill. Trade prospered throughout the land as never before; long standing feuds between rival nations ended as the leaders of the world came to see the folly of heartless conquest. Perhaps the most wondrous hallmark of the new ages was the discovery of the mystic "time doors" shimmering mist-like portals through which a brave explorer might wander the roads of another time and eventually return to the present. The scattered portals opened an era of new learning, a renaissance of timelessness. Soon, the world was too busy a place for thoughts of less fortunate times. So it was for several years - long enough for a child to grow to adulthood. No one wanted to notice when the disease began again.

But so it did. First there was the single lost orc a farmer stumbled upon. What was it? Whence came it? Sages knew in their secret hearts that the orc was the work of a sorcerer and that, had that sorcerer been a benevolent one who'd created the orc by accident, he or she would have come forward. But they refused to admit the truth, even to themselves so they cast the knowledge aside.

The orc was too sick and hurt to fight when it was found. When, sufficiently recovered, it began to assert its inborn malice, it stumbled into a paradox in its feeble head. These human creatures had saved its file - it grasped that much - and it didn't want to hurt them. Because the little lone orc had never been missed, it was not beset by magical influences; nothing discouraged it from welcoming its new, confusing, but rather pleasant benevolent feelings.

From this one unusual orc descended all the good Orcs who lived peacefully in towns and villages. But the prospering people of Earth should have admitted its significance many years before.

Instead, little by little and too often blindly evaded, the evils of the coming age began to shower Earth. By the time the people finally acknowledged it, the evil was too powerful, too widespread to be overcome directly. Already its perpetrator was stronger and more wretched than any prince of darkness before and had grown too vain to keep silent.

Thus was the name of Minax, enchantress of evil, made known. A master of telekinesis from infancy and proudly apprenticed to Mondain the Wizard at age eleven, she had grown to wield a power many times greater than that which had failed to save her master. And with that growth arose an intense hatred for the people of Earth who had brought her master's end. Never content to merely afflict the good with evil, causing misery and pain, Minax sought to sow the seeds of evil in the good, leaving none untouched. Storms of destruction collapsed the frame work of society, and horrors once known only to those with conscience, guilt, loathing, and self-hatred prevailed against the entire Earth.

The climax of Minax's wrath was the holocaust of 2111, in which ancient civilizations born of love of beauty and wisdom and knowledge turned upon one another and, in their vicious anger and contempt, destroyed almost all of the very Earth that had nurtured them.

Were it not for the time doors, you would likely not be here now. Only the ability to move in time enabled any living thing to survive the holocaust, so far as is known.

Since that awful day, survivors have devoted themselves to rethinking the concept of time itself, hoping to find some means of using the time doors to alter the course of past events. They have concluded that evil can emanate from a single overpowering source and that this source is Minax. And they believe there to be a chance that total elimination of a cause may excise its effects from all time, as if the past might become the future for those who step into it.

That group, which I, Lord British, chair, extend our deepest respect and admiration to you for heroically volunteering for this perilous expedition into time. Know before you go that, whether you succeed or fail, you have our gratitude and, indeed, our Love.

And if - no, when - you succeed, you will return to the present as it could and should have been. Those of us in this conclave can assure you that we will never forget your great deed. But you should be aware that, by the very nature of your success, future generations prospering in the sunlit glory of the world as you will have made it are apt to forget. Your reward may be enjoyed only in the silence of your soul.

If you understand all this and are still willing to venture forth, then go now with our abundant well wishes and the promise that our hopes will be with you ceaselessly until your return.

Lord British

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