Mortal Fiber: Mother Twilight (Seven Realms)
Just as campaign settings require quest givers and benefit from oddities in human form, they also require villains. Mother Twilight is one of these characters. You may recognize the inspiration for this character, she was a powerful sorceress-priest who was obsessed with the God of Death. Her amorous ambitions led to her turning herself into an abomination, and Father Bones not only spurned her, he prevented her from ever truly dying or entering his kingdom in the Spirit Realm. Her research, her deeds and her true name were erased from history, leaving behind the sad undying, unliving being known as Mother Twilight.
Melarra of Detalia was once known as the fairest lady of the Old Empire. Her beauty was renowned and she had no end of suitors attempting to claim her hand, and governorship of her lands.
As the only child of one of the noble families, it was assumed that she would find a husband from one of the remaining nobles and reinvigorate her line which was traditionally matrilineal in descent. Instead she abused her position to gather esoteric knowledge on channeling and sorcery and the interplay between them.
Melarra made a discovery which lead to her creating a dread ritual which irrevocably changed her. She was a priestess of Father Bones, the enigmatic god of death, and her obsession with him lead her to a terrible secret. The contents of that secret are lost to time, and her research has since been eradicated. The results of her ritual however are permanent.
On that fateful day, Melarra ceased to exist, and something else was born. She dubbed herself Mother Twilight, and spent millennia attempting to reunite with the deity she loves. Due to a strong geas cast upon her by Father Bones himself, she cannot speak her name, reference her life in detail, nor can she explain the research she created. This was to ensure she was the one and only mortal born into this unholy state.
She transformed herself into a humanoid bound forever between life and death. However, she did not become a shade, as she remembers every aspect of her former life and her appearance has not been preserved. Also, unlike a Skullbound Hunter or other souls trapped within their bodies, her form is self-healing. She is nearly invulnerable, immortal and yet trapped within a desiccated shell.
Father Bones stripped her of his bond, thus she is forever separated from her obsession, although she has continued to try breaking the barrier into the Spirit Realm since then. Because she cannot die by any known means, Mother Twilight is also barred from attaining true immortality, and thus gaining natural entry to the Spirit Realm. Legends have it that he appears to her every century or so, and let’s her know that he is still watching her schemes, as fruitless as they have been up until now.
Mother Twilight is obsessed with breaking the barrier to the Spirit Realm or alternately attaining real immortality or true death, in that order. She isn’t your average villain because she rarely interacts on a national or global stage. This is despite her actions often having world shattering implications. Sometimes her plans are dependent upon locating artifacts on Arn or in other realms.
Sometimes her plans are dependent upon specific celestial convergences. Sometimes her plans are dependent upon divine help. Regardless of how her plans play out they share a few things. They require time to prepare or obscure research. She can’t plan to break the barrier between life and death one month and next month conduct a ritual to make her a true immortal. It usually takes her a year of relocating her operations, a further 6-18 months of research and then a year of planning before she enacts another plan. In games where you don’t wish her to be a somewhat constant threat, it takes her decades to do these things instead.
Secondly, they all start small and end big. The heroes might find out about her plans because she hires a particular rival to steal something of seemingly little consequence from a ruin they just delved. The hook is tiny, but that rival doesn’t do things just for money, there is some greater purpose going on.
Lastly, something always comes up to thwart her. Father Bones keeps tabs on her activities, and continually tips off his priests or random adventurers to stop her. As a god, Father Bones’ scrying isn’t limited and he has the ability to appear in the dreams of any mortal he desires. He can’t interfere directly, but he can make sure someone is there to interfere.
Mother Twilight is an icon, a personality with godlike statistics who can serve as a big bad after an entire season of games, or she can be thrown in as a side quest that cannot be ignored. As the end goal of all of her schemes is Arn-shattering in scope, she can never succeed, but the gods and immortals can’t act any more directly than they already have. She can’t be obliterated by them, it would spark an even worse war of the heavens on Arn. Just like in the best comics, sometimes you just need to throw a wrench into the works. Mother Twilight is a very large wrench, that often comes flying out of the shadows to smash the control valve on the large power plant.