Mystryl (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɪl/ MISS-trihl), the Lady of Mysteries, was a greater deity and the first incarnation of the goddess of magic. Later incarnations of the goddess were named "Mystra". Mystryl was most notably known as the being who embodied the Weave, the primary source of magic in the cosmos. She supplied and regulated magical energy to all, making possible spells and magical effects. But her portfolio also included knowledge and energy, invention and creativity, song, time, and the season of spring.
Mystryl manifested herself in many ways through many conduits, but her followers usually described her as a beautiful human woman with intense blue eyes that wore gracefully refined blue-white robes of fine, thick silk. Her skin glowed and her hair was every color of the rainbow.
When being mysterious, she was depicted as a swarm of rainbow-colored will-o'-wisps in the vague shape of a humanoid female, but usually a subtle manifestation was all that was necessary: her trademark blue-white aura pulsing on the person, place, or thing she wished to illuminate. Occasionally this aura would coalesce into a point of light that she used to lead her faithful in a particular direction, write a message, or even cast spells.
Mystryl's followers and those who used magic for good or ill were sometimes made aware of her approval or disapproval by a gift, a message, or aid in some form. Gifts were often blue or clear gemstones (perhaps containing an agathinon), multicolored tourmalines, beljurils, shieldstones, or a rogue stone. Messages, aid, or warnings were usually delivered in the form of small, translucent, magical creatures or normal creatures such as blue jays; sparrowhawks; pseudodragons; white cats; dogs; beasts of burden (horses, mules, donkeys); unicorns; pegasi; selkies; and mephits from the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Radiance. For more exigent circumstances, the goddess might send hollyphants; gem or metallic dragons; guardinals of any kind; incarnations of hope, faith, or courage; einheriar; light aasimons; devas; or a dreaded marut. All Mystryl's incarnations, messengers, and servants had blue or mismatched eyes.
Mystryl had a mercurial personality that reflected her chaotic nature. She could be coldly serious one moment and laughingly boisterously the next. She could be blushingly innocent or sagely wise, blithely unfocused or relentlessly dedicated, but in all her capriciousness she tried to do what she thought best for the Weave and practice of the Art in Toril. If she had a flaw, it was that at times she seemed naïve and too trusting.
Being the embodiment and consciousness of the Weave, Mystryl could wield magic like no other being. She had no practical limitations on how many spells she could cast, how powerful they were, how often she could cast them, or what form they could take. Unless she willed otherwise, she was immune to all spells except those that bypassed her control of the Weave and drew on the raw magic from which the Weave was woven. She could withhold magic from any entity, making spellcasting impossible, and even prevent them from using magical items if she so desired. She could block other deities from accessing the Weave, but she could not prevent them from granting spells to their priests through prayer.
One of the aspects of her portfolio that Mystryl paid particular attention to was time and the continuity of the time line. In order to prevent abuse of time travel, she created the time conduit spell and made its restrictions binding on all other attempts at traveling back in time. She was aware of anyone attempting time travel and caused all research into circumventing her rules to lead back to her time conduit spell as the only solution.[note 1] Her awareness even extended to other planes of existence, preventing reentry to the Prime Material Plane for those that attempted anachronistic mischief.
Mystryl distrusted Shar, who was one of her progenitors, because Shar constantly sought to usurp her power and role. She regarded her other progenitor, Selûne, as overly maternal and sometimes acted contrary to her motherly advice. Mystryl was an eternal enemy of both Kozah and Moander, whom she saw as trying to corrupt or destroy all that she and her worshipers sought to build and accomplish.
Mystryl's relationship with her worshipers and followers was open and welcoming to members of all alignments. The majority of her venerators were human but all seekers of arcane lore were accepted.
Legend has it that at the dawn of time Lord Ao created the universe, and out of the early chaos came twin deities: Shar of the darkness and Selûne of the light. Together, these two beings created the spheres in the firmament, one of which was the world of Abeir-Toril and its spirit, Chauntea. Chauntea desired new and more abundant life for her world and asked the sisters for light and warmth in order to nurture it. In this, the two beings could not agree. Selûne eventually acted on her own and gave Toril a sun, which Shar immediately sought to put out, thus beginning the battle between light and darkness that raged for eons.
At some point the Dark Goddess got the upper hand and doused many of Selûne's motes of light. In a desperate move, Selûne tore a piece of magical essence from herself and hurled it at her sister. When it hit, Shar also lost a portion of her essence and was cast into the void for centuries. From the blending of dark and light energies, Mystryl was born as a being of pure magic inextricably tied to the Weave. Both of the twins were diminished as a result, with the Moonmaiden's wound being more grave. However, Mystryl was ideologically closer to Selûne, and being created from both light and darkness, Mystryl (and later goddesses of magic) acted as a balancing force between Selûne and the Lady of Loss.
In −339 DR (3520 in Netherese reckoning), the Netherese archwizard Karsus took it upon himself to defeat the phaerimm that were threatening the Netherese empire. He had spent years researching Karsus's avatar, the only 12th-level spell ever created, which was designed to temporarily rob a deity of their power and grant it instead to the spellcaster. Karsus chose to rob Mystryl, and when her godly essence poured into him his mind and body were overwhelmed and he found that he was incapable of wielding such power. Mystryl's hold on the Weave was weakened and it began to unravel. Magical effects doubled in power briefly, then became wild and chaotic. To save the Weave from permanent damage Mystryl chose to sacrifice herself, which broke Karsus's connection, killing him, and stopped all magic for a short time. In the time it took for the Mother of All Magic to reincarnate herself, most of the floating cities of Netheril crashed to the ground.
When the goddess of magic was reborn—this time as Mystra—she used as a vessel a beautiful peasant girl who was just learning cantrips but who had the capability of one day becoming an archwizard. She immediately took control of the Weave and magic returned to Toril. In the aftermath of the Fall of Netheril, the new goddess took a much more lawful view of magic use and laid down some rules, including a decree that the most powerful of spells would fail utterly.
Rumors and Legends
- It was believed that the newly reincarnated goddess either destroyed Karsus's notes on his ultimate spell, or sent them flying off to the far corners of the multiverse.
- Ancient Mystrylan tomes spoke of three time gates—permanent edifices that were imbued with the time conduit spell. One was believed to be buried in a cave in the Spine of the World; another was atop Misken's Peak north of Novularond, which was sheared off by the Great Glacier ages ago; the last was on Andrus Peak near the city of Cedarsproke in the Vilhon Reach, which has seen many volcanic eruptions over the centuries.
- slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- Clayton Emery (November 1996). Dangerous Games. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-0524-7.
- slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 50. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 268. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 35. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 247. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 55. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. Edited by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786906574.
- slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (Encyclopedia Arcana). (TSR, Inc.), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
- Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.