Mystra (pronounced “MISS-trah”), the Mother of all Magic, is a greater deity and the second incarnation of the goddess of magic after her predecessor Mystryl sacrificed herself to protect the Weave from Karsus’s Folly. Mystra was destroyed by Helm when she defied the will of Ao the overgod and attempted to leave the Prime Material Plane during the Time of Troubles. At the conclusion of the Godswar, Ao offered the position of Goddess of Magic to the wizard Midnight, who reluctantly accepted and took Mystra’s name in order to smooth the transition after so much chaos.
The only known description of the mortal that became Mystra was of a “beautiful peasant girl” who was just beginning her studies of the Art.
As a goddess, Mystra could shape change at will and mortals who saw her reported she changed constantly. Others described her appearing in a form resembling a multicolored will-o’-wisp. When Mystra revealed herself to Midnight just before the gods were forced to walk the land of Toril, she was at first just a dark figure surrounded by an aura of blue-white light. As she created the pendant that held some of her power, the glow revealed the face of a “beautiful, willful young woman, with hints of a long-borne pain.”Mystra’s avatar at the time was a slim, young girl named Caitlan Moonsong who had a graceful bearing, large, dark eyes and short-cropped blond hair. Caitlan went barefoot and wore plain ankle-length robes of a dark hue. When possessed by Mystra, she appeared taller and her hair moved as if it were alive.
This incarnation of the Mother of All Magic was quite the opposite of her predecessor, Mystryl. Whereas Mystryl was quixotic and quick to change, Mystra was said to be a manifestation of the Cosmic Balance—maintaining order in the world of magic by correcting great inequalities if things went askew. Indeed, in the wake of the Fall of Netheril, one of her first acts as the Lady of Spells was to ban the use of all the greater magics of the Netheril Magi. Among sages and historians this was known as Mystra’s Ban. She was not as concerned with the ethics of Good versus Evil as long as the laws of magic were upheld.
Early in Mystra’s tenure, she chose a champion, called the Magister, to wander the Realms, applying the Art as he or she saw fit, choosing enemies that would bring glory to the title. She fully expected that her representative would be challenged and eventually defeated by other mages, only to be replaced by another spellcaster worthy of the office. It was her belief that in this way the Art would be strengthened and improved through conflict and adversity.
Moments after the Fall of Netheril, a peasant girl with rudimentary magical training but an aptitude for spells became the new Goddess of Magic and managed to catch three of Netheril’s floating cities as they plummeted, bringing them to rest on the ground and saving thousands of her people. Being of a more lawful disposition than her predecessor, she laid down new rules for all spellcasters, banning the most arcane spells of the Netheril, limiting who had access to magic, limiting how many spells of each mage could hold in their mind, increasing the time it took to cast spells, and forcing long periods of memorization or prayer each day to replace spells cast previously. These changes in the flow and practice of magic led to the ancient Arcanists being called wizards.
Little is known of the acts of the Lady of Mysteries except through the words and works of her church and her Chosen.