The Summer Heroes
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Despair, mental/emotional trauma, nightmares [limited], insanity
Sometimes Called: “The Anguish-Bringer”; “Maiden of Misery”; “Mistress of the Mindscape”
Mahra’s depictions vary, partially as the result of her lack of an organized priesthood/religion, which prevents standardization of her imagery. When she is depicted, it is frequently as a translucent woman in flowing robes, usually with an elaborate chalice. The chalice is usually shown as being filled with the life force of a living being, usually with a corpse nearby to indicate a recent—and deliberate—death.
Mahra should not be confused with Viatica, the Tortured Goddess, as Viatica’s suffering has a redemptive purpose. Mahra, rather, thrives on despair and mental/emotional trauma, sustaining her divine existence through the anguish and misery of others. In her role as the Anguish-Bringer, Mahra rules the domain of anguish/despair, mental/emotional trauma, and, to a limited extent, the realm of nightmares. Mahra’s domains are strictly circumscribed by other gods who rule similar domains, and so Mahra actually exercises less control over her portfolio than most mortals believe, instead using it as a source of divine sustenance.
Mahra’s need to sustain her existence through the despair and trauma of mortals is derived from her origin as the Dark God’s daughter. The Dark God raped a mortal elven woman (whose name has been long forgotten), who gave birth to Mahra. His new daughter contained in her a divine spark because of her father, but the Dark God cast her aside, uninterested in his offspring. Mahra’s mother died and the rest of her mortal life is relatively unclear; her divine spark allowed her to develop tremendous power, and she eventually tore through the gates of her father’s domain and demanded that he accept her and give her a portfolio of her own to rule. Un-amused, the Dark God tore the spark from Mahra’s soul and cast her out of his plane.
The event seems to have twisted Mahra, as the removal of the divine spark traumatized her existence and turned her from a powerful—albeit evil—sorceress into the nascent form of what she is today. From there, Mahra began to fade from the world and apparently discovered her ability to connect with— and feed upon— those whose minds had been weakened by emotional trauma. As she fed, her power grew, and Mahra constructed what she calls the Mindscape (but which is also variously called the Plane of Psychosis or the Horrorscape), a plane where she could dwell and imprison the minds/souls of mortals to power her existence.
Mahra soon began to invade the Dreamscape, leveraging nightmares to generate horror, despair, anguish, and other kinds of emotional trauma in mortals and thereby create new sources of power. The guardians of the Dreamscape, the archons known as the Dreamguides, pushed back against this invasion and requested the assistance of Viatica and the Dark God to limit Mahra’s incursion. Despite their radically-different alignments, the Dark God and Viatica cooperated to stem Mahra’s takeover of the Dreamscape and to limit her to the small domains she had already claimed. In this sense, Mahra’s powers have been strictly limited and her domains are perhaps more narrowly-defined than any other god’s. She retains her ability to draw souls from the mortal world if they have been traumatized, but otherwise the Mindscape is essentially sealed off from the rest of the universe.
Mahra lacks an organized priesthood partially because of the limited nature of her domains, and because she clings to her power as she needs it for sustainment and delegating it out—as other gods do—would diminish her considerably. On top of this, Mahra’s domains do not lend themselves to mass worship (even evil creatures don’t want to lose their minds), and those few mortals who have sought her out as a patron have been promptly driven insane.