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Empress Tylari IIIby Rodger Burns
Just a bit of stuff I rolled around in my head about Tylari III - former Empress of Alphatia prior to Tylion IV. According to Tylion's write-up in DotE, she ruled Alphatia until about AC 920 and then abdicated to pursue Immortality. At which point she promptly disappeared from all notice. So what happened to her?
First, a few speculative conclusions. There are several ways to achieve Immortality, but most don't fit what's happened. Becoming a Paragon (Immortality through demonstrated mastery of mortal magic) doesn't really fit with abdicating the throne of the most powerful wizardly empire on Mystara; becoming a Dynast (Immortality through creating and preserving a great kingdom) definitely doesn't fit here. And the path of the Epic Hero (Immortality through spectacular and legendary deeds) is hard to reconcile with the whole "disappeared and was never heard from again" bit. So it seems likely that Tylari embarked on the path of the Polymath - Immortality through breadth of experience.
Whatever the nature of Tylari's quest, she likely hasn't completed it yet. No new Immortal closely linked to Alphatian affairs has appeared recently, in any case. This isn't too surprising - questing for Immortality is a dangerous and uncertain business (and especially so for prospective Polymaths, as they give up all their past power and experience to reincarnate in the form of some different being). Tylari may have failed in her quest completely.
So much for speculation - now on to conjecture and wild storytelling. Tylari did travel on the Path of the Polymath, with Djaea as her sponsor; she was reincarnated first as a cleric in the city-states south of Hule, and then as a thief in the Milosian culture of Davania. Here, disaster struck - Tylari was attacked by, and transformed into, a vampire.
The corrupted Tylari soon came to the attention of the Immortal Nyx, special patron of the undead, who recognized the former Empress and decided to pursue a little experiment. Nyx encouraged Tylari into continuing on her pursuit of the Polymath - but with a twist. Each of Tylari's personalities was to seek power and experience not in life, but in undeath - as a vampiric thief, as a wraith fighter, and in her earlier cleric persona as a mummy. In each incarnation, Tylari sought the Eye of the New Moon, a powerful Entropic artifact, and fought the foes of Nyx and the undead.
Tylari's two original incarnations had been spread across nearly thirty years of experiences; Nyx has spent another fifty years shepherding her charge, and is almost ready to introduce Tylari to her final trial. Exactly what form the undead Tylari will take is uncertain, but will likely be completely unique. Djaea hates what has been done to her former charge, and has attempted to send agents to redeem or destroy Tylari, but none of these attempts have succeeded. Whether she'll take more drastic measures as the undead Tylari moves ever closer to Immortality remains to be seen.