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Pillars of Eternity Wiki

Grieving Mother is a female Cipher. She is one of the possible companions in Pillars of Eternity. She can be found and recruited in the southeast corner of Dyrford Village.

Background[ | ]

Items in italics are quoted directly from the game.

This middle-aged peasant woman is dressed in a brown leather cloth draped down to her knees. Her hands are working at separating stringy, colorless vegetables in a pile before her, stripping the heads off the long fibrous stems with a paring knife.

She discards the stems one by one, placing the heads of the vegetables into a small cradle-like basket in front of her. She doesn't greet you as you approach. You're not sure she even knows you're there.

"Excuse me?"

The woman doesn't respond, she keeps stripping the heads from the vegetables with a steady rhythm. She may be deaf - there's no indication she heard you.

At first glance, she seems nothing more than a middle-aged woman, unremarkable, maybe less stern than most, who seems more focused on the weaving in her lap than her surroundings... yet you suddenly notice she's not stripping the vegetables before her any longer, she's weaving... and the vegetable pots are now missing.

She still pays you no mind, her brown locks torn and snagged from lack of washing, like many of the townsfolk you've seen. There is a strange blur to her... even the motions of her hands seem to be playing with threads that lack color... in a shape that lacks interest.

It may be that she is half-minded... or deaf... but something feels wrong. As you watch, her knitting takes on an odd cadence, and you have a terrible suspicion that something lurks beneath what your eyes are showing you.

"Grieving Mother" is a seemingly middle-aged woman with brown hair.[1] Beyond that, little information is immediately given to the player. Additional insight into her backstory is provided through her companion quest and dialog as the story progresses.

Identity[ | ]

Upon first meeting Grieving Mother, she remarks that the Watcher is the first to truly see her as she is. Using her skills as a powerful cipher, she is able to hide her identity from others. She refers to this as creating a caul for herself, a cloak that allows her to appear as an easily forgettable peasant.[2] None of the Watcher's other companions see though this illusion.[3][4][5]

Her true name is never revealed. "Grieving Mother" is a title the Watcher unconsciously gives her.[6]

Much of her own history is initially forgotten to her. Sometime prior to arriving in Dyrford she acted as a midwife to a small village located in Dyrwood Forest.[7] She would assist expectant and birthing mothers at "the birthing bell", a plateau of adra with a bell cradled in an arm of stone. The structure had once been abandoned by the Glanfathan and Grieving Mother took it as her own.[8]

Even though she was not one, she became known as a Watcher due to her "tellings" of children's souls.[9] In truth, Grieving Mother would shape the minds of the children and their mothers through her cipher abilities. She based her tellings on the thoughts of the mother[10] and continued to shape their expectations and the child's mind over time.[11]

Hollowborn Crisis[ | ]

Grieving Mother's village was isolated and word of Waidwen's Legacy was slow to reach them. Fearing that she was at fault, or would be blamed for the hollowborn births or that the parents would kill the children,[12] Grieving Mother used her cipher abilities to make parents believe their children were healthy.[13]

Eventually, Grieving Mother focused too greatly on maintaining the lies and succumbed to the power of her own illusions. One morning a mother was found dead, "her mind so focused on the care of her Hollowborn child that she'd neglected even to feed herself". This broke the illusion she held over the town and caused her to flee.[14]

Interactions[ | ]

Icon head
This character is a party member.
Icon parchment
This character starts quests.

Dream and Memory

Companion[ | ]

Companion quest[ | ]

  • Dream and Memory: Grieving Mother is in a state of deep mourning from Waidwen's Legacy. Her quest starts when you meet her. It is entirely resolved through dialogue, some of which is only available after later acts.

Endings[ | ]

Grieving Mother's ending slides are dependent on two events:

  • Successfully guiding her through Dream and Memory.
  • Choosing to either wipe her memory or not. She will request this after completing her quest and resting at least 2 times.

Statistics[ | ]

Bonuses[ | ]




Initial points[ | ]

Grieving Mother's initial skill, talent, and ability distribution depends on the level of the Watcher when she is first added to the party, but only if the "Auto Level Companions" option is checked in the difficulty settings.

With auto-levelling enabled, companions will be levelled following a preset point distribution. The player is still free to distribute points into whatever skills, abilities, and talents they desire when a companion levels up, and they may be completely retrained at an inn. Grieving Mother always starts at a minimum of level 2 (the stats above are before she joins the party).

With auto-levelling disabled, companions are not levelled, and the player may choose their own point distribution. Grieving Mother starts at level 1 with the requisite experience to level her up to the current player level or level 2, whichever is higher.

Level Skills Abilities Talents
1 Whisper of Treason
Mind Wave
2 4 0 2 1 1 Eyestrike Draining Whip
3 4 2 2 1 1 Mind Blades
Phantom Foes
4 6 2 2 1 1 Recall Agony Biting Whip
5 7 2 2 1 1 Puppet Master
Soul Ignition
6 7 2 2 1 4 Fractured Volition Greater Focus
7 7 2 2 1 4 Pain Block
Silent Scream
8 8 2 2 1 4 Mind Lance Mental Fortress
9 9 2 2 1 4 Ringleader
Tactical Meld
10 9 2 2 1 4 Detonate Graceful Retreat
11 10 2 2 1 4 Amplified Wave
Mind Plague
12 10 2 2 1 4 Disintegration Bloody Slaughter
13 11 2 2 1 4 Stasis Shell
Time Parasite
14 12 2 2 1 4 Wild Leech Psychic Backlash
15 12 2 2 1 4 Defensive Mindweb
Reaping Knives
16 13 3 2 1 4 Going Between Brutal Backlash

Behind the scenes[ | ]

  • Grieving Mother was written by Chris Avellone.[15]
  • She was voiced by actor Tara Platt, who also provided sounds for the female player character.[16]
  • Before PoE 1.03, Grieving Mother had the following Attributes: Mig: 11 Con: 12 Dex: 16 Per: 17 Int: 12 Res: 10.
  • Durance and Grieving Mother originally had intersecting backstories, but it didn't make it to the final game.[17]


  1. "Player's observation from first dialog, "At first glance, she seems nothing more than a middle-aged woman, unremarkable, maybe less stern than most".
  2. GM's own words from first dialog: "My face... is like the caul of a newborn, hiding the face beneath, and for my body... I am able to wrap myself as a mother cradling her child. I am here, as you see me, but to them, their eyes see only the cloak that I wear, a peasant mother, dirty, shabby, not worth knowing."
  3. Hiravis almost notices her during one companion banter: ""Well I was wondering how long you've been... oh forget it. Probably no big deal.""
  4. Edér refers to her as "nice stranger lady" during Fragments of a Scattered Faith
  5. If GM leaves the party, Hiravias will comment: "Oh... right... the peasant woman that's been traveling with us?"
  6. When asked why she has her name, GM says: ""That is a question for you, not I. That is not my name, although if you wish to hang the title on me, I cannot stop you. Is that what you see when your eyes fall upon me?" and "As a Watcher, you may see what I do not. Or your mind shapes the thoughts I project into a new meaning...there is truth in that title, but it is not all I am."
  7. GM later describes this location: "The Birthing Bell lies deep in the great forests of the Dyrwood, at the borders of Glanfathan lands. Surrounding it... barely a town, not one you would find on any map."
  8. GM's words about The Birthing Bell: "In distant times, the great bell served as a Glanfathan... watchtower, perhaps. Why they abandoned it, I do not know. Other men came in time, settlers... and claimed the tower as their own. I, in turn, claimed it from them. The pillar became a cradle where I could draw new souls into the world."
  9. GM's own words: "I was something else, but because the title 'Watcher' was cast on me, the word carried a weight I had neither earned nor deserved."
  10. GM's own words: "I... drew upon the present. I felt the soul of the mother before me and used that to tell the child's path, to give it a voice."
  11. GM's own words: "...futures fulfilled by one's own spirit are as strong as anything seen by another's eyes. And if one draws from the emotion of the mother... It... matters only when harm is done." and "And their lives I knew well. I could weave their lives, their thoughts over time - to the mother, to the child - and once the child had been born, was sheltered... I could relax the threads of thought until the child could stand on its own."
  12. GM gives all these reasons for her actions: "I could not understand what had happened. What I might have done. I feared I... no. I could not dwell on that thought." and "Little word of the outside world reached us. It was enough time for rage and pain and grief to guide hands... I feared what would happen to the children... what would happen to me..."
  13. GM admits her actions: I made her care for it. I made them all care for it... until I could find what I had... what had gone wrong.
  14. GM on her illusion breaking: '"I... held their minds within mine. I shaped and guided them as long as I could. And with each passing day, each new birth, the strain grew. And the more I felt my control slipping, the more I focused my thoughts. Eventually, even I succumbed to the power of my own illusion. I'd woven the threads so tightly that I could no longer see through them." and "then one morning, I heard funeral bells tolling in the village. The sounds of wailing rose through the mists. A mother had died, her mind so focused on the care of her Hollowborn child that she'd neglected even to feed herself. And with that, the illusion broke."
  15. http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/74557-companions-who-wrote-what/#entry1622138
  16. Behind the Voice Actors
  17. https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/78683-cut-content-durance-and-grieving-mother