Hopefully part 1 of a series! For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to explore the, er, dead girlfriends (/wives/mothers) of FFVI in more depth - putting to paper my own ideas for designs and skills and such. So let’s start with the one we know least about - Relm’s mother! Rambling headcanons to follow.
She has no name in canon, and only briefly appears in one of Shadow’s dreams. Not much to work with, right? But I think the very fact she IS so invisible is telling of her relationship with Clyde: that it was superficial at best, and unhappy at worst. Through his dreams, it becomes apparent that Shadow’s entire being has been shaped by Baram, and that his fling with a woman from Thamasa was a distraction-turned-mistake. More than a decade later, he is still haunted by Baram’s memory, yet thinks almost nothing of the woman with whom he sired a daughter; and even upon their reunion, never indicates he has any feelings of love or obligation towards Relm. She was nearly nothing to him - or, he refused to allow her to become important to him, after all he went through with Baram.
But at the same time, perhaps Clyde was nothing to her, either. In a town full of xenophobes, she alone welcomed a stranger, convinced him to stay. She tired of the monotony, didn’t relate well to her neighbors - and so latched on to the first distraction that came her way. The unplanned pregnancy lifted the veils from their eyes, and their resentment for each other grew steadily until the end. Her death, only a few months after Relm’s birth, Clyde suspected was self-inflicted, and he remained in Thamasa in great part only to dissuade accusations of his guilt in the matter. But he could only mask his depression for so long - and when the fear grew too strong that he’d follow her to the grave, he, too, abandoned their daughter.
I’ve depicted Relm’s mother as a Geomancer (making several nods to the Geomancer designs in FFIII & Tactics!) - further headcanon being that all the magis’ power is object-based. Perhaps something that resulted from centuries of evolution, the magi of Thamasa cannot innately cast the more abstract Esper-type magic, but instead must draw their powers from an external force. Strago mimics monsters; Relm manipulates her artwork. Relm’s mother formed a connection with the earth, and indeed, had always felt more at peace alone in the woods, or following a stream, than she did around other people.
I’ve been calling her Ayala, a Hebrew name meaning “doe.”
If anyone has formed other headcanons for Relm’s mother, I’d love to hear them!