- You may be looking for a different Pythia.
The Pythia was the matriarchal leader of Gallifrey and the Gallifreyan Empire in the age before to Rassilon. The Pythias possessed precognition and other powerful psychic powers. Under the rule of the Pythia, Gallifrey was governed by mystery and superstition, which later histories contrasted with the reason and science that followed in the Rassilon Era. The war between Rassilon and the female priesthood of the Pythia led to the Great Schism.
The epiphany scrolls of Soneuramos were entrusted to the 217th Pythia in the sacred firelake of Rag-Finish.
Near the end of her reign, the 508th Pythia was unable to see into the future. She recruited Vael, a Gallifreyan skilled in psychic powers, as her successor and spy on Rassilon and his Neo-Technologists. As the Pythia awaited Vael's return, she was visited and taunted by Rassilon, who predicted an end to her empire of superstition. When she could no longer see the future clearly, she retreated into a world of her own, waiting for Vael to return; however, as she withdrew from public life, support for Rassilon and his followers grew. The Pythia sent her loyal followers to steal the eye of a Sphinx, a foreseer killed by the hero Prydonius, in the hope that it would restore her power to see the future. Desperate to find Vael, she gouged out her own eye and put that of the Sphinx in its place. The Pythia invaded Vael's mind, demanding to know what was happening with him, but he resisted her. The Seventh Doctor sensed someone looking out at him from Vael's mind. Despite the risk, he agreed to an exchange of questions and learned that he was speaking to the Pythia, matriarch of Gallifrey, and was forced to tell her that she would be the last of her kind.
Pythia sent her followers to the planet Karn, issued her curse of sterility, and threw herself into an abyss below her temple. Her followers would adopt the title of the Sisterhood of Karn. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible)
The Sisterhood of Karn and Lady Peinforte possessed the remnants of the Pythia's power, (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) and Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart would dream of her, as the Pythia's curse sent massive repercussions through the meta-reality of the space-time continuum. (PROSE: Transit)
In a parallel universe where the Doctor never left Gallifrey, through the Possibility Tree he could see a Gallifrey where "sorcery ruled instead of science", implying a world in which Pythia's rule never ended. (AUDIO: Auld Mortality)
Behind the scenes
- DWM 299 contained a "Gallifreyan panorama" illustrated by Robin Smith. It featured images of Pythia, Rassilon, and Omega in the foreground with Bowships, Great Vampires, and a domed city in the background.
- Lance Parkin's Executive Action, published in the 2001 charity anthology Walking in Eternity, further clarified the conflict between the Womb-born and the Loomed Time Lords seen in Cold Fusion and mentioned in The Infinity Doctors, strongly implying that Rassilon merely used the Pythia's curse to force societal change upon the Gallifreyans.