Huge thanks to manfred, without whom Nartine would never have existed.
Nartine is a celebrity, but not the kind that one would care to meet. She’s an elderly woman with waist-length white hair who dresses in sun-bleached rags. Known as “the stubborn,” she earned this moniker because she has an annoying habit of being in the way and refusing to move. No amount of persuasion does any good; she’ll move when she’s ready and not a moment sooner. Attempting to move her by force inevitably fails as well. An effort to strike her is always interrupted by thoughts of some more pressing task one had forgotten up to that moment. Trying to run her over with a carriage results in a horse tripping and breaking leg or a wheel flying suddenly from its axle. It is said that the king himself was forced to wait several hours to enter the city when she decided to take a quick nap at the gate. Those who have tried extreme methods of removing her have met gruesome fates or were simply caught up doing other things until they forgot all about her.
If one asks her why she’s such a nuisance, she responds by saying something like, “I’m not trying block your path, I just need to rest these swollen ankles. Surely you can spare a few minutes for the sake of this frail, old woman.” Nartine does not remember anything from her past beyond her name. She is equally unable to form new memories, forgetting every chat shortly after talking. Sometimes she’ll say things out of the blue that foreshadow later events. Folks have learned to avoid her as a curse or simply an ill omen.
The truth of her origins are much stranger than this, however. She is the half-finished avatar of a god, a very old one named Mathom, who holds dominion over delay. This power lies mostly dormant in the immortal Nartine, and, unless she is confronted with the truth of her origin, will remain so. Mathom simply didn't get around to instilling her with self-knowledge. Knowledge of Mathom and her connection to him requires a Religion check. This check can be reduced through research conducted at a large library, some books in which mention the god and his prayer manual in a couple of footnotes. It can be reduced further by finding a copy of the book mentioned in those footnotes, “Ye Boke of Ye Blessynges of Mathom.”
Once awakened to her true identity, Nartine feels a new sense of purpose, and resolves to leave the city to put an end to all wrongs in the world with her divinely granted abilites. She does not ever actually get around to doing this, however, and continues to cause gridlock wherever she decides to sit. The one positive from this development is that, should the city itself be threatened, she will not hesitate (well, she’ll probably hesitate a little) to block the gates and defend it with her unique powers.
Nartine is the ultimate roadblock! Have her block a path you don't want PCs traveling down, an enemy your PC's aren't ready to face, and generally delay anything that needs delaying for plot reasons. You decide!
Sow seeds of her mystical nature in the PCs' minds and they might investigate her origins and help her unlock her true powers. She makes a great ally when she gets around to helping!
To expand on the previous hook, perhaps there is a world-ending cataclysm on the horizon and an oracle has a vison which leads the PCs to look for the Avatar of Mathom. Though she is certainly capable of such a feat, she probably isn't what the PCs will be looking for...