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Paola Santiago.jpg Not part of Riordanverse

The following article/section is from the Paola Santiago continuity under Rick Riordan Presents and not the Riordanverse canon.

My daughter. Lo siento mi hija. Fue solo porque te amo.

–La Llorona telling her daughter she only did what she did because she loved her in Paola Santiago and the River of Tears.

La Llorona, also known as the White Lady, is the main antagonist of Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, and is a modern legend and the ghost of a woman found in Mexican myths and stories. She cries for her lost children by the riverside at night and is said to cause misfortune to anyone who hears her wails. She is known to kidnap children and take them away, never to be seen again. There are many versions of her all around the world.



Once, in a small village in Mexico, there lived the most beautiful woman in the world. She was young, tall and slim with long and silky dark hair and sparkling eyes. Every man within Mexico's borders wanted to marry her, but she never had time to get to know any of them due to her having to work all day to feed her parents. Her father would always ask her the same thing her every time she arrived home from a long day working in the fields: "Oh, hija. Why can't you marry a handsome and rich man so that we can stabilize ourselves?" But the lady thought she'd never find a man who would ever compare to her beauty.

The Flag of Mexico, the country that the legend of La Llorana originates from.

Until one day, a handsome stranger came riding into the village looking for shelter. The lady immediately fell in love with this stranger and, just like every man that came before him, so did the stranger. The beautiful woman married the handsome man the next morning to the delight of her parents, and for many years the couple was happily married. Eventually, the woman gave birth to two young boys who shared their mother's beauty and the man continued to love his wife unconditionally. He visited his family every evening and gave them expensive gifts and clothes to satisfy them. 

However, as years past, the age of the beautiful woman began to show. Her body was unable to produce more children for the man and her bones turned weak and brittle. Her wrinkles covered her whole face and her cheeks sagged low. Her eyes lost their natural sparkle and her silky hair turned dull and grey. Over time, the village men lost interest in her and began to seek others to romanticize with. The woman's husband turned away from his wife and began to have several affairs with other younger and prettier women. He became tired of her old age and spent all his days away from his home, much to the disappointment of his wife. Crying over the loss of her beauty, she would ask herself what she has done wrong.

One day, the woman was walking with her two sons alongside the village river when the husband's carriage appeared next to them. The woman smiled, thinking her husband had come back to visit them and rushed her sons over to greet their father. But instead, the carriage door opened to reveal that the husband had remarried a younger woman without the wife's knowledge. He brought his new wife out of the carriage and took her for a walk along the river, totally ignoring the woman and his children. The woman shook with rage thinking about how he did this to her after all she'd done for him. In her anger, she threw her two sons into the river, hoping that she would never see them again. When she came to her senses a few seconds later, she realized the sin that she had committed and jumped into the river herself, hoping that her dead body would eventually meet her sons. To this day, La Llorona searches by the riverside for her sons and it is said that if you hear her wails and cries and do not help her, she will haunt you and your children and all your descendants and curse your family with bad luck for eternity. If you do help her, however, she will think you are one of her sons and take you away on the rush of the river, never to be seen again.  

In Series

Her back story is similar to the legend, with the exception of having three children rather then two. She was not married to her husband as in the legend, nevertheless he called their children a sin and he walked out on them. In a fit of rage she drowned her three children- Beto, Ondina, and Luis, in the river before killing herself in remorse. One day she encouraged Franco, the leader of the Niños de la Luz, who banished her to The Rift. This only resulted in La Llorona gaining more power and, after being driven insane by the energy of the rift, she become the ruler of the rift. She found a way she thought would bring her children back to life by draining the life force of those who are the most similar to them. However she lost Luis on one try and Beto walked out on her for killing others to restore his life.

Paola Santiago series

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

When in The Rift, Paola Santiago makes her way to the top of her palace and she scolds Ondina for letting the girl get this far. When Pao comes face to face with her she tries to get the weeping woman to release her daughter. However she flies in to a fit of rage at the mention of her children, blaming her lover for their death and attacking Pao until she passes out. When Pao wakes up in a ceremonial chamber, she reveals that she plans on usual her, Franco, Emma Lockwood, and Dante Mata to resurrect Ondina, something she believes her daughter wants. She goes to start the ceremony, but is attacked by Bruto. When she forces the chupacabra off of her, Pao attacks. Before she can retaliate her daughter arrives and tells her to stop. She says it is to last as Pao distracts her and her daughter tries to stop the ritual. However she catches up to Ondina and watches as her daughter takes in the energy from the orb. Later the captives are freed and Pao smashes the now powerless orb. When the cave starts to collapse it stalls as it can only continue if she gives up. Her daughter convinces her to abandon her goals and the two finally move on.

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares

The Weeping Woman is mentioned when Paola thinks about meeting her over the summer and upon learn she is her granddaughter.


La Llorona has a thin figure with long black hair and bloodstained arms from her elbows to her hands. She wears a white dress.

After ending up in the rift, she became more corpse like what waxy skin, an unnaturally large mouth, lifeless eyes that glow green, and wore a dress of water plants and rocks.


Ll Llorona is haunted by her children’s deaths, but oblivious to the fact that she killed them. Whenever she does acknowledge her hand in their deaths, she claims it was a mercy killing to protect them from the shame of living with an unwed mother. She spends her time mourning their deaths and flies into fits of rage whenever someone mentions that she killed them.


  • Mégethoskinesis: La Llorona can change her size.
  • Dimensiokinesis: She can control The Rift and the creatures within it.
  • Hydrokinesis: La Lorona is able to control water.
  • Resurrection: La Llorona is able to resurrect those she chooses by taking the life force of others.


  • La Llorona's name translates into 'The Weeping Woman'.
  • La Llorona stories are common in areas with high populations of mountain lions, whose mating calls sound like women's screams. 
  • She is one of many 'white ladies' in modern myths around the globe. Another example of a white lady is 'The White Lady Of Balete Drive' in Tagalog mythology. The roots of the Filipino white lady may come from Mexico.
Paola Santiago series
Books: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears | Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares | Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows
Main Characters: Paola Santiago | Dante Mata | Bruto | Naomi
Secondary Characters: Maria Santiago | Marisa Martínez | Ondina | Carmela Mata | Beto | Emma Lockwood | Joaquín
Minor Characters: Sal | Franco | Aaron | Johnny
Mythical Creatures: Chupacabra | La Llorona | Ahogada | La Mano Panchona | Lechuza | Duendecillos | Cadejo | The Hitchhiker | El Cucuy
Related Content: Tehlor Kay Mejia | Rick Riordan Presents | Bruto and the Freaky Flower | Disney+ series