Witches Of The Mist: The Nightsisters Explained
The TV show The Clone Wars not only filled in gaps of the story during the prequel era, but also introduced us to a whole host of new and interesting characters, races, and planets. One of the most intriguing additions to the galaxy far, far away, were the Nightsisters. Despite first actually appearing in some novels from the Expanded Universe, now Legends, the show was the first to bring them to establish them on the screen. We learn that they inhabit the planet Dathomir, a place brimming with dark energy, and how they are able to harness energy to perform impressive feats with magic. Two very popular characters from the franchise, Darth Maul and Asajj Ventress, both hail from this planet. But by the time we meet the Nightsisters, they are an established cult so not much information is given with regards to their history and a lot of fans have expressed interest in learning me about them. So today, that's exactly what we are going to do.
According to legend, the first Nightsisters were actually trained in the ways of the Force by a Jedi named Allya, who was exiled on Dathomir by the Jedi Order. However, this is not the only origin story for them. Whilst Allya is credited with writing the Book of Law, their Holy text, the Nightsisters themselves have given contradicting stories of their past, meaning very few know the truth. It's also interesting to add that, according to the Jedi Archives, there is no record of an exile named Allya.
With there being no definitive backstory, it's up for speculation, but it's likely the first inhabitants were able to tap into the planets dark energy and over time learned how to properly use it, granting them with what they called "Magick."
Magic isn't the only tool in their arsenal, though, as many of the Nightsisters equip an energy bow (not unlike the one Omega from The Bad Batch uses). When they are invaded by the Fromprath, a reptilian species who sought to exploit the natural resources of the planet, the coven formed a symbiotic alliance with the Rancors who also lived on the planet. Mounting them in combat, they successfully drove the Fromprath away, but made advancements to their weapons for fear of further invasions by more technologically advanced invaders. Come the time of the High Republic Era, they also began using lightwhips, a weapon predominantly used by Jedi.
Despite having other weapons, it is their ability to use magick which makes them stand out from other characters we've seen so far. Magick users would tap into the magical ichor flowing from the planet's depths, and some of them could achieve pretty impressive feats with it. The most powerful of sisters could create objects out of thin air, transform people into ghostly versions of their true selves, and even reanimate the dead. Although close in nature to the Sith, with the fact that they also tapped into the dark side of the Force, they did not associate themselves with them, due to having different ambitions and beliefs.
It was no easy feat to actually become part of the coven, as initiates would need to take part in a special ritual before being able to join. They would need to use the dark side of the Force to subdue a powerful, strong-willed creature lurking within the depths of pools in the village known as the 'Sleeper' and return with part of it's body. The body piece would be converted into the "Water of Life," a component of Nightsister magicks and the initiate would be welcomed into the clan. Those who gave into their fear however, would be dragged into the depths of the pools and killed. This helped to ensure only the strongest of individuals joined their ranks, strengthening the collective overall.
Rituals formed the very heart of the cult, from the initiation described above as well as for funerals for fallen sisters. Their dead would be mummified and placed inside pods of animal skin. These burial cocoons would then be hung upon structures made of branches, bones, animal skin and shells. This mimicked the plant life found on Dathomir, mainly crooked trees with large, cocoon-like fruits hanging from them. Those who have played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will have a nice picture in their mind.
Due to their rituals being specific to their home planet and their power being strongest there, the Nightsisters very rarely ventured off-world. That is until a sister named Talzin became Mother of the clan. She came into contact with Darth Sidious and sought to become his apprentice, with the goal of learning more of the dark side to merge with her magick, making herself an extremely powerful being.
Unfortunately for her, Sidious considered her son to have more potential and takes him instead as an apprentice. Whilst Mother Talzin would seem to hold no contempt for her son, she hated Sidious for refusing her, and it would be this attempt at an alliance which would lead to their eventual downfall.
The son taken in Talzin's place was none other than Maul. As we mentioned previously, he came from the same planet as the Nightsisters. However, he lived separately with the males. Due to the cult being made up of powerful women, the sisters treated men as inferior beings, used mainly for breeding and as warriors. Another male would be taken by Count Dooku as an apprentice, during The Clone Wars TV show, named Savage Opress. After Maul is found to be alive however, the two brothers would form an alliance. Sadly, their power grew to be too great a threat to Sidious, and so he himself faced them both and killed Opress.
With vengeance against Sidious and Dooku fueling Mother Talzin and Ventress, they found themselves the target of extinction. Talzin and the vast majority of the Nightsisters were wiped out by both Dooku and General Grievous. Only a very small few remained, for example the character Merrin who appears in Fallen Order, which led to the Nightbrothers (the males) taking control of the planet. This would not be the complete end of their story, as the Nightsisers would show up once again in the TV show Rebels. They were summoned by Maul and Ezra Bridger to brake their Force-bond. Unfortunately, their help came at a price. With a demand for payment in flesh and blood, they possessed Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren. However, Ezra was able to destroy an altar serving as the source of their powers.
As villains, the Nightsisters made for an extremely formidable foe. However, up to now, we've sadly mainly seen the onscreen ones in the moments leading up to their demise. With the plethora of new Star Wars content on the horizon, it remains to be seen if they will make the jump from animated show or video game, to live-action. There are plenty of opportunities for them to show up in canon again, perhaps even earlier in their history when they were secluded and at their most powerful.
Written By Jordan McGlinchey
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