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Every Ceph you ever met was once a person, before they met him. He made them all. For them. For the Orokin. As a punishment that would never end.
~ Nora Night describing Glassmaker's true identity.

Nihil, or better known under the nickname "Glassmaker", is a minor yet pivotal antagonist in the MMO third person shooter Warframe. He acts as the titular antagonist of the third Nightwave series.

He is a mysterious Cephalon responsible for turning people across the Origin System into glass, occasionally opening rifts that turn nearby creatures into "Cephalite" minions to attack and stop the Tenno from interfering in his work.

Nihil was once a member of the Council of Seven, the judicial body in the Orokin Empire, and the creator of the Cephalons, AI servants made from the minds and personalities of living people.

He is voiced by Ryan Laughton.

Appearance

As a Cephalon, Nihil possesses no physical form and resides wholly within the Cephalon Weave. While most Cephalons are usually represented by geometrical constructs that they also tend to use as their symbols, Nihil retains his Orokin appearance.

As an Orokin like Ballas, Nihil has grey-ish blue skin with his right arm also being significantly longer and thinner than his left. He wears an elegant, brown toga adorned with gold and draped over his shoulder and waist, floating shoulder guards made of black pentagons, a golden headpiece and a necklace made of several golden stripes and chains.

Personality

As a former Orokin judge, Nihil is a devoted follower of their ancient laws. He judges his victims based on transgressions against the laws of the long dead empire, regardless of whether their intentions were noble or selfish. By his own admission, he finds chaos to be unsettling and as Episode 3 reveals, considers it a disease that spreads if people aren't vigilant enough. To keep order intact, he turns those who stray from their respective society's established way of living into glass, to serve as his agents of order and as eternal reminders to vigilance.

While Nihil's warped view of justice makes it nearly impossible to escape his judgement unharmed, he did consider letting a former Solaris United resistance member called Cutter go since, unlike the others, Cutter never really belonged to his people and was loyal to his "nation of one". It was only when he begged for his life that Nihil decided that he was not worth being spared.

At the same time, Nihil clearly enjoys the suffering that his punishment brings upon his victims, even taking the time to taunt Nora Night over her fear of him when she was a child. When finally arriving at his lair, Nihil laments that the oubliettes in his chamber are broken and silent, as he considered their singing to be soothing. Said singing was actually the collective screams of his victims, with him gleefully looking forward to making a new chorus of filled containers.

Biography

Episode 1: The Glassmaker Emerges

Fine. You talk to daffy old Shigg. If you favor the opinions of the low. Of criminals. The depraved.
~ Nihil on Shigg.

The Glassmaker first made his presence known to the Origin System with his murder of Shigg, an Ostron from the village Cetus on Earth, turning him into a glass statue with an expression of abstract agony. Nightwave host Nora Night managed to secure a digital copy of the crime-scene and gave the Tenno access to figure out who the Glassmaker is and what he is planning.

Shigg was one of the Ostrons partaking in the harvest of the Orokin tower that lends them protection and their resources, but secretly took some for himself to sell on the black market. A friend of his eventually noticed and called him out on it, reminding him that he had been sharing everything he had with Shigg since they were kids and that he should come clean to village chief Konzu. The Glassmaker got to him first. After investigating the crime-scene and using "Cephalite Resonances" collected from his minions on the field on the glass corpse, the Tenno are able to enter the Glassmaker's datascape, a Cephalon's personal domain. Glassmaker explains that he punished Shigg for betraying his own, calling him a "vile necrocapitalist" in clear violation of the 401st and 632nd legem. Something Nora Night found odd, since "legem" is the Orokin word for law.

Episode 2: Corpus Crystal

Vondu here was... was selfless. Look at the chaos that spewed from that. Broken laws, black marketeering, a broken-hearted mother and a collapsed family empire.
~ Nihil on Vondu.

Glassmaker later claimed another victim, a Corpus crewman called Bak Vondu. Vondu was one of Shigg's customers, but found himself under suspicion when Shigg tried to sell to too many customers at once. Evidence collected at the crime-scene showed that Vondu was uncharacteristically altruistic for a Corpus, and had been helping refugees and debt-slaves in secret. Back in the datascape, Glassmaker laments how the self-interest demanded by Corpus doctrine had led Vondu to cause chaos in the system.

After leaving the datascape, Nora informs the Tenno that she contacted some of her sources after hearing the Glassmaker use the word "legem", and is certain to have figured out his identity. He used to be an Orokin called Nihil, who developed the Cephalons as punishment in the form of eternal servitude for the Orokin. With the use of a transmitter created by Vondu, Nora suspects Nihil is about to expand the number of his victims drastically.

Episode 3: Sea Glass

I am order. He was chaos. His insubordination, thoughts... guilt... feelings... chaos to Grineer order.
~ Nihil on Gral.

Nihil strikes once again, this time killing Gral, a disgraced Grineer soldier who made an abandoned Grineer outpost his home. He was the sole survivor of a colonial killsquad, which he reported to have been wiped out in the confusion of a crossfire. His superiors questioned his report and sent him to Saturn Five for reconditioning and a demotion to a lowly maintenance position. Gral started to ponder on his purpose in life, comparing his time in the squadron as big killing small. He was born big but now he was small, which seemed to have caused him to develop sympathy for those he previously hunted. He started reading into non-Grineer philosophies, which he had to do in secret as it would've gotten him killed for treason. Gral decided to turn a new leaf and become an agent for the Solaris United whisperer network, using his new knowledge in engineering to spy on troop transmissions and warn others from impending Grineer attacks.

This insubordination ultimately cost him his life, as Nihil considered his feelings of guilt responsible for bringing chaos into Grineer order. By turning him into a glass statue, Gral became an agent of order instead of chaos. With the Tenno disrupting his effort for the third time in a row, Nihil's patience has run dry and he now considers them to be a chaotic infection just like the others. Outside the datascape, Nora gives her respects to the brave Grineer before comparing Nihil's single-minded pursuit of order to something following programming instead of a person. At the beginning of the episode Nora also commented that as a child, her grandmother would warn her that if she didn't behave herself Nihil would come and "put her in a bottle".

Episode 4: Iced Vallis

Do you know mercy, Tenno? I almost spared Cutter. He was a traitor, but to betray one must belong. Cutter never did. He was a nation of one, and to that he was truly loyal.
~ Nihil on Cutter.

Nihil's newest victim was a member of the Solaris United whisperer network called Cutter, but something about this one was different. Nora noted that unlike the others, who were taken quickly, Nihil seemed to have taken his time with him as if he had let Cutter speak first. Cutter was the one Gral was trying to contact, but what he didn't know was that Cutter was not aligned with Solaris at all. In fact, he was actively working against them. Cutter didn't mind the Corpus, thought they had it good under them all things considered. His parents disagreed. They joined Solaris United and when Nef Anyo sent the massive Exploiter Orb to destroy their base in Fortuna's Deck 12, his parents were among the casualites, leaving him with their debt. He blamed Solaris United for what happened, suspected that their leader knew Deck 12 was a risk but sent them all there anyways. And so he decided to take a little revenge working as a spy for Anyo, identifying Solaris operatives and selling them out.

However, Nihil discovering Cutter's doings was no accident. None of these four victims were. Cutter was not just working for Anyo as a spy, he was the one responsible for Nihil being released in the first place and unbeknownst to them, so were the others. Cutter tricked them into creating a transmitter with which Nihil could reach across the entire Origin System. Cutter had wanted revenge for what was taken from him, but perhaps the terror Nihil would no doubt inspire could make people honest. Shigg designed the transmitter, Vondu built it and Gral had the encrypted access codes to make its range as wide as possible. When it came time for Cutter to die, Nihil considered sparing him. His victims were all traitors in some fashion, but Cutter never truly belonged to Solaris United. But for all the pride Cutter had in his words, he ultimately begged in the end and Nihil decided against mercy.

Within the datascape, Nihil questioned the Tenno's opposition to him. They all fought for justice, but how do the Tenno want to fight for justice if Nihil has to glass them all? It didn't matter. Cutter and the others had set him free and now he had everything he needed. Amplified by the transmitter, no longer would he have to judge one criminal at a time. He could be everywhere at once and the Tenno would make fine examples for the order he would establish. As for Nora, he had something special in mind for her. She would retain her position as speaker, but instead of her Nightwave radio broadcasts she would serve as his voice of truth and order, a sermon that would never end. Fully aware of what he had made her into.

The Glassmaker bid the Tenno farewell, promising that their next meeting would be their last. Nora agreed.

Episode 5: The Final Battle

I am Nihil. Glassmaker. Order. Shall be. Restored.
~ Nihil when confronting the Tenno.

With the transmitter boosting his frequency Nihil started to glass people system-wide. However, this allowed Nora to trace Nihil's signal back to an abandoned Orokin tower, the place where Nihil had passed his judgements during the Orokin era and still filled with Cephalon oubliettes, but long since overrun by the Infestation. Nora urged the Tenno to hurry and find Nihil's hiding place before more people die, with Nihil commenting that it's a bit late for that. While searching the tower for clues, Nihil voiced his exasperation at Nora's "delusions", explaining that the violent collapse of the empire and the constant war of the current age were proof that the Orokin laws are necessary and just. Upon collecting all pieces of evidence, the fifth corpse with which to enter his datascape was revealed: Nihil himself. When the Tenno rebelled against the Orokin, Nihil turned his own instrument of judgement on himself to escape the slaughter so that he may one day return law and order to the Origin System. During this discovery, Nihil found Nora and dragged her into his datascape, intent on remaking her into a Cephalon once he finished off the Tenno that had meddled with his plans.

At last, the Tenno was face to face with the Glassmaker. With his greatsword in hand, the Orokin judge towered over the Tenno and attacked with projectiles that encased the Tenno in glass if they connected, slowing them down and leaving them vulnerable to his lethal sword strikes. The Tenno were unable to bring their weapons into the datascape and Nihil made himself invincible by using the energy from his glassed victims, whose very souls were trapped within glass prisms floating around the arena. To fight back, the Tenno picked up the glass projectiles Nihil had missed with and threw them at the prisms, freeing the prisoners and opening Nihil up to a counterattack.

At first Nihil laughed off the Tenno's resistance, such as mocking them for breaking the pacifistic Gral free in a combat scenario, but became increasingly frustrated and furious as the fight progressed and was reduced to ranting and screaming as his defeat grew near. During the fight a trapped Nora discovered an interesting Orokin law, which dictates that a capital punishment such as glassing being carried out without the explicit approval of the long-dead Council of Seven was itself a punishable offense. In other words: Nihil's actions in the modern day had made him a criminal to the very laws he is so obsessed with upholding.

With Nihil exhausted from the fight, Nora used the opportunity to free herself and turned one of his own oubliette's against him, trapping him within a prison of his own making and ending his reign of terror. Nora gave the glass containing Nihil to the Tenno for safe-keeping, so that he may never be freed again. If the player chooses, they can place his new prison in their ship and even talk to Nihil when they want, upon which he will try to goad the Tenno into letting him free and claims that being imprisoned is only going to delay the inevitable.

Gallery

Trivia

  • While Nihil's actions as the Glassmaker don't have a significant impact on Warframe's primary conflict, as the creator of the Cephalons he's nontheless among the most important characters in the game. Cephalons are vital to the maintenance of both Tenno and Corpus structures and ships, and two powerful syndicates are being run by independent Cephalons. Ordis, the player character's personal ship Cephalon, has saved their life on numerous occasions.
  • Outside of the Nightwave series, Nihil is briefly mentioned in the trailer for Gara Prime, the glass-themed Warframe. Her original human self was the only one who understood the process and volunteered for the transformation, rather than being forced into it. Nihil demanded her to be glassed for her arrogance, filling the hall with laughter. Ballas obliged and made her into a Warframe adorned with glass as fine as crystal, just to spite Nihil.

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