|“||You dare to question my orders, my vision?!||„|
Nerissa is a major antagonist from the obscure Italian Disney comic book W.I.T.C.H. and the animated series of the same name. Her aliases made several appearances during Season One, but her true nature was not revealed until Season Two.
In the English dubbed version of the animated series, she was voiced by the veteran voice actress Kath Soucie in one of her very few villainous roles. In the Italian version, she was voiced by Cristina Giolitti.
Nerissa was once the holder of the Heart of Kandrakar and the Guardian of Quintessence, but it was taken from her because she was corrupted by its power. Mad with jealousy, she turned on her fellow Guardians and accidentally killed Cassidy by shooting her off a cliff with lightning during a fight for the Heart of Kandrakar. For this crime, she was sentenced to be sealed in Mount Thanos until she was freed by a portal (in the comics the occurrence of all elements combined in one evanescent being). She went trough the portal to Meridian where she met the Mage, who had hoped that she would reform if shown compassion.
After the Mage's death, Nerissa took over her identity and manipulated events in Meridian from behind the scenes. She also disguised herself as a red-headed lady named Trill during the reign of Prince Phobos. Taking up work in Phobos's castle in order to feed information back to the rebels, and to become close to Elyon once she was returned to the throne. In season two, she successfully siphons all Elyon's power into a jewel, which becomes the jewel version of the Heart of Meridian.
As the former holder of the Heart of Kandrakar, Nerissa has the same powers as the current holder and Guardian of Quintessence, Will Vandom.
Chronology: Animated Series
Some 40 years prior to the events of W.I.T.C.H., Nerissa served as the leader of the Guardians of the Veil and as the Keeper of the Heart of Kandrakar. She was the Guardian of Quintessence. However, the Council of Kandrakar feared that the power of the Heart was corrupting her, and took it from her believing that doing so would save her from her newly discovered lust for power.
Desperate to regain the Heart, the ambitious Nerissa confronted the new holder of the Heart, Cassidy, the Guardian of Water. The pair fought, and Nerissa accidentally sent Cassidy plummeting to her death from the top of a mountain. As punishment for Cassidy's death, Nerissa was sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment in an ice cave on Mount Thanos. When the Veil was raised, a portal opened in Mount Thanos and Nerissa used it to escape to Meridian. Later, the Mage helped her, hoping that her guilt and an act of compassion would reform her.
Nerissa laid low during Phobos' reign (before and during season 1). She created a new identity that of a good natured red-headed lady called Trill, and used her cunning and magic to gain employment in Phobos' castle, from where she helped the resistance by smuggling people into/out of the castle and by passing on information. Her true nature was not revealed during this time.
During this period she also took over the identity of her former protector the Mage (who had since died), and became the lover of the future rebel leader's father, Julian. Together they had a child, Caleb, who became the leader of the resistance. Nerissa later revealed that she had given birth to Caleb specifically for the purpose of him becoming the rebel leader (In the comic book continuity, Nerissa did not take on the identity of the Mage who only appears in the animated series, and is not related to Caleb who was created rather than born, and has no parents). Caleb did not learn of his relationship to Nerissa until season 2.
After Phobos' downfall, Nerissa became the primary antagonist and began to move against the Guardians. She freed some of Phobos' minions as she forms her new minions the Knights of Vengeance and set them against the Guardians. Also, she attempted to subvert and disrupt their daily lives on Earth.
In her identity as Trill, Nerissa also befriended Elyon, giving her a necklace that she said had once belonged to Elyon's birth parents. Unbeknownst to Elyon, the necklace was slowly siphoning her powers, and when she was tricked into hating her parents and throwing away the necklace they had left for her, her powers went with it. (Nerissa could not have taken Elyon's powers by force, but was able to steal them as they were given away freely.) Nerissa then revealed her true identity, and trapped Elyon inside the necklace, which was now the physical embodiment of the Heart of Meridian.
With the power of the Heart of Meridian, Nerissa became far stronger. She ceased using Phobos's minions and fashioned her own out of fire, ice, rock, and the forms of Matthew Olsen and Mister Huggles, naming them the Knights of Destruction.
While the Knights kept the Guardians busy, Nerissa set about re-forming the original Guardians: Halinor, Yan Lin, Kadma, and the revived spirit of Cassidy. She found the weaknesses in their characters and exploited them in order to take control of their minds. Aided by her magic sceptre known as the Seal of Nerissa (formed by combining the Heart of Meridian with the Heart of Zamballa), she then drained her Knights of their power (destroying two of them in the process) and used it to re-energize her Guardian mind slaves, restoring their youth and power.
Nerissa used the former Guardians to fight the current Guardians in an element versus element battle in which Will had promised not to retreat. At first, Nerissa's Guardians, powered by two Hearts, had the upper hand, until Will realized that the former Guardians were strong when fighting their opposite elemental number, but lacked the free will necessary to diversify their attacks in order to fight against a different element. This change of tactics allowed the Guardians to defeat Nerissa and force her to retreat.
When the current Guardians next fought Nerissa, they were able to break her spell of control over the former Guardians. Once Cassidy was freed by Irma (she was thrown in a pool, and Irma used her skill to influence minds to dispel Nerissa's brainwashing), the others soon followed. However, before they could press home their advantage, Nerissa absorbed the former Guardians into her Seal, allowing her to access all of their powers. Only the intervention of the newly-freed Phobos prevented her from turning her new elemental powers against the Guardians, and she was forced her to retreat once more.
Nerissa's final defeat came on Halloween, when she attempted to steal the power of the Heart of Earth, Cornelia's younger sister. After cornering and capturing Napoleon the cat, one of the Regents of Earth, Phobos (disguised as Napoleon) drained Nerissa of her powers and took the Seal of Nerissa, later the Sceptre of Phobos, for his own. He then trapped Nerissa in the Seal along with Elyon, Yan Lin, and the other former Guardians. The former of whom had since learned to reabsorb enough of her powers from the Seal to allow her to exact punishment on the trapped Nerissa for her treachery.
Nerissa remained trapped in Weira's jewel, which was the jewel version of the Heart of Meridian, and was passed into the hands of Julian and Caleb. Nerissa remains trapped inside, living out her dream of conquering the universe with her husband and son by her side, not realizing that it is an illusion.
Chronology: Comic Book
The previous keeper of the Heart of Kandrakar, Nerissa was consumed by the immense power the Heart gave her and eventually began to descend into evil. The Oracle sensed this and decided that she was no longer fit to keep the Heart. When he entrusted it to Cassidy (who was then the Guardian of Water), it drove Nerissa over the edge. Mad with jealousy, she turned on her fellow Guardians and killed Cassidy. When she was defeated, she was sentenced to be sealed in a coffin located in Mount Thanos until the day all of the Aurameres were joined together. That eventually came to pass through the efforts of Luba, who was convinced that the girls were unworthy of their status as Guardians.
Awakened from her slumber, Nerissa got her teenage looks back, created the Four Knights of Revenge, and tricked Will into giving her the Heart, declaring war against Kandrakar. After losing strength in the battle with the Guardians in Kandrakar, Nerissa re-absorbed the magic she used to create her Knights of Revenge, destroying them automatically. In the end, the Guardians combined their powers and directed them at Nerissa at once, vanquishing her for once and for all.
One of Nerissa's more insidious powers is her ability to change the girls' dreams, turning them into nightmares. The dreams may occasionally affect the real world as well. At the beginning of the second arc, Will's arm is branded with Nerissa's special seal (shaped like the Heart of Kandrakar, but with one scar-like line crossing it) during a dream. It is implied that Hay Lin is less susceptible to these fiendish assaults, since her grandmother, Yan Lin, was Nerissa's best friend before their group was dispersed. One sequence sees the team confronting their tormentor in the so-called "World of Nightmares", entering a "mutual dream" by going to sleep in the same room. This is another episode which stresses the importance of unity the girls manage to survive the dream because they are together, as opposed to being attacked one by one. They succeed in trapping Nerissa in the Heart, and then wake up. However, they find she was only defeated in the realm of dreams, and that they still had to face her in reality.
Nerissa is calm and calculating, and she will step on or over anybody in order to further her cause. She even gave birth to a son so that he could overcome her enemies and lay down the foundations for her rise to power. She has an unshakable belief that it is her right to take control of the universe and to reshape it in her own image.
Despite her calm exterior she is prone to fits of emotion (as shown when her son Caleb refused to join with her) and, although she does not show it, Nerissa is consumed by feelings of guilt over Cassidy's death and in one episode when Yan Lin says to her "Are you going to destroy us like you destroyed her, does her memory mean so little to you?" Nerissa responds with strong emotion "You have no idea what she meant to me" before screaming "This is not over" and fleeing, leaving Yan Lin and the Guardians alive even though she could quite easily have destroyed them.
Nerissa is also a very skilled actress, as she was able to fool everyone, including the Oracle that she was the Mage and Trill without giving away suspicion, until she exposed herself. She was also able to fool Kadma and Will when she was running away from them in order to get Kadma to absorb the Heart of Meridian into the Heart of Zamballa, and fool the Guardians that she did not want them to rescue Yan Lin. It is obvious from that she also has a lot of patience, as she was forced to wait approximately 14 years to get the Heart of Meridian.
Powers and Abilities
As the former holder of the Heart of Kandrakar, Nerissa has all of the same powers as the current Guardian Will, although she is much more experienced in using them, and much more aware of their true potential, than her younger counterpart.
Her elemental power/ability is Quintessence (pure life energy), which can bestow life in inanimate objects and electrical appliances. It can also be used like conventional electricity, allowing her to attack an opponent using immensely strong and powerful whitish blue lightning bolts and to form a whitish blue electrical shield and barrier around herself and others that can withstand even the strongest and most powerful of attacks.
Nerissa can even create new life, as she did in order to create Ember and Tridart. Nerissa's ability to use Quintessence is so advanced that she is able to raise the dead (As seen when she raised the spirit of the former Guardian of Water, Cassidy, which she then bound to the mortal world using the Heart of Meridian). She is also an illusionist able to change her own appearance and to twist the minds of others to her will, however because she isn't actually changing the shape of her body, her shadow can still be seen in her true form. This allowed the girls to find out who she was when she transformed into the Oracle, trying to get the Heart from Will in "I is for Illusion".
Nerissa also possesses a terrifying ability. She can easily control and manipulate the dreams of others. She displays this ability in the episode "E is for Enemy" when she attacks the Guardians in their dreams. She even causes these dreams to manifest in real life, drenching Cornelia with water and taking most of Irma's voice away. When the Guardians faced her in a "mutual dream" they were able to defeat her and create a psychic backlash, which knocked her from the dream plane.
She also seems to possess the power and ability of telekinesis, as during her time as posing as the Mage she was able to telekinetically levitate the Tonga Tooth that she had taken from Blunk claiming that there was a spell on it. She has a high knowledge of spells, as she was able to place a spell on Blunk's Tonga Tooth enabling her to track the folding movements, and knowing spells to control the minds of other (as she did with the other members of C.H.Y.K.N.), and presumably many other whilst posing as the Mage,.
Nerissa supplemented her former Guardian powers/abilities using the Heart of Meridian, which she stole from Elyon, allowing her to teleport freely, even between dimensions, and greatly strengthening and enhancing all of her existing powers and abilities to even greater power levels. Later, Nerissa tricks Kadma, the former Guardian of Earth, into merging the Heart of Meridian and the Heart of Zamballa, and takes control of both Hearts, fusing them together to become the full-powered version of the Seal of Nerissa, her namesake magic sceptre. Further strengthening and amplifying all of her powers in all respects, and raising her control and manipulation of Quintessence to the power level where she was able to turn Cassidy's spirit into pure flesh and blood. Nerissa later gains control and manipulation over all five elements, Water, Fire, Earth, Air, and Quintessence, when she absorbs her former friends into her Seal.