|“||Such a generous offer, Count. But our loyalty is reserved for only each other.||„|
|~ Mother Talzin turning down Count Dooku's offer to join the Separatists.|
The Nightsisters of Dathomir were both a clan and an ancient order of Dathomirian Force-wielding witches and mistresses of the dark side of the Force. They were a neutral group acting sometimes as antagonists in the Star Wars Universe and TV show Star Wars The Clone Wars series Season 3-6. They also appeared as the main antagonists in the Season 3 episode "Visions and Voices" of the series Star Wars Rebels.
Religion and Philosophy
The Nightsisters lived on Dathomir, a planet bathed in dark arcane energies. Unlike the Jedi or Sith, the Dathomir Witches wielded the Force by using hand gestures and chants. By tapping into the magical ichor that flowed from Dathomir's depths, the witches could harness a power they referred to as "Magicks". The most powerful of them could use that ichor to summon objects out of the thin air, transform people into ghostly versions of their true forms, or even reanimate the dead. These witches adopted a shamanistic culture that rejected the notion of "good" and "evil", and instead chose to call upon the twin energies of the Winged Goddess and the Fanged God in order to utilize their Magicks and communicate with the spirit realm.
Training female adepts as well as male warriors in its dark ways, Dathomir Witches used their sorcery to imbue their creations with enormous power. Aspiring Nightsisters had to undergo a trial before they could fully dive into its powers. The trial tested their will and control of the dark side of the Force. They had to subdue an ancient aquatic creature called the Sleeper through the dark side without killing it and to only bring a piece of its body back for a ritual that would then be converted into the Water of Life. Those who failed and succumbed to the dark side were killed by this creature, such as Talia's twin sister. Those who passed were made into official Nightsisters within the clan and were taught the dark side Magicks from their elders.
Society and Culture
|“||These contain the bodies of my sisters. When one dies, so I was told, we perform a ritual to honor her. We bathe her in a sacred pool, then enclose her in this pod. In this way, a sister never truly leaves us. She is dead, but she is nestled inside something vibrant and alive. She is suspended between sky and soil, because she is truly of neither. She is always near, always part of the clan. I was taught that our dead sisters can share our celebrations of joy, and our ceremonies of grief. And that one night - they shared our fight.||„|
|~ Asajj Ventress to Quinlan Vos about her culture.|
The Nightsisters lived in the seclusion of a stone fortress that bordered dense swamplands. A matriarchal society, the coven of sisters had the men of Dathomir, the Nightbrothers, living apart from them. Those males were only kept as servants and breeders. They used to mummify their dead before placing them in pods of animal skin decorated with tassels. Those pods were hung to structures made of branches, bones, animal skins and shells. Their graveyards mimicked the configuration of the plant life seen on Dathomir, with its crooked trees burdened by large, cocoon-like fruits.
The Dathomir Witches were originally warring covens that all battled each other for dominance until 31 BBY when a Clan Mother named Zalem united the covens together and appointed herself Queen of Dathomir and had plans of galactic destruction and Nightsister domination until she was defeated by the Jedi and killed by her own daughter, Ros Lai.
Following Zalem's failure, the Nightsisters' clan still continued development on the mysterious planet of Dathomir. Since they were most powerful on their home planet, they rarely ventured off-world during the height of the Galactic Republic. However, that situation changed when a Sister named Talzin became the clan's Mother. The powerful Talzin could speak to the Spirits and conjure objects from another realm. At the time of the Clone Wars, Talzin started to sell her Sisters' services as mercenaries to the galaxy's wealthy citizens, also fulfilling Zalem's dream of spreading the Nightsisters' ways across the universe. At some point prior to the Clone Wars, the clan was forced to give up the young Nightsister Asajj Ventress to the Siniteen criminal Hal'Sted as payment for protection of the coven.
Making a Monster
After her betrayal by Count Dooku, Ventress returned to her people and sought their help for revenge against her former master. Mother Talzin healed Ventress in a ritual with her magic which caused her to sleep. The Sisters held bowls of Waters of Life and began chanting causing the water to turn into steam that surrounded Ventress. Upon awakening, she swore an oath of vengeance against her former master. Mother Talzin agreed and loaned two of the finest warriors of the clan Naa’leth and Karis to Ventress in her mission to destroy Dooku.
The Nightsisters performed another chanting ritual around a basin of Life Water and it bubbled emitting fog as all the witches started floating. Ventress and her two warriors approached the potion walking through the mist. As Ventress and her compatriots walked through the green fumes, they became spectral and invisible. Talzin then gave Ventress a poisoned dart, to help dull Dooku’s senses. The matriarch then handed them each a lightsaber as if Dooku was to engage them, he must believe that they were Jedi and left for Serenno.
The assassination failed with Ventress and the other two assassins returning to Dathomir. Mother Talzin was content, with this attempt on his life, she foresaw that Dooku would now be more anxious to get himself a new assassin and bodyguard to protect him. Talzin later contacted the Count and told him how she heard he had lost his former apprentice and reminded him that Ventress was once one of her people. She suggested a replacement – a male Zabrak warrior – an offer Dooku decided to take.
Count Dooku traveled to Dathomir and spoke with Mother Talzin where she stated she would provide him a warrior of strength and fierceness and Dooku agreed and left the planet. In reality, the Nightsisters conceived the plan to give Dooku a new apprentice from the Nightbrothers, and his loyalty would belong to the witches. Asajj went to the far side of the planet and held a test of selection from the Nightbrothers to see who was worthy of being her champion.
After a long brutal test and wiping out the selection of men, Ventress chose the Zabrak Nightbrother called Savage Opress and brought him back to the Nightsister fortress. Back in their abbey, Mother Talzin examined Savage and said he was a perfect specimen filled of hate and sear power then she rendered him unconscious and placed him on a altar. The Nightsisters used their mystical powers in a chanting ceremony with green smoke surrounding him. His body began to float and warp increasing Savage's strength and ferocity, lengthening his horns, turning him into a hulking brute, and putting him under Ventress' complete control. The Nightsisters later traveled to Serenno and presented Savage to a very pleased Count Dooku.
The Jedi later traveled to Dathomir after Savage killed two Jedi, discovering he was a Nightbrother of the planet, sending Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker to investigate. They landed at the Nightsister village only for them to be disarmed by the witches and were brought inside the fortress to speak with Mother Talzin. Talzin initially denied she had any knowledge of Savage's whereabouts, but relented after prodding by Kenobi, using her crystal ball to inform the Jedi he was on Toydaria.
After the Jedi left in earnest, Talzin met with Ventress and told her that the time to put her plot in motion had come — she would have to confront the Count herself with Savage's aid. While Ventress believed Opress needed more training, Talzin assured her that he was indeed ready and they could not keep him secret for much longer. Ventress agreed, and left for her mission. Later a battle-weary Savage returned to Dathomir, having broken away from his loyalty to Ventress and having escaped from both her and the Jedi. Talzin helped him to his feet and told him she would help him obtain the power he needed. She showed him an image of his lost brother in her crystal ball and sent him on a quest to find him who was hiding in exile in the Outer Rim. Talzin then gave Savage a special talisman that would aid him along his journey.
Slaughter on Dathomir
After spending some time in hiding, Ventress returned to Dathomir seeking sanctuary. Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters welcomed her back with opened arms. Talzin recommended that Ventress cast off her ambitions of the Sith and fully reintegrate herself with the Nightsisters. Ventress agreed and underwent the initiation ritual, a baptism of dark magicks where she was bathed in shimmering green mist becoming a true Nightsister of Dathomir once again. Unknown to them, Dooku had harbored vengeance against the magic-wielding witches for their betrayal and ordered General Grievous to Dathomir to eradicate the Nightsisters. The Dathomir Witches held a celebration for Ventress' return when the droid forces descended upon the initiation festivity in full force, vulture droids and hyena bombers strafed the temple killing Karis and the Nightsisters prepared for battle.
After the bombings, the Separatist droid forces landed on Dathomir with tanks and rows of battle droids marching into the twisted jungles. The Nightsisters began to mount a counterattack under Ventress’ leadership and used the fallen statues outside their temple as cover. The witches used their energy bows against the droid invaders while Talzin used her magicks to summon a green bubble as a shield and unleashed lightning upon the droids. Ventress stated to the clan mother that they needed an army to counter the droids and Talzin agreed to get reinforcements. Ventress left her side and charged into battle with the Nightsisters using the gnarled trees to rain energy arrows upon the droids from above. As soon as Ventress appeared on the battle field, Grievous sent out a group of defoliator tanks to wipe out their opponents with one stroke, burning the protective trees the witches were using as cover.
During the battle, Mother Talzin retreated to the inner chambers of her lair and called upon her order’s venerable elder, Old Daka, to resurrect the Nightsisters of the past with their dark magic creating an army of the dead that would repel the Separatist invaders. Old Daka began an incantation over a glowing orb calling forth green smoke that flew into the jungle and the remains of the dead rose from their burial pods as howling, charging undead warriors and joined their living Sisters. The undead sisters mindlessly ripped through the Separatists' ranks, smashing through everything in their path. Their arrival gave Ventress the opportunity to press her attack against Grievous and his droid army.
While Daka concentrated on her resurrection spell, Talzin prepared her own spell using a lock of Dooku’s hair she had kept in a silver orb, that two Sisters brought to her. Tossing the hair into a cauldron full of green bubbling liquid, Talzin waved her hand over it and created a magical voodoo waxen statue of Dooku. She conducted the tiny totem to her magic through and tormented Dooku into rescinding his attack or else suffer an agonizing death. Ventress meanwhile managed to destroy the defoliator tanks and arrived outside the command ship where Grievous descended a ramp to meet her. Ventress challenged Grievous dictating that the victor of their lightsaber duel would triumph over the loser's faction—if she wins, Grievous’ army leaves, but if Grievous wins, the Nightsisters would surrender. Grievous agreed and produced four arms, with a lightsaber in each hand, and the two began the duel, surrounded by an army of droids, witches and zombies.
During the duel, Grievous delivered a kick to Ventress, but the Nightsister furiously attacked the cyborg general and manged to sever one of his robotic limbs defeating him but the general ordered his droids to attack forcing her to direct her attention to deflecting enemy fire. Ventress was hit in the shoulder, and Grievous prepared to cut her down, but was overrun by Nightsister zombies saving Ventress but after having seen so many comrades fall that day, she retreated from the battleground and into the jungle mist, abandoning her coven.
Dooku, feeling the pain of the Nightsister magic, ordered Grievous through hologram to kill Talzin before she killed him. His clue to finding her being that the witches' magic manifested itself as green mist. Grievous tracked down the origin of Talzin and Daka’s magic by following the magic mist and marched to the Nightsister fortress, pressing through the warriors and zombies guarding the village. While the remaining Nightsisters mounted a defense of their home, Grievous proceeded to the Hidden Cave with a squad of battle droids. One of his droids fired a bazooka through the cave's wall exposing Talzin and Daka inside.
Grievous first killed one of the Nightsisters who brought Talzin the orb then turned towards Daka. Old Daka preoccupied with her spell failed to defend herself and Grievous impaled her with his lightsaber disrupting the resurrection magic causing the Nightsister zombies to fall. The few remaining Nightsisters that defended their village were massacred by the battle droids, who carried out the onslaught without hesitation. Grievous then turned on Talzin, who summoned her magic to teleport away from his lightsaber attack and the droids' blaster fire. Grievous then knocked over the cauldron that had been maintaining her voodoo magic breaking the spell, subsequently ending Dooku's torture.
With the Nightsisters wiped out and their order ruined, Asajj Ventress was left alone and a defeated Talzin was forced to dissolve her physical form and sought refuge in the spirit world, these two being the sole surviving Nightsisters. Mother Talzin still lived to continue on her Nightsister ways. Talzin, who had lived in solitude since the Separatist attack, stayed in the ruins of the Nightsister fortress watching Savage's journey of finding his brother through magic globes made of spirit ichor. She foresaw that he would find his brother and she must make the necessary preparations for their arrival.
Savage returned with his brother, the Sith Lord Darth Maul to Dathomir. Savage saw the carnage of the battle and the dead Nightsisters laying around until Mother Talzin appeared to him in wisps of green mist. Savage questioned what happened to the Sisters and Talzin responded they were wiped out, but she assured him that she and her culture would survive as they always have. Mother Talzin then lured Maul out with her magic and then led to her village. Once there, Talzin used her magicks to restore Maul's mind and rejuvenate his frail body, replacing his crudely-formed arachnid-like appendages with sleek mechanical legs. Her work finished, Talzin vanished once more leaving the Nightbrothers to begin forming an army with which they could rival Talzin's enemy Darth Sidious.
When Maul successfully conquered the neutral world of Mandalore, Obi-Wan tried to reason with him by stating that he had been to his village in the snowy hills of Dathomir. The Jedi also said that it wasn't Maul's decision to join the dark side and that the Nightsisters had made that choice.
While Asajj Ventress' path lead her to becoming a bounty hunter, Mother Talzin sought far greater powers than she'd ever possess. Scheming to survive, she orchestrated a plot to kidnap the Dagoyan Masters of Bardotta to absorb their raw Force energy into a containment sphere. The bloodthirsty Frangawl Cult revered her as the Great Mother, and successfully drained all the Dagoyan Masters who later rendezvoused with Talzin on Zardossa Stix where she undertook a ritual to drain the Bardottan Queen's life force and absorb it gaining her powerful connection to the Living Force, making her even more powerful than the Jedi or Sith. But was thwarted when Jedi Master Mace Windu and Jar Jar Binks arrived and disrupted the Frangawl ritual foiling her plans after which she vanished once more into the spirit world through green mist.
Though she was heavily wounded, Talzin still had hope as Maul, her lost son, returned to Dathomir with a captive Count Dooku where they performed a ritual with the Nightsister unleashing her magick upon the Count stealing his living energies that would allow her to return to the physical world. As the ritual continued, an explosion ripped through the area, as Grievous and Sidious appeared who had come to end Talzin's threat once and for all. She briefly possessed the Count's body when she and Maul engaged in lightsaber combat against Sidious and Grievous. Sidious bombarded Talzin with Force lightning causing her to release Dooku's body, as the Nightsister had enough strength to regain her bodily form. The Dathomir witch confronted Darth Sidious exchanging blasts of Force and Magick lightning against the Sith Lord who had betrayed her. The Nightsister conjured a protective bubble shielding herself and son from Sidious and now Dooku's lightning attack. Talzin sacrificed herself using her magic to telekinetically throw Maul to safety and was eventually defeated and impaled through the chest by General Grievous slaying the Nightsister matriarch. Her death marked the fall of Dathomir and the end of the Nightsister coven. With his mother gone, Maul fled back to Mandalore.
Asajj Ventress still remained after her sisters and now clan mother were massacred traveling around the galaxy as a bounty hunter. Near the end of the war, she encountered Quinlan Vos a maverick Jedi tasked with assassinating Count Dooku. Ventress joined Vos in hopes of destroying Dooku, but grew to love him as he helped her feel love and compassion again. She returned to a desolate Dathomir to train Quinlan Vos in the ways of Nightsister magicks, opening himself to the powers of the dark side to prepare for a strike against Dooku, but their attempt to kill the Count failed. The three later crash landed on Christophsis and were attacked by Republic forces. Pursued by the Jedi, Dooku attacked Vos with Force lightning but Ventress shoved Quinlan out of the way and took the brunt of the attack. Asajj was mortally wounded and died in Quinlan's arms, grateful that her love had found his way back to the light. A grieving Quinlan laid her to rest in the waters on her homeworld of Dathomir alongside her sisters. The Nightsister order was now lost and forgotten.
During the reign of the Galactic Empire, Maul had returned to Dathomir and took up residence in the abandoned Nightsister lair. Maul ultimately sought to discover the location of his old nemesis Obi-Wan Kenobi by recovering the last fragments of the holocron's visions from Ezra Bridger's mind and brought him to his lair. In a ritual to complete their shared vision, Maul and Ezra drank a magick potion that caused their eyes to turn bright green and shoot beams of light into a cloud. As a result, Maul learned that Kenobi was hiding on a planet with twin suns. Ezra learned that Kenobi held the key to destroying the Sith. Following the ritual, the cave descended into darkness when the altar suddenly glowed green and the spirits of two fallen Nightsisters emerged swarming around them demanding that Maul and Ezra pay the price for using their magicks through flesh and blood.
Following a gunfight, the spirits possessed Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren's bodies when they entered the lair. Under the influence of the Nightsister Spirits, the possessed Kanan and Sabine then attacked Maul and Ezra with the former engaging the darksider in a brief lightsaber duel. Since the spirits were unable to leave the cave due to the altar being their source of power, Ezra and Maul were able to escape outside. Maul then abandoned the fight, but Ezra refused to leave behind his friends and re-entered the cave encountering Sabine and managed to exorcise her by Force pushing her outside the lair, causing the spirit to leave her body. The spirit taunted him that he will not defeat them as it flew away. Ezra found Kanan kneeling on top of the altar, which was bathed in a green light and covered with spirits and Ezra spoke to the spirit inside his Master.
The Nightsister told Ezra that Maul promised them flesh and blood to rebuild the Great Clan of the Nightsisters. Ezra offered himself to trade his body in return for the Nightsister spirits releasing Kanan's body. The spirit agreed provided he bested Kanan in combat. Following a brief fight, Ezra managed to beat Kanan and the Nightsister spirit left his body. More spirits then arose from the altar demanding Ezra honor his pledge to surrender his body but instead Ezra used the Darksaber and his lightsaber to strike the altar destroying the source of the Nightsisters' powers sending a shock-wave throughout the lair vanquishing the spirits as they disappeared screaming. The Nightsister Clan was again ruined and lost with the sole surviving member being Shelish a witch of Dathomir.
Powers and Abilities
The Nightsisters had strange traditions for tapping into the Force. Their magic was called Spirit ichor and was the base for all magic employed by the Nightsisters of Dathomir during the Clone Wars. According to Mother Talzin, it came from channeling the Winged Goddess and was manifested as green smoke. Spirit ichor could be manipulated in a large variety of ways by a shaman. A shaman could manipulate spirit ichor into physical objects such as a goblet of blackroot, as Mother Talzin did for Count Dooku when he visited Dathomir during the Clone Wars. Mother Talzin was also seen later to conjure a Lightsaber in order to combat Jedi Master Mace Windu. Spirit ichor could also be used for divination; for mesmerism, to induce a victim into a trancelike state; for totem magic; or to conjure the Water of Life for healing purposes and other uses.
As Mother Talzin did for Asajj Ventress, Naa'leth, and Karis, spirit ichor could be manipulated to produce a luminescent green mist that allowed assassins to operate "midway" between the physical and spirit realms, cloaking them with near-invisibility. Savage Opress was also transformed into an avatar of primal anger by Talzin and a coven of spellcasters via spirit ichor. The Nightsister clan had used their magicks to enhance Savage Opress's features: longer horns, taller, and larger physique, turning him into an avatar of primal anger. Talzin later used her magicks to cure Darth Maul of his insanity and grant him prosthetic legs.
Water of Life
The Witches also used a magical potion called the Water of Life, or the waters of life, and it was an employment of spirit ichor that was used by the Nightsisters of Dathomir in their spells. It was used primarily for healing purposes but could also be used to render someone near-invisible. The ingredients included water from their village pool and flesh removed from an ancient aquatic creature called the Sleeper. The piece was then boiled with the pool water and other items that created the magical substance. Brewing the potion was a rite of passage for aspiring Nightsisters.
The Nightisisters also used a type of hypnotic spell called Mesmerism and it was a Nightsister technique, provided by spirit ichor. This power allowed a shaman to override the thought of those weaker than oneself, particularly men and offworlders. A tap of the fingertip to the victim's forehead would induce a trancelike state and make the victim powerless to refuse commands.
Nightsister Crystal Ball
The Sisters could do divination by using a Nightsister crystal ball created by Mother Talzin and was owned by the Nightsisters who kept it in their village lair. Due to her unique connection to the Force, Talzin crafted the diving orb from magical ichor. The crystal ball could predict and give glimpses of the future and locate people and objects. Talzin used it to help Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker locate Savage Opress. It was later used by Talzin to help Opress locate Darth Maul. When Talzin located the Nightbrothers, the crystal ball produced images of them.
After the extinction of the Nightsister coven, the crystal ball came into the possession of the former Sith Lord Maul, Talzin's son. Returning to his homeworld of Dathomir, Maul took up residence in the now abandoned Nightsister lair where the crystal ball remained along with other items of the past that were important to him.
One final act of magic that could only be used by an experienced elder Nightsister was called the Chant of Resurrection. The Chant of Resurrection was a powerful dark spell of Dathomir Magic that could temporarily resurrect the dead, so long as the caster remained active. Old Daka, the oldest of the Nightsisters, used this spell to reanimate the mummified corpses of deceased Nightsisters to bolster Asajj Ventress's army during the Battle of Dathomir. Once Daka was killed by General Grievous, the spell wore off immediately, and the dead returned to their natural state.
Like all Nightsister magicks, the spell appeared as a green mist.
The Nightsister shaman Mother Talzin gained the allegiance of the blood-thirsty Frangawl Cult and under her orders, the cult abducted Dagoyan Masters from Bardotta and drained their living Force placing it inside the living sphere. The living sphere was created by the Nightsisters and given to the Frangawl Cult who used it in their sacrificial ceremony murdering several Bardottans in the process.
Talzin later rendezvoused with the cult and attempted to use the living sphere and the Bardottan Queen Julia in a ritual that would increase the Nightsister's Magick powers. The attempt failed and the living sphere shattered releasing the Living Force and an explosion occurred killing the cultists and Talzin vanished. The living sphere was crystalline its color was milky glass and when containing the Force, it gave off a glowing green color.
The Nightsisters were not just trained in the art of spell-casting but also the form of sword fighting and warrior training.
The Nightsisters were trained in archery and used bows called Nightsister Energy Bows. They were ranged weapons used by the Nightsisters of Dathomir. The bowstrings and arrows of the weapon were made of pure plasma and emitted a bright pink glow. In the middle of the bowstring was a grip, so that the weapon could be fired without harming the user. When running out of plasma arrows, the string could be used as a bludgeon, to blind or burn the enemy. A special group of Nightsisters, known as the Hunters, used energy weapons to track down and eliminate enemies on orders of Mother Talzin.
The Nightsisters also used special blades. A Nightsister Dagger was a traditional, bladed weapon of the Nightsisters of Dathomir. It was commonly used by the clan led by Mother Talzin during the Clone Wars.