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Human (formerly; Dark Side aberration)
Physical form lost since 302 BTC
- "He is a wound in the Force, more presence than flesh, and in his wake life dies… sacrificing itself to his hunger."
- ―Visas Marr
Darth Nihilus was a Human male who reigned as a Dark Lord of the Sith during the era of strife following the Jedi Civil War. Before becoming the Dark Lord, he lost everything during the Galactic Republic's war against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders. He survived the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon during the war's final battle at the planet of Malachor V, which surrounded the planet with a destructive spacial phenomenon known as a mass shadow that obliterated almost everything and everyone on and around the planet. Experiencing the shadow made Nihilus "hunger" for Force energy, and the affliction began to ravage his body. In his pain he became a wound in the Force and was found by a seeker of such things, the Sith Lord Darth Traya, who told him that she could teach him to feed his endless hunger. He accepted her offer of apprenticeship at the Trayus Academy on Malachor V, and, over time, he became one of three concurrent Dark Lords of the Sith.
Together, the three formed a triumvirate. The trio chose individual names for themselves, with Darth Nihilus becoming the Lord of Hunger. The apprentices grew in strength during their training and eventually became stronger than Traya and overpowered her. Sion beat up Traya, while Nihilus sapped her energy, before the two Sith exiled her and combined their powers to sever her ties to the Force. Thus, Lord Nihilus took Traya's place and became Sith Emperor and Dark Lord of the Sith.
Nihilus's affliction developed to the point where the Dark Lord was forced to call upon the Dark side of the Force to encase his spirit within his armor to stay alive. Sion and him then began the Dark Wars and the Jedi purge, causing the virtual extinction of the Jedi Order. Nihilus was also responsible for the devastation of the planet Katarr, killing and absorbing the Force energy of the Jedi at the conclave on Katarr, along with every other living thing on the world save one Miraluka woman named Visas Marr, whom he would take from the surface and make his Shadow Hand.
One year later, Nihilus sensed a growing presence in the Force, and sent Marr to investigate and destroy it. That presence was a female Jedi, Meetra Surik, also known as the Jedi Exile, who was on a quest to find the remaining Jedi Masters who had survived the Purge. When Marr attempted to assassinate the woman, Surik defeated her and convinced her to turn to the light side of the Force in the process. Although Nihilus returned to lurking the fringes of known space, the Dark Lord was eventually tricked by Traya into initiating the Battle of Telos IV in an attempt to absorb a Jedi Academy that actually lacked any Force-sensitives aside from the headmistress. At Telos, Nihilus met a large fleet comprised of Republic and Mandalorian forces that distracted him while the Sith Lord's flagship, the Ravager, was secretly boarded by a small force consisting of Surik, Marr, Mandalore the Preserver, and his Mandalorians. The group eventually 'defeated' Nihilus made their escape and destroyed the Ravager.
- "The less said of that one, the better—even a stray thought may draw him."
The Human male who would one day be known as Darth Nihilus lived at the conclusion of the Mandalorian Wars, a galaxy-wide conflict between the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders and the Galactic Republic. Amidst those battles, he was said to have lost everything, including his family, friends, as well his will to live. During the final battle of the war, which took place on the planet Malachor V, Jedi General Meetra Surik gave the order to activate the Mass Shadow Generator. The generator, a superweapon conceived by the Zabrak Tech Specialist Bao-Dur, killed almost everyone on the planet's surface and in orbit nearby.
This man survived the superweapon's destruction of the surface of Malachor and in his grief over his losses during the war, he assumed a dark persona, in part as a means of survival. He was trapped on the planet by the artificially-created mass shadows along with the bulk of the two fleets that filled space around the planet where the Mandalorians had committed all of their forces in a last attempt at defeating the Republic and suddenly took ill due to the shadows' effects. An emptiness swept over the man's idle body and it soon began to "hunger" intensely. Without intent, he drained the life-force of another survivor. The act was an unpleasant experience for him, but for a brief moment the hunger ceased. The emptiness, however, came back more relentless and intense than before. He indulged in absorbing the energy of other survivors, but the more he fed, the shorter the hunger was appeased and the more relentless it became.
After Darth Malak was killed by the former Sith Lord and now redeemed Jedi Revan at the end of the Jedi Civil War, the Sith Empire became divided and its followers turned on each other, with many factions rising to stake claim to what little power could be garnered. The man was eventually discovered by the Dark Lord Darth Traya, who had sensed him as a wound in the Force. After locating the man, Traya explained that it was the Force that fueled his hunger and offered to train him at her academy on the planet to devour entire worlds to help appease the hunger. He followed her to the Trayus Academy and learned the ways of the Sith. The man apprenticed under Traya during this time, along with Darth Sion another prospective Sith. Traya's hungry pupil and her other apprentice each honed different aspects and skills in the dark side of the Force, until they both became Sith Lords. The man took up the name Nihilus, while the second apprentice became known as Sion. The three Sith joined in the creation of a Sith Triumvirate. In addition, the three each took a unique title, with Nihilus electing for the title Lord of Hunger.
Darth Traya perceived Nihilus's hunger for the Force as detrimental to the Sith's goals. Nevertheless, she taught him how to harness that hunger to make him stronger for a time, as she had promised. Nihilus consumed entire planets on several occasions, caring only to appease his hunger. The dark side consumed him more and more each time, causing his hunger and power to grow dramatically. His power eventually grew beyond what Traya could match. Their views on how to destroy the Jedi also became divided, with he and Sion wanting to destroy them outright while Traya desired a more subtle and time consuming approach. This strained the Triumvirate's already fragile alliance to the breaking point. Nihilus and Sion combined forces to challenge Traya, confronting their teacher in the center of her own academy. Sion and Nihilus entered the core from two separate doors and closed in on Traya while igniting their lightsabers; Traya followed suit by igniting hers. Nihilus Force-pushed her into a tooth-like feature of the platform, causing the woman to drop her lightsaber as she slumped against it. Meekly, Traya attempted to reach her lightsaber with the Force but failed as Sion slammed her head into the tooth, then beat her to the ground. Sion combined his power with Nihilus to sap Traya's Force energy. In the process, they also cut her off from the Force and cast her out into exile.
With Traya gone, the Sith were left with no defined leadership and her followers fractured once again into many factions, all seeking to take what little remained. Nihilus and Sion, having been the ones who defeated Traya, took control of the fractured Sith. The two united the numerous Dark Jedi who had followed Traya and had vied for her power themselves. The Dark Lords took control of these groups and focused them on a single common goal: the elimination of the Jedi Order, leading to an extensive assassination campaign against the Jedi, although both Sith Lords had different vehicles for achieving this. On the one hand, Sion killed as many Jedi he could find, dying many times along the way, only to be resurrected by his own anger and will to live fueled by the dark side of the Force. On the other, Nihilus traveled the fringes of known space with a large fleet of Starships that he had ripped from the mass shadows surrounding Malachor V. He made one such vessel, the Ravager, his flagship, and led his flotilla to the largest deposits of Force energies he could find, whereupon he sated the ever-growing hunger within him and further increased his power. Both Nihilus and Sion were successful in their pursuits and brought the Jedi to the brink of extinction.
Eventually Nihilus became so absorbed by the dark side of the Force and his hunger that his physical body began to erode. Knowing that he would succumb to death if he did not act soon, Nihilus ripped his spirit from his body and encased it in the armor he wore, thus allowing the dark side to consume his useless body. Using the Force, the Sith Lord was able to keep his robes, armor and mask together, giving him some form and allowing him to use his Force powers as well as a lightsaber. Apart from that, however, he no longer had a physical form and became simple, primitive intent.
- "There is no strength in the hunger he possesses… and the will behind his power is a primal thing. And it devours him as he devours others—his mere presence kills all around him, slowly, feeding him. He is already dead, it is simply a question of how many he kills before he falls."
The Trayus Academy continued producing legions of Sith Lords, assassins and marauders, with Sion and Nihilus at its head. They spread death throughout the galaxy and turned many other Force-sensitives to their cause. What his followers experienced while simply being in Nihilus' vicinity allowed them to leech off other Force-sensitives' Force energy, increasing their own power. He also taught them how to sense their prey across the vastness of space.
In 3,952 BBY, Jedi Master Atris organized a large gathering of Jedi on the Miraluka colony world Katarr, which most of the remaining Jedi were expected to attend. After organizing the event, she then leaked the location as a ploy to lure a dark presence that she had sensed through the Force so that she could destroy it. Atris' plan worked, drawing Nihilus toward Katarr. When Nihilus neared the planet, however, he spoke, his voice a great hunger that the Miraluka could see and feel through the Force. The Sith Lord's hunger overwhelmed them and obliterated the surface of Katarr, wiping out the entire colony and anything else touched by the Force. Nihilus destroyed much of what remained of the Jedi Order, including the Jedi Masters Zhar Lestin, Dorak and Vandar Tokare; Atris herself did not actually attend the conclave, though she was reported to have done so.
As he walked on the surface of Katarr, Nihilus found only a single living being, an injured Miraluka woman named Visas Marr. He put her in a deep sleep, and brought her aboard his ship. Days later, Marr awoke, completely healed aboard the Ravager, and approached the Dark Lord. When she asked him why the wave of death had spared her, the Sith Lord did not speak. Instead, he showed her a vision of the galaxy as he saw it through his senses: beings on other planets unable to feel the Force, disconnected from one another and lost in the crush of humanity, a chaos to which he brought order. The vision crippled her ability to see through the Force and carved out the flesh of her vestigial eye sockets. Marr became the Sith Lord's Shadow Hand, and developed a powerful Force Bond with Nihilus that strengthened both and allowed them to support or weaken each other in battle.
- "You… you are the darkness in which all life dies, milord. All life… exists to feed your power, and my life… my life is yours. I beg you… please… let me die. […] Yes… this disturbance… echoes through the Force. I can follow it to its source… and bring it to you. I will leave at once, my lord."
- ―Visas Marr, to Nihilus
In another part of the galaxy, Meetra Surik, known as the Jedi Exile returned to Republic space after being banished from the Jedi Order for following the Jedi Knight Revan to the Mandalorian Wars. She had begun to re-establish her connection to the Force, which had been severed during the Battle of Malachor V. Surik became a factor in Republic politics when Atris, intent on using her as bait for Nihilus, arranged for her return in 3,951 BBY aboard the Republic warship Harbinger, and broadcast knowledge of her presence through the core ward databases. When the Peragus Mining Facility was destroyed, as a result of Darth Sion's pursuit of Surik there, the Telosian Restoration Project, a pilot program for all potential restorative efforts in the wake of the Mandalorian Wars, lost its main supply of fuel and the Republic secessionist movement on planets such as Onderon increased. Surik came under the tutelage of Nihilus's former Master, who had forsaken her Sith identity of Darth Traya and retaken the name Kreia following her exile. Kreia now planned to use Surik against the Lords of the Sith to achieve her revenge.
Nihilus eventually felt a disturbance in the Force that only his apprentice could identify. As a result, Marr was sent to defeat its source, Surik, and bring the woman before Nihilus so that he could consume her. When Surik defeated Marr instead, the Miraluka began to question her conclusions to what her Master had once shown her. She was then swayed to serve Surik against Nihilus, the slayer of her people.
Alliance with General Vaklu
- "General Vaklu and I… when it seemed that we would need more to take Onderon… make it strong again… he came. With his power, his soldiers, it seemed as if there was nothing we could not do—nothing the Queen could do to stop us. I have served the wrong Master… he cares nothing for Onderon, its soldiers, its people. Everything exists… to feed his will."
- ―Tobin, to Meetra Surik regarding Nihilus
Nihilus allied himself with General Vaklu, the leader of the Onderonian separatists and cousin of Queen Talia of Onderon, just before Surik's return to Republic space. He wanted to aid Vaklu in breaking away from the Republic so the planet would fall under his influence and become a staging ground for the Sith. Colonel Tobin, Vaklu's second-in-command, became Nihilus' contact. The Sith Lord also established a base on Onderon's moon, Dxun, inside the Tomb of Freedon Nadd. The tomb contained a dark energy Force Nexus that Nihilus hoped to feed upon after his underlings performed a dark side ritual to influence the instigation of the Onderon Civil War.
With help from Mandalore the Preserver and his clan that secretly lived on Onderon's moon, Surik intervened in the Dark Lord's plans. When Surik was warned of the dark side ritual in Nadd's tomb, she sent a team to infiltrate Nadd's tomb that halted it. Meanwhile, Surik headed to Iziz to support Queen Talia and keep Onderon in the Republic. There, the Triumvirate's Sith Lords and Dark Jedi had joined the separatists in a march on the royal palace. Surik fought Vaklu's forces until she reached the Royal Palace's throne room, where she helped end the war by defeating the General. With the defeat of the separatists and Vaklu, Nihilus's plans for Onderon were thwarted; Queen Talia subsequently decided to have Vaklu executed by a firing squad.
Assault on Telos IV
- "Your path… ends here, Sith Lord."
- ―Meetra Surik, to Darth Nihilus
Afterwards, Nihilus was informed by Colonel Tobin, Vaklu's second in command, that there was a Jedi Academy on the planet Telos IV. This was actually a ruse by Kreia in an attempt to draw her former pupil there while she traveled to reclaim her academy on Malachor. When Nihilus's fleet arrived near the planet, the Republic Navy was there to meet him, working with the Mandalorians who were there to assist Surik and their Mandalore. This began the Battle of Telos IV, a large conflict with fronts on both Citadel Station, the large station orbiting the planet, and in space. Nihilus realized too late that there were actually no Force-sensitives in the Academy, yet his ravaging hunger drove him to attempt to consume Telos anyway.
Nihilus's ship was assaulted and boarded by the Mandalorians in a coordinated final strike against Nihilus. Mandalore led his troops to and aboard the Ravager, while covered by the Republic forces, to assist Surik and Visas Marr in their advance on the warship's bridge. Four proton bombs were set in strategic locations throughout the ship along their way, the fourth being obtained from the missile bay after a premature detonation risked putting the entire plan in jeopardy. Colonel Tobin, however, met Surik one last time, though his body was twisted by the dark side from exposure to Nihilus's dark powers in the time since Kreia saved him. Though at first Tobin was hostile towards Surik, the Jedi informed him that it would only be a matter of time until Onderon would meet the same fate as Telos if Nihilus was to succeed. Tobin, an Onderonian patriot, agreed to help the Mandalorians detonate the charges.
During his confrontation with the Exile, Marr, and Mandalore, Nihilus attempted to absorb Surik's Force energy, however, he failed and exhausted himself. This was due to Surik's ability to draw on the Force energy of those around her, as a result of her tie to the Force being cut at the end of the Battle of Malachor V. They engaged in a brief duel, with the Dark Lord seemingly too strong to defeat. Then, Surik learned of his aversion to her Force energy signature and turned the tide against him. Marr entered a trance and tried to disrupt the link with her former Master, undermining his connection to the Force through their Force bond. Nihilus was eventually defeated by his three opponents. Before making for the orbital shuttle she and her companions had used to board the ship, Marr felt compelled to remove the Dark Lord's mask, wanting to see the face of the one who had wounded her. Nihilus' body then dissolved in an aura of dark side energies as the trio left the bridge. Shortly thereafter, the bombs aboard the Ravager exploded and the rest of the Sith fleet was decimated by the Republic.
After Nihilus' "death", Meetra Surik traveled to Malachor V to find Kreia, who had taken back her former identity of Darth Traya, along with the Academy. Surik entered the Academy and Darth Sion ordered all the students in the Academy to attack her. She fought through the halls and found Sion defending the door to the Trayus Core. The two dueled, with Sion regenerating when injured. Surik convinced Sion to let go of the anger keeping him alive and he succumbed from his lifetime of injuries. Proceeding into the Core, Surik found Traya meditating. The Jedi reluctantly dueled her former teacher but, after defeating her, refused to strike Traya down. The Sith Lord attacked Surik again but was defeated a second time, dying of her injuries.
Darth Nihilus had created a Sith holocron before his "death" that eventually fell into the hands of the founder of the One Sith Order, Galactic Emperor Darth Krayt. Several millennia after Nihilus's "death", the Sith had reclaimed the galaxy for the first time since the fall of Darth Sidious's Galactic Empire in 12 ABY.
Personality and traits
- "He cares nothing for the Sith or its teachings… or the Jedi. And when the Jedi are dead, he will feed on the galaxy, the Republic, and eventually, consume the Sith as well."
Darth Nihilus was a man who always craved greater power. Nihilus saw death as the sole purpose of life, and power as the means to achieve it. He was cautious, as his actions during the campaign against the Jedi showed, and was known as an aggressive, dominant figure who would not abide a threat to his power. Nihilus was a Human male, but after he indulged his hunger for the dark side he lost his corporeal form, preserving his existence only by having his spirit linger within his mask and armor. Ceasing to feel fear and other emotions, he became an entity of pure intent. Nonetheless, Nihilus was still Human enough to have some feelings, as his bond with Marr persisted until their confrontation on the Ravager. She was his most trusted apprentice, and her betrayal was met with much anger. Darth Nihilus wielded a self-built lightsaber containing a red Lightsaber crystal.
Powers and abilities
- "The extent of his power cannot be put into words… and his perceptions have grown as well. To him…"
"You are dust motes in a storm… a grain upon the beach… and as insignificant as a body that orbits the graveyard of Malachor."
- ―Tobin and Visas Marr, regarding Nihilus
During combat, Darth Nihilus fought in an aggressive, one-handed style. He had learned some of the greatest of the Sith teachings, but such practices took the form of dependence. They would make him stronger, but only for a time, and he would have to feed upon Force energy to replenish his strength. For this reason, Force-sensitives and worlds rich in the Force would draw him. His reach in the Force eventually extended to a point where he could feel Force users throughout the galaxy to find planets he would then cleanse entirely, killing everything that was touched by the Force. Prolonged use of this power made him a threat to all life, as his craving grew more intense with each feeding. Eventually, Nihilus's hunger controlled him, not the other way around, and the Sith Lord would instinctively feed upon those around him, slowly killing them. This ability was similar to Meetra Surik's: the reconvened Jedi Council in the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine inferred that the Sith had somehow learned this ability to feed on the Force from her. Nihilus's very speech caused pain and death to all who heard it and, in time, the ones who served him became utter slaves.
Darth Nihilus was adept in many aspects of the Force. He used his dark variant of the Sever Force ability to betray Darth Traya with Darth Sion by stripping her of the Force and casting her out of the Sith Order. Nihilus could also use the Force to lift starships, as he did on Malachor V with the Ravager. He tore it from the mass shadows that surrounded the planet and kept it together even though it had suffered extensive structural damage. Through the Force, Darth Nihilus was able to escape death by containing his consciousness in his armor an ability that Darth Krayt would inquire of Nihilus's holocron millennia later. He was also proficient in Force Rage, Farseeing, Force lightning, Force Resistance, Force Scream, Force Whirlwind, among others such as a dark variant of Force Healing called Dark Healing. Nihilus was aware of some secret faculties of the dark side such as Devastating Power, used to increase the intensity of an offensive Force technique either by half of its power or to double its power, which gave him the ability to increase the range of a Force power to anywhere in the star system from which it originated. His knowledge also extended to Sith Alchemy: during the second battle of Onderon, Nihilus's sect of Sith followers used techniques that would bend tame beasts to their will.
- Tales 24: Unseen, Unheard
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords