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Darth Nihilus, Lord of Hunger

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/darth_nihilus.png
"I… am the inevitable, the end of all things. And you… are now mine."

"The truth, is that the galaxy, the universe, is far larger than this worthless ball of dirt. And all of it… shall die. Sacrifices to my hunger. Join me… bow before me as my apprentice, and you shall bear witness to the end of all things."
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The main antagonist of Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger, Darth Nihilus is a legendary Sith Lord who sought to consume all life in the galaxy.

He was once a Force-sensitive human who became a Jedi under Revan's tutelage. When the Mandalorian Wars broke out, he was among those who left the Jedi Order and joined the Revanchists in their campaign against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders. The horrors he witnessed on the battlefield caused him to become tainted by the Dark Side and he developed a borderline-obsessive hatred for the Mandalorian race as a whole. This led to his fall to the Dark Side, and he eventually became no better than the Mandalorians he was fighting against.

During the Battle of Malachor V, he was transformed by the mass shadow generator into a parasitic Force entity whose very existence is dependent on constantly draining the Force out of every living thing he encounters.

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Following the end of the Mandalorian Wars, the former Jedi was found hiding out in the ruins of one of Malachor V's battlefields by Darth Traya. Traya recruited him into her Sith Order and dubbed him "Darth Nihilus". The newly-named Sith Lord would then go on a rampage across the galaxy, draining the life force from entire planets and nearly wiping out the Jedi Order. He seemingly met his end when the Jedi Exile Meetra Surik tracked him down and slew him aboard his flagship, the Ravager. However, this would not be the end of the Lord of Hunger. Unbeknownst to all, Nihilus had bound his soul to his mask prior to his death, enabling him to continue existing as a spirit long after the destruction of his physical body.

Thousands of years later, Nihilus' mask found its way onto the world of Remnant, where it would eventually come into possession of a young man named Jaune Arc.

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    In General 
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Downplayed. Darth Nihilus was a huge case of Orcus on His Throne in the games, having his servants do all the work of hunting the Exile while he himself never even leaves the bridge of his starship. This version is far more action-oriented and willing to get his hands dirty, being depicted as One-Man Army who prefers his fights to be up close and personal. Played straight after he takes over Jaune's body as he demonstrates several Force powers that he didn't have in Legends such as Force Barrier, Force Wave, Energy Absorption, and Magic Enhancement.
    • Nihilus' skills as a lightsaber duelist are never touched upon in the games, which focused almost entirely on his nature as a Force Wound and his ability to drain life from planets. The only times Nihilus was even shown using his lightsaber was during his boss battle in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (where he's easily defeated due to a case of Worf Had the Flu) and in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (which is non-canon). Here, the fic plays up his lightsaber skills and his backstory paints him as a prodigy Master Swordsman trained by Revan himself. A flashback shows that his mastery of lightsaber combat even rivaled a pre-Sith Darth Malak (one of the greatest lightsaber duelists of his time).
  • Adaptational Intelligence: What most clearly sets this version of Darth Nihilus apart from his depiction in Legends is his vastly increased intelligence. Legends generally portrayed Nihilus as a near-mindless Hungry Menace primarily driven by instinct. Here, he's shown to be a patient manipulator who is able to identify and exploit the insecurities of others. He's also much more knowledgeable about the Dark Side than his canon counterpart and is portrayed as a Badass Bookworm proficient in various fields including Sith magic, alchemy, and history. Somewhat justified, as he has to rely more on his intelligence now that he's trapped inside an inanimate mask.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the Legends continuity, he is generally portrayed as a near-mindless force of nature being driven solely by his instinctual need to feed on Force energy. This version, however, is actively malicious and has a sadistic side that his canon counterpart lacked. He's also way more depraved than in the games; at one point encouraging another character to commit rape while invoking Rape Leads to Insanity, something that his canon counterpart never did.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: A cruel and sociopathic being from outer space who seeks to destroy all life on Remnant.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: While he's usually the proverbial "bigger fish" in the equation, there are those that even Nihilus is afraid of. In "Fear", Jaune encounters one such individual: a terentatek. The only information about the creature that Jaune can glean from Nihilus' implanted memories is a feeling of primal fear mixed with respect.
  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness: Flashbacks reveal that he had already fallen to the Dark Side long before he was transformed into a Force wound. During the Battle of Malachor V, he is shown to have become a genocidal sadist before the mass shadow generator was even activated. Given his close friendship with Revan and the fact that he had already fallen to the Dark Side, it's likely that he would've been amongst the Revanchists that joined Revan's Sith Empire had he never underwent his transformation into a Force Wound.
  • Ancient Evil: He's spent thousands of years patiently waiting for the opportunity to possess a Force-sensitive and resume his rampage across the galaxy. The epilogue's revelation that the fic is set in the year 127 ABY combined with the fact that Nihilus was around during the Mandalorian Wars means that he is at minimum over 4100 years old.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Was this to Meetra Surik, who Nihilus refers to as his antithesis. She's the one responsible for transforming him into a Force Wound in the first place. She also turns his apprentice, Visas Marr, back to the Light Side and is the one who destroyed his original body.
    • He gradually becomes this to Pyrrha Nikos. As the story goes on, Pyrrha becomes driven by a new goal: to save Jaune from Nihilus' corrupting influence. She agrees to become the next Fall Maiden specifically for the purpose of defeating him.
    • By the end of the story, he's become one for Ruby. Nihilus is the one who hurt her friends, destroyed Crescent Rose, and indirectly killed her uncle. He then goes on to kill Penny and Pyrrha, leading Ruby to unlock her Silver Eyes and become the new Fall Maiden. As of the epilogue, one of Ruby's new jobs is to watch over Nihilus' prison, since she's the only one able to open it.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: An evil being who has the power to drain others of their life, possess their bodies, and uses the Dark Side of the Force.
  • Badass Bookworm: In addition to being a master of lightsaber combat, Nihilus is a scholar of the ancient Sith. As part of his training under Traya, Nihilus journeyed to the Sith homeworld of Korriban and studied from the archives of Marka Ragnos himself. From this, he acquired all of Ragnos's knowledge about the Force and became proficient in various fields including Sith magic, Sith alchemy, ancient Force techniques, and Force ghosts.
  • Composite Character: In-universe, Ozpin regards him as a combination of his and Salem's backstories. Like Ozpin, he was once a noble warrior from ancient times and is a spirit who grants powers to his hosts. Like Salem, he was transformed into a Humanoid Abomination and can control the Grimm.
  • Dark Is Evil: He's a Sith Lord who dresses in black clothes, uses the Dark Side, and is actively working to corrupt others to the Dark Side. Outside his mask, his spirit's true form is a black miasma that envelopes the area around him into darkness.
  • Eldritch Abomination: From the people of Remnant's perspective, he's an unknown alien entity thousands of years old, who originates from outside the known world, possesses otherworldly abilities, and seeks to destroy all life on Remnant.
  • The Empath: He can sense the emotions of others through the Force. He demonstrates this ability in "Legends" when he detects a spike of fear from Nariel during the scene where the Voidhound asks her to talk about Darth Nihilus.
  • Energy Absorption: This is how Force Drain works at a basic level. Nihilus siphons Force energy from his target and uses that energy he's absorbed to fuel himself and his powers.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He's genuinely bitter over Visas Marr's betrayal. From his point of view, making Visas his apprentice was a rare instance in his life where he chose to show his humanity to someone else. The fact that Visas apparently repaid his "kindness" by stabbing him in the back is something that he never really seems to have gotten over. In "Legends", the last thing his spirit did before entering a 300-year-long Deep Sleep was to give a Death Glare to Visas. When he recounts how he first found Visas on the surface of Katarr in "Death", he makes sure to only refer to Visas as "her".
  • Evil Counterpart: To Ozpin. Both were originally magical warriors who lived thousands of years ago, are spirits who empower their hosts by possessing them, and slowly overwrite their host's memories over time. While Ozpin is a good man who wants to redeem humanity in the eyes of the Brother Gods, Nihilus only cares about satisfying his hunger for Life Energy.
  • Evil Overlord: As a Sith Lord this is a given for him. The narration often refers to him by the title of Dark Lord and he plans to use the Grimm to create his own dark army to carry out his will.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's extremely skilled in Sith sorcery and knows ancient Force techniques used by legendary Sith like Marka Ragnos. With his mastery of the Dark Side, he's able to bound his soul to his mask, use advanced Force powers like Force Scream and Force healing, and even empower Force-sensitives by increasing the number of midi-chlorians in their body.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: No matter what form he takes, every incarnation of Nihilus is depicted as talking with a scratchy voice. Ever since he was a Jedi, he spoke with a raspier voice than his peers. After being transformed into a Force Wound, his voice became noticeably more hoarse due to his body's sickly condition combined with his constant state of hunger. His spirit continues the tradition with a voice that is often described as "gravely and distorted" to those Nihilus chooses to communicate with. While possessing Jaune's body, Nihilus speaks with his raspy voice layered on top of Jaune's own.
  • Evil Wears Black: Nihilus shows a liking for black clothing in general. As a Jedi, he took to wearing black robes after he fell to the Dark Side. As a Sith, he dressed in an all-black, hooded cloak. As a ghost, this tendency still shows as he influences Petros, and later Jaune, into switching their outfits to black robes.
  • Expy: To Karness Muur from the "Vector" storyline of Star Wars Legends. Both are immensely powerful Sith Lords who were once Jedi, bound their spirits to a Sith artifact after their deaths, spent thousands of years marooned on a deserted planet, and seek to possess a Force-sensitive host.
  • The Faceless: His face is never shown after his transformation. Given the state of his body and how his hands initially appeared decayed during the first few years he spent as a Force wound, it's probably for the best.
  • Face–Monster Turn: After the Exile used the mass shadow generator on Malachor V, he was transformed into a Force parasite needing to feed on the life energy of others to survive. The Sith found him not long after and convinced him to join them.
  • Fallen Hero: He used to be a Jedi who fought on the Republic's side against the Mandalorians. After the mass shadow generator transformed him, he was found by the Sith, who converted him to their side.
  • Foil: To Salem. Both are immortals that dress in black, used to be human, and have previously passed themselves off as gods. Salem has pale skin, white hair, and eyes with glowing red irises. Nihilus has dark skin, black hair, and monochromatic black eyes. While Salem prefers to work from the shadows and breaks down her enemies through manipulation and psychology, Nihilus is a very power-oriented antagonist who prefers to overwhelm his opponents with brute force. Salem is a Chessmaster who sees the big picture, while Nihilus is rather short-sighted and only cares about his immediate goals. Salem seeks to end her immortality, whereas Nihilus is trying to prolong his life by any means necessary. While Salem is native to Remnant and spent eons on the planet, Nihilus is an alien from outside Remnant and he's only been on the planet for under two centuries at most.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Nihilus has the power to sense all Force-users in his vicinity, as well as how strong their connection to the Force is. He mainly uses this to track down the strongest Force-users in the area so he can drain their Life Energy to strengthen himself. As a Force ghost trapped inside his mask, he uses this ability to determine whether an individual is a suitable host for his soul, since he can only possess the bodies of Force-sensitives.
  • Hungry Menace: Ever since his transformation into a Force Wound, Nihilus is in a state of constant starvation and regularly needs to gorge himself on the Life Energy of others just to get by. Because his hunger grows with the more people that he consumes, he would've continued to feed on more and more people until there was no one left in the galaxy.
  • Iconic Outfit: After joining the Sith, he's only ever shown in his hooded black cloak with his white mask covering his face. He keeps this appearance as a Force ghost. Upon taking over Jaune's body, he modifies Jaune's clothes so that it's identical to the hooded black cloak he normally wears.
  • Implacable Man: Nihilus doesn't let anything stand in his way and has an ungodly amount of patience. As a result, nothing seems to keep him down for long. Sap his powers and kill him? He uses his mask as a Soul Jar and waits three centuries before making his next move. Hide the mask in the Unknown Regions? He'll sleep for 3600 years until a Force-sensitive stumbles across his mask. Dump the mask on a primitive planet in uncharted space? He convinces the natives that he's a god and has them search the planet for a host. Kill all his followers? He influences the enemy general into keeping his mask as a trophy and waits until he's alone before trying to possess him. The general resists his control and hides the mask inside a sealed cavern? He spends the next eight decades just sitting there, waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself. The best anyone can do is contain him for a time until he invariably escapes.
  • Joker Immunity: No matter how many times he's killed or his mask is sealed away, Darth Nihilus will always find some way to return. This is justified because Nihilus' mask serves as his Soul Jar and is virtually indestructible. This means that anytime Nihilus is killed, his spirit will simply return to his mask and wait for a period of time before eventually making another comeback. By the end of the story, Nihilus' spirit still lingers inside his mask, though Ozpin hopes to avert this trope by having it locked away in the Relic of Choice's vault.
  • Knight of Cerebus: For the most part, the story sticks to its Dramedy roots from RWBY and even antagonists like Cinder and Mercury have their humorous moments. However, nothing about Darth Nihilus is ever Played for Laughs. He's an insidious Eldritch Abomination that is out to destroy all life on Remnant and causes Jaune's slow descent into the Dark Side. The story's Cerebus Syndrome kicks off at the moment Nihilus hijacks Jaune's body and reveals himself to the heroes.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Darth Nihilus stripped his master Traya of her power and cast her out, forcing her to resort to mentoring and manipulating the Exile until she eventually regained her connection to the Force. After his death, Nihilus was given an identical fate, being starved of his power, marooned on an unknown planet in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and having to resort to manipulating his new host by mentoring him in the ways of the Force.
  • Last of His Kind: He's the sole surviving member of the Sith Empire formed by Darth Revan.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain:
    • As a Jedi, he was trained by Revan, who in turn was trained by Kreia.
    • After joining the Sith, Nihilus is directly mentored by Darth Traya (Kreia's Sith alter ego). He in turn passes her teachings down to his apprentices Visas Marr and Jaune Arc.
  • Master Swordsman: His skills in swordsmanship are second-to-none and he's mastered several forms of lightsaber combat which he passes onto Jaune.
    • As a Jedi, he was a demonstrably better lightsaber duelist than Darth Malak and the latter had to resort to using dirty tricks just to hold his own in their sparring match. Just to put that into perspective, the creators of Knights of the Old Republic have gone on record saying that Malak was a superior swordsman to Darth Revan. That's right, even before he became a Sith, Nihilus was already a better swordsman than two of the greatest Sith Lords in galactic history.
    • After possessing Jaune's body, he demonstrates proficient skill in swordsmanship while wielding Crocea Mors. He's able to engage multiple opponents in melee combat and easily blocks or parries all of their attacks while not even seeming winded.
  • Meaningful Rename: Kreia renamed him "Darth Nihilus" after finding him on Malachor V. In-universe, it's noted by Pyrrha that his name Nihilus has "nihil" in it, which means nothing.
  • Moral Myopia: He's outraged that his apprentice, Visas Marr, betrayed him and contributed to his original defeat. This is despite the fact that Nihilus destroyed Visas' home planet, kidnapped her, and then enslaved her after breaking her spirit.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His name uses the Latin word "Nihil", which means nothing. It also sounds similar to the term "nihilism", which is the belief that life has no meaning. His title as "Lord of Hunger" also applies.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: He's the ghost of a Human Alien Warrior Monk with Psychic Powers and a Laser Blade, who underwent an Eldritch Transformation into a Humanoid Abomination with Vampiric Draining as his main superpower.
  • Not Quite Dead: It turns out that Meetra Surik only succeeded in destroying his physical body, while his soul continued to live on inside his mask.
  • Our Liches Are Different: An undead Evil Sorcerer who uses a Soul Jar to continue existing after his physical body's death.
  • Outside-Context Problem: To the people of Remnant, who are ignorant to the existence of alien life or magic, Nihilus is an undead alien warlord whose use of the Force closely resembles magic. His extraterrestrial origins make him a complete unknown to both Ozpin and Salem. He's also able to control the Grimm, something that only Salem and the God of Darkness could previously do.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: He seems like something straight out of a Cosmic Horror Story — being the ghost of a planet-eating Eldritch Abomination with vast Psychic Powers whose only goal is to consume all life in the universe. He especially sticks out in a High Fantasy-inspired setting like Remnant, where magic is a rare power only possessed by a select few and its people are completely oblivious to the existence of aliens.
  • Psychic Powers: As a powerful Force user, this is practically a given for him. All of his incarnations are shown to be able to telekinetically move around people and objects, read and subtly influence minds, sense the presence and emotions of others, implant his memories and images inside another person's head, enter and manipulate dreams, telepathically communicate with others, glimpse into the future, and give off an aura of evil that causes those nearby to instinctually flee in terror.
  • Psychic Radar: He can sense the presence of other Force-sensitives and magic-users in the area. At the start of the story, he is roused from his slumber when he senses Jaune's presence near the cave where his mask was being imprisoned.
  • Red Baron: He's also known as the "Lord of Hunger".
  • Same Character, but Different: He undergoes a drastic change in personality three times in the story. Somewhat justified given that his personality shifts over the course of thousands of years. In the flashbacks showing him as a Jedi, he's characterized as a Blood Knight and a Screaming Warrior. As a Sith spirit trapped inside his mask, he is depicted as a patient Manipulative Bastard and a No-Nonsense Nemesis. When he takes over Jaune's body, he becomes a stoic Silent Antagonist as well as a Smug Super prone to toying with his enemies and showing off his power.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Remnant is an unwitting prison for him since they've never developed space technology due to the limitations of Dust, meaning Nihilus is stuck on the planet with no means of escaping into the rest of the galaxy.
  • Sensor Character: He can sense the presence of other people, gauge how strong their Force signature is, detect their emotions, and even be aware of their exact location.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Nihilus' Force Drain absorbs the energy of anything that was touched by the Force. Which wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't in a setting where the Force literally flows through everything. Anyone that gets hit by this is reduced to a withered husk in seconds, regardless of their power. Although magic barriers such as Ozpin's forcefield are able to defend against this attack, they are ultimately ineffective since Nihilus still absorbs magic from the forcefield itself. It basically combines Energy Absorption, Life Drain, Mana Drain, Make Them Rot, and Agony Beam into a single superpower. If that wasn't bad enough, Nihilus grows stronger with the more Life Energy that he consumes. Under the right conditions, he has the potential to surpass even the likes of Vitiate and the Celestials.
    • It says something when the heroes are only able to truly turn the tide against Nihilus in "Sorry" after he's weakened to the point where he can no longer use Force Drain. This conveniently happens right before he kills Pyrrha (who had become the new Fall Maiden), making Nihilus unable to absorb the Fall Maiden's powers before they are transferred to Ruby. If Force Drain hadn't quit on him then, he would've claimed the Fall Maiden's power and won.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Over time, each of Nihilus' incarnations steadily lose whatever sympathetic traits they once had, with the newer ones always turning out worse than the previous ones. Prior to fighting in the Mandalorian Wars, Nihilus' Jedi incarnation is depicted as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who joined the Revanchists in saving the galaxy. By the final battle of the Mandalorian Wars, he's devolved into a bloodthirsty Sociopathic Soldier entertaining ideas of genocide. Following his transformation into a Force Wound, he goes from being Tortured Monster involuntarily controlled by his Horror Hunger to a card-carrying Sith Lord. After becoming a Force ghost, he actively tries turning several heroes to the Dark Side and even goes as far as transforming an innocent boy into a Force Wound. After possessing Jaune, he goes full Omnicidal Maniac and tries to consume all life on Remnant.
  • Vampiric Draining: His primary power is his ability to drain the Force from living beings, effectively killing them. After being transformed into a Force Wound, he relied on Force Drain to survive and eventually mastered it to the point where he could drain entire planets of all life. As a Force ghost, he still has access to this power and uses it as a last resort when faced with someone who can resist his Mind Control. Due to the strange way that Aura interacts with the Force, Nihilus' Force Drain also absorbs Aura in addition to Life Energy whenever he uses it on the people of Remnant. After possessing Jaune, Nihilus continues to use this power to drain the life out of people and Grimm alike.
  • Was Once a Man: Used to be a regular Force-sensitive human before being transformed into an Eldritch Abomination by the mass shadow generator.
  • Wizards from Outer Space: He's the ghost of an alien space wizard.
  • You Monster!: Jaune considers him one and initially vows to never become a "monster" as Nihilus did in his dreams.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: It's confirmed that when he drains the life out of other people he's also absorbing their souls in the process.

Nihilus' Incarnations

    As a Jedi 

The Dreadlocked Man

Species: Human

Debut: Dreams (flashback)

"For the Republic! For Revan!"

Revan's enigmatic protégé who studied at the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine prior to the outbreak of the Mandalorian Wars. When Revan left the Jedi Order to join the war on the Republic's side, his student followed him and became one of the Revanchists' most renowned warriors. However, his exposure to war slowly pulled him into the Dark Side's influence until he secretly became a Dark Jedi consumed by his hatred of the Mandalorians. Following the Battle of Malachor V, Revan's apprentice was thought to have perished alongside everyone else caught in the mass shadow generator's gravity vortex.


  • The Ace: Among the Jedi, he was one of their best lightsaber duelists, a natural leader, and a formidable warrior on the battlefield.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In canon, it's uncertain whether Darth Nihilus even met Revan and the two don't seem to share any connection to one another. Here, Nihilus is established to have been Revan's Padawan in all but name. This version of Nihilus also shared a close enough friendship with Revan for him to form a Terrible Trio with Revan and Alek (a pre-Sith Malak) during the Mandalorian Wars.
  • Adaptational Badass: In canon, he was basically a nobody before his transformation into a Force-feeding monster. Here, he was a Master Swordsman superior to even Malak and personally led Revan's army on the battlefield.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In canon, very little is known about who Nihilus was prior to his transformation into a Sith Lord. This version is established to have been a former Jedi who followed Revan and was a genuinely noble individual who cared for his soldiers and fought the Mandalorians.
  • The Adjectival Man: Both Jaune and the narration frequently refer to him as "the dreadlocked man" since his dreadlocks are his most distinctive physical trait.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Is described as dark-skinned by Jaune.
  • The Apprentice: To Revan, who instructed him in the ways of the Jedi.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: His preferred method of fighting Mandalorians is to cut their limbs off by specifically targeting the chinks in their armor with his lightsaber.
  • Badass Baritone: His voice is described as being much deeper than Alek's and he's a skilled lightsaber duelist.
  • Badass Long Robe: As befitting a Jedi Knight, he wears long, dark brown robes into combat. After he falls to the Dark Side, he switches to wearing black robes.
  • Barbarian Longhair: He's a fearsome warrior who has long hair.
  • Blood Knight: As a human, Nihilus reveled in fighting on the battlefield. A flashback in "Victory" shows him enjoying himself as he tears through the Mandalorians.
  • Combat Parkour: During his sparring match with Alek, he uses high jumps, backflips, and flips in mid-air.
  • Coup de Grâce: Near the end of the flashback in "Victory", he finishes off a wounded Mandalorian whose arms he had cut off earlier in the battle by using his lightsaber to deliver a killing blow.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: During the Mandalorian Wars, he wanted to save innocent lives and started using the Dark Side to give himself the strength he needed to defeat the Mandalorians. However, he slowly slips deeper into the Dark Side's grasp until eventually becoming a bloodthirsty sadist driven solely by his Fantastic Racism towards the Mandalorians.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: Surprisingly, he wore dreadlocks in his hair during the time he spent as a Jedi fighting in Revan's army.
  • Eldritch Transformation: He started out as a normal Force-sensitive human. The mass shadow generator, combined with the psychic backlash caused by the death of an entire planet's population, warped him into a Force entity that drains the life out of everything with his mere presence.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Not only was he a student at the same Jedi academy on Dantooine that Meetra Surik went to, but he was also the Padawan learner of Revan and held a Friendly Rivalry with a younger Malak.
  • Fantastic Racism: He really hates the Mandalorians, seeing them as little more than uncivilized barbarians. This hatred was enough to ultimately turn him to the Dark Side. This attitude is understandable given that he lived during the Mandalorian Wars and likely had to watch countless allies die at their hands.
  • Final Solution: By the time of the Battle of Malachor V, he's vowed to personally see to it that the Mandalorians are "erased from existence", implying that he planned to genocide the entire Mandalorian race once the Mandalorian Wars were over.
  • Foil: To Ozma. Both originally lived thousands of years ago during a bygone age of heroes. Both were noble warriors who wielded a form of magic and fought For Great Justice. While Ozma remained heroic, Nihilus slowly slipped into evil. Whereas Ozma died from a mundane disease, Nihilus was "killed" in the heat of battle. Ozma was gifted his powers by the God of Light with the express purpose of saving humanity, whereas Nihilus received his powers from a superweapon activated by a mortal woman with the intent to destroy their enemies.
  • Frontline General: In all the flashbacks depicting him fighting in the Mandalorian Wars, he's shown to personally lead his troops into battle on the frontlines.
  • Guttural Growler: Even as a Jedi, Nihilus spoke with a very deep and raspy voice.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: While he started out as a Jedi who wanted to stop the Mandalorians from ravaging the galaxy, he was eventually consumed by his hatred of them and became no better than the enemy, openly killing prisoners of war and relishing the act of slaughtering the Mandalorians.
  • Human Alien: Despite having the same appearance as Remnant's humans, he is an alien from outside Remnant.
  • In a Single Bound: He demonstrates the ability to jump 30 feet in a single leap during his sparring with Alek. Justified as he's using the Force to enhance his jumping.
  • Laser Blade: Back when he was a Jedi, he wielded a lightsaber as his Weapon of Choice. Come present day, he no longer uses a lightsaber since he has long lost track of his and Remnant lacks the necessary materials to build one.
  • Ludicrous Mêlée Accuracy: His lightsaber skills are so great that he can cut off the limbs of Mandalorian warriors by targeting the small chinks located at the joints of their otherwise lightsaber-resistant armor. He's able to do this while fighting against several moving opponents at once on a chaotic battlefield, and not once does he miss any of his lightsaber strikes.
  • Made of Iron: Being shot in the back with a blaster bolt barely slows him down.
  • Magic Knight: Comes with the territory of being a Jedi. He uses both his lightsaber and various Force powers in battle.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Uses a Force Scream in battle as befitting his status as a Screaming Warrior. He can scream so loudly that the noise damages his opponent's eardrums to the point where their ears start to bleed.
  • Military Mage: Was one in Revan's army.
  • Motive Decay: At first, Nihilus supported Revan's petition for the Jedi to wage war against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders because he wanted to put an end to their galaxy-wide campaign of terror. The flashbacks of the Mandalorian Wars show how the more Nihilus fought, the more he lost sight of what originally motivated him. By the time of the Battle of Malachor V, Nihilus had already fallen to the Dark Side and was being driven solely by his bloodlust and blind hatred of the Mandalorian people.
  • No Name Given: His name is unknown and Jaune only knows him as "the dreadlocked man".
    • Invoked by Nihilus' spirit; while showing Jaune memories of his past, Nihilus makes sure to censor out any mention of his real name.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: During the Mandalorian Wars, he commits various war crimes such as killing wounded and helpless enemy soldiers, but justifies it as a necessity to stop the Mandalorians from devastating any more worlds. However, it later becomes apparent that he's doing it out of sadism and hatred.
  • O.C. Stand-in: Justified. Nihilus had a Mysterious Past and was a Generic Doomsday Villain in Legends, so this leaves a lot of room for the author to characterize him however they want. As a Jedi he was a Blood Knight and his descent into the Dark Side is treated as a case of He Who Fights Monsters.
  • One Degree of Separation: With Meetra Surik. During his time as a Jedi, Nihilus was Revan's Padawan and a member of the Revanchists. Meetra served as Revan's general during the Mandalorian Wars.
  • Race Lift: Downplayed. While his race is left ambiguous in the Legends continuity, it's known that he wore his hair in dreadlocks (a hairstyle associated with African-American culture in real-life). Here, the fic does away with the ambiguity and depicts Nihilus' human self as a black man.
  • Sadist: While fighting the Mandalorians, he's shown to prefer taking his time killing his enemies and would try drawing out their deaths for as long as possible. One of the ways through which he did this was incapacitating enemy soldiers by cutting off their limbs and then returning later to finish them off once the battle ended. "Victory", in particular, shows that Nihilus derived pleasure from brutally killing the Mandalorians and even targeted Mandalorians who were wounded.
  • Scary Black Man: A tall, dark-skinned man who is a sadistic Screaming Warrior while under the Dark Side's influence.
  • Screaming Warrior: Darth Nihilus, of all people, was one when he was younger as a Jedi fighting in the Mandalorian Wars to the point where he weaponized it with his Force Scream. A flashback in "Victory" ends with Nihilus triumphantly screaming while holding his lightsaber in the air after he had slaughtered the Mandalorians on the battlefield.
  • Signature Move: A favored technique of his is to target his opponent's limbs and sever them with his lightsaber during fights. He first makes use of this during his duel with Alek. During the Mandalorian Wars, he took advantage of the chinks located in the joints of Mandalorian armor and used this technique to down enemy combatants by cutting off their limbs.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: The first flashback of him shows him wearing simple brown robes and he seems serene. The next flashback takes place during a battle and he has switched to wearing black robes, showing that he's under the Dark Side's influence. After his Face–Monster Turn, he takes to wearing a black hooded cloak, showing his new allegiance to the Dark Side.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: He's a mix of the Jingo and the Broken Soldier variants. Nihilus started out as a fairly serene Jedi, but the horrors he experienced in the Mandalorian Wars twisted him into becoming a Knight Templar that took pleasure in gleefully slaughtering wounded enemy soldiers in battle.
  • Start of Darkness: He was once a normal human Jedi who fought on the Republic's side during the Mandalorian Wars. The mass shadow generator transformed him into a Humanoid Abomination forced to feed on others to survive while being trapped on Malachor V alone. He was later found by the Sith, who offered to teach him to control his hunger in exchange for his loyalty.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: When Jaune sees him again in a flashback depicting a battle, his eyes have changed to a solid yellow, indicating that he's under the Dark Side's thrall.
  • Sword and Fist: During his sparring match with Alek, he makes use of flips, kicks, and knee strikes alongside his lightsaber.
  • Would Hit a Girl: While fighting in the Mandalorian Wars, he's shown to treat male and female Mandalorians with equal disdain. At one point during a battle, he uses his lightsaber to cut off both arms of a female Mandalorian before executing her on the battlefield.

    As a Force Wound 

Darth Nihilus (Force Wound)

Species: Human (Dark Side aberration)

Debut: Gnawing (flashback)

"THE FORCE!? Why!? I… gave everything up for the Force! What… [coughs] What… what is it doing to me?"

A living wound in the Force created from the activation of the mass shadow generator combining with the deaths of nearly every person on Malachor V. The result is a Humanoid Abomination overcome with an insatiable craving for Force energy. After spending an unknown amount of time marooned on Malachor, he was discovered and rescued from the dead planet by Darth Traya, who named the Force entity "Darth Nihilus" and inducted him into the Sith Triumvirate.

After learning how to absorb the Life Energy of those around him, Nihilus eventually supplanted Traya as the leader of the Sith Triumvirate and led the remaining Sith from the bridge of his flagship Ravager. During this period, he exterminated nearly every Jedi in the galaxy and stripped entire planets bare of all life. At the end of the Dark Wars, he was lured into a trap above Telos IV and killed by a team consisting of the Jedi Exile Meetra Surik, his former apprentice Visas Marr, and the new Mandalore. Upon his death, Nihilus Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence as a Force ghost forever bound to his mask.


  • The Apprentice: After joining the Sith, he became Darth Traya's Sith apprentice.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: As a Jedi, he was devoted to defending the galaxy from being ravaged by the Mandalorians. After being transformed into a Force Wound, he joins the Sith and travels from planet to planet devouring all life. He became the embodiment of everything his former Jedi self had fought against: a Sith Lord that goes around ravaging planets much like how the Mandalorians would devastate entire worlds.
  • Black Cloak: In the flashback, Jaune sees through his dreams in "Gnawing", Nihilus is shown to be wearing a long black cloak during his time stranded on Malachor V after his transformation.
  • Bookends: His transformation into a Force Wound happens during a battle where he is fighting Mandalorians and as a result of Meetra Surik's actions. It's rather fitting that he dies while fighting the Mandalore himself and at the hands of Meetra Surik again.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: His flagship Ravager is a literal shipwreck that shouldn't be able to fly given its extensive damage. Nihilus got the vessel to work by simply willing it through the Force. The moment Meetra kills him, the ship immediately starts to fall apart.
  • Co-Dragons: He used to be one of Darth Traya's two Sith apprentices alongside Darth Sion.
  • Cool Starship: In a flashback from "Legends", he's shown commanding the Ravager, a heavily damaged Ghost Ship that is being held together by his sheer force of will.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: At the start of "Legends", his original body disappears in an explosion of Force energy after he is killed by Meetra Surik.
  • Discard and Draw: When Nihilus was transformed into a wound in the Force and gained the ability to drain life from others, it seems to have come at the cost of his physical prowess atrophying.
  • The Dreaded: This incarnation of Nihilus is the one most feared by the Jedi Order, which is unsurprising given that he nearly wiped them all out. Even hundreds of years after his supposed death, the Jedi are still scared of him with even a Jedi Knight like Nariel becoming visibly nervous when asked to talk about him.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Just his mere presence kills everything around him as his body slowly drains the Life Energy out of every living thing nearby.
  • Evil Mentor: He also used to be one to Visas Marr until she betrayed him for the Exile.
  • Genocide from the Inside: He brought the Jedi Order to near-extinction while also being a former Jedi himself.
  • The Heartless: He was partially created from his body absorbing all the feelings of pain and death at the Battle of Malachor V into his body through the Force.
  • Hero Killer: His greatest claim to fame was nearly wiping out the entirety of the Jedi Order.
  • Horror Hunger: He is constantly in pain from feelings of starvation and the only way to alleviate the hunger pangs is to feed on the Force energy of others.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: During another dream that Jaune has of Nihilus' past, he sees Nihilus shortly after he was transformed by the mass shadow generator. Nihilus is shown to have been reduced to a near-empty husk barely clinging to life, a mere shadow of the formidable warrior who struck fear in the hearts of his enemies from the previous flashbacks.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He was "born" when his former self was hit with the World-Wrecking Wave of a Weapon of Mass Destruction and absorbed all the feelings of death and despair experienced by the victims of said WMD. The result is a parasitic Force entity that outwardly resembles a decaying human corpse which sucks the life out of everything with his presence alone.
  • In the Hood: During a flashback in "Gnawing", a post-transformation Nihilus is shown wearing a hood that obscures his face along with a black cloak during the period of time he spent marooned on Malachor V after the Mandalorian Wars ended.
  • Irony: As a Jedi, he swore to eradicate the Mandalorians. After becoming a Sith, he does end up committing genocide... against the Jedi, the very people he once fought alongside against the Mandalorians.
  • Karmic Death: Aside from Meetra Surik, the other two people who helped kill him are Visas Marr, his former apprentice who he enslaved after destroying her home planet, and Mandalore the Preserver, the leader of the Mandalorian people whose race he plotted to genocide.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In a flashback showing his original death, the Ravager immediately starts to fall apart after Nihilus is killed since he was the only one holding the shipwreck together.
  • No Body Left Behind: After Meetra Surik kills him aboard the Ravager, his body becomes one with the Force and disappears in a small blast of red lightning and smoke.
  • Non-Residential Residence: While stranded on Malachor V following the activation of the mass shadow generator, Nihilus used a crashed Hammerhead-class cruiser as his home, only venturing out to search for other survivors to feed off of.
  • Noodle Incident: It's implied that he encountered his former mentor Revan during the Jedi Civil War, though the exact details are not known aside from Nihilus learning of the latter's quest to find the Star Forge.
  • One-Track-Minded Hunger: As he absorbed more Force energy, his hunger grew exponentially to the point where Nihilus was being controlled by his hunger rather than the other way around.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: At the height of his power, he was capable of stripping entire worlds bare of all life.
  • Planet Eater: As his hunger continued to grow, he eventually began draining the Life Energy out of whole planets just to satiate it.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Does this the first time he met Darth Traya after she told him that his transformation was due to the will of the Force. He reacts by screaming "THE FORCE!?", then rages about how he "gave up everything for the Force" and demands to know what the Force was doing to his body.
  • Self-Constructed Being: The flashback in "Gnawing" shows that after his transformation, Nihilus' body was fading away into the Force and he had to drain the Life Energy out of others in order to recreate and maintain a physical form.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Implied. When Nihilus was first found by Darth Traya, his characterization was more in line with his games counterpart — a starving, desperate man barely clinging to life and willing to do anything to survive. He initially shows contempt towards the Sith and only agrees to join Traya after she promises to help him control his powers. When we see him again as a Force ghost shortly after his death aboard the Ravager, he openly identifies as a Sith Lord and has wholeheartedly embraced the Sith's philosophies.
  • Sole Survivor: While he's not the only person to have survived the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator, he quickly became the sole survivor of those marooned on Malachor V after using his new powers to feed on the other survivors' Life Energy.
  • Squishy Wizard: As a result of his transformation, he's barely able to maintain a physical form and his original body decayed to the point where it resembled a frail, living corpse. Nihilus himself refers to his former body as a "withered husk". However, as a trade-off, his strength in the Force has increased to near god-like levels and he is able to perform feats that even the legendary Sith Lords of old would struggle with.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A flashback depicting a post-transformation Nihilus (prior to joining the Sith) depicts him as a starving husk of a man who has resorted to leeching off the life-force of already dying men just to survive. After learning how to control his new powers from Darth Traya, Nihilus becomes a nigh-unstoppable force of nature who easily devours whole planets.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Something clearly happened to him during the period of time between when he first joined the Sith to his death at the Exile's hands. When Nihilus was first transformed into a Force Wound, he's depicted as a Tortured Monster being involuntarily controlled by his Horror Hunger. By the time he's usurped the leadership of the Sith Triumvirate, he's warped into a sadistic Omnicidal Maniac who fully believes in the Sith's teachings.
  • Tortured Monster: Initially, Nihilus didn't want to be transformed into a Humanoid Abomination and only drained other people of their life in order to survive. When Traya first came across him, he was clearly in a state of constant suffering and pain. This is eventually subverted as he eventually decides that he rather enjoys his new powers.
  • Truer to the Text: This depiction of Darth Nihilus is the most accurate to his Legends counterpart, being a Tragic Villain who lost everything during the Mandalorian Wars and is overwhelmed by an insatiable hunger.
  • Unwitting Pawn: According to Meetra Surik, he was one to his former master Darth Traya, who forced his hand by taking advantage of his Horror Hunger.
  • Zombie Gait: In the flashback from "Gnawing", he's shown to walk with an unsteady hobble and looks like he's going to keel over at any moment while barely clinging to life.

    As a Force Ghost 

Spirit of Nihilus

Species: Force Ghost

Debut: Dance (voice), Breach (appearance)

"You were to protect her, but instead you hurt her. All because you were too weak. You know what you must do to no longer be weak."

The current form of Darth Nihilus. He's a Sith spirit who uses his mask as a Soul Jar to keep himself tied to the mortal realm. He acts as the primary antagonist for most of the story, giving Jaune his Force-sensitivity and slowly corrupting him to the Dark Side.


  • Achilles' Heel: He can't possess anyone who isn't Force-sensitive and the hosts must have a very strong connection to the Force or else he won't have access to his full power.
  • Adaptational Badass: In Star Wars Legends, Nihilus was limited to being a Spirit Advisor as a Force ghost and couldn't really interact with the physical world by his lonesome. That isn't the case here, where he's portrayed as more akin to a spiritual demon capable of consuming souls, projecting an avatar, influencing minds, and using the Force. He can even perform Sith magic rituals to artificially enhance another's Force-sensitivity.
  • Antagonist Abilities: He demonstrates powers similar to Ozpin, but without any of the drawbacks. Like Ozpin he can empower others with the Force and possess their bodies. However, Nihilus doesn't need to sacrifice any of his own power to do it and he has the option of choosing whoever he wants as a host.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Immediately following his original body's death at the hands of Meetra Surik, Nihilus transcended the concepts of life and death by transforming into a powerful Force ghost, allowing him to carry on business as usual with the added bonus of being immortal and intangible.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: For most of the story, Nihilus works patiently to slowly corrupt Jaune to the Dark Side so he can take over his body. At the end of "Destiny", Nihilus successfully drives Jaune past the Despair Event Horizon and seizes control of his body, enabling himself to come Back from the Dead.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In "Legends", he's the one who disposes of Sando's Boys and the Apex Society on Volik instead of Alpha's team.
  • Been There, Shaped History: It's eventually revealed that Nihilus' spirit was the Dark God that the Temple of Shadows worshipped and sacrificed hundreds of people to during the Great War.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: He is the central antagonist of the story and his corrupting influence on Jaune is what ultimately drives the plot. However, he shares the spotlight with Cinder, whose plans to steal the rest of the Fall Maiden's powers and destroy Beacon Academy provide a more physical threat to the heroes.
  • Black Speech: When he finally appears before Jaune in "Breach", his speech comes across as an incomprehensible jumble to Jaune, but he can still telepathically understand what Nihilus is saying.
  • Break Them by Talking: Does this to Jaune near the end of “Destiny”. Nihilus pushes Jaune past the Despair Event Horizon by telling him that it’s his fault for hurting Pyrrha and that stating that Jaune is still weak.
  • Character Development: At first, Nihilus is shown to be impulsive and short-sighted, caring only about feeding his hunger and escaping his mask. He also doesn't like to rely on others and acts as though Murder Is the Best Solution when faced with any obstacles. After being stranded on Remnant, he develops patience and starts setting long-term goals for himself. He also learns to rely on others more often as shown when he manipulated the Temple of Shadows into serving him. Lastly, Nihilus no longer resorts to killing as his first response when faced with a problem and instead tries to think of ways to either manipulate or work around it.
  • The Corrupter: While trapped inside the mask, Nihilus became a master of this. Over the course of several months, he influences Jaune into drawing from the Dark Side. More than a century ago, he also corrupted Petros Krizoz and turned his sect of the church into a death cult.
  • Creepy Monotone: He adopts an unsettling monotone when he chooses to speak with Jaune during the Breach.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Using ancient Sith magic to multiply the midi-chlorians in Jaune's body was this for Nihilus because while it did increase Jaune's Force-sensitivity, it also turned him into a "wound in the Force" similar to Nihilus. In other words, in order to create the perfect host for his soul, Nihilus also had to create the only being capable of killing him.
  • Death Glare: The last thing that his spirit did before entering his first Deep Sleep inside his mask was to give a withering glare to his former apprentice Visas Marr, who had helped Meetra kill him. Although, Visas doesn't notice this.
  • Demonic Possession: He can possess any Force-sensitive who puts on his mask.
  • De-Power: Nihilus is nowhere near as powerful as he was in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, having lost most of his powers after his original body was destroyed by Meetra Surik.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Killing the cultists who promised to free him while leaving the droid mercenaries fighting them unharmed. For this, the Mask of Nihilus ends up marooned on Remnant.
    • Letting Alix hide his mask away in the cave due to assuming that Alix would spread word about his encounter with the mask, resulting in more people searching for it and increasing the odds of Nihilus finding a new host. Nihilus at no point considers the possibility that Alix might keep the incident a secret and the only reason Jaune found it eighty years later was due to sheer dumb luck on Nihilus' part.
    • Transforming Jaune into a Force Wound also gave him the ability to form Force Bonds with others. After possessing Jaune and using his body to murder Pyrrha, the Force Bond Jaune shared with her causes his body to experience a massive psychic backlash that nearly kills Nihilus.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Given how overpowered Darth Nihilus is, there naturally needs to be a reason for why he hasn't already found a host and consumed all life on Remnant. As a Force spirit bound to his mask, Nihilus has a small Fuel Meter of Power and is limited to only being able to possess Force-sensitives who are Willing Channelers.
  • Dream Weaver: He demonstrates the ability to not only show flashbacks of his past through Jaune's dreams but also alter them so that any mention of his true name is censored out.
  • Dumbass No More: Darth Nihilus was originally the Dumb Muscle of the Sith Triumvirate, lacking any strategic skills or long-terms plans for himself. His One-Track-Minded Hunger had turned him into a near-mindless killing machine whose only priority was finding his next meal. Following his death during the Battle of Telos IV, Nihilus seems to have greatly increased his intelligence, becoming more adaptive and manipulative than before. It's implied that this is a direct result of Meetra sapping most of his powers. Since his hunger grows as he gets stronger, when the Exile weakened him shortly before killing him, his hunger lessened and became more manageable. With his Horror Hunger no longer dominating his every thought and his spirit trapped inside an inanimate object, Nihilus is able to utilize his intelligence more often and is in a situation where he is entirely dependent on being able to outsmart and manipulate other people.
  • Eat the Summoner: One of the first things he does in "Legends" upon being awoken from several millennia of slumber on Volik is to kill the cultists who wanted to summon him and absorb their Life Energy.
  • Enemy Within: Is this to Jaune. Nihilus spends most of the story trying to corrupt Jaune to the Dark Side and convince him to surrender control of his body.
  • Enigmatic Empowering Entity: He's a mysterious spirit who seemingly grants Jaune Force-sensitivity at the start of the story.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. He considers some of the ancient Sith techniques being stored in Marka Ragnos's archives to be "vile". That being said, he's still willing to use those very same Force techniques when the situation calls for it.
  • Evil Counterpart: Is one to Ozpin. Both are impossibly ancient spirits who empower their hosts with supernatural abilities and eventually overwrite their host's memories with their own. However, the entire process through which Nihilus possesses someone is a complete reversal of Ozpin's. Ozpin possesses his host first and then grants his powers and memories later on, whereas Nihilus does the opposite. He starts by empowering Jaune and implanting his memories into Jaune's mind while possessing him last. Also, Ozpin's hosts have no choice in the matter, while Nihilus' hosts need to consciously put his mask on in order to be possessed. While Ozpin works to cooperate with his hosts and eventually merges his mind with theirs, Nihilus completely dominates his hosts and eventually erases their personalities entirely.
  • Evil Mentor: To Jaune, albeit indirectly.
  • Evil Takes a Nap: In order to conserve his strength while inside his mask, Nihilus' spirit enters a deep slumber and can only be awakened by the presence of a Force-sensitive.
  • Eviler Than Thou: In "Legends", he is this to Collan Eislo and Sando, easily killing the Sith wannabe and Rodian pirate after they awaken his mask from dormancy.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Short-sightedness. Nihilus is so consumed by his need to feed and desire to find a suitable host that he hyper focuses on resolving his immediate goals without ever taking the long-term consequences of his actions into consideration. Anytime he does think up a plan, it tends to be a Missing Steps Plan that only works out due to Nihilus' talent as an Opportunistic Bastard mixed with sheer dumb luck. His lack of foresight leads him to transform Jaune into a Force Wound while forgetting that Force Wounds instinctually form Force Bonds with those closest to them. This leads to his downfall when he kills Pyrrha while possessing Jaune's body, nearly causing his own death from the Psychic Link they shared.
    • Arrogance. Nihilus often underestimates and dismisses those he believes pose no threat to him. In "Legends", he spared a team of droid mercenaries from his massacre because he considered them harmless. Said droids would then dump his mask onto Remnant, stranding him on one of the most remote planets in the galaxy. He also considers Ozpin and Glynda to be inconsequential to himself and doesn't consider either a credible threat to himself. He's proven wrong in the finale when Ozpin's magic is a major factor that contributes to his defeat.
  • Fighting a Shadow: While trapped inside his mask, he's shown to have the power to conjure a spiritual apparition which he uses as an avatar to interact with the physical realm.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: In contrast to Glynda's hands-on style of teaching, Nihilus is less involved with Jaune's training and is mostly content with allowing Jaune to figure out the workings of his Force abilities by himself.
  • Fog of Doom: This is Nihilus' true form outside his mask. When Jaune finally puts on his mask, Nihilus manifests in the physical world as a black miasma that converges around Jaune and transforms his body into Nihilus' form.
  • Foil: He's essentially a male counterpart to the Maidens. Both are powerful Force ghosts who grant Powers via Possession. However, while the Maidens have a Symbiotic Possession with their hosts, Nihilus hijacks his hosts' bodies through a Demonic Possession. While the Maidens are controlled by their hosts, Nihilus forcibly controls his hosts.
  • Fuel Meter of Power: He has a very small amount of Force energy in his mask to fuel his powers with, severely limiting what he can do until his spirit can find more Life Energy to drain. It's usually after exerting his powers that Nihilus enters a Deep Sleep to preserve what little energy he has left.
  • God Guise: While in the possession of the Temple of Shadows cult, Nihilus' spirit spoke through his mask and passed himself off as an avatar of the God of Darkness in order to manipulate the cultists into doing his bidding.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Corruption. As a Force ghost, Nihilus manipulates others by tempting them with the power of the Dark Side and slowly corrupts them into doing his bidding.
  • I Need You Stronger: He tries to seduce Jaune to the Dark Side and make him more and more powerful in the Force because he wants to eventually take over Jaune's body for himself.
  • Immortality Immorality: As a Force ghost, he is immortal at the cost of having to periodically kill people by draining their Life Energy. Becoming a spirit also seems to have eroded his morality as he willfully chooses to consume the life force of others just to maintain his own immortality.
  • Irrational Hatred: Despite having never met him, Nihilus' spirit is wary of Ozpin and dislikes him. Presumably, he can tell that Ozpin is not like the other humans on Remnant. This antipathy leaks through into Jaune, who begins to express similar feelings towards Ozpin.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: When Alix locked Nihilus' mask inside a strongbox, he could still hear Nihilus whispering in his head. Even after being sealed away in a cave, Nihilus' powers extend beyond the range of the cave. He could sense Jaune fleeing from a Beowolf and subtly influenced him into using its cave as a hiding place.
  • A Lesson Learned Too Well: As he spends more time on Remnant, Nihilus learns to stop using murder as his go-to solution for everything. However, when Alix resists his influence and tries to destroy his mask, Nihilus is in a situation where murder really is the best option. Unlike in previous cases, the two were on a road frequently used by travelers, so it would have only been a matter of time before another traveler came across the mask. Instead, Nihilus does nothing and allows Alix to seal his mask inside a cave for eighty years.
  • Life Drinker: Despite already being technically "dead", Nihilus will undergo a Cessation of Existence unless he regularly feeds off the life of others. He's survived for thousands of years by draining the youth out of anyone unfortunate enough to find his mask and then entering a Deep Sleep to preserve his energy until another victim finds his mask.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The chapter "Legends" reveals that he was the one who founded the Temple of Shadows and convinced the Temple's monks to carry out assassinations by pretending to be the God of Darkness.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He is highly skilled at manipulation, which isn't all that surprising when one remembers that he was the former apprentice of Darth Traya. When his mask was first discovered by a group of monks after being dropped onto Remnant, he happily played the part of the God of Darkness, gaining a personal cult of followers with Undying Loyalty to him in the process. He later tricked the monks into helping him search the globe for a suitable host under the guise of wanting more Human Sacrifices.
    • For most of the story, Nihilus plays Jaune like a harp, easily manipulating him into falling further and further into the Dark Side before eventually talking him into becoming a Willing Channeler for his soul.
  • Master of Illusion: While talking to Jaune during the Breach, Nihilus brings them both into a strange realm consisting of an empty void where he conjures an illusion of himself to interact with Jaune. Later in "Destiny", Nihilus projects images of two possible futures into Jaune's head which he uses to further drive Jaune into paranoia.
  • More Than Mind Control: His primary power and ability while his spirit is trapped inside his mask. Nihilus prefers using the insecurities and flaws of others in order to make them do his bidding. He compelled Jaune to keep his mask's existence a secret by preying on his desire to be strong and protect his friends. With Petros, he made corrupting him to the Dark Side easier by taking advantage of his strong faith and pretending to be the God of Darkness. He nearly mind tricked Alixandre into betraying King Osmund by using the former's hidden resentment towards the king. After possessing Jaune's body, he largely abandons this approach in favor of straight-up Mind Manipulation.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: A character flaw he struggles with during his early days as a Force Ghost. Prior to his arrival on Remnant, Nihilus was so bent on escaping his mask that he would resort to killing anyone he perceived as posing even the slightest threat to himself. This led him to murder his own followers who attempted to rescue him. He later becomes self-aware of this and works to overcome it.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: "Legends" shows that when Nihilus decides to get serious, he will opt to immediately kill those he perceives as a threat to himself and will do it in the most efficient and quick way possible.
    • When he attacks Nariel aboard her freighter, he doesn't waste any time and immediately uses his Force Drain to kill her. There's no gloating, no basking in the moment, he just drains the life force out of her before she can get in close with her lightsaber.
    • While facing off against Sando's Boys and the Apex Society, he doesn't say a word and hits them all with his Force Drain without any warning.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Is this for most of the story as his spirit is confined to an inanimate mask and the most he can do is slowly corrupt Jaune. Subverted once he takes over Jaune's body.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: In contrast to his former master Traya, Nihilus isn't much of a long-term planner and simply takes advantage of the situation as it develops around him. Marooned on a primitive planet? He enthralls a monk and uses that monk to form a Cargo Cult centered around his mask. Can't find any Force-sensitives to possess? He converts his cult into an assassin guild and has them kidnap people from all over Remnant for him to feed on. Vale's army wipes out his cult? He influences the army's general, who turns out to be a latent Force-sensitive, into taking his mask as a trophy and attempts to possess him later on.
    • The way he manipulates Jaune plays out in a similar way. When Jaune finds the mask, Nihilus uses a Sith technique to grant him Force-sensitivity and then allows Jaune to do whatever he wants with his new powers. He mostly waits until an opportunity to pull Jaune deeper into the Dark Side presents itself. When Jaune became desperate to protect his friends during the Breach, Nihilus convinces him to fully embrace the Dark Side. Finally, when Jaune enters a mental breakdown following his Kick the Morality Pet moment with Pyrrha, Nihilus uses the chance to Break Him By Talking, leading Jaune to put on the mask and give Nihilus' soul the host it so badly desires.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Although he's called a Force Ghost, his traits are more in line with what one would expect of a spiritual demon. He's an incorporeal Eldritch Abomination who consumes souls, feeds off negative emotions, and projects an avatar for physical interaction. He uses temptation to bend people to his will and offers to grant Force powers in exchange for one's body. He even impersonates the God of Darkness in order to trick the Brother Gods' followers into straying away from their religion's teachings. Lastly, there's his weakness to Silver Eyes, which are the setting's equivalent of holy magic and were gifted to humanity by the God of Light.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Unlike typical Force ghosts, Nihilus is bound to his mask and still needs to feed off the Life Energy of others to survive. His true form resembles a mass of amorphous black miasma, although he can create a humanoid projection using the Force. He can also insert himself into and control another person's dreams, demonstrates Psychic Powers, and is bound to a Haunted Fetter.
  • Present Absence: Despite only getting directly involved around the middle of Act II, his influence can be felt throughout the entire story through Jaune's dreams of Nihilus' past and his steady slip into the Dark Side.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Nihlus shows the extent of his evil when Jaune discovers that he accidentally brainwashed Weiss into falling in love with him. While contemplating what to do, Nihilus speaks to Jaune inside his head for the first time and encourages Jaune to use his powers to take advantage of Weiss. Fortunately, Jaune refuses to even consider what Nihilus is suggesting.
    Nihilus: [to Jaune] The girl is now yours, take her. Break her. No one else would know.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Jaune in "Breach", telling him that it's his fault for not being strong enough to protect his friends and that his attempts to control his Force-sensitivity have only suppressed it.
    Nihilus: Your excuses are as pathetic as you are. What you call control is just suppression. You have not tamed your power, merely run away from it. You have allowed yourself to fight with one hand, blinding yourself to the possibilities of the Force.
  • Removed Achilles' Heel: While he was alive, he was overwhelmed by the need to feed on every Force-sensitive nearby and needed to constantly drain large amounts of Force energy to satisfy his hunger. As a ghost, he can go thousands of years without absorbing any Force energy and is able to handle his hunger much better.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: At the start of the story, Nihilus' soul is trapped inside his mask and he's looking for a way to escape. He succeeds at the end of "Destiny" when he transfers his spirit into Jaune's body.
  • Seers: He's able to see several different possible futures depending on the choices one makes and even project them into the minds of his hosts.
  • Spirit Advisor: Nihilus' spirit speaks to Jaune through his mask and guides him in the ways of the Dark Side. He was also one to Petros Krizoz.
  • Suddenly Speaking: After spending half the fic not saying a word to Jaune, Nihilus finally speaks to him in "Dance".
  • Super Empowering: He's able to use Enhance Force-Sensitivity, a powerful form of Sith magic where the user empowers another's connection to the Force. For comparison, the only other people known to have used this power are Palpatine and Vitiate. He uses this technique to empower Jaune's Force-sensitivity.
  • Taught by Experience: He's very patient and hands-off with his mentoring of Jaune because the last time he tried to possess someone (Jaune's ancestor), his directness and impatience led to his intended host breaking free of his control.
  • Telepathy: He has the power to read the thoughts of other people and communicate through their minds. From "Dance" onwards, Nihilus' spirit telepathically talks to Jaune inside his head.
  • Treacherous Advisor: To Jaune.
  • Undead Abomination: He's the ghost of an Eldritch Abomination that drains the life out of all living things with his presence alone. He uses his mask as a Haunted Fetter and still needs to consume the life force of others to survive, despite already being technically "dead". His true form is incorporeal and when he chooses to manifest in the physical world, he appears as a amorphous, black Fog of Doom that can possess mortals and transforms his hosts into Living Shadows.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: When the Apex Society finds his mask on Volik, they inadvertently awaken his ghost. Their leader promptly bows down before Nihilus and informs him that they have come to rescue him. How does Nihilus react? By killing them all without a single thought.
  • Villain Has a Point: Although he only did it to push Jaune past the Despair Event Horizon, Nihilus is spot on when he tells Jaune that he has no one but himself to blame for lashing out and attacking Pyrrha in "Destiny".
    Nihilus: You hurt her. She was going to leave you, so you hurt her.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Since Meetra sapped most of his powers and left him sitting around inactive for thousands of years, Nihilus only has a small fraction of his strength left. Any time he uses the Force, he quickly exhausts whatever little power he has left and has to enter a period of Deep Sleep in order to recuperate it. This is why Nihilus was completely helpless to stop Alpha's team from marooning him on Remnant as he had already used up his limited power to destroy Sando's pirates and the Apex Society.

    Spoiler Character (All Spoilers Unmarked!) 

Possessed Jaune

Species: Remnantian (dark side aberration)

Debut: Destiny

"You… misunderstand. Taking Jaune's body was the goal. Now that I have returned, I have no need for insidious plots or machinations. I have no grand ambitions of vengeance or chaos like the others who attacked this school. All I am here for… is to feed. On your magic, on your life. On all life on this insignificant, backwater planet. For I am Darth Nihilus, Lord of Hunger, and this world is MINE to consume!"

The Lord of Hunger's new physical form. After driving Jaune past the Despair Event Horizon in "Destiny", Jaune loses the will to continue resisting Nihilus, allowing the Sith spirit to finally possess his body and come Back from the Dead.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • During his battle with Cinder, it's discovered that while in this form, Nihilus is extremely vulnerable to his own Dark Side energy. When Cinder redirected his Force lightning back at him, Nihilus is unable to block or absorb the attack and his Aura proves to be completely ineffective at shielding him.
    • Ruby's Silver Eyes severely weaken Nihilus and disrupt his control over Jaune long enough for the latter to regain control of his body and stab himself with Crocea Mora, killing Nihilus' new body and once again reducing him to a spirit trapped inside his mask.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: He's way more cruel, sadistic, and prone to kicking the dog than his games counterpart. During his battle with Jaune's friends in "Nihilus", he goes out of his way to traumatize Ruby by crushing Crescent Rose in front of her and then using it to decapitate another student while ensuring that the student's blood is splattered all over her face.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the games, Nihilus only cared about satiating his hunger and would drain the life out of his victims at the first chance he got. This version is a Smug Super prone to toying with his enemies and sparing those who pose no threat to him. He's also more of a Card-Carrying Villain than his Legends counterpart, admiring the Grimm for their Dark Side nature and proudly identifying as a "Dark Lord".
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: In Legends, Nihilus was Unskilled, but Strong when it came to his telekinesis. He was powerful enough to pull a capital ship out of a planet's gravity well, but didn't demonstrate any notable techniques aside from Force choke and Force whirlwind. This version has a far greater mastery over his telekinesis to the point where he can use it to enhance his punches, produce a telekinetic shockwave, and create nigh-impenetrable forcefields.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the games, Darth Nihilus was Ambiguously Evil as he didn't have much of a choice in his actions and only wanted to satiate his never-ending hunger. Here, Nihilus desires to continue draining planets even after getting his hunger under control. This version of Nihilus is also fully aware that his continued existence threatens the entire galaxy and has gleefully embraced his role as an Omnicidal Maniac, having expanded his goals from merely satisfying his hunger to actively seeking to devour all life in the universe.
  • All Your Powers Combined: He has all the powers and abilities of his previous incarnations combined with all of Jaune's. He has his Jedi incarnation's physical prowess and Force Scream; his Sith incarnation's Dark Side powers and ability to drain life; his Force ghost's Mind Manipulation and Psychic Radar; and Jaune's fighting techniques, Aura, and sword.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • Is this to the Grimm as a whole. While the Grimm may be an existential threat to the people of Remnant, Nihilus views them as a convenient source of sustenance and can drain the life out of even the most powerful Grimm in mere seconds.
    • To Cinder. With half of the Fall Maiden's powers, Cinder was the strongest magic user present at the Battle of Beacon. Nihilus sensed that she had more power than either Ozpin or Amber. Despite this, she is outmatched by Nihilus and goes down quickly once he fights her seriously.
  • Always Someone Better: To Glynda Goodwitch. Upon witnessing Nihilus use his telekinesis to hold back thousands of pounds of liquid metal, Glynda internally acknowledges Nihilus as the stronger telekinetic between the two of them and admits that she would never be able to perform the same telekinetic feats that he is capable of.
  • Ambiguously Human: Pyrrha notes how there's just something off about him and describes the way he moves as "robotic".
  • Angry Animalistic Growl: After Qrow's Semblance causes Nihilus to slip up for a second time during their battle, he lets of a deep growl of frustration.
  • Antagonist Abilities: He's the ultimate opponent, combining the powers and skills of all his previous incarnations to create a villain capable of countering every fighter in the story. His precognition and enhanced reflexes allow him to predict and instinctually counter any incoming attacks, making him nearly untouchable in a direct confrontation. His telekinesis is the perfect counter for ranged fighters as it lets him use his own ranged attacks, defend against incoming projectiles, and pull his opponents closer so he can strike them down. For fighters who rely on stealth or the element of surprise, he can detect the presence of others, know their exact location, and has a "danger sense" which warns him of any threats to himself. As if that wasn't bad enough, Nihilus possesses a massive amount of Aura that lets him tank just about any attack that slips past his defenses. Even worse, he has a lesser version of Sion's Healing Factor and can use Jaune's Aura to accelerate his own healing, allowing him to fully recover from any injury or exhaustion in minutes. Finally, there's his ability to drain the Force out of all living things, which will kill anything that doesn't have an Aura or has their Aura weakened.
  • Back from the Dead: He's the result of Nihilus's spirit possessing Jaune's body, essentially resurrecting the Sith Lord.
  • Badass Boast: Gives one to Cinder in "Death" in response to her asking What Are You.
    Nihilus: I… am the inevitable, the end of all things. And you… are now mine.
  • Barrier Warrior: Nihilus can use Force Barrier, the ability to create a telekinetic Force Field that shields him from any incoming attack. In "Nihilus", he uses Force Barrier to block an Alpha Strike from the heroes. He uses it again in "Death" to block Cinder's flame attacks and Mercury's missiles. In "Sorry", he creates a telekinetic bubble around himself to ward off attacks from Ozpin, Pyrrha, Ruby, and Glynda. Later, he generates a protective dome strong enough to withhold the pressure of thousands of pounds of molten metal.
  • The Beastmaster: He has a Force power similar to Beast Trick which enables him to control animals through the Force. In "Chaos", he uses this ability to control the Grimm.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Having his mask pulled off his face. In "Sorry", after the heroes restrain him and put him into a Forced Sleep, Penny attempts to remove the Mask of Nihilus from Jaune's face. This proves to be a HUGE mistake as it causes Nihilus to instantly wake up and fly into an Unstoppable Rage. Rather than his usual Tranquil Fury, Nihilus lets out a Mighty Roar and breaks free of his restrains before going full berserker on everyone present.
    • Implied. Although Nihilus appears emotionless for the most part, the rare moments where he shows genuine anger always comes as a direct result of his enemies demonstrating that he's Not So Invincible After All. The second anyone manages to actually hurt him, he enters a full-blown Tranquil Fury where he stops holding back and mercilessly pursues whoever injured him. When Qrow and Nadir caught Nihilus by surprise and landed several hits on him during their battle, Nihilus taps into his anger and unleashes a blast of Force lightning strong enough to instantly kill Nadir and Reese. When Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury broke his Aura during their fight on Amity and made him feel physical pain for the first time in thousands of years, Nihilus becomes filled with rage and uses The Power of Hate to fuel his next attacks.
  • Big Bad: He cements himself as the true Big Bad after pulling an Eviler Than Thou on Cinder and the remainder of the plot is driven by his attempts to steal the Fall Maiden's powers.
  • Black Cloak: He wore one in his original appearance prior to the destruction of his physical form. After possessing Jaune, he transforms Jaune's clothes into a black cloak similar to the one he used to wear.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Pyrrha describes his eyes as resembling a black void. It's this trait that makes Pyrrha realize that the person standing before her isn't Jaune, but Nihilus.
  • Black Speech: When Nihilus chooses to communicate with someone, anyone other than the person he is speaking to will hear his speech come out as garbled, unintelligible noises.
  • Boring, but Practical: Compared to other magic-users on Remnant, Nihilus isn't as showy with his powers and prefers to stick with the basics. A good example of this is when he faces off against Cinder on Amity. Cinder uses very flashy attacks throughout the fight, like summoning a tornado made of flaming glass shards or forming a ten-foot greatsword with a fiery blade. Nihilus uses rather basic attacks in comparison and relies mostly on his swordsmanship and telekinesis to carry him through the battle. Even when he resorts to using advanced Force powers like Force Scream or Force Lightning, he mainly treats them as gimmicks to catch his opponents off-guard. This even shows in the fighting styles each uses. Cinder uses her Maiden powers to fly around the arena while firing jets of flames at Nihilus and uses a lot of athleticism in her techniques. Meanwhile, Nihilus largely sticks to a defensive fighting style that conserves his movements.
  • Brown Note: His Force Scream doubles as one. Anyone too close to him when he unleashes it gets bleeding ears from the sonic blast. If you're particularly unlucky, the scream will physically rip your body apart, resulting in instant death. Even listening to his Force Scream from afar is not particularly safe as those who hear the scream have their mental defenses torn apart and describe feeling as though their souls are being damaged.
  • Came Back Strong: Coming Back from the Dead by possessing Jaune has made him vastly more powerful than before. His new body is physically stronger, faster, and in far better shape than his old one. He's regained his physical prowess and mastery of lightsaber combat from when he was a Jedi. Lastly, his newly acquired Aura grants him an array of new powers like Super Strength, Super Toughness, and a minor Healing Factor.
  • Character Development: After his transformation, Nihilus had no real motivations and only cared about satisfying his hunger. He didn't care about the Jedi or Sith and only joined Traya because she promised to help him learn to manage his hunger. Come present day, Nihilus has developed his own personal goals which extend beyond merely feeding his hunger. He desires to devour all life because he believes that it is his purpose to do so, rather than being simply driven by his hunger alone.
  • Charged Attack: While using Force Scream, it takes him a few seconds to charge himself up and draw power from his negative emotions to fuel the attack. This is problematic when he uses it in the middle of a fight, as the time it takes for him to charge up gives his opponents more than enough time to react and move out of range as shown during his first battle with Qrow and Pyrrha. Because of this, Nihilus reserves his Force Scream for when his opponents are only a few feet away and have their guard down, as was the case in "Death" and "Sorry".
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Prior to possessing Jaune, Nihilus was an incorporeal entity who couldn't really be physically fought. By taking over Jaune's body, he's now gained a mortal form that can experience pain. In addition, since he's possessing Jaune, any of Jaune's weaknesses also affect him. When he kills Pyrrha, he ends up severely weakening himself because Jaune had created a Force Bond with her, resulting in Nihilus experiencing the feeling of Pyrrha’s death.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: The first thing he does after possessing Jaune's body is to use the Force to change Jaune's robed assassin outfit into the hooded black cloak that Nihilus wore as a Sith Lord.
  • Cold Ham: On the rare occasion where he breaks his silence and speaks, almost everything that comes out of his mouth is spoken with gravitas, even while he himself remains calm and composed.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: During fights, he uses his precognition to predict his opponents' moves and counters accordingly.
  • Composite Character: He seems to be an amalgamation of his previous incarnations. From his Jedi incarnation, you get his love of fighting and sadism. From his Sith incarnation, you have his clothes, distorted speech, emotionless body language and desire to consume all life. Lastly, he has his Force ghost's personality as well as some of his ghost's Adaptational Intelligence.
  • Demonic Possession: He is Nihilus' Force ghost possessing the body of Jaune Arc.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He's normally stoic and composed; so when Cinder redirects his Force-lightning, the fact that he is so shocked that he can barely move indicates that he did not anticipate the possibility of Cinder being able to do such a thing. He's even more shocked to find that he is unable to block Cinder's attack.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Despite curb-stomping just about everyone that tries to take him on, Nihilus still isn't fighting at full strength. Given that he devoured the life force of entire planets at the peak of his power, this is for the best as it gives the heroes a small fighting chance against him rather than no chance at all.
  • Elective Mute: As shown when he gives his evil speech to Cinder in "Death", Nihilus is fully capable of talking through Jaune's body and simply chooses not to.
  • Elemental Punch: Nihilus can generate Force Lightning around his fists and use the electricity to enhance his punches, a technique he copied from Jaune after watching him do the same thing during the Vytal Tournament. However, he's shown to keep this technique in reserve and only uses it when he thinks his opponents won't expect it. In "Death", he uses it to break out of his Blade Lock with Cinder. While fighting the heroes in "Sorry", Nihilus tries pummeling Ironwood's face with electrified punches after using Force Speed to catch him off guard.
  • Emotion Bomb: After taking over Jaune's body, Nihilus gives off an aura of malice and hunger that causes most of the nearby students to flee from him in terror.
  • Emotion Eater: Similarly to the Grimm, he also feeds off the negativity of others and is strengthened by it. In "Vengeance", he is drawn to all the anger that Adam lets out during his duel with Winter.
  • Emotional Powers: He draws on his negative emotions to fuel his Force powers. A specific technique he has is Dark Rage, in which he uses the Force to induce an Unstoppable Rage into himself and uses that anger to strengthen his own attacks.
  • Energy Absorption: He is talented in Tutaminis, a Force technique that allows the user to absorb and redirect energy. When Penny first tries firing her Wave-Motion Gun at him, he absorbs the Dust energy beam into his palms and uses the stored energy to shoot an Energy Ball at her.
  • Enhanced Punch: Like Jaune, Nihilus can use his both his Aura and telekinesis to augment his fists. In "Sorry", he combines both into a single punch which sends Penny flying into the air.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Upon taking control of Jaune's body, Nihilus quickly proves to be more powerful and dangerous than any of RWBY's antagonists. A small demonstration of his power is enough to terrify Neo into fleeing for her life. He handily kills Emerald and Mercury before trying to make Cinder into one of his thralls, forcing her to commit suicide to prevent herself from becoming his slave. Adam and the White Fang are likewise obliterated by him with little effort. Even the Grimm are reduced to helpless prey when Nihilus decides he needs to drain them for their Dark Side essence.
  • Fatal Flaw: Arrogance. Nihilus is the most powerful being on Remnant and he is very much aware of it. However, this has made him increasingly overconfident to the point where he's bought into his own hype about being some sort of unstoppable eldritch deity. Because of this, he frequently underestimates his enemies and often toys with them instead of just finishing them off at the first opportunity he gets. This has led to a few occasions where Nihilus's opponents are able to catch him off-guard and cause some damage to his physical form.
  • Final Boss: He's the final villain faced by the surviving defenders of Beacon and the main conflict is resolved by his death.
  • First-Name Basis: Due to spending so much time invading Jaune's mind and influencing his every thought, Nihilus has taken to always referring to Jaune by his first name even when talking about him to other people.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: When he comes face-to-face with Cinder after tracking down her Force signature, he's able to sense the presence of the Fall Maiden within her and recognizes that she is powerful. This is enough to make him reconsider killing her and instead he becomes interested in making her his new apprentice.
  • The Gloves Come Off: After failing to take Cinder's portion of the Fall Maiden, Nihilus' patience is worn thin and he drops the whole Smug Super act in favor of once again becoming a No-Nonsense Nemesis.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal!: During his fight with Cinder, Nihilus has his Aura broken and receives numerous injures. This includes getting stabbed in both collar bones with superheated blades, being immolated from the inside out by Cinder's flames, getting kicked in the knees and head by Mercury's metal legs, and receiving cuts all over his body from Emerald's chain sickles. The following chapter sees him show off his Dark Healing by absorbing the Wyvern's essence and using it to rapidly accelerate his Healing Factor, allowing him to make a full recovery in no time.
  • Guttural Growler: While talking to Cinder aboard Amity, Nihilus speaks with a voice that is described as "gravelly" and "distorted".
  • Hated by All: After Cinder exposes his existence on a global broadcast, Nihilus becomes hated and feared by Remnant's entire populace for his Grimm-like nature, his horrific slaughter of Beacon's students, and his terrifying Force powers. During the Battle of Beacon, he finds himself equally opposed by heroes and villains alike. Just about the only ones that aren't repulsed by him are the Grimm — and even that quickly disappears once Nihilus starts feeding on them as well.
  • Healing Factor: He knows a Dark Side variant of Force healing called Dark Healing, although his is a weaker version of the Force power that Sion possessed. In "Vengeance", he uses the energy he absorbed from the Wyvern to fuel this power and accelerate his body's healing.
  • Hero Killer: One of the first things he does after taking over Jaune's body is subject each member of Team ABRN to a Cruel and Unusual Death. He follows this up by crashing Ironwood's airship into Beacon, resulting in the deaths of Qrow alongside dozens of Huntsmen-in-training. He later kills Ironwood by draining all his life, and then destroys Penny by telekinetically crushing the android into a ball of scrap. At the end of the final battle, he kills Pyrrha (and Amber, who she was Sharing a Body with) by stabbing the girl through her stomach with his sword. In addition, Nihilus is indirectly responsible for the death of the main protagonist Jaune, who resorts to killing himself to stop Nihilus from destroying Remnant.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He looks like a humanoid Grimm, has his body covered by a tar-like shadowy mass, possesses monochrome black eyes, and speaks using incomprehensible Black Speech. He is the result of a living Force Wound being possessed by the soul of an alien Undead Abomination. Even the Grimm can tell that there's something fundamentally wrong about his existence to the point where they refuse to attack him.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: He spends most of "Nihilus" holding back while fighting the heroes. Once The Cavalry arrives in the form of more Huntsmen, Nihilus stops holding back and uses his full power to pull Ironwood's airship down from the sky and telekinetically throws it at the heroes, revealing just how much more powerful he truly is.
  • I Am the Noun: "I... am the inevitable"
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Mind Control. Once Nihilus gets his physical body back, he ditches the whole "corrupt to the Dark Side" angle and opts for a more direct form of mind control, using the Force to dominate the minds of others and bending them to his will. In "Chaos", he uses the Force to enthrall a flock of Nevermores and tries to do the same to Cinder in "Death".
  • In a Single Bound: Much like his Jedi self, he can use the Force to enhance his leaps and jump long distances.
  • In-Series Nickname: Cinder refers to him as "Grimm-Jaune" due to her mistaken belief that Nihilus is some sort of human-Grimm hybrid.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Both the Wyvern and Ozpin believe that Nihilus is more powerful than Salem. We never actually get to see whether they were right as he is defeated by Ruby and Jaune before he can confront her.
    • When Ozpin finally sees Darth Nihilus in-person for the first time, he straight-up compares his power to the Brother Gods themselves. While Nihilus certainly has the potential to become a god-tier threat if allowed to continue feeding unchecked, he doesn't demonstrate any abilities on the same level as the Brother Gods during the final battle and it's later stated that a single blast from Ruby's Silver Eyes (magic which originates from the God of Light) would've been enough to severely damage Nihilus even if he was at full strength.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: While not Earth, he regularly views Remnant this way. Nihilus is from the wider galaxy, where Casual Interstellar Travel and Planetary Nations were commonplace 4000 years ago. Due to the limitations of Dust and the impact of the Grimm, Remnant is mostly undeveloped and lacks any space technology in the present day. Add that to its extremely isolated location and a native population totally ignorant of alien life, and it's not hard to see where he's coming from. He also makes no secret of his contempt for the planet, breaking his typical silence just so he can add on how he thinks Remnant is a "worthless ball of dirt" and an "insignificant, backwater world".
  • It Only Works Once:
    • During his fight with Cinder, Nihilus discovers that he is vulnerable to his own Force abilities after Cinder uses her Maiden powers to redirect his own Force Lightning back at him. It's because of this that he deliberately refrains from using his Force Lightning on either Pyrrha or Ozpin, deducing that the two are also capable of redirecting his lightning since they wield similar magic to Cinder's.
    • Alpha and his droids survived their encounter with Nihilus over a century ago because their mechanical nature rendered them immune to nearly all of Nihilus' powers and the Sith spirit was too exhausted to bother putting in the additional effort needed to destroy them. When Penny's robotic nature allows her to resist Nihilus' Force Drain and absorb his Force lightning, Nihilus simply uses his telekinesis to crush her into a pile of scrap.
  • Just Toying with Them: Because of his nature as a Smug Super, Nihilus has a tendency of intentionally holding back while fighting opponents that he believes stand no chance of defeating him in order to fill them with hope, only to then yank it away by revealing the true extent of his power.
    • It quickly becomes apparent to everyone watching that he's not even trying during his fight with Qrow, RWB, NPR, and ABRN. Yet he still wipes the floor with them and comes out with only a few minor injuries.
    • It's implied that he's toying with Cinder for the majority of their fight on Amity. Whereas Cinder is pulling out all the stops with her half-Maiden powers, Nihilus fights in a reserved manner and clearly isn't using the full extent of his abilities. This is only further proven after Cinder takes him off guard and breaks through his Aura. At that point, Nihilus then uses his Force Scream, and telekinesis to knock her unconscious in mere seconds, the implication being that he could have ended the fight anytime he wanted to. Nihilus himself later confirms in "Sorry" that he was using Cinder to test his own powers.
    • Averted in his battles with Adam in "Vengeance" and the heroes in "Sorry". In Adam's case, Nihilus immediately tries to rush their fight because he's impatient to find the new Fall Maiden and Adam was standing in his way. Against Pyrrha, Ruby, and Ozpin's group, Nihilus knows that both Pyrrha and Ozpin pose a genuine threat due to their magic, so he immediately tries to take them out at the first opportunity he gets.
  • Karmic Death: Everything surrounding his death is in some way a consequence of his own actions. He is killed by Jaune, the boy that Nihilus spent the entire story manipulating and whose body he hijacked. Jaune kills him by stabbing himself through the stomach with Crocea Mors the exact same way Nihilus killed Pyrrha mere moments ago. And none of this could have happened unless Ruby unlocked her Silver Eyes and became the Fall Maiden, both of which occur as a direct result of Nihilus killing Pyrrha in front of her.
  • Kick the Dog: The way he destroys Crescent Rose while fighting Ruby screams this trope. Logically, there was little reason for him to destroy her weapon and he could have killed Bolin in any number of ways. But he specifically chose to disarm Ruby of her scythe, crush it into a makeshift cannonball, and then use it to splatter Bolin's head while Ruby watched in horror. He was likely aware of how attached Ruby was to her scythe based on her previous conversations with Jaune and did this solely to cause her emotional pain.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • The airship that he forces to crash into Beacon was holding Roman Torchwick aboard as a prisoner, resulting in his death. Roman was a criminal who worked with Cinder and was responsible for causing the Breach to happen.
    • Kills Emerald and Mercury, both of whom helped Cinder put Amber into a coma and framed Yang for breaking Mercury's leg.
    • After defeating Cinder aboard Amity, he tries to Mind Rape her into being his servant, driving her to commit suicide. Cinder is responsible for orchestrating the Breach and the Fall of Beacon in the first place.
    • In "Vengeance", he kills Adam Taurus, who just earlier had cut out Weiss's eyes and stabbed Blake through the stomach.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Just before fighting Cinder on Amity, he demands this of her as part of his offer to make her his apprentice. He's displeased when she unsurprisingly refuses.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He ups the stakes like no antagonist in this fic has done before. The threat he poses far outweighs that of even Salem with all four Relics, since she's only really a danger to Remnant, while Nihilus has plans to destroy the entire universe. Whatever lightheartedness or comedic elements that remain in the story go flying right out the window anytime he appears. Once he takes center stage as the main villain, the plot immediately takes a dark turn as dozens of civilians are slaughtered en masse and and Anyone Can Die is put into full effect, with several major characters getting Killed Off for Real.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: He's always included punches alongside his swordplay though he can also fight unarmed. When he's disarmed of his sword during the final battle at Beacon Tower, he charges his fists with Force lightning and engages in some Good Old Fisticuffs with Ironwood.
  • Lack of Empathy: He is totally apathetic to the lives of other people, viewing them as no more significant than "a grain [of sand] upon a beach". In "Nihilus", he doesn't flinch at causing the deaths of dozens of innocent people and has so little empathy for Jaune's friends that he doesn't even consider them worth the trouble of talking to.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ruby has arguably experienced the most pain and trauma at Nihilus' hands than any other character in the story outside of Jaune. He destroyed Crescent Rose (her most cherished possession), murdered her beloved uncle, and killed three of her closest friends before her very eyes. Naturally, she is the one who obliterates Nihilus' physical form with her Silver Eyes, a power that she unlocked from the trauma she experienced while witnessing Nihilus kill Pyrrha.
    • For added bonus: Nihilus had spent the entire third act completely dismissing Ruby as a threat to the point where he mentally broke her as a form of casual indulgence. During the Final Battle, he ignores her in favor of focusing his attention on characters who he considers powerful, such as Ozpin and the current Fall Maiden. With that in mind, it's extremely fitting that the last thing Nihilus sees before his death is Ruby inheriting the Fall Maiden's powers before blasting him with pure Light Side energy.
  • Life Drain: His Force Drain sucks the life out of other people and heals himself. After using this power to kill Mercury, Nihilus uses the Life Energy he absorbed from Mercury to heal himself of the wounds he accumulated during his fight with Cinder on Amity.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He can move at blinding speeds, hit like a truck, and has Aura powerful enough to shrug off getting sliced across the torso by Qrow's scythe.
  • Living Shadow: His entire body is covered with dark shadows that obscure his form underneath his mask and robes, making him resemble a walking shadow.
  • Made of Iron: Even with his Aura depleted, Nihilus is harder to put down than a coachroad on steroids. Throughout the third act, he's able to continue operating in spite of injuries that would cripple if not outright kill normal person.
    • This gets taken to its logical extreme in "Sorry", where he goes through an insane amount of punishment that even Salem would probably need at least a few hours to fully recover from. Having thousand of pounds of molten metal dumped all over him and seep into his skin? He howls and hisses in pain for a couple of seconds before walking it off. Being at ground zero of what is essentially a Fantastic Nuke that obliterates Beacon Academy? His left arm is blown off and his body is critically injured, but he's still able to continue the fight. Getting slammed in the stomach by Pyrrha's shield so hard that it forces all the air from his lungs and drops him to one knee? He's able to ignore the pain and focus enough to use his telekinesis. Taking the full brunt of Ruby's Silver Eyes (enhanced by the Fall Maiden's powers) and being blasted with so much Light Side energy that it strips all the darkness away from Jaune's body? Nihilus survives this while still standing.
  • Magic Knight: He makes use of both his prowess with a sword and his enhanced Force abilities in battle.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Like his Jedi incarnation, he can also use Force Scream. In "Nihilus", he's able to scream so loudly that he creates an "Instant Death" Radius around him and the sound of his voice physically tears apart anyone unfortunate enough to be in close proximity to him. He later makes use of this power to catch Cinder and her team off-guard during their battle on Amity, as well as during his final battle with the heroes in "Sorry".
  • Malevolent Masked Man: A tall, dark, and menacing figure draped in a black cloak whose most distinguishing trait is the bone-white mask that he wears on his face.
  • Mana Drain: He has the ability to drain magic from Remnant's magic users like Ozpin and the Maidens. In "Sorry", he's able to absorb the magic from one of Ozpin's forcefields and later manages to drain a portion of Ozpin and Pyrrha's powers before he's stopped.
  • Mind Manipulation: One of Nihilus's primary Force powers is the ability to dominate the minds of others, turning them into his personal thralls. He can do this with multiple individuals simultaneously as shown when he enslaves a flock of Nevermores in "Chaos". He later tries to do the same thing to Cinder.
  • Mind over Matter: His telekinesis is even stronger than Jaune's and he's far more proficient at it than Glynda. When a squad of Atlesian soldiers and androids open fire on him, he catches every single bullet mid-air and sends them flying right back at the soldiers. He's also able to pull Ironwood's airship down from the sky and force it to crash into Beacon.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Upon possessing Jaune's body, Nihilus uses some of the same moves that Jaune used while fighting. Justified since those fighting techniques were originally Nihilus's and Jaune just copied what he saw Nihilus do through his dreams.
  • Missing Steps Plan: His ultimate goal is to absorb the life force of every living being in the universe. However, he hasn't even thought of a way to escape Remnant and his current plan goes something like this:
    1. Absorb Ozpin and the Fall Maiden's powers.
    2. Consume all life on Remnant.
    3. ???
    4. Destroy the universe.
  • New Body, Old Abilities: In addition to Jaune's Aura and fighting techniques, Nihilus also has access to his Force abilities from when he was a Jedi like his Force Scream and Force Leap.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: During his battle with Penny in "Sorry", he is suddenly able to use tutaminis — a Force technique centered around Energy Absorption — and drains Penny's Wave-Motion Gun before using the newly-absorbed energy to fire an Energy Ball from his palms. There was never any indication that Nihilus could absorb Dust prior to this scene and he was mostly just copying off the technique he saw Cinder use to redirect his Force Lightning.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: After absorbing the Wyvern, Nihilus' Aura is supercharged, making him more powerful than ever before. His Super Toughness is enhanced to the point where it is strong enough to No-Sell a strike from Adam's Semblance-enhanced katana, he is able to use Force Scream without needing to wait for a few seconds to charge it up, and he demonstrates the ability of tutaminis. Most impressively, he's turned into a One-Man Army capable of singlehandedly slaughtering all the remaining Grimm, White Fang, and Atlas soldiers at the Fall of Beacon.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He singlehandedly ruins Cinder's master plan by complete accident and almost all of his actions during the Fall of Beacon wind up benefitting the heroes in the long run. Crashing Ironwood's airship into Beacon? It turns out that Roman was aboard that particular airship, leaving Cinder unable to hijack control of Ironwood's army like in canon. Trying to enslave Cinder's mind? She kills herself, resulting in Pyrrha receiving all of the Fall Maiden's powers. Absorbing the Wyvern to replenish his strength? He just took out the most powerful Grimm in the area and gives the Atlesian military some much-needed breathing room.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: He becomes this absorbing the Grimm Wyvern. He no longer toys with his opponents and opens every fight with his Force Drain at full power. When he realizes that Pyrrha is using her Polarity to make him unable to hit her with his sword, Nihilus almost immediately tries Force choking her instead. Upon discovering that both his Force Drain and Force Lightning are ineffective against Penny, he simply uses his telekinesis to crush the android's body.
  • Not Quite Flight: Despite the power of flight being common among Remnant's magic-users, Nihilus lacks this ability for himself. However, he is capable of jumping extremely far distances to the point where he has no difficulty leaping onto the floating Amity Arena from the ground below.
  • Not So Invincible After All: For all of Nihilus's vast power, there are a few instances that show that he's not completely invincible.
    • At the start of his battle with Qrow and the students, Nihilus appears to be untouchable, casually dodging or blocking everything the heroes try to use against him and curb-stomping them one-by-one. Then he encounters Qrow's Semblance, which causes him to trip on a rock. This moment of weakness allows Nadir to shoot him in the back while Qrow uses his scythe to smash Nihilus's knee before slashing him across his torso. This isn't even enough to break through Jaune's Aura, but it shows that it is possible to land a hit on him given the right conditions.
    • During his battle with Cinder, there is a moment when Cinder catches Nihilus off-guard and uses her Maiden powers to reflect his Force lightning back at him. Cinder follows this up by stabbing both of her scimitars into his collar bones and heating the blades, cooking the Dark Lord inside out. This causes Nihilus to howl in pain, proving that there are some attacks even Nihilus can't defend against as well as the fact that he can still feel pain.
  • Not So Stoic: Despite his stoic exterior, there are a few moments where he is taken by surprise and shows some emotion.
    • Both times that Qrow's Semblance caused Nihilus to slip up, the Sith Lord briefly loses his composure. The first time Nihilus briefly freezes up out of surprise, the second time he lets out a small growl showing some minor frustration.
    • When Cinder redirects his lightning in "Death", Nihilus is so surprised by what she did that he's unable to react fast enough to dodge the redirected electricity.
    • After Cinder's half of the Fall Maiden escapes his clutches and reunites with Amber, he gets the closest he's ever gotten to having a Villainous Breakdown. At the start of "Vengeance", he clenches both his hands into fists as his entire body shakes with a Suppressed Rage. The amount of pure anger and frustration that he releases through the Force is so overwhelming that he's described as a "singularity of hatred" by the Grimm.
    • In "Sorry", he loses it and enters an Unstoppable Rage when Penny attempts to remove his mask from his face.
  • Not Worth Killing: After easily dispatching Neo and making her run in terror, Nihilus decides not to finish her off despite being more than capable of doing so because he considers her a non-threat.
  • Obviously Evil: He dresses in a long black hooded cloak, wears an intimidating bone-white mask, has Black Eyes of Evil, and his mere presence gives off feelings of malice and hunger. When the heroes see Nihilus in person for the first time, they can immediately tell that he's bad news.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He seeks to devour all life in existence and believes that the universe exists solely to be sacrificed to himself.
    Nihilus: The truth is that the galaxy, the universe, is far larger than this worthless ball of dirt. And all of it… shall die.
  • One-Man Army: In "Nihilus", he takes on Qrow, Pyrrha, Nora, Ren, RWBY (minus Yang), and ABRN all at once and is able to kill every member of ABRN, as well as severely weaken the others.
    • In "Sorry", he slaughters nearly all of the Battle of Beacon's combatants, including the entirety of the White Fang and Grimm's forces as well as a good chunk of Atlas' army.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Is one for Cinder Fall. Up until the end of "Destiny", she was unaware of Nihilus's existence and has no idea who or what he is. His presence during the Battle of Beacon throws several wrenches into her plan to cause the Fall of Beacon. Additionally, he's the only person she's met aside from Salem that is capable of easily overpowering a Maiden in a straight-up fight. When he finally goes after her, Cinder is unprepared and quickly defeated.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: While he doesn't have anything close to the planet-destroying capabilities that he had in his original body, his power is still nothing to scoff at. With his telekinesis alone, he's able to kill dozens of people in seconds, drag a military airship down from the sky, and knock down Beacon Tower. During the Battle of Beacon, he effortlessly obliterates the combined armies of the Grimm, Atlas, and the White Fang. He's so powerful that every Force-Sensitive in the galaxy could feel his strength and his mere presence resulted in a massive psychic backlash in the Force that sent nearly every Sith on Korriban into screaming fits of pain.
  • Pet the Dog: He was being sincere when he offered to let Cinder live under the condition that she become his new apprentice. He sensed that Cinder's greatest fear was being weak and was able to relate to that feeling since he had previously spent thousands of years trapped inside his mask.
  • Power Copying: He demonstrates the ability to learn how to perform new Force techniques after only seeing them used once. He copies Jaune's Enhanced Punch and his Elemental Punch. He also copies Cinder's lightning redirection and Energy Ball through Variant Power Copying.
  • The Power of Hate: Like Jaune, he draws on his negative emotions in order to fuel his powers. While fighting Qrow, Nihilus first focuses on his anger in order to generate his Force lightning.
  • Power Parasite: After possessing Jaune, Nihilus sets out to absorb the Fall Maiden's magic.
  • Psychic Radar: During the Fall of Beacon, he psychically scans all of Beacon and Vale in search of those with powerful Force signatures for him to drain. Through this, he is able to detect the presence and exact location of Ozpin and the Fall Maiden.
  • Psychic Strangle: In "Nihilus", he Force-chokes Arslan from afar before pulling her in and cutting her down.
  • The Quiet One: Nihilus is very taciturn and rarely ever speaks, despite being perfectly capable of talking as his interaction with Cinder shows. It's implied that this is because he views everyone else as being so beneath him that they're not even worth the trouble of talking to. The number of occasions where he has verbally spoken can be counted on a single hand, and in all of those instances, he was talking to individuals who he sensed possessed magic (i.e. Cinder, the Fall Maiden, and Ozpin).
  • Rasputinian Death: He gets submerged in thousands of tons of molten metal, hit by an energy beam as strong as a turbolaser, nuked by Ozpin, has his left arm blown off, gets beaten up so badly that he can barely use the Force, is nearly killed by a psychic backlash caused by a broken Force Bond, then gets blasted by Ruby's Silver Eyes enhanced with the Fall Maiden's magic, and is finally killed from being stabbed through the stomach with a sword.
  • Shock and Awe: Being a powerful Sith Lord, it's given that Nihilus is able to shoot lightning out of his fingertips. Copying off Jaune, he can also charge his fists with Dark Side electricity and perform Elemental Punches. In "Nihilus", he uses Force lightning to attack Qrow, as well as kill Nadir and Reese. He later uses this ability several times while fighting Cinder and her team on Amity. During the climatic Final Battle in "Sorry", he largely refrains from using Force lightning since two of his opponents are magic users who he knows are able to absorb and redirect electricity.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Among Nihilus's large arsenal of Force powers is the ability to use Force Wave, a Force technique where he generates a large telekinetic shockwave by performing a Ground Punch. During his battle with Cinder aboard Amity, Nihilus uses this technique to dispel a fiery tornado Cinder has summoned around him.
  • Signature Move: His preferred method of killing his victims is to Neck Lift them off the ground and then drain them of their life as he watches them helplessly struggle in his grip.
  • Smug Super: He's one of the most powerful beings on Remnant and he knows it. When the heroes try to fight him, he gives them time to get their weapons and surround him. He then proceeds to show off his power by single-handedly trouncing them all in battle while making it obvious through his Body Language that he's holding back.
  • Sparing the Aces: After defeating Cinder and killing her underlings, Nihilus decides to spare her and mind control her into being his apprentice due to how much she impressed him with her mastery over the Fall Maiden's powers. However, Cinder has no interest in being his slave and commits a Spiteful Suicide just to deny him access to the Fall Maiden.
  • The Stoic: During his fight with Qrow and the heroes, he remains calm and collected throughout the battle; his body expression remains emotionless even while he's slaughtering his way through Beacon.
  • Strong and Skilled: After possessing Jaune's body and morphing it into his own, Nihilus combines his vast Force presence with the physical prowess of Jaune's body. The result is a Lightning Bruiser who possesses Jaune's strong connection to the Force combined with the skill and experience that actually lets him use it effectively. A good example comes from his use of Force telekinesis. He's skilled enough to catch thousands of bullets mid-air without flinching and strong enough to pull an Atlesian airship down from the sky.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: The effectiveness of his Force Scream varies. When he uses it against the heroes in "Nihilus", it's treated as an "Instant Death" Radius that physically rips apart anyone caught in close proximity. However, in "Death, being hit by Force Scream at point-blank range merely gets Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury Blown Across the Room with bleeding ears.
  • Summon to Hand: At the start of the battle in "Nihilus", he uses the Force to summon Crocea Mors and cause the sword to fly from Jaune's locker into his hand.
  • Super Speed: Using Force Speed, Nihilus can channel the Force into his own body to exponentially increase his speed, allowing him to perform flash steps. In "Sorry", he's able to instantly appear in front of someone standing over a dozen feet away from him in the blink of an eye.
  • Super Strength: He's strong enough to Neck Lift a teenager with one arm through brute strength alone, drag her body through the air, and then use her body to bludgeon another teenager into the ground. After absorbing the Wyvern, his strength has noticeably increased to the point where his grip can dent metal, he's able to easily tear off Ironwood's prosthetic arm, and even overpower Penny's robotic strength.
  • Super Toughness: The large amount of Aura in Jaune's body allows Nihilus to easily shrug off attacks that might have otherwise crippled him. Getting shot in the back, smashed in the knee, and slashed across the stomach with a scythe is shown to do absolutely nothing to him. After absorbing the Dark Side energy from the Wyvern, his Aura becomes supercharged and he gains borderline Nigh-Invulnerability to the point where he can easily tank Adam's strongest attack and weather Penny's Wave-Motion Gun even when she's at 400% power.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: He can project feelings of terror through the Force with his presence alone. When he first transforms Jaune's body into his own, everyone watching was hit by a sense of dread that caused any non-combatants to flee the area.
  • Superpower Lottery: Nihilus is a Power Parasite with an extensive range of abilities that make him a Physical God compared to most Remnantians, who are generally limited to a single Semblance. Jaune's body alone turns him into a Lightning Bruiser with nearly limitless Aura that grants him Super Strength and Super Toughness capable of tanking a turbolaser. Besides the new powers he gained from possessing Jaune, Nihilus' Force abilities include Super Reflexes, Force Speed, Force Leap, Drain Life, Drain Force, telekinesis, Force Lightning, Force Scream (which doubles as a Brown Note), Mind Manipulation, Psychic Powers, Combat Clairvoyance, Danger Sense, Force Barrier, Force Wave, Dark Rage, Dark Healing, Energy Absorption, and the ability to enhance his own body with the Force. Even if you took all that away, Nihilus is still a Master Swordsman with a lifetime of experience, can best veteran Huntsmen in an unarmed fight, and is Made of Iron to the extent where it practically mimics Aura. This doesn't even cover all the abilities he demonstrated as a Force ghost.
  • Sword and Fist: During melee fights, Nihilus isn't limited to just using Crocea Mors and includes punches and kicks alongside his sword strikes.
  • Takes One to Kill One: While fighting Cinder on Amity, it's revealed that aside from another wound in the Force, Nihilus is also vulnerable to his own Force powers. When Cinder redirects his Force lightning at him, Nihilus is unable to defend against the attack and is sent recoiling in pain as his body starts to burn away from the Dark Side energy.
  • Taught by Experience:
    • After Cinder demonstrates that her Maiden powers are capable of actually damaging him, Nihilus stops underestimating the Maidens and starts treating them like an actual threat. During his battle with Ozpin's group at the base of Beacon Tower, he singles out Ozpin and Pyrrha (the only two who can wield magic) and makes taking them both out his top priority.
    • He also never uses his Force Lightning against either Ozpin or Pyrrha (after she becomes the Fall Maiden) since he learned from his earlier battle with Cinder that the Maidens are able to absorb his Force Lightning.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While fighting Weiss, Nihilus throws Crocea Mors at her so hard that the sword is described as a "flying buzzsaw" as it spins through the air.
  • Too Powerful to Live: By the end of the third act, Nihilus has become the strongest fighter on Remnant, is able to override Salem's control over the Grimm, and would've only grown even stronger as he continued to feed off more and more Life Energy. He had to be defeated during the Fall of Beacon in his weakened state. If he had managed to survive and escape, he would've regained his strength and eventually consumed enough Force energy to make him so powerful that even the severing of Jaune and Pyrrha's Force Bond and Ruby's Silver Eyes wouldn't be enough to stop him from absorbing all life on Remnant.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Grimm are unwilling to attack Nihilus despite his regular use of The Power of Hate drawing them to his presence like moths to a flame.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Upon possessing Jaune's body, Nihilus loses most of his Adaptational Intelligence that he had as a Force ghost. He goes from being a cautious and pragmatic Manipulative Bastard to a Smug Super who underestimates everyone around him and constantly wastes time toying around with his enemies instead of just finishing them off.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: After taking full control of Jaune's body in "Destiny", he morphs Jaune's body into a mass of darkness and changes Jaune's clothes into the hooded Black Cloak Nihilus wore in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
  • The Unintelligible: His Black Speech comes across as nothing more than garbled noises to Emerald and Mercury, neither of whom are able to follow the conversation he's having with Cinder.
  • Variant Power Copying:
    • After witnessing Cinder create an Energy Ball by using her Elemental Absorption on his Force lightning, Nihilus copies her technique while substituting her Elemental Absorption with his own Energy Absorption. During the final battle, he absorbs Penny's Dust laser and refocuses the absorbed energy into an Energy Ball that he flings back at her.
    • During his battle with Ozpin's group, he discovers how Pyrrha uses her control over metal to subtly affect the movements of her opponent's weapons so that none of their attacks can hit her. Near the conclusion of their battle, Nihilus turns Pyrrha's own technique against her by using his telekinesis on her xiphos to make her miss what was supposed to be her finishing blow.
  • Viler New Villain: He's far worse than any of the antagonists that preceded him in the story, all of whom at least had motivations that could be followed and understood. Cardin was a school bully, the terentatek was merely fulfilling its creator-given purpose, Cinder Fall desired to be feared and powerful, Dark Side Jaune sought to become stronger so he could protect his friends, and even Salem ultimately just wants to be freed of her cursed immortality. However, Darth Nihilus isn't driven by any understandable motives, being an irredeemable Omnicidal Maniac who seeks to devour all life in the universe just to satisfy his never-ending hunger and bloodlust.
  • Villain Ball: When he has Cinder at his mercy, he attempts to enslave her mind instead of killing her and draining the Fall Maiden's power like he originally planned. This leads to Cinder getting a second wind and she resists him long enough to commit a Spiteful Suicide, denying him his prize as the Fall Maiden's power then returns to Amber's body.
  • Villain Killer: During the Fall of Beacon, he proves to be better at fighting Remnant's villains than most of the heroes. He directly causes the deaths of Roman, Emerald, Mercury, Adam, nearly all of the White Fang, and every Grimm that was attacking Beacon. While he didn't directly murder Cinder, he is also responsible for her death as his actions lead her to commit suicide.
  • Villain Respect: Subverted. When Qrow's Semblance causes him to trip up, Nihilus is surprised and begrudgingly impressed. However, it's Qrow's Semblance that he's impressed by, not the man himself, and even that disappears as he quickly finds Qrow's misfortune more and more annoying.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: A villain-to-villain variant with Cinder. After sensing the presence of the Fall Maiden within her, Nihilus offers to make Cinder his apprentice and is disappointed when she rejects him.
  • Voice of the Legion: While possessing Jaune's body, Nihilus speaks with his distorted and gravely voice layered upon Jaune's original voice.
  • Walking Spoiler: His very existence spoils how Nihilus possesses Jaune's body and his actions happen during the most pivotal point in the entire story.
  • World's Strongest Man: While in control of Jaune's body, Darth Nihilus was easily the most powerful being on all of Remnant. Throughout the third act, he bests nearly all of RWBY's characters, including powerhouses like Pyrrha, Neo, Cinder, Adam, Penny, Glynda, and Ozpin. So far, the only people who haven't been thrashed by Nihilus either never got the chance to meet him or fled the moment they realized they were outmatched. By the time he's absorbed the Wyvern, he had already exceeded Salem in power and would've continued to grow stronger as he fed on more people and Grimm. Even with the full powers of the Fall Maiden, Pyrrha still stood no chance of surviving a one-on-one battle with him and needed the support of Ozpin's inner circle just to hold her own. It takes Ruby combining her Silver Eyes with the powers of the Fall Maiden — all while Nihilus was crippled by his host's Force Bond with Pyrrha — just to momentarily Beat the Curse Out of Him.
  • Worthy Opponent: He seems to regard Cinder as one. So far, she's the only person that Nihilus has taken the time to talk to and hasn't attempted to manipulate or deceive. At the start of their battle, Nihilus even takes a fighting stance, showing respect for his opponent. After defeating her, he still chooses to spare her and instead tries to control her mind, indicating that she impressed him enough that he considers her worth keeping around.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He has no reservations attacking those of the opposite gender. During his fight on Amity, he punches Cinder and chokes out Emerald while neck-lifting her off the ground.
  • You Monster!: Throughout the third act, he is referred to as one by Ruby, Cinder, Neo, Blake, and Winter, all on different occasions.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: While fighting Arslan, Nihilus kills her by Force-choking her from afar, then pulling her in close to his body and slashing her through the torso with his sword. Later, during his battle with Cinder's team on Amity, Nihilus uses the Force to lift Mercury off his feet and pull him towards him when the assassin tries to flee.

Others

    Mask of Darth Nihilus 

The Mask of Darth Nihilus

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mask_of_nihilus.png

Debut: Chance

The Mask of Darth Nihilus sat in Jaune Arc's locker, alone and unused, piled under Jaune's gear. While Jaune still had the willpower and spirit to willingly set the mask aside, the mask would not be ignored. It would not let Jaune escape its grasp.

Darth Nihilus's iconic mask which he used to store his soul. After his death, the mask became a source of myth and legend. Through a series of events, it eventually ended up on Remnant and fell into Jaune's hands.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zigzagged. In Star Wars d20, the mask generally had to be worn before it could exert influence over the wearer. In addition with being completely indestructible, the mask in this fic is able to mentally influence it's owner without needing to be worn. At the same time, the mask is unable to grant Force-sensitivity to its wearer on its own like in d20.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: Rather than grant its wearer the abilities of a Sith apprentice like in d20, the mask is instead an Evil Mask that allows Nihilus' spirit to possess the wearer.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Mask can strengthen a Force-user's connection to the Dark Side.
  • Artifact Domination: The Mask gradually influences and nudges the decisions made by its owner until eventually enthralling the owner so that they are completely susceptible to Nihilus' commands. We see this happen to Jaune over the course of the story and "Legends" reveals that the same thing happened to Petros Krizoz.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The mask has this effect on Jaune, making him fixated on the mask to the point where he sleeps with it under his pillow. Just the idea of having the mask taken away from him is enough to work Jaune up into a paranoid frenzy.
  • Battle Trophy: Meetra Surik took the mask as a trophy after killing Nihilus. Thousands of years later, Alixandre Arc does the same after wiping out the Temple of Shadows cult.
  • Came from the Sky: When it arrived on Remnant, it was dumped out of a starship's cargo hold and into the planet's atmosphere. To a monastery full of monks below, the mask seemed as though it came down from the heavens on a falling star.
  • Companion Cube: To Jaune, who spends a large portion of his time trying to talk to the mask and eventually secretly carries it around for comfort.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The fact that Nihilus's mask just happens to closely resemble a Grimm mask (even having similar red markings).
  • Cool Mask: The mask is one.
  • The Corruption: It seems to have this effect on its owners. After it was found by the Temple of Shadows, it corrupted all the monks to the Dark Side and the Temple's leader is shown to have many of the signs of a Fall (yellow eyes and pale skin), despite not being Force-sensitive. It also has this effect on Jaune, who gradually slips deeper into the Dark Side the more time he spends near it.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The True Sith Empire, Collan Eislo, and Jaune Arc all thought they had what it took to resist the mask's influence and unlock its secrets for themselves. In the case of Collan and Jaune, both discover the hard way just how horribly wrong they were with one ending up dead and the other becoming Nihilus' newest host.
  • Evil Mask: The mask influences and corrupts its owner over time. Putting on the mask will enable Nihilus's ghost to take over the body of the wearer.
  • Expy: To SCP-035. Both are Evil Masks who can influence the minds of anyone in proximity to them, both are skilled manipulators, both have been around for thousands of years, both have the appearance of a White Mask of Doom, and both possess their hosts by having them don the mask.
  • Haunted Fetter: As he fed, his body gradually faded away into the Force. To keep himself anchored to the mortal realm, he bound his soul to his mask. Anyone who touches the mask ends up possessed by Nihilus's ghost.
  • In-Series Nickname: After sealing it away in Beacon's Vault, Ozpin dubs it the "Relic of Hunger".
  • Logical Weakness: The mask's most dangerous properties are its ability to indoctrinate those in close proximity and drain the life out of any living beings. Neither of those powers works on droids, as they are soulless, inorganic machines. This enables Alpha's team to safely carry around the mask without worrying about being corrupted or killed by Nihilus' ghost.
  • MacGuffin: Both the Jedi and Sith attempted to acquire the Mask during the Great Galactic War. Thousands of years later, the Mask became sought after by Alpha's team, Sando's Boys, and the Apex Society. As of the epilogue, Salem has taken an interest in the mask and seeks to steal it from Ozpin.
  • Made of Indestructium: The mask was able to survive being dropped into Remnant's planetary atmosphere unscathed, despite its container burning up from the heat. Alixandre Arc failed to damage it despite hitting it as hard as he could with his sword.
  • Mask of Power: At first it seems like a straight example. When Jaune touched it, the mask granted Jaune Force-sensitivity. Subverted after Nihilus's POV reveals that Jaune was always Force-sensitive and he merely used a form of Sith magic to amplify it. The mask on its own can't grant Force powers.
  • Murderous Mask: The mask will drain the life out of any Force sensitives nearby.
  • Mysterious Past: It's never stated where the mask came from or even how it fell into Nihilus's possession.
  • Power Glows: The first time Jaune finds the mask, the artifact lets off a red glow that illuminates the cavern he's in.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: At the start of the story, the Mask of Nihilus was contained in a strongbox and hidden inside a cave. It becomes unsealed after Jaune stumbles across the cave and claims ownership over the mask. After Nihilus' defeat, Ozpin makes his mask into an honorary Relic and has Ruby locked it away in Beacon's Vault.
  • Soul Jar: To keep himself from fading out of existence, he bound his soul to his mask. This enabled him to continue existing as a spirit after his physical form was destroyed by Meetra Surik.
  • Transformation Trinket: Putting on the mask physically transforms the wearer's appearance into that of Darth Nihilus.
  • White and Red and Eerie All Over: The mask carries an uncanny resemblance to a Grimm mask with its white color and blood-red markings that make several characters uneasy while looking at it.
  • White Mask of Doom: The mask is colored bone-white and it creates a feeling of unease in all of Jaune's friends when they first lay eyes on it.

    Darth Nihilus' projection 

Darth Nihilus' projection

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nihilus_ghost.png

Species: Force projection

Debut: Legends

And so, using what little energy he was able to regain over his years in hibernation, Nihilus projected his soul from the mask, summoning a ghost of the Force.

A ghostly apparition created and projected from Nihilus's spirit inside his mask. In "Legends", Nihilus summons it twice, first to kill Nariel Pridence and again to attack Sando's Boys and the Apex Society.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: While the projection is extremely powerful and allows Nihilus to physically interact with the living world, the amount of Force energy he needs to use to summon it is so taxing that he can only maintain the projection for less than a few minutes before needing to rest and recuperate his strength.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The spiritual apparition that manifests from the mask isn't actually Nihilus himself, but a projection created by his mask through which he can directly interact with the outside world. The ghost is also immune to any physical attacks.
  • Fighting Spirit: He is a projection of Nihilus's soul created through the Force.
  • Intangibility: The ghost is intangible and blaster bolts will just pass through it. It can also phase its hand through another person's chest to kill them.
  • Ghostly Glide: It's a ghost that moves by gliding over the ground as it floats through the air.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: The ghost is shown wearing the same hooded black cloak and white mask that Nihilus wore when he was killed by Meetra Surik.
  • Mind over Matter: After killing Nariel, the projection uses telekinesis to move her ship's controls and alter its course while flying through hyperspace.
  • Pure Magic Being: His body is made up of pure Force energy, which is the setting equivalent of magic.
  • Screaming Warrior: The ghost lets out a roar while blasting Sando's pirates with its Force Drain.
  • Self-Constructed Being: The projection's body is created by the mask through the Force.
  • Vampiric Draining: The ghost can use Force Drain and shoot out orange lightning which sucks the life force out of its target.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Unlike the usual black-and-red lightning that Nihilus shoots out while using Force Drain, the projection instead generates orange-colored lightning while draining the life force from others.

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