Star Wars Inside Intel is a StarWars.com feature where Lucasfilm Story Group member Emily Shkoukani, whose job is to know as much about a galaxy far, far away as possible, explores obscure facts about Star Wars lore and continuity. In this installment, and in honor of both the Halloween season and Star Wars Reads, Emily breaks down various roles within the Nihil — the vicious marauders of the High Republic era…
Centuries before the rise of the Empire, the Republic and its noble guardians, the Jedi, protected the galaxy in the midst of a golden age referred to as the High Republic. During this era, the Republic worked to expand its diplomacy into the Outer Rim and the Jedi guarded the galaxy from threats, such as the Nihil. The Nihil, a group of merciless marauders, garnered attention after numerous attacks took place across the Outer Rim. As the Republic and Jedi investigated the group, its unique organizational hierarchy came into focus.
Starting at the lowest rank, the Nihil consists of Strikes, Clouds, and Storms, which form a Tempest (overseen by a Tempest Runner); and at the very top, the Eye sits adjacent with three Tempest Runners. From the outside looking in, these words hold little distinction, but within the organization, these titles are hard-earned.
Making up a majority of the organization and sitting at the bottom of the hierarchy are Strikes. Strikes are the foot soldiers of the Nihil, and they are expendable to those further up the food chain. Those Strikes that don’t find themselves a casualty in crossfire can make their way up to being a Cloud.
A Cloud is both a rank and a name used to refer to a group of Strikes. A person with the rank of Cloud is in charge of a group of Strikes, distributing orders and keeping the newer recruits in line. As members of the Nihil continue to progress within the organization, the tactics used to rise in ranks become more devious. Whereas a Strike might be promoted to Cloud for merely recruiting a handful of new members, a Cloud might sabotage any competition in their way of becoming a Storm.
Like Clouds, a Storm refers to both a rank and a group of Clouds. A person holding the rank of Storm is in charge of a group of Clouds (individuals), oppressively commanding their underlings. If “Storm” didn’t have enough meanings, it is also sometimes used in chants such as, “Who are we? The Nihil! What do we ride? The storm! Who guides us? The Eye!”
A group consisting of Strikes, Clouds, and Storms is called a Tempest, and is led by a Tempest Runner. The Nihil is made up of three Tempests, and each has its own Runner, such as the vicious Twi’lek Lourna Dee. In addition to commanding their own Tempests (which can consist of more than 150 people), Tempest Runners each hold an important vote when it comes to making decisions for the rest of the Nihil. With a single vote each, the Tempest Runners decide on various things, such as if an attack should be made or if the group should lay low until the Republic loses their scent. But the Tempest Runners aren’t the only ones with a vote.
At the top of the hierarchy is the Eye of the Nihil. This unique position was crafted by Asgar Ro in exchange for hyperspace Paths — hyperroutes that were thought to be incalculable and that gave the Nihil an edge against their enemies. The position of the Eye resides with the one who has access to the Paths. They are the symbolic leader of the Nihil, and they have not one but two votes in decision making. This makes it so that in the event of a tie, the vote always goes to the Eye. A powerful position, however, the Eye generally did not participate in much strategy or the delegation orders. This changed when Eye of the Nihil Marchion Ro (son of Asgar) declared himself the sole leader of the group with everyone beneath him, though this also created many rifts throughout the organization.
From Strikes to the Eye, the Nihil use inclement weather terms as a unique way to illustrate their hierarchy. Together, they all ride the storm.
Did you learn something new about the Nihil? Check back bi-weekly to learn something new about the Star Wars galaxy!
Visit Lucasfilm’s official hub for all things Star Wars: The High Republic at StarWars.com/TheHighRepublic.
Emily Shkoukani is a jr. creative executive at Lucasfilm who helps to maintain the lore and continuity of the Star Wars galaxy. And sometimes, they write for StarWars.com!
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