This week’s Planeswalker Profile focuses on
Nissa Revane is an Elf nature-mage from the plane of Zendikar. Raised by the warrior culture of the Joraga tribe, she was taught that elves were inherently superior to all others and the rightful shepherds of nature itself. Her travels have only strengthened this view and wherever she goes she tries to learn the proper way of things from the elves of whatever plane she visits.
Nissa was born into the Joraga tribe, the most warlike of the Zendikar elf tribes. The Joraga stress the importance of strength and self-sufficiency. They look down on the other races of Zendikar as inferior, and even think less of the other tribes of elves. They are a static, xenophobic people that do not trust the unfamiliar. Thus it was unfortunate for Nissa when her spark ignited in her youth.
She thought little of her gift and it nurtured her curiosity, but upon her return; her differences were more than her tribe would tolerate, and she was exiled. Life is unforgiving on Zendikar, so Nissa was fortunate that another branch of Joraga found her and took her in. Fearing that she would be exiled again, she decided to keep her gift a secret from her new family.
From then on, she sought to fit in and she did so with vigor. She came to be a respected leader among her new found family and became an icon for the Joraga way of life. She was nominated to a position on the leader’s council. Part of this process was living for a time among the other elves of Zendikar. Though they were inferior, they still managed to eke out an existence on Zendikar, and thus the Joraga sought to learn all that they did. Nissa took this a step further.
She planeswalked to the plane of Lorwyn, where the elves had taken the Joraga ideal to its logical conclusion. They were the lords and masters of the plane, dictating the shape and form of the forests and all that lived within. But there was flip-side to this coin. They were the masters of life, and they were also masters of death. They had taken to using black mana to hunt down threats to order and beauty on the plane, and Nissa took to teaching herself their magics.
After seeing the way nature had been ravaged on the planes of Ravnica and Mirrodin, she ended her travels and returned to Zendikar. There she sought out a tribe of Tajuru; a more sociable elvish tribe who sought to integrate into the greater Zendikar culture and live alongside the other races of the plane. She quickly established herself as a competent individual, but was met with distrust for being a Joraga.
Her simple peaceful life with the Tajuru ended when villages in the wood were being struck down by strange monsters; gray creatures that were masses of tentacles. These were the brood of the Eldrazi, a monster of myth that were said to have plagued Zendikar millennium ago. She left the village and sought to find the source of the monsters, eventually coming to travel with Anowon, a vampire archaeologist, and Sorin Markov, a strangely dressed, strangely accented human.
Sorin expressed a dire interest in the Eldrazi and had a wealth of information about them and Zendikar’s ancient history, but otherwise seemed poorly traveled. Anowon was a renowned expert on Zendikar culture and history and claimed to have seen the Eldrazi’s release from the Eye of Ugin, deep in the Akoum mountains. They etched their way across Zendikar, meeting other travelers, coping with the wildly overactive Zendikar phenomenon known as the Roil, and fighting off the increasing number of Eldrazi brood.
The three travelers came to know of each others histories, and Sorin admitted that his familiarity with Eldrazi activity came from his own experiences as a Planeswalker. The brood were the spawn of an even greater menace, the Eldrazi Titans, three godlike monsters from the void between planes, sealed away deep within Zendikar. It was Sorin’s duty to return to the seal that bound them, and renew it to its full strength. Also during their travels, Nissa came to learn that Sorin was actually a vampire as their various traveling companions would go missing and Anowon was not the cause.
This new information stained Nissa’s view of Sorin. She believed that he was keeping secrets from her and that he could not be trusted. When they got to the seal, she interfered in his efforts and broke the seal, freeing the titans. She had hoped that the Titans, free of their prison, would leave Zendikar altogether. What she didn’t know is that Sorin’s seal was only one of three keeping them on Zendikar. One more remained, so while the Eldrazi were free from their prison, they were not free of Zendikar. Thus they began to roam the plane, feasting upon its lifeforce. So disgusted with her treachery, Sorin left Zendikar to its fate.
Eventually, Nissa came to find her resolve. Though it was not perfect, Zendikar was her home, and if Sorin was responsible for sealing the Eldrazi away once, they could be sealed away again. She planeswalked away, determined to find Sorin, and bring him to help her save her home, one way or another.