Song of the Earth
Sapphira Wilson is a black woman of middling height at about 5’7". Since leaving the Nephandi, her appearance has improved significantly: her skin looks smooth and radiant, she no longer looks so tired, she looks healthy. She has wide, dark brown eyes and wavy black hair down past her shoulders.
Motherhood defined Sapphira Wilson’s life. It was motherhood that destroyed it, and motherhood that saved it.
Before Sapphira Awakened, she was a mentally ill woman who smothered her daughter Jasmine in her crib in a haze of emotion and delusion. The circumstances of how she Awakened are unclear—save that when the Nephandi found her, it was very easy to lead her to the Cauls, promising an end to her own suffering and everyone else’s.
Sapphira spent some 15 years as a Verbena, almost entirely as a Verbena Nephandus. She first came into contact with a member of the cabal before she was even cabal—when she used her powers of emotional manipulation to lure America Anders into a half-empty home and begin to seduce her only to turn the experience into terror, promising torture and corruption of her and her entire family. The Nephandus has a breast with biting, venomous teeth that poisons America’s hand when she touches it.
Sapphira is only thwarted when Xifeng Lin, seeing America’s terrified face in the window, shoots her (taking out her corrupted augmentation) and saves America—although not before the venom stops her heart.
Determined, she does get ahold of America, taking her to the Cauls to be reborn as a Nephandus like she herself was. Sapphira, slowly, increasing associates America with her own child, who would be the same age—even though she intends to hurt America, as she has been hurt.
A Dreamwalker, Sapphira is the only person able to bypass Gabrielle’s mental defenses of Dylan in any capacity, and uses this to exacerbate tension between him and Will, even if she has to use the face of Gabrielle to do so.
She also harasses Xifeng Lin in dreams, tormenting her with her brother’s suicide, telling her the story of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld and then killing her and hanging her on a meathook in her dream. Among other fates. This didn’t serve any particular purpose besides harassing the woman who hurt her and an enemy of the Nephandi.
During Super Tuesday, Sapphira returned with Jerusha and two other Nephandi to kill the remaining members of the cabal and amalgam. She pulled out America’s intestines and reminded her this was how her daughter died. Suddenly, Matt Coronas appeared and challenged her, reminding her that she murdered her daughter, and made her remember. Once she did, he drove a knife into her heart, killing her.
That should have been the end of Sapphira Wilson. When America created an alternate universe, later dubbed the Superstar universe, where all of her dreams came true, she was America’s mother, alive and well. And when it ended… she was alive and well. She fled Technocratic helicopters.
Later, on Halloween, America tracked her down. Sapphira is warm but afraid, trying to convince America to leave because it is not safe for her here, as Sapphira is with Jerusha and the Nephandi now. America refuses to leave, saying she has a second chance, and Sapphira grabs her hair, showing her the crib where her infant daughter is decomposing—no amount of magick can stop Jasmine’s eventual decomposition. “This is what will happen to you if you stay.”
Her shrine to her child now has America’s yearbook picture in it. America asks if she’s one of them, and Sapphira says she doesn’t know. Something has changed, but not enough. America tricks her, tranquilizing her, and takes her back to the Verbena.
She is no longer a Nephandus. The Verbena are treating her mental illness and the trauma of her memories and actions when her soul was inverted.
As a Nephandus, Sapphira was very smart, but very impulsive. She was very good at understanding people’s emotions and manipulating them, magically or not, and leading them to their destruction. She had a running friendly competition with Stephen Mackenzie over new, creative ways to torment people. But she would usually get too excited or impatient and often ruin what she had planned—her abduction of America Anders for instance was only botched because she didn’t close the blinds, and she could have done a lot more damage to Xifeng if she hadn’t had so much fun she forgot to think strategically about her unrestricted access to the Technocrat.
During [[Black Tuesday | Black Tuesday]], Sapphira proved America’s faith in her by rescuing her from death at Jahan‘s hands. She tricks and kills Jahan (though killing him doesn’t actually stop him). She and the other ambulatory combatants followed Jahan, and she prevented him from killing many bystanders with fire.