- "To defeat an enemy, you must know them."
- ―Nevil Cygni to Thrawn
Nevil Cygni, also known by his alias Nightswan, was a male human who became the personal nemesis of Thrawn in the years that led to the latter's rise to the rank of Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy. He took this name from the bird, Nightswan. Originally a criminal mastermind who worked as some sort of consultant, Cygni ended up settling down with a single organization, one that opposed the Galactic Empire. Cygni was killed, among dozens of other civilians, in the Batonn insurgency in an explosion detonated by Governor Arihnda Pryce.
Cygni and Thrawn first unknowingly met on the Dromedar, a freighter that was transporting valuable Tibanna gas. Cygni worked with a pirate group known as Culoss for the heist. Later, Cygni worked with a group of rebels in the Umbara system, and pretended to be Umbaran insurgents. After some time collecting Vulture droids, Cygni drew Thrawn and Imperial forces to Umbara, and launched his attack. Eventually Imperial forces prevailed, but with heavy losses. After the Umbara incident, Cygni became associated with a group of humans on Cyphar who were in a territorial conflict with the native Cyphari Afe clan. Thrawn was led to the incident by Cygni, and the crisis was resolved when Thrawn discovered the scarn that the humans were attempting to gather in Afe territory.
During the land incident, Cygni would also become associated with Higher Skies Advocacy Group and the Yinchom Dojo, working with both to gather information on important Imperial officials, as well as to blackmail the bodyguards of unsuspecting senators and governors in order to gain information. The operation was uncovered by an employee of Higher Skies, Arihnda Pryce, who after rising through the levels of politics, gained governorship of Lothal and, with the Imperial Security Bureau, arrested her employers and friends. Soon after the operation, Cygni advised a group of insurgents to rescue Wookiee slaves from the transport Sempre, and launched an attack on the space station Lansend Twenty-Six to liberate their companions. Thrawn again foiled the attack, and Cygni would later become permanently associated with the Batonn insurgents. After battles throughout the Batonn sector, Cygni was killed in the final battle, but not before Thrawn and Cygni met in person.
- Thrawn (First appearance)