Nightshade is the only known name for the founder and first Primus of the Verbena Tradition. She is said to have been born in England in the late 14th or early 15th century. Her parents were keepers of the Old Faith and she grew up to be a strong leader and priestess of the English pagan community.

In 1435, Nightshade attended a Midsummer Eve ritual and was to be the sole survivor of the massacre that took place when Christopher Wyndgarde led the Gabrielites in an ambush against the pagan circle. Afterwards, Nightshade swore vengeance and pursued Wyndgarde for many years as he continued his campaign against the pagans of England.

Following dreams sent to her by the seer Sh'zar, in 1440 Nightshade attended a gathering on New Year's eve at Mistridge where it was decided a council of magical traditions would be created to unite mages against the depredations of the Order of Reason. She traveled alone to America and returned with Star-of-Eagles and other Native American mages who eventually became part of the Dreamspeakers.

Finally, in 1442 with the aid of a small army she had gathered and a witch gifted with the Sight, Nightshade laid a great trap for Wyndgarde's army. His men were ravaged, and Wyndgarde himself was killed by Nightshade's hand, his soul shredded by the gathered mages. Her vengeance complete, Nightshade continued to gather members of the Old Faith to join the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions. After a battle fought against the Order of Reason during the Second Mistridge Convocation in 1449, she served an important role in the creation of Horizon and the Verbena as members of the Council of Traditions. She was also the one to select Eloine as the Verbena representative in the First Cabal.

Over the centuries, Nightshade spent an increasing amount of time in Horizon. Horizon: Stronghold of Hope suggests that after living for over 500 years, the ancient witch had grown tired of life, and mentored Charlotte Quay and then Heasha Morninglade as her heir before dying in 1988. Guide to the Traditions supports this, referring to her funeral as having taken place in 1988. However, Tradition Book: Verbena suggests that she continued to be Primus of the Verbena until the Avatar Storm, when contact with Horizon and many of the Traditions' greatest mages was lost.

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