- “She had never known a Sister as composed, as unemotional, as implacable, as merciless, as Merissa. Sister Merissa had a heart of black ice.”
- ―Sister Ulicia[src]
Merissa was one of the six Sisters of the Dark who were Richard Rahl's instructors at the Palace of the Prophets. When she attempted to teach him to touch his Han, she never sat on the ground like four of the other Sisters did. Instead, she sat in a chair and gently held Richard's hands across a table. She never laughed or smiled openly, but instead bestowed on Richard rare, subdued smiles while making eye contact. When she first entered the room where she would be teaching Richard, Richard "almost swallowed his tongue" when he saw her. Richard immediately had the feeling that Merissa would gladly sleep with him, although she had never said anything that indicated this.
Later, when Sister Liliana attempted to steal Richard's gift and lost her life, but revealed the Sisters of the Dark, Merissa fled the Palace aboard the Lady Sefa, along with Sisters Ulicia, Tovi, Armina, Cecilia and Nicci.
Merissa awoke at the same time as the other five Sisters, aboard the Lady Sefa. Each had shared the same dream, in which their Master, the Keeper, had been replaced by a man named Jagang. Jagang tortured each woman before ordering them to make their way to his fortress immediately.
The Sisters discussed the situation, deciding that it would be best to follow Jagang's instructions; for the time being. Along the journey, Merissa initiated the torturing of some of the Lady Sefa's crew so as to encourage the other sailors to make haste.
Sister Ulicia, as the leader of the Sisters of the Dark, came up with a plan to link the powers of the five Sisters, with her as the director of the dangerous force, in an attempt to assassinate Emperor Jagang. When the Sisters arrived at Jagang's fortress Ulicia wasted no time in unleashing the full destructive force of the Sister's combined powers. However, it was to no avail; Jagang was a dream walker, meaning that as long as he was in a gifted person's mind, their powers were useless against him.
Jagang captured the Sisters and informed them that they were his in every aspect. He gave them to the crew of the Lady Sefa to fulfill their sexual needs. Merissa replaced Christabel as Jagang's personal slave.
Later the Sisters were sent back to the Palace of the Prophets, where Verna Sauventreen has been falsely convicted as a Sister of the Dark, clearing their names. When Kahlan and Adie were taken to the Palace of the Prophets, Merissa was there to meet them and took them to their room. While there, Merissa taunted Kahlan by telling her that Richard had slept with her. When Richard arrived in the Hagen woods through the sliph, the Mriswith directed him to Merissa and, under the influence of the yabree, he followed her to where the new Mriswith queen was trapped, and set her free. At this point, Merissa tried to kill Richard, but he escaped by using the Mriswith cape.
Merissa then rode her horse back to the Palace to join up with Sister Ulicia and put their plan into motion. The Sisters, with the exception of Nicci, surprised Richard Rahl and informed him that in exchange for allowing them to swear loyalty to him, they would reveal to him Kahlan's (who had been captured) location. Richard agreed and the Sisters believed they had gained their freedom.
However, Merissa's hate for Richard outweighed her fear of Jagang and she attempted to kill him and his wife Kahlan Amnell. When the pair fled through the sliph, Merissa followed. However, Richard and Kahlan arrived at the Wizard's Keep quicker than Merissa. Richard stabbed the Sword of Truth into the sliph as the magic of it was incompatible with that of the sliph. This killed Merissa, who was still inside it.
Legend of the Seeker
In Legend of the Seeker, Merissa was first seen in the episode "Princess". Merissa and several other sisters of the dark used their magic to summon Nicci's spirit into Sister Porsha's body and then they had a Mord-Sith give her the breath of life. She was again seen in the episode "Bound" which means she was most likely not one of the Sisters of the Dark who accompanied Nicci to Rothenburg. In this episode Merissa and three other sisters used their Dacras to absorb the Han of eight other sisters. They then attempted to steal Nicci's Han.
"Each of us already killed two sisters, and each of those two sisters had previously killed five. So you see Nicci, it is not four to one, but forty to one!" -Merissa.
Later in the episode after Nicci had absorbed the Han of two of the other sisters and a third had been blown apart by a dragons' breath mine, Merissa attempted to escape but failed. It is undetermined whether or not Nicci took Merissa's Han before she died. Faye Smythe portrayed Merissa in Legend of the Seeker.
Personality and traits
Merissa was around the same age as Nicci and said to be on par with her extraordinary beauty. Her hair was full and dark brown and her eyes were cold and dark. She was often clothed in dresses that were red in color. Merissa rarely allowed emotion to touch the attractive features of her face and her heart was said to be made of black ice. It was said that her dark eyes were a window into her black heart. She delighted in the pain of others, something she demonstrated twice on the journey aboard the Lady Sefa.