Nicholas is very pale, especially for someone with Japanese inherited looks. He has hair so blonde, it is often called white, and his skin in nearly matching. He has an angel's kiss of freckles running across his nose. Nicholas is lanky, and very thin. His most outstanding feature is his intense blue eyes. They are electrifying and captivating, and have made more than a few people double take.
Nich is a very free spirited boy, with a severe case of ADHD. He is a wanderer; he always has been, and always will be. His inability to become attached to or stay at one place has kept him alive. He finds the beauty in everything. Even though he cannot draw to save his life, he is an art connoisseur. He has traveled all over, so he has come to have an appreciation for all customs, religions, and people. He enjoys the little things in life, and a variety of them. He is very easy going and doesn't mind change. Despite this, he is very solid in his own beliefs and is unwilling to change those to please other people. His ideas may be... out there... but he has a big heart and an open mind.
To adapt to living in the streets, Nicholas had to learn how to fight. He learned directly from the wind by watching it flow and swirl about. His fighting style mimics that; his actions are very flowing, he is quick to adapt, and he is always moving. He prefers parrying over blocking, and speed over strength. He is fond of using many small jabs instead of large hits, and he has incredible reflexes.
Minor fights on the streets (grappling, fist fighting, minor MMA). However, using a weapons comes naturally to Nich.
- A pocket watch that transforms into a Celestial Bronze Jutte
- A pen that transforms into a chained knife
- Hidden Stiletto Knives (3)
- Arm Knife with blow dart/ bo shuriken attachment
- Pouch that never runs out of thin, needle-like Bo Shuriken
- Weapons (see above)
- Assorted Italian coins
- Zephyrus (haven't met yet)
- Nich is a Japanese Italian who speaks English and lives in New York. Funny, huh?
- Back in Venice, Nich had a friend named Aria. She was almost like a little sister to him.
- Nich's hair is naturally blonde (he never dyes it)
A street rat, a scoundrel, a hobo. Throughout literature, these names are all directly derogative, given to the people of the streets. Despite that, the homeless person in question rises above and becomes something greater- a prince, an oracle, a best friend. However, life is not a story, and Nicholas Dare was none of these things. He was nothing but a homeless orphan. He had no real friends, no family, and no home.
The story begins with a bright eyed boy. “Bright” would be an understatement in this case. Nich, who always spelled his nickname using his first four letters, had the most captivating blue eyes known to man. They were electric, intense, and aged beyond his years. Nicholas had lived in the streets since age twelve, and had seen what no fourteen year-old boy ever should. But behind the lively lens was a sort-of wisdom, one not found from school or parenting. Nich was wiser than an owl, craftier than a fox. He held wisdom through experience. He had lived it all.
And so Nicholas carried on his back two cliches, both burdens he did not wish to have. He was the cliché orphan you read about, who had one outstanding quality to redeem himself. Nicholas would sigh, staring into the sky looming overhead. Even the air above him could not match the beauty of his eyes. He knew he would have to carry these burdens wherever he went; just like the sky above him, he could never escape them. The world was open and wild and free for Nich to roam, yet he had never felt more utterly trapped.
Nicholas woke up on some sunny morning, rubbing his eyes to adjust the the light surrounding him. He had no working watch- from the sun's position in the sky, he knew it was almost noon. He had no calendar- he knew it had been about two weeks since he last read a calendar marked as May 1st. Now, with his bearings about him, Nicholas rose. He shook the dirt off of him silently, even though he knew most were inseparable stains. He kicked his temporary residence- a cardboard box- to the side as he ducked away to go through a series of alleyways.
As Nich entered the main road, he tucked his hand into his pocket. He touched his only two possessions- a broken pocket watch and an inkless pen. They were nothing special to anyone else, but to him, they were the world. They were his world. They were the possessions of his parents, long gone. As he touched the two tokens, it felt as though he was touching the dancing flames of the night that ruined his life. The licking, swirling, and biting flames...
Nich looked up just as he was carried into the crowd. He weaved in and out of the mass of people with ease, as he had for years now. He expertly ducked, tucked, and bobbed under arms and through legs. As he emerged from the other side, he looked at the flow of people. Some wore hats, some wore jackets, but all had a home to go to. Nich continued on his path through several more alleyways to a familiar marketplace.
Nick joined another crowd who gathered around small stands filled with fruits, vegetables, and other homemade or handcrafted goods. He closed his eyes for a minute- he knew this route by heart. He quickly found what he was looking for- a large, well stocked produce stand.
Nich smiled for the first time in days. The stand was very busy today, and it would be more than easy to sneak in and snatch what he needed. He dipped between a couple, snatching a small watermelon and a bag of grapes. As he ran away, he spotted a row of fresh hanging chickens at the end of the stand. His mouth watered at the thought of fresh meat; he couldn't resist. Still running, he reached to grab one. As his fingers touched the mesh bag containing the poultry, a hand grabbed his wrist. Still in a forward motion, Nich snapped back from the strong grip on his wrist. The watermelon fell, smashing on the ground. The grapes fell besides them. If someone wasn't looking on before, they would be now.
Nicholas broke free from the man’s grasp. Just as he turned to run, he caught a glimpse of the man’s face. He seemed tired, but his eyes were wide as if searching for something. They only got wider when he looked into Nich’s intense blue eyes. Nich thought nothing of it- his eyes startled people all the time. So off Nich ran. The man chased after him, practically bleating. Nich spotted a familiar face- a little girl with tough features, guiding him forwards. “This way, Nich!” She called to him and waved like a madman. Even though Nich knew these streets better than the back of his hand, he nodded as if taking instructions. She smiled and darted down the alley in the majestic way that she did. Within minutes, they were safe. They had made it to a safe house. The gang the pair belonged to had several hidden among the streets and alleys of the canal city, Venice. Both changed clothes, as members often did. This kept them from looking too recognizable. When they were ready, the two took off for a gang meeting. The “gang” they were a part of wasn’t a gang in the ‘violence and money’ sense. In fact, they were focused on peace and equality. Their only goal was to stay alive and stay fed, which meant stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In this case, they were the poor. They worked together to feed each other. While most considered each other as family, Nich grouped them as nothing more than kids he needed to feed. He was not their family, but their leader. He knew who his family was, and they were long dead.
Nich’s mind flashed back to that dreadful night. It was an electrical fire, they said, that started from one of the game systems in his room. Of course, Nich didn’t know that at the time. He tried to stop the flames by blowing them out. He made the winds move around him, something Mommy had told him he could do, that he was special for. But the wind was only good for engorging the flames. Nich was rescued, but his parents were not. It was his fault- he couldn’t stop it, he couldn’t save them. Nich made himself forget he could bend winds- it would only cause people harm.
Without a family, Nich was sent to an orphanage. Nich was a smart boy, however. Once all of the remaining belongings were brought to him, Nich had already hatched a plan. He sorted through the safe brought to him. He removed only a few items: a father’s favorite pocket watch, his mother’s favorite pen, a key to his inherited fortune in the bank, and his birth certificate. He placed the key on his necklace, knowing he could not access the vault until he was of age. Then, he took a lighter to his birth certificate. He sat, watching the irony- he let fire destroy his parents, and now it was destroying him. The only remaining proof of his existence was buried in some government storage area. Not that anyone cared. He knew that as he slipped out of the window of his orphanage, he would never be missed.
Nich snapped back to reality when the graceful girl with the curious eyes touched his hand. She pulled him over to a pile of gathered food. There were loaves of bread, ranging in freshness from one hour to one week. There were a few fish, caught in one of the many canals, no doubt. There was game and meat, and even a couple eggs. Nich felt his stomach- he wasn’t starving, so he decided to let everyone else eat a larger portion. As they ate, the girl pulled him off to the side.
They held eye contact for a minute. In two years, she was the closest thing Nich had to a family. They found each other’s arms, squeezing tightly. As much as Nich didn’t want to believe it, this was his little sister. He had always been an only child. But now, after the death of two loved ones, a new beginning had begun. Nich held her closer; he couldn’t bear to lose someone else. He knew the worried look in her eyes and immediately called her on it. “Liv, what’s wrong?”
Liv pushed Nich’s blonde hair out of his face. “Nich… may I see your pocket watch once more? I know you don’t like to have people touch it, but-“ Before she could finish the phrase, she found the desired keepsake in her hand. Nich smiled as her speech stopped. Liv turned the pocket watch over, and bolted upright. ‘I knew it!” She screamed. The kids surrounding her, aging from eight to fifteen, all turned to look at her. Without another word, she grabbed Nich by the hand (again) and pulled him off to some unknown location.
Less than ten minutes later, they were standing in front of a Japanese pawn shop. It’s title, displayed over the shop in a neon cursive sign, matched the faded cursive on the back of the pocket watch. The two orphans ran inside. The store was abandoned, but was filled with all sorts of Japanese relics and treasures. They approached the front desk at which a quiet, elderly lady napped. As they touched the counter top, she arose quickly. Her eyes widened at the sight of Nich's eyes. They widened in the same way that the merchant's eyes had. Standing now, she beckoned the children. "They said you would come some day, and indeed you have. I have something for you child. A box. With presents. From the parents. You come, now." Pointing at Nich, she walked into a back room through an open doorway.
As Nich started to follow, Liv grabbed his arm. "Nich, something doesn't feel right. Don't go back there." Liv knew what she said would not make a difference. If it even had a slight chance of being from his parents, Nich would do anything to see it. They locked eyes, then hands. Cautiously, they walked into the secluded area.
The room was larger than most garages, and filled with boxes and windows. Liv looked around nervously, her eyes flickering from box to box. "Keep your watch close, Nich." Nich was confused, but did as she said. There was an air about Liv now that she had not possessed before. It was as Liv was now leading him in the world. She had taken charge, and he dared not disobey any word she said. So, with his hand clutched tightly to the pocket watch, he approached the fragile-looking woman. She stood in the center of the room with a single box in her hand. "Long ago, you get watch from here. Watch was special" The woman twitched in front of them, her neck jerking to the side. "Daddy Zephyrus wants you safe. You make better snack." As she spoke, her body writhed and her speech became choppier. "You will be snack. For me." Finally, it sounded as if bones and joints had popped and snapped out of place. The lady's skin shriveled up and began to fall down the body. Nich was expecting a skeleton underneath the skin. Instead, he was faced with a hideous creature. It had the torso and head of a lion; from its back protruded a goat's head; for a tail, it had a living snake.
"Chimera! Roll, Nich!" Nich did as he was told, leaping to the side. The beast opened its mouth and spewed fire from it. The flames scorched the ground where Nich stood just seconds ago, leaving a dark black mark. Nich looked down at his watch. Somehow he just knew... if he pulled the crown out just like that...! The watch separated, and a blade grew from the side where he had pulled.
"So it was never broken... it just wasn't ready to be used..." Nick thought aloud as he weighed the blade in his hand. He examined it for a brief moment, recognizing it as a Japanese Jutte, or parrying blade. Somehow, it felt right in his hands. The chimera reared up to attack, then pounced into the air. It landed just feet from Liv. She was defenseless! Nich ran to help her, but it would be too late. Just as all hope seemed lost, the doors burst open. In stormed the merchant from before. He had hooves where his shoes were... and he began playing pan pipes. The Chimera froze for a moment to recognize the new guest. In that moment of surprise, vines burst up through the concrete. They ensnared the beast, pulling it down to the floor. As it fell, windows all around shattered and water poured in. Nich watched the streams gather around the Chimera, all following the guiding hands of none other than Liv. Nich shook his head. The merchant from earlier had hooves and his only friend could mentally move water. And he was holding a sword, which was a pocket watch less than a minute ago. What was going on?
Liv approached the struggling Chimera, the water following her. She held her hands over the beast. A large dome filled with water surrounded it's head. Chocking, it fought against vines and water. "Nich!" She called, "Stab it!" As Nich ran to it, time seemed to slow down. One of its claws stopped ripping at vines, and went for Liv instead. Just as he reached the beast and the girl, a large gash appeared on her torso. Blood poured down, flowing into the salt water. Nich stabbed down on the Chimera and it disintegrated instantly. The water flow stopped as Liv fell. Nich knelt to catch her. He gently laid her down, promising himself he wouldn't cry. He knew, deep down, the Chimera had started the fire at his house. And now, it had taken his last family member. Nich broke his own promise as he held his sister, listening to her hum her last words. "Nich, follow that man. Open the box, go to Camp. Make me proud." Her eyes closed slowly...
Three hours later and Nich was on a plane bound for America. He went through the box in his lap one more time, still confused out of his mind. First was a letter. It explained everything. The man he knew to be his father was a stepfather, and his real father was a god named Zephyrus; Nich was a demigod; both the merchant sitting next to him and Liv had been placed near him to protect him, should anything happen; and finally, he would be attending a 'Camp Half-Blood' for other kids like him. Other than the letter, the box contained a few other weapons. They had all been taken from the same Japanese pawn shop as his Jutte watch. There was a blade that attached to his arms that shot darts when he blew or shot air into the tube. There were a few black stiletto knives. There was a pouch that had an infinite supply of thin, Bo shuriken. Finally, there was a note telling him that the pen he held could transform into a set of chained knives in the same way his pocket watch could shift shapes. Nich closed the box, amazed that it had passed through security so easily. It reminded him of his past- his family used to celebrate their Japanese origin. He never truly appreciated the uniqueness of Japanese and Italian culture blending from the two halves of his family.
He looked over at his protector and companion for the journey. He was an old 'satyr' named George, who usually kept his hooves hidden. Nich could never thank him enough for his help... but he also had to wonder why he couldn't protect Liv. Of course, Nich took just as much blame for her death. It was yet another one to adding to his growing list.
Nich closed his eyes, allowing himself to grieve one more time. When they opened, they were landing in New York. Heart still heavy, Nich departed the plane too head for Camp Half-Blood. It would be his new home, his new family. At least, that's what they said.