- Name: Nikolai Hendershot ~Thunder's-Hunter-of-the-Heart~
- Former Names: ~Chop-Licker~ (cub), ~Shirt-Ripper~ (cub), ~Laughs-at-Shadows~(cliath), ~Thunder's-Hunter-of-the-Heart~ (deed name)
- Gender: Male
- Breed: Homid
- Auspice: Ragabash
- Tribe: Shadow Lords
- Rank: Fostern
- Date of Birth: Nov 13th, 1989
- Packs: None
- Positions: Shadow Lord Elder, Former Alpha
- Creation Date: July 2009
- Creation Rank: Cliath (1)
- Rank Date (Cliath): September 2004
- Stats of Note: Mentor 2, Resources 1, Rites 3, Manip5, App3, WP7
- Themesong: Rio Bravo - CKY
Nikolai began life as a son of Dances-in-Tides, a Shadow lord of the Sept of Steel Angel in LA. Always the favorite in his mother's eyes, he grew up alongside his kin older brother, Ivan, coddled as much as any Shadow Lord could admit. Often, he would expect his way to be done, as it so often was when there was dispute between himself and Ivan. This made him somewhat spoiled, and when he first came into his Garou nature at the age of 15, when an argument turned into a wrestling match with his older brother, he nearly disemboweled the poor kin. This behavior was encouraged by his mother, who managed to intervene before Ivan was killed but secretly prided herself on her Ragabash son. The event, however, became a blight on the relationship between the two brothers, a rift that Nik had never desired or cared enough to heal. He was raised around other garou and kin children only. They were the first victims of his morbid trickery. Most tribes may have removed him from his peers because of this, but the elder Lords saw this as a learning experience for their cubs, so he remained among them, though he spent most of his childhood around his older brother. As for his feelings for humans, he finds them simple and weak, unworthy of his attentions. He is more interested in the interactions of kin and garou brethren, but if quite used to human interaction, having grown up so close to the city.
When Nik began his Rite at age 16, however, playtime was over. As per part of his Rite, his mother could no longer be there to coddle him and encourage him. The Shadow Lords of the Sept had seen him softening while his bravery and arrogance swelled, and saw it as a recipe for his destruction. So, they decreed as part of his Rite that he was to be taken under the wing of ~Flays-to-Bone~, a roving Shadow Lord serving his chiminage and who specialized in extracting information from captive Garou.
Nik was given a word, just one, meaningless word, and as per his Rite he must never let ~Flays~ learn it, no matter what the other Shadow Lord did to him. For one week the Rite dragged on, and though ~Flay~ wished he did not have to torture a young cub with the same methods he used to extract information from a full-fledged Garou, he knew that if the cub succeeded in his Rite, his toughness could be legendary. And so ~Flays~ never held back, inflicting pain both mental and physical to the young cub, until it seemed he went too far and killed the poor boy. But Nik would always come through, returning stubbornly from the brink of death to grin bloodily at ~Flays~ and hold his tongue, earning his name in honor of grinning in the face of pain and madness.
When the week was up, the secret word remained secret. Nik was released from his basement prison, scarred and silent and Cliath. ~Flays-to-Bone~ was asked to leave, having failed his Chiminage of extracting the word, but Nik asked to be heard. He requested that ~Flays~ stay, in return and as part of a second Chiminage to teach Nik all he knew of extracting information, and of the intricacies of keeping one on the edge of pain and madness. His request was granted, and soon ~Flays~ and Nik became closer than the Garou had to his true brother. During his time as cliath, his skills as an interrogator have come in quite useful. When his mother was killed in battle, the dancer who had done it was captured soon after by the lords, who gave him to Nik to do with as will. Nik kept the dancer for months at his place, carving vengeance from his hide little by little each day. At the same time, he winnowed away at the dancer's mind. Finally, when Nik tired of the game, he released the dancer. Captive for so long and so used to fearing the pain brought on by the angry ragabash, the dancer, though released, begged Nik to tell him what he wished to be done. Calmly, Nik ordered him at one last task: to die. The dancer then took one of Nik's knife and ended his own life in front of the entire tribe. It was then that ~Flays~ declared that he had nothing else to teach the Ragabash and, thus, completed his own chiminage.
Nik, however, had begun to see the darkness in Ivan caused by a life of only ever being second to his Garou brother, having been born merely kin. When Nik was 18, his mother died in battle. Ivan, feeling as though he no longer had a connection to the Sept, left in search of the mother of his child. He had forced her from their home to protect her from witnessing his Garou mother and brother in their war form months before, when she had come to tell him she was going to have their child. Nik knew Ivan blamed them for her fleeing the state, misunderstanding his horror at her presence at their home as fear of being a father, and a part of him truly missed and felt guilty for his brother's treatment. So, a year later, when Ivan had visited his home Sept with news that he'd found the woman in St. Claire, and spoke of his life there, Nik seemed to make a breakthrough in their relationship by being genuinely happy for the man. Ivan sensed the change in his brother, a growing-up perhaps, and it seemed like they could almost begin anew in their relationship. Ivan returned to St. Claire with promises that he would visit with the woman he'd planned to make his wife, and Nik's newly found niece.
Not long had passed, though without a promised call from his brother, Nik was unworried. However, one fateful night, the Shadow Lord alpha summoned him with bad news: someone from the Hidden Walk had contacted them. Ivan was dead, killed by a Black Spiral Dancer in league with Ellen, the woman Ivan had gone to find. The Spiral was still on the loose, as well as the woman. The Alpha asked Nik what he wished to do.
Nik, the first twinge of an emotion other than morbid humor on his face, calmly asked to travel to the Hidden Walk and help seek out his brother's murderer. If he failed to do it himself, and the Hidden Walk succeeded in finding the Dancer before he could, his life would be the Sept's to do with as they will for avenging Ivan. If the Dancer could not be found in the Hidden Walk, Nik would hunt him down, wherever he ran, and make him wish to die if just to end what Nik had planned.
As for his infatuation with pain... The short answer is that the word "remorse" is hard to find in Nik's book. He knows he is different, but that he believes this makes him stronger. Not necessarily the case in reality, as though he can certainly push past some pain moreso than others, his contemplation of it also distracts him. On top of that, too, comes his inability to judge the condition of his own body when injured. Think a kitten who is SURE this leap will take him all the way to the kitchen table. There are times in the future where Nik can lose massive amounts of blood before he notices in time to staunch bleeding. He can be charred before it registers that he is touching something hot. So its definitely not all good news.
| Shadow Lord Elder|
Jan 2010- March 2013