Born to a single mother who wanted to be an actress – and would do anything (or anyone) to get ahead – Nike didn't exactly have an advantageous beginning. When Eleni, her mother, spent a month stressing over baby names, a stagehand – sick of the back and forth – looked down at his shoes and drunkenly suggested Nike. The name stuck throughout the rest of her pregnancy and for reasons she never really bothered to explain to anyone, Eleni went right ahead and named her daughter Nike.%r%r%tFor the first three years of her life, Nike ran wild around the stages and theatres of Chicago, but just after her third birthday, her mother got word that she'd been cast for a touring company. She'd be spending the next 2 years – at least – in Europe. A life like that was no place for a child so young, and so Nike was sent off to live with her grandparents. On their ranch. In South Dakota.
Nike's grandparents were first generation immigrants from the island of Cyprus; refugees from the final bouts of the Turkish invasion. They were so intensely Greek that it bordered on comical. They lived off their land, treated it well and were treated well in return. Family was central in their life and any of Nike's five aunts and two uncles – or their spouses, or their children – could be found in the house at one time. Greek was the only language spoken in the home, and so by the time she started school at the age of six, Nike had to relearn a good portion of the English language. The only concession made to her mother's wishes was that Nike started taking piano at age five, something she continued all throughout her school years.
Women in Nike's family traditionally worked the crops and did the more domestic chores, but from the first day she arrived, Nike showed such a love and aptitude for the horses that her grandfather brought her up doing the “men's work”. She learned how to groom, train, ride, rope and take care of the horses – and took much joy in it. She was always a quiet sort of child, but one with a voracious curiosity. She would sit on a stool in the corner whenever someone did something interesting; absorbing the actions and words but saying very little.
She had few friends, preferring the company of her family and her horses to outsiders with few exceptions. She was teased a lot for her name, but when she'd ask her grandmother about it, the old woman would just smile a crooked little smile and say that's just how it was meant to be. Nike was raised and baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church – as was her whole family – but her grandmother still kept to many of the old traditions. A portion of each harvest was always set aside but never spoken of. It was one of those strange things that Nike always just accepted.
At midnight on her 13th birthday – when she was /supposed/ to be in bed but snuck out for a night ride – Nike and her mare came across a man sitting next to a small campfire, leaning against a rather large boulder. He wasn't completely unfamiliar, as they'd just sold three yearling colts to him not a month beforehand. Still, it was odd to see him, especially out there. Slowing to a stop, she greeted him easily enough, but didn't dismount. He'd driven a hard bargain – Nike had never seen her grandfather part with good colts for so little – and she respected him for that, but she didn't trust him. He was polite enough, though dour in disposition. He asked her if she knew the old stories and when she answered in the negative, he began to tell her. Lost in his telling – his wild joy at the high points and utter despair at the times when there seemed to be no hope – Nike fell asleep before it ended, right there on her mare.
The next morning, she woke up in her own bed, half convinced it was a dream. Still, there was that nagging feeling one gets when they're deprived of the ending to a particularly good book. So, that night after everyone had gone to sleep, Nike snuck out again, riding to that same place she saw the man last time. Sure enough, he was there again. This time when she arrived, she dismounted, but sat on a fallen log on the other side of the fire, horse's reins in hand. Again he told her stories and again she was swept up in his telling, but not so much this time; she noticed about halfway through that he was telling the stories in fluent – though archaic – Greek.
Despite her best efforts, she again fell asleep before the tales were finished, and again woke up the next morning in her bed. Common sense was starting to tug at her mind; something was not right, here. However, when all the house was still, she again snuck out and rode up to the rocky campsite. Again the man sat at his place by the fire. They exchanged greetings, but this time – due to some streak of brazenness Nike didn't even know she possessed – she walked right up and sat on a stone at his feet. For the final time, she fell asleep during his telling, but this time she woke up at the site, scrambling to her feet and grasping for her bearings. She heard her name spoken once, by a voice familiar yet not. Turning around she saw the storyteller, but this time he was different. He was larger, grayer; the shadows cast by the flames danced over him like lovers' caresses. In his eyes were the depths of sadness and the heights of joy – paradoxes spinning in a twisted sort of harmony within him. “Nike,” he said to her, his voice deep and ancient. “My little victory… Have you not realized who I am?” Frightened now, Nike shook her head. “I am Hades, Lord and Master of the Underworld and all who dwell there. And you… are my daughter.” There was silence for a moment, that information sinking in.
”You are not a fighter by nature, little victory, but you will become one – and not by choice. Your mother chose well when she named you, though she does not know it. Sharing a name with a goddess is a powerful thing. It will bring you both good fortune and bad. Look not so frightened, child. You have time yet to grow into yourself. Your battle comes not yet, but I would give you time to prepare. And to help you on your journey, I bring you two of my own valued treasures.” Plucking a lock of his own dark hair, he tied it in a loop and spun it around his finger until it became an armband of pure onyx, little white horses racing over its surface. “This will grow as you grow. No mortal may remove it from you, but those of equal or greater power may yet do so; have care. It is called Kineta. You will always feel the motion of the horses against your skin. I pray it be a comfort to you, rather than a burden. This will grant you access to the abilities and powers of your birthright and of your own spirit; you must train with them until they become like your second nature.”
He offered her the armband and she slid it on her right arm where it settled against her skin and adjusted to comfort. Already she could feel the motion of the horses against her skin. Looking back to her…father, she opened her mouth to say thank you when he held up a hand to stop her. From the shadows around his person, Hades pulled forth a small, black figure, holding it in his hand and blowing the extra shadows away to reveal a small…foal? “This is a Diomedes colt. His dam was Xanthos of the man-eating mares and his sire my own Alastor. He will grow… Eventually. For now, keep him in your care the best you are able and he will reward you tenfold when the time is right.” The little beast stumbled over to crash into Nike's legs before looking up at her with big, pitiful eyes. Still in shock, Nike looked up only to find that she was completely alone. Well, alone with the horse and the…now sleeping fuzz.
The next years passed rather uneventfully. She named the Diomedes colt Mavros – the Greek word for black – and because of his size and, well, what she could only assume was human idiocy, people just…overlooked him. Or else they thought he was a cat. Only her grandmother seemed to recognize that there was something special about Mavros, but she never said a word. Junior high and high school passed much as they are wont to do in small towns. Nike kept up good grades – more through hard work and quick wits than any particular genius – worked with her grandfather and in her spare time worked on the 'talents' she'd discovered over the years; each one separately and most of them embarrassingly.
Upon graduation, Nike was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Columbia University to study biology and then veterinary medicine. Her first two years were quiet. The dorms had lots of nooks for Mavros to hide in and he behaved very well, so long as she remembered to bring him bits of hamburger or steak for dinner. She could concentrate on her studies and since there were no horses in the city, she ended up making friends with a sassy old lady professor from Julliard, who gave her a key to one of the older corner practice rooms. Consequently, her piano playing has continued to improve over the past two years. Now, however, with the city suddenly recreated into New Atlantis, Nike has the sneaking suspicion that things won't be quiet for very much longer.
Junior year is going to suck.
A bit about the character's personality.
Yeah, who do you know? Who is important?
Events Thus Far
Links to logs with event summary. Woosh!
|Strength 2||Charisma 2||Perception 4|
|Dexterity 4||Manipulation 3||Intelligence 3|
|Stamina 3||Appearance 2||Wits 4|
|Thrown 2||Command 2||Stealth 2|
|Animal Ken 3||Medicine 1||Awareness 3|
|Survival 2||Fortitude 3||Control (Horse) 3|
|Presence 2||Athletics 2||Art (Piano) 3|
|Kineta 3 (Relic)||Mavros 3 (Creature)|
|Animal Control||Night Eyes||Shadow Mask|
|Shadow Refuge||Death Senses||Euthanasia|
|God's Honest||Overt Order||Untouchable Opponent|
|Dexterity 2||Manipulation 2||Intelligence|
|Expression 3||Intellect 2||Valor 1|
|Legend 4||Legend Points 16/16|
|Wounds 0 0 0||Willpower 6/6|
|Health -0 -1 -1 -2 -2 -4 I D|