Appearance: Half caucasian, half Japanese, Nathaniel resembles his mother mostly, though he is told his eyes are reminiscent of his father. Though he is not overtly athletic his body is fit and toned from practicing martial arts with his grandfather.
Powers/Abilities: After years of training with his grandfather Nathaniel possesses considerable skill in both hand to hand combat and swordplay. After finding an old metal kabuki mask in his grandfather’s things strange coincidences involving the mask and other metal objects he touches have started happening. As yet unsure of what he is capable of, the idea to use what he suspects are newfound superpowers as a masked crime fighter is still only in its infancy.
The boy was dirty, battered and bruised with a small bamboo rattan in his hand. Despite his condition a fire flared in his brown eyes, some drive within him flaring into passion. His grandfather, wrinkled and withered but holding a rattan of his own, settled to the ground with a small effort and a huff of air before replying, words breaking through the veil of snow white whiskers around his lips.
“The Amagiri clan was a proud vassal of a noble shogun in ancient times, strong warriors and talented weapon smiths who were called upon by emperors and shogun alike for their amazing works.” He spoke with the cadence of one who had told the tale a thousand times. A thousand times hearing it never tempered the boy’s enthusiasm.
“But when one of their weapons took the life of their very lord, the Amagiri were cast aside and shunned, forced to ply their trade of blade and hammer in shadow and secrecy.” Ojisan pointed his rattan at Nathaniel, voice heavy with omen and honor. “As the last son of the Amagiri clan you must be strong, a warrior with no rival to protect what you believe in with the steel of your soul.”
“With the steel of my soul,” the boy echoed with wide, awestruck eyes.
It had been nearly a year since Nathaniel had convinced his father to let him transfer to a public school. Even during the move his father had barely been around, boxes stacked inside his office door evidence of the amount of time he had spent settling into the new home. Even Ojisan had unpacked the boxes he had refused to let the movers handle, and though his pace was slow it made the cardboard lined wall inside Nathaniel’s father’s room all the more telling.
There were a few boxes without a place to go, unfortunately, though Nat tried his best to find places for the tokens his grandfather had kept in the shrine he kept in the garden at their old home. A few incense holders had been scattered about the suburban living room, and a statue of some shinto god or another could be found in hallways around the home. His grandfather had approved of his choices, claiming that, “The important thing is that they are honored, whether that is in a shrine or in our home.”
Nat wasn’t sure about the mysticism, outdated even back in Japan. Whatever the case was, he had nearly cleared the shrine boxes when he found it, a metal mask in visage of a wolf, surprisingly light despite its thickness and black as night with almost tribal markings in red. Nat’s fingers brushed against its polished surface, inexplicably drawn to the whirls of red within the black, drawn to it like a magnet as he lifted it from the wooden box that held it. He found himself lifting it to his face, a curiosity half formed as to whether it would fit, and what it would look like through the eyeholes of the mask.
”Ah, you found the tetsu ookami mask.” Ojisan’s voice nearly startled him out of his skin, causing Nat to drop the mask into the box with a heavy thunk. ”That mask was said to have been givene to the first Amagiri smith. After praying to the gods for forty days and forty nights for the knowledge to forge the greatest blades he was blessed with an audience with our ancestors’ patron deity, and given that mask as a reward for his character. It was worn for nearly a thousand years by our proudest warriors, in ceremony and forging as well as in battle.”
Nat had picked the mask up again during his grandfather’s story, absorbing each word as he always had while studying the mask with a tempered reverence. It didn’t show any signs of wear, no flaking of the color or rusting around the edges. With close inspection he could see the layers of damascus within the color, the steel itself apparently dyed in some way. Even an untrained eye could see that it was a masterpiece of metallurgy.
”You should keep it, grandson. You are the last son of Amagiri, after all. It is only fitting that you hold onto our ancestors’ legacy.”
It happened so fast, way too fast for Nathaniel to clearly remember much. He was walking home from school, chatting with friends about the day when the tires squealed and the truck lurched on the road as it passed. Something flew from the truck, long and heavy as it careened through the air and slammed into Nathaniel with enough force to drive his breath from him.
He woke in the hospital to two broken ribs and a lot of strange questions. Questions like, “How many pipes did you see?” and, “Was it straight, or curved?” Or his personal favorite, “Did anything seem unusual or out of place to you?”
A few people asked how he felt, if he needed anything, and some spoke of a possible law suit. It was all so confusing, so cluttered and chaotic. But he remembered one thing with perfect clarity, a single moment right as the metal hit him where his hands wrapped around the steel beam and it rippled at his touch. Like water stirred by the wind. He knew it had to be from the trauma, but it was so vivid in his mind.
His grandfather had left the mask by his bed, a piece of home. Nathaniel reached out and touched the lupine nose, and its surface broke in a lazy wave.