Nolan, whose original name was Nikales, is a transmortal who lives in Ashtown. To fulfill his promise to William Skelton, Nolan helps Cyrus and Antigone Smith when they become Acolytes in the Order of Brendan. He sides with them against the Phoenix as well as hostile transmortals and joins them on their flight from Ashtown.
Nolan was born in Persia around 2,000 B.C. His father was a poor fisherman whose livelihood did not always provide enough food for his family. A fifteen-year-old Nolan was starving when he found Gilgamesh of Uruk floating in the Persian Gulf, holding the fruit of life in his hand. Thinking that Gilgamesh was dead, Nolan took and ate the fruit to ease his hunger, not realizing what the fruit was.
When Gilgamesh awoke, he was furious with Nolan and attempted to murder him. The fruit had already taken effect, however, and Gilgamesh found that he could not kill Nolan. To exact revenge, he cursed Nolan as a thief and a snake. From that time onward, Nolan's skin peeled away, much like a snake's, whenever he was injured. Additionally, Nolan developed a permanent reputation for thievery: very few people, mortal or transmortal, proved willing to accept that he had taken the fruit by accident.
Nolan resented what Gilgamesh had done to him and disliked being a transmortal. Unlike many other transmortals, he never developed any supranatural abilities, and he appears to have never amassed the wealth or power that other transmortals, including Gilgamesh himself, did. (Nolan's appearance likely did not help--he continued to look like a teenager, even after living for thousands of years. Neither did Gilgamesh's continuing grudge against him.) Nolan, like most other transmortals, made a treaty with the Order of Brendan around the year 1600. Unlike some other treaties, Nolan's was not needed to prevent him from harming other people: his peeling skin was not a danger to anyone. The treaties did protect him from Gilgamesh, however.
Although Nolan made a point of avoiding John Smith, whom he considered crazy, he traveled to North America in time to be near Ashtown at the time of Smith's Burial. Eventually Nolan took up residence inside the Polygon after it was closed due to a Whip Spider infestation. The spider stings were painful for him, but not deadly, and he found ways to keep the spiders out of his living space. Estranged from other transmortals and distrustful of the Order, he kept largely to himself. Occasionally he would cooperate with individual members of the Order. Although skeptical of William Skelton, Nolan did promise him to look out for Cyrus and Antigone when they arrived at Ashtown.
Cyrus and Antigone lived with Nolan in the Polygon until they became Journeymen. To prepare them to advance within the Order, he tutored them in French and Latin and sometimes served as their weapons instructor. He helped Cyrus fight Maxi, distracted Phoenix so Antigone could attempt to destroy the Odyssean Cloak, and protected Cyrus and Antigone when Gilgamesh attempted to kill them in the Polygon. Nolan traveled with them on their quest to hunt down Phoenix. When the group split in order to deal with Radu Bey, Nolan went with Antigone's group, seeking weapons for the coming fight. He sorted through the weapons they discovered, most forged using the Dragon's Tooth, to identify which ones could be used without causing moral injury to those who wielded them. He returned to Ashtown with Antigone and several others to join Cyrus and Rupert Greeves. Nolan was seriously injured while protecting Cyrus in the ensuing battle.
In most respects Nolan appears like a normal, if unusually strong, teenager. He has light brown hair (which he cuts himself--badly), pale skin, and light green eyes. His eyes are the only thing that give away his true age, reminding Cyrus of river stones polished by the passage of time. When he is angry, the blue veins in his arms have a tendency to bulge. By the time Cyrus and Antigone meet Nolan, his regular wardrobe has become a white tank top and a pair of heavily pocketed army pants. The pants are somewhat too large for him, so he belts them with a rope.
Nolan generally hides his emotions behind a flat, sarcastic demeanor. As a result of his quiet nature and distrust of other people, he prefers to live alone. Nolan is intelligent, which seems to contribute to a level of existential disillusionment that is unusual in a transmortal. He often struggles with boredom, although some forms of pain (e.g., Whip Spider stings) or danger (such as participating in a battle) make him more engaged with his surroundings. At times he attempts to entertain himself by teasing others, particularly people who are overly literal. Nolan has an ongoing battle with anger and resentment. Gilgamesh was not, of course, at fault in Nolan's becoming transmortal, but Gil's curse against him and mistreatment of him have meant that, for Nolan, his life as a transmortal is often fairly miserable. Sometimes he loses his temper with normal humans, as well. Shortly after meeting the Smiths, he overreacted to Antigone's teasing and put her in serious danger. Nolan's subsequent behavior, however, immediately demonstrated his willingness to apologize and make things right with others if he believes that he is genuinely at fault.
Nolan's attitude toward most of his fellow transmortals is largely negative. Morality is one thing that consistently matters to Nolan, and he seems to think that most transmortals, with a few exceptions, are of poor character. He has no interest in spending time with people he does not respect, regardless of any personal benefit he might receive. Nolan does, however, seem to like the Smiths and respect their character (if not their judgment). He also trusts a few other members of the Order, notably Rupert Greeves. As a result, he shows them great loyalty, despite the risks involved. His apparent coldness and reclusivity conceal what appears to be a noble--if indignant--spirit.
|Protagonists||Alan Livingstone • Antigone Smith • Arachne • Cyrus Smith • Daniel Smith • Dennis • Diana Boone • George • Gunner • Horace • Jax • Jeb • John Smith • Katie Smith • Lawrence Smith • Mrs. Eldridge • Niffy • Nolan • Robert Boone • Rupert Greeves • Silas • William Skelton|
|Antagonists||Anann • Babd Catha • Cecil Rhodes • Dr. Phoenix • Maxi • Radu Bey • Tamerlane • Vlad II • Vlad III • Vlad IV|
|Neutral||Ben Sterling • Gilgamesh|