|“||I was terrified. To think that throwing myself into war in order to remember death, to continue to exist as a human... would instead result in becoming inured to death itself. And that is why I am afraid. Afraid to look upon my own face with my own eyes.||”|
Initially fearful that immortality would lead him to forget the mortality of others, he spends over two centuries on the battlefield in some of the worst war-zones in the world. To his horror, he ends up becoming inured to death instead. Nile now perpetually wears a mask because he is afraid of looking upon his own face and finding it expressionless.
Nile is finally reunited with some of his fellow immortals by the very late twentieth century. In 2001, he and his companions search for and locate Elmer C. Albatross in a remote and sinister village; in 2002, he, Elmer, and two other immortals board the cruise liner Exit at the invitation of Huey Laforet.
Nile is brown-skinned, and has black dreadlocks. In the 2007 anime adaptation, a few of his locks have green bands around them. There are three lines (possibly scars, or perhaps paint) on either side of his face, making for six in total: one above each eye, and two on either cheek. While the two on his forehead are visible in 1711: Whitesmile, they are not drawn in either the anime or the manga.
By 2001, he has taken to wearing a mask over his face at all times, and is never seen without it. The mask is ornate and of a southeast Asian design, burnished chocolate in color and accentuated with "loud base reds and oranges."
Underneath the mask, he binds his head with cloth, further ensuring that people cannot see his face. In other words, he first bandages his head and then dons the mask. However, illustrations of him in 2002 do not include the bandages in question, which may mean that he has since chosen to forgo them.
In 2001, he is clothed entirely in white silks, with his sleeves cut short at the elbow.
Nile is easily angered and often resorts to using violence against those who have ired him. However, he never lashes out unprovoked, and when it is his friends or companions who have provoked his fury he will usually demand an explanation for their behavior or threaten bodily harm. When his friends themselves have come to harm, no excuse or apology from the perpetrators will be enough to placate him, and he will pursue vengeance with no mercy.
Nile has strong feelings when it comes to injustices and villainous acts. When Fil considers sacrificing herself by returning to the villagers in 2001 and receiving her punishment, Nile immediately shoots down the idea since she will likely be tortured and killed by them. When she then says "it's fine" and desires to lessen the villagers' pain, Nile grabs her and delivers one of his most passionate speeches to date; he argues that even if she can forgive them for her constant torment and pain (and false accusations), he will not - and that he will kill those who dare to spill one drop of her blood.
He has no pity for someone who bemoans their own fate.
Out of all the immortals, Nile has demonstrated the most concern over how eternal life may potential warp one's conception of mortality and what it means to be human. After becoming immortal, Nile feels deep fear that he will one day forget "the concept of other peoples' passing" and become a creature which knows nothing of death. This is the reason he throws himself into nearly three centuries of warfare - so that he may keep death close to him and never forget its reality.
Time passes, and Nile comes to realize that immortality itself no longer pains him. What will "send him to his knees," is that someday everyone else except him shall die, and that he will be alone. For a long while, he believes losing those dear to him one by one is the true tragedy of immortality—but he eventually learns that this belief is foolish. He concludes that there is no difference between 'immortal' and 'mortal' and that the 'number of losses' means nothing.
He is so regularly exposed to death and corpses that eventually he is desensitized to them - effectively what he had hoped to avoid in the first place. He realizes this when he catches sight of his reflection and sees that his face is nearly expressionless, terrifying him.
Nile's relationship with death and his fear of his face speak volumes about his personality. He is volatile, violent and wild-tempered, frequently open to murder as a solution against those he finds villainous and unredeemable - and yet he is one of the characters who are most sensitive to death and what it means to be human. He wants to be affected by death, wants it to have significance. He wants to be sensitive. The very fact that he is filled with genuine fear at the thought that he is not is telling.
Nile was named after the Nile River in Africa, which he either lived near or by in his early childhood. He was taken in by a geologist who never gave him a surname. In response, Nile refused to call him 'father.'
Eventually, Nile is left in the care of legendary alchemist Majeedah Batutah by an old alchemist/explorer acquaintance of hers (it is unclear if this is the geologist).
During this time, Nile becomes a fully qualified sailor, and studies alchemy at Majeedah's floating workshop. A native speaker of the Berber languages, he also becomes fluent in English - and at some point prior to 1705, Mandarisn Chinese and Indonesian. He later comes to know Denkurō Tōgō and Zank Rowan after they are rescued by Majeedah's fleet and become her pupils.
Nile communicates with Denkurō and Zank in English. He often boasts to his companions that he will attack anyone who irritates him no matter their class, a threat that he has actually carried out on several occasions. Majeedah's connections and considerable influence are the main reasons that he never suffered (mortal) consequences for his actions.
While on the floating workshop, Nile, Zank, and Denkurō are briefed by Majeedah on Lotto Valentino, a city rife with drugs and counterfeit money. Majeedah wants them to speak with Dalton Strauss in the city, and from there investigate and potentially stop the drug circulation. Nile is enraged at the extent of the drug corruption and wants to burn the city down, and it is in lieu of his volatile reaction that Majeedah decides to only send Zank and Denkurō instead.
Zank and Denkurō return to Lotto Valentino for a second trip, with Nile this time accompanying them (due to Denkurō's judgement). Majeedah's mission for them is very different from 1705: she has received word that a large number of alchemists are preparing to escape the city's persecution by fleeing to the Americas aboard the Advena Avis. She has ordered Nile, Zank, and Denkurō to assist in their escape, since all three are qualified sailors and can pilot the ship (whereas the alchemists likely cannot).
Almost immediately following their arrival in the harbor, Nile witnesses a Dormentaire knight assaulting a child. With righteous fury, Nile attacks the soldier and the musketeers who come to the man's rescue - though before things get out of hand, Zank physically stops Nile's punch while Denkurō holds the musketeers back in turn.
Denkurō chastises Nile for not heeding his advice (presumably about keeping his calm), and one of the knights demands to know where the three are from with the warning that there will be consequences for Nile's actions. After Denkurō introduces himself, he turns to Nile and asks him to explain his actions; Nile recounts the child's assault. The accused knight brazenly defends his actions, and Denkurō attempts to temper Nile's anger by reminding him that they are strangers to Lotto Valentino and are unfamiliar with their customs. Therefore, he should apologize.
Zank covers Nile's mouth before he can start another argument, but the knight would rather see the three humiliated rather than come to a compromise. It is only with the arrival of Victor Talbot does the situation defuse: speaking in English, he suggests that both sides simply go about their business and forgot that anything happened at all. The knights (who are scared of Szilard Quates) and Nile reluctantly drop the matter. Nile blankly watches the child's mother drag him away, but smiles faintly when he notices Denkurō.
He and his two companions make to leave the marketplace, but stop in their tracks when Victor gives the boy permission to speak with Nile. The boy - in Italian - thanks Nile, who raises an eyebrow in surprise, mumbles "you're welcome" in English, and turns away in embarrassment. Denkurō thanks Victor, who points to his building of residence and says that they can drop by anytime if they need to ask him about something.
An explosion rocks the air, and the building (from which the explosion originates) collapses in front of their eyes. Victor pauses, and says that it looks like he will not actually be staying there after all.
Over the following week, Lotto Valentino endures thirty-six explosions in total. Nile, Denkurō, and Zank are on a ship moored in the harbor when they witness a deserted pier explode and set a nearby Dormentaire transport ship ablaze, sinking two weeks' worth of supplies below the waves. Nile coldly remarks that he cares not how many Dormentaire ships end up destroyed, a remark that Denkurō rebukes him for.
Ten days after their arrival, Nile and Zank are invited to join Denkurō and Victor for drinks at a local pub. Once Victor is thoroughly drunk, Zank asks him how he ended up in the employ of the Dormentaires. Victor explains how several influential men had exiled him from England a few years ago on account of his anti-slavery and anti-racism views. Nile grimaces and imparts his desire to flay those men alive; Victor points out that such an action would only worsen the aristocrats' racist opinions, but Nile counts that such thoughts do not concern them - he just wants to act on his own personal desire.
Denkurō chimes that Nile is "merely faithful to his own convictions," though Victor is unconvinced. At Zank's prodding, Victor resumes his backstory and explains that the Dormentaires picked him up after he left England. He says that the Dormentaires do not care about what race or class one is - only whether or not you can earn money for them. He admits that one of his reasons for his loyalty is the existence of a certain Dormentaire woman with whom he is intimately involved—and that she is on her way to Lotto Valentino.
On the day of the woman's scheduled arrival, Nile and his friends stand beside Victor in the harbor at sunset while he waits for the ship to arrive. He points out the unaccompanied Dormentaire ship on the horizon to the three, commenting on the smell of peaches in the air with a laugh. At his obvious elation, Nile announces that he will throw the woman to the waves if she proves to be dishonorable; Victor refuses to let the comment slide and asks what he is even doing here. Nile snidely retorts that he is simply curious about the head 'monkey' of the 'despicable' Dormentaires, and adds that her taste in men must be vulgar since Victor is one of her lovers.
He and Victor sling rude banter back and forth as they prepare for a friendly brawl. Zank remarks to Denkurō in Japanese that he thinks Nile does not want to accept that he had been assisted by Victor when they first arrived, and so he picks fights with Victor "to alleviate his own contrition."
Light flares on the horizon. Victor lowers his fists. Several seconds later, the roar of an explosion rings out through the air, and Nile and the others witness the Dormentaire ship go up in flames. Victor leaps aboard a ship preparing to set sail and bellows at its crew to sail for the Dormentaire ship. They are frozen in shock; he draws his pistol and begs them to move. A second later, a second explosion blows the Dormentaire ship to bits.
Zank spots something through the smoke - a small dot on the horizon. Nile and Denkurō look at his urging and realize that the dot is a ship. While it is too far away to be blamed for the explosion, its timing is undeniably ominous. As it draws closer, Zank realizes that the ship is the Advena Avis.
Over a week later, Nile and his companions join over twenty men in the corner of one of the city's underground waterways near and connected to the basement of The Third Library. There, Dalton Strauss listens to the concerns of the alchemists, many of whom are concerned that with the Advena Avis under Dormentaire surveillance their only hope is to flee now while they still have the chance. Even if they can reach the Advena Avis, none of them know how to pilot a ship.
Dalton brings the alchemists' attention to Nile, Zank, and Denkurō (who stand separate from the group) and explains that the three alchemists are qualified sailors whom Majeedah sent precisely for this purpose. The alchemists burst into whispered chatter at the mention of Majeedah, whom is a near mythical figure to them.
Denkurō comments their awestruck reactions. Where Zank approves of such awe for their 'heroic' mentor, Nile is less generous: he says that while he is in Majeedah's debt, he finds Zank's evaluation an exaggeration of her character. Meanwhile, Dalton informs Maiza Avaro that even though the Advena Avis is the property of the Mars Clan, the Dormentaires will undoubtedly try to stop the alchemists' escape after falsely claiming that the alchemists themselves have stolen the ship.
A few hours later, Nile and his companions are in the harbor when multiple explosions are set off around the city. Several of the harbor guards leave the harbor to deal with the explosions, leading Nile to question what on earth is going on. There is no time for an answer, and he and his companions clamber aboard the Advena Avis to knock the remaining guards unconscious. Successful, the three commandeer the ship and set sail away from the Dormentaires' floating fortress and towards the entrance to the waterways. As they work, Nile mutters that there is something suspicious about everything taking place, and Denkurō agrees that the explosions are almost too convenient for them.
They moor at the docks by the waterways, and the majority of the waiting alchemists scramble onto the ship. Carla Alvarez Santoña and two guardsmen arrive with the intention of stopping their escape, and Carla engages Maiza in combat on the docks while the guardsmen attempt to board the Advena Avis. Nile and Denkurō easily thwart the guards, and leap down onto the docks to support Maiza. At Maiza's acknowledgement, Denkurō requests that he join the other alchemists aboard the ship, and Nile (hoisting an axe-size kitchen knife) announces that he alone will be enough to deal with the Dormentaires and that Denkurō should join Maiza in his return.
Instead, Maiza implores Carla to step aside and avoid needless blood. Meanwhile, Nile and Denkurō stare the guardsmen down, preparing to attack if necessary. Suddenly, several spherical projectiles shatter against the ground, spreading liquid that quickly catches fire. A great wall of flames separates the group from the Advena Avis, and they turn to see ten people standing upon a nearby rooftop, all dressed as the Mask Maker.
Maiza and Denkurō exchange glances, and leap onto the deck of the Advena Avis. Nile wants to stay (and fight), but Denkurō snatches his collar and drags him aboard mid-sentence. When Nile protests, Denkurō points to a Dormentaire warship in the distance and reminds him that the Advena Avis is unarmed. They must flee. Nile and the others man the ship and make for the seas.
The Dormentaire warship remains hot on their trail for the next thirty minutes, and the alchemists start to panic when the warship finally starts to close the distance between them. One alchemist desperately suggests that they dump the heavier cargo in order to increase their speed, and reaches for the door to the freight hold. To his astonishment, the door opens from the inside: out steps a soot-covered Victor Talbot, brandishing a flintlock pistol. Denkurō cries out his name in shock, and Victor smugly explains that he has been in hiding on the ship for days. He then aims his pistol at Maiza, and orders him to stop the vessel.
Maiza recognizes him, and Victor asks if he is really willing to let a child and a woman drown (should the Dormentaires open fire). Maiza in turn asks if Victor might first lower his gun - or does he not care if a stray bullet should hit a woman or child? Victor lowers the pistol, and warns Maiza that he (Victor) is not worth much as a hostage. Nile abandons his post at the helm, and approaches Victor with a handaxe in his hands. Denkurō protests that Nile is only slowing them down, but Nile snorts that the warship will catch up to them anyway. All he has to do is board the warship and take it down single-handedly.
The alchemist who has been watching the warship with a telescope shouts that a man on its deck is waving at them. Victor snatches the telescope and observes the ship. In shock, he blurts out Szilard's name. Maiza makes use of his own telescope, and upon looking through it cries out for someone to stop their ship. Zank and Denkurō do so, and the warship catches up to them. Aboard it are Szilard, Huey Laforet, and Elmer C. Albatross, whom Dalton has added to the Advena Avis' passenger list. The three board the Advena Avis, and the ship resumes its course for the New World.
During the voyage, Nile, Zank and Denkurō are responsible for piloting the ship - though they do make an effort to instruct the other alchemists in basic seamanship. While in the Mediterranean, they are also responsible for regularly docking at ports and receiving supplies from fellow members of Majeedah's floating workshop.
One night, Nile and all of the ship's passengers gather below deck to witness Maiza summon a 'demon.' The 'demon' adheres to their wishes and gives them the Grand Panacea, an elixir that he says will grant them eternal life. Only Maiza is told how to make the elixir. Once the 'demon' proves that the elixir is genuine by slicing Szilard's head in half, Nile and the others drink the Grand Panacea and become complete immortals.
The next day, Maiza calls all the alchemists into the mess hall for a meeting. There, he announces that he has decided to keep the secret of the elixir to himself, for he is afraid of what should happen if immortality spread unchecked. Szilard is the only alchemist who objects to his decision.
That night, Szilard begins devouring his fellow alchemists - starting with Gretto Avaro. Nile finds Szilard below deck with his right hand on Sylvie Lumiere's forehead; he slices Szilard's arm in twain with a Chinese cleaver, full of rage at Szilard's actions. Szilard flees up the stairs, and Nile kneels by Sylvie's side to see if she is all right. Before she can answer, Elmer joins them, pleased to see that they are both alive. He asks Sylvie to smile, only for Nile to snap that now is not the time for jests. Elmer merely replies that smiling makes one calmer, barely affected by Nile's harsh reply.
Nile concludes that it will be impossible for him to remove the unnerving smile from Elmer's face, and he settles for calling Elmer a fool before advising him that if he intends to hide he had better do it quickly. Elmer corrects him: rather than hiding, he plans to convince Szilard to end his massacre. Nile's eyes widen, and he objects that Elmer's plan is impossible. Even if Elmer does manage to make Szilard stop, Maiza would never stand for it. Szilard will die no matter what, so they might as well kill him quickly.
Elmer answers that he will just have to convince Maiza to be merciful, which Nile dismisses as rubbish. Elmer agrees that this is a rubbish plan, so he will go and try to convince Szilard first. If he fails and is devoured, Nile may do what he likes. Sylvie cries out for Elmer to change his mind, arguing that words will never work on a Szilard, who had smiled when he was about to devour her. At the news of Szilard's smile, Elmer is further convinced that things will somehow work out, and he once again encourages Sylvie to smile before disappearing through the doorway.
Alone, Sylvie asks Nile what Elmer meant when he said "Maiza won't stand for it," and a shadow passes over Nile's face. Sylvie grabs Nile's arm and shakes it, begging him to give him an answer - to tell her that Gretto is not dead. As she begins to cry, Nile can only remain silent.
This scene plays slightly differently out in the anime: instead of stopping to check on Sylvie, Nile takes chase after Szilard and corners him above deck with Maiza, Denkurō, and Huey as a raging storm buffets the ship with rain and wind. Elmer calls out to Szilard from where he is balancing on the guardrail, only to slip and fall overboard. Szilard uses the distraction as an opportunity to devour Maiza, raising his right hand towards his victim. Nile steps in just in time, slicing through Szilard's abdomen and severing his body in half. Szilard falls overboard the ship, but the alchemists make no attempt to retrieve him as they do with Elmer.
In the light novels, Szilard is only cornered by Huey and Denkurō, and jumps into the sea when Elmer falls overboard.
Once they reach the North American continent, the surviving alchemists scatter across the land, fearing Szilard's wrath. As time passes, Nile begins to grow more and more afraid that he will forget what it means to die now that he is immortal. In order to remember the mortality of man, he spends the next two centuries or so on the battlefield, fighting in some of the worst conflict zones around the world.
As the years pass, he comes to find the sight of mountains of corpses tiresome in their commonness. Upon losing his comrades to death on the battlefield - unable to protect them - he realizes that he is no longer pained by immortality itself, and that what will truly destroy him is when everyone else in the world dies and he is swallowed by darkness. However, he eventually determines that losing his friends is not the true tragedy of immortality, and that there is no difference between 'immortal' and 'mortal'.
One day, Nile catches sight of his reflection in the waters of a lake. He expects that his face will be full of rage or sadness, but is horrified when he finds that his face is "nearly expressionless, with only a hint of sourness about it." He cries out at his own helplessness, having thrown himself into war so that he could remember death and remain human—only to have become inured to death itself. Terrified, Nile refuses to look upon his own face with his own eyes again and begins wearing a mask.
Some time either in 1892 or 1893, Nile encountered Christopher Shaldred and broke all his teeth (see Trivia).
In December 1934, Nile is witness to an explosive confrontation between Rail and other Lamia members against Graham Specter in a Chicago back alley. His witness statement to the police was succinct: "Let me just say this. It was a rather intriguing spectacle."
At some point during the Cold War, Nile meets with Victor (who by now is working for the FBI). Exhausted, he gives Victor an account of what he has gone through over the past two centuries (including his relationship with death and his horror at his stoicism) before vanishing once more.
(To be expanded upon)
Nile joins Maiza, Czeslaw, and Sylvie in their search for Elmer. He now wears a mask, and claims he wears it so that nobody would accidentally devour him in their sleep. His real reason for wearing the mask is much more personal: after spending centuries fighting in various wars, he is distressed that he shows no sign of emotional distress on his face. He wears a mask because he cannot bear to look at himself.
The immortals' search leads them to the anachronistic village. Nile spend the automobile ride there asleep in the trunk, and later exits it to confront the villagers when they surround the vehicle. Nile and his friends are then saved by Fil and brought to the castle Elmer is staying at.
When they are reunited with Elmer, Elmer initially does not recognise Nile because of his mask.
Nile and the others take up temporary residence at the castle, hoping to discover what secret Elmer is keeping, all the while playing his little game of cat and mouse. Eventually Nile and Maiza stumble upon the library where they discover notes on homunculi and their creation process.
Finally after cornering Elmer, they are taken to the research lab where Fil and Dez were born. They are introduced to Bilt Quates, who explains what his ancestor Szilard attempted to do all those years ago.
Nile later confronts Feldt and defeats his original body along with Maiza and Elmer, saving Sylvie in the process.
Afterwards, he and his companions accompany Feldt/Fil back to New York.
(To be added.)
- Nile once fought Durarara!! character Shizuo Heiwajima. The battle ended in Shizuo's favor.
- Nile is fluent in the Berber languages, English, Chinese, and Indonesian.
- Nile is in his mid-twenties to early thirties.
- Nile seems to be fond of animal. In 2001, he spends some of his free time playing with the horses in the stables; in 2002 he sometimes plays with the seagulls while aboard the Exit.
- Nile frequently prefaces his sentences with a declarative phrase. This phrase is most often translated as "let me say this," but not exclusively, with multiple variations occurring throughout the series. These include "just let me throw this out there" and "for the record."
- He owns at least a dozen masks as of 2002 (Side B): Blood Sabbath.
- At the end of 1933 (Last) The Slash -Bloody to Fair-, Christopher Shaldred remarks after his defeat to Felix Walken to Hong Chi-Mei that his defeat is the first black mark on his record in four decades. The only one before that was when all his teeth were broken by a man who shared his name with a river. The only character whose name fits this description is Nile. See Post-1711.