Nathaniel typically wears his shoulder length black hair loose save two braids along the side of his head, keeping his hair out of icy grey, bordering on the palest of blue eyes. Thin lips that pull into a side-long smirk more often than not anchor the unfortunate inheritance that is the Howe family nose. With the build of a warrior and the grace of a rogue, his body is more fit and lean than overly muscled.
Nathaniel’s primary weapon is the Howe family bow found by Aedan Cousland in the basement of Vigil’s Keep. Since the day that Aedan told him, “It’s yours now,” Nathaniel has not been without the bow. He was also gifted a dragonbone longsword and dagger from Aedan (Dumat’s Spine, Dumat’s Claw). All his weapons have fire enchantments.
Nathaniel has three sets of armor he uses often. He has a set of hunting leathers (made of drakeskin) that he uses when going out on hunts or traveling incognito. There are also his Warden-Commander formal armor that he wears when visiting the King or meeting with important guests. For Grey Warden missions, he uses a rogue/medium weight set. Both sets of Warden armor are made of silverite and crafted by Wade.
The eldest son of Rendon Howe, Nathaniel did not have the most ideal of childhoods. Rendon expected perfection from his children and did not shirk from showing his disappointment when any of his brood failed to rise to his preferred standards of conduct.
Rendon loved to pit both of his boys against the other, fostering an environment of constant competition within the household. And in most ways, Nathaniel came up short, often losing to his younger brother. When he thought his father wished him to be cruel, he tried to be cruel. When he thought his father wished him to be stern, he tried to be stern.
But he was never stern or cruel enough. Thomas was always willing to go further, to step over the line of what Nathaniel felt was right versus what was necessary. This weakness in him kept his father’s approval just out of grasp and unattainable.
This left Nathaniel constantly battling to gain his father’s approval, doing anything and everything he could think to make the man he idolized proud of him.
Nathaniel was a disappointment, a fact Rendon never failed to make known. Repeatedly, he watched as his father took Thomas with him around the estate to conduct business. He watched as Rendon proudly introduced Thomas and passively introduced Nathaniel to visiting nobles.
The day of Nathaniel’s sixteenth birthday he was sent away to the Free Marches. You need hardening up, his father told him at the time. And in a way, Nate agreed. He so desperately wanted to please this man, to hear those words he’d never heard before (I am proud of you, son) rather than those he heard on more occasions than he cared to count (You are a disappointment).
He trained tirelessly in the Free Marches, mastering the bow and improving his skills with blades. He hoped to return home knighted and ready to lead a regiment of his father’s soldiers. He would prove to Rendon Howe that he had two men worthy of calling his sons rather than just the one.
Nathaniel was never given that opportunity.
Each year he watched one or two of his fellow squires achieve the rank of knight, a title seemingly out of Nathaniel’s reach no matter how hard he trained, how proficient he showed himself with his bow. Unbeknownst to him, it was a goal he had no chance of achieving. Rendon Howe never intended his son the promotion and had instructed his friend of such when he sent Nate to live in the Free Marches.
The news of his father’s death reached him in the form of a dismissal from his duties under Bann Eorol. With Nathaniel’s father dead, the Bann no longer felt compelled to retain Nathaniel’s services. He was cast out, no place to call home, very little gold within his pockets and no titles to claim as his own.
Anger fueled his return to Ferelden. As he traveled, he heard the whispers about his father, the rumors of torturing prisoners, selling elves into slavery, how the Chantry had to pay people to attend his funeral. Nathaniel believed none of it, thinking it all propaganda spread by the very man that murdered his father, Aedan Cousland.
A desire for retribution and a need to discover the fate of his other family members drove Nathaniel toward Amaranthine. He would see Aedan dead for what he’d done. He would do for his father what he never was able to do for the man in life, he would make him proud and prove he was worthy of the name Howe.
But as he had failed many times in his childhood, he did so again as an adult, captured and held prisoner in his old home before he could follow through with his plans.
He lied to Aedan when they finally met in the dungeons of the keep. Nathaniel spun falsehoods, claiming he only aimed to gather family belongings and then be on his way. If Aedan let him go, Nathaniel had no doubt they would meet again only the next time, Nate would not fail in his quest. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, Aedan had other plans and conscripted Nathaniel into the service of the Grey Wardens.
Only after finding his sister alive and hearing from her lips all those things he had not wanted to believe before, did the pedestal Nathaniel placed his father upon begin to crumble; only then did fog of his own denial begin to clear.
With time, he grew to understand and accept and his hatred took on a new face, a new name - Howe for Cousland. He fought at Aedan’s side, happy in his own way to have gained his friend back, and assisted in the defense of Amaranthine and the destruction of the Mother.
As peace returned to Amaranthine, Aedan eventually took leave of the region and left both the Arling and Grey Wardens to Nathaniel, appointing him the new Arl of Amaranthine and Warden-Commander at the Landsmeet of 9:33.
Nathaniel soon after took a wife was later killed during a mugging in Haring of 9:34. Time abroad in Orlais helped him deal with grief. And upon to returning from Orlais, he struck up a new layer to his relationship with oldest friend, Fergus Cousland.