|Nathan Alexander Royce|
|Date of birth:||May 8, 2179|
|Date of death:||November 21, 2257|
|Occupation:||Adventurer, Rafter, Mercenary, Grand Dragon, Grand Wizard, Farmer|
- "Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain."
- ―Royce's favorite Faulkner quote
Nathan Alexander Royce (born May 8, 2179, died November 21, 2257) is known as the greatest Grand Wizard in the history of the Klansmen Confederacy and a hero. A young wanderer who ventured across the Gulf of Mexico, Royce later returned and formed the Klansmen Confederacy into the nation-state it is today. Even after Royce's death in 2257, his legacy is felt in the Klansmen Confederacy's strong position in Mississippi and its impact on other communities. However, Royce might not be as pleased with his creation as many would think. Royce's experiences during his wanderings shaped him into a very different man than any of his other klansmen could have ever imagined.
- "My early years were spent in blissful ignorance, always a game of hunting or hide and go seek or ball. Only later did I learn there was more, as most people do I suppose."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2243
Nathan Alexander Royce was the first child and eldest son born to Grand Titan Lewis Morgan Royce and Mary Ruth Royce outside the town of Barnett in the Klansmen Confederacy on May 8, 2179. The Royces were a well-to-do farming family and a pillar in the local community. Nathan was a strong baby that grew into a strong child, always played outside, and loved watching his father hunt or dress up for his meetings. On Nathan's seventh birthday, he received two gifts: he was allowed to go to the schoolhouse in town after planting season to learn more than his letters, and given his first gun. Nathan took to both immediately. However, over time, Nathan learned over time that he was not such a good shot and school was a bore. Too much about racial purity and war and too little of actual substance. Nathan had plenty of friends but didn't feel any real connection to any of them. That made him worried about the future, when he would have to find someone to marry?
At thirteen, Nathan's first life changing experience came. On the night of August 19, 2192, Nathan was hunting alone for only the second or third time when he heard a noise. Thinking it was a deer, Nathan leveled his hunting rifle and squinted at where the noise came from. There he saw the glow of a campfire. Coming closer, Nathan saw a cart with with a Brahmin hitched to it. Around the campfire were several people, two were black and one was a ghoul, a sight Nathan had never seen before.
At first, Nathan felt obligated to shoot them or at least fire off a warning shot. His father had taught a strict moral code and trespassing on a man's property was a crime. They're intruders. It's my job as a man to defend-
But his curiosity was also strong. These people were from the outside and probably knew a lot more than he did. So, in a break neck decision, Nathan walked out of the brush and said hello.
The people gathered round the campfire seemed rather nonplussed about Nathan's greeting and said hello back. Then, Nathan asked who they were and why they were there in a slightly aggressive tone. The people responded, saying that they were a new caravan that was crossing through these parts for the first time. It was then that the caravaners invited him to sit at their campfire.
Nathan was tentative at first, staring at the ghoul and the two blacks for an uncomfortably long time, but accepted their offer. Sitting down, Nathan was asked who he was and where he came from.
Nathan told them plainly who he was: a young white hunter (actually a farmer's son) who lived outside of Barnett. He also told his future plans.
"Someday, I wanna take over the farm from Pa and maybe have a few kids. Join the Klan. You know, life."
The caravaners seemed to respect Nathan's simple ambition, even becoming a Klansmen (which they had no concept of). They themselves then began to tell their own stories, of faraway lands and forgotten places. Nathan was enthralled by descriptions of the excesses of the Big Easy, the blood drenched battlefields of the Corpse Coast, the sunken treasure of Florida, and even of the exotics of Mexico.
The young boy marveled at this newfound knowledge, this knowledge of an outside that had begun to fascinate him. The caravaners also let Nathan have some of their food. The Cram was honestly disgusting, but these things called Sugar Bombs were just wonderful. Soon, Nathan ate so many Sugar Bombs that he felt sick and had to go home. Wishing the caravaners well, Nathan headed back and went to bed.
The next day, Nathan was woken up by his younger brother, who told him "there's a hangun goin on!" Intrigued, Nathan ran after his brother into the woods to see who was being hung. After running for a while, Nathan and his brother came upon a group of uniformed Klansmen (including their father) gathered underneath an oak tree. And swaying from the tree's branches were the caravaners Nathan had met only a few hours before, all hung. It was then that Nathan realized he had to leave Barnett. He wanted to see the outside world for himself.
Nathan decided to make a goal, so he promised to himself that he would leave home the day he turned sixteen. Nathan later told his parents. His father was at first furious that his firstborn son wanted to leave but in time, grew to accept that his son wanted to explore the wide world. After all, he had other children. Nathan's mother also accepted his decision with as much grace as she could muster.
For the next few years, Nathan worked hard on the farm and in school. Pushed out of school at fifteen, like most people, Nathan began making plans for leaving, consulting local maps and trying to remember what the caravaners told him about the Gulf of Mexico. Deciding against journeying to Mexico, Nathan set the more realistic but still faraway goal of seeking his fortunes in the Big Easy, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. All he needed to do was catch a raft at Natchez and float south down the river. If only it was that easy...
Road to the Big Easy
- "I was little more than a boy when I left. Lucky not to have been killed by a molerat or something like that."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2238
May 7, 2195 had come. Nathan, now sixteen, was ready to leave. However, his father wanted him to do one last thing before leaving: Nathan had to officially join the Klan.
That night, the initiation ceremony took place. Nathan mechanically made the pledge to uphold the purity of the white race and to fight oppression, evil, and the Jewish world conspiracy. A Klan patch was sown onto the wrist of Nathan's shirt to tell the world who he was.
The next morning was Nathan's birthday and the day he would leave. And he did.
Taking only a sack of some of his possessions (one shirt with the Klan patch and one without, some caps, and a few baubles to remember home by), the clothes on his back, and the hunting rifle his father had given to him on his thirteenth birthday, Nathan began his long walk to Natchez to catch a raft down to the Big Easy.
On only the third day after Nathan left, he was almost ambushed by raiders but managed to lose them in the woods and fled west and continued on to Natchez.
Luckily for him, there were no more raider attacks after that. Nathan's journey to Natchez ended in about a week later.
Natchez was larger than any town Nathan had even seen. There were many people there and not all of them were white. The rafters from the river were of all colors and in the town, there were even some some robots, mostly protectrons with one or two sentry bots. Nathan was already amazed at what he had seen. However, that did not phase him from trying to catch a boat down to the Big Easy.
At first, many rafters were reluctant to take a Klan boy down the river, as no klansmen ever wanted to leave the town with a rafter. But after several sessions of begging and pleading, a rather obese raft captain by the name of Bubba Stump decided to offer Nathan a lift to the Big Easy in exchange for Nathan's hunting rifle, which was actually quite valuable because it was heavily modified. At first, Nathan was reluctant, since losing his weapon meant losing his independence as well as a link to his family. But after much bickering, Nathan relented and handed over his weapon in exchange for a ride to the Big Easy. At least the crew is white.
The boat ride to the Big Easy was long but certainly not boring. The Mississippi River was a haunt for pirates, mutants, and worst things. On June 14, 2195, Bubba Stump and many other rafters near him were attacked by Brownwater pirates, predecessors of the Court of the Bayou. The pirates, using small canoes so as to make less noise, slipped onto Stump's large raft in the dead of night with the intent of hijacking it and taking its cargo. Stump had other ideas. Coming out of his bunk guns blazing, the corpulent rafter shot some of the pirates but ran out of bullets and was cornered by one wielding a knife. Suddenly, a gunshot rang out and the pirate fell to the ground. Behind him stood Nathan, holding his father's rifle that he had picked up. Stump smiled.
"You can keep the rifle. Free of charge."
The rest of the voyage was less dangerous but no less exciting. On both shores of the Mississippi, Nathan saw many peculiar things, from Swampers to seeing his very first Deathclaw devour those Swampers.
As Bubba Stump's raft drifted further south, the sights became more weird for Nathan now that they had passed beyond Klan territory. I could swear I saw that white woman and black man on the shore holding hands.
Little Trouble in the Big Easy
- "There's no place quite like the Big Easy. And almost no place that's as different from the Confederacy."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2242
On June 21, 2195, Stump's raft finally reached the Big Easy, a bit behind schedule. They dropped off at Vieux Carré. There Nathan, instead of staying, gave Stump a very curt goodbye, gave him a few caps for his troubles, and jumped ship. Nathan had finally arrived in the city.
The culture shock he got after that was tremendous. Scantily clad women paraded around exposing themselves, voodoo enthusiasts spouted out curses, and in his first five minutes in Vieux Carré, Nathan even saw a man get murdered over a sweet roll. And blacks and ghouls EVERYWHERE. This was the Big Easy before the Royaume, before even Obed Narcisse, when the bosses ruled and no one was safe.
Nathan, knowing very little about this place, decided to find lodging someplace so he could have someplace to sleep beside the street. Going to a nearby hostel named the High Joint, Nathan was once again shocked at meeting the receptionist, an elderly male to female transvestite. After stuttering out his name and buying a small room with a cot, the woman politely offered to walk Nathan to his room, which he accepted out of courtesy. When he got to his room, Nathan instantly fell onto his cot, expecting to go to sleep instantly. Instead, he was kept awake by a loud thumping and moaning on the other side of one of the walls. Nathan had had the misfortune (or did he) of picking a room right next to the Rad Queen brothel and would be kept awake for rest of the night listening to, as he put it "the awful, sinful racket of whores and harlots". Raised in the Klansmen Confederacy, Nathan had never been exposed to any of this and had striven to be a exemplar "good boy" his whole life. That night, he considered going home. But after much thought, Nathan refused to give up. I can't just live here for very long on the money I have. I must find a job.
Back home in Barnett, most everyone was farmers except for a few of the townsfolk and almost no one dealt in caps, mostly in barter. Nathan did not know where to start looking.
Walking around the town with his rifle on his hip and his Klan emblem on his arm, Nathan caused much unease among the residents of the Big Easy, who had heard stories of those xenophobic, white trash klansmen who lived up the river. No better than swampfolk. To look for work, Nathan went to a social club, then a restaurant, and even a port warehouse. No luck. This continued on for next month or so. Nathan did manage to scrape together a few caps from odd work, mostly shoveling dirt for the Architects to strengthen the city's levies. Good honest work, but not reliable.
As he stayed in the Big Easy longer, Nathan began to "lose his shell", so to speak. He no longer cringed when he talked to Linda, the receptionist who always wished him hello in the morning after breakfast. Nathan didn't avert his eyes when ghouls and blacks passed him on the street. He even began to fall to sleep at night listening the rhythmic thump-thump-thump of the prostitutes next door (not by choice of course). Nathan was accepting the Big Easy, that is until that one damned day.
It was the morning of August 16, 2195. Nathan was eating breakfast in the dining room of the High End hostel when an attractive woman approached him. She asked him if he was looking for reliable work. Nathan replied that, yes, he had been looking for a good job for a long time. The women seemed almost happy at that and offered Nathan "a good, well paying job for men in your position." Nathan snapped it up instantly, asking where it was. The woman stood up and indicated that they leave the hostel.
Going outside, the woman simply turned left and made to go into the Rad Queen Brothel. Nathan, confused, asked why she was going into the brothel and not leading him to where he would work. And then he realized what she was indicating. Nathan was not an unattractive man and desperate, but he was not about to stoop to that level. As the woman returned outside to ask why he did not follow her in, an immeasurable rage began to build up in Nathan. She tried to make a whore out of me. SHE TRIED TO MAKE A WHORE OUT OF ME!
And with that, Nathan lifted his rifle from his hip and opened fire on the woman in the door. The shot missed and hit the side of the doorway, but it made the woman scamper inside. However, it barely attracted any attention from the people on the street, who saw a man who just opened up fire on the entrance of a whorehouse. Something you might see only every other day in the Big Easy.
But for Nathan, that was the breaking point. He didn't belong in the Big Easy, it was too large, too different. Nathan worried that if he stayed in the Big Easy for much longer, it would swallow him up. Right then, he had two options: return home with little to nothing to show for it or put it all in and go farther, into the Gulf of Mexico. Nathan wasn't returning home anytime soon. Also, the Madame next door might try to kill him now.
It took a few days to prepare but by August 20, 2195, Nathan was ready to try to catch another ship to some new adventure across the Gulf. Luckily for Nathan, this time his search was much shorter.
Hays Rutherford, captain of the (former) oil tanker Inferno, needed a new crew. His old one had been lost in an attack made during a delivery to Waldock Plaza to the Monarch's Guards to aid in their war for Mobile. The Monarch's Guards delivery contracts were very lucrative, so Captain Rutherford wanted to go back to deliver more goods, with a full crew for protection. That was where Nathan came in.
Scouting for potential candidates for his crew, Rutherford saw a young man wandering about the docks looking at the ships He walked up to Nathan and extended his hand, introducing himself as Captain Hays Rutherford, captain of the Inferno. Rutherford then asked if Nathan needed a job, saying there was an opening for the job of deck hand.
Nathan, cautious after his last encounter, asked what kind of work he would doing. Rutherford, a honest man if not a nice one, admitted that they would be sailing into an active war zone and there would peril and danger involved in their journey. Not to Rutherford's surprise, that made Nathan agree right away to join the crew. Either going to become a Roughneck gorebag or a Ranger bodybag. Poor kid.
Life on the Inferno
- "That ship was my home for four years. I remember... when one of the super mutants tore a man's head clean off for trying to cheat him in cards. He only got whipped for it, but nobody ever gambled with that mutant again!"
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2239
Coming aboard the Inferno, Nathan was introduced to the crew. They were a green bunch, and many, like Nathan, were just earning their sea-legs. Also, the crew was overly diverse, with ghouls, super mutants, swampers, badlanders, and people of all races represented. Nathan tried to be polite to them but was confused that he was not met well. Another southern dandy. This made Nathan very angry at first, but it turned out that all the crew treated each other that way. Nathan's racist attitudes singled him out, but no one cared. He was tough enough that nobody was about to mess with him, but no one really feared him. Nathan did later make a friend on boat though. Gregor was a somewhat older badlander who had lived in the Bayou his whole life and was also experiencing culture shock upon leaving home. Gregor's mask, a remnant of his tribal past, reminded Nathan of the Klan patch on his shoulder. Home. The two often talked about their families and homes, so different. Gregor grew up with a passion for hunting Red Eye and swamplurks in the bayou but had been drawn to the Big Easy just like Nathan, because its promises of adventure.
Drawing into Mobile's port on September 1, 2195, the ship's crew began off-loading supplies. The Monarch's Guards paid Captain Rutherford, and they were ready to go. But suddenly, a Roughneck sniper opened up on the ship. Nathan took cover and worked his way back onto the Inferno. He had survived his first voyage. Captain Rutherford, surprised the green kid had not been killed, paid Nathan accordingly.
For the next three years, the Inferno ferried goods to Waldock Plaza and the caps kept rolling. Nathan and Gregor made buds with other members of the crew, and got new, better equipment. However, by 2198, the situation in Waldock Plaza was becoming even more unstable. On December 5, 2198, the Inferno drew into the Monarch's Guard port and was greeted by mortar fire from the Mobile Rangers who had taken control of the hill above town. Captain Rutherford decided to finally turn the ship around.
That was when the Inferno stopped making supply runs to Mobile. A new source of income was needed. So, the Inferno would make a trip around the Gulf Belt, a very dangerous but usually profitable trade route to places like Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Texas. That was one of the places those caravaners talked about.
The Inferno made its first stop in Fort Pen (near modern day Rumrunner Bay) to drop off supplies to the embattled residents inside surrounded by raiders and mutants. Not too profitable, but a good thing to do. From there, the ship dropped off at several points in northwest Florida with little violence (except the occasional foolish pirate). Right then, Nathan was confused. Where's the pearly-white beaches? The exotic women? The bountiful treasure? Right now, it's just like the Gulf Coast back west.
Going south, past the ruins of Panama City, Captain Rutherford got a radio call from a past employer, the cyborg warlord Matthias Dugan who was in the area at the time. He needed ships to help transport his warriors to an island in the middle of Tampa Bay occupied by ghoulified U.S. Army remnants who were holding out in an armory there. Even though Rutherford and Dugan had bad history together, the captain decided to go to Tampa to assist Dugan in his war.
Arriving in Tampa Bay on February 13, 2199, the Inferno was greeted by Dugan himself, who graciously thanked them for their help with his "little problem". The warlord Matthias Dugan towered over them and his cybernetic implants gave his face a ghoulish appearance. Can't even tell what color he is. Telling them that assault would go down on the twentieth, Dugan told the Inferno's crew they were free to roam his army's camp, as long as they didn't cause any trouble.
Nathan was jubilant. He had finally found the white sandy beaches he had heard of so long ago. For the next few days, Nathan and the rest of the crew hung out on the beach and ate and slept at their leisure. The crew even drank the night away while watching Dugan's army bombard the island fort at night. In the camps, Nathan even learned how to play poker, managing to stave off losing any body parts. It was time well spent.
By the eighteenth, Nathan was itching for something more. Itching for a fight. He lost his virginity in those last few days. Nathan didn't remember her name or even what she looked like, but he always remembered that first experience. Nathan knew it wasn't the honorable way but he didn't want to die without knowing a woman at least once.
On the twentieth, the attack began. The Inferno and several other smaller ships began transporting the warlord Dugan's army to the island. Nathan jumped off ship to fight. He might as well, since they were staying for the time.
The ghoulified U.S. Army remnants were putting up a hell of a fight, laying down withering machine gun fire on Dugan's mostly melee equipped army. Nathan wisely decided to take cover and try to snipe the ghouls on the walls using his rifle. After a while, he could take refuge behind the bodies. By the end of the battle, Nathan's once treasured hunting rifle was broken, and he had blacked out from exhaustion.
However, the ghouls' firepower and defensive position could not defeat Dugan's overwhelming numbers. The army overwhelmed the ghouls, killing them to the last man. By nightfall, the battle was over and over two hundred men were dead, seventeen from the Inferno's crew. Nathan walked over the now bloodied battlefield, uninjured, to find his friend Gregor with his torso ridden with bullets. As he coughed up blood, Gregor begged Nathan to cremate him with his mask on, or else his soul would not find comfort in the afterlife. Initially, Nathan refused and tried to convince Gregor to avoid suicide as it was a sin, but after seeing the extent of Gregor's wounds, he relented. That night Nathan could not find any fire wood, so he did the next best thing. He dumped Gregor, mask still on and still quite alive, into the fires of the collapsing armory, getting burns on his hands that never quite went away for the rest of his life. Nathan also threw his now broken hunting rifle as a kind of going away present to Gregor. As Nathan ran away from the collapsing and burning buildings, he could hear the muffled screams of his friend as he burned alive. His choice. Nathan quietly cried as he watched the armory collapse.
That night, the victors slept either on the ships or on the beach. Nathan slept on some rags, pulled from the corpses of the dead. Smells horrible. This is all horrible. The next morning, Nathan returned to the Inferno to haul aboard the loot taken from the island base. Looking back at the now smoking armory, Nathan wondered what had really been achieved by this massive loss of life and at what cost. In his later days, this troubled him more.
Returning to Dugan and his army to the mainland, Captain Rutherford demanded his share of the loot that was promised him. This offended Dugan, who told the captain if he acted that way, he wouldn't get paid. This caused Rutherford to make to draw for his pistol. Seeing that this was about to escalate into another battle, one the crew was fated to lose, Nathan stayed the captain's arm.
This made Rutherford realize his brashness and returned to polite conversation with Dugan. However, at the end of the day, Rutherford still got his less than his promised share and as retribution for his naïvety, Nathan was not given anything, not even a new gun. For the moment, he had to make do with a rusty machete he had found on a dead body after the battle.
The rest of February through April saw Nathan become a recluse while trying to process what he seen in Tampa. He prayed often in those days. Finally, it was Captain Rutherford who brought Nathan out of it. He told told Nathan he had to contribute or be key hauled. It was then that Nathan realized he needed to shape up and get better. Life isn't going to get less hard. I can't give up now, after how far I've gone. I still have my Klan patch and my faith.
By April 2199, the Inferno had slowly wandered its way down Florida's west coast, stopping occasionally to trade or take on supplies in the ruins of Port Charlotte and Cape Coral, most notably Little Israel. What an odd place with all those Jews. They seemed nice enough and not like power hungry monsters. Actually, it kind of reminded me of home, with all the laws and everything. It was only when the Inferno reached the coastal edge of the Foreverglades when the ship received a potentially lucrative job offer over the radio once again. The leader of a local Injun band that needed medicine, it said. Hopefully they can pay for all these supplies.
The captain came to the rendezvous spot right outside where a river opened into the gulf. What greeted him surprised everyone. Instead of a band of of friendly Injuns, out of the river came a stream of bloodthirsty river pirates, hungering for booty and blood. It's a trap!
The crew got to their weapons and prepared for the assault. The pirates fastened ladders on the sides of the ship and climbed up, attempted to dodge anything thrown at them by the crew, Nathan included. As the river pirates climbed aboard, the fight began.
Nathan ran at the pirates coming up the ladder while brandishing his machete. For the next few minutes, young Nathan was in the heat of battle, slashing away with no feeling or awareness of the suffering happening to those around him. Finally, the river pirates began to jump off the ship and swim back to shore. Nathan laughed, thinking they had won a great victory, only to be shocked to see that almost half the Inferno's crew was now dead.
The next few days were spent patching up wounds and throwing bodies off of the ship. Half the crew was lost, but still Captain Rutherford madly plowed the ship further south, towards the free port of Key West to take on a new crew and to take on supplies for their eventual voyage to Mexico. By June 2199, the Inferno had finally reached Key West.
A den of scoundrels and slavers, Key West was a dangerous place to pick up crew members but still much safer than going to Miami or doubling back to Tampa Bay (they were no longer welcome there). Captain Rutherford recommended the crew stay on ship but allowed them to leave if they wanted. Nathan, wanting to get something to heal his numerous scars from the previous battle, went into Key West to look for a remedy.
The vendors of Key West did not disappoint Nathan, selling him a stimpak that he quickly used. The rush of his first needle disoriented Nathan as he limped back to the ship that night. This is what led him to be ambushed by some men in the streets. Nathan tried to hold his own but was beaten into submission. He would never see the Inferno again.
Beyond the Gulf
- "The Orange Bowl. An open sore of crime, slavery, and piracy. I can only hope one day it floods for good."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2244
Nathan woke up in the morning in a cage. Too weak to try to break out, Nathan slumped on the edge of the cage. He was captured and separated from his ship with no possessions but the clothes on his back. At least I still have my Klan patch. That's pretty much all that's left.
The slavers who had captured Nathan intended to take him and the rest of their living cargo to the Orange Bowl to sell. The voyage from Key West to Miami was probably the worst time of Nathan's life. He was deprived of food or water and had to defecate in his cage. After a week, some of the slaves began to wither away and die, which made the slavers care for their product slightly better, Nathan included. Dead slaves meant no money.
On July 2, 2199, the slavers' ship arrived in the Orange Bowl. Nathan and rest of the slaves were put in a pen, which was almost submerged. It was there that he stayed for the next three weeks before market. At that time, the Bowl was experiencing quite a bit of instability and many things could be sold there, including slaves.
During that time, Nathan learned of the plight of the enslaved and how the pirates did not care about a slave's color as long as they could bend to the crack of a whip. But he kept his Klan patch and did not forget where he came from. I have to stay strong, for Pa, for Gregor, for those caravaners, for all the people I've left behind.
Near the end of July, the slave auction finally took place. Buyers from all over the sunken city of Miami gathered to look at the product.
Nathan was lumped in with the rest of the young healthy unmutated males and females, the most valuable and expensive slaves on auction. The bidding started cheap. However, the bidding soon began to get high. All of a sudden, a bidder appeared from the back and bidded several hundred caps on the whole lot of young men and women. That man was Juan Carlos, the Hispanic captain of the Dolphins, a mercenary company who operated in the Miami area.
Upon the men and women's purchase, Carlos marched them in chains to several rafts waiting for them outside the Orange Bowl, where they were ferried to the Dolphins' camp. I wonder what this man will do to me.
Once the slaves reached the Dolphins' camp, their chains were removed, and they were shuffled in front of the mercenaries top brass for some kind of speech. As Carlos began to speak, Nathan looked for a potential escape route. However, as Nathan tried to inch away, one of the mercenaries walked down from the front and laid out Nathan was he attempted to run away. Surprisingly, was the moment that Carlos told the assembled slaves that they were now free but were still part of the Dolphins' company.
From then on, Nathan was thrust (forcefully) into the mercenary culture of the Dolphins, a company not afraid to take jobs from less than desirable clients. From July to August, Nathan was brutally trained to be a mercenary. First, he had to work together with his mates in the company in a non-combat role as a pack mule of the mercenaries' packs. Nathan was forced to haul the mercenaries' equipment around on "jobs" for a few months. Around early November, Nathan was finally given the opportunity to become fighter in the company. In Nathan's first combat test, both unarmed and armed, his training sergeant was surprised by his competence and soon enough, Nathan was given a combat role.
While Nathan trained, Juan Carlos and his top lieutenants were forming a plan, the big score. The client was Pilar Castro, a foco communist guerrilla fighter. The target, Little Havana; also know as the Republic of Miami, was a Cuban refugee enclave that sat outside of Miami. Castro was going to attempt a coup using mercenaries and install a "dictatorship of the peasantry" with himself at its head. After the republic was conquered, Castro would pay the mercenaries a handsome payment and hopefully send Juan Carlos on his merry way to a happy retirement.
On November 28, 2199, Nathan and the rest of his company packed up their camp and prepared to march north. The Dolphins' were going to fulfill their job now, with Pilar Castro himself in tow with his small communist cadre to fight alongside him. By late noon, the Dolphins' had trekked far enough and were within view of Little Havana.
Castro explained to the Dolphins that Little Havana would be captured when its town hall and garrison fell and those would be the primary targets. That night was a tense one.
The next day, the Dolphins attacked in the morning. However, one of the town watchmen sighted them and alerted the town militia. Soon, the fight was on.
Nathan crouched in the tall grass while bullets whipped over his head, trying to move forward while occasionally exchanging some shots with the town militia. It took him almost an hour to advance a mile towards Little Havana. Luckily for Nathan, the residents of Little Havana had no automatic weapons, so the shots from the town were sporadic and mostly missed the company. By the time the mercenaries had reached the town, the militia had taken heavy casualties and were fleeing. Little Havana has their's.
However, things did not quite go as well as the Dolphins or Nathan himself would have expected. Almost as soon as Pilar Castro got comfortable as leader of the People's Republic of Miami, subversion began. Members of Castro's cadre began disappearing and were found literally in pieces.
This led to Castro to rehire the Dolphins' to patrol Little Havana and solidify his rule. Nathan was made to patrol the town quite often. Since he had no real connection to anyone in the Dolphins and the situation was looking to be hopeless, Nathan decided that he would try to befriend some of the townspeople.
The first people Nathan really talked to from Little Havana was a farming family outside town, the Rex family. Since he had grown up in a similar place, Nathan felt a certain kinship to these people. The farmers were cautious for the first week or so, but they soon took liking to this young soldier impressed into the Dolphins' service. Nathan was kind, honest, and had been places.
Nathan struck up an especially close friendship with the Rex's daughter María, dropping by the farmhouse almost every other day to meet her. A tomboyish, fiery teenager, María was a perfect foil to Nathan's quiet, introverted personality. The two had many conversations on things such as religion, race, and ideology, topics they disagreed upon. Nathan at first attempted to hold fast to his conservative outlook but eventually became more and more accepting, even admitting that intelligent mutants "had the right to live" since they (usually) did not choose to be mutated. As their discussions went on, María's good looks and intelligence wore on the young klansman. Slowly but surely, Nathan fell for María head over heels. Damn. Never thought I would want a woman her color. I guess some things just... change. However, Nathan was hesitant to make a move, as he didn't know if his superiors in the Dolphins would allow "fraternizing" with the local women. Also, María's brother pulled Nathan aside and told him that María was not interested in men and to stay away from her. This only hardened Nathan's resolve, as he assumed this was a lie.
Pilar Castro's People's Republic of Miami had begun to fall apart by early 2200. The people of Little Havana were sick and tired of the "dictatorship of the peasantry" and were ready to go back to the democratic system they had held before. In February, Jesús Martí, one of the formerly rich farmers, instigated a formal rebellion. The plan was to kill the mercenaries, who were viewed as a menace, and run Castro out of town. María knew of this plan and told it to Nathan, hoping it would make her friend defect and therefore survive.
At first, Nathan was conflicted on what to do. He had no real loyalty to the Dolphins or Castro's regime but betrayal was something that did not come to him easily. Eventually though, Nathan and some of the other Dolphins gave in and decided to join the rebels.
On February 21, 2200, the people of Little Havana rose up in rebellion against Pilar Castro and blood ran in the streets. Nathan Royce and some of other defectors joined them, picking off a few of Castro's communists but not any Dolphins.
At first, the Dolphins held the held the city hall, true to their contract and fought the rebels in the streets. However, when it became abundantly clear that Castro was done for, the Dolphins, including Juan Carlos, began to slip away. By the time the rebels stormed town hall, all the Dolphins had retreated. Nathan was free. What should I do next?
- "The girl made me do stupid, idiotic things. Like following her to Cuba. Fighting communists. Killing an entire boat's crew. L... love makes you do things you would otherwise think unimaginable."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2248
Now free from the Dolphins, Nathan pondered he should do next. Go home to tell my story? Try to settle down with María here? Or perhaps I should keep going and see more of the world?
Surprisingly, his choice came not from his own decision, but from María's. Hoping to get a kiss or at a least an acknowledgement of affection, Nathan was instead greeted by grief and anguish. Before Pilar Castro fled, he and his comrades had managed to kill two of María's brothers. Not wanting to let this stand, María swore vengeance on Castro and decided to pursue him to where he fled, her ancestral homeland Cuba. Hoping to get "closer" to María, Nathan offered to accompany her to Cuba to avenge her brothers. María accepted, not only to avenge her brothers' deaths but also eager to explore the world with the help of her new friend.
María and Nathan pooled their funds together and bought a small raft. They named it the Crusader. On March 8, 2200, they sailed away from Little Havana south, towards Cuba.
Cautiously inching past Miami and Admiralty pirates, the Crusader and its little crew slowly inched towards Cuba, avoiding many dangers in between and intentionally bypassing Key West. During that time, María and Nathan talked and grew to trust each other, but Nathan still did not speak up. On April 1, 2200, Nathan sighted land. It was Cuba.
Beaching the ship, María pulled out an old map of the island she had obtained and tried to figure out where they had landed. Meanwhile, Nathan took his rifle and explored the shoreline. Soon afterwards, he came running back and told María they had to leave. Pulling the Crusader off the beach, the two were soon greeted by the cries of enraged Cuban tribals and fled on their raft.
After going back out to sea, María had figured out where they were and where they had to go: they were near Cardenas and had to go west to Old Havana, the one-time capital of Cuba.
When the Crusader arrived in Old Havana, it arrived to find a city at war. The Guevarists, the communist militia Pilar Castro belonged to, was fighting the local gangs, government remnants, and opposing militias for control of Old Havana. Hiding the Crusader so it wouldn't be stolen, Nathan and María went ashore to look for Pilar Castro.
The two wandered around for next year or so, avoiding gangsters, soldiers, and Guevarists while looking for Castro, with Nathan managing to learn Spanish in that time out of necessity. That was until they got a lead from a gang known as the Rum Barons (future Rumrunners) in exchange for a favor. It turned out Castro, because of his failure to establish a foothold on the American mainland, had been assigned to guard duty on a Guevarist ship south of Old Havana.
Using the Crusader, Nathan and María boarded the Guevarist ship in the dead of night, intending to kill Castro and be done with it. However, what the two found aboard that ship amazed them.
It turned out that the ship Castro was on was one of the Guevarists' main treasure ships, holding the organization's wealth offshore. Taking advantage of this, Nathan suggested they take over the ship, kill Castro, and return to Little Havana together rich. At first, María wholeheartedly agreed with Nathan.
The two found Castro soon enough, passed out on the floor drunk. Now sunk to becoming a lowly guard, Pilar Castro wallowed in his own misery by drinking the nights away. Before Nathan could say anything to the contrary, María shot him dead with her pistol. From there, the two killed the entire Guevarist crew, some still in their beds. By morning, they had the ship to themselves. Strapping the Crusader to the side of the ship, Nathan and María headed back to Florida.
The return trip to Little Havana was cut short when María insisted to go back to Cuba in August, telling Nathan to return María's half of the treasure to Little Havana. Nathan was flabbergasted and asked why. María felt she wanted to go back and have explore Cuba on her own. Nathan, confused and angry, declared his love for María for the first time and begged her to return with him to Florida. María just shook her head, gave Nathan a kiss on the cheek, and left on the Crusader.
Nathan was crushed, and for the next few days, he moped around on the ship, unsure what to do next. After a few days though, Nathan remembered that although his crush had left him, he still had a boatload of treasure that he had half a claim to. That gave him some comfort.
In a week or so, Nathan returned to Little Havana. He was asked to stay and complied. The townspeople celebrated his success in Cuba but were at the same time concerned about María being alone. After a month, Nathan decided it was time to leave. This place could never be my home. Perhaps I should go back to the Big Easy. So, Nathan hired a small crew with some of his treasure to help him and his ship (now christened the New Crusader) get to the Big Easy. On July 7, 2201, Nathan Royce left Little Havana and headed west.
Managing to bypass the Orange Bowl and the Miami pirates, Royce made it to the Big Easy on July 30, 2201. Nathan Royce entered New Orleans a different man than before, not only financially but in experience as well. He set himself up in a respectable house in Vieux Carré and invested his wealth in rafters on the Mississippi River.
For the next two years, Nathan's wealth ballooned, and he became one of the wealthiest (and certainly the youngest) legitimate businessmen in the Big Easy. Nathan also became very solitary, possibly due to María's rejection. This attracted the attention of a beautiful socialite named Louise Marquis, daughter of Boss Tobias Marquis. Meeting with Nathan in a café in Vieux Carré, Louise was taken with the intelligent young man. Nathan initially thought Louise was just another airhead after his money, but soon found that she was deeper than he first thought.
Louise introduced Nathan to classic literature and poetry, giving Nathan a new appreciation for the arts. They often went to Tuloya to browse the library for new books.
In late 2203, Nathan finally worked up his courage and proposed to Louise. Louise tearfully accepted, and they began making wedding plans. However, the young couple's joy was interrupted by the advance of Matthias Dugan on the city. Worried for their safety and knowing Matthias' methods, Nathan and Louise had a simple ceremony in non-denominational chapel on December 23, 2203 so they could leave town. Nathan decided that the best place to escape the warlord was Barnett, his former home to the north. Louise offered the other members of her family a place on a boat north, but they refused, calling Nathan "a yellow-bellied coward". Moving quickly, Nathan loaded his wealth onto a river boat and set down the Mississippi River, making a beeline for Natchez.
A Returning Dragon
- "I had to fix my people. They were broken and lost. They needed me."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2245
The journey from the Big Easy to Natchez was an uneventful one. Louise was nervous about leaving the Big Easy for the first time but was comforted by Nathan, who assured her that they would be safe "with his people".
Landing in Natchez on December 31, 2203, Nathan and Louise's arrival caused a great shock among the small community. Only small ships ever bothered landing in Natchez's little port and never anything as large as Nathan's riverboat. Finding out he was a member of the Klan, the people of Natchez welcomed Nathan back almost as one of their own, perhaps hoping he would be generous with his prodigious wealth.
Nathan and Louise spent the equivalent of their honeymoon in Natchez. This took about two weeks and was remembered by Nathan as one of the best times of his life.
Soon enough, Nathan, with Louise's help, loaded his money and possessions into a make-ship caravan heading east to his hometown, Barnett. The people of Natchez warned him that Barnett had been attacked recently and to be prepared for potential tragedy.
The march east took a week because of caravan delays and thieves. Nathan, upon arriving in town, found it mostly in ruins. Apparently, the Hill chapter's habit of raiding had bitten them in the ass and had been met with reprisals in the last few years.
Nathan first went to look for his old homestead out of town. He found his mother and father still alive and well but was crushed to find that all his brothers had been killed in the reprisal. Assuming all his children lost, Nathan's father Lewis had sunk into a heavy depression and had lost his position as Grand Titan. At first, Nathan almost was overwhelmed by the situation and wanted to go back to New Orleans (I hear they killed Dugan), but Louise gave him the encouragement to stay.
Firstly, Nathan set about building his own house with his new fortune, hoping to avoid going back to the Klan, as his morals and their's were "incompatible". His new house was modeled after the plantation houses Nathan had seen in Louisiana and would house the entire Royce family, his parents included. The house was finished in 2204 and occupied that same year.
With his house completed and his fortune secure, Nathan Royce could have stopped there and simply lived like a king for the rest of his life. However, Nathan saw the people of Barnett living in shacks and eating roots and felt that it was his obligation to do something.
At first, Nathan just wanted to become mayor of Barnett and fix the town's problems that way. However, Nathan soon realized that there was only one way he could improve (and control) the town: he had to control the town's Klan.
Nathan rejoined his Klan brethren in 2204. Using his money and lineage, Nathan persuaded his fellow Klansmen into elect him Grand Titan of the town in 2205. That same year, Nathan's first daughter, Louise, was born. After his daughter's birth, Nathan began to notice that his wife was becoming distant and isolated, possibly due to the fact that she had no friends in Barnett and even the women at church did not accept her. Nathan comforted her as best he could and continued his work. This depression only worsened after the birth of their second child, Joel.
Not wasting any time, Nathan actively worked with Barnett's mayor and invested in rebuilding the town, exchanging shacks for houses. His administrative skills learned in the Big Easy benefited him greatly. One of the houses he built was for Yancy Bailey, who tried to thank Nathan by composing a musical piece for him on the banjo. This delighted Nathan (and even Louise), and Yancy grew to be good friends with Nathan.
However as he working on repairing Barnett, any bigger plans Nathan had, such as letting in caravans from the outside, were rejected by Grand Dragon Matthew Walsh, head of the Hinds Chapter and Nathan's superior. Realizing he had to go higher to get things done, Nathan Royce decided to run for Grand Dragon of the Hinds Chapter in 2210.
The campaign to become Grand Dragon was hard and expensive, as Nathan wanted to appeal all klansmen in the Hinds Chapter, not just the ones in Barnett. This campaign included two debates with Matthew Walsh, one at the beginning and one at the end. At both, Walsh used inflammatory speech against Nathan, calling his wife a cap whore and him a "cajun sissy faggot". This tactic worked for Walsh at the first debate, and he seemed to have a lead. Nathan, stressed to the limit, remained on the campaign trail and was subsequently devastated when he heard that Louise had passed away while he was away. Nathan considered pulling out of the race but felt that Louise would want him to keep going. In the second debate, Walsh's use of ad hominem backfired spectacularly as it was seen as horribly insensitive for Walsh to be calling Nathan's freshly dead wife a whore, and public opinion swung in Nathan's favor. Also, people actually began listening to Nathan's positions on things, seeing them as reasonable and balanced. In late 2210, Nathan was elected "Grand Dragon of the Hinds Chapter". When elected, Nathan tried to make time for his daughter Louise and son Joel.
Being Grand Dragon, Nathan now had the power to bring in caravans and build even more infrastructure, which he did. This did not make him very popular with the war-lusting Hinds Chapter though, and his popularity began to dip by 2212.
Later in 2212, an emissary from the River chapters named Bartholomew "Bart" Knox arrived in Barnett. His task, like many before him, was to ask for assistance in retaking Cotton Bluff from invading super mutants. This had failed every time, but the River klansmen were desperate for help.
Upon hearing Knox's appeal, Nathan mulled the situation over in his head. Perhaps if I help these men, they will help me. Might as well. Nathan promised to help the River chapters retake Cotton Bluff by at least 2213.
Knox was flustered but also very happy at Nathan's response. Returning to his homeland, Knox informed his Grand Dragon, who from there spread the news to the rest of the Klansmen Confederacy. Soon after Knox returned to his Grand Dragon, Nathan and a force of fifty Klan militia marched out of Barnett to help retake Cotton Bluff. Arriving at a camp near Cotton Bluff, Nathan was greeted by Knox and the Grand Dragon and was briefed about the situation: there were about twenty or so super mutants holed up in the town that were dug in pretty deep. Upon seeing the super mutant's fortifications, Nathan became afraid. They'll cut us to ribbons if we try to charge them. What are we going to do?
While Nathan was preparing to throw himself against the mutants, word of the attack on Cotton Bluff reached Grand Wizard David Lloyd in Natchez. Seeing a way to boost his own popularity and assist his River chapter brothers, Grand Wizard Lloyd declared his intentions to aid in taking back Cotton Bluff and persuaded the Grand Dragon of Natchez and his Klan militia to help him.
Nathan was initially welcoming of the Grand Wizard's help but upon Lloyd's arrival outside Cotton Bluff, Nathan realized that the Grand Wizard was stealing the spotlight from him. This made Nathan very angry at Lloyd and the rest of the Klan chapters for ignoring him. Yancy Bailey tried to calm Nathan down by saying that they may have died if Lloyd had not arrived. This made Nathan even more mad. There's no real unity in the UCK, Lloyd's just making a big show. Nevertheless, Nathan led his Klansmen in the Battle of Cotton Bluff in May of 2213. Bart Knox served as the Barnett militia's guide once inside the town, telling them where to go. His men managed to kill three super mutants, and Cotton Bluff was once again part of the UCK.
Although Grand Dragon Royce did not especially distinguish himself in the battle, the Klansmen of Cotton Bluff (and Bart Knox) did not forget that Nathan was the first to jump to aid them.
After the Battle of Cotton Bluff, Nathan and his klansmen returned to Barnett to a town-wide celebration with dancing and free drinks all around. Although he had been angry before over Lloyd, Nathan decided to join in with his children in tow, and that night they celebrated the victory with everyone else.
In the following decade (2210's), Grand Dragon Royce continued his self-improvement programs and in the early 2220s, those programs bore fruit. New stable buildings rose up in town, the population increased, and an educated middle class formed. One of the townspeople even made a caravan company by themselves. Things were looking up in Barnett overall. Nathan even remarried in 2223 to a childhood friend, Anna Byrd. They had Nathan's third (and last) child Nathan II in 2226. Around that same time, Nathan solidified his hold on the area by marrying his young daughter Louise off to Anderson Cooper, a Grand Titan in the Hinds Chapter.
However, in the late 2220's, raider attacks increased in the UCK's northern territories, particularly near Barnett. Grand Dragon Royce mobilized his Klan milita in 2228, and for the next year, they drove the raiders north. It was a hard fought campaign, and Nathan received no support from the other chapters. While on campaign, Nathan celebrated his fiftieth birthday. However, Nathan was saddened to hear that both his infant grandson Percival from Louise and his father Lewis had died while he was on campaign.
In 2231, Grand Wizard David Lloyd died of natural causes and a new election for Grand Wizard took place. Many in the Hill chapters now wanted in on the elections and nominated Nathan Royce, the rising new star of their people. Nathan was flattered but had to think the nomination over. I don't want to be responsible when some Lincoln klansman kills an innocent waster family. Wait, that's it! Perhaps I can try to change the Klan from the inside out! Alongside this, Nathan decided to record his thoughts in an extensiveholodiary to pass on to his children to show what and what not to do. What he needed to do was to unite the Klansmen Confederacy.
With that goal in mind, Grand Dragon Royce accepted the nomination of Grand Wizard. Opposing him was David Lloyd's son, Simon Lloyd, who represented the River chapters' interests. During this election, Nathan was the one who went on the attack, accusing the Lloyds of nepotism and saying that "change was coming". This tactic lost Nathan supporters in the River chapters but practically locked down the Hill chapters for him.
The 2231 election was close, with the decision coming down to one hundred votes. Nathan Royce was surprised and overjoyed to hear on the radio that he had been elected Grand Wizard of the Klansmen Confederacy.
The Klan's Reconstruction
- "Those men on the River were so scared after the election, you would have thought I had just set fire to ten caravans and a fleet of rafters!"
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2242
After the 2231 election, the political situation in the UCK initially worsened. Many klansmen from the River chapters were convinced that this new Grand Wizard from the Hills would take away their right to trade and drive the Klansmen Confederacy into the ground. This made tensions between the River chapter and the Hill chapters climb to a new high, and the UCK sat on the edge of a civil war.
Grand Wizard Royce saw this and decided to take action. Shocking all, Nathan moved his administration from Barnett to Cotton Bluff as a sign of good faith and assured the River chapters' Grand Wizards personally that he was not going to take away their trade. In fact, he wanted to reinforce it. Bart Knox, a River Klansmen, became one of Nathan's closest advisers, and they became good friends.
After that, Grand Wizard Royce started his reforms to strengthen the Klansmen Confederacy. School attendance became mandatory after planting season in 2234, which raised literacy and made the population more educated. Also, Royce decided that the Hill chapters' tradition of raiding should outlawed.
This enraged many klansmen in Barnett and Lincoln, leading to Grand Titan Cooper, Grand Titan Walsh, and Grand Dragon Lee turning on each other over the topic. A small civil war began in 2236 over this. However, Grand Wizard Royce and a Great Conclave managed to quell the rebellion and give Lincoln concessions such as "hunting lodges" and special rights within the UCK.
After that, Great Conclaves became more common and became an important part of lawmaking in the Klansmen Confederacy. However, Royce felt that the little civil war showed that the Grand Dragons and Grand Titans' exclusive powers over their Klan militia still divided the UCK too much for it to ever become a force for good. Nathan decided he needed a catalyst to unite the Klansmen Confederacy, possibly a common enemy to unite against. Also, he needed to dismantle the age-old Monroe Doctrine, which still made him a practical figurehead, and the Grand Dragons warlords in control of their own personal armies.
In 2239, the swamper clans in the Florida Parishes united under a confederation and decided that they were strong enough to raid their enemies in Lincoln. The Klansmen of Lincoln managed to repel the swampers but would need help if they needed to hold out again.
Grand Wizard Royce immediately seized upon this and rallied the Grand Dragons of Cotton Bluff and Barnett to help the Klansmen of Lincoln war against the swampers. Soon enough, the other two Grand Dragons also responded so as not shame themselves. War fervor was whipped up against swampers, and the Second Park War began.
Heading into the swamps of the Florida Parishes, Grand Wizard Royce's goals were twofold. He needed to defeat the swampers and make the Grand Dragons subservient to him.
For the next two years, Nathan waged war in the Florida Parishes, only returning to the UCK for brief respites in Lincoln and to occasionally visit his remaining children in Barnett. The war took a toll on Grand Wizard Royce's health and distanced him from his family. However, Nathan was able to see his friend Yancy Bailey once again and was also accompanied by Bart Knox from Cotton Bluff, who insisted on coming.
However, Nathan's goal of breaking the power of the Grand Dragons succeeded in the end. Stuck in the ass-end of a swamp for two years with the Grand Wizard, the Grand Dragons gave Royce a type of grudging respect. Royce was a decent commander, and he managed to burn enough swamper parks to keep everyone happy.
These battles of attrition wore on Nathan as he saw the destruction his Klansmen wrought on the swampers, with women, children, and elderly being killed during the Klan army's assaults on swamper parks. Their screams as they burned haunted him to day he died. He also lost many of his men in numerous ambushes and guerrilla attacks from swampers.
The battle Nathan remembered most vividly from the the Second Park War (at least after he stopped trying to suppress the memory of it) was in a park north of Baton Rouge. The swampers inside the park had settled in for a three weeks siege and the army of klansmen, lead by Nathan Royce, were getting exhausted and wanted to just storm the park, even if it might cost more lives than a siege. Nathan grudgingly agreed with the other klansmen and prepared to storm the park. Several klansmen were set to encircle while the rest rushed the gate. Just as the battle began though, Nathan began hearing faint screams from the far side of the park. He radioed in to see what was wrong but heard nothing as the battle raged before him. Taking his binoculars, Nathan looked in the direction of one of the Klansmen supposed to be encircling the park and saw something else entirely. It was a huge, formless white pulped thing that was slowly hauling itself out of the muck of the swamp towards the Klansmen and the park. The klansmen near it were gone. Not eaten, just gone. And worst of all, now its beady little eyes seemed to be trained on Nathan himself. Nathan, at a loss of words and fearful for the integrity of his men if they saw the thing coming towards them, quickly showed some of his confidantes and had a brief discussion. They decided to call a hasty retreat, saying a swamper counterattack was coming from the other end of the park. The klansmen therefore withdrew in order, even as potshots still rained down on them from the park and the sound of leathery wings beat above them. Nathan moved on to another park after that, burning it and satisfying the Klansmen's need for blood. Nathan and the other Klan leaders made sure to avoid that park north of Baton Rouge for the rest of the war. Nathan shoved the memory of pale shapeless thing to the back of his mind, never to return until he made a holotape specifically about the incident.
The Klan army withdrew from the Florida Parishes in 2241, confident it has struck a fatal blow against the swampers. Grand Wizard Royce's plan had succeeded, and he had broken the power of the Grand Dragons. However, Nathan's conscience was still heavy from the men and women whose deaths were sacrificed for him to succeed in his plan. To try to atone for what he had done, Nathan adopted two swamper orphans from a settlement he had razed. The orphans' names were Zeke and Mayella. Bringing them back to Cotton Bluff, Nathan introduced them to his wife Anna, who was at first horrified upon thinking they were Nathan's bastards. Nathan and several of his companions during the war, including honest, simple Yancy Bailey, confirmed with Mrs. Royce that Nathan had adopted the children. After that, Anna became more accepting of the orphans and even helped rename them, Lewis and Virgina respectively. Nathan's youngest son Nathan II took a liking to the orphans soon enough, but Nathan's other two children Joel and Louise were suspicious of them, fearing the two might eventually usurp their father's attention in his old age. This led to the Royce family becoming more distant, and Joel and Louise rarely visited their father and step-mother.
Upon returning from the Second Park War in 2241, Grand Wizard Royce was surprised to find his popularity at an all time high. Knowing that, Nathan continued making his centralizing of the UCK government and stabilizing the largely agrarian economy. In 2242, Nathan even created the UCK Postal Service, albeit out of a pre-existing system of Klan couriers.
In late 2242, while in Cotton Bluff, Grand Wizard Royce was sent word that invaders from the south had landed near Natchez and reinforcements were need immediately. Putting the whole UCK on high alert, Nathan quickly gathered a force of fifty Klan militia and marched south towards Natchez.
Upon arriving in Natchez, Grand Wizard Royce did not find any invaders, only other very scared Klansmen. The Grand Dragon of Natchez, Nathan's old enemy Simon Lloyd greeted him coldly and informed him that the invaders had been beaten back into the forest and their invasion ship had been burnt. With that, Grand Wizard Royce commended Lloyd for his efforts only to be stopped mid-sentence by Lloyd, who informed Nathan that the invaders had asked for "Nathan Royce" by name after he opened fire.
A bit creeped out by this, Grand Wizard Royce led his klansmen into the woods to finds these invaders. Soon afterwards, Nathan came upon the alleged invaders, only to find something terrible.
The "invaders" from the River were Nathan's Marquis in-laws, who were seeking asylum with him after New Orleans was taken over by the Royaume. They did not know where Nathan was exactly, so they landed near Natchez, which resulted in disaster.
Tobias Marquis and other relatives had survived the attack, but many were killed and their riverboat had been burned. At first, Nathan thought it a little funny that the people that thought of him as dirt would come to him for help. However, as Tobias relayed his story and even began crying, Nathan felt horrible and obligated to help them.
Declaring them captured, Grand Wizard Royce declared the "invaders" under his custody and returned to Natchez, with more than a bit of grumbling from Simon Lloyd. When he arrived in Cotton Bluff, Nathan had the Marquises housed in his private residence until they could leave.
In the time the Marquises stayed in Cotton Bluff (2242-2243), Nathan informed Tobias of his daughter's Louise death and let him meet Lewis and Virginia, who Tobias recognized as swampers. When Tobias asked about his grandchildren, Nathan was sorry to tell him that they were both beyond his reach and might not accept their grandfather. Nathan II tried to welcome Tobias, but this only revealed that Nathan had remarried. This made Tobias resentful of Nathan, but he was polite enough to not actually complain. However, Tobias did not restrain in insulting Nathan's adopted swamper children, making the Grand Wizard eager to see his former father-in-law leave.
Nathan managed to arrange for the Marquises to be picked up by a large raft to New Memphis, a big favor. On March 8, 2243, the Marquises left in the raft under the shroud of dawn. Tobias curtly wished his son-in-law goodbye as he boarded the raft. Nathan waved back and pondered what had happened.
The Seeds of Ignorance
- "I had fixed the civic problems but not social problems. Still haven't. A pity, seeing as how far we've come."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2254
After seemingly repelling another invasion, Grand Wizard Royce's popularity continued to climb. The Klansmen Confederacy was thriving in Hill chapters as well the River chapters, and many were beginning to earn financial independence from the agriculture that bound most klansmen to the land indefinitely. Bart Knox, Nathan's friend in Cotton Bluff, disapproved of this new financial independence, feeling it would "mess with the balance". This did not lead to a direct confrontation between Knox and Royce, but the two drifted apart in later years.
For Grand Wizard Royce though, two big problems remained: racism and xenophobia. Nathan proceeded to try to fix this, with lukewarm results. His support was not enough to institute large scale social reforms in the Klansmen Confederacy, with his only noteworthy achievement being that he manage to persuade the Hill chapters to let in all caravans from the outside, even ones with mutants and blacks, as long as they did not squat or settle in Klan territory. Nathan's attempt at exposing Klan war crimes during the Wars of Expansion in 2244 and throwing his support behind the "Women of the Klan", a suffragette movement in 2245 both turned out to be failures. This caused Nathan to become more jaded in his views of the Confederacy but still did not lose hope in its future. However, the job of Grand Wizard had become far too taxing for him over the years, and Nathan figured that he was done with politics. No doubt, the next Grand Wizard will continue my work and make the Confederacy a nation I can be proud of.
At the same time, Nathan Royce's personal life was in turmoil. Virginia, one of Nathan's adopted swampers, died in 2245 of a pox. Some people whispered she caught it from her brother Lewis, a rumor that saddened Nathan greatly. Also, Nathan's daughter Louise had become more distant from her father in later years, feeling that her father had given her away for political reasons and had effectively abandoned her to her pig of a husband. Joel Royce, Nathan's older son, did reconnect with his father in 2246 (with ulterior motives in mind). The two remained distant but still closer than before.
- "I hope to die in my library, reading a book and sipping some sweet tea. A good way to go, don't you say?"
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2239
After his resignation from the office of Grand Wizard in 2246, Nathan Royce returned to his plantation house outside of Barnett and decided to do what his father had always wanted him to do: farm. Hiring workers from his fellow klansmen, Nathan set about growing crops commercially. During this time, Royce mostly let his wife Anna, his younger son Nathan, and his adopted son Lewis manage the farm while he read books, becoming a bit of a recluse. However, when the occasional visitor came along from another part of the Confederacy to see the former Grand Wizard Royce, Nathan would happily let them visit and oblige them with stories of his youth and term as Grand Wizard.
During Joel Royce's run for Grand Wizard, Nathan kept to himself, feeling that Joel shouldn't benefit from nepotism like the Lloyds did. Joel lost the election and Franklin Reynolds, a supporter of Royce's ideals, was elected.
Soon after the election, a series of rapes and murders occurred in Natchez, gaining the attention of the entire Confederacy. Nathan Royce was invited by Grand Wizard Reynolds to come to Natchez to help comfort the victims' families. Out of moral obligation, Nathan accepted. What he found there was disappointing. After he and Royce were done comforting and the killer was found, Reynolds went off on a tirade about how outside influences had corrupted the killer, "twisted his insides", and how these influences would be confronted one day. That speech left Royce with little confidence in Grand Wizard Franklin Reynolds.
After losing the election, Joel partially blamed his father for his failure and began to drink. He died of liver failure in 2248 and was buried alongside his wife and stillborn child in Barnett. This left Nathan feeling empty, so he attempted to reconnect with Louise, his estranged child, and his grandchild Jack. This failed and Nathan simply decided to be happy with his remaining sons, his wife, and his best friend Yancy Bailey. Most of the time, Nathan read literary classics from authors with names such as Faulkner, Weltey, Twain, and Hemingway.
Louise, stubborn as ever, had isolated Jack from his grandparents and raised him to be a "traditional" Hill klansman. This would lead to conflict with Jack's uncle Nathan II in the future.
From 2248 into the 2250s, Nathan Royce ran his farm and things got progressively better. The adopted swamper Lewis was accepted into mainstream Barnett society, and Nathan II got elected Grand Titan of Barnett in 2254. In his last years, Nathan reflected on the past and remembered that he had done some horrible things (destroying the Army remnant ghouls, the Second Park War, killing the sleeping Guevarists) but also some good things too (establishing the UCK as a functioning nation, lessening xenophobia, aiding the people of Little Havana). Nathan could only hope his son Nathan II, who Nathan had groomed to be his successor, would be the one to carry on the Royce legacy and make him proud.
In the afternoon of November 10, 2257, Nathan Royce fell while attempting to get a book off of a high shelf in his library. He was subsequently confined to his bed for the next week or so in declining health, seemingly carrying on just to see his daughter Louise and grandson Jack again. They did come (eventually) and paid their last respects on November 17.
On November 21, 2257, Nathan Royce died in his bed, asleep. For a week or two, the entire Klansmen Confederacy (and a few other places) were in mourning over his death, with all the Grand Dragons and Grand Wizard Reynolds praising Royce's past accomplishments but glossing over his reforms. From then on, Royce was remembered as the man that made the UCK.
After Nathan Royce's death, most of his estate went to Nathan II Royce, who allowed Lewis to stay on with him and maintained his father's ideals as he saw fit. Nathan's holotapes and books were put in storage and kept secret and unused, not to be seen again for many years.
As a child, Royce was introverted and quiet, but also very curious. However, as a teenager Royce could also be compulsive, and he made some rather rash decisions. Seeing this as serious problem, Royce soon became more composed, maintaining self-control. By the time he became Grand Wizard, Royce had grown greatly in intelligence and became well-read but also more forgiving (one of his biggest flaws). He even became bilingual when he learned Spanish in Cuba (though Royce rarely used Spanish for the rest of his life). After retiring from being Grand Wizard, Royce often read or hunted when he wasn't overseeing his farm. He also was very hospitable for a Hill klansmen, sometimes even letting drifters spend the night in his manor house in exchange for news from outside the UCK. Royce had few friends in life, but those he had were very close i.e. Gregor, María Rex, Bart Knox, Yancy Bailey.
Although Royce had an adventurous spirit, he always felt a strong tie to his people, the citizens of the Klansmen Confederacy. However, that did not stop him from having disdain for their "traditional values" and wanting to change them.
Royce was never much of a warlike person and always preferred the diplomatic approach unless violence was absolutely necessary or sufficiently angered. This diplomatic resolve was reinforced after Royce's stint in Cuba and the Second Park War. However, whenever he was required to fight or command Royce made a sufficient effort and survived along with his men.
Nathan Royce had many relationships, both romantic and platonic. Most ended well, some not so much.
Royce first romantic interest was María Rex, who he met in Little Havana while initially working for the Dolphins. María was everything Royce was not, she was open where he was closed, free thinking where he was close minded, and hot blooded where he was cautious. This difference fascinated Royce and is what led him to be attracted to María, who was unaware of his romantic thoughts and simply thought of him as a friend. Royce tried to play the long game with María by going with her to Cuba to avenge her brothers' deaths, but that could not change María's fundamental feelings, and after Royce confessed his love for María, she gave him a single kiss and left him with his riches.
After María's "rejection" and his return to the Big Easy, Royce isolated himself for some time to focus on business and other ways of making money to cover his sadness. It during this time that Royce met his first wife Louise Marquis, an educated woman who was curious about this quiet young businessman. Royce was initially suspicious of Louise, thinking her to be after his money, but Louise proved him wrong again and again, introducing Royce to literature and the fine arts and taking a risk in meeting him. This blossomed into a marriage later and for a while, the two were as happy as could be. However, as Royce moved back to the UCK and focused on his political career, he lost focus of his marriage and forgot about his wife's happiness. This made her death while he was campaigning for Grand Dragon even harder for him.
A little while afterwards, Royce met a childhood friend and widow Anna Byrd and remarried. The two liked each other but the spark that Royce had with his Louise was gone.
Royce's relationships with his children were much worse. Because of his political work, Royce had little involvement in the raising of Joel and Louise, only taking time to really raise Nathan II and the two adopted swampers. This and Louise's arranged marriage led to a lot of resentment among Royce's older children. The repercussions of that lasted far beyond Royce's death.
Royce had many friends in his childhood, but his long standing friendships would be made in adulthood. His first real friend was Gregor, the Badlander he met aboard the Inferno. The two had left home for the first time and felt like they did not fit in with the rest of the crew, so they made friends with each other. This went well for a few years, before Gregor died in Tampa Bay.
Royce's next friend (and his longest lasting) was Yancy Bailey, a simple honest klansmen from Barnett who Royce had built a house for when restoring the town. Royce liked Bailey for his kindness, his loyalty, and most of all his brutal honesty, which helped out Royce on several occasions. He remained friends with Royce all the way to his deathbed.
Another friend of Royce's was Bartholomew "Bart" Knox. A klansmen from Cotton Bluff, Knox was Royce's local man and helped him numerous times with his insider knowledge and can do attitude. However, things soured after Royce left office and Franklin Reynolds came to power. Knox, an expansionist, knew Royce disapproved of Reynolds and stopped visiting him or sending him letters. This saddened Royce greatly.
With dark hair and dark eyes, Nathan Royce was seen as quite handsome in his day. As he aged, he grew a beard and became rather gaunt. From then on though, he aged rather gracefully. Royce preferred a pre-War suit to a klansmen's red robe. He has a deep but not booming voice.
- Nathan Royce I - Head of the family until his death in 2257, former Grand Wizard of the Klansmen Confederacy and wealthy businessman, was rather distant from most of his children/descendants.
- Louise Royce - Nathan and Louise's oldest child, resentful of her father for putting her into an arranged marriage, died of natural causes in 2274.
- Percival Cooper - Louise's first child/son, died in 2229 of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Jack Cooper - Louise's only living child, a reactionary Hill klansmen through and through, current Grand Wizard of the Klansmen Confederacy, technically the heir of the family but never visits Royce's estate.
- Kaitlyn Cooper - Jack's eldest child and first daughter (and his favorite), "spoiled sweet", ran off east with a Nook in 2270.
- Marcus Cooper - Jack's only son, avid hunter and outdoorsmen, bit of a jerk, prominent klansmen in his local chapter.
- Debra Cooper - Jack's second daughter, cold and generally emotionless, obediant to her father, married for love (with her father's approval).
- Jane Cooper - Jack's third daughter and youngest child, tomboy, defiant of her father and the Klan tradition.
- Mary Cooper - Louise's younger child, much nicer than her brother, died of Dead Lung in 2283.
- Ron Bus - Mary's only child, son of the Grand Dragon of Natchez.
- Joel Royce - Nathan and Louise's younger child, a manipulative man who relied on his father's legacy, depressed after his election failure and the loss of his wife and child in 2247, died of liver failure in 2248.
- Lewis Royce - Joel's stillborn son, killed his mother in birth in 2247, named for his grandfather.
- Nathan Royce II - Nathan and Anna's only child, head of the family after his father's death in 2257, groomed by Nathan to be his heir over Joel, believer in his father's ideals but naïve, elected Grand Dragon, killed in battle during the Crucifix War.
- Gregor Royce - Nathan II's only living child, current head of the family, a bit of "dandy" but pragmatic like his grandfather, withdrawn from society, unmarried, and not part of the Klan, a bit of a joke to the rest of the Klansmen Confederacy.
- Miley Royce - Nathan II's second child and first daughter, died of an injury while playing with her older brother, never knew her grandfather.
- Virginia - Girl swamper adopted by Nathan, had difficulty learning English, very close to her brother Lewis, died of a "pox" in 2245.
- Lewis - Boy swamper adopted by Nathan, good friend of Nathan II, current overseer of the Royce estate, looked down upon by many as "inferior stock".
- Louise Royce - Nathan and Louise's oldest child, resentful of her father for putting her into an arranged marriage, died of natural causes in 2274.
When Royce was a young man, he often carried his modified hunting rifle around and dressed in drifter attire with a Klan patch sewn on the shoulder. Later in life, Royce rarely needed to carry around weapons as he was well protected. During the Second Park War, Royce used a Bozar and wore a bullet proof vest under his Klan robes.
- "I have regrets in life, yes, and done some pretty bad things. Don't think I've forgotten."
- ―Nathan Royce to a drifter from the north
- "One day in the future, some damn Yankee is going to unite the north under his banner, not doubt a democratic one. When that day comes, I don't want my people to be some backwards hicks that the Yankees will roll over because of "slavery" or "racism". No, when America is united once more, I want my people to be well educated, productive members of society with a history they can be proud of. I will give them that history."
- ―One of Royce's many private holotapes, dated 2239
- ―Swamper when asked to describe Nathan Royce in one word
- "A man known for his great acumen and intelligence, Grand Wizard Nathan Royce was integral in the history of the Klansmen Confederacy. His dismantling of the Monroe Deal is what united us and formed the nation-state the Confederacy is today. All klansmen became united once again, ready to meet the approaching threat."
- ―F.D. Reynolds, noted Klan historian
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