Portrayed by Neal McDonough
|Known Aliases:||Nicholas Scratch|
"This," he said, as his blood spattered against her face. "is all very far from over. Action." He held up his hand, and with a vicious backhand, sliced open her face from her ear to her nose with the shattered gem. "Reaction. Remember."
Name: Nicholas Harkness
Aliases: Nicholas Scratch
First appearance: August 25, 2011
Family: Agatha Harkness (mother); Arthur Harkness (father - deceased)
Born to Agatha and the late Arthur Harkness, Nicholas spent most of his life traveling abroad with his parents. While wealthy, he spent a majority of his childhood at various dig sites while his parents worked. From an early age, it was obvious that something was just not right with the young Nicholas. It was nothing so obvious that either Agatha or Arthur could pinpoint it but he was often a disturbed, and disturbing, child. Brilliant, witty and well-worded, he nonetheless made most people uncomfortable to be around him for long periods of time.
With his parents both working, an oddity in that time, he was often left to either his own devices or that of a nanny/keeper. Those he would frequently avoid and lose all together - none knew where he would roam but other children learned quickly not to play with Nicholas for fear of being hurt and they learned even more not to make mention of it. Agatha and Arthur were loving if distant parents, far too wrapped up in their own careers and hobbies to really notice how strange their son was - something that Agatha regrets to this day.
He became increasingly enthralled with his mother's side hobby of chaos theory and a few digs sometimes uncovered things that intrigued him even more - magical artifacts, runes and things Agatha would eventually secretly decide to send to her own museum for safe keeping. As he grew older, she started to deny him access to her studies on chaos theory and magical artifacts after finding him attempting to merge the two in an accident that left several museum employees injured.
Soon after, he cut all ties with his parents and left their now permanent home in Cambridge - he has had contact with his mother only once since he left.
Fascinated by magic, Nicholas wandered the world in search of a teacher. Thanks to his connections as a Harkness, he was able to locate one in France but was frustrated to find that he was unable to do even the most basics of spells. Flying into a rage, he murdered his teacher and stole a number of scrolls and books.
He would eventually find that while he had no affinity for magic, he would become sensitive to its whereabouts - and he would hone his mutant ability to be able to sense chaotic and anti-chaotic disturbances. Still enraged by his inability to use magic, he started to wander the world - he would come across a magician, manage to befriend them, and after a few weeks or months, murder them and take what secrets he could find. As many of those with the power tended to lead solitary lives, Harkness was able to avoid detection.
Some of the magical artifacts he gathered he could use but others he simply hoarded, determined to study until he could access the power he desired. He operated on his own until he was traveling through eastern Europe and came across an ancient, though drained, place of power called Wundagore. A few members of a cult that worshiped the Elder god Chthon were studying the site in an attempt to see what had happened to the creature they worshiped.
Sensing that they were a mix of magic, chaos users and base-line humans, Nicholas was drawn in by his knowledge of chaos theory and his mother's studies on it and the magical side to it. Not only did he convert quickly but he soon rose through the ranks by utilizing his intelligence and ability to manipulate people - and, of course, his cruelty.
The cult quickly realized that Nicholas would make an excellent next avatar due to his knowledge and desire and he relished the idea - to finally be able to tap into the power he had lusted after all of his life.
So far it has proved useless, however, as the prison was now so secure and the cycle broken so utterly, that there is no longer any natural ascension left. Through research and various attempts at opening gates (see Operation: Anansesem), Harkness has figured out that Wanda Maximoff, his mother's former pupil, seems to be the key to keeping Chthon locked away.
Harkness is generally unaware, or uncaring, that he is, in actuality, a mutant and simply believes that his ability to sense magic and chaos use is magical in nature. In terms of power, Harkness is fairly weak - he is unable to do anything with the magic or chaos energies that he can sense. He has the ability to see/smell/hear/taste magic/chaos and, over the years, has become quite good at tracking those energies down. He has quite a stunning collection of magical items thanks to his constant stealing of them and the Chthon cult has been slowly documenting and sorting out what he actually owns and attempting to make use of them. (Not always successfully.)
Socked by: Dex
PB: Neal McDonough