"There ain't no business like show business."
Nicholas Whittaker came to the 'States in 1995, a rising actor and star in the film industry - born of humble beginnings to Sally and James Whittaker, a couple of gentle country folk from Kilkenny, Ireland. To be a star in America required charisma, hard work, and a large amount of luck, but the younger, more innocent Nick had it in spades, and was set to take the place by storm. Of course, he did, but in a very different way, and that's where the tragic story begins.
'Cause Nick Whittaker went and got himself ruined, you see. And like any great actor, he did so spectacularly.
It was the women that did it. Of course, Nick knew that there were certain... perks that went with the fame. It wouldn't have been the first time he'd recieved that kind of attention for his performance on stage; on the contrary, he was a good-looking guy, and with the kind of prestige he was headed for, what girl would turn him down? No, it was this particular breed of women that brought him down. Everyone knows the type: husky voice, silky sweet scent...
...yeah, that type. Once they got Whittaker under their thumb, they could make him do anything. Literally anything, up to and including hard drugs, ridiculous gambling sessions and drunken nights spent abroad - which is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and loses their career because of it. Which is exactly what happened, after one particularly fierce night spent high in Amsterdam.
"You're off the cast, Whittaker!" the director had screeched in that high pitched shriek of his. "And I'm cancelling your contract! You're a waste of space, you frickin' mick!"
That was it. The dream was over. Nick ran back home, crawled back into the bottle and wasted a year on his mother's sofa, vaguely considering suicide until one night, he decided to make things right. He decided that there was only one thing that could help him, and that was the church. He found God. And like any great actor, he did so spectacularly.
Three years passed, and he was a priest of the Catholic Church. Another year, and Father Nick Whittaker had his own congregation, far out in a farming village. It was a pleasant enough place, far cry as it was from the booming cities of the U.S.A, and seemingly a solid rock of faith to build Nick's worship to God upon. Every week, the old folk would attend Mass, and then shuffle off to whatever it was these sleepy towns did in their spare time.
It was alright for a while. Really, it was. Nick relished the open air, and the free time to reflect on things. But as time went by, little by little, the shepherd realised that his flock had gone astray; whilst they turned up to church on Sundays, their hearts were empty. Devoid of any genuine emotion, or passion. It was as if they were merely empty husks of people, uttering their dead devotions in absence of conviction. They had no faith, and that troubled Whittaker, more than it would trouble any other priest of the Lord. He lost whole nights of sleep, tossing and turning out of fear for his congregation.
When Nicholas stopped sleeping, the killing happened.
There was just one at first: an old lady named Martha. She was found lying prostate in her kitchen, severe burns and lacerations across her body. All the people of the town, not to mention her close friends, were horrified and sickened by the event; who would do such a thing? Such was the effect it had, that the turnout at Nicholas' church that Sunday was the greatest the village had ever seen.
To this day, Nicholas doesn't know if he was responsible for killing Martha. He probably never will. Though, what he is certain of was that her death and the spiritual uplifting of his flock from it, put him on the road towards an enlightenment he had been striving for his whole life. It came in the form of an Awakening, the Supernal manifestation of the faith longing to be freed. On the way home from the funeral of Martha, as Nicholas was driving his car home, a bright white light started to fill his vision, blinding in its intensity. He swerved to try and get away from it, wrenching the vehicle off the road - but it remained, growing and growing until it encompassed all of his vision. Then it spoke, in words that echoed not in his ears but in his mind.
It told him of his destiny. It told him of his duty as a follower of Christ, and of the hardships he was to endure. It told him of the praise the angels gave to his purity, and his faith in the Lord - but most importantly, it told him of his power. He was no longer a servant of the church, and yet neither was he to be a martyr.
He was to be a living, breathing saint, and a testament to all that would follow him.
Nick woke up to a faceful of broken glass and a searing pain in his head. He barely had time to smear his name in blood on the smashed windscreen - now, why did he do that? - before he passed out.
One month, four sessions of life-saving surgery, and fifty-three stitches later, and Whittaker has arrived in ?The City?, ready to make his impact in the way only he can.
And like any actor, he'll do so spectacularly.