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Nathaniel "Nate" Gray (1859-1878 aged 19) was the son of Harriet Moore and her late fiancé, the adoptive son of Elizabeth (Adele Starkweather) and Richard Gray, the adoptive brother of Tessa Gray, the husband of Jessamine Lovlace and an antagonist in The Infernal Devices (prequel series to The Mortal Instruments) books Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.
Pre-Infernal Devices events
Nate was born in 1859 in London to Harriet Moore. His father had died before he could marry Harriet, but Harriet's sister (really adoptive sister and a Shadowhunter named Adele Starkweather) Elizabeth and her husband Richard raised him to save Harriet from the shame of having a child out of wedlock. In 1862 when he was around three years old, Nate, Elizabeth, Richard and Harriet (whom Nate believed to be his aunt) left London for New York where soon after Elizabeth gave birth to her daughter Tessa (whom she had with a demon disguised as Richard which was sent by Axel Mortmain (also known as The Magister) to make her pregnant with Tessa).
Three years later when Nate was six and Tessa was three, Elizabeth and Richard died in a carriage crash and so the two were raised by Harriet. Feeling guilty for never telling Nate that she was his biological mother, Harriet spoiled him and let him get away with everything. But as Nate got older, he started drinking and gambling and ended up losing money which Harriet worked hard to get back.
Sometime later, Nate got into gambling debts and decided to look for jewelry in Elizabeth's jewelry box to pawn, but instead found pages from her diary. Reading these pages, Nate discovered that Harriet was his mother and this caused him to hate her for this and also learned about the Gray's connection with Axel Mortmain and his adoptive parents' introduction to the Pandemonium Club before their departure to America. Nate tried to use information regarding Mortmain's occult practices to blackmail him in hope of getting money or employment from him. But instead, Mortmain arranged to have Nate brought to London as he was unsure if he was the child Elizabeth conceived with the demon. After discovering Tessa's existence, Mortmain decided to use Nate's anger and connection towards her to his advantage (as Nate had come to look down on Tessa after learning of her demon heritage) and offered Nate a job with his company which Nate agreed and was introduced to the Pandemonium Club and became entranced by the supernatural dealings there and became loyal to Mortmain and hoped to serve as "The Magister's" right hand man when Mortmain would rule The British Empire.
Nate plotted with Mortmain to bring Tessa to London and sent poisoned chocolate to Tessa and Harriet in New York. Nate knew that Tessa didn't like chocolate, and Harriet ate them instead and died but her death looked like fever. With Tessa nowhere to go, Nate sent her a letter with a ticket for a ship to take her to London to live with him.
Upon Tessa's arrival in Southhampton, England in May 1878, The Dark Sisters Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black collected her and said that Nate sent them as he couldn't make it. Over six weeks of living with them Tessa was tortured by them in order to train her to Change and claimed that they had Nate prisoner and threatened to kill him if she didn't obey them. But in reality, Nate wasn't in any danger and had agreed to Tessa's kidnapping. Sometime later, Tessa was rescued by a Shadowhunter named Will Herondale who took her to The London Institute. As punishment for Tessa's insubordination, Mortmain gave Nate to a vampire named Alexei de Quincey who was known for throwing parties where mundanes were drained of blood and killed as entertainment for other vampires. During one of these parties, de Quincey presented Nate to the other vampires as a traitor of their kind.
Tessa (whilst disguised as a vampire named Camille Belcourt) and the Shadowhunters of the London Institute killed most of the vampires and rescued Nate and brought him to the Institute to rest and recover but de Quincey. But Nate used his position there in the heart of the London Enclave as a second chance to prove himself to the Magister and deviced a plan to win back his favor. Nate tricked the Institute's leader Charlotte Branwell and the other residents into thinking that de Quincey was the Magister. Whilst there, Nate met a Shadowhunter named Jessamine Lovelace who was in love with him and hoped he would return the feelings and marry her so she could leave the Shadowhunter life and live a normal mundane life like she did before her parents died. Jessamine helped nurse Nate back to health.
Nate secretly contacted Mortmain and informed him of his plan: To give the Shadowhunters false information that would send them on a false lead to where de Quincey was and create a ruse to get the remaining Shadowhunters out of the Institute, leaving it unguarded and defenceless. After most of the adult Shadowhunters left, Mortmain arrived at the Institute and was aided in by Nate who was sent by Mortmain to steal the Institute's Pyxis (a box used to contain demon energies). But Tessa faked her death by shape shifting into a women who was killed by a gunshot causing Mortmain, in fear of retribution from the Shadowhunters when they return, fled the Institute with Nate and the stolen Pyxis.
A few days later, Nate began to send letters to Jessamine, saying that he was sorry for his behaviour and appreciated her for tending to him and so the two met in secrecy where Nate (aware of Jessamine's feelings for him) tricked her into thinking he loved her back and convinced her to spy on The London Institute residents for him to find out their plans. The two eventually married and in July 1878, Nate invited Jessamine to attend a party held at Benedict Lightwood's manor in Chiswick. However Sophie Collins, one of the Institute's servants came across the invite and knocked out Jessamine when she caught her. Sophie then revealed what she did to Tessa who along with fellow Institute resident Will Herondale attended the party with Tessa disguised as Jessamine.
Upon arriving Tessa met Nate (who was unaware that it was not Jessamine he was talking to but Tessa) who talked to her about some of the plans Mortmain has for Tessa and the Shadowhunters and of his and Jessamine's marriage. Just then a clockwork servant gave Nate a note supposedly from Mortmain instructing Nate to meet him in Vauxhall (unaware that the note was fake and made by Will) and so Nate left the party to meet his master, giving Tessa and Will time to talk about what they learned and make a getaway.
Nate later realized that it was not Jessamine he was talking to and learned of her being compromised by the Nephilim and decided to use this knowledge to his advantage. Afterwards, Nate received another message from Jessamine (who had reluctantly written the letter in exchange for leniency from the Clave for her betrayal). Nate agreed to meet "Jessamine" at an abandoned tea warehouse. Nate arrived with a large and vicious prototype automaton for protection as he knew a group of Shadowhunters would be joining "Jessamine". Nate pretended to think it was Jessamine until he was about to kiss her when his automatons arrived and revealed to Tessa that he knew it was a setup. Nate also revealed to Tessa the entire truth about his alliance with Mortmain and also revealed that he and Tessa weren't brother and sister after all but "cousins" by saying that Aunt Harriet was his mother and had caused her death.
Nate then intended to deliver Tessa to Mortmain and sent the automatons to kill the Shadowhunters. But Tessa then transformed into Nate and ordered the prototype automaton to capture Nate to which it obeyed her. Just as it grasped Nate, the automaton was struck by an invention of the Institute's male head Henry Branwell and short circuited. When this happened, Nate was fatally impaled by a piece of sharp metal from the automaton and as he died, he asked Tessa not to save him as he feared retribution from Mortmain. Nate then told Tessa he was going to surrender her as he knew Mortmain wasn't going to harm her and acknowledged that Tessa was always the good child and how he would burn in Hell for his actions. In his dying breath, Nate told Tessa to always wear her clockwork angel pendent no matter what before dying in Tessa arms.
- Nate is similar to Luke Castellan:
- Both have blonde hair and both are in some way related to the protagonist (Nate was Tessa's adoptive brother whilst Luke was Percy Jackson's second cousin as Percy's father Poseidon is the uncle of Luke's father Hermes).
- Both also at first acted friendly towards the protagonist before revealing their true nature later to them (though in Nate's case, he did originally care for Tessa until he found out about her demon heritage but pretended to still care for her until his betrayal was discovered).
- Both are also have girls attracted to them.
- Both die from stabbing (Nate died when he was impaled by a large piece of mental from an automaton after it was short circuited whilst Luke died after he stabbed himself in his Achilles Heel in order to destroy Kronos after he took over his body) and make peace with the protagonist before they die.