Nigel Hampton Pierce       XVI. The Tower

Full Name Dr. Nigel Hampton Pierce
Actor Ralph Fiennes
Birthdate 7 January 1962
Birthplace Glastonbury, England
Parents Michael Richard Pierce (b. 1921, d. 1998)
Colleen Rose Hampton Pierce (b. 1939, d. 1994)
Siblings Kenneth Michael Pierce (b. 1964, d. 1990)
Children Clara Cameron Pierce (b. 1988)
Occupation Owner, Professor Pierce's Museum of Mysteries and Monsters, Shadowgard, MA
Residence 429 Aberdeen Rd., Shadowgard, MA

Nigel Hampton Pierce began life as a fairly average child of privileged parents, living in an upscale London neighborhood and attending only the very best schools. His life changed, however, during a summer spent with his Uncle William, when he was only thirteen and his brother Kenneth was in the midst of a long convalescence, attended closely by both parents. Though William Pierce tried his best to keep young Nigel out of trouble, the irrepressible child followed him out one night regardless, and discovered that his uncle was a Watcher -- more than that, he was teacher and guardian to the one and only Slayer of that era. Witnessing the Slayer's fight against the forces of darkness firsthand, and successfully demanding explanations from his uncle, Nigel became consumed by a single goal: to become a Watcher himself, and join the war against the evils lurking at the edge of the mortal world.

Succeeding in his initial quest to join the Council upon his admission to Oxford, Nigel went on to surpass his role model. He completed his doctorate at an incredible clip, blazed through the tests placed before him, and at the age of twenty-six, he was assigned his own Potential Slayer. He wasn't the youngest Watcher to earn this honor, to be sure, but it was an impressive achievement nonetheless -- made only slightly less so by the fact that no one expected the Potential in question, incoming college freshman Melody Bannister, to ever become the Slayer. Nevertheless, Nigel accepted the assignment gladly, expecting a fairly straightforward trial and rite of passage, and accepting the position arranged for him in the Department of Psychology at the University of Philadephia, Melody's intended alma mater.

However, while Nigel was still in transit, the improbable happened: the contemporary Slayer died, and destiny called Melody forth to take her place. Though the Council initially intended to keep Nigel as her interim Watcher only, he ended up training Melody so effectively that he was gradually upgraded to probationary status, and finally given the official title of Slayer's Watcher in the middle of his charge's sophomore year. Through all this, however, Nigel and Melody found their relationship evolving, slowly but surely, into something more. They became friends and companions first -- particularly after they rescued a baby girl from the clutches of a nest of vampires, and in the absence of her parents, Nigel adopted her -- and then, toward the end of her sophomore year, they became lovers.

This idyllic period wasn't meant to last: in her last semester at the university, Melody's true relationship to Nigel was discovered by a Council auditor sent to check up on their progress. The Council immediately stripped him of all rank and informed him that he would soon be replaced. Not long after that, on the night of Melody's graduation, the pair went after a master vampire named Rannoch, and the Slayer and master dealt each other mortal blows before they both vanished into a dimensional portal. Another Slayer was called. Melody was undoubtedly dead, and worse, Nigel's indiscretions with her were soon revealed to her family and to the university at large. His career in academia was over, his personal reputation indeliably tarnished. At last, using the last of his savings, he moved to Shadowgard with his daughter, Clare, and purchased a rundown tourist trap which he managed to transform into a beloved local landmark. Though he was no longer a Watcher officially, he seeded his museum with a few genuine articles as a signal to those who were truly in the know, and made sure to keep an eye out for strange events throughout the area and signs that the long-dormant Hellmouth beneath Shadowgard might be reopening.

The years since Melody's death have been hard on Nigel; he's taken a little too readily to drink, and while he still functions well, he's holding on just barely, and largely just for the sake of his beloved daughter. Lately, he has found new purpose, through his contacts with current Shadowgard Slayer Taryn Maddock, but he is still reviled by many other Watchers and their allies -- especially Eleanor Ashbury and Harmony Bannister, sister to his lost love -- and he continues to struggle to make ends meet. Nevertheless, he is kind, helpful, and truly dedicated to the fight against evil, even to this very day. He's slowly finding his way back, but he has a long journey ahead of him.