Nicholas, better known as Gray Boy, is a founding member of the Slaughterhouse Nine.
Gray Boy seems to be dangerously unstable, even for one of the Nine. Bonesaw speculated that it would be very much like him to freeze someone just because he could, and that Jack had asked for only one clone of him because he could only keep one under control.
He usually used his powers to torture people, inflicting pain that would repeat over and over. When Purity disobeyed him, he devised a "special" punishment - she was left unharmed, but trapped, with the promise that he would eventually return and trap her daughter alongside her. On one occasion, he arbitrarily demanded a victim tell him an "interesting" story while torturing them, with the promise that they would be left unharmed if he liked it. He grew angry at Jack Slash when they attempted to flee the heroes together, telling him that he was making himself "prey, instead of the predator."
Even after his death Gray Boy was the most feared villain to have ever been part of the Slaughterhouse Nine.
Nicholas is prepubescent in appearance, older than ten but younger than fourteen, with neatly parted hair and a private school uniform complete with glossy black shoes. His voice is high and clear.
He has a monochrome effect surrounding him, with spots of light and shadow flickering around him. Periodically he flickered, a transparent double image momentarily overlapping him looking in a different direction.
Abilities and PowersEdit
Nicholas is able to form stationary time loops, and his power reverts any changes made to his body. A quirk of his power is that anything affected is heavily desaturated, giving him his namesake monochrome look.
Gray Boy was the only one who could enter the loops. During these loops, the only changes to the victim to carry over are those he inflicts on them (such as a cut or burn) and in the progression of their thoughts. Pain inflicted on the victims is repeated over and over again. Gray Boy can modify the time between loops, extending them to give victims time to speak full words or shortening them to more quickly repeat the initial burst of pain from a wound. However, he claimed to be unable to turn it off for anyone except himself. The powers of anyone trapped inside them were unable to reach out of the loop.
He claimed that victims would usually go insane after a few days, then work through that back to sanity, then crack again, in an endless cycle. He also claimed that they never grew used to the pain he inflicted.
The loops last for an unknown amount of time, as no loop he has created has ever stopped. Gray Boy told one of his victims that it was theorized that his loops would last “Until well after the sun goes out, [...]". However, Wildbow has stated that they would not actually last forever or even until the sun runs out, though he also questioned whether that would actually matter after the first few thousand years of torture.
Gray Boy can affect an area roughly 5' across and 8' high, and was able to freeze a ten-foot high "wall" of air on one occasion. He claimed it operated at the "speed of thought", and that he believed no-one was immune to it. He was able to freeze Foil's darts in midair.
His power also makes him effectively immortal, constantly restoring his body to the exact condition it was in when he first got his powers. This prevented him from aging or even getting dirty. He retained memories despite his constant reversion. Any time he was hurt or debilitated, his power would take him back as far as he needed, allowing him to maintain his position if he wanted or move out of the way. Only two people can permanently kill Gray Boy; Glaistig Uaine and Foil.
Gray Boy knew Bonesaw's name before she told him, and she believed he - like Jack - was aware she planned to betray the Nine. It is unclear what aspect of his powers allowed this. He had no special ability to aim his attacks, and didn't receive feedback from his power regarding what he'd hit.
Ignis Fatuus claimed, while trying to break the spirit of the forces arrayed against Echidna, that Gray Boy was inadvertently created by Cauldron, much like Shatterbird and The Siberian had been. They sold him powers, but were seemingly unable to control him when he went out of bounds. Doctor Mother confirmed that Cauldron were ultimately responsible for Gray Boy. He became one of the founding members of the Slaughterhouse Nine.
The original Gray Boy was similar to Labyrinth at her least lucid; using his powers indiscriminately while staying within an area. King was effectively immune to him, as any attack used on King would be transferred to someone he had touched within the last 24 hours. His immunity to Gray Boy's power allowed him to lead him around and wield him as a weapon. He used this to introduce himself and his Nine to the world as a threat so dangerous they were essentially immune to retaliation.
Cauldron allowed Gray Boy to survive because he was the closest thing to a weapon they had against Scion since Eidolon. When the Slaughterhouse Nine started picking up momentum and more powerful parahumans started getting removed from the field than Gray Boy was theoretically worth, they moved in, maneuvering Glaistig Uaine into taking his power for herself, so that Gray Boy's power would still be available even with the original Gray Boy being dead.
Jack Slash had been sure to tell Bonesaw bedtime stories about him. As such she took particular care when she resurrected him for the Slaughterhouse Nine-Thousand. Gray Boy was the only member who she only cloned once, at Jack's explicit instruction.
The cloned Gray Boy had skills the original lacked due to Bonesaw implanting the body of the clone with the modified memories of an actual child. He stepped out of the cloning chamber fully clothed and dry; unlike the other clones, he didn't struggle before finding his feet. He greeted Jack Slash and approached Bonesaw. The two had a brief, seemingly friendly conversation. The cloned Gray Boy was shown to be completely lucid and highly sadistic. Due to the unique circumstances where Gray Boy's power restored his original body, it is unknown whether his power also restored his original memories and personality in addition to the new memories implanted by Bonesaw, or if his personality was purely Bonesaw's construction.
Gray Boy was sent to retrieve Aster as part of Jack's game with Theo, and he trapped Crusader, Purity and two PRT agents in loops. He told one of the PRT agents that he wouldn't torture her if she told him a story he found interesting; she chose to tell him the details of the heroes' plans to prevent Jack ending the world.
Glaistig Uaine made use of him.
- In previous drafts of Worm, Gray Boy was usually an independent villain. Some versions of him would shunt people into the future, during which they experienced sensory deprivation, rather than looping them; he began sending people thousands or millions of years when he was "broken mentally" during that story.
- His power was inspired by Wildbow thinking "What's a horrible thing you can do with [time power], as a variant?"
- It is theorized that Nicholas took the Vestige formula, the same cauldron vial as Perdition and possibly Epoch.
|Leaders||King † • Jack Slash|
|Members||Bonesaw ‡ • Breed † • Burnscar † • Cherish ‡ • Chuckles † • Crawler † • Crimson † • Damsel of Distress † • Gray Boy † • Harbinger ‡ • Hatchet Face † • Hookwolf † • Mannequin † • Miasma † • Murder Rat † • Nice Guy † • Night Hag † • Nyx † • Psychosoma † • Screamer † • Shatterbird † • The Siberian † • Skinslip † • Winter †|
|Bonesaw's Hybrids||Hack Job † • Laughjob * • Murder Rat † • Nighty Night * • Pagoda † • Snowmann † • Spawner ‡ • Tyrant †|
|Clones||Damsel of Distress II ‡ • Damsel of Distress III ‡ • Harbinger Clones ‡ (Harbinger I ‡ • Harbinger II ‡ • Harbinger IV ‡ • Harbinger V ‡)|