|Occupation|| Dark King |
Adviser to the Summer Monarchs (formerly)
|First Appearance||Wicked Lovely|
Niall is the current Dark King, and the beloved of Irial and Leslie.
Niall has lived for at least twelve hundred years at the beginning of Wicked Lovely.
At least a millennium ago, he met Irial and they spent several years together; at this time, unbeknownst to Niall, Irial was Dark King. It is heavily implied that they were romantically involved during this time, though they also frequently slept with male and female mortals.
Irial, having been a Gancanagh before becoming Dark King, knew that Niall was a Gancanagh but didn't tell him, instead allowing many mortals to become addicted to Niall, which often led to their deaths. Though it is unclear exactly what took place at the culmination of their time together, it seems that Niall found out about his effect on mortals and that Irial asked Niall to be his successor as king at about the same time. Niall, horrified that he had caused so many deaths, refused to be Irial's heir. Niall was then given the choice between being tortured or letting the mortals he had addicted be killed. He chose the former, and was left with the scar on his face as well as many on his body.
After this, Niall joined the Summer Court and became adviser to Miach, the Summer King. When Keenan became the next Summer King, Niall acted as his adviser and friend. It is also suggested that Niall spent some time with Sorcha, the High Queen, as she is seen to be fond of him.
Though Niall is only a minor character in Wicked Lovely, he is one of the three main characters in Ink Exchange. In this novel, Niall is romantically attracted to Leslie, a mortal friend of Aislinn's. Despite knowing that his Queen disapproves, he spends much of his time guarding Leslie while wearing a glamour so that he remains unseen by her. He reveals himself to her in an art gallery and they hold their first conversation of length.
When Leslie gets a tattoo laced with Irial's blood and becomes a part of the Dark Court, Niall does all that he can to retrieve her and protect her from experiencing the same pain Irial caused him. Keenan, the Summer King, tells Niall to use his talents as a Gancanagh to make Leslie addicted to him, believing that this would give Niall some influence or insight into the Dark Court, which Keenan could use. Niall, trusting his King and already in love with Leslie, kisses her before realizing that he is being manipulated. Furious at having kissed a mortal for the first time since discovering that he was a Gancanagh, Niall confronts Keenan and leaves the Summer Court.
Having been unable to find any other heir, Irial is delighted that Niall is finally a solitary faery. He invites Niall to talk with him, guaranteeing Niall's safety before even his own while they sit together, and tells him that the Dark fey feed on emotions -- primarily lust and emotions triggered by violence. This is remarkably trusting, since it is information that could be easily used against the Dark Court.
Niall eventually finds a way to free Leslie from her connection to Irial through the tattoo. Using ice from Donia, the Winter Queen, and sunlight from Aislinn, the Summer Queen, Niall breaks the bond between Leslie and Irial, though the tattoo remains.
In the epilogue, Irial seeks out Niall and transfers his power to him by kissing his scar; this makes Niall the new Dark King. Niall frantically plans to hand the court over to another faery, but Irial warns him that the power of a king is dangerous in the wrong hands. Irial kneels before Niall and promises his help when he desires it; he then disappears into a crowd of mortals and leaves Niall to be Dark King.
Old Habits is a novella set soon after Ink Exchange. In the first chapter, Niall gives Seth a stone which prevents faery glamours from affecting him; the two of them are clearly friends by this point, as Seth states "you need a few friends who aren't crazy faeries".
Later, Irial finds Niall outside of the mortal library, which Niall finds familiar. He presses Irial to explain the familiarity of it, and Irial admits that he influenced the architect to design the library in a way that was similar to a place where Irial and Niall were happy together previously. Niall then criticizes Irial for going to Faerie, the realm where the High Court resides, as Sorcha could have killed Irial if she had chosen to.
Niall visits one of the gates to Faerie and is surprised by an elderly mortal man stepping through the gate. The man has been blinded at Sorcha's command and, in order to balance his opposing court, Niall offers the man his help. Upon bringing the mortal to his court, Niall tells him that the Dark fey are not "calmly cruel" like the High Court. He leaves the mortal with one of the Vilas, named Natanya.
As Dark King, Niall now needs nourishment from emotions such as lust, anger, and fear, so sex and violence are requirements of his being strong. Irial finds him fighting with the Hounds in an arena, which Gabriel states he has done most nights since becoming king. For the other nourishment, a Hound sends Siobhan, a Summer Girl Niall was particularly close to in the Summer Court, to spend the night with him.
Sorcha sends Devlin to the Dark Court to make a point of the High Court's strength. Irial wishes to take the injuries Devlin would inflict on others in the court, but Niall doesn't let him and instead the whole court fights and is nourished. Furious with Irial for working against him and keeping secrets, Niall insists that Irial fully inform him of all the Dark Court's secrets, though Irial states that full disclosure would take years.
From Seth's perspective, Niall is described as having grown out his hair since becoming Dark King. His eyes have also changed, now containing "weird abyss people", very much like Irial's eyes. It is apparent that Niall is now more comfortable in his own body and confident that he is stronger than the vast majority of faeries. In the same chapter, he is attacked by Bananach and defeats her relatively easily; Niall is also approached by Devlin, who warns him about Bananach's danger to the Dark Court, and reveals that he once considered Devlin a friend.
When Keenan and Aislinn enter the Crow's Nest, Niall's hostility towards Keenan is obvious. He warns the Summer King that he will not allow Seth to be hurt, and he offers Seth the protection of the Dark Court, to be sealed with blood. Seth accepts and Niall, stating that he doesn't resist temptation well, punches Keenan. "Sealed and paid with blood. The rules don't say it has to be your blood, Seth." Consequently, Aislinn tries to hurt Niall, but he forms a wall of shadows around them and pushes her into it, so that her emotions turn to fear and lust. Having threatened her sufficiently, Niall lets her go and, after explaining his actions to Seth, leaves.
Provoked by his inability to protect Aislinn, Seth asks Niall to help him become a faerie. Niall informs him that the only ways to achieve this are through a curse, which Niall refuses to do, or to ask Sorcha to swap their essences. However, since this would make Niall fit to remain Dark King, he decides against this idea as well and advises Seth to accept his mortality.
Eighteen days after Seth goes to Faerie with Bananach, Niall confronts Aislinn at Keenan's Loft and demands to know Seth's whereabouts. Upon discovering that Aislinn hasn't seen him, Niall realizes that Seth has gone to see Sorcha; with this knowledge, he leaves wordlessly. He then travels to Faerie to speak to Sorcha. After telling her that she has made a mistake and that Seth "was not [hers] to take", Niall threatens to return his court to Faerie, where the Dark Court was once equal to the High Court, all in order to take Seth back. Sorcha allows Niall to see Seth, but he is disturbed by how devoted Seth is to Sorcha.
Aislinn, now the only Faerie not to know of Seth's whereabouts, goes to the Dark Court with Keenan and begs Niall to tell her what he knows. He tells her to kneel before him, and she does, but he still denies her the knowledge of Seth's being in Faerie.
In the epilogue, Seth requests to be trained by the Hounds of the Dark Court, and Niall agrees.
The novella Stopping Time focuses on the relationships between Niall, Irial and Leslie. The story-line mostly follows Leslie; early in the novella, she receives repeated unknown phone calls that make her anxious. Niall rings her and she snaps at him as she answers the phone, believing him to be the unknown caller. To calm her, Niall tells her about the prints her bought at an art gallery and then he stays on the phone all night while Leslie sleeps, just so that someone will be there for her when she wakes up. Niall wishes to be there for her in person, but Leslie doesn't want to be dragged back into the world of Faeries, as she believes it would change her into a bad person.
Later, the caller sends Leslie text messages claiming to know about faeries and Leslie, panicked, rushes out of her class to find the caller, who reveals himself as her brother, Ren. Holding a gun to her side, Ren takes Leslie back to her apartment building, where Leslie pushes him down the stairs and shuts herself in her apartment. Niall, alerted by Irial of the danger Leslie is in, drags Ren out into the street and kills him.
Afterwards, Niall and Irial go to a café and discuss Leslie and the past. Niall admits that he forgives Irial for letting the Dark fey torture him, and Irial in turn admits that, had he ordered his faeries to stop, they would have simply killed Niall. Irial kisses Niall and feels both of their hearts race; Niall then asks Irial to move back into his house with him, which Irial agrees to do.
At Irial's suggestion, Niall goes to see Leslie, who decides that she can no longer deny that Niall and Irial are a part of her life. She still won't be a part of the Dark Court, but she asks to "stop time" so that she and Niall can be together for a while. After Leslie advises Niall that he would be able to do the same thing with Irial, she and Niall go upstairs to her apartment with the implication that they spend the night together.
Niall's role in Radiant Shadows is a small one; he mostly appears towards the end of the novel, as he is one of the major fighters in the fight with Bananach, during which Irial is stabbed. After the fight, Devlin and Ani contact Niall and Irial from Faerie by using Rae to intertwine their dreams. Devlin wishes for Niall to return the Dark Court to Faerie to balance Sorcha, but Niall believes this would be bad for his court and refuses. At the end of their exchange, Niall asks for Rae, the dreamweaver, to link his and Irial's dreams together, which Rae does.
The prologue of Darkest Mercy takes place in the aftermath of the fight with Bananach. Irial is injured and a healer states that he's as good as dead, since he was stabbed with a knife carved of poison. Niall refuses to accept this and demands that Irial be saved.
As the novel progresses, Niall grows more distressed over Irial's injury as healer after healer is unable to help him. Irial sinks into unconsciousness and does not wake, but the two of them still share their dreams, since Rae knitted them together. Niall feels himself slowly going mad and Gabriel attributes it to grief, but this is combined with Niall's separation from Sorcha, his balance, and so his reaction to Irial's death is disproportionate.
In one of Niall's shared dreams with Irial, Irial finally convinces Niall to rest. When he awakes, he finds that Irial is dead. Following this, Niall loses his remaining sanity and is reduced to incoherence. He is aware that Bananach is a threat and therefore assumes there are threats everywhere and ends up hurting his own fey; he repeats the same orders over and over though they have no real purpose to them; his only sensible decision is, at the prompting of Gabriel, to send more guards to Leslie.
Seth returns from Faerie and immediately goes to see Niall, who regains some sense in Seth's presence, which causes him to frequently repeat that Irial is dead. Niall claims that he would not hurt Seth and informs him that he can taste his emotions. Upon being given the permission to order the Dark fey for just one minute, Seth orders a Hound to knock Niall out, as he needs sleep.
When he awakes, Niall is furious with Seth and immediately attacks him. Seth tries to tell Niall that Bananach can be killed, but he reveals that he is a seer in the process of convincing Niall of this; Niall realizes that Seth could have saved Irial and imprisons him, along with the Hound who knocked Niall out.
In an attempt to bring Irial back, Niall begs, threatens, and bargains with Far Dorcha (Death). Far Dorcha will only trade Irial for someone who is both willing to sacrifice their life and who Niall will mourn -- he will not accept Niall's life in exchange for Irial's, nor the life of any of Niall's fey, but he offers to trade for Leslie. Niall pleads for any other offer, as he will not sacrifice Leslie, but Far Dorcha refuses.
Keenan goes to see Niall and is surprised to find Seth caged. He tries to reason with Niall, reminding him that he struck Keenan for Seth, but his reason is met with alternating madness and scorn. Niall actively provokes Keenan, refers to him as "kingling", and reminds Keenan "uncannily" of Irial.
Niall, now seemingly blaming Seth entirely for Irial's death, tries to blind him with a hot poker. Seth moves quickly enough to avoid being blinded, but the poker grazes his forehead and scars him. Before Niall can harm Seth further, Leslie arrives and stops him.
Keenan visits Niall again, this time voicing a theory that Niall is literally not himself. When he addresses Irial, Irial is able to admit to inhabiting Niall's body, as he had been unable to speak of it until someone figured it out. When Niall regains control of his body, Keenan explains that, though their shared dreams, Irial remains alive in Niall's body. Niall finally accepts this and then Keenan informs Leslie of the same thing, though she doesn't believe him until Irial confirms this.
The Dark, Summer and Winter courts all go to war against Bananach and her fey. Niall rushes straight to meet Bananach and fight her, with Donia's aid until Bananach wounds her. Niall continues to fight, but is unable to defeat Bananach alone. Aislinn, however, tells Niall to shielf himself and uses her sunlight and her control of earth to entrap, burn, and kill Bananach.
After the battle, Far Dorcha offers the role of Discord to, in turn, Aislinn, Seth, Niall and, finally, Irial, who accepts and is returned to his body. Seth and Niall discuss Seth's new role as Niall's balance and, despite all, they remain brothers to each other. Niall and Irial, neither of them addictive to mortals any longer, return to their home and to Leslie.
This short story, published in Marr's Faery Tales and Nightmares, primarily follows Seth but Niall is also a major character. Seth and Niall travel to see Seth's parents, who have contacted Seth to say that they are in trouble; he asks Niall to go with him because he doesn't have the transport to get there himself and because, after the events of Darkest Mercy, he believes that the two of them need to talk.
Irial and Niall's relationship, which seemed repaired at the end of Darkest Mercy, is shown to be as such in Unexpected Family. The two of them seem comfortable kissing in front of Seth and Niall trusts Irial with his court for the weekend while he is away.
During the journey, which they make in a Hound's steed in the form of a Mustang, Seth and Niall agree that it would be best is Seth continued to be Niall's balance. They make a vow: that Niall will never imprison or torture Seth again, and that Seth will tell Niall if he foresees the deaths of Irial or Leslie.
At the campsite where Seth's parents are being forced to stay by several solitary faeries, Niall confronts the faeries while Seth speaks to his parents. They tell him that Seth is their champion; when Niall claims to be able to stand up to them, several hundred fey appear and surround him, and so he backs down. They don mortal glamours and go to greet Seth, who accepts the role as their protector, but claims to not be their king. Niall congratulates him on dealing with the fey well, and Seth's court have their first revelry.
He is a Gancanagh with wood-brown hair and a "forgettable" face, save for a long scar running from his temple to the corner of his mouth. At the start of the series, he deliberately keeps his hair cut short to lessen his physical appeal to mortals.
emotional, aggressive, vulnerable, temperamental