- "You have been through much and travelled far... but you are honourable, and you are a lamplighter!"
- —Female ghostwaif to Nate Quarter
Nate Quarter was the main character of The Immortals and a famous descender. He was a descendant of Quint, Twig, and Rook, the name 'Quarter' being a corruption of the original Barkwater. His story takes place 300 years after the dawn of the Third Age of Flight, 500 years after the time of Quint.
Work in the Eastern Woods
At a young age, Nate was taught the fundamentals of being a Lamplighter by his father Abe Quarter, so that he would be able to make his fortune in the Prade Phraxmine. Abe Quarter had been the Mine Sergeant of that phraxmine, known for his fair and kind business practices, but he had been assassinated by Grint Grayle, a ruthlessly ambitious employee of the Prade Phraxmine. The murder had appeared to be an accident, and Grint Grayle took over the phraxmine, gaining a reputation for cruelty to everyone who worked in the mine. He had a particular dislike for Nate, who continued to work in the Prade Phraxmine with his faithful cloddertrog companion, Rudd.
One night when Nate was fourteen, Grint Grayle attempted to shoot him at The Hulks, but instead killed Rudd, who had dived in front of Nate to protect him. Nate escaped with Slip, a Grey Goblin scuttler who was also on Grint Grayle's hit list. Nate then sneaked back into the mine stockade to discover that Grint Grayle had a secret stash of stormphrax crystals which he had embezzled from the company. He rigged a phraxlamp to explode, destroying the mine stockade, along with the stash of stormphrax. A furious Grint Grayle attempted to capture Nate and Slip, but they escaped aboard the cargo barge transporting the latest supply of phraxcrystals to the Deadbolt Vulpoon. Upon arriving at the Deadbolt Vulpoon, Nate purchased them passage to the city of Great Glade. During the voyage, he was pickpocketed by a goblin and lost all his money. He headed down to the tavern hall, where he found a half-glader (coin) on the floor. He then proceeded to play a game of splinters with a Black Eared Goblin and a fourthling named "The Professor". After the goblin was exposed to be a cheat and killed by the Professor, Nate won the round and took over 200 gladers in winnings.
Life in Great Glade
Once Nate and Slip had reached Great Glade, Nate informed the chief clerk of the Prade Phraxmine, Felftis Brack, that Grint Grayle had been stealing stormphrax. He then set off to find his uncle, the High Professor of Flight Quove Lentis, hoping that he would be able to assist Nate in setting up a new life. Quove despised Nate's parents, due to his view that his sister had sullied the Lentis name by marrying a lowly mine sergeant, and refused to help Nate. Nate was angered and humiliated, and called the academics "high and mighty".
Nate soon found work in Copperwood, and became friendly with his boss, Friston Drew. Friston's spoilt and twisted son Branxford was enraged when he learned that his father planned to pass the business to Nate instead of him, and, during a Thousandsticks match, had Nate framed for Friston's murder. In fact, Friston Drew was murdered by Branxford, as part of a plan formulated by Felftis Brack. Soon, Nate and Slip were also blamed for the kidnapping of Eudoxia Prade, the daughter of the owner of Phrade Phraxmine, although Eudoxia came with Nate willingly. Nate fled Great Glade for the Midwood Decks, along with Eudoxia, Slip, a banderbear named Weelum, Ambris Hentadile (alias "the Professor") and a Third Age sky pirate named Squall Razortooth.
Adventures in Hive
After arriving in the Midwood Decks they caught a phraxship called Old Glory to Hive to rescue Eudoxia's father, Galston Prade. In a rescue attempt Nate and Eudoxia became tangled in the recently declared war between Great Glade and Hive, and were pressed into service in the Hive Militia. During the Battle of the Midwood Marshes, the Hive Militia was defeated, and Eudoxia was badly injured by a leadwood bullet lodged behind her ear. Nate set off for Riverrise with Eudoxia, intending to use the Riverrise water to cure her. Zelphyius Dax flew the pair of them to Thorn Gate in his skycraft, and they journeyed along the Waif Trail to reach the great city.
Quest in Riverrise
Upon arriving at Riverrise, Nate Quarter learned that the only water potent enough to save Eudoxia was the water in the Garden of Life—and Golderayce One-Eye, the tryannical ruler of Riverrise, forbade anyone to enter the Garden on pain of death. Enlisting the help of Golderayce's personal servants, Gilmora and Gomber, Nate sneaked past the Keep, but Golderayce realized what was going on and chased him up Kobold's Steps. As Golderayce fired a poison dart at Nate, the Caterbird swooped down and created a whirlwind, blowing the dart back at Golderayce and killing him. Nate proceeded to the Garden of Life and discovered that Rook and Twig were there having been kept prisoners there for hundreds of years, unable to die due to the immortality-granting powers of the Garden. After their stories were recounted, Rook and Twig were swept into a Great Storm passing over the Garden of Life, reunited with Quint, and transformed into echoes of their youth.
Journey to the Edge
Nate, Eudoxia, and Slip then set off for the Edge aboard the Archemax, in search of Ambris Hentadile's missing brother Ifflix. They were joined by a group of Fettle-Leggers who were making a pilgrimage to the "City of Shining Spires". Upon arriving at the Stone Gardens, they all discovered that the fabled city was actually Sanctaphrax, blown back to the Edge after hundreds of years of drifting through Open Sky. The city seemed perfectly preserved and even populated by academics, but something seemed off to Nate and Weelum's senses told him that it was a dead city, so Squall decided to stay with the banderbear on the Archemax while the rest examined the city. Soon, it became clear that the city had become a breeding ground for gloamglozers, and that the monsters had created the illusion of the city as it appeared in the past. The original Gloamglozer tried to kill Nate upon realizing he was a descendant of his ancient enemy, Quint, but the three Immortals appeared, slayed all the gloamglozers, and finally turned back to glisters to be reborn. Nate then joined Ambris Hentadile and descended the Edge cliff, declining Galston's offer to work at the Archemax Yard and leaving his friends and Eudoxia behind.
Nate became a famous descender, assembling fellow adventurers in Sanctaphrax. Quove Lentis, the Professor of Flight in Great Glade considered descending heresy and persecuted all that were in favour of descending. Sanctaphrax became a safe haven for all those who fled from Quove Lentis' influence, while others, like Cade or Blatch Helmstoft fled to the Farrow Ridges or the city of Hive.
Nate Quarter, like the three Immortals, was kind and brave of heart, loathing injustice and prepared to do anything for his friends. He also was eager of spirit and willing to earn things through hard work. And he hated pickled tripweed.