"Threatening my people will only bring you destruction."
Nat’áanii Atsiniltłʼish, known as the Lightning Chief in English, is the elected leader of a previously hidden underground Native American tribe known as the Hóyą́. Living in the technologically advanced city of Hodéezyéél, he was forced to reveal himself and his people when the Doomuli began to threaten Earth as their ancestors foretold. He's also the first member of Brandon's 2018 character lineup.
Like some other Inora characters, he doesn't have a home series but is expected to show up in future crossovers and other projects. Reception for the character has been (TBA).
Lightning Chief is a tall, bulky man whose weight mostly consists of muscle with very little fat. He has long black hair, dark skin (like the rest of his tribe), and light blue eyes with black paint smeared beneath them, in addition to very sharp facial features. He has two small turquoise earrings, the hallmark of a Hóyą́ chief.
His usual outfit is a black suit and pants lined with bulletproof Sentelenium. Beneath his suit he wears a white button-up shirt, and his brown boots are made of leather. When it comes to rituals, he goes shirtless and shoeless and instead wears tan pants made out of a fragile cloth.
Long ago, the Doomuli visited America as part of their efforts to scout out Earth. Viewing the world's societies as primitive and beneath them, they opted to leave the planet alone until it had further developed. Before this though, they had several violent encounters with the Navajo people. Their weak weapons were unable to compete with the alien group's, which lead to them being slaughtered as well as them being left with the ominous warning that they would return. The survivors recorded this through art, and it was passed down from generation to generation.
As the first European settlers made contact with the Native Americans, the Navajo were split on what actions to take. While most of them believed it was best to take them head on and try to achieve peace, a small faction believed this to be naive, having heard of what they did to the other tribes. This group, deemed the Hóyą́ (a Navajo word meaning disrespectful or wise), migrated underground to a massive hollow cave beneath Colorado. They founded Hodéezyéél, a small peaceful village, and took the art telling the Navajo of the Doomuli with them.
Sending spies up on occasion to check out how things had changed, they saw that the outsiders had slaughtered and marginalized their brethren. The tribe decided to stay isolated besides a few visits to the surface to learn English, in case they ever made contact, and to watch how the rest of the world was progressing. In the 1900s, they discovered a massive deposit of Sentelenium, which allowed them to build taller buildings, create technology decades beyond the surface people, and light the city without using just torches.
Nat’áanii was born to a warrior mother and an artist father in 1989, by which the city had completely integrated advanced technology using Sentelenium. His aggressive, headstrong mother trained him in combat and hunting, leading to him become athletic and skilled with weapons. On the other hand, his calm and reserved father instilled a love of art and serenity within him. The two encouraged him to do whatever he wanted with his life, as they would love and support him either way. Due to it being a period of peace, he decided to become a curator of the tribe's artwork.
In 2015, spies notified the city's chief and his advisors about Six arriving on Earth. They maintained that what happened to the outside world wasn't their business, and decided to avoid causing a panic by keeping it a secret. Nat’áanii overheard all of this while delivering some decorations to the capital building, and recalled the artwork he owned that told of the Doomuli. Although uncertain that Six was related, he believed that the people had a right to know what was happening and spread the news.
While the displeased government tried to assure the people that he was merely a madman relying on an old fable, the spies confirmed what he was saying. Knowing that the alien invaders would surely affect them too, the people also sided with him. Shortly after, the Threat's forces came to the city in search of their Sentelenium. Alongside the city's army, he fended them off. It was at this time he met a female soldier named Hozho, whose calmness and open-minded attitude attracted him, and the two started dating.
His willingness to tell the truth and courage in battle made him popular with the city's occupants, while the government's failure convinced him that the city needed better leaders. In the tribe's next election years later, he won by a landslide on his platform of transparency and security. Shortly after, he met with an alien named Sia, who he believed could provide knowledge about and assistance against further alien invaders. Months later he married Hozho, on the day that would happen to be when the Doomuli were revealed to the world. The correlation between them and the invaders depicted in the ancient artwork was unmistakable, and it was confirmed to the tribe that they had indeed returned as promised.
Knowing of how brutally they slaughtered Navajo people, he was unwilling to let his people wait for an attack. Instead, he decided to have the city do something unprecendented - reveal themselves to the world. Although annoyed by the outside world's curiosity and cautious around them, the city decided to support him, as his actions in the past had saved the city. He's currently balancing diplomacy, publicity, and preparing for the Doomuli's next attack.
Nat’áanii is a man who's deeply loving and protective of the people and things he cares about. While quiet, stern, and no-nonsense, he's clearly very kind and values his tribe no matter their class or beliefs. Having come from a working class family, he has a soft spot for poor and homeless people of any nationality or ethnicity, despite his dislike for most outsiders. This leads him to use his power and wealth for charitable purposes if ever possible.
This is one of the factors that makes him a well-loved and respected leader, alongside his tendency to listen to the little people, keep information public, and strategize. Despite his use of technology, he's no less in touch with nature and has a deep respect for wildlife of all kinds. This means that although he's a hunter, he kills for meat alone and protests animal cruelty. In rare moments where he's not hard at work, his other passions include buying and studying artwork, painting, training to become a better fighter, and spending time with Hozho.
His belief in democracy, independence, and coexisting with nature has given him a strong dislike of the Doomuli and the current inhabitants of America. Although he'd prefer a society where the three groups were completely separated, he's willing to reluctantly team up with the latter to stop the former's extremism and brutality. One of his negative qualities is the way he handles defeat, with it deeply angering him. This can lead him to become immature and sloppy, which is harmless in small cases, but can be dangerous in larger scale conflicts.
Nat’áanii's most important relationship is with his wife, who he means the most to him out of any person on Earth. Although he's serious and stubborn while she's more laid-back and reasonable, the two both love art and have a mutual investment in keeping their tribe safe. Her willingness to interact with outsiders can be a very useful asset considering his lack of interest in establishing alliances. His best friend is the army's lead engineer, Va'an, a woman he met during his battle with the Threat's soldiers. She develops most of the technology he uses, including his bulletproof suit and lightning gauntlets, while providing a bright and optimistic outlook.
Having been trained from an early age to be an expert hunter and fighter, Nat’áanii has developed a very athletic physique and impressive muscles. He can run fast, jump high due to his height, and sustain more than a few blows. His fighting style resembles that of a boxer's, and while he prefers to take enemies on up-close, he's also quite the archer and is skilled with spears. Having hunted animals his whole life, he can be quite stealthy despite his large frame. His other primary assets in battle are his lightning gauntlets and his suit.
These durable gloves protect him, allow him to lift more, and also conduct and generate electricity without burning his hands. While they can't fire off electricity, they come in handy during melee fights due to their ability to burn and even electrocute foes. Less violent uses involves their ability to charge and even overload machines or create small fires. His suit makes his body practically immune to physical attacks and firearms, though certain weapons can break through and parts of him are still exposed.
Besides combat, Nat’áanii is an expert on his tribe and therefore the Navajo's art and culture. He can easily identify and appraise these items, though his knowledge of the outside world and their customs is much slimmer. Like a good amount of his people, he can speak both their slightly altered version of the Navajo language and English. When not in battle directly, he's a talented tactician who understands his weak spots and surrounds himself with people suited for different elements of warfare.
As with most members of his tribe, his primary weakness is natural sunlight. He can handle it in small doses, but overall he has much less of a resistance to painful sunburns and even skin cancer. An enemy aware of this could easily use it for torture or to merely catch him off guard.
- Lightning Chief was inspired by Marvel's Black Panther character as well as the lack of inoffensive Native American superheroes.
- Hodéezyéél is located underneath Colorado due to it being the author's home state.
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