Nathaniel was heir to the magnificent Georgian manor, Beak's End, but his road to being the master wasn't an easy one. His beloved mother was killed in a mysterious carriage accident when he was eight. She was seven months pregnant. Her death left him and his younger sister, Margaret, with only their abusive, alcoholic father, Cecil, and the servants. Cecil Ley had squandered most of the Ley assets, and the family that was once the richest in North Yorkshire was on the brink of losing it all.
From early on, Nathaniel's passion was science and the occult, and he was recognized as brilliant in his childhood. He gave up his youth to save his family and Beak's End and shelter Margaret from the harsh reality.
Nathaniel succeeds in not only saving Beak's End, but restoring it to its former glory. In the process, however, he has lost his childhood.
In 1873, Nathaniel finds the dearest of friends in fellow Occultist, Ambrose de Ripariis. They become immediate partners and eventually lovers.
Nathaniel vowed from boyhood that he would marry the lovely Susan Grayson, heiress to nearby Grayson Hall, who he considers his twin flame. He is concerned that his relationship with Ambrose will cause Susan to not want to marry him, but he tells her the truth anyway. Susan is not affected by hearing this as she is a woman who rejects many aspects of the conventional Victorian society in which she lives.
Nathaniel and Susan become engaged but a year later, shortly before they are to be married, Susan mysteriously ends their engagement. Nathaniel is devastated.
Several years later, when he hears Susan has married a Russian land baron, he takes Anne Prescott, a lovely young London woman, as his bride. Nathaniel and Anne are the parents of Cecilia, Adam and Miles Ley.
Although Nathaniel cares deeply for Anne, there is a lack of passion. His life centers around his occult work and relationship with Ambrose, and his adoration of his gifted daughter, Cecilia.
Nathaniel's nemesis is Fletcher Peacock, who unsuccessfully tried to court Susan. The feud with the Peacocks did not begin here.
After a feud with Ambrose that ends their friendship, a dark force from his ancient past gradually gets a hold on Nathaniel. Things become increasingly more unpleasant at Beak's End. He and Cecilia have a clash of wills, and he has an increasingly complex and thorny relationship with Cecilia's beau, Daniel.
The battle for Nathaniel's soul goes back and forth but one night the dark forces prevail. Cecilia ends up dead, but Nathaniel remembers little about what happened. Nathaniel tries to tell his side of the story, but everyone is in too much pain themselves to listen. Hoping Anne and the boys will come back to him, Nathaniel starts construction on a farmhouse on Beak's End property, believing a new house will bring a new beginning. As the farmhouse is completed, he realizes building it was a farce. Anne refuses to even see him and sends all his letters back unopened. His last hope is trying to reach Daniel, and when he finally sees him, the encounter ends in agony.
One November night, when Nathaniel's pain becomes too much to bear, he hangs himself on a Rowan tree in back of the farmhouse. His body is no longer, but his tormented spirit is very much alive.
Mason Pierson/Miles Ley/Ryce(Soulmate. Son, brother)
Naiyana Mathers/Maria Driscoll Ley/Maelisse (High-level soulmate. Close friend, mother, sister).