Born in a small mercenary outpost outside Hierarchy space, he learned the hard way to fight for what he wanted. His father died when he was 16, and his mother forced him to join the turian military. His outsider status made life difficult; though he was always at the top of his class, his superiors and peers never truly accepted him.
As a soldier, Nihlus' skills were unquestionable. His attitude, however, often got him in trouble. On several occasions, he disobeyed direct orders to do what he thought was best. Although his instincts were usually proven right, his notoriety grew. Even when he single-handedly routed an enemy patrol, and saved his squad from ambush, his commanding officers berated him for his recklessness. His military career seemed to stall before it even began.
After being reassigned to a new squad for the third time, Nihlus was introduced to Saren Arterius, a fellow turian and a Spectre. Saren was impressed with the young soldier. He befriended Nihlus and offered to mentor him. Within a year of meeting Saren, Nihlus was asked to join the Spectres.
Free from the restrictions of military procedure, Nihlus excelled in his new role. He quickly stepped from his mentor's shadow and established himself as one of the Council's top agents. Since then, Nihlus has completed countless missions as a Spectre, each one more difficult and dangerous than the last.
Cool under pressure, Nihlus has an uncanny ability to find an enemy's weakness and exploit it. Though his methods aren't as brutal as Saren's, he will not hesitate to efficiently and thoroughly eradicate anything or anyone that stands in his way. He also does not share Saren's grudge for humanity, instead seeing their potential.
Mass Effect Edit
As a representative of the Council, Nihlus goes along on the Normandy's ill-fated shakedown mission. He is treated with suspicion by the Normandy's crew, who doesn't think the Council sent a Spectre just to check out the stealth systems. They are right: Nihlus is not only there to recover the Prothean Beacon on Eden Prime, but to assess Commander Shepard's candidacy for the Spectres.
Nihlus himself personally nominated Shepard for the candidacy, though his reasons for doings so depend on Shepard's Psychological Profile. If Shepard has the Sole Survivor profile, then Nihlus admired Shepard's strong will to live and calmness under pressure; if Shepard has the War Hero profile, Nihlus was impressed by Shepard's drive to protect the innocent and hold the line; if Shepard has the Ruthless profile, Nihlus respects Shepard's commitment to getting the job done, no matter the cost. Nihlus intends to accompany Shepard on several missions, and would likely have become Shepard's mentor, but events take a tragic turn.
Nihlus goes ahead of Shepard's team on Eden Prime, intending to scout ahead, and runs into Saren. Surprised to see his old mentor but grateful for the help against the geth, Nihlus drops his guard and Saren shoots him in the back of the head. Unbeknownst to Saren, there is a human dockworker named Powell hiding in the shadows nearby. He witnesses the entire exchange, overhearing Saren's name and watching helplessly as Saren kills Nihlus. He later tells Shepard of everything he saw.
According to Saren, as Nihlus' mentor and fellow Spectre, upon his death all of Nihlus' personal files were passed on to him. If so, these may have given Saren valuable insights from Shepard's personnel file, which enables Saren to evade capture for a long time.
Mass Effect 2 Edit
While supposedly conducting Council business, Nihlus was once drawn into a fight with an asari justicar named Samara after she witnessed him kill an unarmed civilian. Compelled into battle by her justicar code, Samara attempted to kill Nihlus for the perceived crime. For two weeks the pair played a deadly game of cat and mouse in the wilderness. Eventually, Nihlus was able to use Samara's code against her, creating a situation in which she had to choose between saving the life of an innocent or capturing him. Being a defender of innocents, Samara naturally chose the former, allowing Nihlus to finally escape. Despite her failure, the encounter left her with an admiration for his adaptability and tactics.