Nilak was born into a relatively wealthy family in the Northern Water Tribe to a waterbending mother and a firebending father who, unfortunately died shortly after his birth due to sickness. Nilak was well taken care of by his mother along with his two siblings, a brother and sister who were both firebenders. Although the loss of their father took a larger toll on their mother. Being near many of the her relatives could help with raising the newborn child; at least until recovered a few months after the fact. He had always kept a good relationship with family and friends, even though he'd rather keep to himself, reading mostly about cultures and psychology. Though his siblings both had discovered their bending at the rather early age of 3, Nilak would only have discovered his at the late age of 7. Though he had discovered his bending somewhat later than most, he was rather gifted as he picked up on most things almost immediately as he learned techniques from his mother. He and his siblings would often spar as they got older and more skilled, the young firebenders learning from a journal left for them by their father, while Nilak learned mostly from his mother and - when he became somewhat older - books he stole.
At around the age of 12, Nilak had begun to have a sort of habit, not much liking to see people suffer, he'd steal foods and clothing for the less fortunate and occasionally books for himself, though he could easily buy them. Being an introvert, Nilak had a small group of friends, he'd often show off the things he'd stolen, as he enjoyed the attention slightly, though generally he'd keep to himself about it. Also, around this time, he'd begun to experiment with his bending attempting to develop new techniques that no one else knew of.
At 14, Nilak had begun to show romantic interest in another young man by the name of Pana, a young airbender. Nilak, being rather sociable easily became friends with Pana, even having Pana help with a few thefts, and after a few months, they began to go out. At this point, Nilak had thought it'd be a good idea if they went on a solo hunting trip together, so they packed what they'd believe they'd need on the trip and snuck out after dusk together. This would prove to be the biggest mistake they had ever made, as two young men would leave and one scared broken one would return. Their trip was over before it had begun, soon after, dawn was breaking and they'd decide to set up camp where they were and take a needed rest. Due to exhaustion, they had forgotten to put the food away and soon quite a large pack of wolves had shown up for the meal. Soon thereafter, the sound of the wolves scavenging the area had woken Pana up, so he quickly went to investigate, though he did not feel as if he needed a weapon and felt no need to wake Nilak up.
Pana was just as shocked to find the wolves as they were to find him, though the boy, not wanting to hurt the scared animals, tried to calm them, which unfortunately resulted in failure, causing them to quickly assault the boy, waking Nilak up. Nilak quickly got out of the tent to check what was going on, he immediately noticed the wolves attacking something, before beginning to attack himself, what he didn't realize was that his friend was in the middle of the pack. Quickly dispatching the wolves, he noticed his boyfriend where the wolves once stood, but he wasn't standing, he was on the ground, unmoving, silent. Nilak quickly ran over to Pana, checking to see if he was dead, luckily, he was only very badly injured. Nilak carried him back to the Northern Tribe, leaving everything else behind, running as quickly as he could while holding the other young man in his arms.
The next 2 years went by like nothing, and Nilak felt as if he was nothing. He had left Pana out of guilt, he knew it was somehow his fault Pana nearly died, if only he secured the food properly, if only he had heard the wolves instead of Pana. Nilak had become more distant than ever before, only rarely talking to his family, he'd generally just keep to himself entirely. He still stole for others, though he mostly did it out of guilt, like all of his other actions. He eventually couldn't stand it anymore and decided it was time to leave the Northern Tribe, so one night he stole a rather large sum of money from his family and a note promising to pay it back as soon as he could.
Nilak spent the next year, traveling trying to clear his mind of everything that happened 3 years ago, using as little of his funds as possible. During his travels he visited numerous places across the Earth Republic and Fire Nation meeting numerous people, learning more than he could have from any book, and finally got the peace he had longed for, though he would never be the confident person he once was, this was enough for now. Soon he would turn 17, and he decided he was done with traveling for the time being. During his travels he heard talk of a program of sorts, the Citizenship Project. He decided that was the best course of action for him, as it was a place he hadn't visited and it was just full of opportunity. Being in the Fire Nation at the time, he took the earliest opportunity to get on a ship headed toward Republic City. He'd be 17 by the time they'd arrive, what a perfect way to start anew.