From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The Epitome of Will, this man fights on the front-lines against the overflowing gang activity in Paragon City.
Born in New York City to a pair of Japanese immigrants, Blood Nexus began his life as the young and disciplined Yamoto Watanabe. His father, a local grocer with a rigid belief in personal responsibility and honor, imbued a similar outlook in the child. He preached the power within a single soul--that human ability to transcend destiny with sweat and blood and stubborn force of will. He put Yamoto to work stocking shelves, and taught him traditional forms of meditation brought from across the sea, all in the hopes that the boy would someday become a man worthy of the family name--that he would pass on these lessons for generations to come, preserving the culture that was cherished so deeply.
In time, Yamoto found himself absorbed within the belief system that his father set before him. Each day he would walk home from school, climb up the dusty stairs to the small apartment, and begin his studies until the sun set behind the Manhattan skyline. He would then sit on a mat and meditate, or continue his readings, delving headfirst into crinkled martial arts books that he had bought in a local thrift shop. Soon, those old lessons became models by which he practiced, and with the money he saved up from his work at the family grocery, he managed to buy a brand-new punching bag from a big-name company. His father thought of chiding him on wasteful spending, yet when he saw the fire burning within Yamoto’s eyes and the potential within his controlled strikes, he chose to embrace the decision and support his son’s new practice.
Years passed. Yamoto grew to the fine age of seventeen, and his incredible drive to improve that which he cherished had given him a championship title in a major martial arts competition held annually in New York City. His father, who sat proudly in attendance beside his always-smiling mother, had grown to respect him for the man that he had become. College loomed on the horizon, and with the scholarships that he had received for his studies in philosophy and religion, the doors of Ivy were wide open, waiting for the talented Yamoto Watanabe to meet his bright future.
It was the end of summer when the unthinkable happened. Five days before Yamoto was supposed to leave for a brand new life, both his mother and father elected to take all of his clothes to the laundry. They wanted their son to go off to college with everything in perfect order. What they couldn’t have known was that their local laundromat had failed to pay their ‘protection’ money to a particularly ruthless branch of the Hellions gang. No sooner had they had put their coins in the machine, that the entire building was firebombed. Yamoto’s parents were swept away in an instant of burning red and blazing heat.
The news of his parent’s untimely death did not shatter Yamoto’s mind; his will was strong, and he was able to rationalize and accept the situation without shedding a single tear. However, he found a hatred burning in his chest--so strong that he elected to stay behind and forego his trip to college. It was a feeling that he accepted, despite his father’s teachings, and it was compounded the next day when he was informed by the police that the Hellions were responsible. Unfortunately, it was impossible to tell which individuals had committed the act, and the chances of prosecution without opening a police versus gang war was too high to risk a class-action lawsuit.
Feeling like the justice system had failed him, and that the ‘heroes’ of the world were incapable of doing what was necessary to stop the Hellions, Yamoto decided to fight fire with fire. As a direct descendent from an Asian bloodline, he confidently approached a local branch of the infamous Tsoo gang. He proposed that they strike against the Hellions in exchange for his eternal service and the dark artifacts they undoubtedly possessed, and after easily dispatching five claw-wielding initiates meant to test his prowess, the compact was sealed.
Three dozen Tsoo, including four sorcerers, descended upon the Hellions warehouse. Yamoto lead them fearlessly. The fighting was over less than a minute later, and the bodies of those responsible were strewn across the floor. The leader of the cell, a ‘Damned’ named Dragonbreath, sat broken and bloodied at Yamoto’s feet.
Having proven himself worthy in pitted battle, the local Tsoo leaders began tasking Yamoto to more grueling and dangerous assignments. Honor-bound by his vow, he performed exceptionally, especially when pitted against other gangs and villainous rivals. This lasted for four years, during which time he had received numerous mundane tattoos. Yet he always refused any magical treatment, electing to rely on pure force of will to overpower his opponents.
On his 21st birthday, Yamoto was taken before Tub Ci, the supreme leader of the Tsoo and one of the most dangerous men on the planet. It was there that he was drafted into the ‘Inner Moon’ project, which hoped to use ancient, dark inks to enhance the qualities of those with indomitable wills. Four other elite Tsoo were chosen, and Tub Ci watched as they and Yamoto withstood the torture of these tattoos without expressing a single quiver of pain or regret.
The Inner Moon gained the ability to unleash darkness, despair, and pure pain within the minds of their victims. They were the ultimate torture specialists, and their force of will could overwhelm even the most stalwart subject.
For years, Yamoto, now simply known by his Tsoo designation, worked with the other members of the Inner Moon to mentally and physically destroy those that had crossed Tub Ci. No one was safe from their wrath. Heroes, Villains, and even the occasional Tsoo betrayer all buckled beneath their dark magic and tremendous martial skill. This was a dark time for Yamoto, who had lost in morals what he had gained in willpower. He was fully aware of the pain that he was causing, but his hatred for those that purposelessly hurt others allowed him to justify becoming a demon himself.
It was when Tub Ci brought forward a mother and young child that things suddenly changed. Apparently, the father of the family had gravely insulted the Tsoo and had gone into hiding. It was tasked to the Inner Moon to torture his wife and son to find his whereabouts. Knowing that this was the line that he would not cross, Yamoto stepped forward and refused the assignment. Tub Ci both respected and cursed this decision. He offered Yamoto a choice: torture the woman and child or take their place. He chose the latter.
The Epitome of Will
Yamoto, stripped of his title as an Inner Moon member, was placed in a dark room where the four remaining members of his order unleashed their evil magic upon his mind. Their incredible wills burrowed into his psyche and festered it in darkness. Yet he remained stoic, using all of his own impossible willpower to endure the trauma.
This torture continued for four years, during which time Yamoto was the sole occupation of the Inner Moon. His powerful will only continued to grow, and his former brothers chose to use his resistance to train themselves--to increase their own powers. Meanwhile, Yamoto had secretly learned to shut off his ability to feel pain, to strengthen his muscles through mental control, and to trick his brain into releasing all manner of chemicals. He was preparing to strike, and he felt a monumental change brewing within his very soul.
The opportunity arrived when two of the Inner Moon were called away to attend to a personal request by Tub Ci. After their departure, the hold on Yamoto had become weak enough for him to escape. But as he began to fight back against the magic binding his mind, he felt his will reach an entirely different plateau. Suddenly, he was able to bend the very reality within his skin. He had become the Epitome of Will, a living embodiment of a human trait, and the realization poured across his form like a tidal wave.
Within moments, the two Inner Moon members found their Tsoo powers completely ineffective against Yamoto. His mind had become impenetrable and fell completely under his control. And as masterful combatants as they were, Yamoto’s newfound ability to superpower his muscles and nullify pain gave him just enough of an advantage--along with the pure surprise--to kill them both.
As he took his first free step in four years, Yamoto felt himself drawn to finish what he started; the Inner Moon had to be eliminated.
The Hunt in Shadows
News of Yamoto’s escape had traveled through the tight-knit connections of the Tsoo, and less than three days later, the two remaining members of the Inner Moon had fled to Paragon City, where Tub Ci himself made his residence.
Now able to jump and run at incredible speeds, Yamoto made his way to the ‘City of Heroes’, fully intent on tracking down those who had caused so much pain for both himself and the people he had helped them torture; it was motivated by both revenge and repentance. The two most powerful Inner Moon members were the ones that had been chosen to leave his side, and Yamoto knew that taking them down, even with his new powers, would be monumentally more difficult than his recent escape.
Once in Paragon City, Yamoto began his four-month task of tracking down his prey. Evidence gathered from beaten street-running Tsoo ended up pointing Yamoto to a large warehouse on the greater Talos Island, where screams had been heard coming from the office of a ‘new member’ of the local cell. When he arrived on the site, he was greeted by twenty high-ranking assassins of the gang, all standing guard in front of an Inner Moon member and his victim.
The guards were unprepared to deal with a man who could close his own wounds and turn his muscles to steel, and they fell quickly and unceremoniously to his fists and feet and the magic of his own tattoos. The Inner Moon, however, stood fearlessly as Yamoto closed the distance. And as soon as he was about to begin his vengeful attack, the man unleashed the full force of his own will and magic. It was far more powerful than what he had escaped from, and despite gaining the powers of an Epitome, Yamoto found himself being torn asunder from within the mind.
However, he was not one to be beaten in a contest of wills. Using all of his energy, and conjuring up the image of his long-lost father’s face, Yamoto unleashed everything that his mind had. He temporarily shed his physical form, becoming a coalesced avatar of human willpower. In this state, he became completely immune to the mental abilities of the Inner Moon, even one as powerful as his opponent’s; his mind and his body had become one entity.
After killing the Inner Moon, his body reverted back to its human form. With renewed confidence in his abilities, he set out to find the last surviving member of the Inner Moon. However, his search came up empty, and to this day he has yet to find a single trace of his most devious nemesis.
A Not-so-Perfect Hero
After two more months of searching with nothing to show for it, Yamoto chose to recognize the true problems going on around him: Paragon City was filled with gangs that continued to ruin lives and destroy families despite the overflow of heroes falling from the sky. This time, instead of fighting fire with fire, the Epitome of Will chose to put his own name on the roster of heroes. He created a costume and a persona that would be known as ‘Blood Nexus’, and he would protect the city from the gangs that infested its streets.
Once he had registered with the PPD, Blood Nexus went to work. He aided in the arrest of high ranking members of the Tsoo, Hellions, Skulls, Trolls, Outcasts, and even some of the more organized groups such as Malta and the 5th Column. However, police often found the ‘captured’ criminals beaten half to death. Once in a while they would come across the lifeless body of a particularly terrible gang-recruiter or leader.
It didn’t take long for the PPD to send a representative to speak to Blood Nexus, urging him to cease taking matters into his own hands. They claimed that killing these men and women wasn’t the right way to go about it, and that they would move to prosecute if it continued.
Blood Nexus openly swore to stop his rash actions, agreeing to help start a charity organization called Gang-Busters in the hopes of making a difference through peaceful means. This fundraiser was completely legitimate, and he still runs it to this day. However, his vigilante manner of taking down gang members hasn’t slowed; he has simply become adept at covering his tracks. And while some PPD members have it out for him, others respect his drive to put down the gangs that have plagued the city for so long.
Blood Nexus is currently on the lookout for the final member of the Inner Moon, although nothing new has come his way. In the meantime, he is continuing to serve the people of Paragon City by ruining the power base of the major gangs.
Blood Nexus’ willpower is indomitable. Whether it’s his immunity to psychic invasion or his pure conviction to continue his fight against gangs, the man is unflappable when he puts his mind towards something, and no force on Earth or beyond is capable of changing his desires, emotions, or the flow of his actions. While this ability grants him the superhuman capability of pushing through impossible conditions, it also means that he is always completely responsible for his actions, and that the sins of his past rest squarely on his shoulders.
Blood Nexus is capable of altering reality within his own body through applied mental commands. This ability is limited in it’s production of anything but kinetic and chemical energy, however; while he can make his biceps more powerful than pistons or shift his dermal layers to be stronger than steel, he isn’t capable of producing electricity or splitting an atom. And while his healing factor is quite high, any obliterating strike to his brain would be sufficient to kill him.
Inner Moon Tattoos
The Inner Moon tattoos that were granted to him by his dark days in the Tsoo’s fold are generally suppressed by Blood Nexus’ superhuman willpower. However, when facing a particularly powerful enemy, he is capable of aptly making use of them again. They grant him the ability to bring darkness into the minds of those around him, causing horrible waking nightmares, mental trauma, and pain so ghastly that it can kill defenseless foes. The level of these effects is determined by how much mental focus he puts into the assault, but his inks are not quite as powerful as they once were, and those with mental training can defend against the worst of it.
Martial Arts Master
Blood Nexus mastered various martial arts back when he was a teenager, and his skill with hand-to-hand combat is as important a factor in his life as his willpower is. His skills are focused into traditional Japanese and Chinese styles of fighting, although he has branched out to absorb some western influences in recent months.
Blood Nexus adopted the sarong as a weapon after being reprimanded by the PPD for his use of ‘unnecessary’ force. Although he is capable of using the sarong as a choking weapon, he generally takes advantage of its potential to disarm and incapacitate. The heavy, durable material used in its construction can ably tie up some of the more troublesome captives.
Epitome of Will Transformation
Blood Nexus’ ultimate ability is to transcend the human form, fully embracing his ability as an Epitome. When doing so, he sheds his physical existence and becomes a being of white energy--an incarnation of a human trait brought into our reality. In this form, Blood Nexus is capable of outstanding feats of strength and endurance. However, even his will is unable to hold the form for more than a few minutes, after which he reverts back to an exhausted mortal form.
Blood nexus is currently on the lookout for like-minded individuals.
Aside from Tub Ci and the last remaining member of the Inner Moon, Blood Nexus has made surprisingly few legitimate enemies. It might be because of his tendency to eliminate them at the earliest convenience.