From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The St. Martial Incident
Arbiter Vito Morteo was perhaps one of the most brutal men within Arachnos's own Arbiters. It was but his alcoholism and lustful desires that only complimented his position. However, what drove his interest when it came to women was but something that contrasted his own savagery. That was the beautiful English woman of St. Martial named Vanessa Hale. Vanessa hated Arachnos, but perhaps it was her own hatred for the organization that drew her closer after she met Vito. She was aware of how cruel of a human being he was, but she knew she could fix him... they entered a relationship, and, for a time, it seemed as though she was actually successful. That success led to marriage, and that marriage led to the decision to conceive a child. And thus, Raniero was born.
Due to Vito's rank within Arachnos, the family enjoyed a luxurious life in some of St. Martial's greatest apartments. However, that wouldn't last long. Vanessa use to have full devotion to changing Vito's ways, however, little did she know that if her attention was divided for even a second that he would go back to his old ways. Vito came home with a bottle of vodka in his hand late on a stormy night... Vanessa, infuriated, yelled at him all throughout the night as Raniero constantly cried. Vito was pushed over the edge, pulled out his rifle, and pointed it at the woman he loved, ready to shoot both her and the child that lied so delicately in her arms. She backed toward the counter in their kitchen, pulling out a knife behind her and throwing it in his direction as she ducked from his bullet, saving her child and her own life... yet she loved Vito with all her heart. She cried, holding Raniero tight... never again would anyone harm him. Two oncoming heroes, however, had other plans. They stormed into the home, greeted with the sight of Vito laying dead in the hallway on top of a pool of blood and Vanessa holding Raniero tightly in the kitchen with an open knife drawer.
The heroes immediately opened fire on Vanessa, seeing her as a murderer. As she laid on the floor, bleeding to death, she used the last of her strength to keep her child in her own hands rather than the invading heroes. Although, however, to no avail. They pulled him out of her dying hands, and she too died. The two year old Raniero screamed and sobbed as the two "heroes" confiscated him and brought him to a foster home within Paragon City. Their incompetence on the situation was never spoke of, and buried along with all public knowledge of the whole thing.
The state changed Raniero's last name to his mother's in order for him to become more accepted in society rather than be known as the son of an Arbiter. The records of his family ties to Arbiter Morteo were erased, and never was anyone besides himself able to find out about them. The trauma that existed from witnessing the death of his parents also set him on the road to become incredibly anti-social. The St. Martial incident made sure of that.
The home he was brought to was a mansion owned by the legendary hero known as Duskthief. A master staff fighter and controller of the dark arts. He was a pale man, black haired with eyes brighter than the heavens themselves. Although strong, and always carrying a look of determination. The words shared with the agents was hushed, but apparently he was quite known for his work within the child adoption community. He took Raniero's small hand, and brought him to a room filled with other children. There was much work to be done...
Living within the home of Duskthief would arguably be the dream of any child hoping for a bright future. Each and every child taught from him personally, he ensured they grew up to be smart, physically perfected, and set on the path to success. Most of which even became heroes. This place was where Raniero would grow up... years would go by here.
Raniero was anti-social compared to most. He was an outcast, yet Duskthief saw potential. While most of the other children played, he sat alone. And each time he did, Duskthief would use his alone time for teaching. He chose not to play, so he would work. Although, to avoid stress, he did have to send him to play from time to time.
While sitting alone on a small chair in the corner with his eyes closed, he heard a pleasant voice. It was almost angelic as it entered his ears. He opened his eyes slowly, to see a young girl smiling brightly. He saw his own reflection in her purple eyes, and almost smiled brightly seeing her beautiful chestnut colored hair dangle so pleasantly slightly over her face. The girl was leaning over, looking right into his face. She giggled, sitting next to him. He tried his best to dismiss her, but her persistence caused otherwise. After a great amount of time spent of desperately trying to convince him to play with her, Raniero finally gave in...
Raniero took her hand in which she outstretched. Immediately upon taking it, the two exchanged a gaze that, without a single word, said only so much. For once, Raniero was happy. This girl, who he learned called herself Angie, was but a miracle for him. As he expected, she'd never let the boy frown again. She made a promise that no matter what, she'd always be there for him and, as she'd go to show, she would stay true to that promise.
The painful days that went by for Raniero in that mansion as a child now seemed so much more smoother and lively. The pain he endured felt so much lighter, and with Angie, hope finally found an entrance into a life that went so long without. It was undeniable. Things were changing, and definitely for the better.
Raniero and Angie spent their entire childhood together... although once he was of age, fourteen specifically, Duskthief called Raniero to his office within the mansion. For every child, he was called Duskthief and nothing else. However, Raniero was seen as something more, and therefore learned of his real name. That name was Cyril. Raniero had an edge over the other children due to much more time spent training and learning, and therefore, Duskthief chose to allow him to have a hero license, seeing him as at this point being stronger than the average human and a possible powerless hero. Raniero was more than happy with hearing this news, joy filling his dark brown eyes... Cyril seemed to share in his happiness, returning his smile. Although, that smile faded immediately, when Cyril let Raniero know that being a hero meant he had to forever leave the mansion and change his residence to a base. He'd be unable to communicate with children, including Angie.
At that moment, he immediately refused, claiming that, although at this point it was as if a dream coming true, that his loyalty to his closest friend was worth far more than any dream he could ever live. Cyril was shocked... and stayed silent for a moment, almost as if thinking... until agreeing a couple of moments later. He called Angie into his office, and offered her a license as well. She testified, however, claiming she had no powers. Cyril nodded, revealing a record that showed she was actually a psychic with powers over emotion and the ability to soothe people far easier than others... explaining how she was able to get close to Raniero when others weren't. It was a shock, of course, but the biggest shock was that he hid that record... Raniero didn't mind her intrusion too much as it proved better for his development as he grew up, but suspicion was drawn from Cyril's hiding of that record. When asked why, he simply smiled and said that it was for the best. At that moment, he gave them their licenses. Raniero and Angie became Belabor and Dawning Day. How did the two friends celebrate? Simple. An embrace one moment, and a long kiss the next. From that moment on, they were more than friends.
Rise and Fall
Belabor and Dawning Day were unstoppable when it came to cleaning the streets. They were young, yes, only teenagers even, but they were more effective than most adult heroes of the time. The crime rates were falling, and quickly, but each and every time he had to work with other heroes, he'd always have a feeling of unease and hatred... incompetence took his chance at a normal life, and it was time someone who knew exactly what they were doing took force. Four years later, when they were both eighteen, however, Dawning Day one time was tipped off of what would be a massive Arachnos strike at Spanky's Boardwalk. She quickly flew over there on that fine day with not a cloud in the sky and waters more pristine than ever... it'd be a shame that the strike would ruin it all... that is, if there was a strike at all. Instead of an attack, she was greeted by Belabor standing at the edge of the boardwalk holding a ring... she would be his fiancé.
Their wedding was planned to be a couple of months away, however, there was the inconvenience of it being planned under a time of a slight crime spike, and with them distracted with their wedding preparations, it was slowly getting worse. They ignored calls, and shirked their duty, focusing only on each other... and as soon as Belabor finally decided to answer the calls, it was too late. The city's forces were weakening, and crime was getting worse and worse. He tried to help in the end, but he was not as strong as he once was due to spending time off with Dawning Day, and he found himself getting beaten severely... he tried to go to Cyril for help, but he went to his mansion only to find it trashed and abandoned... he was nowhere to be found. Upon bursting into his office, he found his record cabinet cracked open with several folders sticking out... one catching his eye, and upon opening the folder... a question that rung in his mind for oh so many years was finally answered: the reason those certain heroes reacted the way they did during that one day in St. Martial. As it turns out, Cyril was being used as a tool by more than dishonest city officials believing that the "ends justify the means," willing to give intentionally reckless order to heroes with the desire to actually orphan children in the Rogue Isles from time to time in order to justify bringing them back to the city, believing that the Isles was a land of chaos and villainy, and such a life would be the future for anyone who was to grow up there.
Disturbed, Belabor ripped apart the file in anger. No one in this city could be trusted... it became obvious. There was no good, and there was no bad... it was anarchy, and everyone was only out to kill or harm each other. So what could he do? He was one man... against an entire city that would tear itself apart if people saw it for what it truly was. He wanted to change things... but, a hero he may be, he had no true powers, and he needed a better edge. Due to the acts of those officials, Belabor knew at that moment that the city was no place to go for help. He was on his own... and he needed to find a way to gain enough power to clean the city and fast... but how? One option rang in his mind. He chose to interrupt a gang of Trolls in Skyway City doing a Superadine deal. Rather than apprehend the Trolls, however, he'd severely beat them, and take the Superadine, claiming he'd kill them should they say a word. Sadly, he was becoming what he hated, but in his anger he couldn't care less. Pill by pill, he became stronger.. and with this newfound strength, he caught up with his missed calls, and much in a very short time... but at hazard to his own health. A month later, the mutations began to set in... he felt two bumps on top of his head, and his skin was taking a very slight odd pigment. He would of stopped a month ago, but... well, now he was addicted. With their wedding only a month away, Dawning Day was becoming very concerned with Belabor. She recognized the mutations immediately when they began to set in, having much experience fighting Trolls. Dawning Day held him in an embrace, cleansing of his emotions any desire for the Superadine. As the desires were curbed, however, he quickly slit her throat in fear as a reaction to the psychic interference. Blood stained their base and costumes... Belabor immediately dropped the knife, and turned to a mirror, which too was stained with blood... he looked as he did usually... but at that moment, one thought did across his mind... he never noticed just exactly how much he looks like his father.
End of an Era
Belabor held the knife tight... he felt guilt... unimaginable, unparalleled guilt. He thought upon his actions and how he acted in the moment. He murdered the girl he loved and was now never to see her beautiful smile again. The girl who helped him through so much and who he was going to start a life together with... was now dead. In fierce denial, he blamed the rampant crime around the city and the drug fade. However, Belabor knew his poor choices caused her death and he was responsible... he held her body, hands trembling... a tear falling off the edge of his cheek and landing on her lifeless body. Something was ringing in his head... the whole world just seemed so different at that moment. Blood fell down from the entire left side of his face as he cut his brow and upper cheek. What was he doing? His job, of course. Which was of course to punish the bad people. And, at the time, it seems he was the bad people. He then laughed as he bled, letting the bliss of insanity spread throughout his being. What was next to be done? Belabor knew there was nothing left for him in the city, yet, over in the Isles, there was just oh so -many- people that needed to be shown what justice is. The lack of justice was why Dawning Day died.. the world needed to be cleansed with blood. The start? Punishing a murderer... he closed one of his eyes, and cut along down it to the point where, while not enough to blind him in that eye, would be enough to serve as a reminder to himself of what happens to those who do wrong. He walked out... grinning madly as blood fell down his cheek. Knowing where to go next, he convinced himself there was only one man who can dispense proper justice.
This was the thought of the psychopath that would soon set foot on Recluse's domain. He walked all along the Isles and one by one sinners would die. The reasons were always different. Belabor, falling into complete insanity at this point, followed a sense of justice that was completely broken. Even for something such as a small time theft, they must die before they could become something greater. What Dawning Day tried to do was stop the creation of a monster... yet in her efforts, she created possibly one even worse. This continued for years, as being trained by Duskthief, he was made to be very agile and elusive, never giving the RIP nor Arachnos a chance to successfully catch him. He was twisted enough to tear off a single body part from each victim and keep it as a souvenir.
While wandering through the Isles, however, making his usual rounds of killings, he broke into an Arachnos base, seeking to blow it up before they could do any true harm. Always interested in exploring new methods, he decided to use the self destruct feature upon their computers and blow it up unexpectedly before they could ever figure it out. He tortured a soldier for the passcode to access the computer, but once he did, he saw a file labeled "Project: Duskthief." Reading it over, it turned out Duskthief was kidnapped by Arachnos and his mansion was burnt to the ground... could it be? Was he still alive? Belabor knew he had to find him and reunite with his lost mentor once and for all.