From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
The hero known as Demon Hunter is a character on the Virtue server for City of Heroes. The character's creation was inspired in part by such comic book mainstays as Batman, Daredevil, Spiderman, and Wolverine, mixed with a variety of ideas and concepts found in myths and legends across the globe. I used variations of him in various pen and paper campaigns going back as far as the 1980s for a TSR Marvel Super Heroes RPG campaign. As I've played City of Heroes longer and longer, he's grown well beyond that level of power however, moving from the street-level fighter mold to being a powerhouse on par with demigods and lesser deities in some ways.
The Demon Hunter is an enigma even amongst the superhero community. He has been overheard at times saying he must atone for the many sins of a past life of villainy, spent in servitude to demons. Yet even now, he is seen by many taking part in bank robberies, acts of terrorism, and the wanton destruction of the heroes and citizens of Paragon City. This has all led to an outlaw status for The Demon Hunter, making him a man feared and often loathed by those he has sworn to protect. As such he often works alone, choosing to stay in the shadows and use his reputation to strike fear into his enemies.
He spends much of his time hunting the Circle of Thorns and other magic-based enemies. He has chosen to watch over Astoria and Kings Row, doing what he can to keep the occult forces there in check if not freeing the neighborhoods from their influence completely.
Those who meet The Demon Hunter are often struck by his devotion to the storms and the gods whose powers flow from their fury. He has been known to invoke their blessings before a key battle, in the hopes of their power being added to his own energies. Recently he has learned from the thunder goddess Skjor Stormbringer to harness the lightning for his own use, channeling that aspect of the storms to grant him faster reactions and a drastically enhanced running speed.
Though he sees himself primarily as a loner, The Demon Hunter is currently a member of the Super Group known as the House of Heroes, his second formal supergroup affiliation in Paragon City in recent years.
He was previously a member of The Paragon Elite, having been recruited in early 2007 by Inveigler. By the end of 2007, his distinguished service led Nuclia and Wing Chun Li to name him the leader of the newly formed Paragon Elite Legends. He remained an officer in Paragon Elite, and became one of their most visible members to their allies. Most simply refer to him as "DH" over the comm channels. In the summer of 2008, he assisted Skjor Stormbringer in establishing the secret base of operations for the Paragon Elite Exiles. He also has been inducted into the Vanguard organization, serving as a special operative against the Rikti, and is listed as a reserve member of the Freedom Phalanx.
In early 2008, the Demon Hunter married Heartless Katana, the bodyguard of the Spartan King, Gorthid Thortesp. Demon Hunter was made an honorary Spartan by Gorthid, accepting him into their society. After an official ceremony held in Croatoa, Demon Hunter and Heartless Katana chose to reside in Asgard, following several attacks on Katana by a long-time enemy who wished to see the end of both their lives and their unborn child. They were seemingly inseparable most of the year, and seemed to be happy and devoted to one another. Rumors circulated that Katana betrayed him in some way however, and they went their separate ways in what can only be regarded as a less than amicable split. For over a year, his personality seemed to have returned to the darker persona he exuded while living in solitude. It is unknown if this change was because of their split or was the reason for it.
It has been revealed via unnamed sources that during this time of darkness, the Demon Hunter was more and more reckless and ruthless in battle, and in fact was seeking his own death in battle at times. During this time, he also relocated from Asgard, choosing once again to live in solitude, this time in a parallel dimension where humans never evolved on Earth. As of the fall of 2009 however, his tone seemed to have changed once more, and he was seen in the company of a mysterious gypsy singer, known as Madame Shiri. What relationship they shared exactly, if any, remains unknown, but he seemed to have embraced life once again and was even seen smiling in public on rare occasion.
In the spring of 2010, the Demon Hunter encountered Heartless Katana once more, finding her alone and without their child. She was suffering from amnesia but they felt an attraction once more. Despite the pain he felt from what he viewed as a betrayal on her part two years previous, he opened his mind to her, using his limited psychic ability to share his memories of their time together. Seeing his love for her, and the pain he felt, all through his eyes, Katana chose at first to return to the man she had married and moved into his otherworldly home. Their reunion proved to be difficult at times, but they seemed committed to forgiving each other for past actions and to search for their daughter.
Unfortunately, Katana has since found their daughter but kept this a secret even from the Demon Hunter. When he discovered her deception, it led to yet another stormy outburst between them. The pair have since gone their separate ways entirely, with minimal contact between them regarding their daughter. The surprising revelation that the teen heroine Ravenwing is their daughter, but from an alternate future, led to a compromise of sorts. Katana is now raising the younger Brianna, while the teen Brianna from the future has chosen to live with her father, the Demon Hunter.
The Demon Hunter maintains a loose partnership with Plato 42, the leader of Nightwatch. Together the duo have proven to be a frightening combination to their enemies when they choose to join forces.
The troubled heroine known as the Firehawk has become his protege of sorts, with his knowledge and philosophy helping her adjust to the life she leads as a powerful heroine in her own right. Firehawk now lives in a small apartment of her own over the pub he built on the grounds of his current home.
He counts his teammate Charletain of the House of Heroes among his small circle of friends, and has often fought alongside both Charletain and her boyfriend, the mutant hero known as Chillzone.
Unconfirmed reports in the tabloids once linked him to the heroine known as Mirage Girl, but these infrequent stories were neither confirmed nor denied by The Demon Hunter.
Early in his adventures in Paragon City, he was often seen in the company of the heroine known as Jez A Belle, whose current whereabouts are unknown.
He is also rumored to be a former operative of Longbow, but this is denied by Ms. Liberty, who was aghast at any ties the controversial figure may have to her own organization. Some skeptics still point to his skills and powers as being right up the alley of the super-powered espionage units employed by the Freedom Corps against Arachnos. The Demon Hunter himself has offered neither denial nor confirmation of these rumors, but has hinted that there is much to his past that may not be known.
None of his partners were willing to publicly comment on reports of any crimes committed by The Demon Hunter or reports of any sightings of the hero operating in the unsavory Rogue Isles or acting against the Paragon Police Department. Most remained skeptical but with the growing number of reports, they were unable to ignore the mounting evidence against The Demon Hunter. He is currently wanted by local authorities for questioning, but his allies have now learned that a demonic doppelganger has been responsible for these actions and more over the course of many years. This doppelganger was defeated by daughter, Ravenwing, in late 2010, and evidence of this demon's action has been turned over to authorities in an effort to clear his name officially. The very nature of the entire situation has led to a less than accepting response from officials in Paragon City and across the world at large however.
The Demon Hunter can apparently channel supernatural energies of an undetermined origin into his attacks, allowing him to deliver blows with superhuman force, as well as drain away his enemies own strength to add to his own. Some have speculated he is vampiric because of this ability and his preferences for working at night, but this has mostly been dismissed as fodder for the tabloids to sell stories.
Channeling those same supernatural energies through his body, Demon Hunter is able to heal at a far greater rate than a normal human being of his apparent age and physical condition, and has shown tremendous resilience in combat situations. In addition, it is believed that he is able to use those same healing energies to allow his body to prevent the build-up of fatigue-inducing toxins in the muscles and bloodstream, granting him greater stamina than even the best conditioned human athletes. As a side effect of these powers, Demon Hunter is believed to have a greatly reduced aging factor applied to his body. While he appears to be in his early 30s, there are rumors circulating that he may indeed be well over a hundred years old.
In ideal situations, Demon Hunter has been able to extend his healing energies out to others. In this way, he is able to stimulate the immune systems and healing abilities of those closest to him, though at great cost to himself personally. Using his powers in this way cannot be done in a combat setting and leaves him more vulnerable to attack for up to a week after. It has been known to cause a temporary psychic link to be formed with the person he has aided in this way. The closer the person is emotionally to the Demon Hunter, the stronger the link is and the longer it will last.
Electrical Blast and Manipulation
Under the tutelage of the thunder goddess Skjor Stormbringer, Demon Hunter has learned to call upon the power of the storms to wield thunder and lightning. This has taken the form of blasts of electrical energy, either directed at a single target or across entire groups of enemies. In hand to hand combat, he can channel the lightning into his fists to deliver blows of thunderous superhuman force. He can also generate a field of intense lightning that will surround him and inflict harm upon any enermy who comes close to him.
The Demon Hunter has learned to use the dark energies of his supernatural origins in additional ways. He has learned to tap into the darkness with to terrorize his enemies, leaving them trembling in fear, as well as to enshroud their souls in that same darkness. This ability can make his enemies uncertain and fearful, leaving them unable to attack as they normally would. Their tentative actions lead them to miss more often in battle and place themselves in more vulnerable positions.
Also among his new found abilities is the power to summon forth a dark spirit. For unknown reasons, he calls the spirit that appears by the name or title of Sifu. This spirit seems to have many of the abilities to manipulate dark energies that he has.
By calling upon the power of the storms, Demon Hunter can accelerate his body's reactions and movement, allowing him to rapidly cover great distances on foot, as well as providing him the means to utilize even his most strenuous attacks more frequently than would normally be possible. This harnessed energy is demonstrated most visibly by the lightning that flows across his body.
Fitness and Leaping
The Demon Hunter has displayed a high level of speed and agility equivalent to most elite Olympic-level athletes. He has been witnessed leaping from rooftop to rooftop, even across streets, in the more densely populated urban zones such as Kings Row and the industrialized center of Brickstown. Coupled with his other powers, The Demon Hunter has jokingly referred to himself on several occasions as a "pinball of mass destruction," a description that has often been deemed accurate by his foes.
The Demon Hunter has been trained in the arts of camouflage and invisibility by instructors of various disciplines during his life. When combined with the supernatural energies flowing through him, it is believed that he can cloud the perceptions of most mortals, enabling him to move almost imperceptibly through their midst. Many enemies have fallen prey to his ability to move stealthily, as he has avoided the lesser minions of his foes to strike directly against the leaders of his opposition without raising an alarm to his presence.
Latent Psychic Ability
The Demon Hunter has demonstrated on several occasions the ability to sense supernatural presences, as well as communicate with spirits and other supernatural entities. He has been known to have visions of a clairvoyant nature, such as dreams that foretold the coming of the second Rikti Invasion. He is also a minor telepath, able to sense the emotions and surface thoughts of those around him, as well as sensing the well-being of those allowed to grow close to him. Demon Hunter sacrificed a portion of his life energy to establish a permanent psychic link with his wife, Heartless Katana, allowing the two of them to share thoughts and feelings across vast distances. This link allowed him to share his own memories with her in an effort to help her regain some kind of knowledge of their time together.
Because of how non-believers generally react to such things, he is often unwilling to speak of them outside of his trusted inner circle. This latent psychic ability has given him the ability to focus his resistance to psionic attacks for short periods of time.
The Demon Hunter's senses appear to be on par with the predatory cats, with the notable exception of his sense of smell, which actually appears to be slightly sub-par in comparison to normal humans.
The Demon Hunter appears to have a wide variety of talents and skills. He has demonstrated an ability to understand multiple languages, knows different fighting techniques from martial arts around the globe, and is reportedly an artist. He has appeared at times to be a natural leader though he often prefers to work solo.
Even without his powers, The Demon Hunter would be a unique individual, having hinted at varying experiences in many different occupations spread across his as-yet-unknown years.
Weaknesses and Limitations
The Demon Hunter has been observed by some to be less efficient in the closed quarters of caves or tunnels, leading some to speculate he may be at least mildly claustrophobic. This rumor remains unconfirmed currently, but the possibility has been cataloged by some.
Because of his heightened sense of hearing and his extraordinary nightvision, sudden loud noise or bright light may cause him to be stunned or disoriented to some degree. The addition of sonic filters at his mask's earpieces and special lenses worn over his mask have reduced this problem considerably, but on rare occasion, these measures have been overwhelmed by the most severe of attacks of either category.
The Demon Hunter currently wears a suit of light composite armor in his adventures, complete with built-in comm unit, allowing him to stay in touch with his associates as needed.
A Raptor Pack is part of his emergency kit, as are a variety of stim packs (inspirations) hidden in his belt.
The Truth (with spoilers)
Michael was a child set apart from others since his birth in a secluded village in the Rocky Mountains in 753 A.D. He always seemed a little smarter, a little more observant, a little different from other children. He was very much in tune with nature and was fascinated at an early age by thunderstorms. Though not so physically gifted as many other children, he seemed to be more mentally and emotionally mature and blessed with a greater ability to relate to those around him than most. This was not without good reason.
His destiny was to join the greatest champions of light in the never-ending battle against the burgeoning demonic hordes which plot to enslave the mortals of the earthly plane, a battle hidden from view of those same mortals. His destined role was to marshall the forces of the astral-dwelling Council of Elders in their time of greatest darkness and lead those forces onward to ultimate victory at the End of Days.
All of this was derailed, with potentially cataclysmic ramifications, when the warrior who was destined to be his mentor died mysteriously mere months after his birth. There was no trace of this graceful warrior's soul when the body was found, and foul play of the darkest kind was feared. Over the following months and years, young Michael was lost in the shuffle as more and more of the champions destined for the coming of Ragnarok came under attack. When his psychic potential began to manifest in his early teens, he was alone, with no guidance.
His consciousness expanding with each passing day, the boy who would one day be The Demon Hunter began to focus on using his psychic abilities to enhance the sickly body which had yet to catch up with his fellows. His self-guided explorations would be his downfall.
During one of his deepest meditations, Michael was contacted by a mysterious presence in the astral. The shadowy figure claimed to be an ancient shaman whose clan had lived on the lands centuries earlier. The shaman called himself Bedragare and introduced himself as a former pupil of the Council of Elders, offering to guide the young hero in ways to develop and enhance his powers beyond his wildest dreams.
Over the following months, the young Demon Hunter learned much from Bedragare, culminating in his ability to command the storms he worshipped and summon forth the lightning he held in awe. With Bedragare's aid, Michael found the physical power to match his mental and psychic acumen. He was quick, strong, and highly resistant to injury. Moreover, even if injured, he would recover in far less time than any observer could readily believe. He began to follow his calling as a hero.
In the years following this transformation, Michael found himself drawn more and more to battles against many opponents of all kinds, thirsting for victory and reveling in the power that coursed through him as he thrashed them all. He would ride that power to victory after victory, directed by his friend Bedragare, whose counsel was more influential than any other at this time in his life. His dedication and devotion to his otherworldly mentor came from a trust that can take a lifetime to forge, and the lessons learned from Bedragare gave Michael all he had ever aspired to be.
In time he would encounter three kindred souls who would grow to be closer than brothers. Together they called themselves the Four Horsemen and were as a force of nature when united. They gathered to battle against the many factions that ruled over the territories around him, seeking to bring them justice via their own extreme measures. He took the name of War as his own and did his best to destroy his opponents with pure brute force attacks, whether psychic or physical. This time would grant him the peak of his powers and for nearly 200 years, Michael thrived, growing more and more brutal and sadistic with each passing year.
One day he encountered a man he could not touch much less defeat, one who moved like the winds themselves. He called himself the Sifu, and claimed he was a lone warrior of the Council of Elders, struck down years before before he could properly train his destined pupil. This was Michael's true mentor, the man whose death led to his path into darkness. With one focused strike of psionic and physical force, the teacher subdued the student, forcing him into the astral plane.
Having bound his seemingly immortal opponent in pure psionic energy, The Sifu explained to Michael of the error of his ways, telling him of the Council of Elders and his destiny. He told the warrior how Bedragare had corrupted him with lies and deceptions, leading him down a dark path that should be the province of their enemies, not themselves. The Sifu revealed that Bedragare was actually a disciple of a demon lord known throughout the millennia as War of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. Michael had been slowly converted into a host for a demonic essence, a fragment of War himself and this was where his enhanced powers now came from.
The impact of these revelations hit him like a sledgehammer and nearly broke Michael, as he looked back on all he had done. In time he would face down his demonic master on the astral plane, casting out the dark entity bound to his soul, and eventually winning his freedom in battle against the demon lord. The cost was nearly too much to bear though, and as he lay there alone in his triumph, Michael whispered a prayer to the storms to claim his soul in his dying moments.
His prayer was seemingly answered when a valkyrie appeared at his side in a flash of lightning amidst the deafening roar of thunder. She stood over his rain-soaked body and in that instant felt a bond to the warrior who lay there dying. She lifted his broken and battered body in her arms and spirited him off to the halls of Valhalla. Lord Odin was not pleased with the valkyrie's actions though, seeing the corruption that ravaged Michael's mind, body, and soul. He ordered Michael be removed from Valhalla, and the valkyrie reluctantly complied after arguing for the chance to let him earn redemption in aid to the gods.
This was no ordinary valkyrie however, for this was also the granddaughter of Odin and the daughter of Thor. Skjor, ever defiant in her nature, removed him from Valhalla but not from Asgard. She secretly took him in, curious to learn more about Michael, and over the following months, she nursed him back to health. As she learned more and more about him, and as War's influence retreated farther and farther from his actions, Skjor began to see him as more than just a lost soul. In time her affections were returned by Michael, and the two fell deeply in love.
When their relationship was revealed to Thor, Skjor was stripped of her godly powers by Odin for her defiance and the two were cast out of Asgard for a time. It would not last though, as Thor came to their defense several times when the pair were attacked by servants of War, eventually leading Odin to grudgingly bring them back into Asgard. During this time, Thor saw Michael's love for his daughter and the former Horseman earned the respect of the thunder god in battle. Thor began to take their side and pleaded for the All-Father to return his daughter's divine stature and powers.
Skjor was given back her command of the storms but would no longer be a valkyrie. The two were granted the right to enter Valhalla and serve the All-Father at the time of Ragnarok, but no longer would Skjor be one of the choosers of the slain. They settled into Skjor's home in Asgard, though Michael was never truly at ease amongst the gods. Over the next few decades, Michael's desire to atone for his past misdeeds weighed heavily upon him, and it led to Michael leaving Asgard and Skjor more and more frequently. They also found he couldn't have children, which caused her a great deal of pain which she would never speak of to him, even to this day.
Over time the strains split them up and Michael left Asgard for good sometime in the 13th century. He and Skjor parted with great sadness but swore to always come to the other if needed. Their love hadn't faded but it had changed, and where once a grand future for them seemed certain, now only uncertainty remained for each. They remain close friends to this day.
Michael wandered various dimensions at this point, working in secret to atone for his past deeds. He has not revealed to anyone where this journey began but it appears that he has ventured to many parallel earths in the last century. It is this journey which led him to battle evil in all its forms, from the lowest street gang member to the most powerful villains of all the worlds he has chosen to explore and protect.
From the Ashes
As the Demon Hunter has worked to atone for his past deeds, War has created a doppelganger to damage the hero's good name. The fragmented essence once bound to Michael was given physical form in his image and was sent to the Rogue Isles, where he would establish a base to strike against The Demon Hunter and grasp a foothold for the eventual return of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse at the End of Days.
It is this doppelganger, who calls himself Damion, that deceived Katana and led to the affair that split her from her husband. Damion sought to hurt them both by tricking her into an affair of sorts while Michael was off-world, in another dimension doing battle for the Council of Elders. This treachery was successful and for two years, Michael and his destined bride were separated, leaving them both in pain and weakened by the events. He believed she went to Damion knowingly, and she couldn't forgive him for not believing in her enough to know that she wouldn't betray him that way.