From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
- For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
- —Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852)
Winter Tornado was a character originally designed to be a "master of the mystic arts" type of character; in the process of creating the character and his background, though, I decided that the character would be much more interesting as an elementalist, a virtual avatar of a mythical concept: in this case, the North Wind. Since the City of Heroes lore included the Order of the Four Winds, I decided to adopt that for this character's origin. However, after Manticore threw up a post which contradicted that core assumption, I threw a curveball at the character that retains the basic concept, but goes from a darker source.
Winter Tornado has maintained a sense of wonder in Paragon City. While its citizens may have become jaded by aliens, extradimensionals, flying heroes, teleporting heroes, underground bases and space stations, Winter Tornado continues to see things with fresh eyes. This attitude has helped him in writing his "Whirlwind Tour" books. One could see him as the ultimate tourist: there's nothing he likes better than to see new things.
He is motivated by a great sense of responsibility. He was given potentially tremendous power; what's the point of having it if not to do good with it? He does worry a bit about his power. He worries that having it could color his attitude towards everyday people-and even not-so-everyday people.
Winter Tornado hates to see innocent people hurt; this may be the biggest reason he has bothered to throw on a costume and "right wrongs". The truly sadistic can move him to considerable anger-and that can turn out to have costly consequences to the wrongdoer!
Winter Tornado possesses a portion of the power once owned by Lord Winter; as such, he has considerable control over the activity of the air around him.
Winter Tornado's influence over the air makes it a potent weapon. He can generate gusts of wind at near hurricane force. This can either throw an opponent back as a directed attack, or be directed as a mini-hurricane with himself at its eye.
In addition to the brute force aspects of this control, he can alter the temperature of the ambient air in an area, creating localized snowstorms, patches of freezing rain, clouds of billowing mist, miniature tornadoes, and even a localized lightning storm. Each phenomenon has their own effects on the surrounding area, each hindering Winter Tornado's opponents in some way. His control is sufficient to generate such effects even within an indoor environment.
Because of Winter Tornado's control over aspects of the air, he is able to ionize the air to create electrical discharges. This can be as direct as a lightning attack to a single target, or as widespread as a massive electrical discharge affecting those around him, stunning them from the thunderclap or inducing fatigue in his opposition.
Winter Tornado can also create a small manifestation of balled lightning that responds to his unconscious will; it acts seemingly autonomous, but acts to protect him by emitting electrical bolts against his enemies who come too close.
Winter's control over the air has had other side effects.
Winter Tornado's control of the air extends to allowing him to fly under his own power. While his speeds are limited in the city, in the upper atmosphere he can approach the speed of sound; he cannot do this in the city as the wind forces necessary would cause tremendous damage.
He is also capable of commanding the air to give his allies the ability to fly, although the speed of such flight is substantially reduced, requiring more of his personal concentration.
After considerable practice, Tony was able to fine-tune his electrical powers, allowing him to imbue a single blow with the same power as the lightning he can call down and charge the air around him for personal protection.
Winter's link with Lord Winter has grown far greater in recent days; this link has had the strange effect of grounding his spirit, helping him recover from the psychological traumas that had plagued him for years. As a side effect, he finds it now easier and quicker to wield his considerable powers, as his doubts no longer provide a stumbling block to their use. One of the manifestations of this increased power is displayed as a potent electrical attack that leaps from target to target.
Another major manifestation is the calling up of supernatural allies. He's been seen to call up polar lights and storm elementals hailing from Winter's Realm.
Winter Tornado is an author of six novels; two fiction, four non-fiction. None of the first four had reached the best-seller list, although they were substantial moneymakers for the publishers; a travelogue on Paragon City reached the bestseller list in the first week of its release, but his latest bombed. In spite of that, he remains a skilled wordsmith.
Weaknesses and Limitations
As Winter Tornado's powers are magically based, anything that can negate magic can effectively turn off his powers; for a time, he used a set of bracers similar to those used by the PPD on arcane-based criminals to negate his power, and render him "human" while he wears them.
Winter Tornado still bears psychological scars from his captivity at the hands of Arachnos, and attacks them on sight.
For a time, Winter's power was derived from Lord Winter, which made him more-and less-than human; he no longer needed to breathe, and his body temperature had dropped to much colder than most could survive. With the recent removal of Lord Winter's "blessing", he is once again simply human-albeit a human still capable of wielding his extraordinary powers.
Author and Origin
Tony Stevens has had an extraordinarily gifted life. His father is in the entertainment industry, while his mother is an acclaimed artist. Tony demonstrated a gift for writing at an early age, writing a high-action book called Hand of Agony at sixteen. In college, he managed to win a multistate lottery, making him 22 million dollars richer. Tony decided to be smart with the money; instead of blowing the money away in an orgy of spending, he chose to invest it carefully, allowing him to be more or less free of monetary concerns, as long as he didn't indulge in "the high life". His family approved wholeheartedly.
Tony went to college at UCLA, and majored in Literature. After graduating college, he continued to write novels-both fiction (Star of Atlantis) and nonfiction (The Whirlwind Tour: San Francisco and The Whirlwind Tour: Los Angeles). None were best-sellers, but were modest successes, with critics noting that continued experience would probably land him a big contract sooner or later. At the age of 23, he decided to travel around the world, planning on writing about some of the cities around the world. After making proper preparations, he actually started his journey at 24. As he traveled, he decided to blog about the experience, titling it after his non-fiction book series, "The Whirlwind Tour". After a year of travel, he returned home after his last stop in Tokyo, Japan; but it was at that location where his fate took an unexpected detour.
Before departing Tokyo, Tony wandered the city one last time. As he did, he stumbled upon a small monastery, seemingly out of place in the city. While Tony was not a native Japanese speaker, the monks did manage to give him an English translation of the monastery, calling it the Temple of the Four Winds. Tony was impressed by the beauty of the temple, and would later admit he would probably never forget it. Then again, given what happened when he returned to Los Angeles, it would be hard to ever forget.
The night after his return home, he woke up to see one of the monks from the Temple-who claimed to have seen into his soul. The monk declared that his soul was strong enough for the trials ahead of Tony. The monk chanted and placed his hand on Tony's head-and arcane power flowed into the young man. His body temperature plummeted-but it produced no harmful effects on him. The monk then told Tony that in order for him to find his destiny, he would have to see the Seer in the City of Heroes.
Tony, an experienced traveler, knew of only one city on the planet that could honestly claim that title.
Rise and Fall of Winter Tornado
The following morning, willing to embrace a new challenge in his life, Tony booked a flight to Paragon City. After a helpful encounter with a hero called Magic's Shadow, Tony was able to locate the City Hall, and set up an appointment to speak with the seer Azuria of the Modern Arcane Guild of Investigation. Azuria read his future, telling him that he was fated to bear the Mantle of the North Wind, and that greater challenges were in store for him should he accept it.
Tony was familiar with the phrase, "With Great Power, there must also come Great Responsiblity". As corny as the phrase was, he knew it was a truth-and he was now someone who had such power. After his appointment, Tony registered himself as a hero, and took the name Winter Tornado. His career as a hero took off, and within a few days, had proven himself worthy enough to be one of the heroes entitled to wear a cape in the city.
That night, a cape was delivered to his hotel room, with a note written in Japanese attached. The translated note read "This is the Mantle of the North Wind. Wear it well."
Tony began a career as a hero in the city, while simultaneously researching the city for his theoretical next book. At one point, he applied to join the Justicars hero group, but withdrew his application after being informed that he didn't fit the dress code (Tony's words). The experience embittered him towards heroic groups in general, and he chose to operate either alone or in coordination with other heroes only on a temporary basis.
His own personal power grew as he took on more and more dangers, but the growth had an unexpected price; he came to the attention of Doctor Aeon, who was seeking a mythic power source for a project he had been working on. With the help of a group of Arachnos soliders led by Operative Rostov, Tony was captured for use in Aeon's experiments. By the time he was rescued, his own will had been weakened enough for the Spirit of the North Wind to temporarily take over his body and assault the very hero who had broken him free.
The experience broke Tony. He abandoned his costumed identity, took a pair of PPD restraints to neutralize his powers, and returned to his home in LA.
Recovery and the Union Supreme
In the following months, Tony wrote and completed a travelogue (The Whirlwind Tour: Paragon City), which immediately became a national bestseller-the public was hungry for information on the colorful heroes of the city, as well as information on the city itself. A side effect from the sale of the book was having to travel over the country to sign books, to help promote it further; and Tony had to admit, he liked to meet people who appreciated his work.
In New York City, a meeting with a mysterious stranger claiming to speak on behalf of the Spirit of the North Wind apologized to Tony for its actions, and asked that he take up the Mantle once more, hinting at a coming storm-and who better to meet it than one who could control the storm for his own purposes? Tony was swayed, and he returned to Paragon City ready to play his part in whatever danger comes to threaten.
Not long afterward, Tony would join the group Union Supreme under undisclosed circumstances. He would be recognized as a Hero of the City in late February, 2009. As the year progressed, Tony became distinctly aware that, psychologically speaking, he was messed up. Anger control issues combined with his night terrors-which featured Arachnos-came to a head when he nearly killed a squad of Arachnos soldiers outside of the country. He began to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis, hoping to regain some control over his mind and psychological well-being.
The Lie Revealed
As of 2010, he had been making progress in dealing with his issues, just before the metaphorical rug was yanked out from under him. Thanks to a Servant of Flame, who professed to represent an elemental spirit of Fire, he learned that his power did not derive from the spirit of the North Wind-that in fact, he had never been a member of the Order of the Four Winds. With the help of Dr. Mystik, Tony was able to learn that his power came from a gambit by the spirit known as Lord Winter. A confrontation with this elder spirit nearly ended in disaster, as Lord Winter attempted to reclaim all of his power from this failed mortal shell. To the surprise of human and spirit, though, a portion of that power had become a part of Tony more than a part of Lord Winter. Tony was pulled out of the mess by Mystik, no longer an avatar of Lord Winter's power, but still possessed of enough power to stand among the heroes of Paragon City.
A number of other blows hit Tony; his book, The Whirlwind Tour: NYC tanked at the bookstores, although his Paragon City book continued to sell well. A number of injuries kept him sidelined for weeks-which also kept him from assisting the Union in an attempt to rescue Shadespawn, a teammate, from captivity in Malta hands-which would result in her death. Finally, his parents had disowned Tony when he had used his money to finance the refurbishing of Union Plaza; attempts to reconcile failed as he realized how shallow his parents truly were. He chose to give up the attempts, feeling they needed to rise up to his level instead of bringing him down to theirs, and recommitted himself to the life he had chosen.
These pressures, in addition to the feeling that he wasn't measuring up to the other members of the Union-a feeling that appeared to be shared by important members of that group-finally caused Tony to snap. Tony left the team in mid 2010, but didn't make it official until the end of the year, after unwillingly having the opportunity to confront one of his original antagonists within Arachnos.
In mid-Summer, 2011, Winter assisted heroes from the Union in utilizing a "back door" in the spirit realm of Oblivion, which was located in Lord Winter's realm. Unfortunately, while he was able to keep Lord Winter from discovering the heroes passing through, he himself was captured and possessed by Lord Winter. Lord Winter used the body to create a Summer freeze, but his scheme to bring about Endless Winter was stopped by Hyperion Force. Winter was freed of possession in the process, and maintained control of his powers. This caused Winter to slowly begin reconsidering working with other heroes; he spent a year working in a loose association of heroes before being convinced by the Old Ranger to return to the Union Supreme-and even then, only after a substantial turnover in membership.
- He was this close to taking the name of "Winter Typhoon" when it was pointed out to him that typhoons are a tropical storm, and unlikely to occur in Winter.
- Winter Tornado, as hinted above, had a small but significant role in "The Arbiter Initiative III: Defiant", a tale of the Old Ranger.
Stories (External links)
|Councillors: Champion Woman • Doctor Spectro • Old Ranger • Raven Moonshadow|
|Hero: Amazing Trixie • Arcanist Ica • Blood-Eagle • Captain Midnight • Congressionalist • Diamondskin • Emerald Protect • Gods Speed • Gravijah • Heliodromus • Hero Paragon • Invictar • Moonlight Owl • Ms. Impossible • North Shield • Paradox Theory • Redbird • Shining Centurion • Solairis • Streetlight • Turbohawk • Winter Tornado|
|Primals||Heroes||Agent Repulse • Amazing Kane • Armored Battalion • Fighting Wolfman • Gatewarden • Invictar • Old Ranger • Qi'Lar • Skyshade • Spectral Fighter • Stellar Protector • Sunpulse • Timelost • Winter Tornado|
|Vigilantes||Nyctomancer • Occult Explorer|
|Villains||Devil's Chamberlain • Dracofire • Operative Rostov • Stellar Abyss|
|Rogues||Baron Craven • Ebon Thunderbolt • General Retaliation • Professor Dredd|