"You're saying I shouldn't take the credit," I said.
“I’m saying you have two options. Option one is to join the Wards, where you’ll have support and protection in the event of an altercation. Option two is to keep your head down. Don’t take the credit. Fly under the radar." How much of what I was doing, was I doing in the memory of my father? To make his empty grave a monument, a marker for the moment when the future of this city changed?
fanfic by notes
written on the Spacebattles forums.Cenotaph
is widely considered one of the best Worm
fanfics ever written, a very Original Flavor AU
that emulates the original style so seamlessly that some consider it equal and opposite the original, with near-legendary status among the fans (some of whom consider it required reading along with the source material). The Hero to Wildbow's Villain- one that flows organically and naturally from a very minor divergence
into a stand-alone plot that only resembles the original timeline in the very loosest sense.
An impressive feat by itself, what makes it even more impressive is the story is arguably darker
In this timeline, Taylor did not give Armsmaster a definitive answer following their pivotal meeting. Instead, he offers her a chance to test the waters, and see if she would be comfortable dealing with Protectorate oversight. Unfortunately, this quickly leads to tragedy. Taylor wakes up two days later, a newly minted orphan
. What follows is both an epic Roaring Rampage of Revenge
, and a heartwarming exploration of Taylor's character, alongside the character of the Brockton Bay Wards, the Undersiders, and Taylor's other allies and enemies.
The plot makes full use of characters not fully realized in-canon
to build a very different perspective of the gangs and happenings of Brockton Bay.
Now with an Archive Of Our Own link
. A sequel has been announced Here
Full story provides spoilers for Worm.
This series provides examples of:
- Alternate Universe Fic
- Anti-Villain: Skitter's recklessness has been drasticly increased due to her personal losses in this timeline. But she remains, essentially herself. Namely, while she still has a conscience and a desire to do what's right, the death of her father causes her to go from a "merely" competent superhero to "quite possibly Big Good for all of Brockton Bay in order to avenge him." In all of... three weeks.
- Badass: Skitter. She is a complete badass, and takes pains that nobody comes to realize this. Until it benefits her.
- Lung as well. He knowingly walks into an ambush he knows was arranged by Skitter because he is confident he can survive.
- Beneath the Mask: Taylor is very emotionally repressed due to the abuse perpetuated by Emma. This is played interestingly after she wakes up from her coma as she thinks she ought to feel more than she does- she's too numb to feel the loss, even though her father was murdered because of her.
- Bilingual Bonus: This Taylor gets around town on a Vespa. Vespa is Italian for wasp.
- Big Damn Heroes: Skitter and Hookwolf are locked in a stalemate with Mannequin and Shatterbird, only for a new combatant to step in and burn Shatterbird.
- Butterfly of Doom: Taylor's well-intended actions ironically lead to Leviathan's attack being worse than canon.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Lung and Oni Lee vs E88 is horribly one-sided - everyone from E88 who doesn't run dies, while Lung is effortlessly beating them and Oni Lee only dies because of his failed suicide attack on Skitter.
- New Wave rolls over Coil's entire base effortlessly with Skitter relaying intel in real time. It isn't even a proper fight.
- Eidolon vs ... someone. Sundancer was definitely there, people with New Wave's powers were there, but its unclear if they were Enchida clones or the original. Regardless, Eidolon completely ignored their attacks and one-shotted them.
- Burnscar vs Cherish. Cherish never even realizes she's under attack. One moment things are fine, next moment Burnscar incinerates her.
- Weld vs The Siberian. After tearing through everything else Bonesaw sent at him, the Siberian unceremoniously reduces Weld to nothing but a head.
- Continuity Nod: All over the place.
- "I was similarly confident that he had pretty good focus – no one gets to be a crimelord accidentally." The joke being- in canon, Taylor essentially did just that.
- In Cenotaph, Taylor was given a low Tinker rating- referencing Brian's comments in canon that her ability to create bug-themed equipment, or use her insects to create useful products, was a Tinker trait.
- Insight and Skotos' swearing-in ceremony is interrupted by the arrival of the Nine much as Taylor's swearing-in to the Protectorate was in Worm.
- Jack Slash makes an appearance at the war conference following the Nine's arrival in Brockton. This is a reference to how quickly he showed up after that same event in canon. Presumably, the absence of Leviathan's lake and island is the difference.
- Darker and Edgier: Both played straight and inverted. On one hand Taylor's father is murdered by Bakuda on the other, Taylor dosen't spend the first month of her cape career fighting for her life against both sides of the law.
- Didn't See That Coming: Tattletale had no idea Taylor was behind the destruction of the ABB and later Kaiser's assassination. Finding out about it prevokes a brief "Wait...what?" moment from her.
- Emotionless Girl: Taylor has shades of this after she wakes up from her coma and finds out Danny was killed by Bakuda.
- Enemy Civil War: Skitter gets quite good at stirring these up. Mostly, as a consequence of being a solo vigilante with a power poorly suited to direct confrontation.
- Enemy Mine: Purity and Skitter teaming up to fight the ABB.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Taylor follows Coil home, discovers his secret identity and puts together the pieces of the puzzle at her disposal to come to the conclusion that...Coil is an infiltrator for the PRT.
- Everything's Worse with Bees: Taylor got a beefarm. She uses it well.
A Thinker might be more dangerous, but… if in doubt?
- Eye Scream: Taylor pops out her eyeballs to be able to fight Valefor.
- Fallen Hero: Taylor is even more reckless than in canon. This bites her hard when she kills Bakuda... and sets off her failsafe- this leads to a moment of My God, What Have I Done?.
- Taylor considers herself something like this after the Bakuda arcs.
- Fandom Nod: Quinn Calle mentions that people blame the Simurgh for many of society's problems. A reference to the popular meme: "The Simurgh did it".
- Guile Hero: Skitter, 'natch.
- Imagine Spot: Taylor has an interesting moment while talking to Jack Slash in which his face morphs into Jack Sparrow's in her mind. This is in part because she was blinded at the time, and trying to put a face to his voice.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Skitter manipulates Lung and Kaiser into a battle to the death... and then ensures the one she thought would be harder to take down dosen't walk away afterwards.
- Then she gets Burnscar to off Cherish for her.
- Meaningful Echo
- Taylor to Amy Dallon, relating advice given to her early in the story, almost word for word. Taylor also gives Amy Dallon the same lunchbox she'd been given at around that time, stuffed with money like it had been for her.
- Misconceptions 5.4:
“I will kill you.” His (Lung's) voice caressed every word.
“Not here, and not tonight.” (Skitter)
"I will kill you." I wasn't sure if the buzzing really conveyed my tone, or how absolute a truth this was.
He (Lung) smiled still, as Hookwolf vanished into the night. "Not tonight. And not with so weak a pawn."
- Never Found the Body Deliberately pulled by Taylor, when she kills Krieg to cover up her plans.
- Mundane Utility: Citrine uses her physics-breaking power to run in high heels.
- OC Stand In: Very well done. Even Madison gets a time to shine...
- Original Flavor: Deliciously so.
- Poirot Speak: Krieg likes to use Herr and Frau when talking to other capes, but speaks otherwise perfect English. It's possible it's just an affectation.
- Skitter later observes Krieg adopt a British accent while at his day job, and muses on whether the accents are genuine or not.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: After Taylor sets up the above Let's You and Him Fight situation, Lung reveals his genre savviness by referencing Yojimbo.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: an exceptionally quiet and careful example of one.
- "I hate Illinois Nazis... and the ones here too, I suppose."
- "But Crawler and the Siberian... nothing I could think of would stop them. We could entomb Crawler, probably. At which point he'd evolve burrowing, and then what?"
- "And once he got here, I had no faith that he'd be deceived by this game of clones."
- The Chessmaster: Skitter. Due to haveing a power best suited to reconnaissance and spying, she plays to her strengths and gets her enemies to fight each other. Coil also counts, to a lesser degree.
- Title Drop: As in Worm itself, the title is refferenced in every arc, sometimes in a highly creative and subtle fashion.
- Took a Level in Badass: Revenge is a hell of a motivator to grind levels in Badass, as Skitter shows.
- Worthy Opponent: Lung considers Skitter to be this, in his own way. He keeps promising to kill her for what she has done to him. Skitter later exploits this attitude to sit at the negotiating table on the truce-ground, despite the fact that only two people in the room even know she exists.
Skitter moves to sit at the table.
Hookwolf: slams a hand on the table “This is the big boy’s table. Take a booth."
will vouch for me."
Skitter: "Or ask Bakuda or Oni Lee. If you can get Glaistig Uaine out of the Birdcage to ask them for you."
Lung and Skitter talk briefly, then Skitter sits down at the table. No one protests.