When he speaks again, the words are unnatural, warped grotesquely as they slither into my ears, and I collapse to my knees and bury my head in my hands. "Taylor Hebert. You will listen." My head is dragged up as if pulled by a string. The shadows on the brick wall to my right change, taking the outline of a man eight feet tall, covered in black armor wrought with a pair of concentric circles I recognize from earlier, a single massive eye. Each word falls like a hammer on my back, driving me further down even as the shadow's grip on my hair holds my head to meet its eye. "She Who Skitters in Shadows, I give you your order. You are my first agent on this world, and you seek glory, do you not? Take your glory from the death of nations. Seek fame in the rush of battle. Cast down the mighty beneath your feet, and ruin the world that held you down, forced you to suffer for its amusement!"
Silence rings in my ears, and I swallow nervously. I close my eyes.
"No." I whisper, words dragged from my lips despite the raw terror of the mask before me. I continue to speak, face flush as I admit what I've dreamed about for so long, each word forced out with an effort of will that leaves my arms shaking, my legs limp beneath me, but I speak to the monster, and I say, "I want to be a hero." Horrible visions flash into my mind, Brockton Bay razed by a shockwave, drowned beneath the waves, and torn apart by internal power struggles. "I won't do it. I'm not that kind of person. I want to help, not hurt."One of several crossover fics between Worm and Exalted, She Who Skitters In Shadows asks the question; "What if Taylor became an Abyssal Exalt instead of a parahuman?"So far, the plot follows Taylor's awesomeness (and confusion) as she joins the Wards, fights crime, and tries to get a handle on her strange powers.The author is gibbousmoons and the story has been uploaded on the Spacebattles forum.Declared a Dead Fic by the author. A summary of the remaining plot can be found starting here.Warning: Full story provides spoilers for Worm.
— Skitter, first chapter
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: Bonesaw is both a parahuman and an Abyssal Exalt.
- Bullying a Dragon: Shadow Stalker does not hesitate to needle Taylor over the latter's Traumatic Superpower Awakening, even after Taylor's anger over this makes popcorn rot and lights short out.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Begins in the chapter Tipping Point- the Slaughterhouse 9 arrive, various bad things happen, and Taylor lets her inner nasty off the chain.
- Curbstomp Battle: Skitter vs Crawler. Skitter gets him in a grapple and breaks out Abyssal strangulation charms and Essence Draining Touch to recharge. Normally Crawler would adapt by creating new ways to breathe, but the charm in question only cares that the target needs to breathe, not how, so his power is worthless.
- Emotionless Girl: Skitter's Limit Break (which she undergoes habitually for answering to her true name and attending school) makes her one for 4 days every month. She decides it's Worth It.
- Enemy Mine: Technically occurs for the first few chapters: Skitter runs away from the Wards after discovering Stalker's identity teams up with Regent to take out criminals because, hey, it's safer for both of them.
- Dark Is Not Evil / Horrifying Hero: Skitter, for different reasons than in canon.
- Deal with the Devil: In this fic, Skitter's ordeal in the locker lasted for three days, until she was too thirsty to speak or cry for help. When she was on the brink of death, the Mask of Winters offered her an Abyssal Exaltation, which she accepted. (Although she refused to use her newfound powers for evil- see page quote.)
- Didn't See That Coming: Tattletale's power allows her a peek into Skitter's soul- and, by proxy, the void of Oblivion. Cue Oh Crap!.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Skitter throws Crawler at Jack Slash and Mannequin.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Skitter gains a rough idea of her abilities through practicing with the Wards, but the finer points of Exaltation elude her. (The author has helpfully provided a character sheet for her.)
- Hotter and Sexier: Taylor post-Exaltation. (Abyssals either become fearsomely grotesque or eerily beautiful. She chose the latter.)
- Let's You and Him Fight: Lampshaded and averted in Chapter 3.1.Clockblocker: Nobody got hurt. This isnít some old comic where the heroes have to fight because of some little misunderstanding.
- Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Taylor's parahuman codename- She Who Skitters In Shadows- which she requests after remembering she had it in a past life. Effectively, though, everyone just calls her Skitter.
- Not What It Looks Like: Tattletale giving Skitter her phone number after meeting her in a restaurant. Of course, the real reason Tattletale gave her that note was so they could discuss the Abyssal Exaltation lodged in Skitter's soul, but Skitter can't tell the Wards that. Cue the Wards joking about how Skitter's 'a player'.Commenter Drakeneisen: It would be useful for Taylor to know that Lisa wrote "CALL ME" because she couldn't fit CALL ME BECAUSE YOU HAVE A UNIVERSE MURDERING SUPERWEAPON PLUGGED INTO YOUR SOUL AND THE MEREST GLIMPSE INTO ITS STYGIAN DEPTHS TERRIFIES ME onto whatever paper she could find in the restaurant. And not, you know, the obvious conclusion.
- Before that, there's the scene of Skitter drinking Panacea's blood to heal herself, which everyone misinterprets.
- The Noun Who Verbed: The title.
- In a Single Bound: One of Taylor's abilities.I started off slow, setting a steady pace along the side of the mountain trail, taking care not to slip on the mud that was left from four days of rainfall. Then I started to accelerate, moving faster and faster down the drying grass until I was sprinting flat out, at a speed I couldnít even guess at, but which was probably qualifying me for a Mover rating, maybe a one.Then I accelerated again, skimming flecks of power and channeling them to my legs to turn my sprint into a succession of flying leaps. It wasnít flying, but I swore that one day Iíd manage it.
- No Sell: Skitter abuses Perfect Dodges to do this. And she's picked up a mental defense, so she can just laugh off Cherish's power.
- Seen It All: Panacea is not especially surprised or disturbed when an unconscious Taylor starts drinking her blood and after Taylor wakes up, calmly returns to the hospital.
- Shout-Out: Myrrdin classifying Skitter's powers as 'bullshit magic.'
- The Mentor: Armsmaster becomes Taylor's.