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Fanfic / A Change of Pace

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A Worm x Dishonored crossover fanfic by AtrenGraves. Can be found on SpaceBattles, and cross-posted on

In an Alternate Universe of Worm, Taylor Hebert is visited by the Outsider in a dream shortly after the Locker Incident, who gifts her with his mark and allows her to express her canon power through it, granting her abilities similar to those in the game as she strives to be an independent hero.

Beware unmarked spoilers below!

This series provides examples of:

  • All-Powerful Bystander: The Outsider, as per canon. He mentions that he knows what's going on with the Entities, but isn't going to interfere with their game... at least not directly.
  • Amulet of Dependency: The Bone Charms and Runes give Taylor expanded powers, so much so that she refuses to part with the one that gives her limited foresight to prevent her death even if it would risk her burgeoning friendship with Glory Girl.
    Taylor: "I can't shrug off bullets. And I...I can't be a hero, if I'm dead. So I'm keeping this thing, and if any more turn up, I'm going to see if they’re useful, too. And if you don't like that, then...I guess we just won't be able to work together."
    • That being said, she does leave them behind after learning they were made from Human Resources, but takes them up again after a particularly bad run.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Danny loses his leg due to the Bone Tinker's henchmen.
    • Armsmaster has lost his legs, an arm, and one of his eyes.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Taylor with rats.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The Outsider in 2.5 gives a number of these to Taylor. Notably, he isn't saying if something is right or wrong, but merely getting answers and helping her come to her own conclusions about why she does things:
    Taylor: "They seemed pretty willing to shoot at people in the middle of the street last night. To bomb the city for a week and a half."
    The Outsider: "Is that why you fight them?"
    (Later on)
    Taylor: "These people could have done something good with their powers. Instead they just…" Wreck things. Steal and hurt. "They’re selfish."
    The Outsider: "I wonder, then...are your motivations more pure?"
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Glory Girl, as per canon, because of her powers. She even thinks to herself she's invulnerable, and she still has her Pride Fatal Flaw in her abilities.
    She wasn’t a little kid. She had super powers. She’d fought thugs and villains without any trouble, and her mom was fine with that. She’d snuck out before, and had never gotten more than a talking to. But when her breaking the rules was so obviously helpful for once, her mom flew off the handle. Because, what, she’d had a close call with a bomb? She was invulnerable.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Runes are this to Taylor. The first time she finds one in 1.2 she's flat-out drawn to it until Glory Girl pulls her away. She's reasonably freaked out about the effects they have on her, especially later on in her interlude when she sees Taylor suffering from a lack of sleep.
    Victoria: "The things that had you hearing things from, like, ten blocks away. The things that we found in an empty apartment, on some kind of psycho modern-art exhibit, and made you completely space out before I dragged you away from them. Messing with your head and your powers? That’s some kind of Master/Trump bullshit. That is the kind of stuff you report straight to the PRT and let them deal with it."
    • And when she learns that the Bone Carver not only attacked her for it, but also had one, she rightfully points out this was the sort of thing she knew would happen.
      • The Heart was especially bad.
  • A-Team Firing: Unable to see through Grue's Darkness, Sophia and the PRT start blindly firing into the crowd since they aren't using lethal ammunition.
  • Aura Vision: Taylor's 'Dark Sight'. It grants excellent night-vision, regardless of ambient light level. Living things within a certain range are highlighted through obstructions, and project a rough visualization of their line of sight.
  • Batter Up!: Taylor fights in the early chapters with a baseball bat that she took off a thug.
  • Being Watched: One of Taylor's Charms gives the ability 'Line of Sight', which gives her a jolt whenever someone is watching her.
    • The "Cold Breath" Charm makes others feel like they're being watched to the point of paranoia. Unfortunately, it makes it really obvious you're following them.
  • Belated Injury Realization: Taylor ends up being shot in her fight with Oni Lee in 1.3 and doesn't even realize it until after the fight is over and she collapses. She pays little mind when it turns out she gets stabbed by a giant needle by the Bone Carver later on.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Taylor's mindset has strong shades of this.
  • Booby Trap: The Bone Carver that builds the Stalker Shrine for the Outsider sets up a razorwire mine to deal with the person stealing his runes. Taylor mentions it "killed her once" before she and Glory Girl bypass it to get the rune and mask.
  • Broken Pedestal: Once Taylor sees that that the Wards are ineffective at stopping the Undersiders and that Sophia is Shadow Stalker, she pretty much has this reaction.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: Only those who hold the Heart can see Lisa's ghost.
  • Collector of the Strange: Vicky notes that Taylor is becoming one, what with her disturbing amount of human body parts she keeps for her powers.
  • Canon Character All Along: The Bone Carver, as it turns out, is Trevor Medina, the character who would become Chariot in the source story.
  • Cool Mask: While it is creepy beyond belief, the mask Taylor finds is adjustable and comfortable.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
  • Combo Platter Powers: Look at all the entries about the powers Taylor has. She's one of the most versatile heroes in terms of power in Brockton Bay.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Taylor believes if you have powers, you have a responsibility to use them.
    Taylor: If you’ve got power, then you should use it to help people.
  • Creepy Good: Taylor has the ability to teleport almost silently, summon a Swarm of Rats, and has a creepy mask. She's also an independent hero.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Taylor and New Wave find Tattletale's body like this in one of the Bone Carver's hideouts.
  • Death by Adaptation: Tattletale is killed by the Bone Carver in this world, whereas she survived the events of both Worm and Ward in canon. Similarly, Brandish — who also canonically survived the events of both Worm and Ward — is killed by Leviathan in this fanfic.
  • Defense Mechanism Superpower: The 'Glimpse Death' Bone Charm that Taylor finds in 1.6 functions as this.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Taylor admits to herself that meeting the Undersiders without a plan wasn't the smartest move, and knows that "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" wasn't a suitable excuse.
    • Same goes for her attempt to trail one of the Bone Carver's minions while wearing the 'Cold Breath' Bone Charm, leading to a trap.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: The Outsider does a slight variant of this when Taylor questions him on giving the Bone Carver his Mark.
    The Outsider: Did you believe that you were the only one to bear my Mark, Taylor? Did you believe that you were the first?
  • Dirty Coward: The Bone Carver, who tries to hide out in a shelter during the Leviathan attack, which is how Taylor tracks him down when the Heart lampshades his coward status.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: The Outsider uses Taylor's dream to show her Emma being attacked while Shadow Stalker watched, and Emma's POV for the Locker Incident.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Taylor, to emphasize how alone she is in school. After gaining her powers, she prefers to eat on the roof rather than the bathroom.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Taylor tells Victoria that this is the source of every parahuman's power in 5.3.
  • Eldritch Location: The Void, as Taylor learns. Glory Girl and also learns in 3.5
  • Evil Counterpart: Taylor shares a lot of traits with Oni Lee, to the point you'd think her shard was a bud of his. They leave behind ash when they teleport, attack from behind without warning, wear creepy masks, are ruthless and silent in combat, etc. More than once she's been mistaken for a villain and has to explain she's a hero to other heroes.
  • Exact Words: Grue states that he can't help Taylor even after she presented Lisa's heart to him. When she starts to chew into him about it, he restates he can't help her and tosses back the heart. He'd already given Lisa all the information she needed in a way that can't be traced back to him.
  • Feel No Pain: Taylor's powers deaden her sense of pain.
  • Fights Like a Normal: While she’s not above siccing rats and bugs on the bad guys, Taylor’s main strategy is to get in close and beat the bad guys with a bat (and, eventually, a collapsible baton).
  • Flashy Teleportation: All known techniques leave ashes in their wakes.
  • Foreseeing My Death: One of the Charms that Taylor gets gives her the 'Glimpse Death' ability and allows her to foresee any fatal blow, once, about 5 seconds before it happens. However, there are rules to it:
    1.) The charm activates 4-5 seconds before a fatal blow. Not an injury, not the actual death, but the hit that will kill her. That gives her a couple of seconds to shake off the experience of dying and react appropriately to avoid doing it again.
    2.) It only activates once for a given 'death'. No gaming multiple permutations of the same attack to find an 'optimal' outcome. One chance.
    3.) Activation cost slightly greater than she can recover from immediately; stringing any other power on top of it in order to help avoid her fate will cost her.
  • Friendless Background: Taylor. Glory Girl's probably her Only Friend at this point.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Gangster: Sundancer attempts to be this akin to Canon!Skitter when claiming territory (since the Undersiders are essentially gone at this point), but Crow is less than receptive given its the same territory that her father is in.
  • From a Certain Point of View: The Outsider's answer to whether or not he gave the Bone Carver his powers.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tinkers, naturally. Taylor becomes a Pseudo-Tinker after gaining access to the Bone Carver's shard.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The Bone Carver/Trevor was so crazy partly because the Outsider showed him his shard, and the result included Hearing Voices.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Amy to Taylor at how much attention she's getting from Victoria.
  • Hazmat Suit: Victoria and Taylor see a group of people on the beach being extremely cautious with something under a giant tent, even wearing these.
  • Healing Factor: The "Vitality I & Vitality II" runes have increased Taylor's healing to the extent that non-fatal wounds heal in a matter of hours.
    • Harmful Healing: However, Amy points out that it sometimes heals them improperly so long as it gets her up and running.
  • Hearing Voices: The Bone Carver hears constant whispers, driving him to create the Runes in an effort to quiet them. It turns out to be coming from his shard. The Outsider showed him it when it first attached and instead of whispering in the back of his mind, it became a literal voice in his head.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In Chapter 1.2, Taylor is bombarded with a noise from a Bone Charm giving her a headache. She describes it as sounding like "creaking wood" and can't make it go away until she finds the shrine.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Outsider, in his usual aloof manner, warns Taylor about how her desire to help people because she was helpless by using fear can lead to this.
    The Outsider: "Once, there was a village by the sea. There were helpless people there. They were afraid of the world...and fear became their tool. They succumbed to it, and thought that it was strength. There is no village there anymore. It was worn away by time, and forgotten. And that’s the way of things. They... end."
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Taylor does this to Tattletale in 3.3 for information on the Bone Carver, except she actual does drop her when done because of what she did to Glory Girl (she catches her at the last second).
  • Human Resources: Turns out that those bones the Bone Carver uses to make runes comes from people he attacks and kills. The Heart too.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Bone Tinker kills Victor to create a portal into the Void.
  • Humble Hero: According to the Outsider, Legend struggles with this, wondering if he's doing good because it needs to be done, or if there's an ulterior motive he doesn't want to admit.
    • Taylor believes herself to be this, but when the Outsider asks if she really does have pure intentions, she hesitates.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Glory Girl insists that she needs to know Taylor's last name before she can be properly invited over, Taylor points out that she'd insisted on Taylor staying over the night before, without knowing her first name.
    Victoria: I mean, who invites someone to their place without knowing their last name?
    Taylor: You. You do. You wouldn’t let me not sleep on your floor. And that was before you knew my first name.
    Victoria: Huh... you're right.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How the Queen Administrator shard ultimately kills the Bone Tinker.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: As Taylor discovers while experimenting with her new ability in Chapter 2.2.
  • The Insomniac: Taylor in Victoria's Interlude, after having gone three days in search of more bone charms.
    Taylor hadn't bothered with her 'mask', so it was easy to see the dark circles under her eyes, see just how pale and scraggly she was.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Manpower and Gallant both still die during the battle with Leviathan, and Armsmaster also gets horribly crippled (though here he gets a far worse treatment than he ever did in canon).
  • Interrupted Suicide: Subverted. Glory Girl thought Taylor was throwing herself off a building to kill herself because she wasn't in costume, but in truth she was testing her teleportation powers. They decide to team up afterwards and fight crime.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Taylor's excuse for testing her Foreseeing My Death powers by letting someone shoot her. Victoria decides that she's probably insane.
  • It's Personal: The Bone Tinker sends his henchmen to kill Danny in 4.12. Taylor spends the rest of the chapter hunting him down to kill him.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Glory Girl seemed to have suffered a second Trigger that gives her aura the aspects of the Mesmerize power.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Taylor gets her mask and bone charms this way before she takes Sophia's crossbow when the Undersiders attack the ball and then decides to keep it.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Taylor and her group attempt to get to Ballistic to question him about Coil in 5.6 only to find his location raided by an unknown group and him missing.
  • Lawman Baton: Victoria picks one up for Taylor in 2.6, but she also states she's going to have to take lessons with it from Manpower because she could seriously injure someone with them.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Taylor's Control also allows her to peer through the eyes of her bugs, like she does in 2.3 to scout an ABB base.
  • Madness Mantra: "This one would work" for the Bone Carver, as he tries to make a new rune.
  • Magic Enhancement: One of the initial abilities Taylor receives with her Mark is a minor boost to her physical capabilities. She later gets other boons.
  • Makes Us Even: Grue helps Taylor through the Heart partly because of what happened to Tattletale, but also for hitting her in the head earlier.
  • Malevolent Mutilation: The Bone Carver did this to Tattletale, with her eyes and mouth taken apart by something sharp and her chest torn open to have her heart pierced with pieces of metal and a watch stapled to it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Coil was behind the Bone Carver. What he did to Tattletale was at Coil's request.
  • Manipulative Bastard: More like bitch, but Glory Girl refers to Tattletale this way and she isn't wrong.
  • The Minion Master: Taylor's shard expresses "Control" by taking over rats, insects, spiders, and other vermin (the author specifically claims that she can command any "harmful or disease-carrying birds, mammals and bugs"). She can also summon her own rats if there aren't any nearby.
  • Missing Time: Taylor, when using the Bone Carver's shard. She can take knowledge from it but she won't remember it or what she does with the knowledge.
  • Mob War: Between the ABB and the other factions of Brockton Bay, and things have gotten so bad off-screen that they have to call in the National Guard.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter 2.7 goes from Taylor playing Flying/Teleporting tag to being ambushed by the Bone Carver and being stabbed.
  • Mooks: Taylor starts referring to regular gangsters as this later on.
  • Mundane Utility: Taylor uses her teleportation powers to aid in patrolling the city, to surprise the bad guys, for information gathering...and also to avoid her bullies and play rooftop tag with Glory Girl.
  • No Body Left Behind: Victor, the E88 cape, has his body turn to ashes as he falls into the Void when the Bone Carver slits his throat.
  • No Self-Buffs: The Bone Carver, until he gets Taylor's blood, is unable to actually use any of the bone charms he creates, with the frustration furthering his insanity.
  • No-Sell: Taylor's Dark Sight is immune to the blinding effect of Grue's darkness. She didn't even notice it while her vision was active.
    • It also allows her to deal with Fog's gases, which stops Night from transforming.
    • Later, she seems immune to Victoria's upgraded aura. So far, she's the only one.
  • Not Quite Flight: With an additional Charm, Taylor gains the 'Inertia I' ability, which allows her to maintain her momentum after she teleports, allowing her to cross wider distances.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Victoria gets shot in 4.9
  • Odd Friendship: Taylor and Victoria (Glory Girl) have this dynamic.
  • Perspective Flip: A light one. Glory Girl still acts a lot like her canon counterpart, including the lack of restraint when fighting, but because Taylor is allied with her we see how she looks after Taylor more. Likewise, we see how the Undersiders look from the outside, with Tattletale pushing buttons being more personal (and potentially harmful).
  • Plague Doctor: Taylor's mask is modeled after this theme, though made of metal and held together with staples and twisted wires.
    Victoria: "It’s like somebody saw one of those plague-doctor masks and decided it needed to look more like a demented parakeet."
  • Playing Both Sides: Taylor accuses the Outsider of doing this in 4.3, pitting her (a hero) against the Bone Carver (a villain). He states that was not his intention.
    The Outsider: Just as you set yourself on this path, he has chosen his own. That you clash is...not unexpected, perhaps. But neither was it my design.
  • Police Are Useless: Taylor comes to form this opinion in 2.3.
    Beat Cop: [under his breath] Fucking capes...
    Taylor/Crow: [in a tone loud enough to be easily heard] Useless jackass.
  • Portal Picture: They don't enter it, but Taylor/Crow, Glory Girl/Victoria, Gallant/Dean, and Clockblocker/Dennis find a mirror leading to the void inside of the Bone Carver's lair. A few chapters later the first two enter it to go after the Bone Carver.
  • Portal Slam: The Bone Carver tries to do this with the portal to the void in his workshop, but not before Taylor and Victoria get inside.
  • Power Incontinence: Victoria is having trouble with her aura after Leviathan, and is surprised that Taylor can come near her without bowing.
  • Power Nullifier: The Music Boxes have this effect.
  • Power Tattoo: Taylor has the Outsider's Mark on her hand, which, according to Tattletale, can only be seen if you're not trying to look at it. The Bone Carver had the first one by the Outsider.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Slightly downplayed with the Bone Carver's workshop. It's only one wall, and more a mural than anything else.
    They’re...things. Creatures, monsters, broken and chained together in a tangle until you can’t tell where one ends and another begins. Their mouths are open, their eyes empty and their faces turned to the books and scrolls clutched tight in grasping fingers, claws...tendrils.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Danny reveals he's known Taylor was Crow for a while now, given that her best friend happens to be Victoria Dallon and she's always sneaking out at night.
  • Serial Killer: The Bone Carver, as it turns out. His body count is well into the double digits by 4.5.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Danny whips one of these outs in 4.12 to kill the henchmen sent by the Bone Tinker to kill him.
  • Skipping School: Between the bullying and her preference to spend time being a hero, Taylor doesn't really go to school if she can help it. By the second story arc, this has caused a falling out with her father.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Taylor has trouble with talking to others or interacting because of her Friendless Background. Even small-talk with Glory Girl, who she's had the most interaction with, is painful to read and riddled with pauses and long thoughts.
  • Soul Jar: Tattletale is killed by the Bone Carver and the Outsider uses her heart to create a stable link to her soul (or, more accurately, shard connection). This makes her the fanfic's counterpart to Jessamine Kaldwin, particularly in how her analysis superpower functioning as basically limited omniscience lets her heart work in a similar vein to how Kaldwin's Heart was used by Corvo and/or Emily.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Downplayed with Shielder, who isn't killed during the battle with Leviathan in this canon, but is forced into a coma.
  • Stalker Shrine: The Bone Carver has built several shrines dedicated to the Outsider and carves the runes in tribute to him. He's more than a little unstable.
    Broken boards, lashed together with electrical wiring and tape and draped with what looks like a bed-sheet.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Victoria's second-trigger stops her from getting close to people, so she hasn't talked to her sister or aunt. Taylor hands her a cell-phone, leaving her to lampshade this. Though, in her defense she was grieving and didn't have time to really think on it.
    • Assault and Battery later on give them earpieces, leaving them both to comment that they should have thought about radios too.
  • Stealth Run: Taylor in 2.3 - 2.4. A shame it was all for nothing.
  • Summon Magic: Taylor can call forth a Swarm of Rats out of sight, which she likes to do using her clothes. She can summon about two dozen at once.
  • Super-Empowering: The Bone Carver eventually learns how to make Bone Charms that give minor powers to ordinary people if they use their own bones.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Taylor just seems to know where to find the Outsider shrines around the city, but only after unknown conditions have been met. She refines the ability in 4.5 with the help of her QA shard.
  • Taught by Experience: Taylor learns this way. For example, she notes that some of the ABB in 2.3 were finding her faster than normal and realized that they had experience with Oni Lee, so once they pegged her as a teleporter their effectiveness went up. Didn't save them from the beating though.
  • Teeth Flying: Taylor ends up doing this to a thug with her bat in 2.2.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The interlude for the Bone Carver gives us a look into his mind... he's gone pretty nuts.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The Outsider gave Taylor his mark, changing the way her shard interacts with the world in addition to gaining other powers.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Glory Girl's violent tendencies when it comes to dealing with crime (see Teeth Flying and Vigilante Man) are starting to rub off on Taylor, only she doesn't have any fighting experience to pull her punches or a healer like Amy. Tattletale points out that this is the sort of thing that Shadow Stalker got drafted into the Wards for, and she's not wrong.
    Tattletale: "Five concussions. Numerous broken bones. Not to mention all the complaints the police-department is having to field. There are also a ton of groups that would love to add you to their lists of examples why the government needs to crack down on independent capes."
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Runes and Bone Charms. They're creepy enough that Victoria tries to get rid of the first one she takes from Taylor.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Grue knocks Taylor out and then leaves her in an ally all night after she rescues him from Shadow Stalker (with the intention of taking him to the PRT Headquarters).
  • Vigilante Man: Taylor serves as this by virtue of being an independent hero, not affiliated with the PRT. Glory Girl explains there are measures she can take because of how the setting works, but it's likely that many of the criminals she'd caught early on went free because she couldn't make official arrests. So, in the end, Taylor follows her lead and beats criminals senseless as a deterrent.
  • Workaholic: Panacea, to Vicky's disapproval.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Taylor accidentally blurts out Sophia's name when Armsmaster is questioning her about Shadow Stalker.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The Queen Administrator shard stole the Bone Carver's shard when it killed him. This gives Taylor access to its knowledge inside of the Void, but she'll forget the knowledge rather quickly.
  • You Killed My Father: The Bone Carver has henchmen go after Danny to do this to Taylor. He manages to gun them down but takes a wound.