to die, to sleep

Chapter 2: arachne's sin was arrogance

Chapter Notes:

why am i still writing this

The spider's daughter is a bitter creature. Venomous and light-tangled, the Weavers have little love for her, disinterested by her feuding with her sister and the butterfly maiden. They blaze and burn together, claw in claw, fangs sunk into each other's necks, and the quarrel of godlings is no place for mortals to linger. A disfigured creature, iron-armed and less more eyes than her mortal kin might ever possess. And she is Light, unwelcome in the depths of beasts and crawling things, and so she struggles her way out and remakes herself.

There are so many gods that call themselves Light. They pick separate domains, as such creatures must, for to remain in close quarters invites a struggle of power and territory regardless of the particulars of their shared nature, and there is only so much room for so much light.

The pale wyrm has his glow, cold as the moon, strange and false; the moth-goddess has her glorious crown of sunfire and dawn. The lady, locked away, has her peculiar luminescence of a living things, a little strange but unmistakably divine. And the spider's daughter, far away from them all, has the glimmer of gold, the flash of a coin in spun air, the glint of a strung web-trap in sunlight, and the gleam of blades and clattering dice.

She is the treasure-keeper, the gambler, lady-luck and thief-queen and wandering star. She is winged and skittering and never quite fits, and she fights and makes a name for herself like a mortal, until she can be sure that her face and form and name will never be unknown again. A god requires worship, requires knowing -- what's a little infamy, if her name is still on the tongue of every bug who hears it?

And what a shame, that her old enemy has come to challenge her again. To rein her in or to call her back, she does not know.

She's in the arena, a great big open structure at the crown of a kingdom she doesn't care enough to remember the name of -- built on bloodsport and battle, and she has cut the path for herself to the top through the bodies of too many bugs to count. Her lopsided face and mismatched anatomy have attracted curious stares, and she revels in it, undaunted. It's half the reason she's never tried to heal herself. Memorability is key to leaving her mark.

The wyrm's child, her lost sister, enters the arena from the far side. A long, torn strip of red fabric hides her eyes, and the thief knows underneath they're just as bright as the day she burned them out.


The spider's daughter shifts, leaning on her bad side, eyes trained on her opponent. "Wow, what, no first name basis? Way to come off as cold, sis."

Through gritted teeth: "Vriska."

"I think it's about to be champion, actually." She glances up at the audience around them for a second, gauging the crowd's reactions. Banter usually pays off, if it's witty enough. And if it isn't, they'll forget before long. Mortal bugs have such short memories.

"Vriska, what the hell are you doing here? I've been looking for you."

And there it goes. The crowd seems to be paying attention, though. Maybe she'll try this angle. It might be worth her while.

There are always champions coming through this place, she's seen. They're ground up and juiced for entertainment, then spit out like used gum the moment they lose their flavor. If she wants to be remembered here...

"Really? The little wyrmling wants me back? After all this time?" Her mockery fills the arena, bright and clear. "Let me guess: you all couldn't function without me, just like I said you would, and you're just finally admitting it."

"That's not what--" she cuts herself off, already so ready to rise to the bait. She's so much more composed, normally. "There's something we need to talk about."

"Hmm." The thief pretends to consider it for a moment. All their eyes are on her. (She could take them all, she could make them watch, but that wouldn't be the same at all. More fun, to actually draw them in. Not that she's ever been above cheating.)


Her broken face splits wide into a grin. "Yeah, yeah. I'll think about it. But if you want your talk, you're only getting it one way."

Her sister puts her claws to her face, and for a second, the thief wonders if she's going to rip off that blindfold and play along, like when they were young. But instead, she sighs, and draws her blade from the cane she carries. "I know."

The thief feels the hum of fate and thread and fortune around her, and though she's no seer, she knows in an instant that this kingdom will be speaking her name for centuries.