Fandom: Hollow Knight
Length: 758
Tags: Ghost Weaverlings Fluff but with background Angst just kind of sitting there staring uncomfortably into the camera

a clutter of spiders


The Knight tries out the Weaversong charm.


Written for Alana.

There are creatures following them, and it does not hurt.

This is new. The creatures that followed them through Hallownest before were always enemies, things with claws and fangs all seeking them harm, pursuing until the Knight killed them or got far enough to be hidden or not worth chasing. Those that did not harm them did not follow them, content to linger in their places -- at a bench, by a door, behind a counter or tucked into a little nook in the caverns, most of them chattering away when prompted and busy with their own thoughts when not.

(The only other situation which comes to mind for comparison, aside from the mantis village and their unexpected change from enemy to not-enemy, is the Knight following others. This, they have done many times before, and unlike now, it is never so kind: following their sister, to meet her needle, painful and unwelcoming; following the call of screaming that nobody else could hear, to this kingdom of rot and ruin; following someone else they don't remember out of the dark, who rewards them only a blank stare and a thousand fathoms to fall.

The last one is so uncertain in their mind, they would think it a dream, if not for the way it aches inside them. They cannot remember who it is looking back. It eats at them constantly.)

The little creatures trailing behind them skitter around and over the bench, almost playfully, baring tiny fangs like chips of stone with no malice for the Knight, who stands near enough to strike them down without a second thought. They resemble the Weavers that lie dead throughout Deepnest's village, shrunk down into miniature, right down to the pattern of eyes. The Knight has seen Weaver spiderlings before, once, outside this place. They were as small as these, maybe smaller. Is the resemblance to their young intentional, they wonder? Or is it simply beyond the charm's strength to construct a full-sized spider?

When they hold the charm to their mask, it vibrates faintly, echoing with a melody they find familiar, heard in passing on the roads bordering the wastelands. A Weaver's farewell song, they are fairly certain.

They are beginning to find a distaste for farewells, lately. This kingdom, it seems, is full of them, though it is fuller still of struggle and things cut short. If death is a farewell in itself, though, then Hallownest has more of those than they've ever before seen in one place. (It's not just the plague they've encountered, either. The houses and streets and temples around them are built of corpses more often than not. The death here lives in layers.)

One of the weaverlings skids to a stop just short of the Knight's feet, and then raises its front legs to prod at the hem of their cloak, as if curious. The Knight leans down to give it purchase, and lets it crawl up their side onto their shoulder and along their arm before hopping off again, making a half-circle around before rejoining its siblings at the bench.

They suppose they could use another quick rest, before venturing out into the hungry dark of the tunnels once more.

They sit down, slouching against the metal back, slumped over and letting their head hang low under its own weight. Something pushes at their side: one of the weaverlings -- the same one? They can't tell them apart -- has crawled up onto the bench to settle down at their side, wriggling about as it curls its legs snugly under its round little body. A moment later, the others follow suit, clustering around the Knight's lap -- hesitant at first, but emboldened by their sibling.

The Knight runs a gentle claw over the back of one weaverling, the bold one, almost on instinct. They feel surprisingly close to safe, despite the kingdom around them; they have always felt more comfortable and secure in little alcoves like this bench provides, and the weight of the weaverlings is oddly soothing as they shuffle their little legs and nest themselves deeper amid the folds of the Knight's cloak.

There is something familiar about it, the feeling of so many small creatures around them, so close, without danger. The Knight knows they are not like other bugs, but they must have come from somewhere. Did they once rest and sleep in some sort of burrow, surrounded by a clutch of siblings, all curled up and nestled close like this?

They cannot remember.

They do not leave the bench for some time.