Lightning flashed through the darkened sky, and rumbling thunder followed soon after, rolling through the woody hills. The pine trees swayed violently in the howling wind, threatening to tip over and overturn. The rain battered the stone fortress, smacking repeatedly against the thick windows. But while the forest around it bended and moaned, the fortress stood still against the storm, unhindered in the least. The island floated steadily on, even in the midst of the hurricane.
The flash of lightning illuminated the dark corridor, briefly revealing Avicularia’s path to him before sending it back into darkness. This didn’t bother him in the least however- they knew the hallways of this fortress by heart. But the layout of the castle did not worry the young tarantula at the moment.
He crossed the hallway quickly, running as quietly as he could. Avi dashed around the corner and scampered down that hallway as well. Reaching a door, Avi stopped briefly, breathing hard. They leaned close to the door and listened for any sign of movement. When Avi was confident enough no one was past the door, he rammed the heavy wooden door open and dashed through.
The room he ran into was a large one, akin to a ballroom. It was lit only by the occasional lightning flash, and was completely devoid of life. On the tarantula’s right the entire wall of the room was taken up by windows, rattling in the heavy storm. The bottom row of windows were openable, and thus shook the most in the force of the storm.
Avicularia ran up to one of the sliding windows, and desperately pulled at the lock on it. The lock was rotten, and slowly began to give way with the tarantula’s efforts. Avi was about to pull the lock off when a door opposite the one they entered burst open. In ran a few of the Archanade, some holding torches and some weapons. At the front of the group loomed a giant, dark-purple tarantula. She glared at the much smaller pink toe.
“Avicularia!” Her voice boomed in the empty ballroom, and prompted Avi to hurry his efforts. The lock broke off with a ping just as thunder crashed the silence after the shout, and the window broke inwards from the wind, shattering against the wall behind Avi. Avi, who had shielded his face, ran into the force of the storm that was tearing itself into the room. The giantess and her group followed suit, chasing after the smaller spider.
“Avicularia, stop this nonsense,” Once again the purple tarantula shouted, her voice booming even above the din of the storm. Her voice stopped Avicularia short of the balcony edge and he whipped around to face her. She stood square in the face of the gale, but the other members were struggling to even stand, their torches already blown out.
“You can’t stop me!” Avi shouted in response. His voice lacked the power of the other’s, but it was still distinguishable in the storm. He looked at the other tarantula with a mix of fear and defiance. “You can’t change me to be like you. I won’t let you!”
“You are mistaken, Avi,” Urtican growled, her voice gravely with anger. She began to stride forward, each step slow and menacing. “You are my son, and you belong to the Archanade. It is in your blood and your history! You can not ignore that!”
Avicularia shook his head, water splashing from his bristles. “I can!” he cried out, his voice choking up with frustration. “That all means nothing! I am me, I decide who I am, and I’ve chosen to be better! Better-” he hesitated, watching Urtican approach with fear in his eyes, before shaking up the courage to point at her- “Better than you would ever be!”
“Ha!” The one syllable shook the ground harder than the thunder did, making Avi and the gang members flinch backwards. By now the purple tarantula had greatly decreased the distance between the two, standing two yards before her son. Avi gripped the railing behind him tightly, edging away from the towering monster. “You? Better than me? By running away like a coward?” She roared, then shook her head. “Do this, and you will never be more than a silly little gnat! But listen to me-” her voice lowered a bit, taking on an ever so slightly softer tone- “And you will overcome me, even! You will be an unparalleled leader! All you need is to listen.”
“Never!” Avi’s reply rang clear just before another thunder roll crashed through the air. “I’d rather die than take on your role!” Urtican straightened up, her soft expression contorted into a frustrated one again. A terrifying silence fell between the two, and Avi’s face twisted with fear as they realized what they had done.
The purple tarantula gripped the handle of her cutlass. This sent the gang members behind them scattering back into the ballroom, watching fearfully from behind the relative safety of the shaking glass. Avi had a similar reaction, backing into the railing completely and pressing himself against the metal. A whimper passed through his lips but thankfully was drowned out by the storm.
“If you truly think so,” Urtican growled, slowly unsheathing her weapon, “Then you will have to follow up on your word.” The metal of the cutlass grated against the sheath before she completely pulled it out. A flash of lightning made the sword shine menacingly for a brief moment. Urtican stepped forward, and Avi shrank back-
And then the unexpected happened.
As the thunder from the last lightning strike rolled across the hill of the island, the small tarantula made a bold dash, pushing off against the railing, aiming for one point- they latched themselves onto the hand that griped the cutlass, and while Urtican still processed what had occurred Avi slipped the cutlass into his own grip. He quickly took a step back and brandished the cutlass at its owner, his hands shaking despite having six of them.
“Y-You!” Avi shouted, breaking the tense silence, “You won’t have me so easily! I-I’m my own person! A-and- And-”
Urtican, now over the initial shock, glowered and took a step toward Avi.
“-Not a step closer!” Avi cried out when she did, holding the cutlass higher. “-I’m not afraid to hurt you! I’m- I’m not yours to control! Y- You- You are not my mother anymore!”
A gasp passed through the gang members watching, and even made Urtican stop her advance.
“I- am not…?” She echoed slowly, her voice rippling with anger. “I am not, am I?” Again she repeated, though faster. She took another step, resulting in a slight jump from Avi. “I’m not now, huh? Huu… Huhuhu...” She bent over, and her shoulders shook with laughter. She took another step. “Avi… Have I not told you not to joke around?” Urtican straightened up, her red eyes glared into his blue ones.
“You have...” Avi whimpered, in tears. He tightened his grip around the cutlass…
And slashed into the air in front of him.
A dreaded shudder passed through their body as they felt blade rip through flesh. At the end of the arc the tarantula let go of the cutlass, allowing it to clatter and slide away to the side. Avicularia was breathing hard, staring down at the ground. A crash of thunder shook him into consciousness, and he glanced up. Before him, Urtican- his mighty mother- was crouched over, hands gripping her face. Something was leaking through her fingers- blood. She wobbled backwards, caressing her injured face. Avi watched, shaken, before letting out a shuddering gasp and letting out one last phrase.
“You… You can’t...” he began, struggling to make the words come out. “Y-You can’t tell me what to do anymore.” It was quiet the first time, so Avi repeated it. “You can’t order me around anymore!” This got Urtican’s attention, and she glared at him through her bloodied fingers. So Avi repeated once more, shouting with all his might.
“You can not control me anymore!”
The phrase rang across the balcony, and it seemed like even the storm quieted for a moment to let the sentence sink in. Then, it continued its loud barrage, ignorant of the situation on the balcony.
Newfound strength coursing through his veins, Avi gave their mother one last glare before turning away and leaping off of the balcony into the forest below, disappearing into the darkness.
“Avi...” A low growl emanated from the injured tarantula as her loyal followers ran up to her in worry, yelling to one another to bring a medic or some form of help. “Avi…! Avi! Avicularia!” Urtican’s shout again shook the very ground, echoing in the forest below.
But Avi was long gone.