It was a beautiful day in New York City’s Central Park. The air carried the smells of grass, flowers, and the possibilities of a season still early in its cycle. The woman sat alone on the park bench in the warm spring afternoon, dressed in a light summer dress of greens and blues, which accented nicely with her bronze skin and jet-black hair. Her face was the very picture of patience, and her doe brown eyes had a depth and warmth that instantly caught the attention of many passers-by. She waited with hands folded gently and demurely in her lap; a small, pleasant smile on her face.
Today however, the woman did not wish to be noticed, admired, or adored by the dozens of people enjoying the park’s sylvan surroundings. No sooner had she let this thought cross her mind when the park’s visitors began to drift away of their own accord, finding other areas of the park to explore. Not a word was said, not a glance exchanged, but it happened all the same. The woman looked around the beautiful setting of the forest, with its manicured walkways, bright green trees, and singing birds.
Artemis would be proud, she thought to herself. The woman sat, thinking of nothing and everything, keeping busy and yet doing nothing for several hours. She sat as if invisible, with not one person glancing in her direction, nor acknowledging her presence in any way.
Soon the sky began to subtly darken with the approach of nightfall, and all of the colors of the park turned dusky and muted, speckled in shadow and the waning light of the sun.
It was then that she felt a slight tickle on her sandal-covered foot, and knew that her guest had arrived.
Turning her head slowly without alarm, she glanced towards her shapely foot to see a large brown spider climbing its way towards her ankle with the dexterity and deliberate movements that only spiders possess. The woman knew this particular spider, knew it well. She could not honestly say that she knew its species, because this particular arachnid had no species; unique as the woman herself. A smile that could best be described as beatific crossed the woman’s face, and it radiated from her eyes in a warmth that would make children sigh with delight, and grown men stop in their tracks. The words that flowed from her lips were spoken in a long-forgotten dialect of Greek that rolled from her tongue like honey.
"Hello, little one. I was expecting you."
The spider stopped at the gossamer sound of the woman’s voice, and arched its upper body as if it was listening intently to her. The woman continued to speak, quietly with utter clarity.
"I knew that our paths would cross again, and I have need of your assistance. My wish is that our differences be set aside, and that we begin our relationship anew. What say you?"
The spider was frozen on her foot, and was not moving a single hair on its body, as if it were seized with uncertainty or doubt, as if spiders were capable of such things. The woman extended a hand that was slim and delicate, yet steady and sure. When it reached the spider, the spider jumped nimbly from the woman’s foot directly into her hand with amazing alacrity. The woman placed the spider in the soft, lush grass at her feet, and turned her gaze upward. To the casual observer, it may have appeared that the woman was saying a prayer, or perhaps asking forgiveness for something she had done, or was going to do. Those observers would be more correct then ever they knew.
When the woman turned her gaze back to the spider’s resting place, a beautiful girl had taken its place. The young woman was nude, and she was bent over her knees in an almost prayerful kneeling position. The girl shared many of the same characteristics as the one seated at the park bench, including her tan skin, darkhair, and trim athletic build. The woman seated at the park bench spoke again.
"Hello, Arachne. You are as beautiful as I remember."
Arachne remained kneeling at her mistress’ feet, afraid to say anything, and still reeling from her sudden release and transformation. Feelings that she hadn’t felt in centuries raced across her mind, from the feel of the grass on her toes, to the play of the wind through her long, dark hair. The woman spoke again.
"Please address me, Arachne. We must be sure to start off on better ground than we have in the past." Her voice was kind, but was slightly more insistent, and the latter prompted the naked young woman to speak.
"M-mistress Athena, you grace me with your presence, as always."
She still had not dared to raise her eyes to meet Athena’s, and after the millenia spent as the first spider on earth, she had no desire to invoke her mistress’ wrath again. Athena spoke again.
"I have called you at this time, and to this place, for many reasons. One of those reasons is because after all of this time, after all of the winters, springs, and passing years and centuries, I feel that you have learned from your mistakes, and that you are deserving of another chance at a human life."
Arachne remained motionless, with her forehead brushing the lush green grass of the park. "Thank you, Mistress." Athena continued, "The most important reason is that I need your assistance. In this time, strange and unusual creatures abound, and not all of these creatures serve the common good and the cause of man. You will be my champion among the humans, and I will imbue in you the power to protect those that cannot protect themselves." Arachne, confused and flattered by Athena’s words, knew better than to question anything she had to say. "Your servant is flattered by your wisdom and generosity, and I will give everything in order to avoid disappointing you." Athena smiled down at the bowed head of her new charge, pleased by her willingness to take on this responsibility. "I must warn you that Zeus will not be pleased with my actions, because I have taken this course of action entirely on my own, and without his permission. He will indulge what he perceives as my folly, but will not allow any inappropriate behavior or even the slightest reason to revoke my decision." Athena placed her hand on Arachne’s head, and Arachne felt a warmth, energy and sense of purpose that she’d never felt before. It surpassed even the greatest feelings in her life, when she was sitting at her loom and creating the beautiful crafts that had landed her in all of this trouble to begin with. From beside the park bench, Athena withdrew a Macy’s shopping bag, and presented it to Arachne. Anyone with a true insight into this scene would have been horrified or incredibly amused at the irony of the situation.
Arachne opened the bag and found a wonderfully colorful costume and a small mask. She knew now the garb that she would wear into the world to represent Athena’s cause, and a new hero was born.
Personality and MotivationsEdit
Arachne is somewhat of a paradox because two of her main personality traits are her sense of humility (caused by her centuries of punishment) and her sense of accomplishment and purpose (fueled by a confidence in her abilities and her sense of divine purpose. Arachne is determined to show Athena that the goddess’ confidence in her was not misplaced, and she can perform the task set before her.
She knows that she is not the fiercest woman ever to don a costume, and always fights defensively until able to accurately assess her opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. She will try to use her nibleness and webs to keep her foes busy and confused before striking with the greatest effect.
Arachne still loves to sit at her loom and weave, and uses it to relax and pass the time when she’s not fulfilling her duties to Athena. Being a commoner herself, she is kind to her fellow man, and intends to protect those who cannot protect themselves, as Athena has charged her to do.
"I have the patience of a mountain and the cunning of a fox. You are no match for me."
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Arachne's powers are all linked to the spider-form she was trapped in for near three-thousand years. She is incredibly quick and agile, moving with acrobatic grace, and able to react fast enough that she can dodge bullets. Her strength has been increased as well. At full exertion she can bench-press approximately 25-tons, leap twenty to thirty meters, and run at 25 miles per hour. Arachne uses her agility, leaping ability, and strength as an informal "martial art" which she has honed to become a competent hand-to-hand fighter. Arachne can also generate spider-like webbing from her fingertips, and use it in a variety of ways. She has created drag lines, sticky nets, cocoons, even entire walls of spider-silk. Combined with her acrobatic leaping, she occasionally uses her "weblines" as a means of rapid travel. This silk is proportionately as strong as normal spider-webs are, making them one of the toughest fibers known to man. She can also cling to most surfaces. Arachne's costume, woven by Athena herself, protects her from some level of harm, acting as very light body armor (though it is not impermeable), that never gets torn nor dirty.
Arachne appears as a young Greek woman of approximately 25 years of age. She has the dark, silky skin of a true Athenian long with long, straight, jet-black hair. Her grayish-green eyes twinkle with wonder and beauty. Her costume is sky-blue and white, with a delicate web-design woven into it with black thread. She wears a black domino mask to hide her identity.
As "Olivia Christakos", she wears modern (yet demure) clothing, and conducts herself with confidence and dignity.