"I won't spoil the conclusion if you're eager to see this through."
This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS relating to
some of the most pivotal parts of Worm. Although all articles contain spoilers, this article will reveal major plot twists and should almost certainly be avoided unless you have finished the story.
A former member of the military, this carried over to her interactions with people. Some of whom were able to guess she had a military background right away. Somewhat like Hellhound the manifestation of her abilities caused a mental shift in Narwhal's psychology, making her extremely driven. She is an effective leader.
She tries to address people she respects how they want to be addressed. She is formal and naturally inquisitive.
Presumed to be an avid reader, as she thanked Weaver for her book recommendation. She considered Chevalier's leniency with Ingenue to be ill-advised.
Narwhal is the leader of a team with international renown. Further, she's considered one of the top heroes in the Protectorate, along with capes like Chevalier, her fellow Guild member Dragon, and Legend.
All that despite aversion to publicity appearances.
Narwhal is a seven foot tall woman, with long, glossy, pale hair. She uses her power to create a single, three-foot horn on her forehead and coat her skin with fine crystalline scales. Her "scales" are each no larger than a fingernail.
After the timeskip her look had been redesigned somewhat, with her horn now curving backward over the top of her head.
Narwhal creates crystalline force-fields and can move them at high velocities, though only in straight lines. She is able to, if the target is within fifty feet of her, create a forcefield that bisects part of the target's body, such as an appendage or even cleave through the upper thorax. This is a violation of the Manton effect and a result of her second trigger. Prior to that, she was unable to create force-fields that bisected people.
Her power is strong enough to tear into endbringers; yet she also has much finer control, able to use her force fields almost in lieu of telekinesis to manipulate or destroy small objects, capture people, and as a kind of stretcher or platform. Letting her function as a kind of mass transport system if need be.
Attacking her forcefields causes them to light up. They have a noticeable violet-blue tint and shine with faint rainbow hues when they catch the light.
Her power was considered to be equally split between offense and defense.
Narwhal then received an armband from the Brockton BayWards. When the ceiling started to cave in, Narwhal flicked two fingers towards the ceiling and shored it up with forcefields. She was later teleported out of the building by Strider.
Narwhal later manifested a dozen forcefields and flicked them towards Leviathan. She redirected the forcefields that glanced off Leviathan's skin; having them press against the edges of his body and get in the way of his legs moving. After the dumpster that Ballistic launched at Leviathan forced him backwards, Narwhal sent another forcefield into Leviathan's neck. Her efforts tore a large enough hole for Kid Win to take advantage of.
Moments later, Narwhal was alerted to an approaching tidal wave by her armband. She created forcefields in-between the defending capes and Leviathan before it hit. She was listed among the losses after the final tidal wave hit, this was later shown to be the casualties list as her name did not appear on the Brockton Bay Memorial.
Her power proved pivotal at several key junctures during the event. Part of the goddesses psychological offensive against Zion. Narwhal was instrumental, if unwillingly, in Khepri's escape possible.
Narwhal was still active two years after Gold Morning as a member of the Wardens. She was considered one of the group's key members, having her own statue in the Warden HQ lobby. She was at the meeting between the Earth Gimel leadership and the theocrats of Earth Cheit; she later met with members of Foresight and discussed what the Wardens needed from the group.
She took point as leader of the Wardens contingent in the attack on the Mathers Fallen compound.
One common misconception is that Narwhal was able to create her force fields inside Leviathan's body, and by extension any Endbringer's body, but this wasn't the case.
Narwhal is a consistent element from the earliest drafts of what would become Worm; she always led the Guild. She was the first canon character introduced who stayed in the Parahumans universe.
Like many characters in Worm, Narwhal took her turn as the protagonist for one of the stories many drafts.
↑Narwhal – Head of the Guild and the Protectorate’s Toronto branch. A masterful forcefield user who can create forcefields that intersect (and thus cut) the bodies of nearby opponents. Appears nude, but covers herself in an intricate carpet of tiny forcefields, with a long horn of the same material. - Cast (spoiler free)
↑Narwhal – Leader of both ‘The Guild’ and of the Protectorate station in Toronto, Ontario. Narwhal is an unparalleled wielder of forcefields. - Cast (in depth)
↑ 4.04.1Inverness said: I'll ask about Narwhal. It seems she stood out more than other characters, and not just because of her lack of dress. I remember someone describing it as her having a disproportionate presence compared to other characters that were also rarely featured.
Is she one of the characters you attempted to write about beforehand?
Could you elaborate more on her character and if she'll be featured again in a Worm sequel?
If you look at the drafts on my pig's pen blog, I have some stories up there, including the first superhero WIP I put together. Narwhal featured. The protagonist was cannibalized (see my writing approach post in the last thread or the W.o.G. thread) and one of her powers given to Rune (I was trying to fill the gaps and write a magic based superhero), but was so different I don't count her as having survived. Narwhal, by contrast, has the distinction of joining Dragon as one of the first characters I wrote who survived the drafting process of my first superhero writings and made it into Worm.
That said, she never had a place in Worm, really. She was almost a cameo for my own personal benefit, and may have more of a role in the sequel. I'm not positive, but I can sort of see it playing out.
As a character, she's ex-military, but has a Rachel-like mental issue (and no, it's not exhibitionism) - she spins an awful lot of plates, as head of the Toronto PRT and a prominent member of the Guild. She doesn't stop, and doesn't let herself stop. That's all I'll say here. - comment by Wildbow on Spacebattles
↑Narwhal turned on the spot, facing Saint square-on, and I got the immediate sense that she had some kind of military background. Another part of me was idly aware that her chest didn’t sway that much, all things considered. The nature of the shard-covering she wore made it pretty clear she wasn’t wearing a bra, but…
Right. The same effect she’d used to move the book was holding her entire body. All of the benefits of a full, athletic figure, none of the drawbacks.
I was still a little weirded out that she didn’t wear any clothes. In a sense, the scales covered more than a bikini would, but there were no lines or solid objects to break up the natural contours of her body. - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.2
↑ 7.07.17.2“Right then, I know most of you,” Narwhal said. “Weaver, of course, we’ve met enough times. I liked your last book recommendation.”
“I’m glad,” I said.
“Tattletale,” Narwhal greeted her, a little less warmly, “Hellhound-”
“Bitch. My enemies call me Hellhound,” Rachel said.
“Ah, I’m very sorry,” Narwhal said. She looked genuinely upset at the mistake. “The others, I’m not familiar with.”
“Imp and Canary,” I said.
Narwhal glanced at Aisha. Of our group, only Tattletale was wearing her full costume. Aisha, Rachel, Canary and I weren’t wearing ours. “No masks?”
Imp shrugged. “World’s ending. It’s a way to get in the right headspace, eh? We were talking to Taylor there a bit ago, and what we’re thinking is it’s stupid to spend our time keeping little secrets when there’s bigger fish to fry? Like it’s stupid to dwell on revenge or any of that. So it’s symbolic, isn’t it? A statement? Eh?”
Narwhal looked at the yellow-haired girl. “You went without the mask for the same reason?”
Canary shook her head. “No.”
“Canary is a rogue,” Defiant said. “And a onetime inmate of the Birdcage. She never wore a costume.”
Narwhal glanced at Defiant. “Do you know them, then?”
He nodded. “Well enough. There’s no risk in letting them near Saint. Imp is a stranger-five, Canary is a master eight, but I would be very, very surprised if she had taken control of anyone here for the purposes of misleading us or breaking Saint out.”
“Surprised in what sense? The nature of her power? Because of Weaver and the Undersiders? Or because Canary isn’t that type?” - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.2
↑ 8.08.1A forcefield appeared in front of Ingenue. A second later, she was heaved out of the room, sandwiched between the field and the wall. [...] “How the hell did she get this far into the hospital?” Narwhal asked.
“Let me go.”
The forcefield disappeared, but another set appeared, pinning the woman against the wall by the throat alone. Narwhal started patting Ingenue down. [...] “Let me go, and I’ll be good.” Chevalier glanced at Narwhal. "You’re too soft,” Narwhal said. “You wouldn’t?” “I would, but I still think you’re too soft.” - Excerpt from Interlude 28
↑Parahumans IRC said: Wildbow: Armsmaster appears in the posters and such of the top Protectorate heroes. Wildbow:When they do the image of everyone standing in a 'v' formation Parahumans IRC said: Wildbow: Nah. Legend in front, Alex and Eidolon to the left and right, respectively. Then Myrddin, Chev, Cinereal, Narwhal, Rime, Exalt, Armsmaster, Dragon suit silhouette in the background, wings echoing the wings of the PRT logo over their heads. - IRC conversation archived on Spacebattles
↑ 11.011.1Narwhal turned heads as she entered the lobby. She stood seven feet tall, with a curtain of glossy, pale hair extending almost to the backs of her knees. She was unclothed, not even wearing a skintight costume on her long limbed body, but it somehow wasn’t obscene. Her skin was layered with fine crystal scales that caught the light and scintillated with faint rainbow hues. A single horn stood out from the middle of her forehead, three feet long. She ignored stares as she found a space to lean against a wall near the front of the room. She had her chin against her chest with her eyes closed, as though she were resting, or concentrating. Or maybe it was a habit she’d picked up when standing straight meant stabbing the average ceiling with her horn. - Excerpt from Extermination 8.1
↑ 12.012.112.212.3Narwhal stood just a short distance away, leaning against a wall, a book in her hands. Her costume was skintight, but it took the form of innumerable ‘scales’ of violet-blue tinted crystal, each no larger than a fingernail. Her horn had been redesigned, arcing in a crescent curve.
[...]Narwhal noticed our approach and closed her book, creating a thin shard of forcefield to act as a bookmark, then two more to hold the cover and back of the book. She pushed it aside, and it floated a distance to her right, stopping in midair, in her reach but not in the way. - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.2
↑blames_irrationally: Oh gotcha, so she didn't have too much offensive capability before I guess.
Wildbow: She did. She can create forcefields that move. They have sharp edges. Think forcefield hitting you at 40 km/h, edge first. - Comment by Wildbow on reddit.
“Doing loops. They travel in straight lines, but Vista can bend straight.”
Okay. I wasn’t just catching my two friends, then. I was doing it while they were surfing on a flying, crystalline cleaver. - Excerpt from Pitch 6.4
↑A man, flying with great skeletal bat wings, a kind of lace or filigree of bone stretched between segments, rose into the air to intercept me.
No, to intercept a member of my swarm.
My swarm worked to cut him off, but he was agile, persistent. As massive and bulky as those wings seemed, they shapeshifted in the process of each flap, the lattice of bone opening up to let air pass through, then closing when he wanted the air resistance to bear himself higher, or to one side.
In the end, a forcefield appeared through one wing, and he dropped a solid thirty feet before he managed to catch himself. It gave me a window of opportunity. - Excerpt from Speck 30.7
↑ 16.016.1Narwhal was one of the named examples. Despite people’s impressions, she didn’t demonstrate this against Leviathan.
She creates crystalline forcefields and can move them at high velocities. She can also, if you’re within fifty feet of her, create a forcefield that bisects part of your body. Bling, you’re missing an arm. Bling, you’re missing an upper body. - Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.3
↑“It’s not like there isn’t precedent for this. We know for a fact that some capes who were once held back by the Manton effect have figured out a way around it, or past it. Narwhal being the most obvious case.” - Excerpt from Interlude 5
↑I was aware of Narwhal stepping into the fray, in my peripheral vision. She raised her hands, manifesting a dozen forcefields like oversize crystal shards around her, then flicked them forward. Like guillotine blades, the forcefields raced toward Leviathan, faster than the eye could follow, sunk into his flesh. Those that glanced off stopped mid-air to turn around, edges against his body, getting in the way of his legs moving. [...] A dumpster hit Leviathan in the upper body with the speed of a bullet, and he folded backward, his shoulders hitting the ground while his legs and feet were still held against the ground by a mess of razor blade forcefields. Narwhal sent another forcefield flying into his neck, and it cut as deep as any attack had yet. Blood spilled down from the opened wound, thick, more like ichor than anything I was used to seeing. - Excerpt from Extermination 8.3
↑ 20.020.1I saw the forcefield woman in the crowd. Taller than most, a curved, crystalline horn on her forehead.
The people surrounding my swarm were working to get back as I approached, but the press of bodies only had a limited amount of give.
A forcefield materialized just in front of me as my power reached the very front of the crowd. I turned the newest additions to my swarm around, focusing them on the people who were looking to stop me.
My bugs got in her eyes, blocking her sight, crawled into her ears.
I felt as she bisected them with forcefields. I was already using the device on my back to move over the forcefield, getting a boost from the two who’d been supporting me to heave the clairvoyant up with me.
He came down on top of me, and we landed hard, but we landed on the opposite side of the forcefield. Close enough, taking advantage of the woman’s momentary blindness.
I lowered forcefields and set them in circles around me before pushing out. Separating the crowd to give myself room to maneuver. - Excerpt from Speck 30.7
↑Chevalier shifted his sword to one side, then slid his legs over until he could lower his feet to the ground.
Exalt appeared in the doorway. “Don’t-”
He continued trying to stand.
He was lifted into the air by strategically placed forcefields, one beneath his thighs, another behind his back. He stumbled a little as he touched ground, and another field kept him from falling flat on his face. The tubes reaching to his chest were taut. If he’d fallen, they might have pulled free.
↑It took a minute to arrange. Narwhal created a force field platform and carefully moved Rachel over to the Pendragon. I watched their glacially slow movement and the utterly still Simurgh. - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.4
↑ 23.023.1The clairvoyant and I dropped from a portal in the air and landed right in their midst. Crystalline forcefields appeared in the air, then lowered slowly enough that people had a chance to get out of the way.
I picked the faces of every changer in my range, watching to make sure it was accurate.
I couldn’t control them while they were outside of my range, so I’d do something cruder, instead.
I chose their faces, and then I seated them on the crystalline forcefields, binding them in place with the connection man.
I scattered them into the sky. Each one rooted to a forcefield platform. - Excerpt from Speck 30.6
↑ 24.024.1A woman covered in a skin of forcefields, protecting people with massive shards of forcefield. [...] I got the one-horned woman who glittered with forcefields, then changed direction. [...] The forcefield woman sandwiched each of us between two forcefields, then willed them forwards. We left the stuffed lizard behind. [...] The woman with the forcefield scales used her power. Another sandwich of crystalline fields, the more secure way to hold someone, and she hauled the reality-warper out of the other group, into my range. Another forcefield caught a boy with glowing hair. [...] I had her create a door, then I used her partner’s help to smash it.
A freestanding hole in reality. The reality warper used her power to pick a world.
I wasn’t too picky. The instant I was through, I had them make two more.
↑Tattletale shrugged. “Lung would be too violent, and the focus of Vista’s power is too… location-driven? I have no idea how she’d take Narwhal’s power, because it’s pretty evenly split between offense and defense.”
“Kind of abstract,” I said.
“I’m… reaching,” Tattletale confessed. “Definitely reaching. But reaching and abstract thought bought us the portal to Gimel, and I’ve got to flex my power somehow.” - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.4
↑“I’ve done this kind of thing before. I fought warlords,” Narwhal said. “I helped the villages after. I delivered supplies to isolated settlements. A lot of people want this to have a happy ending, and experience tells me that ending is possible.” - Excerpt from Pitch 6.6
↑There was a loud groan, and the ceiling at one corner of the room began to descend swiftly toward the ground. Narwhal flicked two fingers up in that direction, and shored the ceiling with some forcefields, but I saw other portions of the ceiling begin to sag, gallons of water pouring through the gaps in the ceiling tile. - Excerpt from Extermination 8.2
↑Too many others were capable of delivering the hurt, but were too fragile: Browbeat, Shadow Stalker, Lady Photon, Purity, Laserdream, Brandish and others I didn’t know. The Ward with the crossbow, some guy with crimson skin. There was a light show in the sky above as Kid Win teleported in pieces of the cannon he’d had at the bank robbery, manifesting them onto a hovering platform set directly in front of Leviathan. He’d get anywhere from a few seconds to a minute’s worth of concentrated fire with the gun firing on the highest settings, directing a beam through a gap in the bars to where Narwhal’s razor sharp forcefield had opened a gap in Leviathan’s neck. - Excerpt from Extermination 8.4
↑I personally find it interesting to note the elements that are present. Narwhal, contrary to what I remembered, was the first canon character who was introduced and who stayed with the setting. - Wildbow in Snippets: Before Worm
↑Ziggurat – Junior villains take advantage of a Endbringer attack to take over a city, trapping the residents in a ring of stone walls. Switched perspectives from the villains to the heroes (protagonist was Narwhal) fighting Hadhayosh, with the idea that it would merge together into a singular storyline where Narwhal tries to deal with the captured city. I think I might’ve done a second version with some civilians in the mix, just to show the effect on them, then dropped it quickly. Relevance? Well, I think it marks one of my first in-setting attempts to show a hostile takeover by villains (Supreme Earth was such on a much larger scale) and their attempts to manage a city once they’d seized it. Why didn’t it work? Narwhal was too powerful for a protagonist, and the length would have put it into an awkward place, too long for a short story and too short for a novel or even a novella. Once I realized that, I lost steam. - Comment by Wildbow