Insane Religious Fanatics.
These are but a few of the descriptions of the Knights of Arachnos.
To understand what the Knights of Arachnos are, let's start from the beginning:
In 1965, an American hippy commune at the Morris Reservoir, located north of San Dimas, California, was established. Nearly 100 hippies squatted upon a corner of the reservoir. There, they grew their own vegetables, and in their own groovy, simplistic life, spoke of peace and harmony.
An older hippy swore that he, after hitting the reefer a little hard, spoke with God, who came to him as a big red spider with sword-like legs. He told the rest of the commune that the spider warned him of impending doom, and that only one child of the commune would survive an assault by dark forces. After this happens, he told them, it was this child's sole destiny to rise up and bring 'new worshipers' unto the spider/god. That same elder hippy, known for excessive drug use, wrote down the new tenants the 'spider/god' had given to him. Most in the commune considered the old hippy’s experience as 'far out', but didn't know what to think of it...except for the son of the elder hippie; a young boy named Malcolm Mercedes.
The old hippy explained that the commune, in order to have peace, paradoxically, must arm themselves against the dark forces. The commune then went on a crime spree throughout the Los Angeles Forest area, breaking into houses, stealing guns and ammunition. Some even broke into parked police cars and took weapons straight from the vehicles. Days later, after receiving complaints of the break-ins, and from their own embarrassment at being robbed themselves, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) descended upon the hippy camp. Guns out, the LAPD warned the commune to give themselves up peacefully.
The old hippy yelled to the members of the commune that the police were the 'dark forces' and the spider/god commanded them to stop the LAPD. In a gunfight that lasted hours, five policemen were killed, several policemen were injured and all of the commune's hippies were killed - all except one; the young Malcolm Mercedes.
Malcolm had watched the entire gunfight from the safety of a nearby tree. He watched as the police gunned down his community. It seemed as though his father's prophecy was coming true. To cement this as the last member of the commune was killed, a spider descended from a web on a branch above and rested on his hand. Malcolm and the spider 'stared' at each other for what Malcolm would later mystically say 'was as long as eternity'. In reality, only minutes after the death of the last hippy, only minutes had passed. The police found Malcolm in the tree, seemingly in shock. They took him to a hospital where the doctors described Malcolm as 'in a state of psychosis'.
Over the next several years, until his 18th birthday, Malcolm was moved from state mental hospital to state mental hospital, none of which helped him. Their only solution was to continue medicating him. Sometimes, he would only pretend to take his medication. As his mind cleared, he would interact with other patients spreading the “gospel” of the spider/god, only to be grabbed up, drugged, beaten and strapped back into his bed by hospital orderlies.
Upon reaching the age of 18, by the power vested in the State of California to release psychotic mental patients reaching the age of adulthood, they threw him out the door. A Catholic home for the caring of released mental patients took him in. There, Malcolm was encouraged by the clergy to 'find God' and 'do God's work'. One evening, while Malcolm was cleaning the pews, another red spider alighted upon his hand. Again, Malcolm and the spider shared 'a moment' staring at each other.
It was then that Malcolm had an epiphany on the purpose for his life.
Everything his father told him, the spider/god's rules, the church he was in, it all made sense; Malcolm was to recruit people and teach them the commandments the spider/god decreed by his father (whom Malcolm now called the "Sacred Scribe"). The commandments dictated how to praise, worship and serve the spider god (whom he now called "Arachnos"). Malcolm now realized that he needed to escape the church and return to the old commune camp, where the "Sacred Scribe" had buried the holy book.
That night, Malcolm started his new life as the murderous, psychotic leader of a religious spider-god cult.
Malcolm went to all of the men and women being cared for by the home and convinced them that the spider God "Arachnos" needed them to be his knights and to vanquish all who did not believe in the spider god. Unsurprisingly, nearly all of the former mental patients agreed to join Malcolm. That night the mentally-ill men and women killed all the Catholic clergy and staff in the church and thereafter set the church on fire, burning it to the ground. Malcolm and his followers stole a bus, and then drove back to where it all started for Malcolm: the shore of the Morris Reservoir. There, he recovered the buried spider-god rule book, now relabeled as the "Book of Arachnos". His new band of knights were promptly indoctrinated in the book's commandments. Each of swore allegiance to Arachnos and Malcolm, whom they'd renamed "Lord Arachnid".
Over the next few weeks, Malcolm and his knights plotted incredible, crazy plans to get weapons, body armor, money, and more to build their new army, the "Knights of Arachnos". Although most of the “knights” were mentally ill, several of them were geniuses that had simply "snapped". These crazed geniuses created and devised horrifying weapons for the cult. All the while, the others knights went out into the homeless community ‘recruiting’ new knights. In a years’ time, Malcolm's 'knights' had dozens more knights. They engineered laser-energy weapons, spider-themed armor, traps, and other devilish devices. They had also robbed dozens of banks and armored cars, amounting to nearly $10 million. Because of the audacity and shear zaniness of the robberies, police were baffled on how to catch, contain or even find these 'knights'. In one particularly outrageous bank robbery, a crew of twelve robbers did a circus acrobat and juggling routine – complete with circus style costumes and automatic weapons, to pull of the crime. They evaded the police using parkour-style acrobatics, scattering in all directions.
One day in Griffith Park, Malcolm came across an elderly gentleman who was a reclusive millionaire. Sitting upon a park bench together, they struck up a conversation. The old man was as crazy as Malcolm. They became quick friends. Malcolm's talks of his spider-god excited the old man. Within weeks, the Knights of Arachnos set up shop in the old man’s house and basement. He even changed his Will ensuring that Malcolm got everything, but through an assumed identity. Malcom obtained this identity from the Rectory files of the church he destroyed. The millionaire conveniently died of old age two weeks later. Malcolm now had a mansion, tens of millions of dollars, and a base of operations for the Knights of Arachnos.
Over the next few years, he amassed more high-tech equipment, and garnered more crazed geniuses to join them in building and engineering a powerful underground base.
Later, advertisement flyers began appearing all over town, proclaiming that the 'rapture of the spider-god' would be upon them soon; their only way of redemption was to become a disciple of Arachno. Those who wanted to convert were given a 1-800 number. There they received instructions from their ‘spider-god’ on where to go and what to do. The LAPD obviously saw this as a way of finally trapping these Knights of Arachnos and locking them up. Using undercover agents, the LAPD infiltrated the cult. From the intelligence they gained as “members”, they prepared an all-out assault on the Knights of Arachnos. At a rally in Griffith Park, the LAPD and the Knights of Arachnos had their first major encounter. Over 50% of the police and SWAT on scene were killed or injured. The Knights of Arachnos did not lose a single knight; in fact, they gained 100 more followers.
As a result of that battle, Malcolm and his knights devised a plan to create an "inner" circle and an "outer" circle of worshippers to the spider-god. Malcolm would lead both, but the outer circle would be worshippers that were out in the open, in the public's eye. This outer circle would be dedicated to works of charity and spreading the spider-god’s gospel of peace. The outer circle became ever more vocal, establishing centers of worship for the spider-god. The inner circle would be comprised of the more secretive, yet powerfully armed and armored combatants.
The Knights of Arachnos continued their aggressive recruiting policy, drawing in more (mostly mentally ill) followers throughout the Western United States by the thousands. Eventually, the FBI and GUARD became involved. Regardless of the number of police, helicopters, or heavy armored vehicles, the police always lost to the Knights of Arachnos. These new recruits of Arachnos would nearly always escape unscathed, aided by their leaders.
The Knights of Arachnos have become more brazen in their attacks, robbing banks in broad daylight, and even fighting and defeating super-heroes.
The Knights of Arachnos are a force to be reckoned with. However, since most of them are, as the LAPD has unofficially labelled them as "Looney Tunes", their madcap, but deadly methods of combat, their horrific weapons, and their zealot-like mentality have made them a deadly group to encounter. No one knows where they are based or how they are able to accomplish the feats they do. One thing is for sure, the Knights of Arachnos will continue to escalate their recruiting, thefts and legendary exploits over time - unless someone can take them down!
Malcolm Mercedes aka Darren Driscoll
Malcolm Mercedes is the son of a 1960s hippie who created a commune outside of San Dimas, California. One night his father, a little too high on the reefer, claimed he saw God in a vision as a large red spider with swords for legs. His father informed the commune of 'dark forces' that were bent on destroying them, and that the spider-god mentioned only one might survive the encounter, requiring that 'one' to go forth and convert others to follow the spider-god. His father and the commune were all killed in a police attack after a fierce gun battle after the commune stole and armed themselves for this eventual battle with the 'dark forces'; only young 7-year old Malcolm survived, however he was severely traumatized.
During the massacre, young Malcolm while hiding up in a tree, encountered a spider; he and the spider shared a moment that would one day alter Malcolm's life even more than what he'd experienced already.
In and out of mental institutions, Malcolm was finally released on his 18th birthday and taken to a Catholic deinstitutionalizing church, where he was told to 'praise God' and 'follow God's will'. In a related strange occurrence, a spider descended upon Malcolm one night while cleaning the church's pews; at that moment, Malcolm believed the spider-god was speaking to him, wanting him to fulfill the prophecy his father had proclaimed to the commune back when Malcolm was seven.
Over the next few years, Malcolm slowly drew together more worshipers of the 'spider-god', Arachnos, including several crazed geniuses that created new strong armor, powerful energy weapons and unique traps and devices. During that same time, he achieved, through the Will of an eccentric and addled millionaire, a mansion, tens of millions of dollars, and a new secret base of operations.
Encouraging the zany if not obtuse manner in performing robberies, thefts and combat, Malcolm, as the cult's leader, now called "Lord Arachnid", has continued to draw more and more new mentally ill and psychotic worshipers every week. Now with the new "Church of Arachnos" springing up nationwide by his 'outer circle' of followers, as well as an impressive 'inner circle' of powerful, ruthless combatants now called the "Knights of Arachnos", Lord Arachnid has now become a major concern for the FBI, GUARD and superheroes alike,
Lord Arachnid is a danger to anyone who does not believe or follow his cult's spider-god "Arachnos" - and that includes YOU.
CoHverse: Knights of Arachnos VG was started on the MMORPG, City of Heroes, on the Freedom Server, byon 02 February 2008. It was later handed to Lord Arachnid om 16 February 2008.
MDUverse: KoA was rebuilt using key elements and characters from the MMORPG City of Heroes' deleted characters from the Champions, Legion and Knights of Arachnos VGs. This revisioned KoA was restarted on 10 Feb 2014.