Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?
darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.
Squeeji is the head of “Human Resources” here at No Books, and responsible for pretty much everything related to our contact with the outside world. Advertising, orientation, and just about anything to do with bringing in new blood is in her wheelhouse.
Quentin had entered without much notice from the rabble keeping a keen eye on the mayor as he stepped in, maybe he had been there the entire time- he'd never really say, but being silent had never been quite his modus operandi. Unless he had been up to something, when the realization that he was there finally hit Gaines, well...she was right you know, without even thinking it: He was up to something. She was clever after all, possessing of a low cunning in comparison to him. You couldn't even count the steps he was ahead of her- or hell most of the valley and their infinite power.
So the little sleeper that couldn't just winked and began fiddling with his phone. "Y'know...bravo Gaines, you...you really handled that situation." Smug didn't even begin to explain the look on the young man's face. "Quite frankly, I'm impressed. I really am. But can you handle what's next?" His brows bobbed, and he made headway back towards the door as a great commotion started outside. A flash mob of protesters with signs and megaphones- all already complaining about their cause against the Order in an all too public place, and now: with an all too public face.
As if waiting just for her to start panicking, things began to go rapidly from bad to worse. The wild-eyed man who had been talking about chimeras now began to rave in earnest like a true conspiracy theorist. It wasn't helped when the macabre-looking changeling near her got up and whispered something in his ear. Though she couldn't tell what it was he was saying, she felt a faint stirring of fear in her gut that hadn't been there before. Whatever he was doing, it was changeling magic of some sort.
Once his work was done, the man plopped himself back in his seat, looking every inch the cat that ate the canary. He introduced himself as Bill, and the girl gave him a slightly shaky nod. "Uh, Faun. Pleasure to meet you." Sort of. Around her, she could feel the tension rising in the room. Some were telling the raving man--"Dex"?--to shut up, while others, like Mr. von Richtofen, seemed to be on the lookout for anyone else who seemed to be thinking of disturbing the peace. As she looked around the room, she accidentally met the eyes of the mayor, who was studying her with a look of slight puzzlement in her eyes. A breath caught in her chest and Faun pretended to be interested in something else across the room until the woman looked elsewhere. She reminded herself that regular people couldn't see through her Mask, that the mayor--or anyone else--wouldn't be able to see the granite that had almost completely overtaken her.
The mayor seemed eager to call the meeting to a close, and Faun could hardly blame her. But before the older woman was able to dismiss the gathering, a boy around her age near the back spoke up, carrying an undeniable air of smugness. Whatever he was about to do, it probably wasn't going to be a good thing. Faun became aware of a ruckus outside the hall--chanting, shouting, all the marks of a protest of some sort. Oh, NOW what? Confused, she glanced over at Bill, wondering if he had any idea what was going on.
...these terrible people want to keep you here, to infect you with a disease that will make you like them, that will close your eyes.
Bill’s words wormed their way into Dexter’s already paranoid mind, amplifying his already frenetic thoughts. The air in the room suddenly felt incredibly oppressive, thick and hard to breathe. The crowd, even the very walls seemed to take on a new more malevolent nature, looming above and around Dexter like a trap waiting to be sprung. That’s what this was, after all, a trap. He was sure of it now.
“I can feel it! It’s in my brain!” Whether the result of Bill’s meddling, or just garden variety lunacy, Dexter became absolutely and utterly convinced that he was now experiencing these ‘notable neurological side effects’. His breaths came in rapid and shallow gasps, his field of vision constricted and clouded by dancing lights. Anything Jaime or anyone else said to him wasn’t heard. Instead his mind was filled with the dull roar of the crowd and the rapid humming of his own heart.
He had to get out. He had to get home, somewhere safe. No, home wasn’t going to be safe anymore. The whole town could already be infected. But where else could he go?
The doors to the room were flung open. Outside, another crowd of people appeared, angrier, louder, more organized. Dexter wasn’t coherent enough to think about who they were, or what they wanted, but they opposed the Mayor and the madness of the quarantine (or so it appeared to his beleaguered mind) so they had to be the good guys here, right?
“Run! Run while you still can!” He words began to slur together as he flung his hands into the air as if to shoo people out of the room. “Run in zig zags, they can’t catch us all. Some of us will make it...some…” His vision constricted again, this time to a pinpoint, and then there was blackness. There was a sound of rubber squeaking against rubber as Dexter’s legs crumpled under his own weight. He hit the cold floor, still vaguely aware of his surroundings, but not entirely conscious.
Another Changeling had addressed him but Bill ignored him. A man causing mass panic is difficult to discredit but the press junky of a fae did not appear to be the right man for the job in Bill's opinion.
Bill's eyes bounced between Faun, Dex and the Mayor as he sat. The piercing gaze of the elected official seemed to rest on him as he sat down so he waved politely but she began scanning Faun rather intently.
Faun was another Changeling he could tell but even so she was jittery, not unusual for the Lost, but she was especially so. Her stone skin seemed to shimmer with nervousness as Dex fully lost his mind. Raving and stammering he collapsed to his knees and fell to the floor.
"Taxi!" Bill said softly. At least the mad man was silent now. But there wasn't silence in the hall there was the paranoid roar of the crowd outside, the glamour was pouring in. He caught Faun's gaze and shrugged his shoulders slightly.
"Madness everywhere it would seem," he said cryptically before digging around in his pockets. "Would you like some fruit?" He said extending a hand containing two small pink hedge fruit.
Though Jamie kept his cool, it was only because he was trained to and kept up the habit. This was all...well, wild to say the least. But what did you expect when you lived in probably a legit twilight zone? Nice part was, headlines weren't ever boring. The major gave her schpiel, and then got real quiet like, which would have been unlike her, except following her gaze meant looking right at what done the silencing. Or rather who. Mr. Petulant Puss himself, the Mansfield boy and no doubt eventually his S.E.L.F. cronies. Now, the kid was a good informant, fed him a lot of good stuff...but, Jamie wasn't going to lie to himself that the boy was anything but a straight up asshole.
Today wasn't the day he was about to change his mind.
A few threats and the sound of a mob scene outside and well, damn another great story because of that little asshole and he hated it. Hmph.
His gaze darted towards the door, then Ellis, then towards the door...and then the fire-escape and he gave his new side kick a nod and a bob his eyebrows. "That little phone of yours got a video function?" He could only imagine that the answer was yes, and boy howdy did he hope that was the answer because he wanted it so badly to be so.
But first, he had to deal with his over inflated sense of morality with Dexter frothing himself up into a lather and subsequent blackout...which was- not like him, sure crazy yeah, but in his case Jamie knew crazy said what crazy dun do. Or whatever. Someone he guessed or something put him up to it. And his shadowy countenance could make a wild guess who. Still it didn't do to leave a man on the floor when he could well...try to prop him up a bit, hopefully he wasn't going to be the only one trying to fan a hyperactive paranoid man in case he came to and started swinging.
"Well mayor...you might wanna send your lapdogs out after that."0
The cops had no business being here when they should have been out there, because he was pretty sure...he just hear a car get flipped, and he was kinda hoping it wasn't his. There were a lot of things he was hoping the best for, and just...kinda expected the worst.
There weren't really too many reliable conclusions that Walter could draw from the insanity unfolding around him. Walter disliked taking sides before he knew the motivations and agenda of all involved. Determining that, though, for this chaotic scene was damn near impossible.
First, there was the mayor. First time that Walter had met her and, while she had seemed capable, he couldn't tell if she was the power-junkie politician, honest do-gooder or powerless pawn. As such, he understood the situation and the need for quarantine, but wasn't too sure how to react to that... Just yet.
Then the rest of the crowd seemed to consist of every kind of personality disorder that Walter could call to mind, as well as a good number of more normal, level-headed types. The latter just enough to make for some collateral damage, should the worst happen and a riot ensue.
Denied the ability to reason his way through this situation, Walter did what he always did in similar situations, he went with his gut instinct. The rather obnoxious boy who had just arrived seemed to know more of this situation and, to Walter, it seemed the rest of the scene would unfold around him.
Walter elected, then, to make his move by heading toward the young man. "Excuse me...", he called. Walter wasn't really sure what he was going to ask the lad, if anything, but felt he should at least try to detain him and ask him for his side of what was going on.
As he began to move, though, he noticed Dexter on the floor. He paused, looking with concern at the man he had met just the other day.
As soon as the doors of the meeting room opened Ellis spun around to see what all the commotion was, his phone coming along for the ride, the video recording of the mayor suddenly replaced with a loud-mouthed, pink haired teenager and his crew of, well, other loud-mouthed teens. Huh. This press conference just got a lot more interesting. Whether it was a good sort of interesting or a bad sort remained to be seen.
There was a different sort of commotion a half-second later, the town spastic dropped to the floor, seemingly out of nowhere, but there was something about the way that other Changeling slinked off a moment later that struck Ellis as a little odd. But Jamie seemed to be on it, and so Ellis kept his attention on the mob.
And the gentleman that stood up and started to head over towards the pink-haired leader. Oh, this could potentially be good-- or very bad. Ellis zoomed in on the proceedings, though the sound of something very heavy and metallic jostling about outside the building caused him to lift his head and glance around. Well that was... unsettling.
Justin hated these things. Every time he was assigned to attend the mayor's town hall meetings, he found himself bored out of his skull. Sure, the first few times he had found all the shouting and screaming exciting in a strange way. It had even given him something to do as he reminded citizens to "stay in line" and "maintain order." Eventually, even that lost its appeal. There were simply too many weirdos in this time for him to even pretend to keep them in line, especially in the chaos that is a press event like this...
Of course, this time was a little different than most. First of all, the mayor usually only requested a single uniformed officer, two if it was dealing with something law related. More of a formality or something. He didn't really know if them simply being here did much, but that was usually all she expected of them: "Stand here and look official." This was different. She had asked for all hands on deck. With a nasty flu bug ripping through the department, they were kind of understaffed. That was even counting idiots like himself who was pretty sure he had the cold himself, but was ignoring it with the help of over-the-counter drugs.
This meant Justin was standing by the front door, Feely by the East door, and Bailey to the West. The Chief herself was standing up on the stage and had ordered the handful of others from the station to scatter themselves around the nearby streets, "just in case." This was big, had to be. The mayor was expecting trouble and as soon as he heard her announcement about the quarantine he understood. She expected a panic. Bracing himself, grinning slightly about doing "real" police work instead of "simply" giving drunk-and-disorderlies or speeding tickets.
When the panic started though, Justin froze. He didn't know how to deal with this kind of crazy. Dexter was more turned up than usual and seemed the bigger threat to himself and others so Justin started moving to restrain the man. Unfortunately, too many things happened at once...
Just as he started to move towards Dexter, Justin heard someone clapping. Even without looking, Justin recognized the voice. That would be the Mansfield kid, good kid but taking his rebellious phase a bit too seriously. Acting more Malcom X than MLK, which made Justin a tad uncomfortable most of the time. Just before reaching Dexter, Justin turned and was already preparing an admonishment for the kid when he heard the protesters arrive outside.
With a deep sigh, Justin made his way towards the crowd forming just outside the front door. Keeping one hand on his gun, not out of concern for his safety but for the image of authority he thought it represented, he moved towards the front door (lightly bumping a camera man and idly muttering "Scuse me sir" as he did so) and the crowd just outside. Justin didn't even look behind him, from sound and procedure alone he knew that Feely and Bailey were behind him and providing back up. "Alright, ladies and gentlemen. I'm going to need you to disperse. You have the right to protest, but you have to file the paperwork first and I know none of you have bothered to do that..."
Justin's little speech was interrupted by a sudden bout of coughing on his part. The coughing was so rough that he almost didn't hear the gunshot. Almost, but he did. He didn't know who fired the shot. He noticed there was a gun in his hand, but if it was reflex from the sound of the shot or if he had drawn it earlier he couldn't quite remember. He wasn't sure what had happened but, as time froze as it always does after gunfire, he held his breath. Then the screaming started...
Someone was dead. One of the protesters. Someone was dead and it was likely that a police officer was responsible. It may even have been Justin. That didn't matter right now. What mattered right now was that the crowd was angry. VERY angry. Someone threw a rock and struck Feely in the head. Justin pointed his gun at the crowed and ordered them to "Calm down" and "Disperse!" Support officers streamed from a side street, but Justin didn't recognize them. The rioting and looting had begun...
((Admin note: This SWP proved to be more populated than anticipated (a good problem to have!). Thus, I will be splitting this thread into two separate threads moving forward. For XP purposes, this thread is "complete" but is only "part 1" for story purposes. One follow up thread will take place in the Umbra (but with a way in for those unable to magic their way in themselves) and one in the streets of downtown Columbiana. Both threads will be capped at 5 players/characters (not counting NPCs) for sanity reasons. Players can choose to move their characters straight from this thread to one of the new ones, or they can switch to a second character. For simplicity however, if you wish to switch characters and want to write an "outro" post, you can post in this thread but no NPCs or admins will be monitoring this thread after the new SWPs start.))
Dex's apparent terror was evidently too much for his body to handle, and Faun started as he finally fell. Nobody seemed overly concerned--was this a common occurrence with him? She found herself agreeing with Bill's statement--nothing in her life had been entirely "sane" since her initial capture. When he offered her a piece of fruit, she briefly side-eyed the unfamiliar morsel, but decided it would be rude not to take one, and accepted it with a murmur of thanks.
She had just put it in her mouth when a sudden, sharp noise came from outside. Then came silence, then the screaming started. Somehow, the protest had just become a riot.
Caught up in the crowd's surge of terror, Faun leaped to her feet, only briefly stumble and cry out in pain. Her stone-skin had spread with her fear, and now covered her almost entirely. When she had stood up too quickly, her petrified joints had grated and spasmed. She sucked in a breath, knowing the pain would pass, then forced herself to stand again. She looked around for Bill or Walter or any others she had seen pre-riot--but in the swirl of bodies and faces, it was difficult to tell where anyone was.
Her legs felt like lead, but she could at least ride the press of the crowd out of the door, letting others jostle her along (though she came dangerously close to tripping and being trampled once or twice). They burst out of the hall and into the dull winter sunshine, where there appeared to be nothing short of a skirmish going on between the police and rioters.