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.
Eirako was quickly growing used to sitting in silence while the two gentlemen jabbered in their strange language. She was realizing that a lot of the body language in this strange place seemed similar, thankfully. It didn’t come close to overcoming the language barrier, but it was somewhat comforting at least.
She simply sat enjoying the warmth while the two shuffled and scrumbled around in the front of the vehicle. She just leaned back in the chair and let out a deep sigh which seemed to be mix of relief, exhaustion, and a hint of frustration. Then she noticed that one of them, the one she had hit with her psychic blast, was trying to get her attention.
She watched him for a moment as he pantomimed the motions of writing and she couldn’t help but smirk at how ridiculous he looked doing it. She then nodded, albeit with an incredulous cocked eyebrow, at him and took the pen and paper. She sat there for moment, tapping the pen against her lips as she considered what to write. She seriously doubted that this would work, after all what were the chances that they would share a written language if they couldn’t speak to each other?
Despite her misgivings, Eirako finallly shrugged and started writing. The script was strange: it had the general shape of the Elder Futhark, the flowing stye of Arabic, and the circular structure of Gallifreyan]]. She plugged away at it for a few minutes before handing the sheet back. Upon reading it, Ellis would find it slightly harder than usual to translate but only in the sense that it would take him a moment or two before understanding dawned on him.
“Hello. My name is Eirako. Thank you for saving me. I think that I am far from home. Where am I? Do you know the way to Lady-of-Freedom-City? It is in the state of High-Mountain, if you do not recognize the city’s name.” She smiled awkwardly at the pair while she waited. She hoped that they did understand, but she still had her doubts…
The car was taking a moment or two to warm up, but even being inside the vehicle with the doors closed was a thousand times warmer than sitting outside by the lake. Ellis practically melted against the passenger seat as he waited for Eirako to finish writing, and offered to Darcy, "Once you're ready to go, head down that street by the main campus." He gestured for emphasis, then glanced at the girl in the backseat when she handed back the paper-bag-note.
Ellis glanced at the foreign text, and almost immediately, the letter seemed to morph into the all-too familiar English alphabet, though only to his eyes. He began to read the words aloud for Darcy's benefit. "Hello. My name is Eirako..." And so on until he reached the end, and once he had, he furrowed his brow and looked over at Darcy. "High-Mountain? I have no idea where that is, do you?" Probably not. Elis double-checked and yup, that said 'state'. Was Eirako from another country? Maybe, but those visions she showed him had seemed much stranger than that.
Ellis began to write a reply underneath the words Eirako had jotted down, and although his thoughts were in English, the letters that appeared on the take-out bag were the same strange ones the girl had written a moment before, and as he wrote he spoke out loud for Darcy's benefit. "Hello Eirako. I'm Ellis and this is Darcy. We're not sure where either of those places are. You are in a town called Columbiana, in the state of Colorado, in the United States..."
He stopped talking after that, not wanting to sound crazy, but those visions he had seen prompted him to add one last detail: '...on the planet Earth.'
It took a bit, but after awhile Darcy willed his frozen fingers into motion, and put the vehicle into motion- with luck, maybe he wouldn't bank them all into traffic since he still couldn't quite feel his...well everything. Columbiana, weird was it was, wasn't a bit town, which made finding the 'college stretch' pretty easy work.
All the while those two were passing notes front to back, of course...he had to stop himself from rolling his eyes at first. Well they already knew all each others' names! Everything else though, you know that thing with the laser gun and the...coming out of the water fully formed speaking in tongues? Well, that was something that could use more clarification. "No idea man. maybe she means like Rocky Mountain High? Like...think she's rockin' the gange?" He pantomimed something he did often enough: smoking a joint, and then shrugged, as far as he was concerned Ellis' theories were as valid as his right about now when it came to Eirako.
He slowed the vehicle as he turned on to the main drag, "Campus housing or the rentals on the far side of town?" Darcy had been there awhile already given his fruitless manhunt and felt like he had combed just about everything and gotten to know just about everywhere this terrible place had to offer, and he found himself wanting, but at least knowing kind of where someone might live around these parts.
"Hey, ask her how she ended up in the water maybe...?"
Eirako sat quietly and patiently in the back while waiting for the response. She was still very skeptical that this method of communication would work. If they didn't share a spoken language how would it be possible to share a written one? It just seemed bizarre, but this would not be the most bizarre thing of this very strnge day, so she fought to withhold judgment. Instead she sat quietly and simply tried to warm up while she waited.
When Ellis handed back the note, her eyes widened in surprise. Underneath her words, she saw that he had written back in her own language! The script was somewhat awkward and the grammatical notations were a bit off, but it was completely readable! "Adbhut! Chodo utrolig!" She smiled and flashed Ellis a thumbs-up before taking a closer look at the words. As she read, her expression darkened.
When she was finished, Eirako sighed deeply. It was as she feared. She looked up and pointed at the words she had already written. There were downsides to written language and translation. Not everything was clear when you couldn't hear the words too. She waited until she was sure that Ellis was watching her finger as she traced her finger over the words that he had translated to "Lady-of-Freedom-City" and she slowly, pointing at each letter, said "Ko-ron-bi-ya-na." Then she traced her finger over his word for Columbiana. "Col-un-by-a-na." She sighed and muttered "Onaji ord, vibhin tegami" softly to herself. She then read aloud his word for "Earth" and muttered "Prithvi." With another sigh, she looked down at the paper and wrote again before handing it back to Ellis.
"I was afraid of this. I do not know this 'Colorado,' but I recognize your city. The letters you used to write it is different, and I do not know if it means the same to you, but it is pronounced almost exactly like my Lady-of-Freedom-City. And Earth is Earth ((admin note: the difference between the two words for "Earth" are a difference of phonetically and accurately (Urth vs Earth) in the foreign script)). I fear this means that I am impossibly far from home. I do not know how I came to be here, and I do not know how to get home." There was a gap, as if she jotted the last line as an afterthought. "Where are we going?"
"Maybe..." Ellis pursed his lips, considering, then snerked as Darcy took a fake pull from an invisible bomber. In this town? There was a damn good chance she was, hell, Ellis' pot intake had jumped up exponentially in the last year because yeah, Colorado. Be weirder if she wasn't, really. "Uh, the rentals. The big brick apartment building by downtown, know where that is?" If not, Ellis would direct him, but for now, note passing was a go. "Oh yeah, good idea."
He smiled at Eirako's excited reaction to seeing his chicken scratch in her native language. Sometimes, being able to do the weird-ass things he could do maybe wasn't so bad. That thumbs up was returned, but that sigh a second later caused Ellis to fidget a bit, thinking maybe he had screwed up and written something off-putting or rude. Wouldn't that be his luck? He twisted in his seat and leaned towards the backseat in order to see what Eirako was pointing at, eyebrows quirking upward as she more or less spelled out 'Columbiana'. "Oh! Well then, yeah-- you're there." Maybe? Either way, he nodded, no use in talking really, he'd wait until he got a return note.
Which came soon enough. Once again he read the response aloud so Darcy could hear, leaving out that bit about Earth because, well, he kinda felt stupid about that now. "Well, guess that answers the bit about the water. She doesn't know any more than we do..." Not even remotely the weirdest thing he'd encountered in the Valley. Ellis started writing back, narrating his words as he dragged his pen aross the bag.
"It sounds like it might be the same place, at least in name. There are some people here that might be able to help figure out how you got here, or help you get home. But first, we're going to my house to warm up and dry off. I'll get in contact with them after that." Okay, so, more like Herb could probably get in contact with them, or at least point them in the right direction, somebody on campus had to know something about strange girls appearing in the middle of lakes, right?
He reached the bottom of the take-out bag,then flipped it over and added, "What was that pink light you shot at me?" Hey, for all Ellis knew, he was shot with gamma radiation and now had hidden Hulk powers or something.
Darcy snickered and then nodded an affirmative on the whole rentals area of town, he knew the building, or at least one of them But he guessed the guy wearing 'ladies' shoes probably stayed in the nicer one and not the one that looked like tetanus.
Eyes on the road , but it wasn't as though he was clueless, something was about this conversation that seemed jilted and mostly kinda uncomfortable, which...thank god he was here driving, because it helped lessen that whole- second hand embarrassment thing. For both awkward parties involved. "Aw, well that sucks,." Sounded like she was some sort of something, not an alien but not from here, but from here? Reminded him of Sliders or Quantum Leap or some such.
"Suppose there's one of those magic fellas that could help her?"
Presumptuous of course, since he had only met one witch since he had come here, but rumor was, this valley was chock full of them.. Darcy rolled to a stop in the parking lot of the apartments he guessed were right and shrugged, "Welp, here we are."
Eirako felt bad about Ellis. It seemed like he was worried about something, but she couldn't quite figure out what... He nodded his understanding though, so he seemed to at least grasp the basic idea of how the words were similar. Doubly so once he had a chance to read her response and seemed to fully grasp the idea.
She scanned the note with rapid curiosity and nodded as she did so. This Ellis seemed to have reached the same conclusion. The place names were too similar for coincidence, but were clearly very different places in every other way. After all, she couldn't speak the language here and if that wasn't proof she wasn't in her Columbiana she didn't know what was...
Apparently the group was heading to Ellis's home, which seemed fine to her estimation. It was as good a place as any, though the thought did make her somewhat depressed. She knew of at least half a dozen places she could crash in Columbiana, but those places likely didn't exist in this world and if they did the people there would be unlikely to recognize her. It was a depressing sort of thought. At least these two seemed to know someone who might know more about the situation, so that gave her some hope to cling to for now. It wasn't much, but it was something at least.
Lost in her thoughts for a moment, she almost forgot to check the back and see Ellis's question. When she finally did, she cracked a smile. Shuffling around in her seat, he pulled out the gun-like device from earlier. She tapped Ellis's shoulder to be sure he was looking and she gestured at the device with a 'did you mean this?' sort of motion. Then she scribbled away on the paper bag again.
"That is my 'Essential Distributor.' It is how I utilize my 'Makata' ((This word didn't quite translate, and though it wouldn't appear as English to Ellis, he'd get the meaning to be roughly 'creative energy')). It uses the precious stones you saw me load in it to focus Makata in a way that works with 'Kagaku' ((Again, didn't quite translate but roughly means 'Science' and 'Magic' at once)). Each stone changes the effect slightly, based on what I intend. What I used on you was an Empathic Field to bypass the language barrier before you revealed this strange talent of yours for written language."
Eirako paused for a moment, tapping the pen against her lips as she considered something. Then she shrugged and added. "Are you able to use Makata? Is that how you are doing this? Or is it something else? And is that not how 'Darcy' is operating this vehicle? Or is this through some other process?"