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.
Embarrassment was one of those white hot instincts that burned through the body and then left everything cold in its place. Thinking was something he did better then feeling, but he didn't need to ponder much about how he had just made a scene, and he couldn't even get a word in edgewise to explain himself, what was going on or you know...that he wasn't absolutely insane when he started reacting to voices in his head. You know, voices that were being passed around by the same people in the room with him...external to internal was not a good match. Why did anyone think this was ever a good thing to do?
Though not as much as everything else right now.
He was not a brave man, Herb was as certain of that as anything in his life. Which meant he wasn't certain at all if he had even the slightest touch of courage to his noodley form. In the end, he supposed it didn't matter, because here he was, bracing for impact in a way that would leave a strange corpse at least in his case...because it would be a couple of corpses- since he saw fit to shield Ellis from the worse of the blunt of it, maybe after all this was over someday someone would unearth them like the bodies of Pompeii and talk about how romantic it was.
What a last thing to consider...it was almost kinda sweet outside the whole death part that was gonna be a bummer. And maybe for like the first time, not the relief he thought it was gonna be.
Herb held on tight and screwed his eyes shut until he could see stars behind his eyelids. The sounds of the outside world and all of it's fury getting blocked from his consciousness- he was good at playing ignorant, he played the part well, just turn off this and that so you didn't feel like it bothered you. Here he was, almost not bothered at all. So much so that when the calm happened after the storm and all he could hear was stunned silence- he just stayed where he was, face buried against Ellis' hair so when 'Heretic' was branded against his forehead he was blissfully unaware of it. Though when the stillness settled in, curiosity took its place, and he peeked from his hiding spot, face breaking down like it was made of eggshells, peeling away to show the starry abyss from his insides to the outside- a crumbling facade of humanity for all the world to see...
And yet the most important thing, was still twisted up in his also disintegrating arms, and self absorbed and focused as he was, he didn't quite notice what was wrong with him (or his other fellow magi) but what was wrong with Ellis, and what he saw was absolutely enough to get him to squawk "What's wrong with your face!"
There was a flurry of commotion going on around him, and Ellis was aware of virtually none of it. He was committed to his decision to spend the last few moments on this mortal coil curled in against Herb's chest like a frightened pill bug. Because that's exactly what he was: frightened. Maybe if he were a more courageous man he'd be facing the end face-to-face, but as it stood, he was a bonafide coward.
Which made that whole 'life flashing before your eyes' thing a sad affair. Regrets, he had a few. Every catastrophically bad decision he'd ever made was weighing heavily on his shoulders in the moment that Herb went full human-shield around him, and oh, god, what a waste, he didn't deserve that, he didn't deserve that at all, he'd only ever lied to Herb, that 'deceiver' appearing across his forehead justly earned.
If by some miracle he managed to make it out of this alive, he was going to spend the rest of his sad, sorry life making damn sure he turned it around.
The noise around them was just that, noise, a man's voice preaching words that were falling on ears that could only hear the roaring thump-thump-thump of his heartbeat, and Ellis tensed, bracing for an impact that never came. Slowly, he opened his eyes, unaware that they no longer appeared blue as his mask would suggest, but instead looked as his mein intended; black, inky, and shark-like. His skin had darkened to a dull yellow-white and adopted a parchment-like texture, every freckle on his face replaced by tiny black ink spots, his hands looking very much the same, as if he had dunked them to the elbows in a bucket of toner, his fingers bent at the knuckles, looking ready to settle against a keyboard at a moment's notice.
None of this appeared any different to Ellis, but it was clear from Herb's horrified reaction that the same couldn't be said for the magi in the room. Ellis' iris-less black eyes widened in shock right alongside Herb's, and a moment after his boyfriend shouted, he followed suite with a returned, "Wh-what's wrong with yours?!"
Or more accurately, what was left of it. Half of Herb's face had cracked away, leaving him to look like some warped version of Humpty Dumpty, only instead of egg yolk seeping through the cracks, there was stardust. It was beautiful.
And absolutely terrifying.
Captivating, too, so much so that Ellis lifted an unsure hand and reached out to touch the side of Herb's face, where a moment ago the skin of his cheek would have been but now was some sort of pooling, cosmic something-or-other. His fingers gingerly made contact, and the swirling abyss underneath started to snake their way up the digits, like star-filled smoke, and Ellis gasped, ripping his hand away as if he had touched a hot stove, expression skirting the line between wonder and full blown panic.