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.
Why did humans only evolve enough to have two arms? It was a dumb question but shit, a third would have really helped a brother out right about now. Because as it stood Christian had one arm full of flyers for some upcoming event at work while the other was busy trying to one-handedly send a text back to the stage five clinger known as Tammy, which left him with no hands for the water bottle that currently had its neck jammed in between his grit together teeth. Which, all together, made walking more or less a chore, and so he was dragging a good couple of feet behind Miss I'm Only Gonna Carry The Stapler.
“Serioubly, I'm gonna kilb this bish.” That was meant to be English, though how much of it actually counted was slim at best, and Christian angrily shoved his phone into his back pocket before removing the speech-slurring plastic bottle from his mouth.
“How many more of these do we gotta put up anyhow?” His tone was clearly annoyed, though his aggravation was misplaced, it wasn't getting paid to walk around doing the easiest job the club had to offer that was grinding his gears, no that'd be the phone vibrating against his ass for the millionth time in the last hour. Which was acknowledged with a curt exhale but mercilessly left unattended; for a moment Tammy could kiss the fattest part of that aforementioned ass, which would be quite the feet, as it was hella bony.
About a half hour in, Beth was starting to have some regrets...mostly that she had invited Christian along for a few chores, at some point she had seemingly forgotten that there were toddlers with more patience than her friend. He had one job: hold the damn posters, and he couldn't even do that right. Instead he was trying to do half a dozen things when he could barely chew gum and walk...but then again, that was probably just her bitterness tainting this whole situation.
"Well, maybe stop dating bitches and this wouldn't be a problem."
Short, to the point and without any hint of humor, just little Beth things, but she wanted to hear about Christians love life almost as much as she wanted to drive the stapler through her hand. Which, by the way, she did not want. "I dunno, just the main drag here, it would be faster if you actually handed me the damn flyers." She reached out and fondled around until she got another, right now she wasn't even going to look at him. No reason, she was just a touch annoyed (more than usual) herself.
"Tell you what, find me a chick that isn't a bitch, and I'll date her." Ha ha ha, women! Right? Right?! No, not really, in fact Christian wasn't even one of those ra-ra woman-hatin' kinda guys, but when you're in the middle of another pointless, stupid fight with a member of the opposite sex, it's easy to give in to the most juvenile of fallbacks. Besides, he was grumbling about it now, but as always, this fight would boil over and he and terrible Tammy would be fine again until the next stupid spat, and poor Beth would have to listen to his endless bitching, just a horrible cycle that he was too self-centered to realize literally no one else even remotely cared about.
"Yeah but it's, like, way more fun to make you work for it." Cue that stack of flyers lifting way up above his head as Beth's hand came fumbling back to grab one, though after a moment or two of keep away he relented, because Christian wasn't really trying to get kicked in the nads today, and Beth wasn't even giving him the courtesy of an annoyed glance in response to his antics.
"Tsk, what's wrong with you?" he asked, finally chucking his half-empty water bottle into a trash can as they passed by, a loud THUD ringing out as it hit bottom.
A groan and Beth just shook her head. "I couldn't find one that would be interested in you." There was a type that went for scrawny strange hipsters, and they weren't pleasant, by this point it was moot to bring it up- and they had gone round and round about this time and time again. In the end he'd be crying on her shoulder and god knew she wasn't remotely prepared right now to deal with this.
"Oh come on..."
She turned and kept grasping, her hand finally settling into a firm little fist prepared to fly straight to it's common destination: Christian's bathing suit area. But Beth dropped it to her side, and rolled her eyes. She wasn't exactly used to having frank and honest discussion with anyone, so it took just a moment for her to correlate her thoughts and when she got that all sorted she said was was really truly on her mind: "I'm fine." A bit tense, but that was Beth for 'something was not fine' in her world.
But it was best to brush it aside, she grabbed a flyer and slammed the stapler to hard the staple didn't quite stick and she hit it a few more times until the mangled piece of paper stuck.
"Oh, ouch." Not that she was wrong, and not that he hadn't heard it before, but Beth had a way of not so much saying words as sniping them, and Christian would have put a hand over his heart if he'd had one free. But the horrible truth was just that, horrible, and by this point he was pretty sure he'd taken a shot at pretty much every eligible lady who was willing to slum it with his particular brand of skeeze, and saying settling for Tammy was like scraping the bottom of the barrel was sadly pretty apt.
Christian was prepared to dodge that incoming fist but luckily it didn't start gaining any real forward momentum, though the real miracle was the fact he didn't get a paper cut as the top flyer of the pile got ripped out of his hand. Well, someone was clearly in a mood, and while he liked to think that after all these years he had a somewhat decent grip on the ins and outs of Beth's moods, the reality was he had no damn clue what had her all pissy. Or 'fine', which meant nah, totally not fine, and Christian frowned, watching as she slammed the flyer down and started beating the stapler against it like that paper had done her some serious wrong.
"Whoa! Okay crazy, chill." He reached over with the intent to pull the stapler away from Beth, quite aware he could easily end up with one in his hand if he wasn't careful, and whether or not he was successful, he decided poking the bear was the right way to handle this. "On what planet is this fine?"
The truth was not something she was ever shy about giving...not even once in her life. So Christian was basically asking for it, for better or worse. Just thank god or gods above he hadn't been dumb enough to ask her opinion on Tammy, because there was no going back from that savagery, low hanging fruit and all that, it wouldn't have felt even remotely fair on her part.
Slamming that light pole was a poor substitute for whatever catharsis for was ailing her. "Ugh!" Well, someone had worked up a sweat, she flicked her curly mop of hair out of her face and looked every bit as crazy Christian said she was, but fuck it, she was in a mood and she wasn't sorry about that either. Though Beth didn't actually fight as the stapler was pulled out of her hand. She was done with it. That was how she rationalized it, she was done. DONE.
"Well I don't have a lot of options, so this it'll have to be this planet."
Could she go and change the things that were bothering her? Nope, not one little bit even as she felt powerless about the general weirdness she was enabling even by putting up these flyers, and it was starting to get to her, even though she couldn't put her finger on what it actually was. Just that it was bothering her. "Why is everything so goddamn fucked up?" She finally threw up her hands, and there it was, just a brush with the actual issue.
Poor light pole. It didn't deserve that. And having been on the receiving end of Beth's wrath a time or two himself, Christian could emphasize, inanimate object or not. Well, okay, so she hadn't gone after him with a stapler- yet--- but still. With her weapon of choice in slightly safer hands, Christian let her have her moment, ignoring her snap of a comeback because yeah, he had poked the bear, but he was already having an argument with one chick today, no reason to drag himself into another.
But her second statement warranted a reply, and Christian sighed, waving the hand clutching the stapler absently as he asked, "In general or did you have a specific thing in mind?" Didn't she know they were living in the end times? He was pretty sure there had been a memo. Either way, it had to be a certain something that was so very fucked to get Beth this upset, the universe as a whole being a fucking joke wouldn't have earned that light pole beating, so he'd keep prying if he had to, but in the meantime; "Would hitting me in the dick make you feel better? I can take one for the team."
A huff and a puff, and Beth wasn't about to blow the proverbial house down, she kind of just deflated like the big hot bag of wind she could be sometimes, but she played it off as she did...cool. She after all LET Christian disarm her, that was her choice. He could thank her later for being so reasonable "I just can't figure out why no one hasn't figured out that Mansfield is up to something...Not Monday, not Belmont...and they're all like OH HE LEARNED HIS LESSON LAST TIME." she pointed a finger at Christian and furrowed her brows to the point they almost became one with her forehead. "And I guaran-fuckin'-tee that's not the case."
Who the actual fucksticks left a teenage boy in charge of shit for shit anyways? Not that she really cared, but she cared, just not enough to put it up to a vote- she didn't want to do anything, except be impotently mad, that was kinda doing it for her right now.
"That kid is a grade-A prick. And he's being real sketch right now. He missed a few meetings and..."
And that knowledge was nothing new, but it had to be said, she wanted to rip that sick little pink mohawk off the top of his head, or you know hit him in the dick...because it was sort of her M.O. . "...And I know you don't give a shit." What gave? Christian was usually too self absorbed to even ask, but she smirked just the same, a little derailed, only because general apathy took control when there was yet again that internal reminder that she didn't have a right to really care if she wasn't going to do anything. "Ugh no, I don't want whatever Tammy's got."
And just like that Hurricane El Baz dropped down from a category five, or at the very least the lethal winds came to a standstill. Then again, for all Christian knew that great deflation was a ruse and he was now in the eye of the storm, which seemed to be the case if Beth's outburst a moment later was any indication.
Aaaand of course it was SELF shit. To his credit, Christian managed to not roll his eyes, keeping his expression blank as Beth went on her mini-rant. Honest to god he couldn't muster up a shit to give about ninety percent of whatever the asshats in that group were up to, but there was at least one thing he had a legit opinion on about the whole thing, and that opinion was that Quentin Mansfield was a little bitch. "Well, yeah, of course not. It takes a shithead to know a shithead, and that shithead is definitely up to something." Like, in general, all the time, Christian was maybe a different brand of douche canoe but he knew how a brain like Mansfield's worked, and it was always working.
"Belmont's a god damn space cadet and if it's not fucking with Monday's clique directly you know she doesn't pay any attention." He'd been dragged to enough of those meetings to get a feel for how the higher ups worked, and in his opinion, they kinda didn't.
Beth prattled on for a few more seconds before losing steam and then bam, there it was, the honest truth of the whole thing. "Nope, I don't." Shrug. Why lie? She knew, and he knew. "But you can vent. I do love a good bitchfest." And no one doled 'em out quite like Beth. "Ha! Tsk, please, whatever she's got, you had first." Never forget Beth, never forget.
This was exactly why they named tropical storms after women, she was a goddamn force of nature when she wanted to be...and that was completely ignoring the whole elemental magic crap that snuck around about the same time puberty came around. So those two things might have been related. "Can't you like...I don't know beat him up for me?" Not that she couldn't fight her own battles, but man did that seem like a lot of work. Of course so was actually convincing Christian to do anything too, so really it was kind of a wash in either direction.
See this was exactly why they weren't getting anywhere in their adult lives.
"They'll all too self absorbed to see they're being played." Reminded her of someone she knew. Her smirk grew a bit toothy as she grabbed another flyer and rolled it up, just to bop said self absorbed boy right above his stupid ass mustache. "I hate you, and you're disgusting." That was almost affectionate, almost, if it hadn't been said with the same dry annoyance all the rest of her tone came with. "Oh whatever, you probably caught trailer park herpes from that one...she looks like the type of girl who'd ride a train on a NASCAR pit crew."
Beth turned her nose up smugly, she might not have forgotten their shared exploits but when it came to class...she held herself to a higher standard than most of Christian's little hood rats.
"Isn't he like, twelve? Pretty sure I'd get charged with assaulting a minor or something and I am way to pretty to go to prison." He'd be someone's bitch five seconds after that iron gate slammed shut. Christian pretty much lived up his own ass at all times, but even he knew he wouldn't be able to fend off Bogs Diamond and the Sisters in the shower.
"Well then when it all goes up in flames you can stand in the ashes and say you were right." Shrug. You couldn't help those who didn't want help, it was simple math that checked out time and time again, especially in the weird ass valley they called home. Seemed every month or so some catastrophic thing or another was going on and in the end it seemed only those who acknowledged anything was out of sorts managed to live to see another day. Which seemed a criminally easy thing to do, and yet he'd seen more than a few people pick the wrong hill and die on it. So yeah, maybe being a thirty year-old nothing sucked, but hey, he was still here.
Christian accepted being called disgusting cause, hey, he was, and wrinkled his nose as the flyer bopped against it, that disaster of a mustache moving up in tandem, and a half-second later he laughed, a sudden unexpected burst following one hell of a burn. "Holy shit, that was savage as fuck," he offered, his laughter dying down. And yet he didn't defend poor Tammy, in all honesty the pit crew might be way too complimentary, if he had to take a bet it was probably more like those rednecks that parked their RVs in the middle of the track at Daytona.
Bottom line, he didn't exactly pull in a high caliber of lady.
"Trailer park herpes... I didn't know there were different levels of gross shit around your mouth. Is it a ranking system like the hepatitises or...?"
Beth shrugged. "At least in prison they'd shave that snot mop off your face." Now whatever happened to Christian past that point, well...someone had to point out the positive aspect of being a prison bitch. "I think it would just be assault...and you'd be a hero to the people." A true consolation to dropping the soap trope, no one would feel bad that Quentin Mansfield got his come-uppance.
Sad that was always the case, but she had yet to be proven wrong- and it was a curse she was forced to bear. The burden of rightness. The downside was, it would completely set back the entire movement- then everyone would get fucked by the powers that be. That was probably why she was so bent out of shape about this bullshit, even though she loathed to go down any personal feelings about the whole thing. It was easier to be a pillar of salt after staring back at the wreckage.
But it was Tammy that caught the real fire, and she probably didn't actually deserve it, yet here they were. She smiled that Christian almost reeled from her insult, but she didn't exactly have any laughter to share, better was not best...and she was still all sorts of out of sorts. "Well...the kind of herpes you get from guys like the limey bastards you live with...totally worse than regular college party herpes...obviously..."
"Don't even joke." A hand came up to pat defensively at his mustache, only said hand was holding a stapler and so that, instead, patted against the thing. "Ugh, see, now that sounds like way too much work. People expect shit from heroes. I think I'll just take the prison rape, the only expectation there is I cry like a bitch and I think I could swing that no problem." Or did crying get you shanked? This seemed like the sort of thing Google was made for and yet Christian wasn't entirely sure he wanted to know the answer.
A slight nod of his head was all that met that 'usually', because why belabor the point? The whole set up of SELF seemed rocky to begin with, and all the infighting and calculated looks the other way really weren't helping anything. At least, that's what Christian gathered from the small bit he actually paid attention to. Again, nary a fuck could be conjured to throw SELF's way, though he supposed it was good Beth had something to focus her energy on, more than he could say for himself really, but playing politics, even on a local level like that, sounded about as fun as jamming bamboo shoots under his fingernails.
"If the worst thing Jude has is trailer park herpes, may lightning stroke me dead." And here he paused, as if a bolt was going to come crashing down from the heavens, but alas it didn't, and so his point stood. As if to solidify the truth of that statement, Christian peeled one flyer off the stack, shoved the others under his arm, and stapled it to the pole Beth had gone ham on a moment before, then offered her the stapler back. "Here, just pretend every pole we pass is Mansfield's face." Actually, that might end a lot like the last one...
The worst part of an otherwise alright face...the worst thing that ever happened was the day Christian got enough big boy hairs he thought he could grow a mustache. Because he did, and it was the worst. "Like what do you care if you let someone down?" That wasn't pointed, they were both rocking the type of M.O. that came with being a huge fucking disappointment. Even all of this, these things she was working on, the physical and emotional energy expended on SELF...was kind of a wash.
Blerg. So instead she hung onto the old standby of being the worst goddamn friend ever, and she was pretty good at that. "And you probably have it too, you're trailer park people now." Not that Beth was going to rip into Christian too much, that seemed awfully easy... she took the flyer and cocked a brow, that was surprisingly grown up advice. "Yeah...alright."
"No you." Bam! The ultimate comeback. Did the mustache make him look like a chach? Yes, god yes. But as self-aware as he had the potential to be, Christian also possessed an uncanny ability to boldly look the other way, and thus the disaster on his upper lip was here to stay, worn like some skeezy badge of honor.
"...Good point." Hero it was, then. Not that he was actually going to seek out Mansfield in order to beat the shit out of him, but if the stars ever aligned and the chance presented itself, Christian was damn sure he'd take it. Hell, he wasn't even sure the elder Mansfield would be too salty with him if he managed to get a few hits in on Quentin.
"Fuck, don't remind me." The worst day of his adult life had easily been when he'd said 'yeah, alright' to moving in with Will when the Brit made him the offer. At the time he wasn't aware that deal came with a Jude, nor did he know just how trailer parky the trailer park was. And now here he was, some quasi-masculine version of Cinderella left to try and maintain some semblance of order in the world's worst domicile, only the mice in his place didn't sing him songs and stitch him fancy ass dresses.
"Atta girl." With the stapler relinquished, Christian righted the flyers in hand and followed after Beth.