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.
This was unsettling to say the least. Helene didn’t care for her company, she didn’t care for walking, and she certainly didn’t care for hedgebeasts. The sooner they got done with this business the better, but the hobgoblin led them to an empty lot with nothing dangerous to speak of. She could hear the others whispering of traps and things and, well she had to agree. Something didn’t feel right.
Clearly the hobgoblin had had a run-in with this particular shrub, but either this was a trap or the creature was a dimwit and there was no hedgebeast. “There’s nothing here.” Helene concluded with a scoff. “Waste of time…” She grumbled.
Peafie shook his head. “Peafie is sure. This where it be, right here.” He jabbed a finger in the direction of the bush, though there was a look of hesitation in his eyes, perhaps he had been mistaken. Nervously his tongue darted out to lick his eyes again.
But there was something else there, something beyond the gnarled old shrub. From behind the rubble and thick weeds came an unearthly shriek of a creature that didn’t want company. It barreled through the weeds before leaping onto a pile of cinder blocks. From its perch it fixed a malevolent gaze on the group of changelings, threw its head back, and screeched again.
“PEAFIE TOLD YOU!” The little hob cried, leaping, terrified, away from the creature.
It was a grotesque hulking creature screeching and glaring at the little group as it paced along the cinder blocks. This was not a creature of reason, this was not a creature of elegance this was a proper hedge-beast and it was not something Bill could deal with. It was perched perfectly on a the cinderblocks so as to prevent their exit.
Bill had nothing. No weapons, no skills, and maybe one contract that could help him. This was very bad.
"Shit. Cover your ears," he said to the other three. Pushing glamour through him he activated Creeping Dread and Baba Yaga's Tale and let out a keening screech of his own. "You will die and your skull will be drunk out of as we sing of your demise."
It seemed to have some effect, the creature cowered briefly as he made eye contact and drawing himself up to full height. God I hope this works he thought to himself.
Vreni peeped up as Helene said there was nothing there, because skeptic as she was, she was more skeptical that there wasn't something, just because she could feel the short hairs along her neck prickle and her skin crawl, which had to be worth something, instinct after all, was everything, all the brains in the world didn't undo the fact that by some merit they were animals. "Peafie I..."
Any further discussion on the matter of the tree was short lived as some great beast came busting through the underbrush, something that looked like a well...she wasn't quite sure the mythological connotations she was seeing here, but on teh mundane surface it was an owl, and a bear. Which two animals together that made little sense but raised more concerns about the damage the creature could do.
She was about to scold but covered her ears before the man began screaming, and hoping that the sound didn't call worser things attention to their antics,
Of course the instant after she had declared that there was nothing there, Helene found herself eating her words. A monstrous beast charged out of the scrub, towering over them from its perch. To say that she was at a loss for words was an understatement. Her jaw dropped as if to shout but not a sound was uttered, not even a squawk. She certainly didn’t care for Bill’s language, nor did she care for being ordered around, but given the circumstances she couldn’t find it in herself to complain. Instead she obediently covered her ears. Her grievances unvoiced as she knew she was utterly outmatched by this hedgebeast, whatever it was, and if Bill had an idea...well, she prayed to God that it was a good one.
Peafie, unfortunately, lacked either the sense or the swiftness to get his ears covered in time as he leapt back away from the hedgebeast. Bill’s words wormed their way into the hobgoblin’s mind, filling him with dread, panic, and despair. He screamed, a horrible, high-pitched, desperate, terrified scream.
The owlbeast was not unaffected. It shrunk back from the group momentarily, staggering back off of the pile of cinderblocks in fear. That was, until it heard Peafie scream. There was something about the hobgoblin’s scream that seemed to affect the owlbeast, the sheer panic and helplessness of it. Like flipping a switch the beast took a turn for the feral. It rushed forwards, bowling through the group of changelings to clamp its beak down on Peafie’s arm and drag the poor screaming hobgoblin back into the brush.
Bill pulled himself up to his feet. He didn't know what he had been looking at. It looked like something out of the hedge for sure but it wasn't any beast or Hob he knew of. But given this was America that wasn't all together unreasonable. He looked into the scrub the creature had ripped through. You didn't need to be a poacher to track this beast.
"Well that's a problem," he said moving to help Vreni and Helene up. "One that I have no idea how to deal with. Unless you two have an ability to develop traps at short notice I suggest we go get the members of the Summer court and let them deal with the Beast."
He began chewing on a hedgefruit with a sad smile. "Or... or.... we go and help Peafie."