A good guy with a childhood that haunts him, and a broken relationship with his father, Cole is another “orphan,” like Deirdre, Endri, and Eaves. He’s had to pull the Mountaineers out of a few tight spots, and he is known for his willingness to jump into a strange or dangerous situation to help other people. He has a good heart and wants to connect, wants to belong, but something keeps him from fully reaching out, even to Deirdre.
Cole had always felt like he never belonged anywhere, but meeting Deirdre and experiencing the ordeal that was unlocking The Book of Briars has given him a sense of purpose. He was essential to solving the fragments involving the fraylily, the obenhedge, the bridge, the clocks, and the Morgan library. For once, what happened to him in the past wasn’t a burden, but maybe a clarion call signifying his future.
When Cole was 9 years old, he was involved in an accident that put him in the hospital. He was bed-bound for some time after, which led him to escapism via books and art. Cole described himself as a “weird” kid, having no friends and always feeling out of place “in a world where you had to be this or that, one or the other.” Before the events of The Monarch Papers, Cole lived a relatively normal life as a personal trainer by day, and as an artist and reader by night.
Recruits first met Cole in Fragment One, after tracking down a Tumblr post he had made about the FrayLily. In his post, he noted that he had dreamt about the flower and decided to illustrate it. Cole described his dream as being “about a flower that opened and these pieces of paper came folding out of it, making something.” This helped recruits solve the first fragment.
Having identified Cole as magically adept, recruits began attempting to contact him on his Tumblr blog. Recruit Robert attempted to strike up a friendly conversation to learn more about him. Robert asked him questions in order to jog his memory of AckerlyGreen Publishing, and as it turned out, Cole did remember Ackerly Green’s Guide to Magiq.
During Fragment Three, when recruits were at a loss in assembling lines of The Minnying of Ojorad in the correct order, Robert attempted to contact Cole to see if he knew anything of the poem, or could provide a hint the book had given them in the form of the word “Obenhedge.” Cole knew of the word, having recently dreamed of visiting The Last Traveler, who had tried to give him a plant called obenhedge, and needed him to recite a ‘remembrance poem’ to remember the plant’s true name. Once Cole was sent the lines of the poems, he was able to help rearrange them into the correct order. He then messaged Robert, informing him that he’d remembered the other name for obenhedge: Vhelicorus.
Recruits were quick to turn to Cole again in Fragment Four, when The Devoted required the Mountaineers to retrieve a token in New York City. Recruit TheBellsAreRinging asked Cole where he lived, to which Cole replied that he was from Hoboken. Somewhat reluctantly, Cole agreed to go to the drop site, hosting a Periscope stream of the retrieval. Cole’s first journey took him to the Triplet’s Bridge in Central Park. Trekking through the park at night, Cole tracked down Brandon’s Lachmann’s Traveler’s Disc. Initially, he found the journey much more enjoyable than his dream, but he was later disturbed to find that the token had an extra set of ISBN codes listed on it, which he swore hadn’t been there when he found it.
Cole remained present during Fragment Four, helping recruits with a second periscope mission. Recruits needed to track down phone booths, which held a special message from Brandon, before The Devoted managed to find it. Cole was ready to assist. After the end of Fragment Four, Cole avoided the forums, wanting to live a magic-free life. This culminated in the post “I’m Not a Writer,” in which Cole admitted that every time he tried to distance himself from the Briarverse, something new would connect him to the mystery. The post, which mentioned the Ackerly Green Book The Wolf and the Wild, attracted the attention of Deirdre, who had set up a Google alert for the book. The two began to talk, forming a close relationship, although Cole lamented hiding the truth of the Briarverse from her.
During Fragment Seven, Cole once again volunteered to retrieve a real-life item in New York. Traveling to the Morgan Library, Cole broke open the desk containing Seven Cradle Songs, although the book was stolen from him by Lauren Ellsworth, who was also seeking the book. Despite this, Cole managed to keep the contents of the book (a letter from Sullivan Green to Deirdre) safe.
After the events of the Morgan Library, Cole met up with Deirdre, giving her the letter her father had written to her. Cole talked to Deirdre for hours, telling her everything about the Basecamp, her father, and magic. She listened quietly until Cole was done, then left, saying she was tired, taking the letter and leaving him to wonder if he would ever hear from her again.
Cole’s last Tumblr post was on March 8, titled “DG.” Cole stated that he hadn’t been back to the forum after revealing the truth to Deirdre, and that it was better this way, though he was there for the Mounties if they ever needed him. After Deirdre left the country, Cole was distressed, believing he was partially at fault for her departure.
In the blog post “Japan?,” Deirdre revealed that she had called Cole. At the end of Deirdre’s globetrotting journey, in “The Door - Part Three”, Deirdre returned to New York to be with Cole, and the two started a romantic relationship. The two spent several weeks together in Hoboken, living away from magiq, until Deirdre had a revelation which led her to resume the search for the truth. In “Birthday Girl,” Cole supported her decision to continue pursuing magiq, stating her time with The Monarch Papers and the Book of Briars was not quite over.
In “Picking Up the Thread”, Cole helped Deirdre translate the Morse code on the loose thread from her scarf, leading to the address of a hundred-year-old apartment building, which at some point had been converted into a boutique hotel. The next day, Cole accompanied Deirdre to the building, and they traveled to room 717. Inside, they met Meredith Grey Ackerly and spoke with him. After knocking on the door to room 717, an elderly man answered the door and introduced himself as Meredith Grey Ackerly. Deirdre describes the conversation in “M. Grey Ackerly,” in which Ackerly talked to Deirdre and Cole for over an hour. He told them that his fake death had been Sullivan’s plan, because Sullivan believed that forces were out to kill the Ackerlys. Grey explained that the apartment had been preserved at great cost, first to protect him and others in the families, then eventually Deirdre. Ackerly gave Deirdre a box that he had held onto for her father and, after opening the box and finding the chronocompass and a journal, Cole and Deirdre left the apartment.
On August 4, 2017, during Fragment Fourteen, Deirdre returned to Bunratty with Cole, after the passing of her Aunt Monica. After several days, Deirdre insisted Cole return to New York to help the Mountaineers, giving him the chronocompass and the journal. Cole arrived at a landmark called the Portal Down to Old New York, which he found through coordinates from Inlaudetus, and the guidance of the chronocompass. The compass led him to several landmarks across town, and caused him to unlock a very personal journal entry, which Deirdre described in “Neither Here Nor There.”
Cole went to find Deirdre after her blog post, but found that the brownstone was empty and the journal and chronocompass were missing. Cole added that he had written down the locations he went to during his chronocompass journey and had found the chronocompass near the entrance to the brownstone, wondering if it had any relevance to Deirdre’s disappearance. Deirdre returned after several hours, revealing to Cole that she had been to Neithernor. Excited to show Cole where she had been, she summoned a door and took Cole to the warren, a part of Neithernor. Deirdre and Cole had their first fight, because Cole didn’t want to stay in the warren after it reminded him of a traumatic time from his childhood. Deirdre and Cole parted ways, with Deirdre continuing to explore Neithernor. Cole later went on the forums to explain the situation to the Mountaineers.
As a child, Cole had been in a major car wreck, breaking two vertebrae, both legs, his left arm, and fracturing his skull. Cole was unconscious in the hospital for several months while doctors tried to get the swelling down. When he awoke, he realized he had dreamt of visiting a strange place that looked like the warren. Cole had to see a psychologist, who believed he was trying to “paint over the accident.” In his mind, he was able to escape the world and be his true self, without any judgment. Cole’s parents split up, and Cole became distanced from his father, who couldn’t accept him when he came out as transgender. When Deirdre described the sensations she felt in Neithernor, it reminded Cole of his old dreams, and he became afraid, struggling to accept that the dreams had been real. Panicked and unwilling to talk about his memories, Cole wanted to leave, which caused an argument, and Cole stormed out. Afterward, Cole felt remorseful for walking out on her.
After Deirdre went missing for several days, Cole sought her out in the brownstone. He found the front window shattered, leaving only her journal. Cole turned over the journal and found a note from Deirdre telling him that the Storm had found her and she was trapped in Grey’s apartment. Cole immediately went to Central Park, opened a door nearby, and kept it open to lure the Storm away from Deirdre.
During Fragment Fifteen, Cole realized that the chronocompass was missing, and found it in the Ramble, assuming it had fallen off the journal when it flew to the brownstone. Using the chronocompass, Cole was able to go to a new set of landmarks for another knocking pattern.
Deirdre and Cole explored a new location in “The Hike” and “The Tunnel”, which was a long tunnel that eventually led them to a small courtyard in “The Vault.” Deirdre and Cole explored what they believed to be a castle, navigating the stone pathways until they came across a massive vault. The vault contained all manner of artifacts and thousands of books. Nearly running out of food, Deirdre and Cole repaired a door in the vault and used it to knock back to the mundane world, where they left the door open, so they could easily return. However, they soon learned that a door to Neithernor could only remain open for a short amount of time before causing issues. Deirdre decided to go back to the vault without Cole so that she could process the new location.
As the Mountaineers planned to take down the Storm, Cole agreed to help lure it out, and provide the items needed to trade for the Book of Briars. On The Day of Change, Cole met with Martin Rank in Central Park. Cole opened the door, and the Storm arrived. The Mountaineers were able to briefly take control of the Storm. Cole attempted to exchange a backpack containing Aisling Green’s scarf, along with Deirdre’s hippocampus necklace, but it was unsuccessful. He then attempted to run, but was struck by lightning and was heavily injured. However, Deirdre appeared and struck down the storm after exchanging The Little Red House for the Book of Briars. Cole was sent to the hospital, where he recovered for several days.
After Fragment Sixteen, when Deirdre told recruits that her new goal in life was to explore Neithernor, Cole told her he would go with her. The two decided to go get pizza, and head off on their new journey together. In the Monarch Papers final video, a painting of Cole in the Bell Meadow was shown.
Since Cole went into Neithernor with Deirdre to try to help her find her father, his precise whereabouts have been unknown.