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This article focuses on the Magic Ink used by the Author.
For the magical ink that can be used to paralyze a person, see Squid Ink.

I've got the Author and I've got the ink. I wanted you to witness the moment he writes me my heart's desire.
Regina to Zelena src

Magic Ink is a magical substance featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


The ink is enchanted with magic, though it can also be made from the blood of a person who sacrificed themselves heroically for someone else. When a special pen is dipped in the ink, the pen can be used to record people's stories and to write something into existence. The pen and the ink can be used to rewrite someone's story, but the ink must be infused with the Savior's darkness in order to do so. Isaac states that they can also change the past, but only a past they have created. They can also change people's memories by creating a past in their minds. ("Heart of Gold", "Mother", "Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")


Before First Curse

For centuries, the Sorcerer and his Apprentice have chosen an Author, whose sole responsibility is to record stories in a storybook using magic quill and ink. The latest author, Isaac, travels to 1920s England looking for a good story. He falls in love with a charming girl, Cruella, and uses the pen's writing ability to gift her a necklace and earrings. Issac asks her to run away with him, however, she still fears her controlling mother, so he gifts her the ability to control animals. Insisting that she confront her mother one last time, Cruella decides to go home, as Isaac waits for her return. Sometime during this, Cruella secretly steals Isaac's pen, something he discovers only after Cruella's mother, Madeline, reveals her daughter's murderous persona to him. After Cruella kills Madeline, Isaac retrieves his pen, managing to dip it into the ink bottle, before the ink spills all over Cruella's face, turning her blond hair black and white and changing her appearance. She corners him at gunpoint, but a fast-acting Isaac writes on paper that she can never kill again. ("Sympathy for the De Vil", "Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Sometime after this, Isaac abuses his role as Author by manipulating the Apprentice into infusing Maleficent's child with darkness and banishing the baby to another realm. While Isaac is in the midst of writing in a storybook, the Apprentice confronts him about his meddling, to which the Author casually remarks that it made for a better story. Deeming him corrupt and unworthy of being an Author, the Apprentice formally asks Isaac to forfeit the pen, before banishing him into the book. ("Best Laid Plans")

After Second Curse

Intending to get rid of her sister Zelena, Regina takes the Author's pen from Mr. Gold, before magically whisking herself and Isaac to her vault. There, he explains the ink must be infused with the Savior's darkness in order to rewrite a story. Realizing the darkness meant for Emma is already in Emma's friend Lily, Regina steals some of Lily's blood for the pen so Isaac can write Zelena out of existence. However, when Regina changes her mind and backs out of the plan, Isaac betrays her by using the pen and the ink to send himself to the pawnshop, where Mr. Gold conjures another book, Heroes and Villains, for him to write new happy endings. ("Mother") Isaac finishes writing the story and concludes the storybook with the words, "The end". As result, a bright flash fills Storybrooke and everyone, aside from Henry, is whisked into Heroes and Villains, where they have alternate lives. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Henry unexpectedly harnesses the power of the pen becoming the next Author. Isaac warns him that without ink, Henry isn't writing anything, and Emma suggests using her blood, since it was supposed to work last time. Henry reminds his mother that she is no longer the Savior in this reality, and says that in this world, they don't need a dark Savior, they need a light one. By using Regina's blood as the ink, he undoes all of Isaac's villainous work and reverts everything back to normal.("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

Liam finds the Underworld storybook in the Underbrooke Lakeside Mansion and rips out the pages containing Hades' story and tosses them down a well, but he gets ink on his hands from the paper. His brother Killian sees the ink on Liam's hand, and realizes that Liam lied to him and Emma. In the meantime, Henry finds the Author's Pen and some ink hidden on the inside of a lamp in the Lakeside Mansion. He declares that he'll use the pen to reveal Hades' story.("The Brothers Jones")

Without being conscious of when or how it happens, Henry records a new story with the pen and the ink, which tells of Mary Margaret and David's plans to contact their son Neal in Storybrooke. Later, he records another story under the same mysterious circumstances, with this story revealing baby Neal received his parents' message to him. ("Our Decay") Sometime later, Henry masters the pen and the ink and is able to write new stories, without having it happen without his knowledge. After Ruby finds true love with Dorothy and Snow returns home to her son, he records both stories. ("Ruby Slippers") Before leaving the Underworld for home, Henry helps Underbrooke's residents move on by using the pen and the ink to reveal their unfinished businesses. He later leaves behind many of these written stories in the storybook. ("Firebird")

Fed up with how magic has ruined his family's lives, Henry enlists Violet Morgan to join him on a mission to erase magic for good. By using the pen and the ink, he steals a piece of the Olympian Crystal, with the intention of destroying it because it contains all of Storybrooke's magic. ("Only You")

Some time later, Henry reconciles with with Regina's serum counterpart and helps to write her happy ending by using the pen and the ink to send her to a place where she can have a fresh start in life. ("Page 23")


Note: Archive denotes archive footage.

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