- “Return the quill. You are ill-suited for this job. You have abused all the rules. You have lied, you have deceived us, you have forsaken your holy duty. And now you must be punished.”
- ―The Apprentice to Isaac
Isaac Heller, also known as The Author, is a character of Once Upon a Time. He was the current author of the Once Upon a Time book.
Former Powers and Abilities
As the Author, Isaac was gifted with an Enchanted Quill, which allowed him to use magic.
- Transportation: With the Quill, Isaac was able to transport himself from one place to another. This could be extended to other people, as well as objects.
- Reality Warping: Isaac was able to change reality. This could be done by writing what he wanted his new reality to consist of, as shown in "Operation Mongoose".
- Limited Resurrection: Isaac had the ability to resurrect a being, but only if they were trapped in the Underworld. If the person had moved on, he would be unable to do so. This ability only applied, if he was in the Underworld himself.
- Quill and Ink: As the Author, Isaac was only able to use magic by using the Quill and Ink together.
- Laws of Magic: Isaac was limited by powers, unable to resurrect the dead, change the past and make someone fall in love with someone else.
- Happy Ending: When Isaac used the Quill to write his own happy ending, he lost his position as Author, as well as the magic that came along with it.
Before the First Curse
While working at a shop trying to sell televisions, Isaac was chosen as the Author for the storybook by The Sorcerer and his apprentice and given a magical quill.
While searching for stories, he travels to a story realm where it is the 1920's in London. He comes across Madeline De Vil, a famous dog trainer who has been hired by kings and princes for her work. While he is trying to find out more about her work and talents, Madeline rushes him out. He sees three portraits, and while pressing Madeline about who is in them finds out they are her late husbands. She pushes him out the door, criticizing him for writing stories on peoples sadness.
As he is about to leave, Cruella calls to him from the attic window, saying she has an interesting story for him. Intrigued, Issac asks her to come down and tell him. Cruella explains she is locked in the attic, and tells Isaac he will have to get her out if he wants the story. Issac manages to either get, or conjure up a key for Cruella to escape.
Issac waits for her in her garden. When Cruella meets up with him, he says he knows a quiet place they can go and talk so he can hear the story. Cruella suggest going someplace loud, as she doesn't like the quiet from living in the attic. They go to a jazz club called Murray's. While there, Issac asks Cruella why her mother locked her in the attic. Cruella explains that she was locked up because she knows her mother's dirty little secret: She poisoned her three husbands.
Much later after the most of the club has left for the night, Issac and Cruella are sitting at table and Issac explains what he actually is, and what magic he possesses. Cruella doesn't believe him, thinking he has had too much to drink. To prove his point, Issac writes something down on a piece of paper, and a necklace appears around Cruella's neck. He then suggests that he can use the pen and ink to transport Cruella and himself away, so they could be together, and Cruella wouldn't have to worry about her mother. He gives Cruella the power to control animals, especially her mother's dogs, so she could always be safe. After Cruella explains that she needs to confront her mother, Issac gives his car to Cruella as a gift. As she runs off, he goes to wait for her at the hotel. While waiting for Cruella to come back, Madeline comes to confront him. Isaac says that he knows that Madeline killed her husbands. Shocked, Madeline states that Cruella was lying and that it was Cruella who had actually killed them, by poisoning them with trumpet flowers. Isaac, who has become smitten with Cruella, and therefore blinded by his affection for her, refuses to believe Madeline. As he chases her out, she gives him a final warning about how dangerous Cruella is and urges him to stay away from her. Isaac, reassuring himself the whole thing is "a bucket of fiction" checks the pocket of his coat, perhaps ready to write more of Cruella's story and discovers his pen is missing. Realizing that Cruella took it, he goes to retrieve it.
He arrives at Cruella's house, and finds her at a sewing machine. He discovers that she has killed her mother and the dogs, skinning the dogs for a coat. After she tells him she never cared for him and used him as a means to an end, he realizes that Madeline was telling the truth. He searches for his pen, seeing it across the room. He rushes for it, dipping it in the ink, but is unable to write anything because Cruella wrestles the ink from his hands, spilling it on herself and falling over. Issac quickly writes in his note book, as Cruella readies a gun to shoot him. When the gun doesn't go off, Cruella questions why she can't pull the trigger. He explains that he took away the thing she loves most (her ability to kill people) and walks out of the house, knowing she can't harm him.
Sometime later, Issac is roaming the Enchanted Forest. Posing as a peddler, he runs into Snow White and Prince Charming who he asks for help to move his wagon. When he sees them going west, he warns them that a terrible sorceress has taken residence down that way named Maleficent. He further tells them that she turned herself into a dragon and laid an egg and made a nest in a cave scorching the earth all around it marking her territory. He warns them to go east till they meet an old man (The Apprentice) who can help them get where they need to be.
It was revealed that due to his actions and writing, Snow White and Charming had no choice but ended up transferring their unborn child's potential for darkness into Maleficent's egg, and the Apprentice had no choice but to banish the unborn child into a Land Without Magic, as its presence in the Enchanted Forest would have been too dangerous to handle. The Apprentice furious at the event Isaac had manipulated, demanded for the quill back telling him he had abused all the rules, having lied and deceived himself and the Sorcerer and forsaken his holy duty. The Apprentice then traps him within a illustrated of a door in a page of the book as punishment for his crime.
After the Second Curse
Henry, having figured out the Author was in the page, sees a light shine through the page which leads him to a key which can unlock the door. Emma later unlocks the door and Mary Margaret and David recognizes him as the Peddler they met on their journey. Before Emma is able to question him, Isaac quickly pulls down the curtain with the pole hitting her. He runs away and Emma cannot find him.
The Author is being chased by Emma and the Charmings, so tries to stay one step ahead of them and snaps a small branch off a tree, then sharpens the end to a fine point. Out of nowhere Gold shows up and says he knows about magic quills and says he knows they have to come from an enchanted tree, since there are none of those in Storybrooke. The Author curses and goes to walk away but Gold says he should come with him, then he shows The Author that he has a magic quill and tells him that he has to write him some happy endings, and when The Author sees Emma and the Charmings coming, he agrees to go along with Gold and disappear in a cloud of dark magic.
After Mr. Gold brings Isaac to his cabin he is told that he'll need the ink for the quill. Isaac is told that he plans to bring Emma to his side. Cruella approaches Isaac where she threatens him to help her out for old time's sake. As Isaac states that Cruella has lied to Mr. Gold about knowing him, she states that there is more than one way to skin an author. Mr. Gold returns where he learns about Isaac's history with Cruella as Isaac begs for forgiveness. Mr. Gold even tells her about Cruella's plans to kill Isaac as Mr. Gold has a plan to keep Isaac alive. Isaac then gives Mr. Gold what he wrote about Cruella. When Mary Margaret and David find Isaac, he wants them that Emma will turn dark and gives them the truth that Cruella can't take the life of another.
Isaac tells Mr. Gold that they need Emma in order to produce the Magic Ink for the Author's Quill. Regina shows up wanting Isaac's services as she wanted his services first. Mr. Gold proposes to Regina to help her find the Magic Ink for Isaac. Regina states that she'll find the Magic Ink on her own as she teleports Isaac away from her. Regina tells him the energies of Emma going dark is what is needed for the Magic Ink. Isaac states that he was working for Mr. Gold because he protected him. As Isaac is shown a picture of Regina being with Robin Hood, Isaac states that he was planning to write about it, but never got the chance. Regina plans to obtain the Magic Ink. Upon obtaining Lily's blood for the Magic Ink, Regina and Isaac visit Zelena's cell at the Storybrooke Hospital and states that she plans to write an ending for Zelena. Regina then plans to have Zelena written out the story as Zelena claims that she has gotten to know about Cora. As the Magic Ink is drying, Regina tells Zelena that Cora wasn't a better mother as Robin Hood comes in. Regina decides to spare Zelena only for Isaac to write his rendezvous with Mr. Gold. Upon meeting up with Mr. Gold, Isaac is instructed to start writing in the Heroes and Villains book.
After Henry replaced him as the new Author, undid his writing and bringing things back to normal, Isaac attempts to drive out of town after his return to the real world, but the Charmings cut him off, proceeding to arrest him. Mary Margaret wishes to know why he put them on the path (meaning in through a figurative expression by saying, wrote, altered, and made them do it) to hurt Maleficent and Lily all those years ago against their will just to hurt them both, and he explains that it has nothing to do with them, but what they represent. For too long he was pushed around by people who fancy themselves heroes, and he felt like punishing them. Mary Margaret points out that that makes him a villain, because he pursued his own happiness at the expense of others. She knows what it is to have her heart go dark, and it isn't something to idolize... it's something to pity. The former Author is carted away to the psychiatric ward.
- It was initially thought that there was only one author, but it was revealed to be a job done by many people including Walt Disney.
- Issac is actually Walt's successor as the Author. When the Sorcerer's Apprentice meets Issac to tell him of his new powers, he mentions that the previous Author had recently passed away. This scene takes place in December 1966, which is the month Walt died.
- Despite the fact that he is one of the primary antagonists of the fourth season, his overall alignment seems to be neutral, playing whatever side will benefit him at the moment. Though, it's possible that he turned bad completely as the latest episode suggested.