Updated Apr 11, 2024
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Carmine Ellis is an OC that's very near and dear to my heart. He started out as an NPC for a Dungeon World campaign I was running,1 and his existence has slowly spiraled out into becoming a Tempest character and existing in several alternate universes to boot. I simply can't stop thinking about this silly little guy.

CW from here on out: implied child abuse & bullying, cult mention

Powers, Paintings, and Emotions

Carmine sees what he describes as "auras," although they are slightly different than how auras tend to be depicted. More specifically, Carmine sees colors that convey a person's personality, and he sees those colors move around them in ways that convey that person's mood. Appearance-wise, the auras look sort of like if a stained-glass window was a liquid. These auras are so unique that Carmine can recognize a person by their aura alone.3 This becomes important during storms, when the auras become so prominent that they obscure most of his regular vision. It's also very important to his relationship with Dorian, which I'll get to later.

Carmine's favorite hobby is painting, and he frequently paints portraits of others as their auras. It's interesting to me that these paintings look abstract, but they are representing something Carmine actually sees. He still considers himself to be an abstract painter, and he does add his own embellishments, but the fact that he paints from observation is still important.

A side-effect of his powers is that the emotions of other people tend to bleed into his own (though not the other way around). It's hard for him to tell if he's sad because he's sad or because the person next to him is sad. For this reason, he's gotten very good at deescalating tense situations and helping people when they're down. Unfortunately, that also means he's the perpetual mom friend and a chronic people-pleaser.


In canon

Carmine was born in a rural, Florida town about 30-ish years after the world ended via nuclear-adjacent disaster. He didn't have the best childhood. He tried to hide his unusual physical traits, but everyone still knew about his eyes and ears, and there was no hiding his unusual emotional outbursts or his tendency to stare at "nothing".

The gossip was that Carmine's mother had slept with a demon. If they were referring to her husband, they weren't too far off. Jacob always thought Carmine was too soft and too strange, and wasn't always proud to call him his son. One day, he proposed to his wife that they should cut off the points of their son's ears. Carmine's mother was appalled, gathering her son, their belongings, and a few animals as soon as possible and hoping to find another settlement.

Carmine and his mom, Charlie, ended up in a coastal town which the locals simply called "The Beach." This was where Carmine spent his teen years, and where he met the Mar siblings. He ended up developing a deep friendship, and eventually a romance, with Selfen Mar, the youngest and (outwardly) strangest of the three.4 Selfen, like Carmine, was Sensitive, and was the first person that actually seemed excited to know about Carmine's unusual appearance and abilities. The two of them would play pranks on the locals and care for each other during storms.

Carmine eventually broke up with Selfen, but they remained lifelong friends. In Tempest, Carmine appears for the first time checking Selfen into Galiel's inn. He usually assists Selfen in running her cult, and frequently clarifies that it's "less of a cult and more of an art club," against Selfen's wishes.

In real life

The many, many AU's

Apocalypse + Dorian

This AU is the simplest in concept, but one of the more in-depth stories. I won't get into the full story here because Carmine basically has the same past and personality as he does in canon. The only difference between Tempest and this AU is that my partner's OC, Dorian, is in this story and plays a large role in what happens.

Dorian is a shapeshifter who can't return to the same form twice, so friendship can be difficult, especially in a world where those with powers aren't all that accepted. Because Carmine can recognize his aura, Dorian can experience a relationship with a person who doesn't have to struggle to know who he is. The two of them dated for the course of the main story, but had to split up eventually because Dorian wanted to stay with his traveling circus and Carmine wanted to stay at the Park with his friends.

Vampires and Werewolves

One of our first forays into making something purposefully "cringey," this is an AU in which the whole conceit was that Dorian was a vampire and Carmine was a werewolf, and Dorian believed that Carmine was a vampire while Carmine believed Dorian was a werewolf. Temporarily, of course. Once they actually got to know each other, the truth came out.

I really like this AU. Carmine's character transferred over really easily to a new werewolf who isn't quite sure how to deal with his curse yet, and he and Dorian have a super cute relationship as a vampire/werewolf couple.

Ever After High

Our attempt at the ultimate "cringe." Carmine and Dorian are both high schoolers at Ever After High, with Carmine being the son of the Evil Queen and Dorian being the son of the Cheshire Cat. Carmine's parent trauma is all transferred over to his mom this time. Also, his dad is a demon named Steve who turns out to be super nice, which is why his mom broke up with him. It's a good time.

Fantasy Soap Opera

This one is absolutely bonkers. It went in directions I would have never predicted, and Carmine practically became a different person as a result. In it, Carmine is an "orphaned" tiefling being raised by fairies on a farm, sleeping-beauty style. Then, years later, he finds out that he was a "lost prince." However, he wasn't really lost; his parents are both human, and they didn't want the scandal of having a tiefling child, so they sent him away. He has a tense coronation, with the kingdom being told that him being a tiefling is a result of a "curse" from the witch who had kidnapped him (all a lie).

During his time at his biological parents' castle, he meets and falls in love with an entertainer named Dorian who turns out to be a changeling. Changelings are very feared in this world, but Carmine, having been raised by fairies, doesn't really give a shit about the legends and easily sees Dorian for who he is. Unfortunately, their love is cut short by Carmine being married off to a princess from another kingdom and moving away.

There is then a ten-year timeskip. During this period, Carmine has had two kids with Josephine (a.k.a. Jo, his wife) and forced himself to become used to the royal lifestyle, expecting to become king when Jo's parents pass, since Jo is next in line. Jo is aroace, and after having kids, she and Carmine agree to just be friends, remaining married as a show of allyship between their kingdoms. Jo is therefore (mostly) fine with Carmine's new pastime of sleeping with whomever he wants, which is his maladaptive way of coping with the exacerbation of his insecurities caused by being in the public eye and being constantly scrutinized by aristocratic gossip.

Things completely change when Dorian, somehow, runs into Carmine again at a ball. At first, he's pretty appalled by the changes that have taken place, but who is he kidding; Carmine's hot and a prince, and Dorian has an in. This horrible, messy romance then causes way too much drama. And that's all you need to know.


  1. This was around 2020/2021, meaning Carmine is coming up on three years old. Wowee!
  2. His birthday is canonically April 20. It was originally a joke, but he does, in fact, blaze it. You get that fun fact because you read the footnotes.
  3. It still works like recognizing a face, though. He has to be familiar with a person's aura before he can know them by it.
  4. Two fun facts here! First, Carmine is the only character besides Sel's siblings to have known Sel before they started wearing a mask. Second, here are some nicknames that Sel has called Carmine: Chicken Carmesan, Moo-moo.