Ask Luna #113

From: BlackMass

I have been wondering, back during the Nightstalker affair someone mentioned that Talsid was in Russia for Guardian business what exactly was said Business?

Another concern is know that Alex knows That Guardians and The Crusaders are really one faction does mean Talsid cannot be fully trusted?

Dunno what the business was. It was a while ago and I don’t think I ever asked.

For the second question, well . . . yeah. That’s something I’ve wondered about, too. The problem is that the two factions are allied pretty much all the time, and one of them we get on fine with while the other we definitely don’t. Talisid’s always been on our side (more or less) but I don’t know if it’ll always be that way.

From: Nick

1. Do you know what factions that the Senior and Junior Council members represent? I know Leviticus is affiliated with the Isolationists and Directors and Sarque and Bahamus with the Crusaders/Guardians but the others are harder to pin down.
2. Even though Leviticus and Sal Sarque are the biggest threats on the Senior Council to you guys right now how about the Junior Council? It seems the most dangerous threats can be the ones you overlook and it is possible that some of them could be looking to gain favor by opposing Alex.
3. Have you considered a group name for you Alex, Anne, and Variam? Might be a good way to gain more fans among the adepts, Light and Independent mages.

1. I don’t really, no. Undaaris is with the Centrists and Alma is Directors, I think, but that’s just gossip and I’ve never really looked into it. There was a reason I never wanted to be Alex’s aide.

2. Probably, but we have so many active enemies there doesn’t seem much point in worrying about potential ones.

3. We did talk about it back in the old days. Someone suggested ‘Arcana Evolved’ but I’m pretty sure that was a joke. It kind of got dropped once Sonder left.

From: Dan

Hi Luna.
I was wondering how much do you know about the Fate Weaver. It seems more than just an imbued item since a mage is trapped inside?

Could you explain it to me?

Does it have any limitations or is Alex pretty much untouchedable while using it?

Also is there any way Alex can bond to it himself? Possibly using the dreamstone.

On a completely different note how do you feel about Alex and Anne getting together? Do you have any gossip about them?

When are you and Vari going to get together?

The fateweaver’s got two parts – it’s a symbiotic imbued item (which is the fate part) which also has a mind mage living inside it. So if you’re carrying it you effectively get access to two whole extra types of magic at once, which is why it’s so powerful. The downside is that both are being controlled by a guy who’d love to possess you and take your body for his own, so yeah, not the best idea.

In theory any other mage could bond themselves to it, assuming they knew how (the ritual would have been lost thousands of years ago). Though the mage already bonded to it might have something to say about it if you tried.

Re: Alex and Anne getting together – about bloody time. Don’t have any gossip, but Vari and I have had some amusing conversations about how things would work.

Re: me and Vari, you’re acting like we haven’t already done it.

From: Mark

1. So one thing that has me confused is the use and creation of gate magic. Can Alex create one or is it just limited to certain mages?
2. How would diviner adepts be different from what Alex usually does? Would they have a lesser skill of all his abilities or only certain abilities like short term precognition or path walking?
3. Is there a limit to how far Alex can look into the future? Does he have a record of how far he looked into the future just to test his abilities?

1. Alex can’t, I can’t, Anne can’t. Only one of us who can make them is Vari, the rest of us have to rely on gate stones. It’s a pain in the neck.

2. Usually they have the ability to see the future, but only in a really specific window. I met one who could see ahead up to exactly thirty seconds. Another could make long-term predictions, but only by doing tarot readings. Others get prophetic dreams and stuff like that.

3. You’d have to ask him for the details, but as I understand it it’s limited by how predictable his environment is. I think he can get up to days, maybe a week, if he’s in a super stable environment like a sealed room with no-one bugging him. Doubt he’d be able to do that any more with the way things are these days.

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Ask Luna #112

From: Fade

Hi Luna, as always thanks for answering these, and sorry again for the long post! The first few are about magical combat and interactions.

1) In regard to Disintegration magic, does it seem to effect the entirety of an object it hits? or distance from a point of origin? For example, Deleo fired at a bed Alex had rolled off of, and apparently disintegrated it. The entire bed? All of it within a few feet of the point of origin? If distance from point of contact, would the magic pass through the air under the bed to the floor if it were within range of the magnitude of the spell?

2) Are certain magic types poor matches for each other? E.g. will a water or ice mage generally beat a fire mage? For something like Fire magic that creates heat, can a force shield block it, or does the heat osmos through it? I seem to recall Variam generating heat at a ranged point, between two constructs, during the events of Fountain Reach. Could this be done to generate heat on the other side of a shield? Would there need to be un-shielded line of site between the mage and the point? or would it take a 360 degree shield to prevent the magic from reaching a location?

3) Can Time mages use their power for combat directly? Or only for support, as you have seen Sonder do? For example could a time mage simply slow or stop someone’s heart from beating?

4) What exactly does the artifact that Cinder was given do? What are the risks/downsides? They must be present, or why would the council have locked the thing up instead of used it? Does Cinder know the risks involved? Did Kyle get a reward for his participation, or was he considered an extension of Cinder?

5) What would happen if Alex or Anne tried to use a focus item like your whip? Could Anne get range? Could Alex’s magic be used to fuel a magical attack of a different sort? (After all, he can fuel the force discs, despite not being a force mage)

6) In what ways has Alex’s armor grown with him? I recall Arachne stating that it would happen as he used it, so I was wondering if it had become more effective over time. Would the type of magic it’s encountered become easier to block as it became “familiar” with it, for example?

7) Ok, done with the combat questions. Next I was wondering if you’ve had any interesting interactions since you’ve taken over the shop. Alex mentioned the 1 in 1000. Have you found anyone like that yet?
Have you been able to help somebody?
Wow, that was a lot, sorry if I’m getting a little greedy for your time. Thanks again!

1) It depends on volume I think. Usually a disintegration spell affects everything within a certain radius of the point of impact. The exact radius depends on the amount of power in the spell.

2) There’s a whole complicated rock-paper-scissors thing with all the different battle-magic types, but it’s not as simple as ‘water beats fire’. For instance, ice mages and fire mages can both control heat, so both of them can theoretically cancel out each other’s tricks – it comes down to which of them’s better. Re: heat control, the whole point of a shield is that it stops spells affecting stuff on the other side. Shields would be pretty useless otherwise.

3) Time magic doesn’t generally have enough fine control to affect a part of a creature like that. There might be the odd specialist time mage who’s figured out a way to use battle-magic, but I’ve never met one.

4) No clue. It’s not like Cinder and I are on a first-name basis.

5) My whip was designed specifically for me. It’d work really badly for another chance magic user, and wouldn’t work at all for anyone else.

6) I don’t know the details, but I’ve noticed that it looks different now from when he first got it. The armour plates seem to have thickened and I think they cover different places.

7) Yeah, there’ve been a few (though I’m starting to think that Alex might have been being a bit optimistic when he told me the 1/1000 number). But that’s another story.

From: Mary Carter

Will we find out where Richard went for the ten years ?

How should I know?

From: Kevin

Hey Luna hope you are doing well I just have a few questions about elementals.
1. Have you ever seen or heard of other types of elementals in the other classical elements like Earth Fire and Water? For that matter are there official names/classification for elementals in general and based on their element?
2. Would a Jinn be considered a form of air elementals or is more of a same genus different species kind of thing.
3. Are there other elementals like Spirit, Lava, Lightning, Plants or others that are not in the traditional four?
Thank you for your time and I wish you a prosperous future

1) Yeah, there are a few different types. The Council has various classification systems for them depending on power/controllability.

2) No, jinn are something very different. The lesser jinn are a lot less powerful than an elemental.

3) I think so, though I don’t know all of the types. You definitely get lightning and magma elementals, but I’ve never heard of a spirit or plant one. Doesn’t mean they’re not out there, though.

From: Kevin

1.So I was wondering if you knew the magic types of the Senior Council? One thing that stuck me is that very few of them seemed combat types like Undaaris, Alma, and Spire, they seem to be more manipulators then anything else. Does not mean they are not a threat but compared to Drakh they seem in the minor leagues.
2. Does Alex get along with the Junior Council or any better then the Senior. By that I mean are they at least cordial compared to the fear/hostility/disrespect the Senior Council seems to have for him.

1) Most of them are either mind/charm types, universalists, or a hybrid of the two. The exceptions are Undaaris and Sal Sarque, who are water and fire respectively. At least I think so, I might be forgetting one.

2) No, he gets on pretty badly with them as well from what I’ve heard. Most of them are suspicious of him, and the few that aren’t don’t want to be seen getting too friendly with him in case it hurts their chances of promotion.

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Fallen Is Finished!

And we’re done!  The first draft of Alex Verus #10, aka Fallen, is finished and sent off to my publishers.  

I wrote a breakdown of the writing process for one of my Alex Verus novels a while ago, and at this point we’re officially out of stage 3 (first draft) and into stage 4 (waiting for edits).  I don’t know how long stages 4-5 will take, but I don’t anticipate it causing any delay.  

There are going to be a total of 12 Alex Verus novels, which means that with the completion of Fallen, I’m 5/6ths of the way through the series.  So I’m only going to be at this moment (namely, finishing an Alex Verus book) two more times.  Odd feeling.  

For now, I’m going to take a break and catch up on my email – I tend to get really behind with my website email when I’m midway through a book, and I have emails in my inbox from the spring and summer that I still haven’t answered.  Soon enough I’ll hear back from my editors and I’ll figure out what changes and rewrites Fallen needs, but for now, I get to rest.

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Really Nearly Home Stretch

Writing the final scene of the final chapter.  Will update next week when I’m done.

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Home Stretch

Alex Verus #10 is into the final stretch.  I’m halfway through the last full chapter – just need to finish the big confrontation, then do the epilogue, and I’ll be done.  Still shooting for end of September as a target date.  

On an unrelated note, I’m seriously considering adding a FAQ to this site.  I keep getting asked the same questions via email and comments – usually “how many books will there be” and “when’s the next book coming out”.  (Answer to the first is 12, answer to the second is October 2019.)  Then again, I have the sinking feeling that people wouldn’t read it anyway.  

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Release date for Alex Verus #10

Alex Verus #10, Fallen, finally has an official release date!  It’ll be out about a year from now, in October 2019.  

I’m told the cover will be going up on the Orbit UK blog later today.  

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Ask Luna #111

From: Hrok

I was wondering if there was anything more you could tell us about the nature of jinn magic in light of recent events. It almost seemed from reading Alex’s account that the jinns power is at least partly related to elsewhere. In addition to taking up residence in Anne’s elsewhere, the Jinn’s magic appeared to be fully functional, if undirected, while Anne’s was not. In fact, the flexibility of the Jinn’s desire magic is somewhat similar to the malleability of elsewhere, a location where one’s “desire” shapes reality. Sorry for yet another question about jinn!

Thank you,

Hrok

It’s not a bad question – trouble is, I have zero clue what the answer is. When it comes to jinn, the apprentice program didn’t teach me anything useful at all. Alex knows more, but it’s still mostly guesswork, and most of what he does know is second-hand from Arachne. Richard seems to know the most of all, but he’s not talking. Your idea does sound like it makes sense though.

From: Jenna

Okay, Luna, I’d like your female perspective about something I’ve always wondered about Alex’s appearance. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = not at all; 10 = totally hot), how handsome is he?

Depends how frustrated I am. Go back five years and pretty much all a guy needed was to be height-weight proportionate and have a pulse.

I’d probably put him at about a seven back when we first met, and more like an eight these days. Since he started training with Anne he’s lost a fair bit of weight and he’s got a kind of lean, hungry thing going that looks good on him.

From: Jim

Hi Luna,

I really respect how you have changed and become more mature over time. Sign of a great person!

I want to point out again that our friend Lyle has gotten into the middle of things. The real question is whether it is his fault or that is Undaris (spelling apologies I listen to the Audio Books). Undaris seems so different than the rest of the Senior Council, that he might be hiding in plain sight. I mean there had to be the push of Alex into the prison and he had to have Anne come with him in order for the escape to work.

So, we reach this critical juncture and there is Lyle in the middle of everything ensuring that the right people are in place for Richard’s Plan to work. Seems quite convenient.

Also, our friend Richard (and he is just a cute cuddly teddy bear) will have his first real beef with Alex. Has Alex started panicking about this?

I’ve got some serious concerns about the kinds of teddy bears you seem to know.

I guess it could be true? Lyle and Undaaris just seem like such nonentities compared to the movers and shakers on the Council. I guess they could be hiding in plain sight. Be a hell of a trick, though.

From: Fanfan

Hi Luna,
Could the dreamstone’s telepathy allow Alex to contact Starbreeze?

Funny you should mention that.

From: SparrowHawk

Luna,

I know Alex has a lot on his plate but really how difficult is it to say those three words ‘I love you’ to Anne. I mean he’s had five years – aargh. Please can you give him a slap and point the silly idiot in the right direction. I really don’t want to have to cross the veil and do it myself…

PS I hear tonic is the best thing to go with Jinn 😉

Sparrowhawk – reality adept

Funny you should mention that, too.

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Review and Giveaway

King’s River Life has a review of Marked up, along with a giveaway.  Go check it out!

Book 10 is inching along towards the finish line.  Not much farther to go now.  

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Ask Luna #110

From: Robert L. Mandell

Luna what is the backstory of Talis?

Adept with a really bad reputation. Depending on who you asked, he was either a shady ex-Dark adept or a paid assassin, maybe both. For whatever reason he seemed to hang around London without the Keepers going after him. Alex said he had an arrangement with the Council, which would have explained a lot. Don’t know much about where he came from, and never really wanted to find out. Guy was bad news.

From: James Cage

There are many human and non-human agents at work in your life. Do you have a list that you can share? It would make it easier for me to follow. Thanks!

What am I, your secretary?

From: Gill Wurney

Hi Luna, I was wondering, what does it look like to watch Alex fight from your perspective? he describes a lot of his fighting uses divination, does it look strange to watch a fighter with no missteps or mistakes?

It’s one of those things that looks different depending on how much you know. Back in the early days, I didn’t really notice. Alex just seemed like a good fighter, and that was that. After I’d known him for a bit I started to notice that he never seemed to get hit with things – whenever an attack came in, no matter how fast it was, he never seemed to be there when it landed.

It was only after I took up duelling seriously that I started to realise just how good he was. It’s not obvious because he doesn’t do anything showy or flashy, and half the time all he’s doing is getting out of the way. But if you stop afterwards and think about it, you realise that every time, he’s doing the most efficient thing possible to reduce the threat as quickly as possible. A few times we’ve been in fights together and I’ve been hurt and he hasn’t, and when I go back over it in my head, I realise what I could have done differently. Except he doesn’t need to think it over afterwards, he gets it right the first time.

From: Henrik-DK

Hello Luna,
just enjoyed following your latest adventures (Marked).

I have a quick question related to Alex and his abilities especially related to path-walking and weapons.

Could he not use path-walking to find out when someone would be out in the open, and use his muscle sync to successfully fire a high powered rifle from far away (2+km) to eliminate an enemy? With a shroud no one would even know it was him.

would be an easier way to remove some of those high lv. threats.

It’d work on the low-level ones, not so much on the high-level ones. You have to remember that the really dangerous mages are used to the idea that there are people out there that want to kill them. So they spend a lot of time thinking about how to stop that from happening. So not only are they going to have a defence against a handgun or a rifle, that’s probably the first thing they’re going to have a defence against.

As an example – one of the standard ways to set up a kinetic shield is to put an outer layer around it as a ‘tripwire’. If something breaks through, the shield automatically reinforces with a more powerful layer under the breach. Shoot someone like that with a rifle, and the bullet’s going to bounce off before they even notice they’re being attacked. And that’s assuming they’re going to be standing around where anywhere in line of sight in the first place. You’re not going to find them walking down Oxford Street.

From: Adam

Luna,
Why does everyone think Richard is a Mage? He is (in)famous for using imbued items and not explaining how he is doing things.
More to the point would the wielder of multiple imbued items who hid them be viewed as a mage?
On an unrelated note when is Alex going to admit to himself he is one of the better combat mages in the UK? I bet if you made a list of the people who Alex -wouldn’t- go up against with a reasonable chance of winning (if prepared) it would be surprisingly short…

Everyone assumes Richard’s a mage because he acts like a mage, he presents himself as a mage, and he’s recognised as a mage. I guess in theory you could do what he does with imbued items, but guess what – most imbued item owners ARE mages.

Alex is very good at what he does, but he’s not as strong as you seem to think. In terms of skill, yeah, he’s right up there at the top, but when you’re up against a battle-mage who can shrug off bullets and blast through a concrete wall, skill only gets you so far.

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Getting Closer

Still working away on the first draft of Book 10, Fallen.  It’s getting closer, but not there yet.   

I really want to get this one out there.  It resolves a lot of things that I’ve been setting up in the Alex Verus series for a long, long time, including at least two events that readers have been asking for for ages.  

Still, before that can happen, I need to finish the book.  Back to work . . .

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