How did Alex originally form his relationship with Starbreeze? Did he acquire the focus first and then used it to meet her, or did he meet her and then buy/make a focus so he could keep in touch? I’m mostly asking because I’m wondering what it would take to re-establish that relationship (or a similar one with another elemental).
The second, kind of. He got caught up in some adventure or other that involved going to a place that Starbreeze used to keep coming back to – can’t remember where, he told me the story but it was a long time ago. There was a fight with some other mage, he helped Starbreeze out, then he needed a way to stay in touch with her and he got the focus from Arachne to do it. Starbreeze agreed to bond to it, and it kind of developed from there.
Theoretically all he’d have to do to reestablish the relationship would be to get Starbreeze to do the same thing again. Alex’s tried a few times, but no luck so far. Apparently air elementals are really, really good at staying hidden when they don’t want to be found, and he can’t convince her to let him find her without finding her first.
What is it about Alex that makes him a Mage and not an Adept? Doesn’t he just do one thing?
Oh, come on, not this question again.
How do Mages deal with having families? I assume light mages are pretty open about the situation, given that they have an organization and a general sense of security, but what about dark mages? Do they have to pretend their spouses are slaves in order to keep them from being used as leverage or targets of revenge? How likely are children to become adepts or mages themselves? And in the case of children with magic, are they often apprenticed by their own parents? Thanks for your time!
Mages have families just like everyone else, but for the most part they keep them separate from their magic life. Or they’re expected to, anyway. If you get an invitation to a Council ball, you won’t get a plus-one for your husband. The good news is that this comes with kind of an unwritten social rule not to target someone’s non-magical family. The bad news is that just like all rules, mages break it. You’ll probably get a bit more sympathy/support if they do, but that’s all.
Children of adepts and mages are a lot more likely to become adepts or mages themselves, but it’s not 100%. They do sometimes get apprenticed by their own parents, but it’s rare. More often, the kid’ll get packed off to someone who matches their magic type.
Has it occurred to Alex that he, along with Shireen, was always meant to be sacrificed to boost the power of Richard’s two REAL apprentices, Rachel and Tobruk?
Reading back through the older books, it seems unlikely that Richard would have failed to anticipate that Shireen and Alex would eventually break away –
I mean, Richard’s entire speech to Rachel convincing her to Harvest Shireen literally hinged on how she would otherwise remain in her shadow perpetually, so it seems Richard took Shireen in for the sole purpose of having someone for Rachel to Harvest. Then there’s Tobruk – where did he get his Harvesting* crystal from? The same place Rachel got it from, perhaps. Except that Tobruk wouldn’t have needed as much convincing.
The more I think about this theory, the more likely I think that Richard always meant for Alex to be Harvested by Tobruk and Shireen by Rachel, so then he would have two extra powerful enforcers to call on. Except that his plan only half succeeded, so now he’s scrambling to compensate for it, perhaps by recruting Morden** (and Onyx); or perhaps even by convincing Alex to rejoin and hoping he can take over whatever role Richard intended Tobruk to fulfil.
How likely is the above theory, really?
*Come to think of it, how rare are Harvesting crystals? How are they made – can they be manufactured by mages (and if so, what kind of magic is needed?) or must they be found somewhere in nature, like oil or gold?
**Also, the situation with Morden and Onyx (assuming the theory about Onyx being a Harvester is correct) seems to closely parallel Richard and Rachel. Was one perhaps inspired by the other?
It’s possible. God knows what Richard was really planning; Alex doesn’t know and I definitely don’t. I always got the impression that he was the ‘let’s see what happens’ type. As in, if Tobruk Harvests Alex, then great, Tobruk’s now Chosen Number One. If Alex kills Tobruk, then Alex gets the slot instead.
The other option is that Richard always had something very specific in mind for Alex or Rachel or the others, and he just kept it a secret. That’s definitely the more creepy option, but if it’s true, we haven’t figured out what the secret is.
Harvesting crystals aren’t actually that difficult to make, from what I’ve heard. They’re just basic focuses. I mean, just possessing one will get you arrested by the Council if they catch you, but then if you’re willing to actually use the godforsaken things then making the Council unhappy probably isn’t very high on your list of concerns.
And yeah, there’s a good chance Onyx is a Harvester, given how ridiculously strong he is. It might also have something to do with why he’s such a violent sociopath. Then again, maybe he was just that way to begin with.