Ask Luna #100

A double-length Ask Luna today. It’s a weird thought that I’ve been doing this for a hundred episodes. Back when I started, it was because Alex couldn’t be bothered to handle the Arcana Emporium email account and got me to do it instead. Since then we’ve gone from me working at the Arcana Emporium, to there not being an Arcana Emporium, to how things are today. Feels strange, looking back on it. Wonder if I’ll still be doing this by the time it gets to 200.

From: Eric Fluellen

Hello, how are you doing I was wondering as I’m reading through your books I sometimes get the feeling that this entire series has already happened, as though Alex is telling his memoir to a reporter of some sort, would comment please.

No, the books are more like an ongoing journal. Usually there’s a gap of a couple of years between the events and you reading them. So there’s no guarantee of a happy ending if that’s what you’re asking. We don’t know what’s going to happen any more than you do.

From: Interested

Hello Luna

In a previous “Ask Luna” post, I think you indicated that the maker needs to put a carrier or container spell on the item that is used to capture the magical attribute, after which the maker will “pay” (for want of a better word) another mage who has expertise in the desired type of magic to insert the require spell. So, for example, in order to create his “falling ring” Alex has the carrier spell embedded into a ring so a spell could be triggered, when the ring is broken. He would then arrange for an air mage to insert the required air hardening spell that would slow the fall. Is that correct?

Can all mages cast them, irrespective of the mage’s family or type? And are there any mages that specialize in these carrier spells and creating items, such as an alchemist mage or is that just a rumor in the non-magic community?

On a separate note, can a living being be imbued with magic, or is it only possible to imbue inanimate objects by giving them life (or at least a will) of their own? I asked this question because of your curse. It seems to me that that old witch in Italy imbued the curse directly into your family’s genetic code so that it flows down through the family line and triggered in the youngest girl in each generation.

If so, what is keeping a psychotic nut-jobs like Levistus from imbuing all his henchmen with their own magical skills? (After all, he could read their mind to see if they are turning against him, so the risk should be minimal and an army of adepts would be useful for a killer like him).
If not, how did your family “acquire” of your chance magic abilities.

First question: yeah, that’s more or less how it works, though it’s a lot easier if the mage who’s providing the carrier spell is the same person as the mage who’s casting. Item imbuing’s considered a generalist spell, so in theory all mages can learn it. In practice not all can, and not all the ones that can learn it are good enough or motivated enough, so it’s only a minority of mages that make this stuff. And yes, they’ve very much got an alchemist vibe. There’s a whole magical economy based around making these things and trading/selling them.

Second question: that’s a lot dicier. Imbuing living creatures with magic is tricky and treads really close to a bunch of activities that are considered illegal under the Concord, so it’s not the kind of thing you get taught in class. There are various more and less feasible ways to do it, but most of them are secret and from what Alex has mentioned they tend to have major drawbacks. My particular curse is . . . well let’s just say ’unusual’ and leave it at that.

Funnily enough, it’s actually easier to imbue a spell into a construct than a person, which is probably why we keep running into ones with funky abilities.

From: Mollie Jackson

Hi Luna,
I am interested in how far you guys have gotten with building living quarters in your shadow realm?

Is it possible to tell me what will be the colors of Alex’s formal robes?

Alex has got a full-blown house now. I’ve got one of those big marquee style tents. The weather’s pretty warm so it doesn’t need heating.

Alex seems to like dark colours for his robes, usually black, though in practice since Arachne’s always the one who makes them she’s the one who makes the call.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna/Journeyman Vesta.

Has Alex made mention that the type of magic or magic items that Richard Drakh used to protect himself with when killing the Crusader strike team at the Council Vaults bore a strong resemblance to the way the Monkey’s Paw protected Martin from bullets and magic and the way the Fateweaver allowed Alex to avoid any magical strikes that were thrown at him?

Yet when Richard wasn’t expecting any violence Alex was able to hit Richard in the face. Though after that first punch Alex hit nothing but air. It’s like Richard has found lower powered; and perhaps less dangerous to the user, versions of the two imbued items I mentioned above.

Yet these items appear to have a limitation. Richard must focus his attention on using them. They don’t appear to work automatically. Makes me wonder if Richard’s magical protection have any other limits or drawbacks.

Yeah, you’re not the only one who’s noticed. The evasion is harder to pin down since there are a lot of spells that can produce a similar effect, but I’m pretty sure the monkey’s paw similarity is not a coincidence, which implies a whole bunch of things.

And you’re right, all items like that have limitations. Gathering enough information to figure out exactly what they are is dangerous though. It’s not like this is an azimuth duel where you can just hang out by the piste and watch.

From: Jim

From: Hi Luna,

I have been rethinking how Anne got put through the ringer as attached to Alex and the consequences with the Djinn.

Now, it is clear that there was a plan put in place by Richard. But it is not clear to me that Morden could have influenced the Senior Council to get Anne so blacklisted.

What this implies is that there is another Senior Council Member that is secretly part of Richard’s plans. And this player is likely part of the Crusader faction.

Now, of course

Now of course what?

This is something we’ve talked about as well. We’ve pretty much agreed that it couldn’t have been Levistus that got Anne blacklisted back then, and that it must have been either Morden or Richard. Figuring out how they did it is hard, though. Alex tried looking but the records as to why the decision was made seem to have been ‘lost’ for some strange reason.

Best-case scenario is that Morden or Richard bribed or blackmailed someone further down the Light bureaucracy to get Anne’s application rejected. Worst-case is what you describe.

From: Kate Gowers

Hi again Luna!

Ages ago (2016, I think), you kindly explained what happens to mages (and adepts) who feel that being a mage and being involved with mage society just isn’t worth it (they simply stop practising magic and may even lose the ability to do so).

As a sort of continuation of that question, are there mages that remain mages yet also do ‘normal’ jobs – you know, data planner, milkman, politician (hmmm, that would explain a lot about Boris Johnson, but I digress)? I know Alex had his shop but most mages we met are either dark mages (and usually unhinged) or light, powerful mages on the council (also usually unhinged – I’m seeing a pattern here).

I would guess (though this is purely a guess) that it would be easier to both be a mage and run a semi-normal life as an independent (much as Alex did, though admittedly Alex’s shop was magic related). Is this common or even possible? Could my boss/train driver/partner (I refuse to call a 57 year old man my ‘boyfriend), head of the agency I work for actually be a practicing or dormant mage?

Yup, there are plenty of mages who do regular jobs, and yup, most of them are independents. It’s actually pretty common among independent mages. Of course, there still aren’t very many mages in the country, so odds of your milkman just happening to be a fire mage with a very unusual hobby are on the low side, but they’re definitely out there. Dr Shirland (that mind mage that Alex took Anne and Vari to) is a psychologist, for example.

The mages who do that sort of thing are usually the kind who like to keep a low profile, so it’s pretty common for neither the Council nor any other Dark mages to know they exist. So no-one knows exactly how many of them there are. They just live out their lives completely separate from magical society, busy with their jobs and their families and their friends and all the things that normal people spend their time on. It’s not the worst way to live.

From: Scott

Are there pictures available of the various characters/monsters?

Sure, try here.

From: Svetli

Hi, its me again. I was wondering, since last time you answered me, you said that Independent mages are treated better than the Dark by the Light mages. But how do Dark mages view Independent ones? Do they treat them the same as Light mages?

Dark mages actually respect independent mages a fair bit. The way they see it, independent mages are at least making their own decisions and living their own lives, which puts them a step up from Light mages. In fact, a lot of Dark mages kind of see themselves as a subgroup within independent mages anyway. Of course, none of that stops them from preying on independent mages if the independent happens to have something they want, so yeah, it’s questionable how much that respect is really worth.  

And that’s it for the hundredth entry.  See you for number 101!

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