Ask Luna #94

From: Stephanie

Hi Luna. My thoughts are about Richard. I just this morning finished Bound, and I’m wondering if his magic is some kind of mind/time hybrid? Actually getting to see the fight also made me wonder if a mage can learn to use more than his own type of magic if he tried? Thanks much, I am really looking forward to the next happenings, since Alex will now have a bit of power to hopefully change the course of the Council.

Mind/time hybrid? That’s pretty random. I suppose it’s not impossible . . .

As for magic types, any magic a mage learns to use becomes part of their type. So yes and no.

From: Fade

Hi Luna, I had a question about numbers. About how many mages would you say there are total in Britain? How many are light, dark, or independent? Finally what percentage of mages would you say could be considered battle mages? I’m curious because, going by what I’ve heard of the OP that happened in Syria (Just after you all had been Burned by Levistus,) it sounds like most of the keepers were in on it, but I have no idea what that is in terms of numbers, and I’m a little worried about how big things might get if it came to an actual war between the Council and whoever Richard can put together. Thanks!

I think the most commonly quoted numbers are in the order of 2,000 light mages, 1,000-ish dark mages, and 4,000-ish independent. But the numbers for dark and independent are kind of wild guesses, since the whole point of being a dark or independent mage is that you DON’T register with the Council.

As for how many are battle mages, that’s kind of subjective, but no matter how you measure it, the fraction’s way higher for Dark mages than for anyone else.

From: USA Dude

Dear Luna,
I know Britain is your home, you have a large following in the US. Perhaps you all can have an adventure in the States and let us know how it goes.
Also, for the love of God can Alex please kiss Anne already? I mean with death at every corner he needs to let her know how he feels or risk losing his chance.

‘Have an adventure’? What do you expect me to do, gate over to New York and stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and wait for something to happen? ‘Having an adventure’ means that something’s gone wrong, we don’t go looking for them!

As for your other question, not getting involved.

From: Fade

Hi Luna, I’m a bit curious about how exhaustion works for different mage types. We’ve only heard mostly from Alex’s perspective, and I figure exhaustion for a diviner must be a sort of mental fatigue, where the diviner finds it more difficult to concentrate on futures and gets slower picking them out and reacting. Is this somewhat accurate? Is there a point where the divinations just won’t come anymore? What exactly is being exhausted here, the magic or the mind? What about for other mages? Can a fire mage run out of fire? Or do the spells just get less and less controlled as the mage’s focus waivers? Is the magic internal, or is the mage simply directing and controlling energy that exists around him or her? Thanks for your time!

Also one final somewhat spoilery question:
What happened to Onyx? The last we hear of him he is headed straight for some opposition, than nothing. What happened to Morden’s Chosen, and why wasn’t HE considered Morden’s second as per that obscure law that Vari told you all about after the dust had settled?

For the most part, using magic is mentally taxing, not physically taxing. So it’s more a matter of just running out of focus/mental energy, kind of like working a 12-hour shift at a job. You get tired, your focus slips, you’re more and more likely to screw up and make a mistake (and when you’re dealing with stuff like fire magic, making a mistake can have really bad consequences). But you can’t ‘run out’ – elemental mages don’t run out of batteries or anything like that, so as long as they’re mentally tough enough and willing to push themselves, they can keep on chucking spells for a really long time. It’s more like redirecting energy than creating it from yourself.

Onyx is still around. I don’t like the guy, but if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s fighting, and he isn’t the kind to go down easily. As for why he wasn’t Morden’s second, it’s because he wasn’t Morden’s aide, and the reason he wasn’t Morden’s aide was because Morden didn’t make him one. You know, just in case he needed another reason to hate Alex more.

From: guy moran

can a mage of a certain field do magic of another field ? like a diviner using fire magic ? there are focuses (focusei, focusis ?), do they allow it ? otherwise i don’t understand how items are made.

For the most part items get made by mages of the same type. You want a fireball wand, you get a fire mage to make one. It’s technically possible to make an item that uses a spell you can’t cast, but it’s way way harder.

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Ask Luna #93

From: Matthew Shepherd

hey Luna could i please get some clarification on how the monkeys paw could be freed. when Alex asked Arachne she said it had no body but didn’t clarify if alex could let it die or pass away… in that same conversation she said that they can be destroyed and that someone with empathy could release them. whats the deal here?

And on that same line of thought would empathy actually work on the Monkeys paw, could it grant wishes with no bad side effects or is it to twisted?

Wasn’t there for the conversation, but I think you might have gotten things mixed up. From the sound of it, the empathy discussion was just a fancy way of saying that co-operating with jinn worked a lot better than trying to force them. It didn’t let you accomplish anything different, it just made them less inclined to screw you over.

Problem with trying something like that on the Monkey’s Paw is that that assumes that it has goals OTHER than trying to screw you over. I’m not at all sure that’s true.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna, I have a simple and straightforward question for you today. That whip focus that Arachne made for you; is it just a focus item or is it an imbued item? If it is imbued can you tell us what it was like when you were first introduced to it.

Focus. It’s nowhere near powerful enough to be imbued.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna,

I have what might be difficult questions for you today. Shireen (her spirit, shade?) told Alex that when two people go into Elsewhere together, it creates a kind of bond between them. Richard took all four of his apprentices into Elsewhere at the same time.

Apparently, when Rachel used the harvesting crystal on Shireen the connection between Rachel and Alex was intensified. I guess whatever connection Shireen had with Alex was combined Rachel’s. So now Rachel/Deleo can find Alex whenever she wants to and she can gate to wherever he is.

Do you know if the reverse is true? Can Alex find Rachel/Deleo whenever he wants to? (Even though he lacks the ability to gate to her and probably wouldn’t want to in any case.)

Second question: It follows that whatever connection Rachel developed with Richard Drakh by going into Elsewhere together would also have been intensified when Rachel used the harvesting crystal on Shireen. Whether she realizes it or not, this means Rachel/Deleo can find Richard any time she really wants to. She also must sense Richard’s presence; though perhaps unconsciously, whenever Richard is close by, or even if he is in disguise; much as she would look right where Alex was standing when he was wearing his mist cloak. Does this sound correct to you?

I don’t know if this could have significance later on, I just find the idea of this connection to be an interesting one.

It’s kind of an interesting question, yeah. Alex has never said he can find Deleo, but the times he’s gone looking for her, he never seems to have any trouble finding her. So maybe it works at some sort of unconscious level.

No idea whether Deleo can find Richard, though. I suppose it makes some kind of sense, but I’m not sure if Richard would have allowed it. He always struck me as the kind of person who’d want to keep tabs on his servants, but who wouldn’t be keen about letting them do the same to him.

From: Bentham

Good evening–this is just a minor curiosity, but it seems like since y’all met Anne all the narrative installments have been named after something that happened to her. Does Alex name these?

He does, yeah. Funny the way that works.

From: Elena

Hi Luna,

I really miss Starbreeze. Is she ever coming back?

Elena

Okay, seriously, this is like the fifth time I’ve been asked this one. How on earth do you guys expect me to know?

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Ask Luna #92

From: Hrok

Hi Luna!
You mentioned in one of the other posts that no magic can raise the dead and that the closest it can get is a construct. My question is, how realistic can constructs get? Additionally, can someone like a mind mage transfer their conciseness into an immortal construct? Finally, can a construct be transformed into an imbued item?

Thank you,
Hrok

They can get pretty realistic from a distance, but the effect tends to break when you get up close. Mages seem to have trouble getting the facial expressions right, especially the eyes. It gets uncanny valley really fast.

I think it’s technically possible to transfer consciousness into an item or a construct, but there are a lot of really awkward hurdles. The only mages willing to risk the consequences tend to be really really invested in living forever, with all the personality traits that go with that.

And no, you can’t turn a construct into an imbued item. One’s alive, the other isn’t. It’d be easier to start from scratch.

From: Byzantine

Greetings, Luna!
Big fan of your little rag-tag bunch and the zany (read; deadly) hijinks you find yourselves wrapped up in.
I have a question and I think you’re the perfect person to ask, seeing as it’s about you.
It’s regarding foci. I’ve heard from Alex that they work by the user weaving some of their magic into it and it then activates, producing the effect it was designed to produce.
Now, as far as I’ve understood it, this is the individual mage’s innate magic that activates a focus.
My question is; can you use foci and if so, how? I’m fairly certain (though I might be mistaken) that you can. If I recall correctly you’ve used gate stones before, right?
If that’s correct then how do you use them? Does your curse qualify as a magic that can activate a focus? If so, how do you stop using a focus? I imagine carrying a gate stone around in your pocket would expose it to your curse on a constant basis?
I wish you the best of luck (heh) in your future endeavours!

You’ve got the right idea, yeah. And the answer is that by dint of a hell of a lot of practice, I learned to direct my curse. And my curse is pretty much pure chance magic, both positive and negative, so end result, I can activate a focus exactly the same way that a mage can. There are still some things I have trouble with, but according to Chalice, my abilities are fairly comparable to those of a chance mage by now. (There are still some people who are going to say that it doesn’t count, but I don’t have to listen to them any more.)

As regards carrying a gate stone, well, there isn’t really anything I can carry around in my pocket and have it be 100% safe. But as far as magical items go, focuses are the safest, since they’re the most inert, and gate stones aren’t much more than lumps of rock when they’re not being activated. I do try not to carry them when I don’t have to, though – I can’t really do Alex’s Batman routine of having fifteen different items on me every time I go to the newsagent.

From: Lorna

What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?

(If you can get Maple Walnut in Britain, you should try it if you haven’t!)

Strawberry cheesecake. I don’t think we get Maple Walnut in Britain, or anything else with the word ‘maple’ in it. Wonder what it’s like.

From: Morden

Would you be interested in replacing my chosen?
If not, that is up to you.
-Morden

Nice try. If Morden ever wanted to contact me, he wouldn’t do it like this. And friendly warning: don’t pull this stuff. None of the attention you’re going to get will be good.

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Ask Luna #91

From: Peter Onion

Dear Luna/Vesta,
Congratulations on your Journeyman status 🙂
How is Alex coping with his new position on the Council ? I bet he’s learning more than he ever wanted to about th e Light Council ? 😉

Oh yeah, no kidding. He spends way too much time complaining to me about it. I think we’re his safety valve as far as that goes. When he’s with the Council he can’t ever let his guard down.

From: Nick Stephenson

Journeyman Vesta
Congrats on the name choice I thinks it’s awesome.
I have two questions
-If Alex can bring himself into elsewhere and can he bring elsewhere into what we perceive as reality. I ask this because I can’t get it out of my head of Alex making weapons out of thin air in elsewhere and to be able to do that in reality would be really cool.

The second question I have is, are you a respected person amoung adepts. I ask this because on a bad day you could take down a mage and on a really good day which I suppose you being a chance mage you have a lot of really good days you could take upwards to three mages at the same time. It took the entire night stalkers to defeat one dark mage and caldera was taken down by someone who was almost tailored to take her down. But I still think she was holding back a bit. But you can take on mages by yourself no help required. And when you face adept you seem to take them down easily. So are you thought of as almost like Landis is thought of amoung mages. Are you just respected or feared amoung the adept is what I’m trying to get at.

I don’t think there’s any way to bring stuff from Elsewhere into here. The feeling I get is that the weapons/buildings/whatever in Elsewhere aren’t really there. So trying to bring them out of Elsewhere would be like bringing a picture out of your computer and into real life.

Second question . . . that’s a hard one. Amongst adepts, I guess it’s a bit of both? Some respect, some fear, but not a huge amount of either. The thing about chance magic is that it’s not flashy, so you don’t get noticed the way other magic types do. So like you say, on a good day I can do quite a bit, but unless I do it in some really public way, it’s not really going to make an impression. As for mages, they mostly just dismiss me. When I mention it to Alex, he tells me that being underestimated is useful. I guess he’s got a point, but it’s still annoying. Oh well, it’s not like I need to impress them anymore.

From: Nicola

I was wondering: what’s Arachne’s opinion of Verus’ career? As much as he tried escaping Drakh’s clutch, he wind up becoming the Dark Mages representative in the Junior Council, after all.

Thanks!

Generally pretty positive. Arachne feels like a mother figure sometimes, but she’s a very ‘hands-off’ sort of mother. She’ll give you advice if you ask for it, but she mostly leaves you alone to do your own thing. I think magical creatures have a very different perspective on the Light/Dark division – they’re more concerned about how mages will treat them, and as far as that goes, being Light or Dark is a bit of a six of one and half a dozen of the other sort of thing. There are lots of Dark mages who have pretty good relations with magical creatures.

From: John

Hay Luna just wondering apart from your and Alex’s magic type which is your and Alex favorite and why. I ask this because Alex is always sayin that his magic is not very strong or he cant do this or that thanks. Love you and Alex best series of books i come across in a long time.

p.s. sorry if you have been asked this b4 lot of Q&A to go through.

No problem. I know there are a lot of the things.

I don’t know what Alex’s favourite is, but for my part, I’ve come to like my own. I think you kind of have to if you ever want to get really good at it. As long as you’re always looking at what other people have, and not at what you can do yourself, you’re going to miss things. I’ve made my peace with what I am.

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Ask Luna #90

From: John Jones

Am I totally off base in thinking that Richard Drakh may not be the villain he’s supposed to be? I recall that the three people most responsible for stopping the Nazis in WWII were Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, that latter of whom was not known for his niceness.

I just sort of consider that if Drakh learned of some lethal threat to Mages, or even all humanity, he might choose to do something about it. Saving the world would be the greatest of greater goods. And that “good” could justify a great many lesser evils.

Ugh. I suppose it’s not one hundred percent impossible. Richard does know a lot, and I guess he might know about some threats that we don’t. But I REALLY can’t think of anything that’d require him to go around stirring up the trouble that he has.

Besides, just that kind of argument really puts my back up to be honest. ‘I might have done a lot of evil stuff, but it’s for the greater good’. Really? Did you ask the people who got in your way whether they agreed? Because I’m not sure they’d be so keen . . .

From: Vance freed

Thanks Luna for helping with our ignorance! Since Anne was flayed alive by a contingent of light musicians and alex has been ruthlessly pursued by two factions does he still see any difference between light and dark. Seems like mixed good and bad on both sides of the aisle. Both are equally ruthless. Maybe he just needs more power and control to enforce his worldview? Secondly Anne seemed a match for vihaela. Does Anne feel that way? Thirdly, will alex be able to use the dream stone in any combat capacity? Does it being linked mean he doesn’t need it with him, maybe it’s a part of him? Lastly is everyone loving your new shadow realm, and are you helping Anne with her trauma?

You’re preaching to the choir as far as the first one goes. I never liked the Council even before they decided to flay Anne. Getting more power and control isn’t as easy as all that, though. The low-hanging fruit got picked a long time ago.

Vihaela is very very powerful. So’s Anne, but I think Vihaela would probably have the edge as far as that goes, from experience if nothing else.

I don’t think the dreamstone has any direct combat applications, no.

The shadow realm’s great. I’ve tried talking to Anne, but it’s hard. She’s happy to listen to everyone else’s problems, but she doesn’t like opening up about her own.

From: Cryptid Hunter

Have some Cryptid questions for you that I am dying for answers to.

Is the Cornish Owlman real if so what is it’s story,
same with the Fiskerton Phantom.

Is Spring-Heeled Jack real.

What do you or Alex know about Sasquatch.

these question interest me greatly an I hope to hear from you soon.

PS good seeing that you are back on your feet an taking over Arcana.

Okay, you’ve clearly spent way more time on this stuff than I have. I’ve never in my life heard of the Cornish Owlman or the Fiskerton Phantom. I’d have to Google them to even have a clue who they were.

Spring-Heeled Jack was real, yeah, but I don’t know whether he (it) was magical or just a very imaginative serial killer.

Sasquatches are one of the magical creatures native to the Americas. They’ve never lived over here in the UK as far as I know, and there aren’t many of them left. The few that are still around have gotten very good at hiding.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hello Luna,

I would like to run an idea by you that I’ve had about Onyx and Rachel/Deleo and see what you think about it. I think Alex is only half right about why Onyx and Rachel seemed to have slipped in the hierarchy of dark mages that support Morden and Richard. It’s not because they’re psychopaths who can’t keep their minds off of murder. Vihaela likes to torture and murder children which probably puts her at the top of any scale of psychopathic evil we might construct, but she is respected as well as feared in Dark Society and seems to occupy a position with more authority and power than either Onyx or Rachel. Why?

Here’s the short answer I have come up with. Being a Dark Mage’s Chosen isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Now the long answer; Shireen and Rachel thought being Richard’s apprentices was a pathway to power. Richard pretty much said the same thing to Alex and all of his apprentices. My guess is Morden probably said something similar to Onyx when he recruited him. If Richard and Morden had been completely honest what they should have said is, “Think of me as a Bond villain, like Goldfinger. I want to train one of you to become my henchman; or henchperson if you prefer, like Oddjob. You’ll get to be menacing and do people in, in various creative ways, but I’m the boss and you’ll be my servant.” Rachel/Deleo acted as something of a night watchman for Richard, guarding his property while he was away. Not exactly a position of high status, and we can probably say the same for Onyx.

Vihaela is a different story. I don’t remember if she was anyone’s chosen, but I do recall she has killed or supplanted those dark mages she has worked for in the past. In true dark mage fashion she too took power for herself. That is why she has more respect and authority in Morden and Richard’s organization, she’s earned it. Morden said something very similar to Alex about his own life. Alex could be respected (as a dark mage) because he had made his own path, he didn’t argue the morality of it. Rachel/Deleo didn’t get vaulted to power and high status. She was reduced to searching for shortcuts to power like stealing the Fateweaver or draining and absorbing the power of magical creatures. She didn’t choose her own path; she followed the path Richard set for her.

To sum up, Richard and Morden played their apprentices. Their chosen are little more than gloried servants. Of course, they may also be playing Vihaela and the other dark mages in their employ, but I don’t know enough yet to comment any further in that direction. So Luna, what do you think?

It’s funny you should say that, because I had a conversation with Alex a little while back about exactly that. We were talking about Deleo, and something he mentioned was that he might have figured out why she hates him so much. It’s because she feels like she did as she was told and didn’t get rewarded, while he disobeyed and did. Deleo always played by the rules and did what Richard ordered her to, and she did that for ten, fifteen years, and what did it get her? Nothing. She’s still in the same position she’s always had. But Alex had to get dragged back in and he got appointed straight away to be Morden’s aide. Now obviously Alex wasn’t exactly happy about that, but Deleo wouldn’t care. All that she’d see would be Alex getting promoted over her.

So yeah, I think you might be on to something. Maybe following the rules only gets you so far as a Dark apprentice. At some point you have to start doing something more impressive.

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Ask Luna #89

From: Pete

Whilst “normals” are either unaware or not taken serious about magical society, is this the same case with governments? Is there some tacit co-operation between normal and magical authorities?

Short answer is yes. Pretty much every government has a section that deals with magical stuff, and that section has some kind of relationship with the country’s Council. How well they get on varies quite a bit. In the UK there’s a group called SASU affiliated with the Met Police that does the liaising work – mostly the only time we run into them is if something goes wrong, and from what I understand relations are smooth enough, even if they’re not exactly friendly. In other countries it can get a bit messier. From what I’ve heard the US government has two or three competing departments that are supposed to regulate magic, and they don’t get on with the US Council at all.

From: Thorn

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

1) How much time has passed since the events of Fated? How much time has passed since the events of the most recent book?

2) Why do you think Alex is writing all this down? Do you think there’s anything he’s leaving out?

3) Could you explain what the difference is between the Junior and Senior Council?

1) About six years and about one year.

2) Would you prefer he kept it all a secret? And of course he leaves things out. Do you tell people every detail about your personal life?

3) There are lots of little differences, but the big one is that the Senior Council get to vote on Council resolutions, and the Junior Council don’t. So while the Junior Council get most of the same perks, the Senior Council’s votes are the only ones that matter.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna.

Now that you are no longer an apprentice will you continue to engage in competitive Azimuth duels or do you think your free time will be taken up with establishing yourself in magical society as a full Mage? On the other hand, might competitive dueling help you gain respect and acceptance from other mages?

I hope this hasn’t been asked before, but when you competed in various tournaments was there any type of magic user who was more difficult to fight than other types or did it simply come down to the skill of the individual opponent regardless of magic type?

I’ve actually gotten a lot less interested in duelling lately. For a while it was what you said, a way to prove myself, but looking back on it, I think I was partly doing it just to have something to keep myself busy. I didn’t want to have too much time to stop and think. Once I graduated, though, and I took a break, I found I didn’t miss it that much. The duelling world gets a bit pressure-cooker – there are all these Light mages who care about it so much and after you’ve been out and about a bit, you realise how artificial the whole thing is. I’m just not sure I care enough to put in the work I’d need to.

As for hardest magic type – obviously skill was the most important thing, but I always found ice mages really irritating to deal with. Very good defence and they always seem to want to drag the bout out as long as possible.

From: Jordan

Have you considered that Richard might be a Sound mage? From the way he’s described I get the impression that he was born with a relatively weak type of magic and that his goal has been to overcome that through planning, use of items and eventually somehow Iron Man-ing his way into being able to use other types. Sound mage would fit the bill, and Alex has mentioned more than once that his most memorable and noticeable feature is his voice. Plus it would fit with Alex hearing Richard’s voice when Morden was being elevated to the Council.

(Sorry for the double-post. Got mixed up on where to send the question)

Yeah, I should probably make it clear, in case it isn’t obvious – if you guys want to send me an Ask Luna question, use the form. Nothing personal, but I really don’t have time to search through comments and other email accounts to find questions sent to the wrong address, so anything that doesn’t go through the Ask Luna form just doesn’t get answered.

As for what your question, that’s actually one we’ve considered and decided was really unlikely. It’s not impossible, but sound magic tends to be distinctive – it’s not the kind of thing you can hide or pass off as something else. Alex also says that it doesn’t fit with Richard’s personality. Sound mages tend to be emotive performer-types, and they’d rather have attention than power. From what I’ve heard about Richard, that doesn’t sound like him at all.

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Ask Luna #88

From: Adam Jennings

Hi Luna or should I say Vesta. (Cool name)
I love to see how you’ve grown throughout your time with Alex. You have turned into a pretty awesome mage!
A couple of questions.

Starbreeze. Can’t Arachne make an item/focus for Alex to use to make contact with Starbreeze again. Alex hasn’t tried, but he found her once why can’t he do it again?

You have been to Elsewhere on two occasions, second time using the dreamstone.
Each time you have met a beast like creature what represents your curse.
Does this mean you could travel to Elsewhere to understand your curse and maybe control it more?

I believe Richard is a Diviner. He is smart, he knows what to say (probing different futures for the best outcome), he uses items like Alex, he says things like he knows the future in which someone was to attack him, Alex can’t detect a magic type aura ( Because divination is hard to detect), and he fights like a Diviner. I mean no other mage uses a gun apart from Alex, who is a Diviner. Richard used a world gate, maybe to travel to a different world or an alternative one. Which could mean how is is able to use an unknown magic type. Will we ever know where he went?

Anyway, keep up the good work. Can’t wait for the next adventure.

Take care,

Adam Jennings

Alex doesn’t actually know how to find Starbreeze; she finds him. Elementals don’t really hang around humans these days, especially air elementals – they’ve gotten shy over the years, for good reason. It’s not easy to figure out how to get in touch with someone when you don’t have any kind of device for contacting them.

Going to Elsewhere to help with my curse . . . maybe. The thing is, nowadays I’ve got a pretty good handle on my curse already. I think if I met that thing in Elsewhere again, things would go better this time, but Elsewhere’s pretty unpredictable and I’m not sure what else might happen. I might have to do it some day, but I’d rather not until I have to.

Re: Richard being a Diviner, it’s on the list. As for where he went, who knows. Probably the only way we’d find out is by tracking him down and asking him. If you want to do that, go right ahead, but none of us are especially keen.

From: Jakob

Hi Luna,

This is Jakob. I recently read an interview with Alex, and can’t helping wishing you had given the interview instead.

I had some questions for you, that I hope you can answer and are not too spoilery.

Please answer the ones that you feel like answering, and I won’t mind if you ignore the rest.

1. Did Richard Drakh kill Caldera’s mistress?

2. What did Richard Drakh find in the different world he traveled to?

3. Can Talisid shape-shift into a lion?

4. Where do/did magical creatures get their magic from?

5. Is there an “origin” story for magic? Has it always been around or was it gifted to humanity at some point?

Thanks a ton,
Jake

1. No. Caldera’s mistress is retired but still alive, as far as I know.

2. I’m not sure how you’d expect me to know that. What do you want me to do, forward him your email?

3. I seriously doubt it.

4. They’re born with it. It’s integrated into them in a much more complete way than with mages and adepts.

5. There are a few, but I don’t know if any of them are true.

From: Michael

Hello Luna,

I’m still fascinated by what happened when Rachel became Deleo. Richard was expecting it, but the only insight we’ve been given into the event was the description of that strange being. Was that from elsewhere? like a manifestation of magic somehow (similar to how your curse appeared in elsewhere)? Does it come from a deep shadow realm, summoned by the … ritual, I guess, of taking someone’s magic?

I realize this is a topic few people know anything about, given Alex’s narrative on the matter, but considering the promises he made to Shireen, and the fact that Richard must be using this somehow to enhance his own magical abilities, whether directly or indirectly, I would think that Alex’s Diviner curiosity would have pulled him back to this to do some further digging at some point, even if just to ask Arachne….

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing more.

This seems to be a day of people asking me questions I don’t know the answers to. Maybe? Possibly? I don’t know how this stuff works, and I don’t think Alex does either. Elsewhere is weird at the best of times, and most of the times I’ve gone there, trying to logically analyse stuff hasn’t worked very well. If you get hung up on the bizarreness of what you’re seeing, you end up freezing. Going with the flow works better.

I don’t know if Alex has researched it specifically, but I have the feeling he hasn’t. I suppose you’re right that it could be useful, but we’ve had an awful lot of things to keep us busy over the past couple of years.

From: AJ

Will Alex meet with Star Breeze again?

Okay, seriously. How do you people expect me to know this stuff? It’s Alex who’s the diviner!

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Ask Luna #87

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna.

From what Alex or Arachne may have told you; back when Deleo and Cinder were trying to take the magical energy from the barghest, if they had succeeded would Deleo; I’m assuming she got first dibs, have simply received a big power boost or would she also have inherited the barghest’s shape-shifting ability? Deleo’s scary enough without werewolf like skills.

Good question, and I don’t really know. I think maybe she didn’t either. I don’t think anyone had managed to do it before, so it might have been a ‘let’s do it and see what happens’ sort of deal. If that sounds a bit crazy, well, it’s Deleo. I wouldn’t have bet against her, though. Probably just as well we didn’t get to find out.

From: Casey

Hi Luna,

I have a question about jinn. Last we heard, Anne was making a contract with a jinn. Once she wakes, will she be basically herself with the jinn’s powers (and its conscience — kind of like Shireen to Delo)? Or will the jinn take over her like when Alex had the fateweaver? I guess what I am trying to understand is what will the relationship between Anne and the jinn be? Once this contract is completed, will the jinn return to the artifact and leave Anne alone or be more like when someone uses the monkey’s paw? Or will she be a host until her death?

I’m concerned that Anne being a host to the jinn will hamper any relationship she and Alex can have. It’s pretty obvious that Anne and Alex care for each other. She said she wants someone who can take care of her…. And how many times has Alex pretty much done that? *ahem* Alex pretty much admits that he deeply cares for Anne when he tries to push the thoughts and feelings aside. Just sayin’

In your opinion, do you think we’ll see Crystal again? As Alex becomes a major power, and the fact that she’s failed twice — let’s not forget that Anne is a host for a jinn — does Crystal really have a chance to succeed?

Thanks!

Okay, so as regards the jinn, a LOT of stuff has happened since then, and it’s stuff that I really, really should not be talking about. So I’m going to wait until the cooling-off period has passed. Sorry. Let’s just say that that thing has not been good news.

As for Crystal, yeah, I haven’t forgotten that either. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the answer’s yes. The way I understand it, Crystal still thinks that Anne has what she wants, and from all accounts she isn’t the kind to give up easily. Which means that I have a nasty feeling that she’s going to keep on coming back until we take care of her for good.

From: Casey

Hi Luna,

I have a question — maybe more like a prediction? — about Richard’s magic type. My first thought was that maybe he was an adept (probability or chance type) but then figured that was probably not the case. There are mages with combined types. Richard having mind and divination skills would make him the perfect manipulator and his magic to be hard to detect.

On that thought, are mages with two types of magic type as powerful as a mage with one of those magic types? For example, Vihaela has both life and death magic. Would she be as good of a healer as Anne? Do mages with two magic types basically two mages in one — all the abilities of each magic type? Or do they have just some of the abilities of each magic type?

Thanks!

For Richard, it’s possible. I’ll add it to our big file of wild guesses. Unfortunately it’s really hard to narrow down this kind of stuff without getting up close and personal, which none of us are keen on doing for obvious reasons.

For the second question, you can think of magic types as being like colour shades. If life magic is emerald green, and death magic is black, a life-death hybrid would be British racing green. Ability-wise it usually ends up being a mix, so they can do some of the things that both other types can do, but not all of the things that either type can do. How powerful they are is a totally different deal. Vihaela is crazy powerful, but that’s not because she’s a hybrid, it’s because she’s really really strong. She’d be just as strong if she was a pure life mage or death mage.

From: Svetli

Dear Luna,
I’m a fan from Bulgaria. I was hoping you could answer a question. Although Alex uses mainly Apollonian divination, can he use Dionysian as well? I am curious because of the dream at the end of “Chosen”, the one about the return of Richard.

He says he can’t. Apparently he tried studying it a few times and never got anywhere. I’ve wondered the same thing as you, though – every now and then he pulls something that doesn’t sound like the orderly Apollonian stuff. Maybe that other kind of divination is something you don’t learn the regular way.

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Ask Luna #86

From: Sam

Hi Luna (should I keep using that name?),

Congrats on passing your journeyman test!

I was just wondering, do you think things between Alex and Caldera will ever improve? And do you think she’s even someone any of the gang would want to work with at this point. She seems like a decent person, but she doesn’t really have the critical thinking skills your adventures need.

Yup, Luna’s fine. Some mages drop their birth name once they graduate, but I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to do that. I use my mage name for official business and when dealing with other mages, but in the shop and with my friends, it’s just Luna.

As for Caldera . . . eh. I’m less keen on her than Vari and Alex seem to be. It’s nothing to do with thinking skills – she’s smart enough. It’s that she always seems to be on the side of whatever’s legal, and in case you haven’t noticed, the law isn’t all that friendly to anyone who isn’t a Light mage. Maybe she is a decent person, but I’d rather keep her at arm’s length.

From: Gaston de Foix

Hi Luna,

I’m a big admirer: you are one of the bravest people I know.

I had some questions about dragons.

Dragons clearly have powers beyond ordinary mortal powers including prophecy and clairvoyance and have seemingly existed for a very long time.

1. Were dragons sometimes understood by mortals as gods (i.e. Athena)?

2. If dragons can see the future so clearly, and are clearly impelled to protect fellow magical creatures, why are magical creatures well-night extinct?

3. Does the origin of magic have anything to do with dragons?

4. Anything else cool or unusual you can tell me about dragons that I can’t read somewhere else!

Thanks for taking the time.

That’s a nice compliment, thanks. As for your questions:

1) Yes. Given what they can do, ‘god’ actually seems like a pretty good description.

2) They’re not impelled to protect magical creatures, or at least I don’t think they are. This is where it gets tricky – they seem to be under some restrictions, but it’s really hard to understand how they work. There’s a reason they don’t run the world, put it that way. Arachne’s dragon is a special case, or maybe it’s that Arachne is a special case to the dragon.

3) Don’t think so, but no-one really knows what the origin of magic is, so could be.

4) Alex told me once that he has a theory that dragons don’t just see other people’s futures, they also see their own. Which means that for all their power, they have absolutely no freedom. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve always remembered it.

From: Kalias

Hi Luna
I was just wondering, how do elemental mages power their spells? – it seems like magic is still mostly subject to the laws of conservation of energy (e.g. with shield magic), yet elemental / force mages seem to be able to do things that would consume a lot of energy if achieved the normal way without it overly draining them. Are they subject to the law of conservation of energy and if so where does the energy come from?

Okay, so this is getting into ‘theory of magic’ stuff, which I did my best to skip whenever it came up in class. As I understand it, mages don’t create energy, they use what’s out there already. The energy for something like a fire spell doesn’t come from the mage, it comes from turning mass into heat. They can only convert tiny tiny amounts of matter, but apparently that still packs quite a punch. That isn’t how they actually describe it though – you get into concepts, so a fire mage can’t just mess around with energy directly, it has to involve heat or fire in some way. I’m probably not explaining this very well.

From: Dug Devine

Hi Luna…. Just curious, is a “Mage”(some Mages? Magi?) able to develop other magical skills / abilities or is it a case of ” you are what your are born?” 😀

Both. First you have to have the talent, then you have to train it. In practice it takes so long (years and years) to get really good with one magic type that most mages keep working on perfecting that rather than starting over with a new one.

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Marathon

And done.  The first draft of Alex Verus #9 is finally finished.  

This book has taken longer than any previous one in the series.  Usually I expect to take around 10 months to write an Alex Verus book – 3-4 months planning and 6-7 writing.  This one has taken 5 months planning, and 10 writing, i.e. roughly half again as long as the last few.  I have a few different theories on why I’ve found it so difficult to make progress, but whatever the reason, it’s been pretty frustrating.  

Still, it’s done, and at least the quality’s good.  I’ll be giving the manuscript an edit over the next few days, then it’ll go off to my publishers and the publication process will start.  You’ll have the book at some point next year (though I don’t know exactly when).  For now, I’m going to take a break and figure out what to do next!

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