Ask Luna #96

From: Gurndolf

Hi Luna! I’ve got a question on the dream stones, do they have their own will? Can they influence their user?

Thanks!

In theory they’re supposed to be just focuses, which means they aren’t alive and they don’t have their own goals to exert influence towards. From some of the things Alex has said, though, I’m not sure if that’s true. Arachne mentioned that they don’t fit neatly into the imbued item/focus categories.

From: Mage_David

Are you familiar with Witchfest? It is the biggest gathering of Occultists in Europe? This year it will be held in Brighton, in October.

First I’ve heard of it.

From: andy deal

Hey Luna, just two quick questions. What does it mean to say that with the Dreamstone Alex can physically enter Elsewhere. And can Alex do more than communicate with someone when he reaches out with the stone. I’m really curious about Elsewhere and his new deep diving ability

I have no idea about the first one, since Alex hasn’t been able to do it, and as far as I know no-one else thinks it’s even possible. As for the second, it’s supposed more than just communication, it’s more like a two-way link. Not sure exactly what the difference is in practice, but Arachne seems to think it’s important.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

I see a lot of people asking you things you don’t know, so here’s one that might be more up your alley.

Now that you’ve got a full grasp of your powers (it’s not a curse, just a different form of chance magic!) are you now able to take public transport or fly on planes? Could you just hang out at the beach and get a tan?

Congrats again! And I’m proud to see how far you’ve come.

Best wishes,
Jack

Well, I could always hang out on the beach, it’s just that now it’s a lot safer. Though I sunburn really easily.

As for public transport, yeah, I can actually use it these days. Rush hour on the Tube is a bit tricky, but something like an overground train is no problem at all. Sad thing is, now that I can do it, I don’t really need it anymore, since anywhere I want to get to I can usually get a gate stone or catch a ride with someone who can gate themselves. I’ve still done it a few times, though, just to prove I can.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

Sorry for sending two questions at once but I forgot to ask one. Are you ever tempted to talk to the dragon yourself?

Best wishes once again,
Jack

I’ve thought about it once or twice, but no, I’m not, for two reasons. First, there’s nothing I desperately want to find out. I mean, there are things I’d LIKE to find out, but there’s nothing I NEED to find out. And going just out of curiosity feels like a bad idea. I’ve had a bit of experience with these sorts of powers now, and one thing I’ve learned is that they always come with price tags. You’re better off solving your problems on your own.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hello Luna/Vesta, and thank you for answering my last set of questions.

I was wondering, does the Light Council have an official ceremony for announcing your Mage name to the rest of the magical community? If so, I’d guess dark mages simply tell people their new name and let word get around.

Second question: Thinking about Alex’s new position, do you know; in general terms, what the function of the Junior Council is as opposed to the Senior. I was thinking that even if you don’t know specifics you might have learned from Alex the type of issues Junior Council members sometimes deal with.

I almost forgot. Has Alex had to find an assistant to fill the job position he performed for Mage Morden or perhaps one was appointed to him?

For their naming, Light mages usually throw a party. Depending on how famous/ambitious their master is, it can be a quiet dinner with friends or a big social event with lots of networking.

The big difference between the Junior and Senior Council is that the Senior Council gets to vote on resolutions and the Junior Council doesn’t (they’re supposed to be advisors/administrators). Other than that, they have the same rights and privileges that the Senior Council do.

And yes, Alex has had several tries at finding an aide. There have been problems.

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Ask Luna #95

From: Svetli

Hi, a fan from Bulgaria here. I wanted to ask how exactly did Alex got recognised as a full-fledged mage, after he escaped only as an apprentice from Drakh?

So there are two ways for the Light Council to recognise you as a mage. One is that you pass a Council journeyman test, which according to the Council is how you’re supposed to do it. The thing is, most of the mages in the UK never do that. Dark mages obviously couldn’t care less about being officially sanctioned by the Council, and independent mages don’t follow either the Light or Dark path – it’s kind of their definition.

So what the Council does is that after a non-Light mage has been around for long enough, the Council starts viewing them as a mage by default. It’s funny in a way, because it’s the opposite of what the Council claims to believe in, but if you think about it, what else are they supposed to do? They can’t really claim that independent and Dark types aren’t actually mages, given that they can both can do everything that Light mages can and more. So they grudgingly admit that yes, they count, sort of. Of course, they still think Light mages are better, and that anyone who hasn’t passed their journeyman test isn’t a ‘real’ mage, but funnily enough, they don’t seem that keen on saying that to a Dark mage’s face.

From: curious fan

Hello Luna,
There’s so many types of mages. Luck mage, life mage,time mage,etc. Is there a magic mage? That looks redundant now that I’ve written it, but what I mean is: is there a a mage whose element is Magic, a magical particle, or whatever it is that causes mages to be able to do magic?

Not that I know of, no. The spells that affect other magic/other spells are usually considered universal, meaning that nearly all mages can learn them.

From: Hazel

Hey Luna!

I have a few questions for you if you wouldn’t mind.

I haven’t heard much about you, Vari, and Anne in the way of hobbies and skills other than magic. Can you guys draw or paint, how about play an instrument? How about Alex?

Can you give a brief description of each member of the gang?

What is your opinion on Sonda (Sorry if I spelled his name wrong!) and do you personally think he should/would want to partially join the group again?

How do you feel about Kyle?

Thanks so much,
Hazel.

Anne can draw – she’s a pretty good artist, actually, though she’s shy about showing anyone her stuff. Vari’s the musician, though I don’t think he practices these days. As for me, I’m not really good at anything as far as arts or hobbies go. I sometimes wonder if those early years might have gone better if I had been.

I don’t know what you mean about descriptions. You mean appearance, or something else?

Sonder is . . . eh. Every time I see him these days, he seems to mostly be concerned with social climbing in the Council. He’s given up chasing me, which I can’t say I’m all that sorry about. I have trouble imagining him rejoining our group, to be honest. None of us are exactly in-group these days, except maybe for Vari, and Sonder likes Vari the least of any of us by a long way (and the feeling’s mutual). I can’t really see it.

Kyle is that adept who’s become Cinder’s sidekick, right? I don’t really care about him one way or another.

From: FicChic

Hi Luna

I’d just like to start by saying that Alex’s books are hands-down my favourite series at the moment – this coming from someone who reads anything and everything (my only criteria for a book is that it be good).

I have a few questions (and I apologize in advance if any have been asked before.

1) How does an apprentice become an Independent Mage? You become a Light Mage by going through the apprentice program then taking the Journeyman tests, and then you have to register with the Council as a Light Mage (correct me if I’m wrong). For Dark mages you pretty much just choose your name and declare yourself a mage, and then dare anyone to challenge you? But what about if you want to be Independent? How would your mage status be recognized then? (As a side note, you are officially considered a Light Mage, right?)
2) Do the Keepers/Council have a special way of imprisoning extra powerful mages? Like a drug or magical item or sonething that reduces/nullifies magical ability? I was actually wondering what would happen if someone like Vihaela gets captured alive…how efficiently would she be able to be imprisoned? Because I think having captured her and then letting her escape would probably come under History’s Worst Blunders.
3) Vesta was the Roman goddess of Hearth and Home, but her original embodiment was Greek and her name was Hestia. So did you choose the Roman version because it sounded better? Just curious =)

1) See Svetli’s question above. And no, you’re not considered a Light mage, though you get much friendlier treatment than a Dark mage would.

2) They have a few ways of limiting magical ability, but none are 100% reliable as far as I know. It’s the usual explanation that’s given as to why Council punishments are so draconian – they can’t just throw large amounts of people in prison and leave them there. I’m pretty sure that for someone like Vihaela, they’d either kill her on sight, or she’d be reported dead after ‘attempting escape’.

3) I’m half-Italian. It’s been a long time since I visited, but still.

From: Henesys

Why doesn’t Alex just step down from the council? Now that Richard’s gone, Morden’s arrested, and he no longer has the death sentence on him, why does he stay? Especially if he’s worried about being used in Richard’s plan. Why doesn’t he just quit the council?

I haven’t asked, but it seems pretty obvious to me. Stepping down wouldn’t stop him from being used by Richard or by anyone else, and it would make it harder for him to fight back against being manipulated in the future, since his Council status is one of the few high cards he’s got. Besides, he’s good at the job.

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Book 9 Update & UK Cover

The last two months of posts have been a solid block of Ask Lunas, but now that the backlog’s clear (or almost clear), here’s an update on Book 9!

Alex Verus #9 is currently on step 4 of the publication process, i.e. edits (if you’re curious about the details of what that means, take a look here).  Probably more relevant to you guys is that we have a provisional release date, namely June 2018.  Here are the book’s pages for Amazon UK and Amazon US, though at the time of writing the Amazon US page is still a placeholder.  There’ll be an audiobook edition as normal – I’ll post the release date when I know more.

We also have a title!  Book #9 will be called Marked, and here’s a look at the UK cover.  

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the UK cover style’s changed a little from the old days.  The exact point at which the switchover happened was Burned, and Orbit are planning to re-release the earlier books in the new style at some point in the future.  For those of you who have the current versions of books #1-#6, this means they won’t match perfectly on your shelves any more, but on the plus side they’ll eventually become collector’s editions.  

As usual, I’ll put up the first chapter of Marked on this site somewhere around April-May.  

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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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