Ask Luna #75

From: Yoshi

Alex says that there are 4 magical mean of transport gating using mounts like pegasi elementals like starbreeze but also Taias what are Taias exactly?

Giant birds with rainbow-coloured wings. Apparently they used to be a lot more common than they are now. There are much fewer magical creatures around than there were in the old days.

From: Sam

Hey Luna!

I really look forward to reading your posts every Friday, so thanks for answering everybody’s questions!

I was just wondering what the LGBT* community in mage society is like. Are queer mages openly out of the closet, or are things more conservative. Also, are there any LGBT* groups or anything among mages, or do they stick to groups with normals? Sorry about the weird question!

I hope life as an official mage treats you well. Stay safe!

Depends what you mean by ‘in the closet’. Gay/lesbian types in the magical community don’t exactly advertise, but they don’t pretend to be straight either – they just don’t bring it up. This is easier than you’d think because mages are pretty secretive about their private lives. If they’re married, or in a relationship, or anything like that, they generally don’t talk about it. Usually the only way you find out about that kind of stuff is through rumour/gossip, and you never know if the rumours are true. You do get a few who wear it on their sleeve, but they’re the exceptions.

I think it’s probably true to say that people pay less attention to what your sexuality is in the magical world than they do outside it. It’s because mages care so much about the mage/adept and the Light/Dark divides that everything else comes a distant second. Religion and race are the same way. It’s not that they don’t notice, it’s just that the number one priority is always whether you’re ‘on their side’ or not.

From: Blackendedsoul

Hi there, I am a casual fan from Bangladesh. I do have a lot of questions and I honestly think that they are a bit too much for one session. So I would like to separate them into topics.

For now I am going to ask about – and sorry for bringing back the topic – your curse.

So what I understand is, when the present bearer of the curse passes away, the next person to get it is the youngest female of the bloodline, correct? So what happens if a younger female is born into the family after someone gets the curse but is herself too young to come under the influence of it. I mean, say someone gets it when she is 5, she would have to be 10+ for the curse to take a swing, right? What if a younger sister is born when she is 7? Also, what type of mage was the person who weaved this curse (both in magic type and affiliation, i.e. Light/Dark/Independent)? Finally how many generations has it been running?

Thanks and sorry for the long message…

If a girl’s born when someone else has already got it, then nothing changes. So if a girl gets it when she’s five, and when she’s 7 she gets a younger sister, she’s still cursed. The curse doesn’t say ‘welp, nice knowing you’ and pack up and leave. Only way for it to move on is for her to die.

As for who the mage was who did it, nobody knows. I mean, our family isn’t magical, so they’d have had no way of knowing about this stuff. It’s not like they could go on the Internet and look her up or whatever. She wasn’t even described to me as a mage, just as a strega. I guess she’d have had to have been a chance mage, but beyond that, I doubt anyone will ever know.

From: R Mandell

Hi Luna:

Did Alex ever learn who it was who tipped Will Travis off that Alex was part of the hit squad sent to acquire his sister? And how did Will learn it was Alex Master as well?

This is one of those things we’ve never known for sure. I mean, Will wasn’t exactly interested in explaining himself, and by the time it was over, he wasn’t able to explain himself, what with being dead and all. But we can take guesses, and one name kept cropping up. At the time Will showed up, who had a lot of links to adepts and was someone Alex had very recently pissed off? If you’re guessing someone who lives in Soho, you’re on the right track. Can’t prove it, though.

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Bound Cover – US Edition

This one is a little later than planned, since I’ve had the first draft sitting around for a while now, but I just recently got a finished version of the US cover for Bound, so here it is!  Once again, release date is April of next year.  As usual, I’ll post the first chapter a month or two in advance.

bound_front mech.indd

Alex Verus #9 is also going well, with the first section done and the second underway.  

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Ask Luna #74

From: Arenna

Hai Luna,
When is Alex is going to realize that Anne is in love with him?

Not touching that one with a 10-foot pole.

From: Hrok

Hi Luna!

What is the difference between Fate and Chance magic? Also how far out can Fate magic work? For instance, can a Fate mage set an individuals destiny so that something will happen decades in the future, or is it like divining that the farther you go the harder it is to effect. sorry about all the questions obscure magic types, its just that the more “divine” magic types like fate and wish magic fascinate me.

Okay, so first of all, I don’t actually have any first-hand experience of this, so everything from here on is all second-hand. But it is something I asked Alex about a fair bit, so here’s the short version of what he told me.

Fate and chance magic are similar in the same way that lightning and fire magic are similar – they have similar strengths and weaknesses, and the end result when you use them tends to be pretty much the same, but the way they do it is different. Chance magic works by bending luck, so that something that might happen under very very unlikely circumstances happens exactly when you need it. Fate magic works by selecting a path that you want to happen. They can both do the same sorts of things, but the mindset is different. When I’m using my magic, I often don’t know exactly what I’m aiming for – I just make myself lucky, and I trust that it’ll work out somehow. From what I understand, that kind of thing doesn’t work for fate magic. You have to know exactly what you’re trying to do, and if you pick something that’s too unlikely, it won’t work at all. To be honest, Alex made it sound as though it was a lot weaker than my own kind is, but he claims it’s a lot more precise, which I guess has its upsides.

From: Kate Gowers

Can mages stop being mages?

What I mean is, it seems to me that a mage’s life kinda sucks, especially if they have any kind of moral compass. You’re constantly in danger of death (or worse), the mage world is morally dubious at best (Light or Dark – doesn’t matter), it’s tough to fit into ‘normal’ circles and have a ‘normal’ life. Unless you’re completely amoral (or immoral), there seem to be few benefits from where I’m sitting. In addition, there’s still politics, bureaucracy, back stabbing and the like.

I’m not really seeing an upside here…so if you’ve discovered you’ve got magical powers, can you just ignore them and avoid mage society all together?

Yeah, you can, and a lot of them do. It’s not something mages like to talk about, probably for exactly the reasons you just listed, but it happens – more often for adepts than mages, but pretty often for mages too. It’s hard to guess exactly how often, since it’s hard to count people who aren’t there, but according to some of the guesses I’ve heard it’s actually the most common way that mages check out.

It’s more extreme than just ignoring your powers. From what I’ve heard, if you really reject your abilities and decide you don’t want them, then you usually get your wish. Magic’s hard – you have to train and practice. If you go out of your way not to, then it’s like never training a muscle. I’ve had some people claim that if you go without using magic long enough then you lose it completely, like a bird that lets its wings get so weak that it can’t fly. Maybe they end up deciding that they just imagined the whole thing and convince themselves that magic isn’t real at all. It probably makes their life easier that way.

From: Blackmass

in the Mage Justice system an I use that word loosely what happens to criminal mages who are no sentenced to death for their crimes do the council have their own Azakaban?

There are prisons, but they’re only for prisoners awaiting trial. The Council doen’t really do ‘sentenced for X years’ as a punishment, probably because confining mages and adepts is really hard and they don’t want to do it long-term. Generally the sentences that are less than death amount to some type of fine or probation or service.

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Alex Verus in Russia

Was going to do another Ask Luna this week, but instead I’ve got a bit of news which I’m just now able to share:  the Alex Verus series is going to be published in Russia!  The publisher is Eksmo, and they’ve just contracted to publish Fated, Cursed, and Taken.  Exact date isn’t specified yet, but should be within a year or so.  Although not too many people know about it, Russia actually has a quite a strong home-grown urban fantasy market of its own, with some of their authors having been translated and re-published in the UK and US – the most famous is probably Sergei Lukyanenko with his Night Watch series.  So it’s pretty cool to be published there in turn.

Other than that, I’m working away on Book 9.  I’m past the first, most difficult section now, so hopefully it’ll be downhill all the way from here.

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Bound Cover Release

Still in the USA, visiting friends and family and preparing to head back home.  NYCC was lots of fun, especially viewing the cosplays and meeting other authors/artists.  Meeting everyone at the signing was good, too!

In other news, the copy-edits on Bound are finished and the manuscript’s now pretty much locked in.  The UK cover’s also been released, so take a look! Release date is unchanged: the book will be coming out next year, in April 2017.

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Just a reminder that I’ll be at NYCC today, at the Penguin booth, #2208, signing copies of Fated between 11am and 12am.  Not sure where I’ll be the rest of the Friday and on the Saturday, so if you want to find me, that’s the best time and place to do it!

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Off to the US!

Flying today!  Hope to see some of you at Comicon this Friday.

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NYCC Next Week!

Okay, so I’ve finally got my itinerary for New York Comicon.  I’ll be at the Penguin booth on the Friday, number #2208, signing copies of Fated between 11 AM and 12 AM.

The bad news is that that’ll be the only event I’ll be doing.  Long story short, I had other stuff lined up, but then was told that it had been cancelled.  To make matters worse, this meant that I wasn’t given any entry badge, which I wasn’t told about until long after the ticket sales deadline, meaning that I’ll have to rely on borrowing a badge from the Penguin staff to get in.  The whole thing’s been really awkward to deal with, and honestly, it’s left me wondering if this particular convention is worth it.

Anyway, hope to see some of you there!  Work’s going well on Alex Verus #9, and the copyedits for Bound are under way too.  I’ll try to schedule a couple of posts for the next couple of Fridays while I’m in the USA.

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On the Way

First page of the new book is done!

Which just leaves another 149-ish pages to go.  Well, it’s a start.  Actually it’s a bit more than that – the first page is invariably the hardest, so it should be all downhill from here.

In the meantime I’m working on the copyedits for Alex Verus #8, Bound.  All looks good, and everything should be done in time for the book’s release next spring.

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Ask Luna #73

From: Andy deal

Thanks as always for answering questions about Mage society– and here are mine: 1) Alex has powerful allies– why don’t they go on the offensive and try to pick some enemies off, 2) any thoughts on what avenue Alex is pursuing to ratchet up his personal power , and 3) the most powerful mages seem to have powers beyond their specialties, could you elaborate on how they gain them.

In reverse order:

3) If it were common knowledge how you could get those kinds of powers, everyone would have them. Personal research, deals with magical creatures, and unusual magic types are the usual guesses, but the kinds of mages who get those abilities tend to be very interested in not spreading around the details.

2) He had a conversation with Arachne. Amongst other things, he’s said something about some new kind of item, but it’s not one I know about.

1) That is a really, really stupid idea. Literally the only reason we’re still alive is that our enemies have more things to deal with than just us, and you think it’s a good idea to try and start fights with all of them at once?

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my previous questions. I have some new questions for you today.

These first questions might be more appropriate for Sonder, but I’m guessing that your training as an apprentice must have included some basic history of the Light Council.

So, how old is it? Does its founding date back to Roman Britain? Perhaps the specifics have been lost to time, but were there earlier Light Councils in Ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt or Mesopotamia?

My other question is how Mages in the Light Council view ordinary politics. Now I know that Morden’s ascension to Council leadership and Richard Drahk’s reemergence have the Council spooked, but I wonder if under ordinary circumstances most Mages in the Council would even care that there is a new resident at 10 Downing Street? I know there is a faction on the Council that probably does care; the Directors, but I wonder how much influence they actually have or how deep their activities run. Are they secretive about their goals and activities or do they boast of them?

It’s pretty old, and yeah, I think Roman Britain is one of the starting dates given for the British Council. There were some people saying that the real date should be later, because something something continuity, but to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention. The Light Council as a whole is way older, but that gets back into the original mages and the Dark Wars and Alata and stuff like that.

In theory Light mage dealings with British politics are supposed to be secret, but people talk. General impression I get is that they have a lot of influence, but they don’t like to use it unless it relates to mage business, which it usually doesn’t. I don’t think they’d care about a change in the PM, though – I think they mostly get stuff done through the Civil Service, not the parties.

From: Faragorn

You mention in the encyclopaedia that fire mages tend to have weak defenses, particularly against kinetic attacks like bullets. However, Alex muses while under attack that all battle mages anticipate bullets and have a defense against them. How is it they do that? Special purpose items like focuses? Some other method purchased or prepared ahead of time? Vari also mentions that Landis has an oustanding defense, does that include kinetic attacks or just against magic?

There are standard-issue focuses that project a disc-shaped or hemisphere-shaped kinetic shield – the Keepers can requisition them, or you can get one from a crafter. They’re kind of limiting, since it’s hard to do anything else while you’re keeping the shield up, but they beat getting shot. Or you can just wear body armour, though most mages seem to think that’s for plebs.

Landis is a different story. His magic’s powerful enough that he can flat-out vapourise projectiles as they come in. You’d think that would be dump enough heat to set everything around him on fire, but it doesn’t. Variam says that he has his shield modified into some sort of field that pulses in response to an attack, but I don’t know the details. I’m pretty sure most fire mages don’t have that kind of skill, though.

From: Nick stephenson

Is there a way to take away someone’s magic. Not harvest it but to destroy it, like if u want to remove a phycopaths magic

Well, your magic’s a part of who you are, so to take away someone’s magic you have to change that. Which, if you’re doing it against their will, is generally going to have serious enough consequences that there’s not much difference between that and killing them.

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