Ask Luna #45

From: drizztmajere

Hey luna,
How are you? :) I saw you answer a question saying that mages today are stronger than they were in the past. How is that possible when you had mages that had the fate ability, created objects of power such as the fateweaver and darn near destroyed the world atleast 3 times over? Is it just an accumulation of XP gained through the teacher student system? Thank you

Yeah, that’s something a lot of students ask about. The answer our teachers give us is that a lot of Precursor stuff might look more impressive than modern stuff, but that doesn’t actually make it any more powerful or useful. The Pyramids might look fancy, but that doesn’t mean the ancient Egyptians were better at building stuff than we were.

Or that’s what we get told. I asked Arachne about it, and she said that while it’s true, it’s only half the story. Apparently a lot of the really impressive stuff made by mages in the past was done with outside help, ie nonhuman slave labour. Now that most of the magical creatures are dead, there isn’t so much low hanging fruit for mages to pick off, so they have to rely on their own strength and better training systems.

From: Nepene

Hiya Luna. Thanks for all your answers. I do enjoy learning more about the world of magic.

In honour of your name I wanted to ask a question- what’s the magical space industry like? Have there been any notable efforts to reach the moon or other planets with magic?

Also, in the same sort of line of questioning, are there any industrial mage companies that use mages to do business functions? I know secrecy is an issue, but still, magic is useful enough that I am curious if they got around that issue.

You’re welcome! Glad people like this stuff. I’ve been noticing I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately.

Yeah, you can go to the moon with magic, and other planets too. There was a project to do it some time back. Apparently they had to research some new spells (normal gate magic doesn’t do the job for whatever reason) but it worked. There are a couple of volunteer programs in America that do space exploration, and they’ve developed their own spell library and some special inventions.

And yeah, there are companies that use magic. Usually small ones rather than big ones. The usual pattern is that one mage will set up on their own, and hire a small staff, maybe a few sensitives or adepts. It’s actually really common among independent mages. Not all mages play the Light-Dark politics game, lots of them just spend their time making money and enjoying being rich.

From: Blake

Dear Luna along the line of my last question? the reason i was asking about how you felt during the fate weaver incident, is because that is the only time you able to influence your curse in such a way that changed the nature of your curse. I hold the understanding that your curse is a separate entity that is bound to you and your will,but what are the “odds” that you could manipulate a similarity in multiple locations. or influence your surroundings so that a gate could appear by chance?

second question is about Alex and Elsewhere. it’s my understanding that the link between Richard and Alex is how Richard found Alex in the shadow realm and was able to track him reliably. Is that also how Richard was able to gate in and out easily? and if so that would be handy for Alex to master Elsewhere to much better degree.

No, I’ve done it at other times too. Lots of times, actually. I can do blessings as well as curses now. The only problem is that I can’t make it work 100%. So most of the time if I try to do it then I can bring good luck . . . but every now and again it goes wrong and whatever I’m casting it on just gets a concentrated dose of my curse instead. And if they were in a situation that was bad enough that they needed good luck . . . see where that’s going? And that’s why you don’t see me try it on people. (As for making gates appear by chance – hasn’t happened yet.)

For the second question, I have no idea how Richard found Alex in Sagash’s place, or how he was able to get in and out. Pretty sure Alex doesn’t either. I guess the Elsewhere theory makes as much sense as any.

From: Jerry W.

Any idea when Alex Verus #6 will be out?

I don’t think you quite understand how this column works.

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Ask Luna #44

From: Bruce Donohue

Hello Luna. How is the reconstruction of the Shop coming along? Has there been some major new improvements in the living quarters?

I think Alex has mentioned that out of all you, that Anne is the most natural of cooks when you were all living together and you were the most accident prone, what cause Alex to have a CO2 canister near at hand? And since Alex is your sponser,has he ever tried to sign you up for cooking classes other than those to create salves, creams, potions etc?

Always wondered if in your apprenticeship classes if they teach you how to make magical items, armors etc…

What reconstruction? If you mean since that time those adepts blew it up, that was years ago.

And seriously, I wish people would shut up about that fire. It was ONE time. And oil frying is dangerous anyway. As for cooking classes . . . no! I’ve got stuff to do already, I’ve got better things to do with my free time then pretend to be Delia Smith.

From: NoOneWillEverKnow

Hi Luna,

Alex once mentioned he’d found fanfiction of himself on the internet when he googled his shop. He said there was all sorts of stuff but (regrettably) no slash. In your opinion what would be the most a) logical, b) illogical and c) interesting slash pairing for Alex?

The funniest would probably be either Alex with Variam or Alex with Cinder. I kind of want to find a copy of the Alex/Variam one just so I can send the link to Vari and watch him blow his top.

The most squicky one would probably be Alex and Richard. It reminds me of those girls who ship Harry with Voldemort. That’s just wrong.

From: teehee

Hi Luna,

Just wondering whether there are any mage special forces/commandos around? I imagine there are, do you know anything about how to become one or their training?

Yeah, they’re called the Order of the Shield. They’re one of the three Keeper orders. Vari’s master is a member. You pretty much become one the same way you would any other kind of Keeper – usually you join out of apprenticeship.

Vari might end up a member, actually. I’ve a feeling it would suit him.

From: teehee

Hi Luna,

Sorry to bug you again! Just a few random questions that i’ve had in the wee hours of the morning.

Are there any objects that can boost your own magical ability?

Can you see your own curse field or is more of a vague awareness?

Can you tell us more about dragons?

Item-wise, the best way to boost your own magical ability is a focus. They don’t directly boost your power – you still get the same amount of energy out that you’re putting in – but they can make your spells more efficient or give you more options.

I can’t exactly ‘see’ my curse field. Alex tells me that he actually sees it visually, as a silver-grey mist. It’s not like that for me, I don’t have magesight. But the more I’ve been training, the more I can sense it, just not with my eyes. It’s more like a sense of . . . menace, I guess? The air feels kind of tingly and heavy. And when I use my whip it’s like I can feel exactly where it’s going, even with my eyes closed.

Dragons are strange. The teachers in class tell us to stay away from them, that they’re dangerous. Alex has a different take on it, he just thinks they’re so different from us that it’s hard to understand them. The one thing everyone agrees is that they’re really, really powerful. There are legends of mages defeating dragons but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it actually happening where there were witnesses.

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Veiled UK Cover Reveal

And to go along with the US cover, here’s the English version!  The UK edition of Veiled will be coming out within a few days of the US release, around August 6th.


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Veiled US Cover Reveal

For those that haven’t yet heard the news, book 6 in the Alex Verus series is titled Veiled, and it’ll be coming out this August 2015.  Here’s the final draft of the US cover!

veiled_front mech.indd

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Ask Luna #43

From: Bruce Donohue

Hello Luna.
In your apprentice program, do you have to learn various languages both known or obscure?
In your assignments in your classes, did they ever explain the different levels of mastery of magic and what makes Master Level truly deserving of the title?
Would you like to be the fly on the wall during this conversation…
Where Richard and Alex are temporarily trapped in the same location, and they finally have a very long monologue heart to heart. Kind of like they like all spill all beans pertaining to the excess baggage they have been carrying around about the other? Now what event would cause them to be stuck in the same space together that they might have to work together to get out of would be very interesting in itself. I know hell yeah, I’d pay to be the fly on the wall to witness that long exchange.

There are a few language classes on the syllabus, but I skipped them.

Master level just means really really good. There’s no exam for it as far as I know. By the time a mage gets to that point their ego would be way too big for them to sit down to any tests, anyway.

And yes, it’d be interesting, but I’m not quite sure how safe it’d be to be a ‘fly on the wall’. Something Alex drummed into me pretty early was that powerful mages are usually pretty good at detecting people, so I have the feeling I’d get spotted fast. Not sure it’d be worth the risk. Besides, from all I’ve heard Richard comes across as a total bastard, so I’m really not sure I WANT to get to know more about his baggage.

From: Bruce Donohue

Hello Luna, hope all is well.

I was wondering… When it comes to Life Magic… Sensing is one of the things they are good at, and they can even do through walls. Now Manipulating life essence is there thing… what is preventing a Life mage to learnt to at a distance learn to pull that essence out of another, or push out so to speak that life essence effecting magic to others also at a distance? With enough practice and though to it, it should be possible, what the range they could effect I guess would be determined by their skill they have dedicated to master. I guess it would mimic what death mages do in some cases and strictly be bound by touch. I know if I was a Life Mage, it would be something that I would explore.

You can see other people at a distance, right? So what’s preventing you from learning how to telekinetically lift them up? By your logic it ought to be possible, right?

Just because you think a mage should be able to do something, doesn’t mean they actually can, any more than thinking that your car ‘should work’ will keep it driving when it’s out of fuel. Life magic can’t do the same things that death magic can, and vice versa.

From: R

Hey Luna,
Be honest, what do you think of Variam? I kinda ship you guys, so I’d love to know.

He’s actually a pretty good guy once you get to know him. Though don’t tell him I said that.

And apparently not only do I have fans, I now have shippers. That’s kind of cool.

From: A Fan

Hey Luna,

Do you know if Richard is single?

Okay, I take back the last comment. You guys are nuts.

From: Geli

Hi Luna,

how are you? Do you think there is a lot potential for your powers to grow and be refined in the future? Not that I want your curse to become even more powerful…

Wish you the best

Not bad. Pretty busy, but things have been going well.

I’m not sure if my curse is getting more powerful – I don’t remember it ever getting much stronger once I got past twenty or so – but then power’s never really been the problem. There have been lots of times I’ve wanted it to be LESS powerful, but that’s never been an option either.

Mostly what I’ve been learning lately hasn’t been about strengthening my curse, it’s been about exploring different uses and getting better at directing it. I think that’s how it usually works with adepts and mages. They don’t actually get any stronger, they just get more skilled and more efficient.

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Ask Luna #42

From: Nicola

Dear Luna,

“shadow realms” or (“universe”, I forget the correct term) do seem what other stories call “alternative universes”. When man-made, most often it’s stated there are machines that manipulate the space-time continuum, or even whatever there is between universes to create them or modify their properties.

This got me wondering, can a shadow realm be created exclusively by magic or can an eventual non-magical technology based on post-Einstein physics create them, also?

More generally, can what elemental mages do be done also by technology based on vanilla physics, chemistry and biology?

Many thanks!

I don’t even know what post-Einstein physics are, so I’m probably the wrong person to be asking. But as far as I know, no, if you want a shadow realm, you go to a mage to make one or you go home. Or I guess you could just find an existing one.

The kind of stuff that elemental mages do isn’t the same as what you can do with technology, but yes, you can do it . . . what I mean is, it doesn’t work the same way, but you can produce the same results. So an elemental mage can create a light, but you or I could do the same thing with an electric torch. And you can duplicate some of what an ice mage can do with a freezer, and some of what a fire mage can do with a flamethrower, etc etc.

The big difference is that if you want to do stuff the tech way, you need tools. Mages don’t need tools, they just make it happen. So I’d be kind of surprised if there are any tech-y ways of duplicating magic. It seems to work off a whole different approach.

From: Bruce Donohue

Has there ever been a mage that is equally at home with all forms of magic? Meaning they are equally talented in all forms, death, life, elemental, mind, etc…

I think there are legends of mages who were like that, but there aren’t any alive nowadays. Given that mages are supposed to be stronger now than they used to be, that probably means the legends were made up.

From: Bruce Donohue

Hello Luna. How are you doing? Hopefully you haven’t been doing to many menial tasks under the guise of been the shop keeper/apprentice. Alex give you that pay raise?
I have a question that hopefully you might be able to pass onto Alex…
Magic normally is categorized in various families. Abjuration, Conjuration/Summoning, Invocation/Evocation, Necromantic, Illusion, Enchantment etc…
Having said that, we all know about the different types and mages being one thing principally but not another.
let me explain my question first…
If a mage was said to an Invoker/Evoker, that would make him able to cast a wide variety of spells as his main wheelhouse, fire,water,death so essentially battle-like, so my question is: Is there such a thing because that would make a mage much more rounded in the type than specialized as he is a Life Mage, or a Divination Mage etc. Because it appears rather limiting otherwise.

He did give me a pay raise, though it was for something different. Well, I’m not complaining.

As for your question, I’m not 100% sure what you’re saying. There are mages who are specialised in battle – they’re called death mages. But they can’t do everything that fire mages can. If they could, fire mages would be kind of redundant.

I get the feeling what you’re really asking is “can I have ALL THE MAGICS?”, in which case I’m pretty sure the answer’s no. Even if you did have the talent for all the magic types, you wouldn’t have time to develop them all. Diviners like Alex take years to learn how to use their magic – not all magic, just THEIR magic. And it takes them years more to actually master it. There’s no way you could learn ALL the magic types, you’d die of old age before you were halfway through.

As for it being ‘limiting’ . . . what, being able to throw fireballs or stop time or heal wounds isn’t enough for you? You want to be able to do it all at once? Seems greedy as hell to me, but then I guess that’s how a lot of mages think. No matter how much they have, it’s never enough . . .

From: BlackMass

Alex says helikaon with divination can do things he can only dream of has he ever specified also how is old helikaon these days

Guys, can you please proof-read these things before you send them to me? Trying to figure out the content of some of these questions gives me a headache.

No idea how old Helikaon is. I’ve never met the guy. Don’t think Alex sees him much these days.

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Ask Luna #41

From: Royd Burgoyne

Hi Luna!

Dedicated fan from Downunder here! Thoroughly enjoying your (and Alex’s) (mis)adventures but I’d love to know if we’ll be seeing more of the Blink Fox in future instalments?

He (?) seems like an intriguing character who will likely cause Alex some grief (eg. emptying the fridge) and we’d love to know more about him :) Bottom line, I hope he features in future adventures! Thanks for any info! Warm regards,

Royd Burgoyne
Perth, Australia

I seem to be getting a lot of fans lately. That’s kind of cool. :)

His name is Hermes, and yeah, he empties the fridge a lot. Though not from stealing it, mostly from just nagging Alex into feeding him. Anne’s the worst, though. I think she’s got some kind of motherly ‘feed everyone’ reflex and every time she’s around seems to be when Hermes shows up.

Can’t promise he’s going to be sticking around, but he has so far, and he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of going away, so it looks like it’ll stay like this for a while. Alex seems to have been getting on with him better and he’s even taken him out on jobs a few times.

From: Blake

what emotions were you experiencing when trying to get the fateweaver from alex ?

Wow. That’s a walk down memory lane.

Scared, mostly. I was in a lot of pain and I didn’t understand what was going on. And the way Alex was acting was really freaking me out. There was just something wrong about it, and I didn’t know why and I didn’t know what I should do.

It’s really weird remembering that first year. I get chills looking back on it, sometimes. I had SO little clue what I was doing and I could have screwed up so badly. I was really, really lucky. But then, I guess that’s what I’m good at.

From: Kari

Whoa! You have another teacher for your luck magic? How did you end up him/her? Are they affiliated with the light council? I mean, not that you can’t have a light mage as a teacher, it’s just I can’t believe you’d find one to take you on given your aggressive personality and MURDERING MASTER.

Yeaaaaaah, about that. Let’s just say that there’s kind of a reason why the ‘letting them take me on when I have a MURDERING MASTER’ thing got bypassed.

I probably shouldn’t be saying too much just yet – there are some really good reasons that I don’t want to be shouting about her/his identity too loudly. You’ll find out why soon enough. Lessons are going great though.

From: Andy d

Hi Luna
Through much of Alex’s adventure, it seems as if his effectiveness grows by virtue of experience and additional magic items, such as the armor and the sword he recently acquired. Are there additional innate magic abilities he could develop as well to increase his effectiveness. Thanks so much.

Don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Alex develop any really new abilities – he mostly just works with what he’s got. I guess he might have gotten better with his divination, but I don’t think he’s going to suddenly start throwing fireballs or anything unless he does something really out-there. And all the ways of doing that that I know of are extreme enough that I don’t think Alex would ever do them unless he got REALLY pushed to the wall.

Oh, and it’s mostly the armour, btw. I’m not even sure which sword you’re talking about. He’s got a bunch of them in his cabinet, but he doesn’t favour any one of them in particular.

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Holiday Break

Hope you all had a good New Year’s!

Still overseas, still limited Internet access.  Normal posting will resume next week.

And by ‘normal posting’ I mostly mean Ask Luna entries.  I’ve got about 20 questions in the queue, so expect to be seeing those for a while.

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Happy New Year!

Off abroad with little Internet access this week.  Hope you all had a good Christmas, and that you have a happy New Year’s Eve too – see you in 2015!

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End of Year

There are a bunch of Ask Luna questions in the queue, but for today I thought I’d give you guys a general update instead.

Alex Verus #6 is chugging along on the road to publication – for those who remember the ‘The Process’ posts I did a few weeks back, it’s currently in the ‘Waiting for Copy-Edits’ stage.  The worst of the work is done, now, and the finished product you guys get in 2015 should be pretty similar to the version that’s sitting on my hard drive right now.

On the topic of Alex Verus #6, it’s also got a name and a (provisional) release date!  The book will be called Veiled, and it’s due to come out around August 4th-6th 2015.  The story is going to focus on Alex, Caldera, and the political machinations of the Council.  More details closer to the time.

In the meantime, Alex Verus #7 is also going well.  My original plan was to see if I could get it written by the end of March, and so far it’s on schedule, if only just – it’s around 30% complete.  However, I’m going to be overseas over Christmas and New Year, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to keep up my writing routine while away from my regular home and patterns.  I guess we’ll just have to see.

And that’s about it for now.  Next week’s post will be an end-of-year round up, and after that we’ll be back to more Ask Luna.  Until then, have a happy Christmas from everyone in the Alex Verus world!

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