Off Sick

It’s been a while, so here’s an update on how the books are going!  

To get the bad news out of the way first, I’ve caught what seems a lot like the Covid-19 virus.  I’m not a hundred percent sure whether that’s actually what it is, since I took the standard test provided by the UK government and it came back negative.  On the other hand, the symptoms so far have been:  

  • Days 1-5:  muscle aches & pain
  • Days 6-10:  malaise, exhaustion, slight fever
  • Days 11-15:  more fever plus dry cough & shortness of breath

. . . which match up pretty closely with other people’s accounts.  So maybe the test got messed up somehow or it’s a slightly different strain.  Who knows.  (I don’t usually talk about my health on this blog, but I figure that this one might be of scientific interest to some of the readers out there!) 

Anyway, this combined with the previous months of taking care of two small children during lockdown has slowed down my writing a bit.  

On the positive side, while it’s slowed down, it’s still making progress.  Alex Verus #12 is about 20% of the way through its first draft – this might not sound like much, but I generally find that my worst roadblocks tend to be in the first quarter, so it ought to be all downhill from here.  I’m still hoping to get the first draft done by the end of the year, though that might be optimistic.  

And of course none of this affects Alex Verus #11, Forged, which is currently with my publishers, edited and proofread and out of my hands.  Release dates should be November 24th 2020 in the US and Canada and December 1st 2020 in the UK and the rest of the world.  As usual, the audiobook edition is planned to come out at the same time as the paper and ebook ones, and also as usual, I’ll release the first chapter online a month or two in advance.  

And finally, for the German readers of Alex Verus, there’s some good news:  the books have continued to do very well in their German translation and Blanvalet has contracted to keep publishing the series all the way up to book 8.  Chances currently look good that they’ll go all the way up to 12.  

And I think that covers everything.  More Ask Luna next week!

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Ask Luna #165

From: Alicia W.

Hey, Luna!

How’s things?

As Alex has told us, mist cloaks block magical senses and even hide the wearer from mundane senses so long as they’re not wearing it while walking around London in broad daylight. But, despite that, Rachel looked right at Alex several times while he was wearing his mist cloak (RIP).

So, how does she do that? In Chosen, Shireen told Alex that it was because they traveled to Elsewhere together as apprentices, but there’s gotta be more to it than that. I listened to Fated again recently, and what Rachel said to Alex at the top of the Canary Wharf tower really stuck out:

“You’ve had the dreams, haven’t you? I can see them. You haven’t escaped, no one does. It always comes back. I’m the only one who can break it.”

Wait, what? Rachel can see Alex’s dreams? Is she really seeing them or is that just crazy talk?

Shireen always seems to know what’s going on with Alex. She knew what he talked about with Helikaon and Morden even though those were private conversations. Later on, she helped Alex walk through some of Rachel’s memories. I always figured that’s because she has mad skills with Elsewhere.

But what if it’s because Shireen has been taking *Rachel* on tours through Alex’s dreams and memories like she did for Alex?? If that’s true, Rachel & Shireen could have been doing that for years without Alex even realizing it. Not only would that be really f-ing scary (and creepy), it would also explain how Shireen knows so damn much & how Rachel can zero in on Alex like a laser-guided missile.

Okay, Okay. So, maybe I’m overthinking it. If Shireen hasn’t opened up an “Alex Tours” franchise & isn’t leading Rachel on walking tours through Alex’s head, then it’s gotta be that jinn helping her, right?

Have you and Alex ever talked about that? You guys gotta have a theory. I’m dying to know.

Thank you for everything you do! You’re the best!

Alicia

I always figured that it was either the jinn or some sort of weird Elsewhere connection. Alex said that he and the other apprentices visited Elsewhere a few times together, so maybe something happened there?

Or maybe it’s something else. This kind of thing happens a lot, honestly. Every mage can do stuff you don’t know they can do. Nearly all of them can do at least one thing that their magic type isn’t supposed to be able to do. And pretty often it turns out that they can do things you didn’t even know were possible.

From: Lisa

1. Do you know how Landis is so good with his defensive magic since fire mages seem to be offensive oriented? Has Vari picked up any tips and increased his defenses compared to the average fire mage?

2. Is there a Light Council version of Interpol or like in the real world do they fight over who has jurisdiction?

1. He’s just really, really good. It’s what happens when you keep on practising and learning to get better and keep working on it for years and years and years. You find workarounds to things that are supposed to be roadblocks. Vari’s gotten a lot better at defensive magic since Landis started training him.

2. There are supposed to be departments in the Light Council for that, but from how Vari talks, they don’t seem to do a very good job.

From: Lincoln

Hey Luna I hope you aren’t too annoyed with some of the questions you have limited knowledge about. I think the main reason people are asking you stuff about the Council/Dark Mage politics and mage hybrids is the same reason why people hoard knowledge in general, they like to learn new things and add on to it. Plus I think people are trying to create a bigger Alex Verus Reddit and Wiki and questions like those increase the articles and exposure for the series. Hopefully these questions will dial down know but I think those are the primary reasons why.

But here’s a fun question does Hermes care if also called him Mercury the Roman name of the Trickster god? I think you could get away with it since you follow a similar pattern with your name.

Yeah, I think I get frustrated because a lot of these questions feel like people asking for a crib sheet. They want to know the One True Set Of Rules about how magic works, or the Definite Final Answer to what Richard and Morden were thinking when they did whatever-it-was five years back.

And the problem is, that way of looking at things just seems to work really badly. You never know the whole story about how something works, and you never know exactly what was going on in someone’s head. When you think you do – when you decide you know everything and you can stop listening – well, from what I’ve seen, that’s when you screw up really badly. Seen other people do it, done it myself. The lessons I’ve learned have been more like: keep your eyes open, never think you know everything, learn the big things by putting together lots of small things. I try and tell people that. Never sure how much they listen.

Oh, and I’ve never tried calling Hermes that. Doubt he’d answer to it. I don’t think he cares much about Roman gods.

From: Jason

I recently was reminded that Verus really has a problem with unicorns when my friend read Fated. Do you think we’ll get to see one in the series, or at least learn what the story is?

He just says that the things are little *censoreds*. Aren’t many of them left, so I doubt we’ll ever run into one.

From: Kevin

Hey Luna I just have a few follow up questions.

1. So I am feeling very obtuse with the abilities that elemental/life hybrids are supposed to have since they appear to be obvious to everyone else except me. Then I remembered Vihaela and while I thought that was because death and life magic were interconnected death magic is thought to be a form of elemental magic. My question is would other life/elemental hybrid magic work like her magic, with the self-healing and enhanced energy attacks? Sorry if this was obvious I didn’t think energy based magic would work with biological ones if that makes sense.

2. Regarding Rachel and her jinn related abilities is there an obvious example of abilities or stuff she can pull off that more powerful mages can’t? Sorry again if this is another obvious one but I don’t remember Deleo doing anything else then being a powerful elemental mage and acting crazy. Is it more of being in the right place right time and seeing things other mages can’t, or something else?

1. So this is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about two questions up. With weird esoteric stuff like that, I’m not going to be thinking about what they’re supposed to do. I’d be watching to see what they CAN do. And the next one I run into might be different. Do you see what I mean?

Sigh. Maybe I just suck at explaining things.

2. Same again. It feels like you want me to point you at one very specific thing and tell you “All other mages ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DO THIS THING EVER, but Deleo can, this is The One Big Difference, now you have the answers and can stop thinking about it”. And it just . . . doesn’t work that way. What it means is that she’s more dangerous. If there’s something that would stop another mage, or beat them in a fight, it’s less likely to work on her, because she’ll find some way to go around it or fight through it. Now how much of that is having a jinn and how much of it is having Harvested someone and how much of it is just being batshit crazy? I dunno. But if you want to go up against these sorts of people, it’s a really bad idea to ever think you know everything about what they can do.

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Full Circle

A long time ago – a bit over 8 years, in fact – my first Alex Verus novel came out.  

Getting started as a debut author is a dicey business.  When Fated came out in 2012, I’d technically been published before (the Ninja books) but those had come out in the mid-2000s, had been in a different genre, and hadn’t been particularly successful, so that really didn’t help.  Effectively I was an unknown.  And back then, new unknown urban fantasy authors were very common.  The Twilight books were still in everyone’s minds, and hundreds of young adult, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance series had sprouted up in their wake.  

Unfortunately, by 2012, the urban fantasy tide was receding.  Most of the genre’s big success stories (Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs) had been successful a good long while ago, and the newer authors hoping to follow in their footsteps were mostly failing.  You couldn’t go a month without some new urban fantasy series being launched, failing to find an audience, and sinking without trace.

So when it turned out Jim Butcher liked Fated enough to give a blurb for it, my publishers grabbed that quote and put it on the cover.  

It was a longish blurb, so they were able to quote a different bit from it for the cover of book 2.  

And a shorter phrasing for book 3.  

By book 4 they’d run out of new material, so had to start recycling.  

And if we go all the way up to book 10, Fallen, released last year . . .

Looking back on it, it’s hard to say just how much difference that blurb of Jim’s made, but if I had to guess, I’d say:  probably a fair bit.  Blurbs won’t make a reader finish a book that they think is boring, and they won’t make someone stick with a series . . . but they can make a reader give a book a chance when they otherwise wouldn’t have paid attention to it  And when you’re starting out and no-one knows your name, that’s a big help.

Which brings us to Jim Butcher’s new book, coming out this year.  Well, there are two, actually, Peace Talks and Battle Ground.  Orbit UK just did their cover launch for Battle Ground.  It looks like this:  

Full circle.    

It’s not really the same, of course – Jim doesn’t need any help these days (whereas, starting out, I definitely did).  Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  In a weird way, more than any of the other successes I’ve had, it makes me feel like I’ve finally arrived.  

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Forged UK Cover

Looking back over my past posts, I think I missed this cover reveal, so let’s put it up now!

UK release date remains December 1st, 2020.  

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Ask Luna #164

From: please save Anne!

Hi Luna,
I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to say that I’m really proud of you, and how you have overcome all the problems you were dealt with.
I have some questions (not about politics, or different magic types, or whether you like Alex), and I will try to make them short, because I know how annoying it is to read 2 page questions.

Okay, way too many of these to do them in one block, so let’s go one by one.

1. Have you kept in touch at all with Anne? She told Alex that you can call her if you want to.

Briefly. It hasn’t gone well.

2. Now that you can control your curse, have you been able to spend time with your family again?

It’s not spending time with them that’s the problem. It’s doing it without them thinking I’m crazy. That’s . . . something I’m still working on.

3. Has it been hard running the shop, given how close you are to Alex now that he’s the most wanted man in Britain?

Yes.

4. How is Karyos doing?

Oh, that’s at least one thing that’s going well. Fully recovered, and she’s getting her memories back.

5. Have you kept in touch with anyone from the apprenticeship program? What is Celia doing? What about that other girl, Natasha?

Not too much. I stay in touch with one or two, but our lives have gone in really different directions.

6. When Alex first met you he thought you were somewhere between a sensitive and an adept, but you managed to become a Mage! Were you aware of any other adepts/sensitives/normals in the program, or are there any stories of such individuals who were able to pass as powerful mages?

That one’s too long to answer, sorry!

7. Alex has mentioned that most mages discover their powers as teens. Have you ever heard of any stories of mages discovering their powers later in their life?

A few. Not many. It’s usually connected to something really weird happening. Teens is the usual.

8. What happened to Selene? I hope she is doing ok.

Well, last I saw of her she was fine physically, but other than that . . . let’s just say I don’t think her relationship with Kyle is going to last.

Thanks for your time, and I hope to visit the shop one day!

From: Erin

Okay so how do you feel now that you know Richard’s magic type? Must be a relief just because of the fanbase asking you about it nonstop!

Now this is kinda of moot now that we know but in the past was Richard being a death mage in the realm of possibility? He seems to like to hear himself talk like Morden does it’s almost like they are on the same wavelength if that makes sense. Was there anything that disqualified this as a possible type?

It makes a really nice change, yes.

We never thought Richard was a death mage. Death mages tend to make a lot of waves, if you know what I mean – you never hear about a death mage who kept his magic type a secret, it just doesn’t happen. It’s the most blatant out of all the living family magic types. Yeah, he does seem to be close to Morden, but you don’t have to have the same magic type to be friends with someone.

From: jamescagney22

Have you guys ever thought about some of the real reasons Richard chose Alex as an apprentice? I only ask because with the others Richard seemed to be exploiting their egos to get what he wanted, Tobruk being the typical thug type like Onyx and Shireen and Rachel’s resentment at being treated different by mage society because they were women. With Alex it seemed like Richard really wanted him to become stronger and sure it seemed at first Richard was playing him, by ostensibly using Alex’s loneliness and lack of a father figure for his own ends but unlike the others Alex has became a powerful force in his own right even before the Fateweaver. When he turned against him with Katherine, Richard didn’t kill him, and apparently used that as a lesson for Alex to become stronger which he did and killed Tobruk.

Now I know getting inside a mage as twisted as Richard may be self defeating but could it be possible that Richard actually wanted and perhaps still does, Alex as his Chosen/successor? I think a lot of people assumes Richard is this master planner who plays everyone but could it be simply he wants to leave a legacy?

Now that Alex has figured out Richard at least enough to stop being manipulated by him he could use that against Richard, because giving someone three chances indicates to me there is something personal behind it.

I hope this isn’t an exercise in futility just wanted to give you guys a possible opening on the off chance this suggestion could help.

I wouldn’t have thought so before, but a couple of things have happened lately that have made me think twice. Let’s just say that the ‘wanting to leave a legacy’ thing might not be so far off base after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s going to succeed at it. But it would explain a few of the weirder things he’s done/said.

From: Carmel

Hi Luna,

This might be outside your area of expertise, but I still want to ask it.

Morden looks like he is somewhere in his 30s, but timeline wise, he’s implied to be a older.

Similarly Helikaon looks like he’s in his 60s, but he flat out says he is 83.

Do you know if mages actually age differently? Or do you suspect they’re consciously seeking out ways to prolong their lifespans?

😉 Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into this.

Thanks!

Life extension magic. There are a lot of ways to do it, but pretty much all of them end up with you looking younger than you are (sometimes much younger). The catch is that most of them have a diminishing returns thing going on, so you have to put in more and more for less and less.

Or so I’m told. Not something I have to think about, thankfully.

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Ask Luna #163

From: Warner

Hello Luna

Would you say that all the legends and myths and fairytales regarding magic have a grain of truth to them?
I ask because recently I was rereading Harry Potter, and when I got to the Prisoner of Azkaban I realized that the Marauder’s Map sounds eerily like an imbued item…an object that somehow knows where every single person in Hogwarts is and WHO they actually are, no matter what form they are wearing. I actually find it a bit scary.
Do you think such an item exists?
Do you think there are other mages out there writing their life stories disguised as fantasy authors?

Myths and legends are all over the place. Some are actually really accurate. Some are way-out-there crazy. Most are somewhere in between. Bits of truth, mixed up with a lot of exaggeration and stuff that’s made up.

Imbued items tend to spark legends more than anything else, for some reason. Always found it kind of funny. I think it’s the “winning the lottery” fantasy – the idea that out of all the people out there, it just happens to be you who picks up this special thing that can make all your wishes come true. Or that’s the fantasy, anyway. The people who actually do find one usually learn differently pretty fast.

From: Eric

So Anne mentioned Richard had two new enforcers, the silent air type seems to be the mage Chamois that Alex went up against during the White Rose incident and the other one was a radiation mage named Tenebrous. Do you know anything about him? I only ask because I did a Google search and this is the first result.

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Darth_Tenebrous

Now aside from that individual being a slightly better looking Sagash, do mages ever get made fun of for having mage names or personality traits that are akin to pop culture super villains?

He’s a radiation mage. Looks like a cloud of black void – light manipulation so that you can’t see him or anything around him. Sort of like a human-shaped hole in the air. He’s not as scary as Vihaela or Morden, but he’s not someone you want to mess with either.

And no, they tend not to get made fun of for pop culture names. Mostly because mages are so out of touch that they wouldn’t have a clue what’s current in pop culture anyway. Adepts are another story.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna,

I have some fairly easy questions for you today.

After you rebuilt and reopened the Arcana Emporium did Alex’s suppliers for one shot items and used and weaker focuses get in touch with you or vice versa?

2.Are you selling those types of items along with the new age stuff?

3. Has anyone offered you any magical items that are more interesting (more dangerous) than one shot items, even if you can’t really talk about specifics right now?

3. Alex sometimes states that he uses a thread of his magical ability to activate a one shot item. Can you do that too or does your curse make using such items problematic? (And gate stones too.)

4. Final Question of the day: Back when you were an apprentice and Morden was elevated to the Junior Council, there must have been some type of official announcement by the Light Council. Something that would have been posted that students could read or a verbal
announcement made by one of your teachers.

At some point, the Light Council will have to fill the late Sal Sarque’s position on the Senior Council. Do you know if the Light Council makes a more public announcement about these types of changes? Something to inform independent mages or any dark mage who might care to know?

That’s your idea of easy?

1. I had to get in touch with them. It wasn’t too hard, though, since Alex had introduced me to them a while back. Maybe he was preparing things.

2. Nah, I don’t see much point. I’ll hook someone up if they ask for it specifically and have a good reason, but it takes too much time to bulk-order those things.

3. Yes.

3. Yup, I figured out how to do that a while back. I think I do it very differently from him though.

4. Actually, no, they don’t really do those kinds of announcements. Not to people who aren’t in the club, anyway. Light mages might have something like that.

From: Leslie

Hey.
[I am a book behind.]
Our crew of mages–Alex, Anne, Luna, and Vari–all seem to go by usual English names. Yet Luna does have a mage name, that no one seems to use. Anne, however, is addressed as Mage Walker. Should she have selected a name, or is she satisfied with this, which seems to be imposed upon her by others?

She really should have selected a name by now, yeah. Actually, a long time ago. She didn’t because . . . well, she’s got her own issues with the Council. And Dark mages as well.

I’ve talked to her about it, but she won’t budge. She doesn’t look like it, but Anne can be really stubborn. If it’s something she seriously cares about, you aren’t going to change her mind. I think that’s why she doesn’t want to take a mage name in the first place. She feels it’d be like giving in.

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Ask Luna #162

From: Yusaine

I have a few questions regarding Ritual magic.

First, what can you tell me about Necromancy? Is it spirit contact or raising the dead? If it is raising Zombies, why would one do that when there are constructs available? Look at Zagash(hope it’s spelled right), he had a horde of shadow-constructs so they seem easy to produce?

Second, Summoning – Are creatures compelled to obey a mage or does a bargain have to be struck? Is this usually done beforehand or done during the summoning?

What other sort of ritual magic is available and can adepts perform ritual magic? I ask since it seems ritual magic disregards magic type, so perhaps adepts could use it too?

Necromancy’s any magic involving dead things – reanimating them, pulling memories out of them, that kind of stuff. From what I got taught it used to be a lot more popular, but nowadays everyone uses constructs instead since they’re more useful and don’t require a dead body.

Summoned creatures aren’t compelled to do anything – you need a totally different spell for that. Or you can just summon something nasty in the general vicinity of someone you don’t like and hope it works, which happens more than you’d think.

Ritual magic is its own sort of magic (and its own skill, really).

From: Zander

Hi Luna.

Alex mentioned in one of his adventures that he went to Elsewhere for his mage name.

What is it?

Verus.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna, just some questions about two unrelated topics today.

I know that Varium has to be careful about contacting you and especially careful if he wants to contact Alex, but what about you contacting Alex? Is it more difficult now?

The keepers paid you a visit once to ask you about Alex, and I believe they had a mind mage with them. Have they visited you since then?

I would guess that Sal Sarque’s death has made things more hot for Alex and perhaps for you to a lesser degree.

The unrelated question I have is about mages Richard Drakh and Morden. I think it’s interesting that both Richard and Morden like to use the same technique when either one of them is trying to recruit someone. They both ask their intended recruit, “What do you want?” Maybe it’s a common approach, but it seems a bit unusual to me. This is an off the wall idea, but I wonder if Richard and Morden might have been apprenticed to same dark mage when they were much younger and picked up this technique from their master. While this is something that you probably wouldn’t know off the top of your head, I wonder if Richard and Morden’s early history is something that could be easily researched or if either or both mages early lives are a mystery to mage society?

Yes, it’s a lot more difficult now. I basically have to wait for him to come to me. And all the Keepers following me around don’t help. Well, not ‘all the Keepers’, it’s just two, Avenor and Saffron, but they’re both pretty unpleasant, just in different ways.

No clue re: Richard and Morden, I’m afraid.

From: Lisa

Hey Luna what did you think of the new Star Wars trilogy?

And be honest wouldn’t you die for Baby Yoda?

I only saw the first two. They were pretty bad.

I haven’t really seen any of the other new Star Wars stuff. I probably would have back when I was an apprentice, but since I took over the shop I’m a lot busier and I don’t watch much these days.

From: Deborah

Any thoughts on Richard and Elsewhere? After all it was he who introduced Alex to it?

Okay, I do appreciate you keeping it short, but that’s literally the vaguest question I’ve ever had. You’re going to have to nail it down a bit.

From: Alec

Hello Luna I hope you are having a fine day. So we know that divination has techniques such as path walking or precognition, and I was wondering if chance magic had similar ones as well and if you use any of them?

Nope, nothing even remotely like that. You want to know what’s coming with my sort of magic, only way to do it is to make it happen.

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Injured Cat

Something different for this week.

We have a cat who keeps me company during the daytime when I’m writing.  Unfortunately as of the weekend he’s been quite badly hurt.  We came downstairs in the morning to find him unable to walk properly, and when we took him to the vet they X-rayed him and told us that his pelvis is fractured in several places.  

The good news is that the vets don’t think it requires surgery – the fractures aren’t on load-bearing parts of the pelvis, so if it’s left alone it ought to heal.  The bad news is that this requires for him to move as little as possible, so he’s been put on cage rest.  

Which he is thoroughly unimpressed about.  

Apparently cage rest is the standard treatment for cats with these sorts of injuries – the vet told me you can’t put them in a cast or they’ll do their best to scratch it off and cause more problems, so the best you can do is leave them to heal naturally and stop them jumping around.  The normal time for these sorts of injuries is six to eight weeks, so this is going to be a long haul.  

I know a fair few of my readers are pet owners, so if anyone has any experience/advice with injured cats on cage rest, leave a comment below!  So far he seems to be adapting as well as can be expected (if a bit bored), but let me know if there’s anything I should watch out for.  

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Ask Luna #161

From: Rachel

Hi Luna, hope all is well, and I am very much looking forward to catching up on what’s been happening to everyone lately in the upcoming book.
I’ve been thinking about Dark mages, and the fact that there seems to be a disconnect between the two strongest (at least politically strongest) Dark mages, Richard and Morden, and their Chosen. I associate the older mages with having more vampiric style traits – savagery with a veneer of old-world style and sophistication – very Machiavellian. Their Chosen, while powerful, lack self-control, and are blunt instruments, in a way, by comparison (more like werewolves, no disparagement intended to either your characters, or werewolves, of course).
Morden and Richard are political and subtle, yet their Chosen don’t seem to reflect those aspects of their characters at all. Is this deliberate, or just a bit of a mess-up on their parts? Or do independent thinking apprentices tend to end up dead – or rogue like Alex?
I would also love to know more about Morden, if you’ve heard anything interesting – how old is he really, and why is he willing to be the political front for Richard? He seems to be powerful enough to be on his own.
Anyway, thanks for reading my rambling questions/thoughts, and thanks for continuing to share your insights with us!

It’s something I’ve wondered about from time to time (and one or two people who’ve written in have noticed as well). Everyone’s got a theory, but my personal one is that the whole Dark apprenticeship system’s got one huge helping of short-term bias. So the apprentices like Onyx who are really brutal and nasty tend to shove their way to the front of the line, while the ones who hold back and think too much get killed or pushed out.

Trouble is, being brutal and nasty isn’t really that great a life strategy in the long run. So guys like Onyx and Pyre end up in a place where they keep doing what worked for them, and they keep on making it work, except that it works less and less, until they finally try it on the wrong person and they’re the ones who get killed instead. I guess this is why Dark mages don’t rule the world.

As for Morden, I don’t know much about him, even now. He’s pretty good at keeping his cards close to his chest. He’s definitely powerful enough to be on his own, though, yes.

From: Alicia White

Hi, Luna, how’s things?
I just wanna say thank you for answering our questions and I think you’re awesome for doing this! I know it probably isn’t too much fun answering the same questions over and over again. So, I hope these questions are ones you haven’t seen before. You get so many questions about Alex, Morden, Richard and Rachel, I’ll ask about something different.
1. If it’s not too personal, Alex has said many times that your curse looks like a silver mist swirling around you (and gold when you’re trying to share some good luck). What does it look like to you? Do you see it at all? Does it feel different when you’re pushing the bad luck toward an enemy or a device vs. when you’re pushing out good luck?
2. Alex has made friends with several magical creatures like Arachne, Hermes and Starbreeze. I think he said that he was introduced to Arachne by Richard and, of course, we’ve all read his story about he first met Hermes, but I don’t think he’s never said anything about how he met Starbreeze. Has Alex ever told you the story about how he met and made friends with Starbreeze?
3. Is it fun having Hermes around? He seems pretty chill for a fox. Does he ever let anyone pet him or give him a belly rub? I think it would feel amazing to stroke his fur, but, somehow, it seems like it would be beneath his dignity to roll over & try to cadge a belly rub like dogs and domesticated foxes have been known to do (search for “fox belly rub” online and you’ll see tons of videos). Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions!
Take care,
Alicia

1. Like a sort of haze. But even seeing it as a haze was hard. Magesight is something I really, REALLY struggled with (nearly made me fail my journeyman test). Even now I do things mostly by feel – I can’t look at a spell and analyse it the way Alex can.

2. He did. It’s a longish story, though, and I don’t know if he wants anyone else to know it.

3. I like him. Usually I like dogs more than cats, but he kind of acts like halfway between the two anyway. As for letting you pet him, he’ll let you do it, but only if he’s in the right mood. Otherwise he jumps up and walks away if you get too close.

From: Kevin

Hey Luna so awhile back I asked about why Richard would think Alex would join back up with him willingly after everything Drakh put him through, and you speculated that he either was completely oblivious about Alex’s rejection of him, had a mindset about not taking things personally, or that he knew something we did not.

After the events of Fallen do you think the something we didn’t know that he did, is that Richard is also a diviner and that he believes he knows Alex instinctively and thus predict his behavior? Obvious that didn’t pan out the way Drakh thought it would and it would also align with him being clueless about Alex’s motivations since he was arrogant enough to believe he could control him.

I have no idea, sorry. These ‘do you think Richard did X because he believes Y after Z’ questions are just too much of a headache for me to follow.

From: Aaron

Thanks for letting us know Vari’s mage name, “Talwar”. Which leads to another question: Is the flaming sword he makes shaped like a talwar?

Yes. But it didn’t used to be – he used to make a straight narrow-blade sword instead. At some point he switched and changed his fighting style a bit too. I asked if it was more effective this way or something, and he said that wasn’t it, so I don’t know exactly why. Maybe he got a bit more religious as he got older.

From: Lloyd

Hey luna,
Could you use your magic to choose a spefic dice roll or output on a slot machine, or is it a more general system?
Does the shop make enough money to be profitable or do you have to help it out by hitting a casino or the lottery every once in a while?
Thanks in advance big fan

I can try to choose specific results like that, and I used to do it all the time, but it never worked quite as well as I wanted it to. It always felt a bit as if I was forcing it. I’ve found it works a lot better if I just push for something good, and since I’ve switched to that everything seems to go a lot better.

The shop does make a profit, but only because I own the freehold (well, technically Alex does). If I had to pay rent as well I’d be in the red – you wouldn’t believe the rents they charge for shops in Camden, it’s insane. In which case I’d either have to be hitting casinos, or I’d have to start selling the kind of dodgy stuff that Alex specifically avoided (for very good reasons).

Posted in Ask Luna | Comments Off on Ask Luna #161

Ask Luna #160

From: Dennis

How does Alex get all the gate stones he uses? Does he make them himself, or does he pick up a random rock or something near where he wants to gate to then take it to some artificer he knows, or does he have to pay an artificer to visit the place he wants the gate stone for?

The easiest way to do it is to just drop by an artificer and see what they’ve got on offer. They usually have a bagful of gate stones that nobody’s using at the moment that they’re happy to sell off. After all, one random location’s as good as another, right?

If Alex wants a location to a specific place, though, it’s more work, and yeah, you have to pay the guy to do a location visit. It’s a standard request, so it’s not like it’s going to surprise them or anything, but it doesn’t come cheap. I keep saying ‘Alex’ but I’m going to have to start doing this stuff myself soon.

From: Kevin

Hey Luna awhile back a gave a rather longwinded theory about Richard’s plans for Alex and what his magic type could be and aside from possibly Alex and Anne being on the Council to mess with the Light mages I was mistaken so sorry you had to read them. But with hindsight I wanted to clarify my main points which will be much shorter in length this time.

1. Do you think Richard wanted Anne and Alex on the Junior Council for the protection the seats provided from Levistus and Sarque and other hostile factions on the Council until he decided to bring them under his control? I don’t know why he didn’t just grab Alex and Anne at the end of Bound unless he had/has problems that we are unaware of it.

2. Have you or Alex with the benefit of hindsight figured out what type of diviner Richard is, or is the two types of divination and diviners in general practically impossible to detect unless Alex or older diviners like Helikaon can detect diviners and what sub-field they specialize in?

1. I don’t really know. Probably not? I don’t see what kind of protection he’d been getting.

2. What do you mean, what kind? If you mean the Apollo/Dionysus thing, I’m pretty sure that all diviners can use both, they’re just different styles. Or could use, anyway.

Okay, look, it feels like a lot of people aren’t understanding why I’ve been getting frustrated with these sorts of questions, so I’ll explain. You’re acting like you expect me to know all this personal and sensitive stuff about Richard. But think about it: HOW am I going to know this stuff? Take your first question. How am I supposed to know why Richard did what he did about something a couple of years ago? It’s not like I’m going to go track him down for an interview!

From: Dakota

Does Richard still go around dressed like Archon?

Well, I haven’t seen him do it, but what he does in his own time is his own business. Maybe he’s into full-body clothing.

From: jamescagney22

Hey Luna, so a post came up on the Alex Verus Reddit, don’t know if you heard of it or even have a reddit account, but in any case a debate can up about who would win in a fight Landis or Belthas and I was wondering who you think would win?

Also do you know if Fire or Ice magic is stronger against each other in a rock, paper, scissors sense? Would Water magic also have an advantage or disadvantage that Ice would or would not against Fire Magic?

Thanks again you are awesome!

Given that Belthas is very very dead, I’m pretty sure Landis can win a fight with a corpse.

Okay, okay, so I guess I know what you mean. It was a while ago that I saw Belthas fight, and I didn’t know much about duelling back then, but if I had to make a guess, I’d pick Landis. Belthas was very good, but Landis is better.

Fire and ice magic are considered an equal match in Light duels (actually, they’re like the iconic equal match). Water’s considered weaker than both. You get the odd really dangerous water mage like Deleo, but they’re kind of outliers.

From: Lector

Hiya, just a couple of questions (I can already hear the sigh!)…
1) Does the light council know anything about what happened on Sal’s “island”?
2) apart from just surviving, has Alex got a goal in mind and does it involve Anne
3) is there a way for a host to separate from a jinn voluntarily after they have reached the level of engagement Anne has?

1. Yeah, they’ve got a pretty good idea of what happened by now.

2. Yes.

3. I’ve never heard of them doing it, but then no-one besides Richard knows much about this stuff.

Posted in Ask Luna | Comments Off on Ask Luna #160