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,

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).

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