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).

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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.

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Fated for $2

The US & Canada Kindle edition of Fated is on sale for $1.99 via a BookBub promotion!

The price drop should last for a couple more days until the end of the weekend, ie May 3rd, so if you’ve been planning to get the US ebook, now’s the time! 

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Ask Luna #159

From: Kevin

With the benefit of hindsight have you and the gang figured out why Richard and Morden would waste all that time and effort on getting Morden a Council seat, only to have it stripped away for a hundred imbued items? Couldn’t they have just conducted the operation with a coalition of Dark Mages and try to overthrow the Light Council more directly? I mean I believe that would be easier than agitating the Light Council with a Dark Mage on it and putting them on their guard unless there is something I am missing?

And for that matter why would Richard and Morden want the latter imprisoned for so long? Considering how powerful and unlike his Chosen smart and effective Morden is, it seems like a huge waste not to have him help manage unruly Dark Mages.

Also do you think Morden would have been imprisoned if Onyx did not show up at the raid on the Vault? I only ask because I don’t know why they would be mad at him if Alex being there would have already implicated him already.

Not really, no. I’m assuming Morden and Richard have their reasons for doing what they do.

I seem to get quite a few of these ‘why did Richard/Morden do X when they should have done Y’ questions. It’s a bit strange when we don’t know what their goals are.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hi Luna.

For personal and professional reasons I was only recently able to read what happened to Alex in Fallen. All I can say is wow!

I would love to ask you a bunch of questions, but I’ll keep it to just one this time. Have you thought about, or have you and Alex discussed the current situation with Rachel/Deleo and Richard Drakh?

In street terms Alex played Rachel, brilliantly. However, I’m not certain that Alex actually succeeded in his goal of turning Rachel against Richard. We know they are both angry with one another, but Alex may have unwittingly pushed Rachel and Richard closer together. Alex removed Anne from Richard’s service. Alex removed any possibility
he will work for Richard again. That ship didn’t just sail, Alex ran it into an iceberg and sank it.

So Richard needs a plan 2. He needs to compensate for his loss of control over Anne and the jinn, and no more dreamstone to make that happen again. Rachel wanted power before she became Deleo. She hasn’t changed in that regard. Richard and Deleo might decide they need each other. Richard has probably figured out how Alex was able to manipulate Deleo. It’s possible Richard could decide to clue her in, just to ramp up her anger towards Alex and cement whatever deal he may plan on offering her.

I hate to be so negative, but it seems like a reasonable concern to me. What do you think?

I think Alex probably played Deleo for as much as he was going to get. More than I was expecting, to be honest. I thought the whole thing was just a bad idea, but I guess dragons do know what they’re talking about.

As for what Richard’ll do . . . I don’t know. I mean, what you’re saying makes sense, she does still want that. But I get the feeling Richard took Deleo turning on him really, really badly. I don’t think he’s used to people sabotaging him like that.

Last I heard, Richard and Deleo aren’t on any kind of good terms. He could definitely patch that up if he wants to, but maybe it’s personal for him now?

From: Dakota

When Vari used his fire blade in one of Drakh’s bases, Alex mentioned that he heat was uncomfortable, but Vari seemed fine. Is Vari immune to heat in general, just immune to heat he creates himself, or does he just deal with it better because he’s used to it?

The first. Heat just doesn’t touch him. Kind of unfair when we go somewhere in baking hot weather and I can barely breathe while he’s not even sweating. He claims he’s not totally immune to heat, but the kind of temperature it’d take to burn him is probably more than it’d take to set the air on fire.

From: Christian

Dear Luna,
this is Christian from Germany. Thank you for your great PR work. My question is about Hermes. I always wondered about his loyalty and why nobody else ever wondered about his loyalty. As I understand it he was the familiar of some unknown mage before Alex met him in Sagash’s shadow realm. I see why Alex allied with him in the moment but why does he – and you – trust him? You let him into your life, in your sanctuaries and you never seem to wonder why he was in that realm or who his master was or is. I am just curious, because it seemed like a weird blindspot to me.
Sincerely
Christian

It’s actually one of those things I’ve picked up from Alex, I think. He just treats every magical creature as a potential friend/ally. It’s kind of weird how trusting he is of them compared to how he treats humans. Seems to work for him, though.

I think a lot of it is that Light and Dark mages tend to treat magical creatures as slaves/fuel/cannon fodder, so it’s really rare you hear of them actually recruiting one. Plus in Hermes’s case, any mage he would have been the familiar of would probably be long gone.

From: Alexis

Hey Luna I heard that there are different types/styles of divination named after Greek gods. Are there different styles of chance magic in a similar vein so to speak? Have you heard of other styles of magic that elemental or living mages uses or is this limited to specific types?

Also apparently Richard can set up a shroud that affects Alex’s divination. Do you think Chalice could do the same and affect your use of chance magic as well either with a shroud or more directly and could you do the same to her magic?

There are definitely different styles of chance magic, but they’re not named after Greek gods. It’s complicated.

Chalice can mess with anything I could do chance-wise, but then I could probably mess with anything she could do as well. Chance magic vs chance magic is very different from divination vs divination. Less about shrouding, more about interacting.

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Forged US Cover

Here’s the US cover for the eleventh Alex Verus novel, Forged!

Release date is unchanged – November 24th 2020 in the US, and December 1st 2020 in the UK.  Audiobook release should be at the same time as paper and ebook.  

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Ask Luna #158

From: Lauren

Hi Luna! I wanted to ask about the Order of the Shield.

Do you know what magic type that Keeper with the cowboy hat Tobias has? I want to say Air Mage because of Animorphs, and I read that you liked it as well! Did you have a favorite Animorph? Mine was Rachel because she always took charge of the situation.

Also are the Keepers in the Order of the Shield mainly Fire mages or are there a fair number of Water, Air, Force, Earth and Death mages in them?

And in the mission to Syria was a mage named Elandis and from the description he seemed like he resembled our Landis kinda of like a cousin or something. Are there such things as mages who are related to each more distantly rather than parent to child lines?

Thanks again you rock!

I don’t know his magic type, no. I don’t meet many Keepers and when I do it’s usually not for good reasons.

Keepers in the Order of the Shield are a pretty varied bunch as I remember, so I don’t think there’s an especially big number of fire mages.

And I don’t think Elandis and Landis are related, but who knows.

PS – yes, I did, and my favourite was either Marco or Axe.

From: Lincoln

1. Alex mentioned that he used tarot cards for divination did he ever tell you how they worked and what he used them for. He also said he did not use crystal balls or the tea leaf method, did he tell you how they worked, and is the reason he does not use these methods because he does not like to use focuses for his divination?

2. When he was using a gatestone to go to Helikion Alex said that he spoke in the Old Tongue to do so. Was that a precursor language or was it his mother’s native tongue because some of my friends sometimes call their home language that, similar when they call their land of birth the old country.

3. Do you think Richard made sure Alex specialized in short term/combat divination to weaken and strengthen him at the same time, to make him easy to manipulate and resourceful enough to get out of trouble and win battles?

1. No clue about any of those, sorry. Honestly, why would anyone care about tarot cards?

2. I think it was the language that precursor mages used. A lot of really old magic books use it.

3. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think so. The way I understand it, you can’t really ‘make’ a mage or an adept specialise in a type of magic – it’s too personal. I guess you can encourage them, but what they’re good at is what they’re good at. If someone’s going to suck at a type of magic, trying to push them into specialising in it is a waste of time.

From: Brian

Hello Mage Vesta I hope you are doing well, I just have a few questions about the various forms of divination.

I was looking at the Encyclopaedia Arcana at advanced divination, and with Dionysian divination it seems they have two abilities, Fortune Telling, and Auguries which seems to be variations of path walking/long term divinations. I was curious if Alex ever told you what the short term precognition/danger sense ability they had? My own thought was this ability was what precognition linked them together, a common ancestor if you would and they diverge in that Apollonian diviners can predict overall general events while Dionysian diviners can predict specific events if that makes sense.

Do you think the Apollonian side of divination is how time magic works it being analytical and Dionysian is like chance magic with a go with the flow attitude?
Or is divination just a mindset that overlaps with them both for whatever reason?

Lastly, do you think the reason it is hard to shroud divinations is that unlike time, and space, the future/free will is too chaotic to control? Or is it because diviners are just super rare and it is hard for by nature of scarcity to get them to put in shrouds?

No, Alex never really taught me much about that, and I never asked. Maybe if I’d known how interested people seem to be in the whole Dionysian thing I’d have paid more attention and asked more questions, but at the time it just seemed like yet another obscure magic sub-type that I had zero reason to care about. Actually, it still kind of does.

I think the reason shrouds don’t work well on divination is that they’re shielding against different things. Or it might be perspective – diviners start from themselves and look out, time mages start from outside and look back. Or something? I don’t really know much about the theory.

From: Kevin

1. Alex mentions several times that he has two imbued items, the pale green egg that defies gravity, and three darts clamped into a metal holder with a lock on them. Now most likely there is operational security that you don’t want their abilities getting out, but has Alex ever told you what he called them? Do imbued items get named or is it a case by case basis?

2. What is Maradox’s magic type? When Alex divined him his actions didn’t shift and flicker like most people, but they formed from one set of actions to another, was this his magic speaking or just his own unique trait?

3. What exactly does a Minkowski box do? Sorry if this is a stupid question but is it just a fancy word for magical container or does it have other magical applications?

1. He’s told me about them, yeah. Probably as a failsafe in case something happens to him, which always worries me a bit. Neither of them are world-shaking threats or anything, but let’s just say there are good reasons he keeps them locked up.

2. No clue. Sounds more like a personality trait than magic type though. Apparently you can tell a lot about someone that way.

3. They’re stasis boxes. They get used for high-instability magic items, or anything that’s too dangerous to be handled.

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Ask Luna #157

From: Kevin

1. Has the seats for the Junior Council and Senior Council that used to belong to Alex and Sal Sarque been filled? Or is full on panic mode and they are focused on finishing the war? I mean I doubt anyone on the Junior Council will do that much Alex seemed the only one doing anything, but I worry about a crazier Sarque or someone calculating like Levistus or Alma causing you guys more trouble.

2. So I know this might be a difficult question to answer but what do you is going to happen with the Light Council after all of this? I mean if Drakh’s Cabal gets taken out who knows what damage will be done in the aftermath, plus I doubt the movement with the adepts rising up is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, and I imagine Independent mages now view the Council with disgust after all of the corruption and violence that Levistus and his ilk has created, and the small but possible chance that some Light mages feel the same. Do you believe that they will become less powerful, maybe open up to reform, outright collapse and leave a power vacuum that other mages or Light Councils will take advantage of or something in between?

1. So a general thing about the Council is that unless it’s an emergency, and I mean an EMERGENCY emergency, they don’t do anything fast. And they stick to their procedures unless they absolutely don’t have any other choice. As I understand it appointing a new Senior Council member is always super tense anyway since everyone’s worried about upsetting the balance of power, so it takes a long time for everyone to agree on anything. So as you can probably guess, no replacement for Sal Sarque just yet. As for Alex, that’s a weirder one since I think he’s technically still on the Council, just suspended, and again, deciding how to deal with that particular mess would involve a lot more arguing that they don’t have time for at the moment.

2. Christ knows. Depends on who wins. If Richard comes out on top then what the Council wants to do probably won’t matter very much.

From: Togsee

Hi Luna,

I was reading the encyclopedia entry for Charm magic and it only mentioned subtle manipulations of people’s emotions.

Do you or Alex know if it’s possible for a charm mage to make large changes to peoples emotions? Like for example “oh you want to kill me? Here’s a soul crushing panic attack that will leave you a gibbering, traumitised wreck”.

They can do that, yeah. It’s one of the standard charm spells – Meredith can do it and so can Lyle, and so can every other charm mage I’ve met (I think). They just throw a whole bunch of negative emotions into your head and like you say, it’s a lot like having a panic attack.

But it’s not really what they’re good at, and it shows. I’ve had a charm mage use it on me, and yeah, it’s unpleasant, but it’s something you can fight through. Like I think Alex told me that Meredith tried it on Cinder when he came after her in her flat and it knocked him back for like three seconds. So against someone really nasty, it’s like trying to scratch them with your car keys. Might make them flinch, but all it’ll do after that is make them come back angrier.

From: Charles

Do you think the Jinn that Anne has or Alex’s fateweaver could break through the White Rose encryption on that Data focus? It could be leverage they need to get the Light Council off your backs or negotiate a settlement of some kind.

Fateweaver wouldn’t work as far as I understand because it’s too inert. Not enough moving parts for the probability manipulation to get a grip on.

Anne’s jinn could probably do it if it really wanted to, but getting it (and her) to help is another story.

From: Eric

1. Can Alex use Elsewhere to gate to anywhere on Earth? Is is more effective at getting passed wards than the regular gating that mages use?

2. Are Dreamstones as powerful as imbued items or is it a case by case basis?

3. Have you ever heard of an origin story for how magic was created? Not looking for an in depth story, but do you think it has to do with other worlds and magical creatures giving it to us, or is it kind of like the Big Bang and it just appeared?

1. Yes, and no. Gate wards stop Elsewhere travel the same way they do any other kind of gate. It’s the fateweaver that lets him get past those.

2. No clue. I don’t know much about them honestly. If I had to guess I’d say they’re probably on the level of lesser imbued items.

3. Not really. Mages don’t really have an origin story for magic, they just take it for granted that it’s always been there.

From: Jamie

Hey Luna I was wondering, in the first book an air elemental would have killed Alex by forcing its self down his throat and asphyxiating him. Could an air mage do the same thing?

In theory, yeah. I’ve heard the odd horror story like that about air mage murders, but never heard of it actually happening. I think to do it they’d have to grab the person and hold them immobile first, at which point they’d have won the fight already.

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