Friday, November 30, 2018

World Notes: Leystone, a Quick Introduction (1948)

Leystone is still being rebuild during the events of A Year and a Day. The borough was born from the destruction of the East End of London. What once was a thriving area of docks, warehouses, and train yards became a bombed out ruin by the end of the Blitz. Located just east of Victoria Park, the new borough of Leystone is one of the city's many urban renewal projects.

The northern section of Leystone contains buildings that were much less damaged by the Blitz, older brownstones with the occasional modest Victorian home. Southern Leystone, where the destruction was much more extensive, is in the process of being leveled for the construction of council estates.

A large - three stories above, two below - conservatory is scheduled to be erected in 1949. A quarter of the space will be reserved for RCSI use. The remaining seventy-five percent will be dedicated to plots for the use of personal gardens for the residents. Given the nature of the majority of Leystone's inhabitants, RCSI suspects many of these entailment plots will be dedicated to herbs and plants more common in an occult shop than a market.

Moraine and RCSI have extended a welcome to the growing magical population, offering assurance that all beings will be treated as citizens and will have the same rights, as well as be required to follow the same laws, as everyone else. According to RSCI, at least half of Leystone's population is made up of magical creatures of various sorts - lesser Fey of all description, half breeds, succubi, incubi, gargoyles, and various creatures from other cultures. All of the magical residents have registered with RCSI and do their best to live as their neighbors do.

Approximately twenty percent of Leystone's population are considered sensitives. These are mortals with some bit of magical talent. These talents are usually minor, such as speaking to birds or being able to tell which piece of fruit is the freshest. The acceptance of Leystone as a community has drawn them in, and they appreciate living in a place where they aren't considered crazy. The remainder of Leystone's inhabitants are an eclectic mix of general mortals, RCSI agents, and delusional nutjobs.

RCSI is unsure just what has led to the borough being so heavily populated by the more magically inclined. While some believe there may be multiple gates in the area currently undiscovered by RCSI, many suspect it's the Agency itself, as well as Moraine's influence over the rebuild, which is drawing people to live in Leystone.

RCSI offers a form of protection and control that is often lacking in Wildfey, the area of the Fey realm many of the new residents have migrated from. RCSI's commandeering of all the Tube tunnels running through Leystone has led to few general mortals wandering into the borough randomly, giving the community a feeling of closeness and secrecy.

Knowing the effects iron can have on magical beings, Moraine has insisted that all rebuilds in Leystone be as free from iron as possible. While this has delighted many of the new residents, it has frustrated builders and led to the proposed tall tower blocks being replaced by wide, squat designs of at most three stories in height.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

'Run Like Hell'

This spread for A Year and a Day Issue 3 kind of got away from me. I was hoping to get an ominous feel here. I'm not quite sure if I quite pulled it off, but I'm still happy with the results.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

'A Year and a Day' Issue 3, Page 1

I really like the way the art, as well as Bertie's monologue, turned out on this one.

Friday, November 2, 2018

World Notes: Does Mercy Kill?

Mercy Mackenzie, Max and Ruby's neighbor, is a succubus. This means she lives off the life force of others, using seduction to gain access to it. So does that mean Mercy kills the people she's intimate with?

While killing ones meal is the typical behavior for a succubus, Mercy chooses not to. This is one of the reasons she's able to live in Leystone and is seen by RCSI as a law-abiding citizen. She follows the rules set up by the agency and limits how much life force she takes from each individual.

She does take a bit each time she's intimate with another, but the amount is low. At most it makes her current partner feel drowsy and a little euphoric. Of course, the euphoria could be from everything else going on at the time. The next morning the person is refreshed and not affected at all, yet Mercy still had her meal and a bit of fun to boot.

While it rarely happens Mercy has occasionally gotten carried away in the moment, shall we say, and taken a little too much at once. While it's still not enough to kill, this can lead to her current partner feeling as if they are under the influence of LSD. In these cases Mercy has been known to rush the person to RCSI Headquarters and straight to the Medical Bay. This is done despite the fact that admitting to having taken more than the regulated amount in one sitting will result in her having to pay a fine and possibly receiving a mark on her record.

Draining a person completely and killing them would mean that Mercy would need to feed less often, maybe once every few months instead of once or twice a week. But she doesn’t mind. Mercy actually enjoys being around others and making them feel good, whether that be emotionally or physically.

Mercy also enjoys baking and likes to infuse her creations with her own special brand of magic.

While she can't induce people to fall in love, her magic can create feelings of lust in others, especially if there's a bit of emotion already there, lurking under the surface. While this may sound hazardous to youngsters, she is careful to keep to RCSI's regulations. The end result, minors are not affected by Mercy's spells, potions, influence, or food.

Mercy's proof that a succubus can live among mortals without causing any harm. She's a sweet woman who wants to enjoy life and find her true love. Unfortunately, in her mind, her true love is every man - and more than a few women - who crosses her path.

Friday, October 26, 2018

'The Hunt in Piccadilly'

Herne and his Hunt have invaded Piccadilly Circus. I doubt they're there just to see the sights.

Friday, October 19, 2018

World Notes: True Names

Every Greater Fey - a Fey who's a member of an Aspect's court - has one True Name that can give others a measure of control over them. This mainly occurs in the form of granting boons or requests. The level of control depends on the magical strength of the individual in question. The more magical essence the person attempting to use the Name possesses, the more control they can have.

This control is limited to three uses. Once the third boon is granted, a person can no longer control that Fey through its Name. While three boons seems like a deal there is a catch to this... once the third boon is granted the user becomes the property of the individual who told them the Name. Unlike the Name usage, this binding has no limit. And considering that Fey and mortals locked in the Fey Realm are virtually immortal, this is a very high price to pay.

There are ways around this debt if one is underhanded enough. Killing the Fey who told you the Name is always an option, though one that's often tricky to pull off. A cunning mind, meanwhile, may come up with another method of getting out of their debt.

Greater Fey have numerous other names that people refer to them by on a regular basis.

The Queens are often referred to as Summer and Winter, though Titania and Mab are used on occasion as well. Speaking their True Names causes them to appear even after the three uses are up. Since this is something that annoys them, most people who know Summer and Winter's True Names prefer not to speak them.

Puck himself is an old Fey - he’s been around for a long, long time. Like all Greater Fey he has one True Name, thought as far as RCSI can tell no one knows what it is. He goes by many other names beside Puck, some of them include Puca, Robin Goodfellow, Hob, and his female shape, Helena.

Friday, October 12, 2018

World Notes: How Big is the Fey Realm?

The Fey Realm is actually quite large, most of it uncharted. The gates to the mortal world tend to be close to the Goblin Market, which is itself situated in a strip of neutral ground between the Summerlands and Winterlands. RCSI believes this close proximity is why the lands of Summer, Winter, and the Goblin Market itself occasionally feature in mortal literature. The residents of these areas are the ones most likely to wander through a gate into the Moral Realm.

The Goblin Market has four entrances - two which open out into neutral ground, one which points towards the Summerlands, and one to the Winterlands.

While there are pockets of neutral ground here and there among the lands of Summer and Winter, the majority of the, as far as RCSI knows, neutral land is out beyond these two main Courts. This is where most of the Wild Fey are from.

Unfortunately, the Wild Fey are generally not big on map-making. As a result, RCSI is unsure just how large the Fey Realm truly is. While they're beginning to understand that each Aspect has its own Court and land, RCSI does not have full knowledge of how many Aspects actually exist.

One of Roderick's tasks is to attempt to create a working map of the Fey Realm. This is proving difficult, as the area is too vast for the whole camp to travel together easily and many areas are suspected too dangerous to wander through. The information gathered so far has come from individual agents of The Lost Squadron exploring on their own as well as what's been gathered from friendly Fey.

The rumor that the fey Realm shifts and changes with time is also not helping the map creation any. Occasionally small pockets will plop into and out of the Fey Realm and mortal buildings, such as abandoned churches, may be sucked into Fey.

Many in RCSI believe that these fluctuations in the landscape represent subtle power-shifts within the Fey Realm, but without solid proof this remains merely a theory.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

'Hunt Night'

Sometimes when you get a cover idea you just need to sit down and work it up before it slips away on you.

Here's the cover for A Year and a Day Issue 3. It was fun working with so much green. Especially that bright, almost acid-green color. I really like how that turned out.

Monday, October 8, 2018

World Notes: Eating Meat?

The population of the Code Name: Hunter / A Year and a Day world is made up of a mixture of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. With this in mind I occasionally get asked what everyone eats. Is eating meat permitted? What happens in a situation like with Max and Ruby, where a hound is living with a mouse? And what about the Fey? Some of them look like animals that characters eat.

To start off, we have to remember that the Fey are their own type of creature. While they may resemble critters we’re familiar with - pigs, goats, deer, etc. - they’re not actually those species at all. They’re Fey. So their shapes don’t really affect what mortals can and can’t eat.

Mortals do eat meat on occasion, but only certain types. There are no morphed livestock animals. Rule of thumb, if a group is walking about on two legs, talking, and wearing clothing, they're on the “do not eat” list. If a species is not walking around wearing clothing and talking, it’s considered socially acceptable to eat.

That being said, vegetarianism is big. Fish and seafood are a favorite as well. And soy-based meat is very popular. But non-morphed - or base, as it’s often referred to as - animal meat is eaten now and then, mostly by mortals who have a more carnivorous ancestry. For example, Max is more likely to stick with veggies and soy-based meat products. Ruby, due to living with Max, tends to do the same out of courtesy. Sassy, who doesn’t live with someone from a more veggie-based ancestry, will switch between animal meat and soy-based meat as the mood strikes her.

As someone who ate a lot of soy-based meat in college, I can testify that it’s actually very good when done right.

Most livestock is kept for milk, wool, hides, feathers, eggs, transportation, and pets. The animal meat industry, while there, isn’t anywhere near as large as in our world.
Most fur-accented clothing is made of synthetic fur, though older such clothing contains real fur elements. Leather still comes from creatures that are considered base animals and thus free for use. Not everyone agrees with this idea, which has led to the rise of synthetic material mimicking leather for shoes, belts, and such.

Groups like PETA are alive and well in the Code Name: Hunter / A Year and a Day world.

Small lizards and birds are often kept as pets, while larger birds and reptiles may be used as guard animals, seeing eye / service creatures, and, of course, transportation. The reason we haven’t seen many characters with pets yet is because we’ve, for the most part, been focusing on Max and Ruby - RCSI doesn’t allow pets in the flats.

Of course there are cannibals just as there are in our world. They simply aren't talked about in polite society.

So, what do Fey eat? Whatever they want. Who’s going to stop them? I’m certainly not going to!

Friday, September 28, 2018

World Notes: Magical Ability

RCSI is still trying to figure out what makes one person able to wield magic and not another. In the 1940s / early 1950s it was thought one’s birth and lineage was the key. But as years passed and more people with magical abilities started to pop up, it became obvious that wasn’t the case. The current theory, in Max and Ruby's time, is that a strong essence - one's willpower, conviction, love, faith, and fortitude - is the key to magical ability.

That being said, having a strong essence doesn’t guarantee an ability to use magic. Max, Roderick, and Allen all have strong wills and radiate a lot of magic, but can’t wield it. Lord Saeran Midaugh, the Astorian who was friendly towards Max and Ruby, also has a strong essence, but very limited abilities with magic.

Some in the Magical Department of RCSI claim that a person must be strong in all areas - willpower, conviction, love, faith, and fortitude - in order to control magic. The higher their strength in these areas, the more power they can draw on. Others point to mages who willingly use their abilities to commit heinous acts as examples of why this theory doesn’t work. Members of another camp still stubbornly stick to the lineage idea, voicing the theory that there are likely a number of people walking around with distant ancestors who, at one time or another, were of noble blood. Yet others argue that the idea smacks of classicism and such an antiquated notion has no place in modern society.

This usually leads to an intense debate, making the Magical Department one of the areas most avoided by agents, second only to Dr. Najir’s office.

If we were to ask anyone else in RCSI, they’d say it’s simply the luck of the draw who gets to wield and who doesn’t.

Friday, August 24, 2018

World Notes: Changelings

While swapping a child for a changeling does happen, it’s not a very common occurrence. The more powerful Fey of the Code Name: Hunter / A Year and a Day world tend to just snatch and run, figuring they can easily fend off any mortal pursuit. The less powerful occasionally use changelings. The hope is that the changeling will hide the fact that the child has gone missing, giving the kidnapping Fey more time to get safely away as well as decrease the chances of the child being recovered. Remember, if they keep the child in Fey for twenty-four hours the child can’t return home.

The changelings themselves are supposed to mimic the missing child’s appearance and behavior. Trouble is changelings, as a general rule, are flighty creatures and quickly become bored. It’s not unusual for a changeling to decide to randomly alter their disguise in an attempt to play with the missing child’s parents. Some like to make things appear out of nowhere or items fly across the room to scare the mortal family. The more benevolent ones use their magic to do helpful little tasks for the family, believing they are giving a valuable gift in exchange for the child. Eventually the changeling runs out of the house and returns to Fey. This can take anywhere from a few hours for the more mischievous ones to a couple of days.

The longest record RCSI has of a changeling standing in for a child happened in the sixties when a changeling remained in disguise for over five years, acting the part of the missing child the whole time. Eventually friends and neighbors convinced the distraught parents that the child’s lack of normal growth and development was not due to the child being a “late bloomer” and the changeling made an escape. As to why it carried out the deception for so long… no one really knows.

While a changeling is a type of Fey, it can also refer to the act of glamouring an inanimate object to look and act like a living being. Such as Greer did at the start of Code Name: Hunter Issue 19.

The trouble with this method is that the glamour only lasts for a short amount of time. Still, for a Fey who desires a bit of a head start yet doesn’t want to deal with hiring an actual living changeling… it’s an option.

Friday, August 17, 2018

World Notes: Fey Favors

Favors and Fey are interesting things. For the most part it’s considered best to avoid offering or accepting a favor with the Fey. Doing so rarely ends well for any mortals involved.

Just doing something for a member of the Fey – or having a Fey do something for you – doesn’t lead to an obligation to return the gesture. If Max saved Gavin from being covered in iron, Gavin may be (grudgingly) grateful, but he wouldn’t be required to do anything in return.

For someone to be obligated to return a favor, the favor has to be explicitly offered and the recipient has to actually say they accept it.

It’s not binding otherwise. As we see above, Gavin needs to actually state he’s offering Max a favor, and Max needs to say he accepts it.

No witnesses are required to make this binding. The Fey’s magic itself recognizes the verbal contract and locks both members of the party to the terms stated.

The terms of the return favor do not need to be stated right away, though. Gavin could have held off on deciding what favor he wanted in return for a year and a day. If Gavin hadn’t decided by that time, Max would no longer be obligated to return the favor. Most folks come up with a return favor fairly quickly.

As we've seen, killing a Fey before returning a favor is possible.

Since the Fey is no longer around to accept the favor, the magical obligation becomes null and void. Unfortunately, killing a Fey can lead to other problems.

The loss of one of the Court-bound Fey leaves the Courts out of balance. This is especially troublesome for the two most powerful Courts of Fey, Summer and Winter. The Courts must regain their balance as swiftly as possible, either by the Court who lost its member absorbing a new Fey into its ranks... or by the Court who's in the lead loosing a member.

Even the death of a lesser Fey may have consequences for the killer. Fey tend to hold grudges and have a fondness for blood oaths.

Unlike mortals, fey are creatures of pure magic. With their death all that magic is released.

The magical blow-back from killing a Fey can cause a great deal of harm to a mortal, especially if the mortal is not used to being around magic.

When offering a favor it’s best to be as exact as possible. Any loophole can, and often will, be exploited. RCSI has found accounts from the past of mortals asking a Fey to stop a loved one from being sick, only to return home to find their love one is now dead. In the Fey’s mind if someone is dead they’re no longer sick. Favor completed. While not what the mortal wanted, they’re still obligated to do a favor in return.

In the end, if at all possible, it is best to avoid Fey favors.

Friday, August 10, 2018

World Notes: Fey Facial Markings

There's a bit of a history to the Fey facial markings. While markings can be magically created, the ones painted on with dye are more desirable and considered to have a much higher status attached to them.

Originally the Fey used these markings as a sign of wealth, with the shape and coloring of the markings coming down to personal taste. Fey of high standing with vast amounts of resources available to them started to decorate their faces with dye to help them stand out.

Dye, especially brightly colored dye, was expensive. Also, painting a design and making sure that design didn’t alter from one day to the next was seen as time consuming, tedious, and something that requires a delicate hand to get right. Painted markings were meant to show that the wearer had extra resources to spend on dye as well as someone trained and available, day after day, to paint them on.

Thanks to the renewed interaction with the mortal world, the Fey have gained access to things like makeup, stencils, and cheap dyes. As a result, facial markings have become a bit of a fad over the last forty years or so. Now a number of Fey from all ranks and economic standing are sporting facial paint.

Some of this is just for the sake of the fad and fashion, but for other Fey the markings have begun to take on meanings not originally intended.

Some have started using these fur markings to show allegiance to each other - through families and guilds.

There are a few who believe the markings have protective powers, though this has never really been proven. Stones, amulets, and jewelry are considered by most Fey to be more reliable for invoking protection, or the occasional love spell.

Others believe the markings themselves will actually bring wealth. This also has never been proven.

While painted on markings are the higher status version, permanent magically created markings are used by some Fey. Many Fey that are powerful shape-shifters, like Puck, have chosen permanent markings so anyone familiar with them can tell at a glance who they likely are, even if their form has been altered.

Some Fey will also permanently mark others who they consider "theirs" with designs similar to their own painted on ones. This can be a problem if the Fey decides they no longer want control of the person, since magically made marks won’t come off, even with magic.

The facial marking fad is still considered new by Fey standards, so many still choose to not decorate their faces with symbols. This may change over the next few hundred years or so.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

'A Year and a Day' Issue 2 Print Cover

Herne always knew how to make an entrance. The print cover for A Year and a Day Issue 2.

Friday, August 3, 2018

World Notes: Seeing Clouds

Issue 22 of Code Name: Hunter showed Moraine using magic to check up on Roderick and his crew.

Moraine has a number of abilities when it comes to her magic. Altering her appearance…

…and performing a little light healing we’ve both seen previously.

The one she’s using in Issue 22 allows her to see folks, no matter where they are. What looks like a galaxy of light specks is actually an infinite number of pathways to individuals. By focusing on a person, she can pick them out of the fog of lights and gain a quick peek into their life.

There are limitations to this ability. Some are from external forces. Others are limits Moraine herself has set.

Not everyone wants to be watched in such a matter, mages especially. Mages can attempt to block themselves from a seeing cloud’s sight. The stronger the mage, the more powerful the block. When a basic, low-level block is in place, the mage using a seeing cloud can still locate the person, but may not be able to fully see what’s happening around them. Their vision is faint and out of focus. A high-level block can disable a seeing cloud to the point where the mage creating the block cannot be located at all. Powerful mages can even misdirect a seeing cloud, making it appear they are somewhere else entirely.

Unfriendly nations with high magical abilities seem to create natural, nationwide blocks, almost as if the will of their leaders has taken on a mind of its own and resents outside snooping.

Using a seeing cloud takes a great deal of focus and power. As a result, it can drain a mage if one’s used for too long at once. Prolonged use of a seeing cloud by mortals often results in headaches, nausea, and exhaustion.

A seeing cloud can also be overwhelming for the mage using it. If they’re not careful they can become caught in the endless flow of life visible to them. (Think of it like looking up a topic on TV Tropes only to find, when you check the clock, that hours have gone by without your realizing it.) Mortals have been known to lose themselves completely to a seeing cloud, becoming an empty shell of their former selves. Awake, yet unresponsive to their surroundings.

Seeing clouds are an advanced form of magic that not every mage manages to master. Due to the amount of power required to use a seeing cloud, as well as the number of years necessary to learn how to control such a level of magic, most mages have little interest in perfecting this skill. Even when interest is present, the mage’s ability to see is limited by the amount of power they can control. So while Rashanna, a powerful mage in her own right, can generate a seeing cloud, her view is very limited compared to Moraine’s.

Does this mean Rashanna doesn’t need to use a mirror to check up on Gadel? Correct. Gadel, who can’t use a seeing  cloud, needs to use a mirror scrying spell and assumes it’s the same for Rashanna. Not that Rashanna minds. Sometimes it’s to one’s advantage to hide just how much strength they possess.

Due to the risk of getting drawn too deep into a cloud’s lights, as well as the power required to generate a cloud in the first place, most mages find it safest to focus on a specific individual they want to seek out. This lets them generate a very small cloud containing mainly the path to their desired person along with a few others who are nearby or linked to the individual they’re seeking.

So why is Mori’s cloud so large? Moraine has a great deal of power at her disposal. Part of this is due to the fact that she’s a queen. The larger reason… she’s also, in the Code Name: Hunter timeline, an Aspect. (What she’s an Aspect of, we’ll discover later in A Year and a Day.) While Moraine isn’t in full Aspect mode here, she is skirting the edge of Aspect-hood. That’s why her eyes, and the outline of her speech bubbles, are a pinkish-purple.

But, as we’ve seen earlier during the Fairy Tale arc, it’s very easy for Moraine to accidentally draw magic from others around her, draining them to the point of exhaustion and possibly, if she’s not careful, death.

With this mind, Moraine tries to limit how much magic she uses at a given time. She can generate a very large seeing cloud without drawing power from others around her. If she tried to focus on anyone too far outside of her influence, such as trying to locate lost agents in Astoria, she would need to pull magic from the essence of others.

There’s also the simple matter of respecting people’s privacy. Just because you have the ability to spy on someone magically doesn’t mean you should. Moraine understands this and so rarely uses this ability.

So what can Moraine see? People she feels a connection to are the easiest for her to seek out. The stronger the connection, the brighter their spot of light appears to her and the more clearly she can see them - even to the point of being able to sense their emotional state and their health. Full agents of RCSI as well as members of Mori’s family and close friends fall under this category. While Ruby hasn’t taken her oath to become a full agent yet, Moraine was easily able to locate her due to Ruby’s relation to Allen and Emily, two of Mori’s closest friends.

People whom Moraine has had little to no interaction with will appear as fainter lights. They can still be tracked, but it requires more effort to do so and results in just knowing their location and being able to see a little of what’s around them. Folks who are far outside of Moraine’s influence, including those stuck in Astoria, are the faintest lights. Moraine can basically see that they’re alive and get a general idea of where the are - this continent versus that one. That’s all.

She can even tell when someone dies. Their light goes out.

Can Mori see other Aspects? Yes. Likewise, they can see her. As a general rule they’re not interested in Moraine’s actions so, tend to ignore her. All Aspects have the ability to use seeing clouds. They tend to use the clouds to locate people who fit their needs. So Cu Sidhe, the Aspect of Death, uses seeing clouds to track folks whose time is up. Leanna Sidhe, the Aspect of the Muse, uses clouds to hunt for people who desire fame and fortune. The Wild Hunt uses the clouds to avoid people who have outmaneuvered the Hunt in the past… Unlike mortals, the Fey are not in danger of loosing track of themselves in a seeing cloud.

Friday, July 27, 2018

World Notes: The Effects of Fey Magic on Mortal Creatures

Every now and then a question pops up about why the horses RCSI couriers ride into Fey can return safely to the mortal world. Since horses in the Code Name: Hunter / A Year and a Day world are not considered fully sentient, explaining to a horse that it can’t eat the grass or drink the water won’t work. A horse is hungry, so it eats. It is thirsty, so it drinks. Why then can they return to the mortal world when other characters can’t?

I’m going to try to go over this without getting into too much detail since there’s a risk of giving future points away. Hopefully this will help with some of the confusion.

We’ve talked in the past about the nature of essence - the depth of will-power, personal strength, conviction, love, faith, and fortitude - that determines how much magic a person can create. The higher the level of essence a person possesses, the more magic they can generate. The lower, the less. Every sentient being in the CN:H / AYAD world creates magic. Beings that are considered too low on the sentient scale - creatures like Part (the horse Max rides into Fey), for example - create so little magic that they can consume Fey food and move in and out of the gates with no effects beyond a mild bit of indigestion. At the end of his adventure, Part will be a little gassier than normal for a bit, but that’s all.

So why is this? Simple. What prevents mortals from leaving is the magic of the Fey realm mixing with the mortal’s essence. Fey magic is more aggressive, for lack of a better word, than mortal magic. It tends to wind into a person, seeking out that person’s essence and binding itself to it. Once the Fey magic has become intertwined with the mortal’s essence, the two cannot be separated. The mortal is claimed by Fey and can’t return home. At this point, RCSI hasn’t dedicated much time to discovering workarounds to this beyond the throwing out of random ideas - such as a Fey-locked agent carrying a sack of dirt from the Fey realm with them as they try to walk through a gate. The main reason for this lack of research comes down to a combination of other, more pressing issues and… a general lack of volunteers willing to act as guinea pigs.

This binding between Fey magic and a mortal’s essence happens gradually over a day, becoming fully complete within twenty-four hours. If a mortal consumes Fey food or drink, the binding happens instantaneously.

Creatures like Part produce such a minute amount of magic, that any binding which occurs is at so minuscule a level it causes no effects on the organism beyond the slight bellyache and the gassiness previously mentioned.

Does this work the opposite way on the Fey? Yes it does. Fey who spend extended periods of time in the mortal world will eventually find themselves unable to travel back into Fey. Fortunately for the Fey, it takes much longer for the less aggressive mortal magic to intertwine itself completely with a Fey’s essence. As a result, while it takes only twenty-four hours to trap a mortal in Fey, it takes multiple years to trap a Fey in the mortal realm. Fey can also consume mortal food with little fear, as long as they do so in moderation. Most Fey are aware of this danger and don’t linger in the mortal world for long periods of time. The ones that do have decided to make their home in the mortal realm permanently.

Unfortunately, the aggressiveness of Fey magic has an even darker side for mortals. Fey magic can continue to work on a mortal long after that person has left the Fey realm or the Fey who threw the attack has vacated the area. We saw a hint of this back in Issue 1 of the first version of AYAD with Allen’s hand.

Even though Jack was back in the Fey realm and hours had passed, Allen was still feeling the effects of Jack’s magic. Moraine had to physically remove Jack’s residue magic from Allen’s hand to prevent it from doing Allen any further harm.

The longer Fey magic remains in a person, the more damage it can do. Simply getting out of the Fey realm in time without having eaten or drunk anything may not be enough if the concentration of Fey magical residue is too high.

Some in RCSI believe high concentrations of Fey magical residue is the cause behind cases of people dying due to spontaneous combustion, though no clear consensus has been made at this time.

Friday, July 20, 2018

World Notes: Rosie M. Banks

In the first version of A Year and a Day, it’s revealed that Emily is a fan of Rosie M. Banks’ books.

So who is Rosie M. Banks? Is she a real author? Well… yes and no.

Rosie M. Banks was originally a character created by P. G. Wodehouse. She’s a romantic novelist whose name first pops up in ’Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum’ and ‘No Wedding Bells for Bingo’. Bertie’s friend, Bingo Little, has fallen for a waitress named Mabel. Bingo knows his father won’t approve of the match since the woman in question is not of the same social standing as Bingo’s family. Jeeves advises Bingo to read Miss Banks’ novels to Bingo's father, claiming that her stories where “marriage with young persons of an inferior social status was held up as both feasible and admirable” will change the elder Mr. Little’s views. Unfortunately for Bingo it works too well. Bingo’s father marries a cook, making him unwilling to increase Bingo’s allowance - an increase Bingo needs in order to marry Mabel.

A few stories later Bingo meets another waitress and marries her. This second waitress turns out to be Rosie M. Banks working incognito to gather material for her latest book.

Bertie calls Rosie’s work, “the most pronounced and widely-read tripe on the market.” When Madeline Bassett gives him a complete synopsis of Mervyn Keene, Clubman in The Mating Season, Bertie says he’s left feeling, “a bit stunned. I had always known in a vague, general way that Mrs Bingo wrote the world’s worse tripe – Bingo generally changes the subject nervously if anyone mentions the little woman’s output – but I had never supposed her capable of bilge like this.”

Wodehouse liked to poke fun at other authors as well as various tropes in his work. It’s believed that the prolific romance novelists Ethel M. Dell and Ruby M. Ayres were the basis for Wodehouse’s Rosie M. Banks character.

In the 1960s a series of novels was published under the pseudonym - with Wodehouse’s permission - of Rosie M. Banks. One of those was Settlement Nurse below.

I have actually read Settlement Nurse and found it light, fluffy reading. Not bad, and nowhere near as soppy as the Rosie M. Banks of Wodehouse’s creation is meant to be.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Max and Ruby in a more cyberpunk setting. I hope it turned out well, I've never drawn cyberpunk before. This was a fun experience! Thanks Jaina for the idea!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

World Notes: Max and Gavin

In Issue 24 of Code Name: Hunter, Gavin grabbed Prince Matti and forced Max to accept a favor. Gavin’s end of the bargain was that he’d let the young prince safely go and make sure the kid returned to the mortal world without a scratch. Max’s end of the favor was to remove his RCSI band and leave with Gavin.

Since Max’s acceptance of this favor, there’s been some insistence that there’s a loophole and that either Gavin, or myself, messed up by not spotting. My response to that is… duh!

Any contractual obligation with the Fey - and yes, favors count - contains the possibility of loopholes. Fey love to abuse the letter of the law and ignore the spirit of it. It’s part of what makes them so tricky.

Fey who observe mortals tend to be much more careful about their wording when it comes to favors. They’ve come to realize that mortals are cleverer than was previously thought. Puck learned this thanks to his dealings with Roderick, one of the few mortals who’s ever out-thought him.

Gavin, meanwhile, still thinks of mortals as weak minded and easily led fools. This has a tendency to bite him in the butt.

But Gavin has one major weakness that’s at work here, more than his tendency to underestimate mortals. Gavin, as we’ve proven multiple times in the past, is a hothead. He becomes impulsive and doesn’t stop to think when he’s angry. Max has exploited this a few times already.


Heck, he even used Gavin’s temper to cause a distraction in the Goblin Market.

At this point in events Gavin is not thinking clearly. All he sees is a weakened Max and a possible hostage Max is sworn to protect. Easy pickings.

Unfortunately for Gavin, while Max is also a bit of a hothead, he’s capable of remaining cool enough to quickly asses a situation and come up with a possible method for dealing with it. Admittedly, these are not always the best of plans, but he can still find a way around most situations.

The thing I don’t think most folks realize is just where Gavin actually went wrong. Being a little vague about when Max was to leave with him isn’t the real problem. No, Gavin’s main error was in threatening the Prince.

If he’d left the kid alone Max would have, eventually, surrendered. Think about it. Max has been in the Fey realm for almost a full day now without food or water. He’s been up and awake that whole time after being up all the previous day and night. He’s in a lot of pain due to his right arm being broken. This pain is compounded by possible broken ribs. The guy is exhausted. While Max wants to return home, his energy levels are nearly spent. He’s mortal, after all.  

Max going after Gavin now is a last-ditch effort. And all because Gavin made a move against the prince. Max knows the Fey like to abuse loopholes. While Gavin may promise to send the prince home without a scratch, Max knows a cunning Fey could interpret that in many ways. They could wait to send the child home too long past the twenty-four hour period, pop him through a gate which opens all the way across the country, or even send the child home unscratched… yet not breathing. All Gavin said was “I’ll let the princeling here go. Safe, and unharmed. I’ll see he gets back through the gate without a scratch.” There’s plenty of wiggle room for Gavin to safely release the prince - thereby meeting the first of the favor’s requirements - and yet harm the child once he’s released without scratching him.

One of Max’s jobs is protecting Prince Matti. Add to that Max’s general hyper-awareness of danger, and you have a fellow who’s going to plan for the worse in most situations. Heck, he even immediately went to protect the prince once he learned about Ish’s previous brush with a werewolf.

This protective streak of his is why Moraine insisted Max be there during the Treaty Night and specifically be in charge of the young prince’s welfare. She knows Max will do anything to protect the child. Even agreeing to a favor in the desperate hope he can turn the tables on Gavin.

As for whacking Gavin in the face with the RCSI band… that was one of Michael Pyrenees’ favorite moves. If all else fails, use the collar as a weapon.