The following questions and answers include spoilers for future, as-yet-unpublished books.

The questions and answers (addressed on social media and Discord) derive from this compilation document.

Sun Court Edit

Q: Will Max get to improve his shapeshifting abilities?

KDE: No. Buuuuut... Let's just say I have plans for where Max CAN develop power, since he seems to struggle with "gifts" he was supposed to have received from his lineage. And he'll work his ass off for them. You'll get a hint in HANGED MAN, and then *really* see it at play in TAROT 3.

Q: Can Max speak fae?

KDE: No.

Q: I'm so curious about the bond between Rune and Brand. Is that going to be a plot issue? How has it shaped them up to now?

KDE: It will continue growing stronger -- that's a real element in HANGED MAN. The question is what TYPE of Companions will they become? Rune will struggle with that, because Brand is the most important thing in his world, and he wants equal footing between them.

Q: What color are Rune's eyes when they're not glowing orange? And how tall is he?

KDE: His eyes are gray. How do I remember this, since I only seem to describe Brand and Addam's eyes? Because Brand was paired with Rune to resemble him as closely as possible.Some companions are used as decoys for their Atlantean scion. But as the infants grew up, Brand's eyes stayed true blue, and Rune's eyes went more silvery. But past that, there's a remote resemblance in their height, build, hair color. Oh - Rune is 5'10, in my head."

Q: If Brand "started out" human, does that mean he no longer is?

KDE: He's still human, maybe a little faster & stronger, and he has a mental bond with Rune. The key difference is that some magics will now work on him, whereas not on normal humans, like healing; and when Rune rejuvenates some day, Brand will be able to rejuvenate as well.

Followup: Does Brand as a human age faster than Rune?

KDE: Not at all. It's one of the few physical benefits of the bond -- he ages as slow as Rune does.

Q: Why didn't Rune try to kiss Brand again?

KDE: Nice try, but I'm silent on this issue :)

Followup: Does Quinn know?

KDE: Yes, it's why Rune almost killed him.

Q: Is there a specific, personal, reason Rune detests mind control so much? Or is it for the reason that it’s gross to force people to do things against their will?

KDE: I cannot answer this, except to say that the trauma he experienced when he was 15 has given him reason to detest anything that compromises his will and control. It's become one of the most basic elements of his character.

Q: Is Rune’s life force getting drained each time he uses his sabre [just like arcana majeure]?

KDE: Yes, his life is getting drained irrevocably everytime he uses his sabre. It is a genuinely powerful device, and like most powerful Atlantean devices, they have a cost.

Q: Why does Rune sometimes have to touch his sigils to activate the spell and sometimes he can just concentrate on them for a moment?

KDE: Touch releases the stored spell immediately, which he prefers in combat. Sometimes that's not feasible - it's under his pants, or around his ankle - so he needs to concentrate. It takes a second longer to work, though; his willpower first needs to make a connection.

Q: If Brand is short for Brandon, is Rune short for anything?

KDE: It is not. Just Rune. And I'm not entirely sure why -- other than it's been one of my go-to names for the character archetype since I was just a kid myself.

Q: Information about Rune's sabre?

KDE: It is a very, very special & rare weapon. More so than Rune even knows. More info in book 6.

Q: Did Rune have trainers and teachers, who taught him things like what the Terracotta Army golems are, or is he mostly self-taught?

KDE: Self-taught largely; excellent tutors from his youth, before Sun Estate fell; and 10 years of servitude to the Tower as a condition of the Tower's protection when Rune's court fell. There's a lot of psychology going on here, too. Rune hates wasteful scions. Mainly because he believes he once WAS a wasteful scion. So him becoming one of the most learned spell-casters? It's a way of him trying to be different than the teen in him that died that night.

Q: What is Rune's favourite book?

KDE: I get the idea Rune reads largely non-fiction, and always something that may expand his knowledge base. And maybe sneaks cheesy space operas on the side.

Q: Did Rune attend Magnus while Brand was in bodyguard school, or is he all home tutored?

KDE: Rune did attend Magnus briefly, but dropped out when his court fell; Brand was never really in a bodyguard school so much as he was trained by other Companions, mainly Mayan (in later years), and Sun House trainers early on.

Q: When Rune's arms were on fire he pulled Brand through the Tower's blessfire barrier but Brand wasn't hurt. Does Rune's Aspect not hurt anyone he doesn't want to burn?

KDE: YES! Exactly. It's also why he doesn't burn his clothes off every time.

Q: How did Half House get it’s name? Is it based off an existing building or was it an original that you made up?

KDE: The land developer only had a small slice of land leftover after designing the cul de sac, and built a narrow townhouse. Half House is actually inspired by the famous skinny NYC brownstones.

Q: What happened to the friend who nicknamed Matthias Max?

KDE: Max lost Lady Lovers' favor at one point in his childhood, and all kindness & familiar relations with it.

Q: Who was the woman who kicked Rune back out of death?

KDE: Nice try :)

Q: How did you choose the Sun Arcana for your main protagonist out of all the major arcana?

KDE: The Sun Card is traditionally the major arcana card for artists and entertainers. It is, sort of, my patron saint, in a way....

Q: Will Rune ever get to see the Atlantean Homeland?

KDE: ...oh yes.

Q: Why blue flowers? Is that because of the type of tree the bannister was made from, or Rune's favorite color, or...?

KDE: No special reason. Though they are the color of Brand's eyes, aren't they?

Q: Deleted Tweet, but something to do with Rune's mother

KDE: Sufficient to say that Rune's father spoke very, very rarely to Rune about his mother, except to say that she died when he was an infant, and was a political alliance with a non-political house.

Q: Would it be possible for Rune to store blessfire in his mass sigil and use it to create some kind of a barrier that sweeps through the Sun estate?

KDE: Oh, yes, you could store blessfire in a mass sigil, but it may take a day or more or non-stop meditating; it's a complicated spell to store. And they'll employ techniques like that to cleanse the estate. At the start of TAROT 3, it's been made borderline habitable, enough to move everyone in -- which will be comedy in itself, everyone under one roof.

Q: If Rune and Brand can feel each other's emotions, does one of them watching porn get the other one feeling horny?

KDE: Rune and Brand try very hard to shut out the bond when they're, er, aroused; it's a practiced skill, but they've been doing it their entire life.

Q: How did Rune injure his shoulder?

KDE: Rune's shoulder was hurt during the attack on Sun Estate, and it's gotten worse as he's aged.

Q: Is there a reason Brand always waits 6 minutes?

KDE: Yes, Brand waits 6 minutes because 5 is predictable; it's not an uncommon tactic for tactical types in the real world.

Q: Did Lord Sun name Brand or did his biological parents? If his parents did, did they give him a middle name?

KDE: Brand's parents named him, and Lord Sun opted to keep the name... No middle name, though.

Q: Does Rune ever boyfriend-shirt with Addam's shirts or jackets? I need to picture him drowning in oversized shirts after he stays over lol

KDE: Boyfriend-shirt? We'll see what happens at the start of TAROT 3, when it's more or less time to talk about where Addam and Quinn will live, now that Rune has a minimally-rehabilitated and still-sort-of-possible-dangerous estate.

Q: Does Lord Tower eat Like That all the time, or just when he's trying to impress?

KDE: Lord Tower eats like that with Rune, because he tries to impress Rune, though he'd never admit it.

Q: Was Rune's reference to a man bun a joke, or did Brand grow his hair out long enough for real braids and a man bun? We need to know for science.

KDE: In HANGED MAN, Brand's hair is getting long enough to BARELY pull it into a braid. It looks pretty pathetic as a manbun/ponytail.

Q: Has Rune thought about going to his Westlands compound to see if it was also raided? There might be sigils there.

KDE: Rune's westlands compound WILL be a setting in the future; but he knows it's void of any sort of treasure, because he went there at one point and emptied it out. He rents it, and the rent helps pay property taxes for Half House.

Followup: I'm laughing at the idea of anyone renting a WESTLANDS COMPOUND like an Airbnb, are they crazy?!

KDE: Greater or Lesser Houses would rent the compound, because there's a certain "fuck you" social status implicit in being strong enough to protect yourself and your family in a Westlands estate.

Q: Did Rune's Aspect gain blessfire from touching Addam's Holy Knight Aspect in the Westlands? Or was it always there?

KDE: Rune still isn't sure WHAT happened with Addam in the Westlands, when he pumped power into Addam's Aspect; and as for whether he'd always had blessfire in his own aspect? Hard to tell, because he didn't manifest actual flames until this novel. But Rune suspects his magic is evolving according to present need.

Q: Is there a special reason the prophecy calls rune the most beautiful/compelling man of his generation? has this prophecy been given before or is it more to do with how long atlanteans live?

KDE: "Generation" in Atlantis has a much longer time frame -- maybe 50 years to our own 20/30. And indeed, there are other people who have been at the Center of things, and there will be people again.

Q: Will Rune ever get therapy?

KDE: That's a rather insightful question. Forget his past -- Rune can't go through the types of things he's been going through without feeling the strain at some point. I try to handle the idea of surviving trauma very realistically.

Q: I am just curious what everybody's favorite food/sweet is

KDE: Brand likes sweet protein bars; Rune likes Hostess snack food; Max needs to experiment

Q: What DID happen with Brand's tie?

KDE: Anytime Brand needs his tie fixed, it's gonna be Rune doing it.

Q: If the battleship is rank with psychic trauma and residue, and it's going to be sanctified...could it be made into a very powerful Sanctum?

KDE: Battleship as a sanctum? What an idea. But I think Rune is the type of person that would prefer to put the trauma to rest, in this particular case, then benefit from it.

Q: Why doesn't Rune trust Brand with that 'secret' of his?

KDE: Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies. That's a revelation for TAROT 3.

Q: Where did Brand pick up his swearing habit?

KDE: From Mayan.

Q: Were Rune and Brand confused about  a unicorn attacking because they're considered fictional in that universe?

KDE: Unicorns are peaceful, so Brand didn't understand why one would attack.

Q: Remember how The Hierophant had a human fan club? Does Rune ever get a fan club?

KDE: Oh if you only knew.....

Q: Why is Rune so certain Addam isn't his talla?

KDE: Nice try.

Q: How was Brand raised? Was he treated more like a second kid by Rune’s parents or raised primarily by other people?

KDE: If you asked Rune, he'd say... Brand was raised like a second kid by Rune's father and governesses. Rune's mother died when Rune was still a very young baby -- he has no memories of her. Rune and Brand lived the lives of twins until they were separated for early training when they were around 5 -- Brand in self-defense and weapons; Rune in magic. You'll learn a lot more about this.

Q: After the sun court fell did rune go to the tower or did the tower find rune?

KDE: Rune went to the Tower for official protection, but the Tower immediately stepped in to help Rune in the immediate fall of his estate (did I ever include the scene where Rune work up alone in the hospital after the night he was tortured? I wrote it; can't remember if it made the final draft....) --> KDE shared this deleted scene on Twitter.

Q: Where/when did Max learn to drive?

KDE: To say Max "learned" to drive is a bad approximation of the word.

Q: Was Rune just being cute or in the Runeiverse is Jesus literally a former Lord Hanged Man?

KDE: Rune was being cute -- Lord Hanged Man has nothing to do with Jesus.

Q: When Rune fires his sabre it costs life force, but what about when he makes blades?

KDE: Manifesting blades and weapons from his sabre costs life force too.

Q: Will we see the button again?

KDE: Yes!

Q: Will the kids be in the same year at Magnus?

KDE: Max and Quinn will be together, since the levels go by prior education/skill levels as Atlanteans age differently, but Anna will be in different level.

Q: What is Brand's ringtone for Mayan?

KDE: Once, after a disagreement, Mayan grudgingly admitted he was wrong and that Brand's course of action had been the better one. Brand recorded the apology, and uses it as Mayan's ringtone now.

Q: Does Brand only dance at clubs or has Rune ever caught him unawares in the basement shaking his ass to an embarrassing song?

KDE: Only after a rare beer.

Q: I know Brand didn't come to Rune till a few weeks after Rune was born, but was that because Brand wasn't born yet? Who is older?

KDE: Stay tuned for future TAROT novela.... You'll learn more about Brand's birth and birth family.

Q: If Tower was Rune's dad's best friend, why wasn't he made Rune's godfather too? Does Rune have one?

KDE: Lord Sun didn't bother with the practice. He was a single Dad for most of Rune's life, and always a bit distracted with other concerns.

Q: Will we learn more about Rune’s mother, and if so, when?

KDE: Oh yes. Rune only knows she died when he was a baby. He has no memories of her. I will say that I've already put a pretty big hint on one of my novels that signals something is Amiss.

Q: Where did Lord Sun (Sr.) keep Beacon Towers between the 1920s when he stole it and 1940s when they started buying Nantucket property? Did he have land somewhere else, like Tower is connected to Spain and Justice has a compound in Irkutsk? Is that a place Rune might visit?

KDE: He actually built on Nantucket before anyone else, and kept the compound shielded from normal humans. I've mentioned before that American Indian blood runs in Rune's veins -- Wampanoag. They were the original settlers of Nantucket, actually. So Rune's family has always had ties to the island and American Northeast.

Q: Did the Sun Court receive any sigils following the raid of the Gallows?

KDE: OH YES. That's something that's addressed early in TAROT 3.

Q: What model of Saturn is the car?

KDE: Ion. Based on my own poor lost Saturn.

Q: When do Rune and Brand get a minivan to hold all those kids?

KDE: HAH! That'd be a fun scene to write.

Q: What is Layne's preferred orientation, or have they sorted that out yet? I'm torn between nonbinary and genderfluid. (And what about Ciaran and his sundresses)

KDE: Layne is still sorting it out. I'm using the pronouns they/them for now. I really look forward to following them on their journey!

Q: If Rune used to mispronounce Brand into Band-aid, did Brand ever call Rune "Wune"?

KDE: Oh I'm sure.

Q: How old is the main cast of characters, like Rune, Brand, Addam, Ciaran (Lady Death who should def become a member of the main cast b/c i am in love with her)

KDE: Atlanteans begin aging slower in their twenties. Their natural lifespan, without rejuvenation treatment, is well into their hundreds. Rune and Brand are in their mid-thirties, but look like human men in their late twenties. Addam is older than Rune; his early forties, and looks like he's in his early thirties. Ciaran refuses to discuss his age; and Lady Death looks young because she's been rejuvenated at least once -- but only recently. She was a teenager during the Atlantean War, and took the throne when her mother was injured. You'll meet the matriarch Lady Death in TAROT 3.

Dagger Throne (The Tower) Edit

Q: Can you reassure us Lord Tower a good guy, and not the evil final boss?

KDE: Nice try, but I'm silent on this issue :)

Q: Does anyone 420 blaze it?  I gotta know.

KDE: Ciaran loves all types of pharmaceuticals. And the Tower.

Q: Why don't Lord Tower and Mayan have as personal a bond?

KDE: I think the Tower and Mayan DO have a deep bond, they just operate differently. Mayan is the Tower's trusted Chief of Security, which is a vast role. Addam's brother, Christian, married his Companion, Eve. Rune & Brand are partners (and...everything?). Very different utilization

Q: Rune once thought Lord Tower was the most beautiful man in all creation - what changed his mind?

KDE: He started working for him, and saw how the Tower's means are always justified by his ends. In particular, Rune saw how bystanders can get caught up as collateral damage. That changed the way he viewed not only Lord Tower: but the very nature of Atlantean rulers.

Q: Why doesn't Lord Tower have a golem of Brand, if he has one of Rune?

KDE: They are very expensive and difficult to maintain. It's not so much surprising that he doesn't have a golem of Brand, as it's meant to be startling that he has one of Rune....

Followup: Hmmm...nope. I don't buy it. Because Brand's right, for the Rune golem to *ever* be effective, it would have to have a Brand. Which means Lord Tower knew if the situation was ever bad enough to need the Rune golem, he'd have to take Rune away from Brand to make use of it.

KDE: I'm not going to lie. There's something really big here I can't talk about. I won't even hint about it. But it does come out in TAROT 3, and it's....significant.

Q: Both Lord Tower and Ashton mentioned "having" Brand whipped, not whipping him themselves. Is that someone's job, like a public spectacle or a place of punishment someone is brought to have it done? Or is it up to the guards of that scion/arcana? Did Mayan whip Brand?

KDE: It's up to Lord Tower how it was carried out. And since I intend to return to this plot point in the second trilogy, I'm not going to answer any more........... ;)

Q: Why did Rune choose Lord Tower to go to for protection after the Sun throne fell? Or did Lord Tower reach out with an offer of protection in exchange for indentured services rendered?

KDE: Lord Tower was Lord Sun's best friend and closest ally. The Tower immediately saw to Rune's health care when he was recovered; and then the negotiations for future protection began. The Tower can be kind, and also very, very practical.

Q: "The Tower's version of ending things involved a whole lot of collateral damage" the Tower the reason the Amazons are a myth now?

KDE: No! He would have very, very much respected old and powerful cultures whenever possible. But average people stupid enough not to run out of the building he needs to destroy? He gives those people less thought. And who says the Amazons are gone?

Q: Does Lord Tower eat Like That all the time, or just when he's trying to impress?

KDE: Lord Tower eats like that with Rune, because he tries to impress Rune, though he'd never admit it.

Q: Why did the waiter get all nervous when Lord Tower ordered yartsa gunbu? Because he didn't know if they had it in the restaurant at the crack of dawn? Because he personally thinks they're gross? Because anything to do with the Hanged Man made him uncomfortable? Or (my personal favorite) because Lord Tower and The Catamite Prince were ordering "the Viagra of the Himalayas" for breakfast?

KDE: I think the waiter just wondered why the hell you'd order a mushroom like that on an omlet, though I like Egg's "Viagra of the Himalayas" awkwardness, which should be canon

Q: Why did the tower hide rune's use of the arcana majeure from the rest of the arcanum?

KDE: The Tower wanted Rune to hide his use of the arcana majeure because he felt Rune wasn't ready to assume the full weight of being an Arcana -- it targets you, in a way; it would have made Rune the prey of less scrupulous Arcana, even.

Q: Brand was selected to be a lookalike, Eve was selected for intelligence...why was Mayan selected, way back in the day?

KDE: Mayan was selected as a Companion not quite as a decoy, though his northern African heritage was close to the Tower's own southern spanish ancestry; but Mayan's family was wealthy and powerful, and there were some secret considerations in the background; almost like an economic alliance.

Q: Back in The Last Sun, Rune describes Lord Tower as having a "constant five-o'clock shadow" and I am just begging to know if Lord Tower uses a sigil of glamor magic to maintain that

KDE: Lord Tower does not use a sigil to glamor his five o'clock shadow; but he reminds me of my cousin Dan, who needs to shave in the morning AND afternoon if he wants to avoid an actual beard.

Q: When Lord Tower was boating around in the 1500s, was he already Lord Tower and pulling the 1500s equivalent of Lord Wheel drinking his way through America, or was he an Heir Scion off on a journey to find himself or something?

KDE: AH!!! Good question! When Lord Tower did that Amazon trip, he was a heir scion technically. His father was still alive. But that was near the time he assumed the throne -- he's been Lord Tower for hundreds of years.

Q: How does Lord Tower recharge the mounted jewel painting sigils, if he can't bring them into his sanctum with him?

KDE: His office IS also a sanctum. He has multiple spaces to store spells.

Justice Court Edit

Q: If Christian and Eve were meant to resemble each other as babies [since some Companions are chosen to resemble their Scions], then are either Christian or his wife trans?

KDE: Alas, no. Lady Justice had her older children bond with humans who showed high intelligence potential. She wanted them to be as much political advisor as bodyguard. Only Christian is left from that time. You'll finally meet him and Eve in TAROT 3.

Q: Why doesn't Lady Justice see and utilise the potential of Quinn's powers?"

KDE: 1) It's complicated, and there's no easy answer. First, many, many Atlanteans were killed during the War last century. Lady Justice lost almost all her consorts, and Addam has older brothers and sisters who died before he was born. That affected Lady Justice and her ability to bond. 2) Quinn was VERY sickly when he was born, and no one thought he'd make it. Lady Justice just never formed an attachment. She'd lost a lot in her life, and there are Atlantean taboos around weakness, so she just....never attached to Quinn. 3) Addam hides the true extent of Quinn's gifts from his family, though it got much harder as Quinn got older. But by then, the dismissive relationship between Quinn and his mother never really repaired. 4) While she's a good ally, I don't think Lady Justice is a good person. This will come to a head in TAROT 3, but you'll see the seeds for some of it in HANGED MAN. Can't say more about that. It becomes a VERY sore point with Rune.

Q: Does Addam have at least one good parent?

KDE: Not really. His father isn't in the picture; and Lady Justice has always had multiple consorts at once. She's very Atlantean in that respect. It's probably why Addam doesn't flinch at the idea of multiple marriage partners.

Q: During your writing, do you know what Quinn’s predictions will be beforehand or do you plug them in after the fact? I loved the callback to the “motor running.”

KDE: I am a very, very, very obsessive outliner, so I almost always know the relationship in what Quinn says to when he says it, before I even start writing. And when it comes to faaaar future glimpses? Yeah, I've planned those deliberately, too; especially in LAST SUN.

Q: Did Quinn know that Rune kissed Brand because he was alive when it happened and he's been Seeing his whole life, or did he look forward to a time when someone told him about it so know he can know the details of that future convo in the present, or is he just (almost) omnipotent?

KDE: Quinn sees forward, not back, so how does he know the past? Because in one of the probably futures he sees, someone told him.


KDE:.....I will say this: There is a very practical side to Addam, almost political. And while it's in the very best interests & for the very best ends, it's there. And I look forward to exploring that too. But yeah -- there's a reason he has the aspect of a Knight.

Q: Why couldn't Quinn See why Ashton was at the hospital? Some kind of Seer-blocking magic? Is that something that could be applied to Quinn to help him, better than the medicine that makes him sick?

KDE: It was a form of mental shielding that Rurik provided Ashton; not unlike the chemistry that made Ashton not trigger aggression in the recarnates. And perhaps Ciaran figured that out, too, because at the start of HANGED MAN, they're trying to medicate Quinn and dull his visions...

Q: How legit was Addam's question about children and group marriage? WAS he just leveraging for a kiss, or did he mean his questions?

KDE: It was very legit. Addam likes children; and he comes from a court where multiple marital alliances are the norm. But, also, he was seriously crushing on Rune at that point

Followup: Was there a specific moment when Addam's admiration for Rune went from 'I should invite him into the shower' to 'I want this one to keep me'? Or was it more gradual?

KDE: When Rune invited Quinn to the barbecue. That is the sort of gesture that would change everything for Addam.

Q: Are Lady Justice's consorts her personal harem, exclusive to her, or does group marriage mean they are all intermarried? And does she divorce them when they're no longer young and beautiful?

KDE: They're all intermarried, though given the specific nature of Lady Justice's position, she does tend to dominate the relationship. Group marriages are common in a lot of houses. And Atlanteans can rejuvenate as they age, so no one grows old unless they want to.

Q: Addam mentions how all he ever got for sigils are platinum disks. So I'm wondering if platinum disks were the standard object used for sigil making or if it's different for every court?

KDE: No -- just an affectation of the Crusader Throne. It's different for every court; and not every court even has a consistent theme.

Q: What DID Addam do on his walkabouts, since it wasn't whores, drugs, or malted spirits?

KDE: He would go to Old Places and just...walk around. There are a few places in the world other than Atlantis where old, old magic exists. Africa. The Amazon. Ancient native American settlements -- now mostly paved over in America. (Sigh. America.) Ireland....

Q: Does Addam theme the music he dances? Like, do the lyrics or the tone of the song play a part in the spell?

KDE: He does if he can, yes. Higher tempo music for aggressive magic; instrumental or acoustic for stealth magic; calmer music for defensive spells.

Q: Are Quinn's powers genetic? Is there someone else in the Justice court with powers, or did it come from his dad's side?

KDE: Interesting question.... No one living, at least. I know that much.

Q: Why is there a mummified body in the wall of the moral certainty's compound?

KDE: Good heavens, with scions like Ashton and Geoffrey in their lineage? Why WOULDN'T they have a mummified body in their walls? I'm surprised Rune only saw one. ;)

Q: Was the razor really bought as an investment for future generations, or was it Retail Therapy because Rune didn't like Addam's beard in The Sunken Mall?

KDE: Addam is an impulse shopper, but when he buys ridiculously expensive things he can't justify, he gives an equal donation to charity afterwards in guilt.

Q: How did Ciaran and Quinn meet? I'd love an entire novella on those boys interacting

KDE: I'm not sure when Ciaran and Quinn met; though I strongly suspect Addam helped facilitate it, out of fear for the well-being of a young, powerful Quinn --- Hmm, I'll need to explore that at some point.

Q: Why DID Addam get tattoos, if most Scions avoid them for magical reasons?

KDE: Addam got tattoos because he went through a bit of a second childhood when Quinn turned 12 and was more or less a "nice young man".

Q: Which hand did Addam lose?

KDE: I imagine his right hand. It is not his dominant hand; so he won't have to relearn TOO much. But he'll still need Brand to help him retrain with weapons.

Q: Will we ever learn what Addam said to Quinn outside of Sathorn Unique Tower?

KDE: I don't think I'll repeat what Addam said, but of course it's perfectly Addam.

Q: Will we ever learn what the Papaya Incident was?

KDE: Quinn thought Addam wouldn't mind if he slipped through a portal to India to pick up some fresh papaya in the market, even though Quinn was only 9 and he intended to bring some back for Addam too.

Q: I am just curious what everybody's favorite food/sweet is

KDE: Quinn likes fresh fruit... Addam? Hmmm. Will need to think.......

Q: Why didn't Quinn just tell Addam the medicine didn't help and made him feel ill?

KDE: Quinn didn't tell Addam because he knew how worried Addam is about the mental burden Quinn carries, and whether it'll cause him to fracture one day; and also, maybe, deep down, Quinn is scared Addam will find another medication that DOES work.

Q: Has Addam ever been clubbing and what does he wear?

KDE: Addam goes clubbing in tight clothes, and he has very few hang-ups about nudity.

Q: What did uh, Addam DO with the non-reattachable hand. Bury it? Donate it to a hungry Westlands creature?

KDE: I think it was rather mundanely destroyed by hospital staff, to prevent anyone from using the flesh and blood for dark magic.

Q: Why is Saint Nicholas the Justice scions last name? Is there a reasoning behind it?

KDE: Courts started using saint names back when they revealed themselves to the human world. They thought it made them more approachable and less alien. All of my saint names are researched. If you look up SAINT NICHOLAS, you'll see that somewhere, there's a Nicholas who is a patron saint of justice. SAINT JOHN is a patron saint of artists and creativity -- which was always the outward-facing front of the Sun Court. And so on.

Ciaran Edit

Note: This section includes references to a deleted scene from The Hanged Man that includes a major spoiler.

Q: How did Rune know Ciaran prior to the story, enough that he had his phone number?

KDE: One of Ciaran's main sources of income - allegedly - is trafficking in knowledge. He sells info at exorbitant rates. So Rune and Brand would have interacted with him from time to time - though this was the first time they ever approached anything like friendliness.

Q: Does Ciaran know what really happened to the sun court?

KDE: I can't say what Ciaran knows about the Sun Court, if anything

Q: Did Lord Tower know about Ciaran?

KDE: Lord Tower does NOT know about Ciaran, though he has suspicions; in one version of the deleted scene, the very first thing Ciaran says back to Rune is, "Does he know?" -- meaning did Rune tell Lord Tower. (Right now, Lord Tower just sees Ciaran as an oddly lucid Principality who has a penchant for very, very good information)

Q: "There is also one at the Magician's estate in the Westlands." "Is there now," Ciaran said, eyes glinting. Was this Ciaran being pretend-surprised, or was this Ciaran learning of something that  his fake did behind his back?

KDE: That's Ciaran being both pretend-surprised, and also a bit pissed that other people know about his imbued circle. One of my bread crumbs.

Q: Why does Ciaran need the Tower's checks if he's that loaded?

KDE: Ciaran doesn't draw on Hex Throne resources often, so he has a separate source of funds from his "Principality" mask.

Q: How did Ciaran and Quinn meet? I'd love an entire novella on those boys interacting

KDE: I'm not sure when Ciaran and Quinn met; though I strongly suspect Addam helped facilitate it, out of fear for the well-being of a young, powerful Quinn --- Hmm, I'll need to explore that at some point.

Q: When Brand said Ciaran "bleeds glitter"...was that because Ciaran gets hurt in The Sunken Mall or somewhere and has literally actually used a spell to make his blood sparkle, which I would not put past him, or is it a figure of speech?

KDE: Ciaran doesn't really bleed glitter, that's just Brand running off his mouth.

Q: Why WAS Ciaran sitting on Max at the Westlands compound? Rune didn't want to know but I do

KDE: Hah! Ciaran was sitting on Max because Max was all "I'm going after Rune to help and there's nothing you can do to stop me"

Q: I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to ask about Ciaran's pearl strands and hockey sticks dream, but I'm curious anyway

KDE: That's actually a tiny injoke -- it was a line in the very first novel I wrote, years back.....Only coming out of Ciaran's lips, it sounds firmly NSFW.

Other Arcana Edit

Q: Do Lord Hierophant's tastes only run ancient, or does he have a penchant for anime

KDE: Lord Hierophant likes old objects imbued with power.... You haven't seen the last of that soldier, either.

Q: Why is it Lady Tolerance instead of Lady Temperance?

KDE: Lady Temperence became Lady Tolerance because I f***ed up, and need to hire a much better copyeditor next time around; I'm so mortified.

Q: Did Exodus obliterate Ashton's sigils, or were they part of his minimal remains?

KDE: Ashton's sigil's remained; it would take a lot more to destroy one than Exodus; I suppose Rune could have claimed them in conquest, once they were found -- but knowing Rune, he would have yielded them back to Ashton's father

Q: Are the werecats and werewolves not both from the Beast throne? Why doesn't Lord Devil handle that as his own court affair?

KDE: The cats and wolves are indeed part of the Beast Throne; and the entire nature of the schism will be a huge part of TAROT 5.

Q: Will we get to meet more principalities?

KDE: Yes!

Q: Do Atlantean Arcana have diplomatic immunity in human countries, like world leaders do?

KDE: Good question. Wait until TAROT 4, when Rune & All have their American roadtrip.

Q: Are females also called scions or is there a vocabulary variant?

KDE: Yes. Females are scions too.

Q: .....was that Scion during the ifrit chase okay after the fall and the broken glass?

KDE: YES! He survived. Most scions ARE smart enough to always have at least one Healing spell on them!

Worldbuilding Edit

Q: Would you ever write a prequel?

KDE: At this I've never been a fan of prequels. That said, I do have two ideas. One is a sort of faux-documentary on everything that happened when Atlantis announced itself to the world. The second is a flash-forward novel, twenty years in the future. Let's just say....That I know where Rune's story ends, but there are so many other characters, and one of them grows up to be a gleeful, puck-like mischief-maker. I have this idea of him roaming America as a Robin Hood.

Q: Does New Atlantis have their own music and entertainment industry? Minotaur sitcoms? Keeping Up With the Scions? Scion boy/girl groups?

KDE: YES!! I actually have a side story arc planned eventually where Rune is on the set of a popular show. But Atlanteans have this weird blend of technology & magic, where it's like a quantum 3-D experience, where the angles you can see the actors from are infinite. I got so curious imagining this. If the audience has that much agency, what does that do to the acting? You have to act as if every nuance is being captured at every second. And the "stage" is always empty other than the actors - the tech/magic allows that. It changes everything.

Q: How/why does a scion get a companion? Why doesn’t every scion have one?

KDE: It's a HUGE investment & gamble. Literally, decades of training to only hope the Companion gets along with his scion; and survives youth; etc. And it also traumatizes the survivor when one dies -- which was rampant after the World War. So it's largely a discontinued practice.

Q: Will we explore the talla bond any in HANGED MAN? I’m curious as to how that works exactly.

KDE: Not so much in HANGED MAN, but it’s a deep and vital element of TAROT 3.

Q: Unviewable tweet, but something to do with the world war, plague, love, and marriages

KDE: Many, many "centennials" were killed during the Atlantean World War, and the plague that decimated the Atlantis homeland. (A centennial is an Atlantean who's been rejuvenated and crossed the 100 year mark.) So it's a hard subject. And a lot of Arcana Courts & Houses form marital alliances, not necessarily marriages based on love. There isn't necessarily the strong family dynamic, so much as there's a strong dynamic with the family name. The closeness between Addam & his siblings is an outlier.

Q: The three trilogy arcs?

KDE: There are 3 trilogy arcs. First: what is Rune keeping from the reader? Second: what secrets are being kept from Rune? Third: huge, messy, powerful, outsized endgame.

Q: Unviewable tweet, but something to do with Aspects

KDE: Atlantean Aspects have been on the wane. Addam is an extreme outlier -- and Rune, less so, because you'd expect the heir to a throne to have a strong Aspect. Usually the Aspect, too, mimics the individual, not the court -- though the line gets blurry again with heirs. So in other words, Rune's Aspect will come to share a lot of similarities with his father's (albeit...evolved). But Addam's Aspect -- that of an armored knight -- is something wholly unique to Addam, not the Justice Court.

Q: How did you pick which buildings became the landscape of New Atlantis?

KDE: I have followed/bookmarked dozens & dozens of ruin clickbait sites, and websites, and urban exploration videos, etc. Every now & then the backstory of one of those places stands out, so I put it in a special folder called "FUCKING USE THIS", which I review before every novel.

Q: Question:  how did you come up with the idea of the Moral Certainties, and what other power blocs might be out there?

KDE: That's actually tarot-related, believe it or not. In some versions of some decks, the Hermit, Temperance, Justice, and Strength are called the "moral virtue" cards. I built a social quick out of that. That's my favorite part of worldbuilding; to adopt something grounded in our reality, then imagine how it would play out in a real, living, breathing fantasy society. The slightest thing -- like the  ability to generate light with a cantrip -- upends SO MUCH "normal world" stuff.

Q: Saint names?

KDE: Right before they revealed themselves to the world, and also about the time they started investing more in human economy, they switched to Saint names to be more palatable to the humans. It is not an old or long-standing tradition.

Q: Does the Companion bond only work with an Atlantean/human pair? Or could the magic bond two Atlanteans together?

KDE: That has never been tried. Then again, the reason they use humans is because a human can't use sigils, and will never covet the sigils of their Atlantean scion.

Followup KDE: It's against the rules. Part of the reason a human is ideal is because they can't use magic. They can never covet the sigils of their Atlantean, because they can never use them.

Q: How do you get inspiration for writing characters? Do you base characters off people in your own life or do you have characteristics in mind and go from there?

KDE: I rarely base characters off people I know. But I do have "archetype" characters that usually find a way into my writing, like Rune and Brand. The one that surprised me most was Quinn. He's not like anyone I've ever written, and his tiny part turned into a permanent addition.

Q: Where do the Atlanteans get the human companions? Do they just snatch them up from wherever? Did human parents volunteer them, psuedo-sacrifice like?

KDE: I'd imagine, some courts would snatch human children. Back when Atlantis was hidden, and more...violent. Now it's different. At best, a form of adoption. At worst? It's almost transactional.

Q: How much were the Atlanteans involved in human affairs before the Atlantean War? Did they mostly ignore humans or were they influencing politics/sciences etc. for their own benefit?

KDE: Mostly economical. They had financial interests; kept secret of course. They only intervened in politics if it was a matter which compromised their hidden homeland. And they've contributed very little to human advancement. That's actually a Big Point later in the story

Q: Why are some Arcanum called Courts, but others have different names?

KDE: Just convention & variety. They formed over many centuries, and some were translated from other languages. No special mystery there!

Q: Will we learn more about how the art of sigil-making was lost, eventually?

KDE: Oh yes.

Q: Did you talk to/study with professionals for writing the investigative/military parts of the plot+characters?

KDE: I research. Seriously -- I have a ton of books and internet links on detective tips, forensic science, bodyguard techniques, combat, etc. Especially when Rune and Brand search a room -- I did a lot of research on how to thoroughly dismantle a room for an effective search.

Q: Were there null threads and areas in the OG Atlantis or are those a New Atlantis development?

KDE: They're global -- they exist even in the human lands. But they're most common in areas where magic thrives.

Q: Does all magic have smell? It says that domestic wards are citrus scented, so I’m curious if other types of wards/magic have different scents?

KDE: Not always. And most of the time it's a metaphor. Whenever Rune releases a spell, there's a moment before the magic balances, and Rune's brain interprets that as physical sensations. Like cold water trickling from his head; carbonation in his stomach; the warmth of a sunburn.

Q: Addam mentions how all he ever got for sigils are platinum disks. So I'm wondering if platinum disks were the standard object used for sigil making or if it's different for every court?

KDE: No -- just an affectation of the Crusader Throne. It's different for every court; and not every court even has a consistent theme.

Q: A sigil is about $100k, a mass sigil is about a million dollars... How much was Addam's hand and is it just a rare sigil shape or is it a mass sigil too?

KDE: Rare sigils are much, much more expensive. Rune's "thigh" sigil would actually fetch quite a price, given it's unusual utility. The Hanged Man's noose, which is a mass sigil, is likely worth MILLIONS given it's notoriety.

Q: Exile commune?

KDE: Lady Lovers, Ella, and Lord Tower's wife all live in exile communities...It's like a future plot-point or something...

Followup: Will we learn more about the exile communities/possibly meet Tower's wife/revisit Ella?

KDE: YES! The exile community is in America, and Rune and Brand are taking an American roadtrip in a coming novel....... Paths will cross.

Q: Lady Lovers said "it is a good sigil." Does the quality of sigils vary (outside of mass sigils being more powerful?) And how do mass sigils get made differently from normal ones?

KDE: They don't, really. She was being more fond than accurate. Certain sigils are more expensive because they are notorious, though. There's a particular mass sigil in HANGED MAN that would be worth millions, for instance, because of its very history. As for how mass sigils are made differently? It's time & energy. It could take YEARS to craft a single sigil. It could take MULTIPLE magic-users working in coordination YEARS to craft a mass sigil. This is a loose comparison -- it's a dead art, after all, so no one really knows

Q: Can a Scion tell which spell they have stored in each of their own sigils? I'm imagining horrible screwups if Addam or Quinn's belt slips to the left by an inch and they release the wrong matching sigil at a crucial time

KDE: It is possible to forget what spell you've stored in a sigil, yes; you can't tell once it's stored.... Addam and Quinn were trained on the positioning of spells on their belt.

Q: Do certain materials for sigils work better for certain spells? For example, could you put bless fire in a plastic ringpop ring?

KDE: No, it doesn't matter at all what materials they use. Any is strong enough to store any type of magic.

Q: What gods, generally, do the characters keep referencing when they swear?

KDE: They don't really have gods -- it's a very agnostic type of religion, and possible even self-referential. The one thing they all believe in is the metaphor of the River: a single stream washing us from birth to death, and then taking us out into the unknown sea.

Q: Where did Ciaran pick up the expression "bars and banks"?

KDE: Bars and Banks is my own curse word; it relates to their association of the River with religion -- bars and banks, as in sandbars and sandbanks (you have no idea how deep my notes go)

Q: Brand says, "I love it when family turns on each other" when talking about Ashton and later Lord Hermit calls Rune, brother. Are the members of different courts blood related or are these just references to them all being a part of the Tarot courts?

KDE: Rune was referring to the family-like bond between the Hermit, Strength, Justice and Temperance. But true Arcana do call each other "brother" and "sister". It's not necessarily genetic; it's just a symbol of their power bloc.

Followup: To what was Rune referring when he called Ashton inbred? Was it a general insult, or is that a moral certainties thing? Ella had that album of powerful men, and her brothers were in it, too...

KDE: A general insult -- a lot of average Atlanteans make fun of the bloodline-swapping of Greater Houses.

Q: When Ashton is trying to get Rune to kill him he says that "They won't risk my spirit being called back to confess" How is a soul "called back" and can a called back soul not lie?

KDE: Yes, but it's not precise or predictable, and it doesn't always work. But it's a possibility -- and Rune will not allow that.

Q: How do you become a Principality? Are they Atlanteans with unusual powers who do not fit in any of the courts?

KDE: Any random Atlantean who is born with an insane amount of power can be considered a Principality. It's more or less an Arcana without a court. But that sort of random birth is rare.

Q: Have you signed the whole 9 book series?

KDE: I only had a 2-book contract with Pyr, but we'll be talking further now that HANGED MAN is out. Regardless, TAROT 3 (and beyond) will be a reality. I've got enough support and sales to guarantee that you'll see more published, one way or another.

Followup from a tweet: KDE sent information on the remaining books to a friend in his will, just in case, because of the current world situation [Covid-19]. Truly we don't deserve this man.

Q: Do Atlanteans have middle names?

KDE: Some Atlanteans have middle names, yes.

Q: What all does an imbued circle do? Does it help with translocation? Because if it was just for summoning, I'd expect Lord Hierophant, the best summoner on the planet, to be the one to have it?

KDE: The imbued circle is for powerful works of magic; but its not needed for translocation. But it also ties into the fact that the Magician is not just the most powerful magic-user on the island ---- the Magician is also one of the richest. INSANELY rich. The Magician and the Chariot have a partnership that provides portal technology to the human world; one of the only magics that Atlantis freely shares with humans. And they make an insane, monopolistic amount of money off it. So while the Hierophant may want an imbued circle, he's not necessarily wealthy enough to build or maintain it. Only someone like the Magician is. The rest of the Arcanum freely can use the imbued circle at the Convocation, though.

Q: Did Exodus obliterate Ashton's sigils, or were they part of his minimal remains?

KDE: Ashton's sigil's remained; it would take a lot more to destroy one than Exodus; I suppose Rune could have claimed them in conquest, once they were found -- but knowing Rune, he would have yielded them back to Ashton's father

Q: Is there some sort of legitimate market for sigils, or only a black one? Where did Quinn buy Addam's hand? And if Rune recognized a unique sigil from sun court on a Scion, would it necessarily indicate involvement in the raid, or just that they bought a stolen sigil? Would ownership revert, since he is the sun arcana and the sigil was not freely given away from his house, or does purchase of a conquested sigil trump initial ownership? Is the sigil weakened by the fact that it was never freely given away from initial ownership?

KDE: There are markets for sigils, and protocols around yielding them, and you will ABSOLUTELY SEE THAT in TAROT 3, in an actual shopping scene

Q: Can principalities use the arcana majeure?

KDE: Principalities can definitely use the arcana majeure; it's a sign of Arcana-level power, and they are largely Arcana without the court.

Q: We know there are cosmectic spells. We know there are cock rings sigils. ARE THERE SEX SPELLS?

KDE: Yes, there are sex spells in Atlantis; I have a whole secondary storyline around the ancient use of Flesh Magic, but I haven't found a novel to fit it into yet.

Q: The process of audiobook making is intriguing to me and I don’t know a lot about it. So, I’m just curious how closely did you and Josh Hurley work to create the audiobook for both books? There are some inflections in his narrations that I’m curious if they were notes from you or things he did that you liked?

KDE: I love that audiobook question!!! Josh gets all the credit. Sometimes he asks for pronunciation help, but otherwise, he's just a wonderfully professional and talented guy.

Q: Can Principalities have Aspects just like they can use Arcana Majeur? How did you come up with the idea of Principalities in the first place? Can Principalities vie for the creation of an Arcana Court for themselves, assuming they gather the resources to maintain one?

KDE: Principalities! I'm not the first author to use this word. For me, it echoes back to Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, when a soliloquy uses the phrase "of princes and principalities." I needed a phrase to talk about freelance powers, and that seemed to work well. Principalities have Aspects, and can use Arcana Majeure. You will definitely see more of Ciaran. And yes, principalities can become Arcana, or marry into greater houses as heirs. In HANGED MAN, Rune notes that Anna is more or less a principality; but he quickly named her heir to protect her. But a lot of principalities seem to like their freedom. Being an Arcana comes with some tedious responsibilities --- more on that in TAROT 3.

Q: Are Atlanteans entitled to rejuvenation under law, or is it something only those who can afford it have access to?

KDE: Rejuvenation! Ahhaah -- oh you'll learn more about that in TAROT 3 definitely. I will say yes, every Atlantean can take advantage of it -- if they can afford the treatment. Humans cannot, unless they are bonded to an Atlantean.

Q: Does breeding with a human weaken magic? I'm wondering about Christian, as Heir Scion, taking his human companion as formal consort.

KDE: Having children with human doesn't necessarily dilute the bloodline; but it diminishes the chance that the child will have magic. There are different social schools of thought on that, though.

Q: Is there something magical in the companion bond MAKING the companion feel the need to protect the scion, or they are just trained from a baby and develop the loyalty and emotional need themselves?

KDE: The desire to protect your Atlantean is nurtured in a Companion. But sometimes the bond cuts both ways, when you share a headspace with another. In a very real way, it affects Rune the same way it does Brand -- the loyalty. And what Rune and Brand have is very, very rare. There's a reason the practice of Companions is in decline -- because it doesn't always work out so well.

Q: How do you come up with your Atlantean words?

KDE: Some are actual myth; some are actually global; and others are just rattling around my head --- OH NO! Wait! It's a latin hybrid, too. Like the phrase for "a compelling man"

Q: Is the academy just for scions or is it a rich/powerful kid situation or are we talking like hogwarts meets boston situation

KDE: It's for the children of court, lesser houses, and greater houses. I imagine they also take children who show strong magical potential too. The purpose of Magnus Academy is to create the next generation of powerful magic users.

Q: Can you tell us more about the River? Is it meant to be a river of water, or is it symbolic, like a river of time or something?

KDE: It's a symbolic metaphor for the flow of a person's life, ending where the river meets the unknown sea.

Q: Do any Companions have spouses or families? It seems virtually impossible given the Companion’s singular focus on their bondmate?

KDE: I wouldnt be surprised! You'll see a lot more Companion pairings in future novels....

Q: Is there anything that could break or damage a Companion bond?

KDE: Death. I'm sure there are other ways, too; but if so it'd likely be forbidden magic.

Q: Do go-ryos, wraiths, etc count as wild magic or death magic?

KDE: It varies. Some simply ARE.

Q: Is there any character you haven’t written much yet that you’re particularly excited to write in future books?

KDE: Nice try. If I answered this, you'd know I'm holding back secrets on that character..... And Ciaran isn't the only one who isn't what he pretends to be.

Q: How would you describe the New Atlantean accent? I assume Rune and Brand don't actually have Josh Hurley accents because Rune takes the time to describe Lord Wheel's American drawl. Is it like vaguely Eurotrash? Also, are they mostly speaking English or is it translated?

KDE: Actually, given their interests and roots in other parts of the human world, I imagine there are a ton of global accents. But Old Atlantean sounds vaguely like a romance language. And English language is the standard tongue.

Q: Is there a new Atlantis currency or is it just us dollars?

KDE: I imagine dollars, given their proximity to America. But I'm sure there's a ton of global currency, too; and trading is still a valid system of commerce for special items.

Q: You said vampires and werewolves exist in this world. What kind are we talking? On a scale from Twilight to World of Darkness power level, how strong are they?

KDE: Weres are insanely strong. You'll learn more about them when Lord Devil joins the scene in TAROT 5 and TAROT 6. He's a transgender man, by the way. But vampires are oddly less powerful (except variations like the riptide vampires from LAST SUN). I actually have quite a few notes on them, to make them feel different and unique from other published stories. Just not sure when it'll fit into things....

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