Chapter 249: The Inn of the Black Door

on September 16, 2014 in Volume 2 Book 7: Courtly Manners, Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which A Complaint Is Registered

My first thought was that I’d opened a door onto a space adjacent to some sort of black, featureless void. I could see some sort of… foyer, I guess would be the word… with a lot of black wood and dark red velvet, fancy scrollwork, ornamental columns, flickering flames encased in glass bulbs in wall sconces… or maybe ensconced in them, I don’t know… and other stuff like that, but it went for a while and then started to fade out and finally trailed off completely, leaving only blackness.

I took a tentative step inside and the entryway got a little more complete. It was like visible space… expanded, by about the same distance that I’d moved. It happened again when I took another step forward.

It was eerie, but also eerily familiar. I couldn’t remember when I’d encountered a magical effect like this, and yet something about it just seemed almost normal. As I stood there trying to figure out what was happening… which seemed like a safer bet than going forward and hoping I could catch it in the act somehow… I found that the fuzzed-out details were growing slightly sharper and the area that wasn’t filled in yet becoming present, if not actually clear. I could see the far end of the hall, where there was a doorway with a heavy curtain.

It was kind of like my eyes were adjusting to the darkness, or something.

…in fact, it was exactly like that. At some point in my childhood, that had stopped happening, but for at least the first nine years of my life, I’d been no more capable of seeing in darkness than any human child. My demon blood gave me better than average nightvision, but something about the darkness beyond the black door was giving me a glimpse into how monumental an understatement that might be.

I’d seen magical darkness before, courtesy of Dee. It looked a black sphere or wall… pitch black, not glossy or shiny or anything, because there was no surface to it. It was just a space in which light could not exist, and my eyes couldn’t penetrate it. Probably a full demon’s could.

The darkness inside the door had to be magical darkness, but it was less absolute. It could apparently be banished… or at least dented… by the lamps on the walls, but the remnants were as impervious to my vision as Dee’s darkness was. Magical dimness, magical gloom… something like that.

So I understood what was happening, but not why. I could think of reasons why a place would have this kind of atmospheric effect… it would have been a hit at the Tomb of Horrors… but I couldn’t think of a good reason for it to be employed within the kind of establishment that Pala would frequent, much less stay at.

But then, I didn’t know that this was where Pala stayed. It could have simply been the road home, wherever home was while she was at university.

I thought I could hear a soft buzz of conversation and an occasional clink or clatter from beyond the curtain. That was reassuring. A picture was forming in my head of a restaurant or some other place of public accommodation. It would be much better to walk into something like that unannounced than to surprise a necromancer or other powerful wizard in their extradimensional mansion.

I pulled the curtain back instead of just pushing through. It did in fact seem to be a public establishment of some kind. The place’s style was an odd mix of dungeon chic, smoky nightclub, and chain restaurant.

The inside was a bit more brightly lit than the entryway, though it had its dark corners… in fact, whole portions of the serving floor seemed to be made up of dark corners. There were possibly more dark corners than could be explained by simple geometry. It made tower architecture seem rational.

The clientele seemed a bit more cosmopolitan than anything you’d find in the Enias River Valley, even on a college campus. There were a lot of apparent humans, along elves, dwarves, and orcs, and other folk that seemed more monstrous or harder to quantify. Some of them were dressed in really old-fashioned clothes, like old style armor or wizard robes, and some looked like they’d dressed up for a magic fiction and fantasy convention, though a lot… maybe a bare majority… were in normal street clothes or what I guess you’d call evening wear.

A long bar that seemed to wrap around a central column dominated the center of the room. There was a man behind it, a slim, boyish man wearing a trenchcoat over a white collared shirt with a loosened tie.

“Hello,” he said when he spotted me lurking in the doorway, with what sounded a bit like a muddled Kharoline accent that threatened to swallow the H. “Do not be shy. Come in, before you get trampled by minotaurs.”

“Thanks,” I said. I might have been shy about approaching him, but since he’d already spoken to me, he seemed like the person to talk to. I walked straight across to him. “What is this place?”

It wasn’t a trick question, but he thought about it before he answered.

“The inn of the black door,” he said.”What can I get you?”

“I… uh… what do you have?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.

“Surprisingly little, apparently,” he said, glancing around behind him. There was a soda fountain with brands I didn’t recognize, some fancy coffee-making equipment, a bunch of pump bottles of syrups. “It must be prohibition, where you’re from… ah, but an espresso machine! Dry campus, then?”


“We’re a local business,” he said, as if it explained everything. “We have to be. So… some sickeningly-sweet frozen concoction that only contains the barest suggestion of what can in fact be termed ‘coffee’, then?”

“Actually, I’m looking for someone,” I said.

A rail-thin woman in black denim with ratted-up orange and black hair slid up the bar. I noticed her hair because it reminded me of Nicki, though Nicki could have done it better. Whoever had done her glamour had made the black part look like a dye job that had somehow missed the roots.

“I owe you money or something?” she said to me, and I glanced away. “Another dark and stormy, Johnny.”

“But of course,” the man said, and as he turned around things went funny and for a moment I thought I saw rows of other bottles, and then my vision went black and blotchy and the next thing I saw was the ceiling.

The girl with the bad glam job was hovering over me.

“Careful there, tiger,” she said, holding out a hand, which I took. “You were trying to figure out how things work, weren’t you? You do not want to do that around here… believe me, this isn’t the place to pick at the corners when you see them start to peel. That’s why I like it here… Dandy can’t stand it.

“Thanks,” I said. The name Dandy jarred something loose in my head, something from the previous summer. “You… you were at that conference.”


“Interplanar something,” I said. “Last summer? Uh… at least, it was summer here. There. I think I had an argument with your… sister, I guess?”

“Oh, fuck,” she said, staring at me like she’d seen her own death. “It’s you.”

“Sorry?” I said, rocked back by the amount of withering bile she crammed into a single pronoun. My memory of anything having to do with the incident beyond the basic argument… which had been pretty stupid… was pretty indistinct, but I hadn’t had the impression this woman had especially agreed with her sister. “Really, though, it was more of an intellectual disagreement than anything else…”

“Look, kid, I don’t give a hairy shit about you putting Dandy in her place,” she said. “I just… if you had any idea what I’ve gone through, because of you…”

“Because of me? What the fuck did I do?”

“Fuck all for seven years, as far as I can tell,” she said. “But somehow that’s supposed to be more compelling… more general interest… than the Ongoing Adventures of Anyone Else! How does that make any sense, I ask you? Don’t answer… I don’t want to hear it.”

“Lady… I have literally no idea what the hell you’re talking about,” I said.

“Oh, just forget about it,” she said. She turned and snatched her drink… which looked suspiciously like an alcoholic beverage in what I thought was probably a highball glass, though I didn’t try to think about it… off the counter and turned to storm away, though she stopped before she’d gone far and shouted up at the ceiling, “Oh, and while I have your attention… renew our fucking website, okay? It’s up in November. That is, if you’re still pretending you have any plans for it.”

“Careful, Lily…” the man behind the counter warned.

“Fuck your fourth wall!” Lily said, turning and flipping him off. She was almost incandescent with rage… actually, her eyes might have been. They were practically glowing green. “I didn’t ask to be in this story… I didn’t ask to be in any story, but she wrote me anyway, and that comes with responsibilities!”

With that odd declaration, she turned again and resumed stomping off.

“…what is her problem?” I said, as much to myself as to the bartenderista.

“Our Tigerlily is simply feeling neglected by her creator,” a new voice… smooth and warm… said. I turned to see a well-groomed man with red hair, wearing an immaculate white suit. “A common complaint, part of the human condition, and no doubt often true.”

“Leave off, Morgenstern,” the bartender… Johnny, I guess… said. “She’s not one of yours.”

“No, not even close,” Morgenstern said. “But there’s no reason I can’t be polite… and no reason you can’t be, either. My dear, I believe you said that you were looking for someone?”

“Deal with me, not him,” Johnny said.

“Okay,” I said. Something about Morgenstern… and by that I mean everything about Morgenstern… made me uncomfortable anyway. “There’s this girl who goes to my school…”

“Oh, is she about yay high?” Johnny said, though his hands remained on the bar as he said this.

“Uh… how high?”

“My apologies,” he said. “What I meant for you to do is imagine a cheerleader jumping up in the air with her hands over her head, yelling ‘yay’. If that is not an accurate summation of both her height and her typical disposition, then I am afraid I do not know to whom you refer.”

“Yes,” I said. “Pala. She also goes by Tiny. She’s not… staying here, is she?”

“You must understand, I cannot answer that question,” he said. “As an inn, the privacy of our guests is paramount.”

“Ask him if she drinks here,” Morgenstern said.

“What’s the difference?” I said.

“Drinking establishments are bound by different rules than inns,” he said.

“It is true,” Johnny said. “As an innkeeper, I have certain responsibilities. As a ba…rista, I have others.”

“So… does she drink here?”

“Almost every night,” Johnny said. “She often dines here, too. But, I would think you would have an easier time finding her on your campus, if you both attend the same school. Or has something happened to our gentle giantess?”

“No, as far as I know, she’s fine,” I said. “I just… I needed to talk to her away from prying eyes, or ears. This is the only place that I could think of where I could find her off-campus. I just wasn’t one hundred percent sure that I had the right place.”

“Well, now that you’ve been here, you’ll always remember where the door is,” Johnny said.

“…yeah, that’s how it normally works,” I said. “On a kind of related subject, what’s up with the magical darkness?”

“What magical darkness?” Johnny said.

“I can see in the regular kind,” I said. “In here… not so much.”

“Oh,” he said. “I see, you are confused. We have regular darkness in here. You cannot see through it because it is not magical, or at least, not magical in the way your darkness is.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” I said.

“Do you not know that everything in your world is magic?”

Everything is magic,” I said. “If you want to be technical. But it’s like when you go to the supermarket and food says it was made without alchemical reagents or magical processing… that kind of thing drives me a little nuts, but I still understand what they mean. There’s normal magical darkness, and there’s magical magical darkness… you’ve got the magical magical kind.”

“I suppose it must seem that way to you,” he said. “But I assure, our darkness… magical or not… is quite normal.”

“Okay, whatever,” I said. The woman, Lily, had cautioned me against trying to figure things out, and as crazy as she had seemed to be in general, that seemed like sensible advice. If this was the world that she and her sisters were from, it would be really ironic for me to walk in and start… peeling at the corners, as Lily had put it. “Can you tell me what time Pala is usually hanging out around here?”

“…not as such, no,” he said.

“I’m asking you as a drink-server-person,” I said.

“Yes, but you must understand that we are on different clocks,” he said.

“…different what?”

“…do you have timezones?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“We are standing in a very different timezone,” he said.

“How does Pala know when to go to class?” I asked.

“Because the time for her is the time for her,” he said. “Just as the time for you is the time for you. If you were to come in together, it would be one thing, but…” He shrugged. “One gets used to it, I understand.”

“It doesn’t work that way for you?” I asked.

“It might, if I left more often,” he said.

“Our Johnny is just doing this as a hobby between wars,” Morgenstern said. “Very much like your charming gym teacher, I do believe.”

“There is no between,” Johnny said. “I am done.”

“So you say,” Morgenstern said. “But I remember a time when ‘more often’ would have been ‘ever’… time changes. You change. Everything changes.”

“So… uh… do you have any tips for how I could bump into Pala here?” I asked. I felt like I was in the middle of something that probably wasn’t healthy to be in the middle of, and I kind of really wanted to accomplish what I’d come there for and get out.

“You push me too far,” Johnny said, not paying any attention to me. “There are ways of barring you…”

“I live for the day that you invoke them, old friend,” Morgenstern said.

“You know, I’ll just come back… some other time,” I said, backing away, bumping into someone in the process.

“Oops.. .’scuse me. I was just going to offer to take a message for your friend,” a voice, annoying and cloyingly familiar, said from behind me. An image of the voice’s owner was already forming in my head as I turned, but then…

She was a waitress. I could tell that much by the fact that she had a tray full of the detritus of drinks: empty bottles, empty goblets, empty tankards. Coffee bottles. Coffee goblets. Coffee tankards. I didn’t think about it. Other than that… well, there was definitely something…

“Let me guess,” I said. “Your name’s Cerridwen, isn’t it?”

“What? No, it’s Jolie here,” she said. “Nobody knows me by that name, it’s a stupid name, and anyway, it’s way too common… well, not common here, but you know what I mean?”

“Jolie LaBelle… wait, pretty the beautiful?” I said, summoning up my meager knowledge of Kharoline words. I had to admit, it kind of fit. She was definitely better-looking than most of her kindred.

And, she was local.

“Look, do you want me to take a message or not?” she asked.

“Sorry, yes,” I said. “Thank you so much. You know who I’m talking about?”

“Is she a very tall gnome?”

“She’s a very short giant,” I said.

“Blonde, though, right?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Yeah, I know you mean,” she said.

I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that she did, but I didn’t want to push my luck any further than I had.

“Okay,” I said. “When she gets in tonight, tell her that Mackenzie will be looking for her here tomorrow after we’re done with class. Uh, if she doesn’t know who that is, tell her… Frybaby.”

“Really? You’re going to make fun of my name, but you call yourself that?” she said. “Seriously, that is the worst freaking superhero name I’ve ever heard.”

“…I’m not a superhero,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “Oh! Well, we don’t judge… I’ve got to… work. Stuff.”

“Wait, you’ll tell her, right?” I called as she hurried off. “This is important!”

“Yes! Totally!” she called back.

I guessed it would have to do.

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67 Responses to “Chapter 249: The Inn of the Black Door”

  1. Order of Chaos says:

    Trying to sort this all out is for those of us who have read AEs other works and I’m not amongst them yet but I got the drift of it.
    Yay for more of AEs storys showing up in November? Is that what that meant?
    Also why not just say “your ability to see in the dark depends on the properties of darkness in your world that are not shared with this one”?

    Current score: 0
    • Kriss says:

      I have a feeling that Johnny knows that if he said “your ability to see in the dark depends on the properties of darkness in your world that are not shared with this one” Mack would do her own head in trying to work out how the properties of darkness could be different, which may be hazardous for her

      Current score: 3
      • TheTurnipKing says:

        Really? It doesn’t seem all that complicated. It’s just a betweenplace.

        The fundamental difference is implied to the quantity of magic in the darkness. Which makes sense if it’s between someplace that has magic and someplace that does not.

        You can’t tell me that a show like Mech Knights never had an episode about transdimensional portals.

        Current score: 0
        • Trent Baker aka Zergonapal says:

          Sigh, its because in Mack’s world darkness is something, whereas in a normal sense of the word darkness is the absence of light.
          You’d think it would be the same, but the problem is that Mack’s world is permeated with magic and when you have evil wizards who are darkness this, darkness that, “I invoke the darkness” etc. assigning it properties and so darkness is essentially a thing now not just an absence of light.

          Current score: 2
          • Ilya says:

            Right, but what about simple closed room without windows? There shouldn’t be any darkness in there except absence of any light.

            Current score: 0
            • HiEv says:

              In a world where _everything_ is magical, even that absence of light (a.k.a. darkness) is magical.

              Mack can see through magical darkness, the kind that’s common on her world, just not magical magical darkness (the kind that’s created by magic on her world) or truly non-magical darkness (such as the kind that’s in this inn).

              Current score: 0
          • says:

            its like aristotelian physics with impetus vs real physics with momentum and force and such

            Current score: 0
  2. D. D. Webb says:

    Man, I don’t even know.

    But I’m laughing.

    Current score: 2
  3. RJ the wolf says:

    I think my brain broke a little bit. I’m half tempted to read that again just to try and understand it better. I mean as a World Builder I’ve used places like that before but some of the characters went over my head.

    Current score: 1
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      That’s why it works. They’re supposed to, so that the reader winds up as confused as Mack.

      Current score: 0
    • says:

      they’re from another abandoned story by the same author. thats why tigerlilly is so pissed

      Current score: 0
  4. Burnsidhe says:

    The Inn of the Black Door has.. darkness. The essential quality of darkness. The ideal of darkness. It is dark because it is dark.

    And the ideal quality of darkness is that you can’t see through it.

    Current score: 2
    • Mo says:

      Nah. There just isn’t any darkness in the world of MU that isn’t magical.

      Current score: 8
    • Rip says:

      Yeah, I think the Inn’s darkness is just like the darkness of our world: places that don’t happen to have many photons bouncing off them. Things like “essential qualities” are characteristic of the MUniverse, not the Inn. Mack’s eyes have the ability to see through her world’s version of darkness – her eyes may even make use of darkness to see – but don’t have any ability to see without photons in a space that uses them.

      I’m really excited that Mackenzie’s now a certified planewalker.

      Current score: 8
      • Nocker says:

        I think it’s a bit simpler than that.

        Their darkness is “normal” in that it doesn’t have any properties that would be unusual for anyone. If that many of it’s clients come from magical darkness and the lights leave so many dark shadows, it’s probably just not our definition of normal.

        Their light illuminates spaces and leaves shadows, because that’s what light does. You might be able to walk in with night vision goggles and get the same effect.

        Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      The Inn has spots where there is no light. Like our world ‘darkness’ is just the absence of light.

      That isn’t how it works in Mackenzie’s world though, in her world everything is made of magic. The light is magic, the darkness is magic. In her world darkness is as much a thing as light is, and there are beings who can see as much by the presence of darkness as by light (or presumably only by darkness).

      Dark vision is what one would call this ability, it’s not like night vision (ability to see in low-light, like a cat), it’s the ability to see the darkness. Dark Elves have this, as do Demons. Half Demons seem to only have this to a degree.

      In the world of MU any dark place contains “darkness”, just as light places contain “light”. So Mackenzie can see in those places.

      The Inn however only has light, and lack of light. Since the shadows do not contain any “darkness” Mackenzie can not see in them – she doesn’t have night vision, she has dark vision. Humans would probably fail to notice this, Dee would probably be freaked out by it.

      Current score: 9
      • TheTurnipKing says:

        I’d say that it’s probably more the case that MU darkness contains the property of magic rather than the other way around. It’s a magical darkness that more or less obeys the same rules of darkness as non-magic darkness, but for different reasons.

        However, non-magical light doesn’t necessarily interact the same way with magical darkness, and vice versa. Pull out a electric torch in pitch magical darkness and it might not illuminate anything at all.

        Current score: 0
      • Iain says:

        This is the greatest explanation I have ever heard for darkvision, and I’m going to steal it for my extra-planar D&D game!

        Current score: 0
    • says:

      just the opposite actually.

      it has darkness like WE have darkness.

      mac is used to darckness that is a thing. something that is dark because it is dark. same way her world has cold that is cold because it is cold… rather than our “cold” which is in fact a lack of heat.

      her demon blood lets her see in darkness, not see in an absence of light. the inn doesn’t have any darkness so mac can’t see in it.

      Current score: 0
  5. cbob says:

    Ah, Mr Adams, your table is.

    Current score: 0
  6. Jason says:


    Current score: 0
  7. sliversith says:

    Can anyone direct me to the site containing the Sands of Time Club? 🙁 damnably hard to find various works of our good AE

    Current score: 2
  8. Jason says:

    Starharbor page doesn’t load, but I googled and found this old OT:

    Current score: 0
  9. Glenn says:

    If I recall correctly, Morgenstern is Satan in the Star Harbour Nights universe. Now that he’s canon in the MU universe, I wonder if he and Mack’s father know each other, or if they come from the same plane. If he’s an ally or rival of Mack’s father, we might be seeing more of him eventually.
    And I hope Mack will take Amaranth to the Tavern at some point. Given that some of the other universes AE has written about are more ‘scientific’ than MU, Amaranth might be better prepared to understand them than Mack is, since Amaranth has studied science with the Mechans.

    Current score: 0
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      The Mechans don’t “study” science. They can’t, any more than we can study magic.

      Current score: 0
      • zeel says:

        The funny thing is that they could easily go to another world where it works, and see the difference for themselves.

        Current score: 1
        • TheTurnipKing says:

          I imagine many do, when given the opportunity.

          IIRC, The problem isn’t lack of knowledge. It’s that it literally doesn’t work back home.

          Which would tie into what we’re seeing here: The interaction between matter with magic and matter without is not exactly equal.

          Current score: 0
          • Glenn says:

            The Mechans have somehow acquired a set of hypothesis about how things might work in a non magical world that seems at least somewhat internally self consistent. They may have gotten some of their ideas from accounts of how things work in other universes. But I think they can use logic and mathematics, which are well developed techniques in Mack’s world, to constructively think about the implications of these ideas.
            For instance, the Mechans can ask themselves; if the moon and stars aren’t lights on the dome of the sky, what are they? If there weren’t a dome of the sky, the moon might be a world that’s two hundred thousand miles away, and the stars might be objects like the sun. But the stars are so much smaller than the sun. Why would they appear smaller? They could be much further away. Mathematically speaking, precisely how far away would they have to be to look as small as they do?
            In other words, while the Mechans can’t test their ideas experimentally (because the universe would get mad), they can make observations (for example, using a telescope to study the moon as they did in book 1) and try to come up with theoretical models that fit those observations. They could also try to test their own theoretical models by showing they either were or were not internally self consistent.
            Careful observation and mathematical modelling are two important aspects of science, so I think it’s fair to say Amaranth could be studying at least some aspects of science with the Mechans, even though the theoretical models they come up with don’t really explain how their own world works.

            Current score: 0
            • zeel says:

              Oh it’s all perfectly scientific I’m sure. But the world they live in doesn’t obey the rules. The Mechans seem to refuse to believe that their world simply won’t work that way.

              Current score: 0
          • Trent Baker aka Zergonapal says:

            That isn’t quite true, scientific concepts can work in the MUverse, its just that they get contaminated by magic.

            Current score: 0
      • Nocker says:

        Mechanical arts are really under appreciated in the MUniverse, even beyond science.

        The best enchanted crossbow Hydra Corps. could get was “only” to fire every other second despite automated reloading, and had to use teleportation and low draw weight to get that far(making up the damage with even more enchantments). For all the complex enchanting they do that’s still only roughly on par with the novelty weapons we make here, and someone with more time and funding could probably beat it soundly(I.E., someone with the same R&D budget actual military research would have).

        But weapons and armor seem like they’re kind of a haphazard thing compared to the enchantments put on them. The actual military takes nondescript leather cheastplates and slaps a bunch of heavy enchantments on them instead of just biting the bullet and giving them mail or metal plates.

        But hey, I guess that just means more work for Mackenzie. Keegan though has her work cut out for her.

        Current score: 0
        • zeel says:

          Leather is lighter and easier to move in. If you could enchant it to be as strong as steal why would you use metal? Magic isn’t a bandaid, it’s a very powerful force, and it’s better than anything you could produce without it.

          Current score: 0
          • Anthony says:

            Well for starters, if you can put a magical +X on leather to make it as strong as steel, just imagine what that +X would do to actual steel!

            Current score: 1
          • Nocker says:

            I think you have the wrong idea about armor.

            For the most part, armor isn’t exactly hard to move in. The idea of steel automatically making you bulky and cumbersome is an arbitrary abstraction from DND. The actual weight difference between a metal and leather cuirass isn’t nearly that great. One won’t be blocking joints any more than the other. On a trained soldier the difference is negligible, hence why the real life examples are overwhelmingly made of metal, and that’s across the board for Europe and Asia alike. Steel, especially modern steel or it’s equivalent, protects so much better than leather it isn’t even funny.

            Not to mention that enchantments are prone to breaking. Any diabolist or demonblood will damage them with moves even Mackenzie doesn’t even need to aim for(I.E. “fill the room with fire.”) Or anyone working with running water since that also breaks enchantments(or if your soldier needs to cross a river on foot). Or anyone who damages the leather to a significant degree. Or if it gets overloaded somehow and *explodes* while worn. These all being problems steel with waterproofing never has.

            Current score: 0
            • zeel says:

              I MU enchantments are significantly more robust than you think. The only absolute weakness we know of is that if the focus of the enchantment is sufficiently damaged the enchantment collapses.

              Fire would not do any special harm to the enchantment, and considering that we are talking about armor I’m sure one of those enchantments is probably fireproofing anyway. Physical damage would need to actually overcome the enchantment to begin with, so anything that could break the enchantment that way would have destroyed the armor anyway.

              The water thing removes magical traces and latent magic. Actual enchantments would not be washed away (remember that Mackenzie’s objection to using her mirror in the tub was about chance of physically breaking the glass on hard tile, not of dunking it).

              As for the overloading thing this only applies to magical charges, like in a wand, power stone, or similar item. The issue is that they hold a reservoir of energy, so if something breaks the enchantment the energy is released violently. Remember the broken mock box, which (unlike Mackenzie’s staff) simply broke – Mackenzie explains this principal to Callahan (cabbage head much?). Armor would be like the box, and simply become unenchanted if it was destroyed.

              It also seems that damage resisting spells might be destroyed by physical abuse, leaving their focus unharmed. For example when fighting Sooni Mackenzie improves the resistance of both her shit and a “curtain” of air. Both spells are broken by magical attacks, but they still manage to protect her. Though in this case the spells were very weak, non-permanent, and cast in haste with minimal skill.

              On another note, where does it ever say that armies weren’t well equipped?

              Current score: 0
            • Nocker says:

              Not fire, DEMON fire. Which is the stuff demons and part demons throw around, possibly among others. One summoned demon can explicitly destroy enchanted equipment. Using demons seems like it obviously breaks geneva convention equivalents but half demons are fair game and Dan had no problem breaking past an enchanted lock.

              And that still ignores the main point above. That is to say Metal would logically be stronger and easier to enchant without actually sacrificing any notable mobility.

              Current score: 0
            • zeel says:

              Well we don’t know the specific properties of demon fire, but we do know that Callahans everyday atire is impervious to it (and that’s without actually covering her completely), so it’s safe to assume it’s not that much more powerful than normal fire. We do know the burns won’t heal on their own though.

              As to meterials, steel probably would still be stronger and it might be easier to enchant (though only marginally), but as far as costs go it may or may not be cheaper to enchant better leather. We don’t know.

              We also have no reason to belive (that I can remember) that armies don’t use steel armor.

              We do know that at least one magazine article did a pro/con of strenghtened clothes vs. lightened armor (for casual use) and determind that sufficiently enchanted armor (made more flexible and lighter) would be better. Mackenzie dissagrees with that conclusion – but it was specifically talking about everyday use, not about combat gear.

              Current score: 0
            • Nocker says:

              The Imperial Legion is only mentioned as using leather, not steel. They could use Steel but it’s never mentioned to my knowledge. Orcs and Ogres aren’t portrayed as using any notable armor, and even a pistol crossbow with no speed or impact enchantments of note will still do notable damage to them. In a skirmish context, it’s mentioned that elven tactics also involve light armor, though we have no idea what that’s actually MADE of.

              Most the the Plate armor observed is in the hands of private individuals and isn’t steel. Puddy has her gold stuff, D’arby the paladin has silver armor, the legendary Hasan used bronze(which is evidently both stronger than cold iron and really convenient to enchant, though that seems to be shared by noble metals and their alloys in general, hence the gold and silver), and Pala had a breastplate of nondescript metal. The only exception I can find is a random gladiator who was using an iron breastplate, not steel, which is also a private individual.

              As for demon fire, there’s an explicit difference in it’s quality based on who’s using it and how. Mackenzie just kind of blindly throws it about without much practice, and hers is a fraction of what a full steel-melting demonfire can accomplish, at least according to her. Dan can also cut through enchanted steel, but it’s obvious that it’s something he had to practice at and focus on instead of just throw around on instinct like his sister does.

              Current score: 0
            • zeel says:

              When did Dan do that?

              Current score: 0
    • Lunaroki says:

      Defining what is “canon” when folks from diverse realities meet in a place that is connected to all those realities but isn’t really any of them can get very tricksy indeed. I would hesitate very much to call Morgenstern “canon” in the MUniverse just yet. Let him put in an appearance in Mack’s world outside of the Inn and then I might agree with you there.

      Current score: 2
      • zeel says:

        I don’t think it makes a difference. Technically all the characters from Star Harbor (and Void Dogs, and probably some others) are canon to Tales on a meta level. That doesn’t make them important or relevant though.

        What is canon is that most if not all the stories written by AE are contained within the same multiverse, and inter-universal travel is possible. None of this is relevant to the story at hand until it become relevant. This kind of travel seems to be highly limited, and often overlooked. Events in one world (and laws of reality and physics) are isolated from the others. Some worlds seems more closely related than others.

        There is no reason to believe that cross-over characters are important to the story until they become important. That being said there is no reason to believe that this “Morgenstern” character has ever been to Mackenzie’s universe, influenced events there, or met any characters who live there.

        Current score: 1
    • Daemion says:

      Morgenstern is German and translates to Morningstar. So yes, he’s Lucifer. Last time he was in the story he was used as anti-spy device so that certain conversations were hidden from seers. He complained about that a little. 😉

      He’s not actually canon in the MUniverse because he has never been in it. The chapter here describes Mack leaving her universe temporarily and nothing more so far.

      Current score: 0
    • says:

      its an “our trolls are different” thing… the blue dragon man already said that the one constant in the multiverse seems to be humans. when the bartender told alt universe satan mac wasn’t one of his he said “no, not at all, not even close” because demons are entirely different things in his world than mac’s

      the man and morgenstern are definitely not from the same plane. hes from an entirely different multiverse

      Current score: 0
  10. Reb says:

    So… anyone else worried about someone who would describe herself as a very short giant and a very tall gnome, and is blonde? Because I have a bad feeling…

    Current score: 3
    • Glenn says:

      If you are thinking of Puddie LaBelle, the waitress Jolie LaBelle is a member of the same family as Puddie. If Jolie is thinking of Puddie, she’d probably be able to refer to her by name to Mack.

      Current score: 1
  11. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    It looked * a black sphere or wall…

    Seems to be missing a “like” after “looked”.

    There were a lot of apparent humans, along * elves, dwarves, and orcs, and other folk

    Missing a “with” after “along” I do believe.

    “The inn of the black door,” he said.”What can I get you?”

    Needs a space between “said.” and the opening quotes.

    That’s why I like it here… Dandy can’t stand it.

    No closing quotes at the end of this paragraph.

    Oops.. .’scuse me. I was just going to offer to take a message for your friend,”

    The space between “Oops…” and “‘scuse” slipped into the middle of the ellipsis by accident.

    Current score: 0
  12. scifi_chic says:

    “Yeah, I know you mean” – whom?

    Current score: 0
    • Order of Chaos says:

      It was someone talking and few people use whom day-to-day.

      Current score: 0
      • Morumotto says:

        True, but even the rest would probably use “who.”

        Current score: 1
      • Cadnawes says:

        I do. It usually throws people for a loop, though.

        Current score: 0
  13. tijay says:

    I should not have read that stoned

    Current score: 5
  14. Angnor says:

    Well, here’s hoping the Author is at least a little interested in bringing Star Harbor back, at least once in a while. 🙂

    Current score: 1
  15. Zathras IX says:

    Cunning linguistics:
    “Pretty the beautiful” beats
    “Beautiful white sow”

    Current score: 2
  16. Vex says:


    *waves to Lilly, knowing she’ll see this even if she doesn’t care*

    It’s been seven long, long years. Goodness. I’m so ready to spend more time with those three.

    Current score: 0
  17. Oni says:

    So… when are those sites being brought back up, anyways?

    Current score: 0
  18. Arancaytar says:

    slim, boyish man wearing a trenchcoat

    I’m not the only one whose mind went “Tennant” here, right?

    Current score: 0
  19. Arancaytar says:

    Also, wow, seven years. I don’t remember when exactly I started reading this story, but I know it must have been early days, some time in 2007.

    Current score: 0