It's official—May 15, 2012, is the release date for A Tree of Bones, the third and final Hexslinger Series instalment. As our blood-soaked gay porno black magic horse opera trilogy reaches its intense conclusion, meanwhile, I'm going to be counting down the days with various supplemental goodies, starting today with the beginning of a Hexslinger Alphabet Meme: Two letters per day, one concept per letter. Without further ado, then...
A is for—Arcanistry
As A Tree of Bones begins, Columbia University Doctor of Sciences Joachim Asbury—by now known colloquially as “Doc Hex”—is widely considered America's foremost expert in the relatively new field of Experimental Arcanistry. He's attained this position through the invention of Asbury's Manifold, a device which (in A Book of Tongues) finally gave non-hexacious humans the means to both identify unexpressed hexes and measure the power-fields of expressed ones by tracking the flow of “what the Celestials call ch'i” through the body. From there, the Manifold's applications have only widened: Latest-generation models can be used to deflect hexes' magic, channel it, or even momentarily suppress it, while Asbury's battlefield researches have created an entire sub-class of collared hexes who wrangle their own kind under Pinkerton Detective Agency supervision. While there's no doubt that this sort of black science may seem like the only logical weapon of choice when arrayed against the wild chaos-power of demigods like Ixchel Rainbow and her Enemy, however—plus the scarily organized “smaller” mages of Hex City itself—even Asbury has to admit that the technological learning curve has accelerated under pressure far past the point where he can predict it anymore, let alone control it. Can a full-bore magic vs. anti-magic Second Civil War be far behind?
B is for—Blood
Blood, bright-hot and flowery, is the fuel Dread Lady Ixchel's Machine runs on, the coinage that New World she wants to “bring on” will be paid for in. What's becoming clearer, however, is that the mostly-American hexes she and Reverend Rook have gathered around themselves to help Make It So are far less enchanted with the basic principle of self-sacrifice than the Mexica and Mayan flocks who once supported Ixchel's pantheon ever were. (Hell, even the Chinese and Shoshone ones don't like it much, for that matter.) As Rook notes, Americans—however hexacious in nature—are universally raised to expect to be paid for what they do and to keep what they've earned. And while they're perfectly willing to spill blood to get what they want—both their own, or that of anybody stupid enough get in their way—they also have very specific ideas about what constitutes the best use of that blood, once shed. Ixchel expects her hungers, being god-sized, to trump theirs; Rook thinks she may be fooling herself, though he isn't about to say that out loud. Not yet, anyhow.
Tomorrow: C and D!