The Letters Page: Episode 12
Time to talk about NightMist! Lots of big story stuff here.
Before the show even properly starts, Christopher jumps in to apologize for not posting an Interlude last week. We recorded it! It was really great. And then, the files got eaten by the internet, somehow. We have new plans in place to keep that from happening in the future (we're glad that we lost an Interlude and not an entire Episode), but we'll just have to re-record all that stuff this Friday after we record the Gloomweaver episode. Sorry about that! We're pretty annoyed about it, but what can be done? Just gotta move on.
Also! A few episodes ago we mentioned that a Letters Page Bingo type thing could be fun. Lo and behold, it has happened! Awesome Letters Page listener Kyle Grossman has created THIRTY different Letters Page Bingo cards, and you can find them all here!
Now, onto the episode itself!
Run Time: 78:02
Before going on to introducing Faye Diamond, we first talk about her father Thomas, and before that, his father Joe Diamond. (As we discuss in the beginning of the Q&A portion, yes, that Joe Diamond from the game Arkham Horror crosses over with Faye Diamond from Sentinel Comics, due to a creation connection.)
Adam and Christopher get into sound effects and weird voices during this episode.
So, that happened. But it doesn't last! In a couple of ways, actually.
Around 43:00, we talk about NightMist encountering and losing to Progeny. This story is told during the OblivAeon lead-up ARG. And the next story about NightMist and The Harpy is also told during that ARG.
And that is the end of the NightMist story.
- Faye Diamond is actually a pretty early character for Sentinel Comics and was around plenty of time prior to her becoming "Nightmist". Thomas Diamond was created in the days of crime/mystery comics and his daughter, Faye, was introduced as a sidekick accompanying him (and her age was inconsistently presented).
- Joe Diamond of Diamond Investigations started the family business - searching into the mysteries of the unknown. Followed by his son Thomas. Faye grew up with her father as a private investigator, her mother died in childbirth. He tried to instill in her the idea that things always had explanations; mysteries could be solved; there's no such thing as magic. As he aged he developed Alzheimer's Disease and she takes over the business. However, some of the things he starts to say as a result of his illness don't add up when compared to what she'd been told.
- He talks about when his father disappeared, August 9, 1938, when previously she'd been told that he had died. He also mentions a wall safe hidden in the office, but she can't get the combination out of him. Surprising nobody, the combination corresponds to the date of Joe's disappearance. The contents are a key and a piece of paper. The key is marked 2C and the paper has an address on it. Having the keen investigative mind that she has, she's able to follow the clues presented to an old storage facility. [The guys try to role-play the interaction between Faye and the old man running the front office at around the 12 minute mark.]
- She opens the storage locker corresponding to the key. She finds: lots of full filing cabinets, books, papers, scrolls, and a strange bronze amulet (which she pockets). The files were odd, as they pertained to supernatural things/events that she'd been taught don't exist. Many of them were from her grandfather, but also her fathers - some of these latter indicating her father's investigation into Joe's disappearance, but this ended in his late 30s when he met Faye's mother and decided to put it behind him. She brings everything back to her office.
- Further digging finds lots of references to cults/covens/lodges/secret societies/etc. based around Arkham, Massachusetts. In true
H.P. Lovecraft-protagonist all of Cthulhu Player Characterprivate investigator fashion, she decides that the best course of action upon hearing about such groups is to go there to find out more. Her documents are decades out of date, but she's still able to corroborate a bunch of it and even manages to get in contact with a still-active coven of "witches". She's been dealing with this nonsense for a few days now, and isn't convinced, but goes to the meeting under the guise of wanting to join up. It's kind of sad, just people getting together and hanging out - "like a knitting circle, but instead of knitting they do 'magic'." She joins and finds that they actually can do some magic - nothing super impressive, minor telekinesis, remote viewing, "some light hexing".
- They then teach her to cast Mists of R'lyeh [pretty great attempts to pronounce this at 17:30]. The amulet that she took from the storage facility reacts strongly to her casting this, though. It burns white hot, and her flinching from that results in her being cast, momentarily, into another realm full of mists and bizarre sights. She passes out and wakes up back in the normal reality, but not fully as now she's partially mist - different parts of her fluctuating between states, mostly parts of her hidden in shade. The coven isn't comfortable with how this went (it's showing much more "power" or whatever than they're normally dealing with) and ask her to leave.
- She tries going back to her normal investigation job, but having random body parts dissolve into mist becomes increasingly frustrating. She's eventually visited by a very old Chinese man who introduces himself as "the Master". Now this is odd, but she figures it might be a paying job so agrees to talk to him. He seems to already know about her mist problem and says that he was drawn to her by her aura. He concentrates on her and manages to solidify her somewhat. This display prompts her to want to learn how to control herself.
- He begins to train her and, once he hears her experiences, turns out to be familiar with the spell and amulet involved. He brings her a book with spells that she can learn about her condition and other magic. She's now getting into the "old family business" of paranormal investigation and starts using the name Nightmist. This is her starting point in Sentinel Comics with her own leading role. Freedom Five Annual #6 is a big fight against Gloomweaver's cultists, but they can't deal with the magic going on. Wraith had heard of this Nightmist person and Tachyon runs over to Rook City real quick to enlist her help. We get all of the backstory stuff in a 6-issue follow-up series to this introduction called The Curse.
- She gets her own book, Nightmist, after a few more guest appearances in other stories (heroes run into some sort of magic problem and call on her to help - these issues are popular so they give her her own title). Her solo book does really well and winds up involved in a lot of the metaplot across SC titles.
- She's part of the hero group that falls through a time portal into Silver Gulch (and since time travel is mostly multiversal travel, this experience gives her greater insight into how different realities are related - gains a limited pre- and post-cognition of events).
- She single-handedly prevent members of the Blade Battalion from breaking Baron Blade out of prison.
- She handles a return of Voss after the initial invasion story (a smaller guerrilla strike) where she winds up opening a portal to another reality and banishes him.
- Takes part in the Dreamer event (in her solo book) by trying to break the psychic connections between the Dreamer and her projections. The other heroes are fighting the symptoms while she's the one actually solving the problem.
- Gloomweaver is an extra-dimensional deity who wants to invade our world and is kind of the primary antagonist for her. In her interactions with him she often saw him holding a glowing stone that he used as a kind of focus. It's eventually discovered that this stone represents the essence of Joe Diamond, which she has problems with. In a confrontation with Nightmist, Gloomweaver eventually shatters it as a means to taunt her. This is kind of an unsatisfactory resolution in the comics, but there's probably more on this to come in the Gloomweaver episode.
- Vengeance: Nightmist is part of the team involved in the fight with Baron Blade himself. She gets hit by his regression serum darts and this removes her powers, but also the curse and she's once again just a normal person... for a few minutes before the mist starts encroaching again. As part of the follow-up story she has some discussions with Tachyon about reverse engineering the regression serum to make it permanent. For several issues her comic is just her without the mist powers - she's still doing the magic thing since she didn't lose her training (it's no longer as easy, though).
- Crossover with Ra's plot - after his defeat by the Ennead and subsequent disappearance, Faye is one of the heroes to step up to deal with them. She has a big magic duel with Isis, which Faye loses. This rattles her as she has always been the hero to take care of these magical threats. After some soul-searching she recreates the events that curses her, regaining the mist powers, but due to her new knowledge she goes further, pulling on the magic of the Void, drawing it into herself (becoming more of a "magical being" than a mortal one, leaving her trapped there for subjective centuries until she manages to find her way back). This is touched upon in her Dark Watch bio. She's only been gone a few days in the "real world", but she's changed a lot and is "legit powerful" now. She rejoins the fight with the Ennead again and just wipes the floor with Isis.
- Dark Watch forms (see the other members' episodes and stay tuned for the Dark Watch team installment).
- Dark Watch later fights Bugbear, a blood-magic fueled beast of a man, who's hunting the Naturalist. She helps out here and sees similarities between her own circumstances and Bugbear's - somebody who's dealing with a curse. She recognizes what's going on and starts trying to "cure" him. She's able to cage off some of the magic, but is not able to separate them. This calms him enough to the point where he actually can kind of act like a hero for a while - fighting alongside Fanatic and Dark Visionary against Citizens Hammer and Anvil. The magic "cage" can't hold, though, and he turns against the heroes, mauling Fanatic's wing before Visionary takes him down ("practically lobotomized") - Nightmist checks him out afterwards and finds that between the curse and whatever Visionary did to him, he's a lost cause - not enough of him left to replace the beast. She banishes him out to the plane that she had been stuck in for so long - this is the last we see of him in the card game timeline.
- Progeny event: fights the Prime Wardens, Dark Watch, Freedom Five. Destroys a large chunk of Rook City in the process. During the Dark Watch fight, they're joined by the Scholar but lose big. Last-ditch effort to summon all of her magical power to form a barrier, which is not able to even slow him down. She's exhausted after this and fades into mist entirely, unable to reform her solid form for the rest of the battles.
- Shortly after, the Matriarch is having a breakdown and she helps her with control. This process of training is what brings her around to being the hero The Harpy (upcoming episode for more) in the run-up to OblivAeon.* Nightmist, as her effort to help fight OblivAeon, tries to open portals to all different realities to bring in more heroes. Harpy is involved as her magical apprentice. She draws upon a big source of power she finds to do this and opens all of these gates ("Be the Gate"), but tapping into this power in this way, she's no longer able to manifest physically. In this way she has an outsize effect on the OblivAeon events while simultaneously not being able to participate personally. That's the end of her story.
- What happens to her after OblivAeon? She is gone, for real. Noble sacrifice and probably the most important such sacrifice that allowed the event to be winnable.
- Due to Joe Diamond tie-in, does Sentinel Comics share a setting with Arkham Horror? Nightmist and Gloomweaver were co-created by the guys and Richard Launius, one of the designers of the Arkham Horror board games. Mutual fandom got them all talking and they adapted some of his fan-created decks and ideas into the Nightmist, Gloomweaver, and the Realm of Discord decks for SotM. So, yes, they're tangentially related.
- Is Faye Diamond becoming the gate a "fixed point" across realities, or are there still some out there in the multiverse? There are still realities with Faye Diamond, there are still realities with some version of "Nightmist" (not necessarily Faye), but as both the RPG and Tactics timelines branch off from the main card game timeline, she's not present in either.
- What's The Curse book and how does it fit into the other titles? Already explained, backstory mini-series just after her introduction in FFA #6.
- When/how does she get all of her artifacts? What happens to them after she becomes the gate? Amulet of the Elder Gods is the amulet she found in the storage unit mentioned previously. Tome of Elder Magic was given to her by the Master. Starshield Necklace was given to her by the witches before they kicked her out. Elder Ring was recovered from some Gloomweaver cultists who she defeated in The Curse books. Harpy uses the Amulet, the rest are kept by her but aren't something she uses.
- What's the nature of her magic? We know that Zhu Long has older/darker magic, for example. She has artifacts, which could help just about everybody. Some people are naturally attuned to magic, and lacking that makes it very very difficult (like a lifetime of study). Having artifacts makes that process easier even without the innate ability. Faye has some innate ability, but the curse makes things easier too.
- Where is the Kraken? We see her using "Planar Banishment" on one (there is more than one of them), sending it into another reality.
- Her incap art shows her being locked behind her own magic, what's going on here? This is her banishing herself into the ethereal realm after her first battle with the Ennead and finding herself locked out of her own reality.
- She seems focused, does she relax/have hobbies? She likes going to a local diner, doing the crossword, having black coffee and some pie.
- She seems to have a lot of mentors (Grandpa Joe, the Master), is she the most mentored? Joe isn't a mentor for her as she never met him. She feels a connection to him (through his case files, from being near his essence when confronting Gloomweaver), but that's it. She wouldn't be the "most mentored" - Unity gets a lot of hands-on help, for example. Black Fist and the Operative get more mentoring. She's more "trained" than "mentored".
- Had the witches had any presence other than in her backstory? They're fairly friendly, but haven't been present outside of the Nightmist book.
- Has the Master been around much outside of her backstory? He shows up regularly in her solo book, more near the beginning, but less so after her training is complete. He's weird, we don't learn much about him.
- Does she ever find out what happened to Joe (and what's up with the age disparity)? His essence was captured (and eventually destroyed) by Gloomweaver. We know that her parents were already on the older side when she was born and that Joe had disappeared when Thomas was pretty young. Also Comic Book Time - "Nightmist" debuted in the 1970s and she's still in her 20s.
- In "Mists of Time" we see a few other events we recognize, Legacy incap stuff and OblivAeon, but what about Voss and Akash'Bhuta images? Voss is a statue from the reality where he conquers earth (also seen in Visionary's deck), Akash'Bhuta is one where she's succeeded in taking over the earth.
- Man-Grove is a nemesis, how did they meet as why would she need to go to a swamp? Swamps are great places to go if you're a sorceress. Lots of places of power there (like it's a top spot to go - others include old libraries, abandoned cathedrals). That's why Man-grove even exists in the first place - he was a grove of trees, then a bunch of bodies and toxic waste were dumped there (because Rook City), and then some Gloomweaver cult activity happened there and all of this combined to create Man-grove.
- What's her relationship to the [Rod] of Anubis? While in the Tomb of Anubis she channels power through the Rod of Anubis, but Anubis is right there so there's not a role to her to fill like what happened to Ra or the Ennead (more detail on how that stuff works in their episodes). The Rod of Anubis and the Staff of Ra operate differently in the card game timeline.
- What's going on with her using "Enlightenment" on Argent Adept? What kind of bond do they have as magic users? She spent time in the Void when she was doing her power-up stuff. The Argent Adept is the Virtuoso of the Void and his power comes from there anyway. Her magic isn't Void-based, but having been there she learns a lot about it. Since he's still trying to figure out his powers, she uses her expertise to help him learn and imparts this magically since explaining it verbally wasn't working. They get along well, even though they have different paths in magic. They consider each other colleagues. She has to study a lot while he's more into improvisation.
- She has an "Astral Premonition" in Absolution #18 ("I shall not allow you to ravage this world as you have others!") what's going on here? Fighting Apostate (and how does she handle his type of magic)? What's Fanatic up to? They talking about Earth? This is an early appearance of Nightmist in other heroes' books. She shows up, sees Fanatic and assumes she's a baddie who needs to be stopped. She'd had a vision of the world in flames and a winged figure in charge. Classic hero vs. hero event. Nightmist eventually recognizes that Fanatic isn't the same entity that she'd seen in her vision, but predicts that Apostate is gonna happen and winds up being one of Fanatic's allies during that fight (more in the Fanatic/Apostate episodes).
- None! Her dissipating during the OblivAeon events is not a fake-out.