Sequel Updates

Hey all,

Some quick updates on the status of the sequel.

Most of my beta readers have now finished reading the book, and they’ve sent me a lot of notes. I have about twice as many beta readers as last time, and that’s making responding to their feedback and edits a bit more time consuming than I expected.

On the plus side, no one has absolutely hated the book yet. On the minus side, I think the readers are about a 50/50 split on whether or not they liked it more or less than SAM, and I’d like to do more to improve that ratio.

There are some clear places that need improvement. The intro doesn’t adequately reintroduce some of the elements of the first book (like characters and politics), so people who haven’t read SAM recently are getting a little lost at times.

People also generally find the pacing at the beginning of the book a little slow; this is fairly common in my books in general, but I might see what I can do to smooth it over.

Most people seem to like the middle section of the book the most.

Opinions on the end of the book are mixed, but there are a number of people who found it rushed and want more added to specific scenes. I can do this.

I don’t think it’s possible for a sequel to please everyone, especially considering that SAM is inherently a bit of an odd duck in terms of style. If I put in mostly magical school content, the audience that is reading it for dungeon crawling might be disappointed, and vice versa.

Some people want the book to have a more linear and focused plot, with everything happening to support that plot. Others prefer the style of SAM, where it’s more about Corin learning about how magic works and developing his relationships.

Some people want Corin to have more romance with Jin. Some people want Corin to have more romance with Marissa. Some people are shipping him with Cecily, even though no one has any idea who Cecily is yet. =D

I’d like to try to make sure everyone enjoys the experience of the sequel, and I’m going to be making some changes to the book to improve it. I still think there are always going to be people who won’t get what they wanted out of the book, though. Hopefully if Book 2 doesn’t work for someone, they’ll still enjoy it enough to read on to Book 3.

In terms of my schedule, I’d say I’m probably about a week behind where I wanted to be. Maybe two weeks. This is largely because I have so many more notes to go through than last time, since there are more beta readers. Making the beta reader changes is going to delay me from getting the book to the editor as quickly as I wanted to, and thus it will push back the whole schedule a bit.

At the moment, my best guess is that the book will be pushed back a few weeks from what I’d estimated. That means probably April instead of March.

There are still a couple more readers who haven’t finished, but I don’t anticipate their notes delaying me much further than that.

Thanks for all your patience. I truly hope that my readers end up enjoying the sequel.

 

162 thoughts on “Sequel Updates

  1. Personally I also ship Cecily, I don’t know something about the brief interaction made the character really pop. Her existence was the biggest mystery of the whole book for me. Along with the natural conclusion that after Sapphire there might be an Amethyst rank of magic and wondering if Selese is that lol. Anyway loved the series I read broken mirrors as well and enjoy all of your books, I actually couldn’t find anything about the time period other than Keras mentioning Blake Hardegan, and I’m wondering if they’re taking place at the same time. I also ship Keras and Sarah, because apart from both being heroic and awesome and deserving each other Coren deserves a big brother who isn’t probably a shady sociopath. Also can’t wait to see what happens when Coren drinks the rest of that water, since he won’t have the issue Sarah did with the mana poisoning and everyone loves when the main character beefs up lol. Anyway loved the books and can’t wait for book two.

    1. I like Cecily as a character a lot. I hope you end up liking her, too.

      Great speculation about an “Amethyst” rank. =)

      You’ll figure out the time difference between the books if you keep reading – it’ll be directly addressed soon.

      Thanks for reading the books, I hope you enjoy the sequel!

      1. Also Keras mentioned Blake Hardegan at least. Would I be right in assuming the Keras that Tailien mentioned in book one (or was it Lydia) is the same person? If so does that make Keras immortal like Blake? And is he a Vekesse? And who is the Tyrant in gold? Because WoBM hasn’t mentioned any sort of supreme ruler of the various kingdoms. Is he Valean? Sorry lol so many questions

      2. Keras is not the same Keras that is mentioned in Forging Divinity, but that is a clue that it is a common name in that region and time period.

        I won’t answer in more detail because it’s too much of a spoiler, but the answer to that will definitely be revealed in the future.

      3. Ok well I’m going to put my all into figuring it out. I totally guessed the identity of a certain someone from Forging Divinity before reading Stealing Sorcery just from the blurb on the back, though I will say a change of hair color threw me off for a second. I wont be more specific because of spoilers lol.

    2. I also wondered about the “amethyst” rank you mentioned but was thinking Selese would be more equivalent to a “diamond” rank. No point in having a clear quartz rank below the other colors if there isn’t also a clear diamond at the top. It adds symmetry/order and magical systems are usually either very ordered or not at all.

      1. Oh, I don’t know about that.
        For one, I’m don’t think that Selys necessarily complies with the Attunement-based system of magic use and the related color-coding. She is (alledgedly) a Goddess and (apparently) invented the Attunement system, and presumably learned the “pre-Attunement” style of sorcery/magic long before she devised Attunements – she operates under different rules.

        For another, if you take the gemstone names out of things, the order is:
        Clear/Translucent(Quartz)=>Red(Carnelian)=>Orange(Citrine)=>Yellow(Sunstone)=>Green(Emerald)=>Blue(Sapphire)
        In short – Clear/Translucent=>R=>O=>Y=>G=>B=>??? – it’s Colors of the Rainbow.
        I’m not sure what the appropriate gemstones would be, but, I’m thinking the colors might be Indigo=>Violet=>??(Black??)??; finishing off ROY G BIV, and Black would probably be the counterpart of Clear/Translucent to complete the set, but I’m not sure about there being a category beyond the Violet of ROY G BIV.
        Violet could be Amethyst, and if I’m right about Black being after Violet, that could be Opal. No idea what would be appropriate for an Indigo-colored gemstone.
        Alternatively, there could be a White in there somewhere, though I’m not sure how that would or could be visually distinct from the Clear/Translucence of Quartz, and that could be Pearl (though pearls aren’t actually gemstones).

        Of course, other non/pre-Attunement style magic/magic-users/magic-items probably aren’t so conveniently color-coded.
        Certainly there’s been no indication of such in WoBM to date, and the non-Attunement exemplars from SAM aren’t color-coded either – namely Keras (he also doesn’t have the shroud that Attunement-bearers get), the Jaden Box, and Selys-Lyann(presumably).

  2. I feel like he only dated Jin because Jin wanted to date him. Honestly if Jin hadn’t asked, I’m pretty sure that Corin would’ve just coasted on until eventually he and Marissa got thrown together because of either their friends conspiring to lighten their moods or because they both needed a date to some event.

  3. Marissa please and thank you I just don’t know if a Jin awkward romance will turn me off the hole series. I loved the first installment and can hardly wait for the next installment but I was worried about his strange attitude towards Jin taking something of a life of its own. Just my opinion sure many people want just the opposite but I’m just asking nicely for what what would keep me waiting not turn me off the books

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the first book!

      Sorry that you didn’t like the interactions with Jin. There are plenty of people who did enjoy that relationship, and the elements that follow in the second book will be based on what I consider to be a logical follow-up of the events in the first book.

      If you’re not interested in that particular relationship, I hope that you enjoy the other elements of the book.

      1. It’s you’re party you can make it the main plot if you want.It just didn’t do anything for me I’m probably in the minority.Thank you for actually reading and responding to your friends I think it’s awesome.I just voiced my opinion for the sake of not having any ground to complain about something I didn’t like if I passed up the opportunity to tell the man himself my feelings on that to get a part trivial as it maybe.

  4. I think a month to three months is quite fair to make important change you feel you need to make even though I was hyped to pick it up next month making a gap in my reading just for it.

    Yeah, the Jin romance felt slapped in there for the sake of gay romance inclusion to me as I didn’t feel any heat between the two of them. I like Marissa but hope no romance is on the table for Corin (unless it’s with Sarah, maybe I am the only one to think this… but they aren’t blood related, but perhaps too risque).

    Yeah, I don’t envy the tight rope of following plot or going to the dungeons or more school but it looks to me that the plot drags them away from school not work within the school boundaries unless this is a very teleport heavy book?

    Anyhow I’m looking forward to SAM 2!

  5. Put me in the Cecily = romantic future camp, but it is a guess on my part since we know nothing about her other than Corin avoiding her because he is not ready to talk to her. So when is Corin’s brother going to show up in the flesh and meet Corwin and their parents? Hopefully in book 2. At the moment he may not be able to leave the Tower, but he could talk to his parents with Corin’s book. I wonder how much Corin’s classmates will find out about his new Mark of Glory (attunement) or Sera’s situation. They may want to keep it secret until Tenjin gets released from whomever is keeping him imprisoned, and Sera gets healed.

    Maybe the new title could be Sufficiently Advanced (something other than Magic).

  6. I am really looking forward to learning a lot more about Caelford in the future of the series, particularly their society and what their attunements are and how they use them to create advanced magical items like trains and automobiles.

  7. Or may (something) Advanced Magic like Improved Advanced Magic or Incremented Advanced Magic; or Sufficiently Improved Magic.

  8. A shame that the book is being pushed back but only because I’ve been hungry for more since I first found it on audible. Happy to wait if it means it will be better! Thanks for being so upfront with us all 🙂

  9. I like my suggested title of “Sufficiently Improved Magic” best of the various suggestions I made. It makes clear that it is connected to the previous book with a title that is reasonably derivied from the old title and might stir interest in the old book for any new readers.

    I just got done reading Forging Divinity for the first time in the time period since my previous post. I think from I read there and on this Blog there is some connection between the worlds of the two book series, i.e. parallel worlds or planes with some connection between them, plus a major shift in time periods, i.e. Forging Divinity would have occurred during the pre attunement period of Sorcery that is mentioned in SAM. There is still the possibility that different worlds/planes have somewhat different properties of magic and ways of using them, as well as differences in the abilities of the various races living in them. I will be reading Book 2 Stealing Sorcery in the very near future.

    It casts a different light and perspective on SAM as well as the names and terminology used to describe the various forms of magic and mana, as well as a more limited knowledge of magic in that time period.

    1. My plan is to make each title for the series something that is a reference to a famous quote of some kind, rather than just being an iteration on the title of the first book. It’s a good title, though. I’ll keep thinking about what I’m going to do for the sequel.

      I hope you enjoyed Forging Divinity! I’m sure you’ll figure out more about the connections between the books over time.

      1. I figured that was it. Clarke’s law and all. I figured the next one would follow the trend. Maybe “Uniquely Portable Magic” like the Roald Dahl quote lol.

      2. That’s one a good friend of mine suggested as well, and I’ve considered it, but I don’t think it has the same degree of impact.

      3. Yeah. Titles can be rough. I phoned mine in and I regretted it the second I published it lol. A shame I didn’t keep the plot before that one. I wanted to use “Pains of Glass” for that one (I was playing around with the fae and mirrors but it sort of broke down) feel free to use that one if you want by the way, no clue if it applies but someone might as well get some use out of it. Regardless of title I love some of the directions you’ve gone and can’t wait to see more. Also hoping to see more of Corins mom. And argh now I cant decide who want to end up with Keras more, her or Sarah lol.

      4. I’ve got some mirror-related stuff in my other series, but that one has a somewhat different title format. =)

        You’ll see more of Corin’s mother eventually, but it may be a while.

      5. How about:

        “Chanter’s Never Prosper”

        The Thrilling Tale of Corin’s continued descent into Bankruptcy!

  10. Bah! I have the guts to listen to a new book and I could not have guessed at how it ended… What I absolutely despise is thoroughly enjoying a book only to find out the next one hasn’t been released yet… And the knowledge that you probably are sitting there and giggling maniacally at many a reader’s/listener’s discomfort knowing that you caused us this pain? I would accuse you of having a completely twisted soul if you didn’t post regular updates on how the next book is proceeding along in the pipeline!

    This is way more than many other authors have done btw. Some series I fear will never finish… Soooo want to shame them right now, but honestly I doubt they’d care… Way too big and important to care what an unimportant person like me would think…

    With that being said, thanks for keeping us informed at least, and if the release won’t happen until April, please be advised my birthday is on the 12th. It would really be nice if I could treat myself to a good audiobook by then…

  11. I don’t think it would be quite right for book 2 of SAM, but it is an interesting title: “Sufficiently Advanced Divinity”. It might work for the Broken Mirrors books but it would probably give a false impression of ties between the two series. But it is a nice title!

    Not done with Book 2 of Broken Mirrors.

  12. Of course when you go to Caelford for a long visit, you might try “Sufficiently Advanced Engineering” for a title.

  13. I am not quite clear on the relative time periods of the two series and their worlds. I have been assuming several centuries at least, but maybe that is not the case.

  14. I can hardly wait for the next books.

    I hope Sera gets healed in book 2. I wonder if Corin’s brother will want him to tell his father and mother about the book that they have been using to communicate. He may want to keep the book private, but Sera knows at least something about the book (I think). We will find out that and lots more soon (I hope).

  15. After reading Stealing Sorcery (Book 2 of Broken Mirrors) I notice that a sequel book 3 Defying Destiny is listed as coming in 2017 and the sequel to SAM was listed for 2018. As far as I can tell, this book 3 Defying Destiny has not been published. Was there a change in plans or am I somehow missing the book on Amazon.com? There appears to be a number of other books by other authors with the same or similar titles.

  16. Another interesting title; Sufficiently Advanced Sorcery (I know you can not use them (suggested book titles) all, but they stir up interesting ideas and possibilities.

  17. Take all the time you need. I gave SAM 5 stars and If i have to wait for a great sequel, I havo no problem to wait. Any news for the audiobook?

      1. Yeah Nick Podehl is doing the second Super Sales for Super Heroes by William Arend, loved the first one. Do you think you’ll end up simul releasing with the actual book when it comes out?

      2. I release the Kindle and Paperback editions as soon as the manuscript is finished being edited. The audio book always takes longer because the narrator can’t even start recording until the edited version is done, and it can take quite a while to edit and record after that point.

      3. Trust me I get it. I published last year and I’m still waiting on my narration, and mine is only about five hours long lol.

  18. I think I see way above here in your messages on this Blog that SAM 2 is now coming out before BM 3 Defying Destiny.

    I am really waiting to see what happens with Corin and Sera

  19. I notice on your new map of the continent besides the Towers we already know about, several half size Towers as well. If they are really there, I wonder what is in them. Hopefully we will find out someday.

    I hope we get to see what Corin’s Father’s attunement mark(s) look like and find out how strong he is compared to Corin’s Mother. I suspect that he is another Emerald, and we eventually find out what his mother’s mark(s) are as well. The big mystery that I hope to see at least partial info on, in Book 2, is what his older brother can do.

    1. I’ll clarify this one right now.

      There are more “spire-like” structures in the story, but they aren’t those little towers on the map. The little towers are border towers icons that are there to help make it clearer where the regional boundaries for the nations are.

      The other things that are more analogous to spires are not visually displayed on the map.

  20. My opinion may not mean much — but here goes:

    If someone has not read the first book and is coming into the sequel, then it is on them to read the first book. Hypothetically if this went to 6 books, when someone picks up the 5th book and didn’t understand everything it is because you came in mid series and is expected that that person would not fully understand everything. So if it doesn’t hold for the 5th book, why is the paradigm that the 2nd book should bore the readers who read the first book, by rehashing material they already grasp. — granted if it is contained in a chapter called : review of previous book, then this is a mute point. But why would you make the previous volumes trivialized to a short summary.

    1. The way I’m handling it is that the first “Chapter” is called “Recap – Sufficiently Advanced Magic” and it’s Corin telling Keras the shortened version of the story that he gave him (off-screen) at the end of the first book.

      That way, it’s written with a slightly different frame story and style, which hopefully will be engaging even to readers who read the first book recently (or they can just skip it).

      The recap chapter isn’t meant for people who skipped the first book entirely – it’s built for people who read the first book, then took a long break before reading the second. People who read the first book right when it came out could easily be forgetting details, especially if they’ve read a lot of other books in the meantime.

    2. To Felix, I am not sure if you are responding to some of my comments (and the author’s responses), but, I am not asking for a detailed forward and summary for Book 2, all I am asking for is something that tells readers who HAVE read Book 1, that certain things that they read have been changed in Book 2, and will be changed in a future edition of Book 1 when it comes out. This is due because I caught a contradiction between two places in Book 1, the class room discussions about various Attunements, Shaper in particular, and the appendixes.

      1. Sorry, I had not read the author’s most recent message, when I wrote mine, I was responding to Felix’s message.

        A recap, can still be useful, because of different points of view, because how long it has been since someone read the previous book, and maybe if it calls attention to certain things that the reader missed earlier. As well as calling attention to any corrections or changes.

  21. I’d be fine if Corin never finds romance. I like the thought of him ending up a hermit haha. All in all I’m waiting patiently but excitedly for book 2. Thanks for all the updates and quick work.

  22. This has nothing to do with your update, I just wanted to drop a note that I really enjoyed both SAM and forging divinity. You’ve a real knack for this, and I hope you keep at it for a very long time.

  23. I just released that I was making a big mistake about Corin’s Mark of Glory. Corin saw Derek’s Attunement for Soul Blade which was much thinner than Corin’s new Mark and I would have expected Derek to recognize it if it was Soul Blade and tell Corin what it was.

    I sort of reasoned my way in a backwards way that Corin might have gotten Soul Blade from the Life in the middle of the diagram combined with his own Transference from Enchanter, but because Derek did not recognize it I did not consider Soul Blade.

    But it could be a variation on Soul Blade (sort of a broader sword version).

    Also since his Sword (Selys-Lyann) originally belonged to warrior who was a Soul Blade, we ought to expect Corin to get Soul Blade in order to use it properly. But Corin did not get the Sword until after he got his original Enchanter, so it would not affected what attunement he got from his Judgement. Therefore we ought to (should have) expect(ed) him to get it later. I just expected that Derek would recognize Soul Blade, and since he did not recognize it, I did not consider it.

    Non that I have gotten past my bad mental preconceptions, I think that it obvious that center part which I had recognized as Life (correctly) could be viewed as attaching to a sort of hilt at the bottom (the part I was calling water). The lines on either side of the middle might be some form of confinement for the Soul(s) being bound (confined) to the Sword.

    The Mark is also on his right hand which is where you would expect a right handed swordsman to hold and use it. Plus we know that Soul Blade is one of the attunements of Dalenos, which is Katashi’s normal location.

    The really interesting question is how many powerful beings, and what types, are still bound to the Sword from previous owners of the Sword. I would expect beings at least as powerful as those Derek has, and probably even more powerful.

    The other interesting question is what are any other mana types associated with the Mark, besides Life.

    How you doing on getting Book 2 ready for release? I am checking your (this) site out several times a day waiting for it.

  24. Plus having a “real” (as his Father sees it) combat attunement ought make relations with his Father a lot easier.

    The only problem is that their school party is still very weak on support type attunements if Corin’s Mark is Soul Blade (just Corin’s Enchanter abilities and any items he makes). That is another reason I did not consider any of the direct combat attunements.

  25. That Sword was being used by Soul Blades (at least the original owner), and so it almost HAS to have some potent beings linked(confined) to it. But it ought to require a Soul Blade attuned person in order to use it properly. So Corin needs to get Soul Blade. Maybe his Mark is a different version from Derek’s Mark, or has something extra about it.

  26. It is still possible that the center part and bottom part is Soul Blade, while the lines to either side are something else, possibly Seer or Way Farer related (particulaly in combination with his Enchanter attunement).

    But I have been forgetting, or discounting too much, the Sword (Selys Lyann) when thinking about his new Mark of Glory. When I go back to basics and drop some of my preconceptions/assumptions, it is obvious (now) that the Sword ought to require Soul Blade (or something very similar) to use it’s full capabilities, particularly if it has some powerful beings/entities already bound to it like Derek has to his own sword. I just was not considering this idea for two reasons: I expected Corin to be getting non direct combat related attunements, and I expected Derek to recognize Soul Blade, but I did not consider the idea of a different (looking) Mark that might have the functions of Soul Blade.

    There had to be a very good reason for Corin’s brother to give him that Sword and I was forgetting about that. Plus the right hand seems to be a normal location for combat orientated Marks. Corin may not be able to use the Sword to it’s full capabilities until he builds up his mana levels in his right hand, and the rest of his body (i.e. go up to higher levels of Soul Blade), but Derek ought to be able to give Corin some useful advice and/or training.

    But as I said above (many times), they (his party of students) still need support abilities in addition to Corin’s Enchanter abilities. They will hopefully come in the future.

    If I am correct about the Sword, it would be interesting to see what Derek could do with it if he held it. That could be a good way of learning what beings/entities might already be linked to it. Plus of course, what a good Diviner at the school will tell him when he gets back to the School about his Mark. For that matter, you never told us what mana levels Corin’s little device/invention sees in his hand.

    Another area for you to be exploring in future books is what useful and powerful items might have been stored in the Jaden Box. The problem is figuring out what names to use when recalling them from storage in the Jaden Box. Keras might be the only one to be able to give really useful hints about this.

  27. If Corwin can get something directly linked to Tenjin, then the Jaden box, once it recharges (200 days), ought to be able to summon Tenjin from where he is able held captive. The problem is getting that something linked to him, perhaps the room in the Tower where he was ambushed along with Vera and Echion. Plus of course, having to wait the 200 days for it to recharge.

    An interesting idea would be to put a sample of Corin’s Water of Attunement in the Jaden Box and see if he could summon Selys, but that seems a little too easy or simpliistic.

    1. More likely suicidal. If that worked the goddes would almost certainly smite him within the second. If it dinot work, which it might not, she would still probably notice and get real mad

  28. I dont really know if this is the best place for this but i noticed that in sufficiently advanced magic people say resh and its never explained in that book. It was my first entry into your works and it left me questions that were only answered by looking into your other books. It also gave the impression that the worlds of the two series might be tangentially connected. I couldnt currently begin to think of how. Personally i think thier magical systems are too dissimilar to attempt to combine but from reading this post i can see that you may aim towards that target. I wish you luck in that venture as i am a fan. Uhhh i dont know what i expected for either of us to take away from me taking the time to say this and now i cant think of a way to close this off eloquently.

    1. Ah you are wise as if you have an attunement of your own. Perhaps we should call you Tim, the enchanter. Lol sorry couldn’t resist. In any case it was explained in SAM that the entire attunement system is derived from religious magic, the Visages and the Goddess. It was also heavily implied if not outright stated that Goddess worship was much less common if not outright unheard of on the main continent (which is where Broken Mirrors takes place as evidenced by Keras’ mention of Blake Hardegan). It stands to reason the magic system on the continent, not being religious in nature or at least not the same religion, would be different. Much like how Mages in most fantasy world’s are distinct in ability and effect from Priests if that helps with the concept at all. At least that’s the impression I got from the books.

    2. Good catch on the use of “resh” being a connecting factor. That was definitely a deliberate clue.

      The differences in the magic system will be explored to some degree in the sequel to SAM.

  29. The most interesting thing to read about possible connections between the two series/worlds is the dream (about location 297 out of 624) Corin had just after the first mock test at the school, after he almost died because of Ice from his own sword.

    Changing the subject, Derek told the others just before they entered the Tower with Vera and Prof Orden (about location 507 out of 624) that he was a Soul Blade, which was sort of like a combination between a Summoner and an Enchanter and that he could make contracts to bind monsters to items (like an Enchanter) and to himself (like a Summoner). So I think that it almost certainly requires Transference which both Enchanter and Summoner have, but has something different from Mental and Air which are their other manas. Life would be a reasonable guess. So if Corin can get Life from his Mark of Glory on his right hand, then he should get Soul Blade as well. I think that his new Mark has Life in the middle. The V shape below I am guessing might be Water and it was also was in Derek’s Mark for Soul Blade. It looks almost like a hilt or handle to a sword, with the Life as the sword blade. Derek’s Mark (location 329 out of 624) was a lot thinner than Corwin’s mark. Derek’s Mark looks a lot like a sword.

    The runes on either side of Life can either be part of Soul Blade, i.e. help hold the bound monsters to the Sword or person, or they can have they own purpose/affects. As I speculated above (in other messages), perhaps they might give Corin access to Seer or Way Farer, particularly in combination with his Enchanter manas/abilities (Mental and Transference) One possibility would some connection to seeing and/or doing things at a Distance (including teleportation). (I like the idea of him getting Seer and Way Farer, and they will be very useful to him).

    An interesting possibility is that Life by itself, or in combination with Water, might give Derek (and Soul Blades, i.e. Corin) additional abilities to heal himself in combat which could help explain why he is so durable. I know that a Shroud also protects against damage, but Life and Water might help as well. (Plus giving Corin more mana types to work with when making things).

    I had been discounting direct combat attunements for Corin’s Mark of Glory, but, as discussed in recent messages, I forgot that he probably needs Soul Blade to use his Sword (Selys Lyann) properly, since it’s original owner was supposedly a Soul Blade, as well as many (all ?) of it’s succeeding owners. As mentioned before, his brother should have had a very good reason to give Corin that Sword during his Judgement (and are there any beings still bound to it?).

    If Corin does get Soul Blade, it should make Corin’s Father a lot happier with him. Soul Blade should expand Corin’s abilities to make magical items, i.e. not just mana/spells but bind powerful beings/monsters as well. (It should make him an even more potent Enchanter).

    Regarding Sera, I wonder if she got Ice added to her Mark, and possibly Life as well. She has already been using Ice on various occasions /battles, but she seemed even better at using Ice after drinking Corin’s Water of Attunement.

    I hope we see Book 2 soon. Has Rowe decided on a final version for the title yet?

    I am not certain that his brother knows about Corwin’s and Sera’s new Marks yet, but he may be able to tell them what they are.

  30. I have an interesting idea about Wrynn Jaden who made the Jaden Box that Corin has been using. She was a sorceress of the Pre-Attunement Period (capitals in the original text). Keras seems to have known her but he has not seen her in awhile. The Jaden box can be used to either summon something if you have an item with a strong tie to it/him/her. It can also be used to store something by a name and then recalled (retrieved) by that name. Could Wrynn Jaden have stored HERSELF (accidently or delibrately) inside the Jaden Box? Perhaps she got into a very dangerous situation and storing herself in her box was her only way to escape. An interesting possibility! Katashi thought that the Jaden Box had been lost.

  31. The V shaped mark that looks like a hilt to a sword might be a different looking version of transference also. (I think I am talking/writing too much on this Blog, but that is because I am interested in the new book).

    1. If you enjoy talking about the book, I’d definitely encourage you to go over and chat with people on /r/fantasy on Reddit – there are posts about the book at least *somewhat* regularly. And discussions of a lot of other awesome books, too!

      You might get more interaction with other fans that way – there aren’t a ton of people reading this blog.

  32. Absolutely phenomenal book with SAM. I just finished binge listening to the Audible Version over the past two days. I loved the world building and the character’s exploration of the magic system, and watching the relationships develop with the different characters. I have a particular fondness of following characters through their academy journey as they come into their own. I find myself hoping that the next book has the same pacing and style, and that we follow him through his second school year as he actually compensates adequately with his enchanting to realize his goals while exploring the new powers afforded to him by the new mark from the vistage. Regardless of what direction you take with the new book, I look very much forward to its release.

    1. I won’t give a lot of details, but the second book picks up right where the last one left off. That means Corin hasn’t actually finished his first year yet – he still has a couple months to go.

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

  33. The biggest event sequence for book 2 (probably) is when and how they get Sera healed. The only event that could top that, if it happens in book 2 (it might not), is getting Tenjin released/rescued from captivity, but they may not be ready (have enough experience and training) to do that in Book 2. (This is just a guess, we LOVE surprises). Another big event would be Corin’s brother coming home, but he may not be able to get out of the Tower until Tenjin is rescued.

  34. I’m pretty sure a Corin/Jin romantic relationship is perma-dead. The friendship is also pretty dead, but not necessarily perma-dead, though that seems more likely than not right now, and reviving the friendship would take a lot of effort. I mean, Jin’s betrayal and associated actions are going to be pretty hard to get around/past.
    Besides, it never felt like Corin was all that invested into the romantic side of the relationship, and had never considered a romantic interest in Jin except when Jin asked him out and shortly thereafter. Plus, after it comes out that Jin was a Mesmer, I immediately assumed that Jin had used his powers on Corin from the beginning.

    At the moment, Marissa seems the most viable romantic option for Corin. However, I’m not quite sold on them getting romantically involved long-term, and I’d be perfectly good with a platonic friendship there. Although Corin’s father would probably approve of Marissa and her Guardian mark. Friend or (potential) love interest is fine here, really could go either way.
    Although, there’s a huge question mark with Cecily Lambert – as there’s an aristocracy, it has occurred to me that arranged marriages/betrothals might be a thing, in which case, she could have been betrothed to Corin’s elder brother Tristan originally, and then with Tristan’s disappearance/presumed death, her family might have tried to renegotiate the betrothal from Tristan (presumed dead) to Corin (still alive, and next in line after Tristan). Since Corin’s parents apparently didn’t handle Tristan’s disappearance well, those attempted renegotiations may not have gone very well, or maybe the renegotiations were successful, betrothing Cecily and Corin together. Alternatively, the arranged marriage/betrothal and/or associated negotiations could have been planned for Cecily and Corin, and depending on the timing for that, that might have gotten screwed up when Tristan disappeared during his Judgement. No matter which (if any) of these possible scenarios is true, that’d be plenty of grounds for awkwardness, especially since it seems like Corin wouldn’t have seen or spoken to Cecily since only shortly after he got pulled out of regular school and started being homeschooled by his father, aka, years.
    The only other named female character of their year-group is an old schoolmate, Lisa Stone who is also at the Academy with them, and that’s all we know about her.

    Jin leaving doesn’t just clear the board for a Corin romance with someone else, it also means that there’s an empty spot on the team that needs to be filled. Assuming that it’s filled by an already named character, there aren’t that many more named characters who are the same year as they are – Cecily (presumably), Lisa Stone, Roland, Rupert Kent (not happening), and Tom McCormick (a Mender living in the same building as Corin)

    On the discussion about what Corin’s new attunement is, I’m certain that it isn’t a Soulblade mark – Derek would be able to recognize it if it were. For that matter, it is most likely not one of the standard or more common attunements either, on similar grounds. Derek, presumably, is at least sufficiently familiar with the standard attunements to recognize them, even if he can’t necessarily remember which one it is/what it does for all of them.
    Also, Corin getting a Soulblade mark would be largely redundant – Soulblades stick monsters into items; Corin is an enchanter, thus he’s making items already, and Sera is a Summoner, well, technically, was a Summoner, her attunement might have mutated into something new, and she’ll almost certainly require healing from Ferras before she can do much with her current attunement. Sera’s probably going to have issues continuing most of her classes until she’s healed and/or gets a second attunement of her own that is not on her lungs.
    That said, I expect Corin’s new attunement will not be a support-oriented attunement, and will have at least some direct combat applications, whether or not it is more of an active or passive attunement.

    Soulblades are an analogue to a cross between Summoners and Enchanters, I wonder if there’s an analogue to a cross between Summoners and Guardians, although in such a case, I’d expect that the attuned would probably do some shape-shifting to more closely resemble the pacted creature(s) he’s drawing powers from. Or perhaps an analogue to a cross between the Enchanter and Guardian – augmenting people (including oneself) instead of enchanting items.

    Also, I’m curious about what rank Corin’s new attunement will be to start with – I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be following all of the normal rules for new attunements, since it was directly granted by a Visage, rather than gained through climbing a Tower.

    I expect that Corin’s new attunement is a rare one, and it’s quite possible that it is not one of the normal Tower/Spire-issued attunements, and is one that only gets given out directly by Visages.

  35. The reason I did not consider Soul Blade at first, is the same as Kytheros mentions, I expected Derek to recognize a Soul Blade Mark and since he said nothing, I discounted that idea. However, if Soul Blade needs Life and Transference and Corin already has Transference from Enchanter, then all he needs from a new Mark is Life, which I think is in the center of his Mark of Glory, and perhaps the the hilt like v shape below it, which is also in Dekek’s Mark that Corin saw. So the possibility of Corin’s Mark of Glory giving him Soul Blade, depends on if it needs what is in the center of Corin’s new Mark or something else. We will have to wait and see. I think that it is possible (likely) that it will take a Soul Blade and not just an Enchanter to summon any beings linked to the Sword, Selys Lyann. An Enchanter like Corin can bind mana into runes on objects like a sword, I doubt that they can bind beings(monsters) to a Sword like a Soul Blade (although maybe advanced more powerful and skilled Enchanters might be able to do it) (Advanced more developed attunements tend to start overlapping I think). If Selys Lyann is so special, I think there is a good chance that there may be powerful beings already linked to it (from previous owners) that a Soul Blade person with enough mana could summon them out of the Sword. If Corin, as a Soul Blade, can summon beings linked/bound to his Sword like Derek has already been doing, then that Sword will help him a lot more in combat than it has already (once he has enough mana to do the summoning)(but watch out for possible betrayals). There is the question of could a Summoner (like Sera) summon those beings out of the Sword (even if she could not bind them there). Maybe, particularly for advanced Summoners, but she has her own sword and NO mana at the moment.

    What will be very interesting is when(if) the author ever shows us any of the rune diagrams on Corin’s and Sera’s (Katashi’s) Swords (and any rune diagrams in his Broken Mirrors series.)

    If Corin ever lets Derek handle that sword we might learn if there are any beings already linked to it. (Something the author and Corin could have done, but did not in Book 1).

    I notice that the author did not have Corin test his new Mark of Glory to see what mana levels he now had in his hand and that Mark. I would have expected that to be one of the first things Corin would do with it. I think that the author is saving that info for Book 2. There is also the possibility that Corin has advanced a level in his Enchanter abilities (or will soon in the near future). A person like Corin who has more than one Mark may be bleeding mana faster into his Shrould than someone with only one Mark. So Corin may develope a stronger Shroud faster than normal attuned (non Guardians) (he will probably need it to survive the challenges to come).

    I agree that Corin’s Mark of Glory is probably different and special compared to normal Attunement Marks that are given out in Judgements to new people being tested in the Towers. The question is what it is special about it. ( See my messages above, for what my ideas are. I am hoping for Seer and Way Farer).

  36. I have some new title suggestions for Book 2:

    “Sufficiently Advanced Medicine” or “Sufficiently Advanced Healing”.

    I like them, they keep the connection to Book 1″s title (and Series title) and give a hint about what part of Book 2 is about: getting Sera healed. (assuming that it is a major topic for Book 2 which I think is true).

    I think they good possible titles, if you are still having problems on a title for Book 2.

    How soon for release of Book 2?

    1. I think I’d rather reference different famous quotes with each book, rather than always doing “Sufficiently Advanced”, but I do like the title “Sufficiently Advanced Medicine”. That’s a good title idea.

      I just got my notes from my very last beta reader yesterday. I expect to spend about another week on changes based on those notes, then it’ll be off to the editor. It’s taking much longer than expected because I grabbed so many more beta readers than last time, and I want to make sure I’m responding to all their concerns as best I can.

      1. Just one title that popped into my head:

        “Full of Scars”

        As a play on: “My God, it’s full of stars”.

        Just a similar alternative to ‘Wish upon a Scar’. I don’t know if the ‘wishing’ part might be specially relevent to events in this book. But FoS does plutalize the word ‘scars’ which might generalize better to mental as well as literal scars, and as a theme of everybody’s past experiences/injuries being relevant, and not only Sera’s.

        Because, lets face it, you scar a lot of your characters.

        In a vacuum this also seems more like the kind of quote you’d want to pay homage to in your titles. The downside is thats sort of locks you into an Arthur C Clarke motif people might expect to see continued with future titles. Dunno if you consider that a problem.

  37. Possibly a good Diviner, in the School’s Divinatory, might be able to tell Corin if there are any beings already bound to Selys Lyann from previous owners.

    The more I think about that Sword and Corin, the more I think that Corin is meant to be able to do (a lot) more with it, which basicaly means Soul Blade (or another very similar attunement). It is one several things or events that Corin got out of his Judgement trial at the begining of Book 1, and I think that they are all important to where the story (Series) line goes.

    Also keep in mind regarding the Soul Blade Mark that Corin saw on Derek is an Emerald level Mark, with a lot of additional lines. We can only guess what the basic (starting) Mark looks like. Plus his Enchanter Mark may be working together with his Mark of Glory to give him Soul Blade.

    I am really waiting to see what Corin’s Father’s Mark looks like, and if he has a second Mark.

  38. I think that “Sufficiently Advanced Medicine” … is indistinguishable from Magic could make a good title for Book 2.

  39. Although maybe you would prefer to use “Healing” rather than “Medicine” to keep it more easily distinguished from Book 1, i.e. SAH for Book 2 since SAM has already been taken for Book 1.

    I can understand you wanting to refer to a different quote in Book 2’s title. On the other hand, it makes the connection between the two books a little more obvious to those who have not read Book 1 yet, but are thinking about it; and Book 2 is closely related to Book 1, i.e. it is a direct continuation of it in fact; and Healing (of Sera) is a major (but not the only) concern of Book 2. Book titles are very much a marketing concern to attract new readers, while making it easy to reach old readers (of Book 1).

    What other possible titles are you thinking of for Book 2. Maybe, the readers of this Blog can tell you what we think of the possible candidate titles for Book 2.

    I can hardly wait for Book 2’s release.

    Are there any Biology or Medical related quotes you could draw on from the 1800s or 1900s ? (Similar to your quote for Book 1’s title).(particularly some quote related to how advanced (or miraculous) modern medicine is becoming, do not ignore 1800s quotes).

  40. I took a look at the Internet about medical quotes, and found so many that is hard to find something that might be useful to you (i.e. in the Internet Age we can drown in information before we find what we are looking for).

  41. It has occurred to me on several occasions, that since Sera has to expend mana to maintain contracts with the powerful beings that she has as a Summoner, that her existing contracts may be interfering with her ability to recover from damaged (or over used) mana abilities/capacity.

  42. I can think of the quote “One Man’s Science is Another Man’s Magic” which you could reverse as “One Man’s Magic…” if you want to be similar but not too similar to Book 1’s title. Would that work as a Book 2 title?

  43. Or is the original quote ” One Man’s Magic is Another Man’s Science” ? I may be mixing up which way the original quote went. Either way the original quote went, One Man’s (or Person/Being) Magic could work as a good Book 2 title.

  44. Are there any sayings/quotes about women who overcame adversity, particularly a medical problem, that you could draw on for a title?

  45. I think that the dream (memory) sequence (location 297 out of 624 of SAM and afterwards) is critical to linking together the Broken Mirrors series and the SAM series, and it is pretty clear that Selys Lyann is the SAME sword in that dream sequence. So I think it is a very important item, although the other sword in that dream sequence may be even MORE important or powerful. Also, afterwards when Prof Vellum was discussing Selys Lyann with Corin, she told him that the 4th rune was a spirit rune (and extremely rare to find on objects), and that there was spirit bound to that blade. He was also told that he could not train with that weapon without her direct supervision.

    So I think that strengthens the case that Corin NEEDS Soul Blade to be able to use that sword properly. So I feel that Corin almost certainly got Soul Blade out of his Mark of Glory (it looks like Life in the center of that Mark), possibly in combination Transference from his Enchanter Mark.

    That leaves the question open of did he get anything else out of that Mark of Glory, i.e. the the runes on either side of the middle of the Mark of Glory. I have already argued that Corin may have gotten Seer and or Wayfarer as well (since they are Dalenos attunements, i.e. from Katashi and Selys). I am a lot less certain about anything else such as Water from the little V shape at the bottom of the Mark of Glory. That V shape may be part of Soul Blade. I think it would be useful for Corin to get Water, particularly in combination with Life, which would give him a healing type of attunement (I do not know the exact name for it). Water might even be one of the two runes on either side of the middle Life rune, with the other one being Distance, Light, or Motion as possibilities.

    Another strong(er) possiblity would be ICE to go with the Sword Selys Lyann, which uses ICE. Ice may be more likely than Water, so maybe the two side runes are ICE and WATER, which could explain why they are so similar (but not identical) looking. Thinking about it more (as I write this message), I find the argument for Ice and Water to be about as strong (or stronger) as the argument for Seer and Wayfarer. We need to see what happens when Corin gets back together with Prof Vellum in Book 2, she might (will) have a LOT to tell Corin about his Mark of Glory and his Sword. Corin may NEED to have a Ice rune of attunement to control the Sword as well as protect himself from/with Ice (refer back to the dream and the test at the school).

    I think that getting Life, Water, and Ice, as well as Soul Blade, from his Mark of Glory seems like a strong possibility. ( I like Corin getting Seer and Wayfarer via Distance, but I think this is more likely; maybe he can get Life, Ice and Distance). The author never showed us the runes for Ice and Water in Book 1, even though he referred to them as manas or runes. He also never showed us what Seer and Wayfarer looked like as Marks of attunement, even though Prof Orden was using Wayfarer with/on them. As well, he never showed us the 4 runes on the sword. Probably because he is saving many things for Book 2.

    I think that there is a lot to be said for having the Mark for Soul Blade (at least part of it) plus ICE (and maybe Water) on the same hand that Corin will be using to hold the Sword Selys Lyann while he is using it. (Corin’s Father will be delighted to see him get direct combat related Mark). Could his Mark of Glory be a 2nd or even 3rd level Mark of attunement? (quite likely).

    (My thinking evolved or changed as I wrote this message). How much about the changes to Corin’s and Sera will they want to keep secret from the general public and their classmates in Book 2? Maybe most of it until Tenjin gets rescued.

  46. Kytheros raised the question of the level of Corin’s Mark of Glory before I did (to give credit were it is due).

  47. There is one additional possibility since the author never showed it: a Spirit rune in Corin’s Mark of Glory. Although I tend to doubt this possibility. The similarity of the two side runes in the Mark of Glory to each other makes me wonder if they could be Water and Ice (as mentioned above).

  48. But a Spirit Rune (maybe the v below Life) in a Soul Blade Mark could make a lot of sense, even though I thought Soul Blade was Life and Transference (but it could be in addition to them).

    (Get Book 2 out so we can stop speculating, Please!)

  49. The main argument for Spirit in Corin’s Mark of Glory is that it is also on his Sword. But we do not know if spirit is a mana type or if it is a combination of several runes using several manas. I think that Ice is very likely for Corin’s Mark and whatever he needs to finish off Soul Blade (probably Life) taking into account what he already has from his Enchanter Mark. Plus if he got Ice, I think he got Water as well.

    Their team needs someone with Earth, which probably means Shaper if it is a combat Mark or Mender if it is a support Mark. The most likely possibility is Roland to replace Jin. I do not think Corin got Earth, although I would like to see him get it (maybe a future Mark or upgrade to one of his existing Marks).

  50. If we judge by the appendixes of Book 2 of Broken Mirrors, I think that there is a good chance that Spirit is a mana type and probably a rune that can occur in an attunement Mark (if Life is a mana type why not Spirit?).

    I wonder about Light and Umbra as a pair of opposites as well as manas. We might see illusion or divination type attunements that use Light instead of Umbra. We might see Metal as a specialized mana version of Earth, similiar to Ice and Water (maybe Caelford has Metal) or Metal might be an attunement that uses Earth plus something else (Fire?). I also wonder about Sight, is it a specialized form of Light and a mana type, or is it an attunement combination of Light and Mental(?). It is hard to guess exactly just how the author is going develope his system of magic from SAM, and what things will be mana types versus attunement Marks that are combinations of mana types.

    We could even debate if Ice is a mana type or if it is a rune combination of Water and something else, perhaps Earth (which would make Ice the opposite of Lightning). I think that Book 1 (SAM) was treating Ice as a separate mana type, but we could be wrong. I think Sera and Patrick combined Air and Ice to make lightning as a result in SAM.

  51. If there is a living being bound as a spirit to Selys Lyann it could be VERY interesting to see what it remembers about any historical links between the two Series and the early days of the countries on the Kaldwyn continent. It might cast some interesting light on the Goddess and her Visages and their history, and the Tyrant in gold.

  52. Hey, just wanted to say that you are my new favorite author! I love the amount of detail that goes in to your books and the style of writing, the characters are so easy to relate to, and the plot is very well made with plenty of twists. I just can’t wait for SAM 2 to come out. I also wanted to throw out the idea that attunements are sort of predetermined, and that based on the war of broken mirrors, everyone has a affinity for different types of magic. This means that your “judgement” is judging what attunement you should get based on your disposition towards different dominions of magic. The attunements are probably just dominion marks that give access to magic that the people there can’t naturally use. That means it’s possible when Tristan interfered with his judgement and he was given the wrong attunement and that would go towards explaining his terrible mana balance, meaning that whatever his new attunement is it is more suited to his capabilities. It would also explain why, as Karas said, people get angry and call him blasphemous when he tells them about his powers and why they are different, it would mean that the “goddess” isn’t granting divine powers, rather awakening the latent powers of the people who survive judgement.

    1. Thanks so much, that means a lot to me. =)

      The discussion about the differences between Dominion Sorcery and Attunements will definitely be coming up in the sequels, and whether or not people are actually getting predetermined Attunements will be addressed.

    1. Still grinding away at edits. My hope is to still get it out in April if at all possible, but I can’t make any promises at this point. I had a *lot* more beta readers this time, which is good for quality, but bad for speed.

      1. Hey, a quality product is what I’m coming here for. I’m very much looking forward to the book!

  53. The change that needs to be explained is between magic being related to various parallel worlds/dimensions (Dominions) with different (from the normal world) physical/magical properties that you can draw on, with Dominion Marks helping and/or runes and rune diagrams, and a system were magic is related to various mana types that various things generate (either people at various places in their bodies) or by various beings/”monsters” and if those beings are killed they leave behind mana crystals, as well as other forms of condensed mana that people can learn to generate and use with the help of Attunement Marks that seem to be similar to Dominion Marks, as well as runes and rune diagrams. The Dominion Marks and runes seem to be common (functional) to both systems, but with different names for them.

    It appears that at least some items (Swords and the Jaden Box maybe) and beings (sorcerers and deities / semideities) can function in both systems of magic (see the dream/memory sequence in SAM), or moved from one to the other to flee the Tyrant in Gold at some point in the Pre Attunement Period of Sorcery on the continent of Kaldwyn. I think we will learn more in book 2 of SAM (I am NOT a beta reader).

    One possibility that has occurred to me (and I am sure others) is that the Tyrant in Gold may be enemy/destiny that the Broken Mirrors series may be fighting against (Defying) in Book 3 of that series and later. This is just a guess based on what we presently know. I am Not a Beta reader for that series either.

  54. We do not know how long ago the Pre Attunement Period of Sorcery was compared to the present of the SAM book, but it is almost certainly several centuries.

  55. A reasonable guess is that in the Pre Attunement Period people did not have Attunement Marks to help them use magic, and so it was much harder and rarer for people to learn how to use magic, and some of those that did learn might have been considered gods and demigods, if they had very long lifespans.

  56. Definitely looking forward to hearing when we can expect the next installment of Arcane Ascension, hope your final changes are going well 🙂

    I imagine the kindle version would be the best way to access it as early as possible, once it is released?

  57. SAM!!! ^^ Such a wonderful read. It was my surprise read 2017. After I read it I also listen to the audiobook after I knew that one of my favorite narrators was reading it. I’m very hyped to read the second book this year. Now that we know Corin is in some way opposing the brother he was desperate to save. There are so many points I can’t wait the next book to tackle. I really want to know what is behind the “Tyrant in Gold” and what divine politics these countries are playing with the towers.

    It was also very interesting reading through the comment section. Seems that Corin’s potential love life is very polarizing. It was refreshing that Corin saw himself as not quite there or not really interested in the topic to invest time into it. Marissa and Cecily seem to be quite popular as potential love interests. Sorry to say, but my first thought about Cecily was: “who was that again?”. As for Marissa, the social gab between them, which I found well written with the characters backgrounds, killed that potential romance for me. The trope is just too big for me to be interesting. And it seemed to me that Corin was just not interested in her romantically. I just couldn’t get the vibes. That leaves Jin. Truth to be told, I didn’t see that one coming. That is what intrigued me. The betrayal, the potential of manipulation through Jin’s magic and most of all Corin’s surprise at his own sudden reaction and interest makes this pair for now the most intriguing. The rest just doesn’t stand out in any way. And as for romance in general, at least for me when I’m reading about them in books, if there is no good conflict to get to the end, it is just not interesting enough.

    I’m so happy the book will be out soon. I’ll do my best to recommend it to my friends. Thank you for your hard work bringing us this wonderful book.

  58. Don’t let people tell you how to write your book man. You’re never going to please everyone. Stick to your guns and don’t let all the outside influence negatively impact your product. I’m sure you will do great. Remember…. This is YOUR story.

  59. We know almost nothing about Cecily, so we are not rooting for her as Corin’s romantic future. All we are really doing is making a guess about the author’s plans for the future, based on the very limited info in Book 1. Most of us do not see any other character that we know of by name, as Corin’s romantic future, other candidates that have been mentioned do not seem likely to us.

    We really do not know the future for Jin. Most of us are assuming that he will have left the school and gone back to Edria, but we could be wrong and maybe he stayed in school. After all, Corin is the only person who can give first hand testimony against Jin, everyone else was unconscious at the time. Corin will be very wary of him now that he knows Jin is a Mesmer and was undoubtedly using that to make him trust Jin. Even if he stays at the school, he will not be accepted as a member of the team for future tests, and Corin will stop making things for him. If Jin does leave the school, we still might see him again in Caelford or Edria or even Dalenos in some future book (Authors tend not to throw away characters permanently). Jin at some point in the series may have some interactions with Katashi or the royal house of Dalenos, that may change his behavior afterwards or what he is supporting (this is pure speculation on my part).

  60. For that matter we do not even know who Shera was planning to go to the Ball with, other than not Patrick. There is a lot of social life going on that we do not know about because Corin is very unsocial and does not notice it.

  61. Several interesting questions before we see Book 2: How many points towards class standing and graduation are Corwin’s Mark of Glory worth, and Sera’s greatly expanded Mark of Attunement and her getting Katashi’s Sword? I wonder what level Sera’s Mark is, Citrine, Emerald, or higher, and what other mana types got added to it (I think Life is a possibility, as well as Ice)? (By the way, we do not know what line(s) got added to Sera’s Mark when she moved up to level 2 just before entering the Tower in Book 1).

    If Corwin’s Mark of Glory starts off as level 1 that gives him more room for growth by adding by more lines to it, than if it starts as level 3 as an example (Does he have enough mana levels in his hand to justify more than level 1?). The beginning of Book 2 should answer a lot of questions, we all hope.

  62. A separate question, since Attunement Marks are at least 2 different types of manas, can getting a lot better in one mana type add a line to that mana in your Mark while your other mana type(s) falls behind? Or do you have to make enough progress in all of your mana types to move up a level? Corwin’s invention measures the mana levels at various places on your body, but what about the different types of mana at one location?

  63. Attunements aren’t just access to types of mana. And I’m fairly confident that the abilities one has are to some extent determined by the attunements one has, not just the combination of mana types one has access to.

    I suppose it’s possible that Corin’s new attunement grants the second type of mana that the Soulblade attunement does (assuming that Soulblade grants Transference and something else, probably Enhancement, IMO, since Tranference+Life seems more likely to be akin to a Summoner/Guardian mix than a Summoner/Enchanter mix like the Soulblade).

    However, Corin still would not have the Soulblade attunement. Likewise, if it grants Air mana, Corin still would not have the Summoner attunement (Transference, which he has from Enchanter, and Air).
    It is unclear to what extent the abilities of individual attunements can be emulated solely by having the same mana types. Some of them can be, but I don’t think all of them can be. IE, I don’t think a Summoner(Transference)/Diviner(Mental) could make items like an Enchanter.
    At any rate, even with the right mana types, without the right Attunement, emulating the more complicated nominally unique aspects of an Attunement (especially the more complicated Attunements) would presumably be rather more complicated. IE, emulating an Elementalist’s ability to create lightning should be relatively straightforward, whereas emulating the permanent item creation of an Enchanter, or the abilities of a Summoner or Soulblade would presumably be decidedly more problematic and difficult – and would probably take a whole lot longer to figure out how to do, and even longer to get good at, if it’s even possible.

    At any rate, even if Corin’s new attunement grants him a mana type or types that has good synergy with the Transference and Mental he has from being an Enchanter, the new attunement itself will probably be more interesting.

    Besides, Corin being able to emulate a Soulblade because of getting the right mana types would just be a variation on what he can already do. It would not particularly advance his abilities, especially since although he would have a viable Soulblading mentor in Derek, Corin wouldn’t have any monsters to pact with and bind into his weapons, and there’s no indications that he’d be able to track down suitable monsters anytime soon. Sure, looking for monsters to pact with an bind to weapons would give him a reason to go adventuring, but he’s got plenty of reason to go adventuring already.
    Also, IMO, being a Soulblade would do more to inhibit Corin’s growth as an Enchanter – as an Enchanter, Corin’s strength is the ability to create and then pull out an item to fit the situation/enemy – Soulblade and monster-pacted bound weapons/items would automatically become default options, insofar as Corin could find suitable monsters to pact with/bind into items (and his ability to do so is somewhat questionable at best). The access to the new mana types will likely do more to improve Corin’s ability to create items without needing to either buy mana crystals or to borrow someone else to provide mana types he doesn’t have.
    Plus, Corin with Soulblade abilities would immediately be compared to Derek – the Emerald Soulblade. And Corin is highly unlikely to be anywhere near Emerald-level with a hypothetical emulation of Soulblade-type abilities through mana type synergy, and has no real means of finding powerful monsters to make pacts and items with.

    I think Corin getting something we haven’t seen before will do more to drive the story forwards. Well, depending on mana types and synergies, possibly as many as five somethings – new Attunement, plus its (presumably) two new mana types and thus potentially four mana type synergies with the Transference and Mental mana Corin already has from his Enchanter’s attunement. I expect that the synergies will be a lot slower to develop than the new Attunement, though.
    That of course, assumes that the new attunement works like a regular attunement. It very well might not.

    It is also a possibility that Corin’s new attunement will grant one or more unique mana types (ie, not one of the standard mana types that everybody knows about).
    Katashi does, after all, know that Corin is both trustworthy and not involved in Tenjin’s disappearance, and has been trying to solve the problems associated with that – and is apparently competent at doing so despite his weaknesses and lack of a combat attunement. It is entirely possible that Katashi may want to employ Corin as an agent in the future. Whatever Corin’s new attunement is, it’ll probably be pretty useful.
    There’s even a (slim) chance that the Mark Katashi gave Corin is more akin to a God-Beast-grade Mark, although that’s probably not what happened.

    As for Corin’s Shroud, it’s kind of unclear how multiple attunements of multiple grades affect the strength of your Shroud. At any rate, Corin’s probably close to being a Carnelian Enchanter, if he’s not already, and I expect that his new attunement will start out Carnelian or stronger, since he basically had enough mana in his right hand to be near the requirement for a Carnelian attunement some time ago plus the whole “directly granted by a Visage” thing (when it changed, Corin was able to feel the amount and type of mana in his hand changing, and I very much doubt he lost mana capacity) – prior to Katashi turning it into the “Mark of Glory”, the Mark of Judgement was Sapphire; it may or may not still be a Sapphire Mark, though, but it probably upgraded the amount of mana Corin had in his right hand. Although, technically, as far as we know Corin hasn’t had the sort of visual “level up” effect that Marissa and Sera had when they went Carnelian.
    In terms of future advancement, though … even if Corin’s new mark is Sapphire (or beyond, and I’m not sure what an Indigo-colored gem would be, though probably works for a Violet-colored gem), there’s plenty of room to grow in terms of figuring out what it does at a basic level, and then refinining technique/skill, and figuring out the various other things one can do with it. Plus any mana synergies, of course.
    For that matter, since it was granted by a Visage, it could perhaps even be a Sapphire Mark without the normally-requisite amount of mana in the same location. Or perhaps the new Attunement/Mark of Glory at its base level is equivalent to a regular Attunement at the Sapphire level. Heck, it could even be one of the quasi-mythical “Ascended” Attunements, and there’s no telling what effect(s) that could have.

    As for Selys-Lyann, I don’t believe Selys Lyann is a Soulblade’s weapon in the same sense that Derek’s swords are. That’s not to say a Soulblade has never been the wielder of Selys Lyann or that a Soulblade never used Selys Lyann to store a pacted monster – that’s entirely possible, although an unknown and probably unknowable supposition. However, I don’t believe there is currently a pacted monster within Selys-Lyann for several reasons, but most importantly, I would expect that such a pact would end with the Soulblade’s death, thus releasing the pacted monster.
    However, Professor Vellum did state that in addition to the Spirit Rune on it, making it an Empathic Weapon, that there was some sort of spirit bound to the weapon. However, the fact that there’s a curse associated with Selys-Lyann inclines me to believe that the spirit is not exactly a friendly/beneficient/benign one. That is, while it may be bound to the wielder’s will, it may also seek to subvert those directives/expressed intent to the detriment of the wielder. IE, it may be more of a rules-lawyering exploit-seeking letter of the instruction, rather than the spirit of the instruction, obedience, where that suits its goals (whatever they are).
    As for Selys-Lyann’s potential plot-related significance, I think that it is probable that Tristan could have provided Corin with a different weapon, though, and therefore there’s some sort of specific reason for giving Selys-Lyann to Corin. However, we have way too little information to speculation on what Tristan’s reason or reasons for doing so might have been. For that matter, we don’t know all that much about Selys-Lyann’s abilities either – certainly nothing we’ve seen from it makes dealing with the supposed major curse associated with it worthwhile. We don’t even know what all the runes on it are for. We know a bit about all but one of them – per Corin’s first examination of the runes on Selys-Lyann, there’s a Rune of Resilience, and an advanced variation of a Rune of Ice; per Professor Vellum, there’s also a “Spirit Rune” and an “extremely advanced rune for interfacing between sword and wielder” (whatever that means), and a rune she doesn’t recognize.
    That said, I suspect that Selys-Lyann is almost certainly a pre-Attunement period artifact, or was otherwise created by means other than that of someone with an Enchanter Attunement/similar or someone emulating that Attunement.

    As for the differences between Marks of Dominion and Attunement Marks … it’s unclear as to what the relationship there is. That being said, while Sera’s Mark (post-change) was said to be a particularly complex, albeit unknown, Dominion Mark by Keras, it should also be taken into account that Keras is unfamiliar with Attunements and the Attunement “system”. He could very well be wrong about it being a Dominion Mark, and it could just be an extremely unusual/evolved Attunement Mark – assuming that Attunement Marks and Dominion Marks aren’t variations of one another.
    For that matter, I also suspect that someone could use “pre-Attunement” magic, in addition to Attunement-style magic, if one had the necessary aptitudes for “pre-Attunement” magic, an Attunement, and learned how to use “pre-Attunement” magic. It’s just that Attunements seem to be unknown on the “mainland”, and with Attunements being available, there’s not much incentive to learn non-Attunement magic, assuming that it wasn’t wasn’t actively suppressed. Corin might end up learning “pre-Attunement” magic somewhere along the way.

    On the “distribution” of Attunements … I think it’s unlikely be entirely independent of the recipient. If Attunements were issued based on any sort of entirely independent pattern or randomly distributed, I suspect that there’s been enough attention and study that such would have been noticed (admittedly, it’s possible that it has been noticed, but that information has not been disseminated).
    While we don’t know what a “normal” Judgement should be like, I would expect that one’s preparation and choices before and during the Judgement would have significant input on what sort of Attunement you get. IE, if you choose a fighting-path, you’re more likely to get a combat-oriented Attunement, if you take a more “intellectual” path, aka puzzles, you’re more likely to get a non-combat Attunement, as in Corin’s case, bring.ing in a bunch of supplies (demonstrating a preference for advance preparation) probably contributed to getting an Attunement that supports that (Enchanter). There may be some measure of randomness in which Attunement you get, but I expect that it would be heavily weighted by your choices (ie, a fighting-path might result in getting any of the combat Attunements, but which one is determined randomly, rather than a specific combat Attunement being necessarily assigned). It’s almost certainly a largely, if not entirely, automated process, though.
    The location of each Attunement, though, that might be rather more random – that is, each Attunement probably has a selection of locations that it goes on, and when you draw a given Attunement the location is randomly selected from the subset of locations appropriate to that Attunement.
    Also, while I can’t point to anything specific to suppport this offhand, the religious associations suggest that perhaps some measure of information about how and/or why Attunements are granted has been provided either by Selys or the Visages over the years. Admittedly, how specific and how accurate such information may have been would be a questionmark. Also, some information, at least, on how attunements can be gained is available to at least some of the mortal agents of the Visages, since Tristan was able to lead Corin to where he could get an attunement.

    That, of course, is strictly for Attunements granted through Judgements, and not by Climbing – we have nowhere near the information required to assess that. And that definitely doesn’t apply to Attunements granted directly by Visages and/or Selys (or any other entity capable of granting Attunements) – I presume that they can choose to grant any/all of the Attunements they know how to grant.



    On the relationship aspects …
    Jin’s probably not going to stick around any longer than he has to – he has to assume Katashi knows/would find out that Jin tried to stop Corin from completing Katashi’s directions – and there’s no way that Katashi would (or could) let that slide. And directly interfering with the explicit instructions of a Visage aside, knowledge of Jin’s actions reaching the Valian authorities would result in unfortunate consequences for Jin as well. Therefore, Jin’s probably left to return to (East) Edria. Even if Jin doesn’t leave and his actions have no legal repercussions from the Valian authorities, which strikes me as unlikely, there’s no way that Corin continues a relationship with Jin, be it romantic or otherwise. Besides, the Corin/Jin relationship was never one that I was invested in, and when we found out that Jin was a Mesmer, I instantly assumed that Jin had been using his abilities on Corin since the very beginning, throwing all prior interactions into doubt.
    As for Corin’s other romantic prospects, there aren’t really that many named characters who are yearmates – of either gender. And some of them have inherently disqualifying aspects. Ignoring those on the team and Jin, there are only 5 other named characters of their year – Roland (unknown attunement, although probably a combat-oriented attunement, and undefined relationship regarding who’s retainer he is/is supposed to be), Tom McCormick (Mender in the same dorm as Corin, appeared just the once), Cecily Lambert (unknown attunement, and has some sort of pre-existing relationship and issues with Corin), Rupert Kent (elementalist, but not happening because he’s an asshat and we all like Marissa), and Lisa Stone (unknown attunement, former classmate of Corin/Sera/Patrick). On the team, Sera’s his (half-)sister (nope, so totally off-limits), and Patrick’s his retainer (interested in Sera), which leaves Marissa (she’s technically in play, but issues).
    The same lack of named characters is a problem for figuring out who Jin’s replacement on the team might be – this is especially problemmatic considering that everyone should already be on a team, and that Sera is likely to not have a useable Attunement and have reduced physical functions until she’s healed by Ferras – heavy mana scarring, and the physical consquences thereof, of the lungs. On the other hand, Sera does have Katashi’s Sword now, so … that’s probably going to at least partially compensate for her reduced capabilities in some ways, at least, as regards her ability to contribute to the team/group in combat.

    On question of graduation/advancement progress … I don’t think Corin’s new Attunement/Mark is technically worth anything, nor is Sera’s altered Attunement (and definitely not Katashi’s Sword). However, I’d bet the end of year going into the Tower test counts for a fair amount of class position/graduation/advancement progress. That they went into the Tower, and got back out, even if it was under unusual circumstances, might be worth points, though.
    However, unless Sera gets a second attunement (that isn’t on her lungs), she’s probably outright ineligible to advance, unless she gets healed by Ferras or otherwise recovers from the extreme mana scarring on her lungs. Also, Sera gave up several summons that were required for classes.
    The school may allow for the special circumstances, and allow Sera to attempt the end-of-year test to see if she can gain a second attunement, on a location that hasn’t suffered such severe mana scarring. For that matter, they’ll probably have to go to Caelford for the end-of-year tests unless the Serpent Spire is reopened before then, which would also allow the opportunity for Sera to maybe find Ferras and get healed.

    In terms of Sera’s pacts taking up mana and arguably inhibiting her ability to recover even a little … as far as we know, she’s holding four pacts, Seiryu, Vanniv, the Ogre, and the Wyvern. Seiryu probably takes a lot of mana, but is just way too valuable to give up. Vanniv – probably technically the weakest, and Karvensi are probably the most common of her pacts, but Vanniv is both intelligent enough to help, probably has at least some dirt on Elora Theas from before the Survival Match, and is probably the most flexible Summon Sera has. The Ogre is pretty strong, and probably relatively uncommon, plus, it’s got hands and therefore is somewhat flexible in what you can have it do. The Wyvern is probably the second-strongest Summon (after Seiryu) Sera has, is fairly rare, plus it grants Sera additional magic (air/wind magic).
    There’s no certainty that giving up one or more pacts would actually help Sera, and the pacts she does have are both sufficiently valuable and rare enough that they’re worth keeping if they don’t need to be given up, so until/unless there’s a reliable source that Sera should give up one or more pacts, I think she should probably keep them, but if she does give up one, it should be the Ogre. Not sure what the second to give up would be, though. Choosing between Vanniv and the Wyvern would be tough, IMO.




    I just had an idea – would it be possible to create an item to create mana crystals? Either entirely by itself or by providing mana instead of or in addition to the Enchanter’s personal mana?
    Similarly, would it be possible to create an item to store mana for an Enchanter to feed mana into items for the item creation process instead of using mana crystals or personal mana?
    Both seem to be within the bounds of possibility – if it’s possible to create an item to feed mana into a spell for an Elementalist or Summoner, it seems a logical extension of that for an item to feed mana for an Enchanter to make use of.

    Also, I wonder what would happen if Corin drank some of the “Attunement Water” he saved.

  64. Or for that matter are things like Transference and Enhancement (as well as others we do not know of yet) in an Attunement Mark (or rune diagrams), mana types or “just” ways of using other mana types (Keep in mind that all but two (Elementalist and Mender) of Valia’s 8 Attunements contain either Enhancement or Transference). I have wondered on many ocassions if it is even possible for one ordinary person to have both Transference and Enhancement in two separate marks. If it can happen, I suspect it is extremely rare. (I very much doubt that they can be both in the same Mark).

  65. Sorry my most recent post was written several hours ago, But I missed that it was not saved.

    What Javvies has to say is within the range of the ideas I have been thinking about and discussing. Corin may not have gotten Soul Blade but he may have gotten some other combat related attunement to help with his sword (and Soul Blade is the only name we know). According to the legend Corin was told by Lars Mantrake, the man who runs the climber’s shop Corin goes to, Selys Lyann was an ordinary weapon belonging to a Soul Blade, before Selys tears repaired it. I think that part of the legend is wrong, but I think that many of it’s previous owners before Corin were probably Soul Blades. I do think that Corin’s dream was most likely a memory generated by the Sword from the Pre Attunement Period including the Tyrant in Gold part.

    I think that it is quite possible that things that you get by using one Attunement Mark may work better than anything that you get by a combination of two (or more) Marks, but you may still get some of their combined abilities, e.g. an Elemtentalist’s Lighting might be generated faster or stronger than Lightning from two different attunements. Although we did see Patrick and Sera combine Air and Ice to generate Lightning once.

    It is hard for us to say how much overlap or intersection there is between the two systems of Magic, but I think that there is at least some common ground between them. We should learn more in Book 2 of SAM.

    The key question for the story line for Book 2 is how soon do they go to to Caelford’s Tower to try to heal Sera, and do they take Derek and/or Keras with them.

    I do think that Jinn has probably gone home to Edria, but I am not 100% sure of it. But given how authors write series of books, I expect that we will see him again someday.

    By the way, how many of you have read Catherine Asaro’s (Lost Continent is the series title I think) series of novels (about 4 or 5 books) where power in magic was also color coded ( by spectrum) but also tied to two and three dimensional shapes (the more sides the better or more powerful)? If you like Rowe’s books you should like them also. And then there were the Blending books (2 series, 8 books total) that Sharon Green brought out.

    I still like my suggestion that Wrynn Jaden may have hidden/stored herself in the Jaden Box. That could explain why she has not been seen for some time, assuming she did not die of old age.

  66. I’m assuming Cecily was romantically involved with Tristan, that’s the only thing that made sense to me.. Been wrong once or twice so who knows besides Mr. Krowe (hell maybe he doesn’t know yet some stories write themselves).

    If you go forward with more romance, Marissa seems much more logical than some shady liar. Understanding Jin thought he was trying to prevent war is notable, that’s the only honest thing he did after getting a new hole in his room.

    Going out on a limb and guessing the cadence (sp) parents knew about Tristan’s plans/job offer and that’s what tore them apart.

    Keras must suspect there is no goddess and it’s some grand conspiracy.

  67. My man,
    Please make this release as quick as possible, I’ve reread SAM at least 3 times this year and if I speculate any more on what mana types Corin has access to/what his new attunement does then I might have an aneurism.

    Sincerely,
    (One of) Your Biggest Fan(s)

  68. I think that the whole Tower, Judgement, Attunement, etc system is connected in some way to resisting the Tyrant in Gold, either to maintaining the barrier that keeps him out, or to be able to fight him when he manages to find a way to get in, or to someday return where they came from and kick him out of power.

    Maybe Corin’s parents found out about Tristran’s plans after he failed to come home from the Tower.

    Cecily should be approximately the same age as Corin, i.e. 5 years younger than Tristan. And age 12 versus age 17 (when Tristan disappeared) is a big barrier to romance, although not to arranged marriages/bethrothals.

    Maybe Tristan was a test subject in the program to create artificial attunements either before he entered the Tower or afterwards. Or became involved in it somehow. He did seem to be working with Prof Orden on something and was trained by her. Perhaps his parents were/are involved as well, since they are members of the House of Lords. This does not mean that they supported the effort to kidnap Tenjin, although there may be some connection through the artificial attunement program.

    Is Corin’s grandfather (father’s father) dead, and when did he die (if he is dead)? We know his great grandfather who founded the House is dead. Corin did seem to have some memories of his grandfather.

    Depending on his parents’ involvement in various projects, Tristran may not want Corin and Sera to tell their father a lot about their trip to the Tower before Tenjin is rescued.

  69. We know (from Corin) that Tristan trained with a sword all the way up to when he entered the Tower, and that when he did not come back their father changed how Corin was being trained and schooled. This quite likely played a role in their mother moving out and back to her own House. Tristan may have been training to be a Swordmaster (if there is such an attunement) like his mother, and his Father seems to have trained Corin more in using a dueling cane, i.e. to use mana and magic, and hopefully be a Shaper like his father.

    Because of the difficulty in keeping thier role in Prof Orden not coming back concealed from those holding Tenjin, they may want to go to Caelford to heal Sera a lot sooner than the end of the school year. They also may not want to give out too much information on what happened in the Tower to their classmates and some of their teachers.

  70. So there are other possibilities for a combat oriented attunement in Corin’s Mark of Glory, but I will still root for Soul Blade. With Corin using it more for any magical beings that he can bind to his Sword (Selys Lyann) and to other items or to himself.

    Corin is not a sword user at heart, he has not had the sheer amount of training with a sword that Tristan and Sera have had. He may become a Soul Blade but I think Enchanter will dominate what he does in a Tower. I think that the added possibilities as an Enchanter are key to what he does with his new Mark of Glory. I think there was a reason the Goddess choose Enchanter for him, and that his behavior so far in Tower like situations (real or school test) shows that.

    Corin will be able to use Soul Blade and Enchanter to help create swords and other items for other members of his party to use. I think that he will get Soul Blade via Life in the Mark of Glory and Transference in his Enchanter Mark.

    I find the idea that Tristan was involved in the artificial attunement project, probably as a test subject, interesting and likely.

  71. He may have had training from Prof Orden even before he entered the Tower for his Judgment (assuming he actually even did a real Judgement test, he may have had an artificial attunement the day he supposedly entered the Tower for his Judgement).

  72. The question I have is, if someone acquires an artificial attunement before they take their Judgement where they would get a normal attunement, can they still try to take a normal Judgement, and how will the tower react, i.e. will the tower allow them to enter the judgement gate?

    The other possibility for an artificial attunement would be to get it after their Judgement, and either get a second attunement or add to their 1st attunement.

    If it is a serious research effort extending over decades of time (which it has), I image all the various possibilities have been tried.

    I think that Tristan being involved in the artificial attunement program, as a test subject, probably has something to do with why he never came home from his Judgement.

    I thank Javvies for calling attention to the Emerald Swordmaster for Corin’s mother, I (and others) should have noticed the capital S in Swordmaster (when she fought Keras) which made it much more likely that it is an official named Attunement from one of the other Towers (I would consider Caelford to be more likely than Dalenos since Dalenos has Soul Blade). It will be interesting to find out what mana types are in it, and what level as an Elementalist Corin’s Mother is. I hope we eventually get to see what her Mark diagrams look like, Rowe has hinted we may not see her in Book 2 (or at least not early in Book 2).

    I am still waiting to find out what attunement Marks (besides Shaper) and levels Corin’s Father has (and the Mark diagrams), and if Derek has a 2nd attunement Mark and what level it is.

    I wonder if Corin will pick up a third attunement Mark either when they climb Caelford’s Tower to heal Sera (assuming that they do), or if he helps rescue/release Tenjin? (which may not happen in Book 2) (Could he get a 2nd Mark of Glory from Tenjin?) I suspect that he will pick up a 3rd Mark at some point. The interesting question is when will he try drinking what is left of his water of attunement and what it does to his existing Marks and levels. Extreme speculation: could Corin get a 4th Mark at some point? or more? (even 3 Marks is supposed to be pretty rare). What if he waits until after he gets a 3rd Mark (assuming he gets one) or goes up some more levels in his existing Marks before drinking what is left of his water of attunement?

    Another interesting question is what level is Sera’s improved/expanded Mark (it has to be pretty high) and what got added to it? I think Life may have been added to it. Also as some have mentioned, could/will she pick up a 2nd Mark that she could use if it was on a different part of her body?

    Please show us the 4 runes on Corin’s Sword and any on Katashi’s Sword that Sera now has.

    Get Book 2 out so we can stop speculating, Please!

  73. There wouldn’t have been a Tristan and Cecily romance – he’d’ve been ~17, and she’d’ve been ~12 when he disappeared during his Judgement. While that’s fair grounds for a betrothal/arranged marriage, I think it’s a bit much for an active romance. If there was a betrothal between Tristan and Cecily, his disappearance would likely have complicated that, and a renegotiation might have replaced Tristan with Corin.
    I don’t believe that a relationship (romantic or otherwise) between a hypothetical older sister of Cecily and Tristan would cause the kind of reaction/awkwardness we saw the one time Cecily and Corin crossed paths. Unless maybe this hypothetical sister was pregnant by Tristan when he disappeared … that could maybe have done it.
    It’s also a possibility that Cecily and Corin are relatives of some sort (cousins, perhaps), but with estranged parents.
    Or maybe Cecily witnessed something at Corin’s house – perhaps one of his father’s “training sessions” with him.
    Whatever the cause, I’m interested to see where that goes.


    Jin wasn’t trying to prevent a war. Not really. And none of his actions would have prevented a war and some of.
    Jin was trying to point Katashi’s wrath at Tenjin’s disappearance at Valia, but Katashi getting the information he was seeking would not have endangered Edria (East or West). Jin shot Vera, trying to keep her information about Tenjin from Katashi (no threat to Edria), and perhaps trying to throw a wrench in the artificial God-Beast Attunment project, when he KNEW that Tenjin (and by extension the other Visages would have similar sentiments) was aware of, did not approve of, and was directing the shut-down of the artificial God-Beast Attunement project; also, Vera being alive or dead wouldn’t have any particularly meaningful impact one way or the other on the artificial God-Beast Attunement project (assuming no Visage intervention) – perhaps a few months for a suitable replacement Analyst to be found and brought up to speed.

    I don’t think Tristan becoming a Whisper (of Wydd, presumably) or getting the offer to become one would have really resulted in the separation of Laura Lyran and Magnus Cadence, even assuming that they knew about it, which I rather doubt. For that matter, Tristan never officially left the Tower following his Judgement (at least, not under his own name), per the records that Corin found.

    As for the causes of the estrangement and separation, loosing a child would be hard enough on any relationship under normal circumstances, and it’s a distinct possibility that the relationship was already strained. After all, Sera was born just a few days after Corin, which suggests they were conceived at about the same too – which means that Laura’s husband had to have knocked up her retainer shortly after impregnating her. Oh, I suppose it’s within the bounds of possibility that that wasn’t a stressor on the marital relationship for whatever reason (threesome?), but I doubt it strengthened the relationship.
    In addition, it has been strongly implied that Magnus Cadence has physically abusive tendencies.
    Plus he’s an asshole. After all, he had to have sent for Sera, and therefore been planning to legitimize her some time before Corin even left to start his Judgement. Which makes me wonder what would have happened had Sera not gotten a combat-oriented Attunement.

    Although, since there was apparently little or no contact between Corin and Laura Lyran in the five-ish years that Larua and Magnus separated, it’s not clear that she’d’ve been much better as a parent.


    There is no indication and no reason to think that Tristan had any sort of special training or involvement in the artificial Attunement project prior to his Judgement.
    He did become aware of it at some point after he became a Whisper – he was working with Professor Orden, after all. He may even have been a recipient of one or more of the artificial attunements after that, but that’s pure, unfounded speculation.

    As for the differences between Tristan’s training, Corin’s training, and Sera’s training. Tristan enjoyed fighting, Corin didn’t. Also, Corin said that once he (and Sera) were old enough to use dueling canes, blasting each other with magic was more fun than sword work.
    Also, Magnus appears to use a dueling cane, while Laura Lyran’s an Emerald Swordmaster, so it seems likely that after the separation and the homeschooling began, Magnus taught Corin his preferred weapon over that of Laura’s. Since Sera grew up in Laura’s household, it seems likely that she’d’ve had more opportunity to learn more advanced swordfighting techniques, and probably had more interest than Corin.

    The Swordmaster Attunement is probably a more weapon-oriented equivalent of the Guardian Attunement, although I’m not sure how it would differ from the Legionnaire Attunement, which is presumably a similar/equivalent Attunement.

    As far as Corin’s new Attunement being the Soulblade Attunement, I’m entirely certain that it isn’t a Soulblade Attunement. Derek would have recognized it as a Soulblade Mark or variant thereof.
    In addition, Corin wouldn’t be able to really benefit from the Soulblade abilities, far less spread monster-empowered item’s around. Sera has 4 worthwhile pacts and had a few relatively useless pacts (class-required), and Derek himself only has 4 pacts and he’s an Emerald. Corin wouldn’t be able to support pacting a bunch of monsters into items the way he can just make items as an Enchanter.
    If Corin winds up having the same mana types as the Soulblade grants between his new Attunement (whatever it winds up being) and his Enchanter Attunement, he still won’t have a Soulblade Attunement, or be a Soulblade proper. The mana synergies without the Soulblade Attunement can probably only emulate a Soulblade to a much more limited extent, and doing so is likely to be far less effective and much slower to develope than having a Soulblade Attunement. And the Soulblade Attunement is not suited to making more than a handful of items since each pact takes up mana that doesn’t count toward Attunement Advancement – Derek’s an Emerald, and he only has 4 pacts.
    Also, Soulblade isn’t exactly a normal Combat Attunement. It’s a bit of a Summoner-lite crossed with an Enchanter-lite. Though it might be sufficiently oriented towards combat to satisfy Magnus Cadence.
    IMO, Soulblade isn’t Transference+Life, I think it’s more likely Transference+Enhancement. Transference+Life seems more like an Attunement that would be a Guardian/Summoner hybrid, not the Enchanter/Summoner hybrid of the Soulblade. Transference+Life seems like an Attunement that you’d make pacts with monsters and be able to do some degree of shapeshift towards their form to gain their abilities, well, maybe not shapeshifting, but pacting with monsters to gain some of their traits, abilities, and/or other attributes for yourself.


    They’re going to have to tell at least some people at least some of what happened inside the Tower. For one thing, Teft knew they were going in, and will have to be told at least some of what went on, probably most, if not all, really. For another, Sera’s basically been magically crippled, and that’s going to require an explanation.
    At any rate, IMO, they’re not likely to face any repercussions for what happened to Orden, even from her co-conspirators.
    After all, Katashi read Orden’s mind, so anyone involved with Tenjin’s disappearance who Orden could identify is already on his shit-list, and if Orden knew when Tenjin was being held, that’s Target One, and I would expect that by the time the group made it back, Katashi was laying the smackdown on and/or issuing arrest warrants for all the co-conspirators Orden’s memories could identify.
    There’d be no real point in going after any of the group, other than petty vengeance. Anything they know or could share with anyone, Katashi already knows. It’d be one thing if going after Corin or anyone else would stop the spread of information/close the leak, but it wouldn’t, it’s already way too late to try to contain the knowledge of the conspiracy – Katashi already has Orden, which is a way bigger information breach than what Corin and company have, they can only point to Orden (in Katashi’s custody) and Elora (disappeared and on Katashi’s list), and technically Tristan (officially presumed dead, since he disappeared during his Judgement), as being involved.
    As long as they don’t try and spread the information from the rooftops, and keep the information to those who actually need to know (ie, mostly other Council members and other Valian authorities/authority figures), the Council members/Valian officials who weren’t involved with the conspiracy won’t go after them to keep them quiet about the fact that there was a conspiracy that directly attacked Tenjin based within Valia’s government.


    As for healing Sera … perhaps there’s a Winter Break of some sort coming up (albeit presumably after the Winter Ball). That would be a convenient time to take a quick trip to Caelford and look for Ferras. As for who would accompany Sera on such a trip, I would assume Corin (and therefore probably Patrick, since he’s Corin’s retainer), and quite possibly one or more parental figures, since it is a family matter.
    Probably Sera’s mom.
    Maybe Laura Lyran (and thus possibly some of her other retainers).
    Magnus Cadence might or might not go along, since Sera’s Summoner Attunement is preferable to Corin’s Enchanter Attunement in his worldview, and Magnus has been elevating Sera over Corin in their personal lives/relationships. On the other hand, Sera suffering crippling mana scarring might mean she’s failed in Magnus’s eyes, whereas Corin has a spiffy new Attunement granted by Katashi (whatever it winds up being), which I think would be pretty hard to spin as anything other than a win, though if it’s another non-combat-oriented Attunement and no combat-oriented mana synergies result, Magnus might take it as “proof” of Corin’s “cowardice”.
    It would be somewhat hard to justify Marissa, Derek, Keras, or one of the Professors going with, though.

    This assumes that they don’t expect to need to enter the Tower to find Ferras, since it was said she has a habit of spending time among humans. If it’s expected that they’ll have to enter the Tower (and thus Climb the Tower) in order to get Ferras to heal Sera, the group will likely have more adults gifted at combat and experienced at Climbing.

    On the flip side, going to Caelford to look for Ferras to heal Sera will have two possible side benefits.
    First, if Corin doesn’t know what his new Attunement is/does, it’s probably a safe bet that Ferras can enlighten him.
    Second, Caelford is where the Artificial Attunement Project is being run – sure, they’re almost certainly not doing God-Beast grade Marks anymore, but regular attunements might still be fair game. It might be possible for some of the group (or all, depending) to get additional attunements, which would be useful. Also, they probably have a lot of information on what the various known Attunements look like and do, so if Corin hasn’t found out what his new Attunement is, they might well know something useful, though Ferras will probably be a better source on Corin’s new Attunement.


    As far as Corin’s romantic prospects, we’re looking at named characters of his approximate age. There aren’t that many of them, and probably about half are already ruled out.
    Jin – that relationship (in any form) is dead. Perma-dead.
    Rupert Kent – he’s an asshat, and Marissa is far more likeable. Not happening.
    Sera – she’s his half-sister. Not happening.
    Patrick – Corin’s retainer and (currently) interested in Sera. Not happening.
    Roland – was supposed to be Tristan’s retainer, and was supposed to be transferred to Corin, but hasn’t been, has acted in a manner consistent with being Sera’s retainer on at least one occassion. Fairly certain that’s not happening.
    Tom McCormick – appeared just the once. Highly improbable.
    Lisa Stone – former classmate of Corin and Patrick who was mentioned the one time; we know literally nothing else about her, other than that she has an attunement of some kind since she’s at Lorian Heights. Fairly improbable.
    Cecily Lambert – unknown and awkward issues with Corin. The viability of a potential romantic relationship depends heavily on what those issues are and then on how or if they are resolved or otherwise addressed.
    Marissa – they are friends, but she’s aggressively aware of the fact that she’s not a noble and he is, so … issues. She’s the best of the potential romantic prospects who’ve interacted with Corin and/or we know any amount of personal details about. In some ways, she’s the best of the potential prospects almost by default.


    As far as having an artificial Attunement prior to your Judgement, I believe that there are two types of entrances to the Towers – the Gate(s) for Judgements, and the Climber’s Gate(s).
    I presume that the Judgement Gate(s) don’t allow entrance to anyone with an Attunement (however they came by it), and thus you’re forced to enter the by way of the Climber’s Gate(s).


    Heh, I just thought of something – what’s the reaction going to be like when it gets out that Sera has Katashi’s sword? I mean, it’s got to be pretty distinctive, and it’s not the sort of thing that Katashi would hand out very often.

  74. Since Sera’s Mother was/is Corin’s Mother’s retainer and that relationship survived Sera ‘s birth with Sera being trained as Corwin’s retainer, and Sera’s mother followed Corin’s mother with Sera when Corin’s mother left his father, I think it is likely that Sera’s pregnancy and birth was by arrangement between the two mothers (and father) with the direct goal of providing a retainer for Corin to be raised with him. We already know that retainer/patron relationships are often passed down between generations in linked families.

    My suggestion of an older sister of Cecily being Tristan’s girlfriend is just as a reason for them to know each other. Corin probably knew Cecily while he was still being public schooled, before his father started home schooling/training him. Maybe there is some kind of relationship or former relationship between their families. All we really know is that Corin is not ready to talk with her yet, but needs to someday, and so avoids her.

    I just wonder if the people holding Tenjin will react to to Corwin and Sera getting Vera and Prof Orden to Katashi which gave Katashi information about them. They might do something to them or interfere in their schooling/training if too much becomes public about Tenjin being held captive and Corwin + Sera helping Katashi. It might be safer for them to not spread the information too publicly. However, at least some of their teachers will have to know more about Corwin’s Mark of Glory and Sera’s being unable to use mana until she gets healed. Their team mates have already learned what happened. The question is how much will all of their classmates and the general public be told? The government may not not want Tenjin being missing to become public, it might encourage an attack by Edria.

    Then there is the question of did Katashi learn where Tenjin was being held. I doubt it, if Prof Orden did know where, they should have moved him before the party entered the Tower so that Prof Orden would no longer know where Tenjin was. (I sure the author wants that situation to continue as a challenge
    for future book(s)).

    We do not know that Tristan was a test subject of the artificial attunement program. All we know is that Tristan was trained by Prof Orden long enough to outgrow her and start going his own separate way. Since Tristan was not publicly enrolled in the school after coming out of a Judgment (officialy at least), he had to be trained by Prof Orden privately. Why? Since Prof Orden is involved in the artificial attunement program, I think that there is a good chance that Tristan was being trained as part of that program. Other subjects of the program may have been privately trained as well. Maybe some of them (including Tristan) are getting multiple attunement Marks. Surely the artificial attunement program is trying that.

    We know that a person can enter a Judgement Gate to a Tower once (to get an attunement). What happens if that person has already gotten a artificial attunement before entering the Judgement Gate? Surely, it has been tried in that program since it has been going on for decades. We do not know if a Judgement Gate will allow it, but if it does, they might get a 2nd attunement Mark (which would be hard to explain to the general public, hence private schooling if having the two Marks can not be concealed)

    Tristan, as the Voice of the Tower, may be being used to support and control the Tower rooms for parties of artificial attuned people being trained to gain experience and levels. Supposedly the Visage for Edria was involved in training his people, so Tristan being used is a similiar way is not beyond the range of possibility. Tenjin might even have known something about the project as well, but he disapproved of the artificial god beast attunement part of it. Prof Orden even said that Tenjin told her that he was going to shut it down (if we can trust any statements made by her).

    I do wonder if Corin gets Soul Blade, can he create items (swords, etc) with the contracted being (monster) being tied to the owner of that item and drawing on that owner’s mana to maintain the contract rather than on Corin’s mana. It just might be possible for someone who is both an Enchanter and a Soul Blade to do. But Soul Blade can at least be used in it’s normal way by Corin, if he gets it.

    I do not think that Enhancement and Transference is a viable attunement combination, since Rowe said that they were opposite types or two sides of the same coin. Opposites normally nullify each other. I am not even sure it is possible for one person to have them in two different Marks. I doubt that person could use them both at the same time even from two different marks.

  75. Or for that matter if several people are cooperating to cast a spell, I doubt that Transference and Enhancement can be used at the same time for that spell.

  76. Corin will have to try taking more classes in the middle of the school year, which will be hard to do and explain to his classmates without giving out too much info (if they need to keep some info quiet). Explaining Sera’s situation to her classmates may cause problems as well. Corin may end up getting a lot of private training/schooling.

  77. There is also the question of what Jin can/will tell the government of Edria when he returns home to Edria. This could also lead to further military build ups on the borders and/or to the start of a war.

  78. Have you decided on a title for Book 2 yet?

    I had an interesting idea: “Make Magic, Not War”

    How are doing on getting Book 2 ready for release?

  79. I listened to the audiobook of the first one and really enjoyed it! cant wait to read/listen to the sequel when you get done. Really excited to get back into the world you made.

    Quick question if you don’t mind. Corin’s adventure in book one was my first time experiencing your work and noticed you had a few other books with fantasy/magic themes. Do all of your books take place in the same world? Just trying to figure out if they’d be required reading or not, haha that can be a little intimidating stepping up to a new fantasy series.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Yes, they take place in the same world. The connections will be revealed more directly over time. As you can see below, some people already have some theories. =)

      Thanks for reading the book, glad you liked it!

  80. The other two books have some kind of connection to SAM, but the author has kept vague the details, including the relative time frames. SAM seems to be after the other two books, probably by several centuries, but even that is uncertain. Even the systems of magic are not exactly the same, but there seems to be some overlap, and the rest might be mostly a different point of view and terminology, and a different theorectical base. He is supposed give us some more info in Book 2 of SAM. The only direct connection (in writing) seems to be the dream/memory that Corin has after almost freezing himself to death during the first school mock tower test. It probably came from his sword Selys Lyann. The connection seems to be during the Pre Attunement Period of Sorcery in the past of SAM. The two Books in the Broken Mirror series do not use attunement Marks to learn magic, so it seems to be harder and rarer for people to learn magic. There also seems to be more god like or semi divine people/beings around in the Broken Mirror Books. (Maybe they are the few beings that really know a lot of magic, and are possibly immortal or have very long lives). Keras Selyrian also seems to be from the area included in the Broken Mirrors Books. Selyr is a City in those Books, and he said he was from near there.

    The Tyrant in Gold has not happened yet in the Broken Mirrors Books, but he may be coming, i.e. maybe Book 3 or later of Broken Mirrors. This is speculative, but it is one way to interpert what we know at the moment. There are some family names/Houses that seem to be the same in both series.

  81. It is possible (likely) that Tyrant in Gold killed off most of the sorecers and godlike beings in the Broken Mirrors area of the world, and the few survivors fled to the continent where SAM is taking place and set up some kind of barrier to keep him out.

    1. I sometimes wonder if the Goddess Selys might also be from the area around the City of Selyr, possibly she was a local deity to that City (this makes sense to those who have read the two Books of Broken Mirrors). (This is only a guess). (or possibly someone (person or deity) we saw in Books 1 and 2 of Broken Mirrors under a different name).

      We do not know that the Tyrant in Gold is coming in Book 3 or later of Broken Mirrors, we only know that something very bad is coming (title Defying Destiny for Book 3) and are making a guess that it is the Tyrant in Gold.

  82. Hello! I was wondering if you would be willing to publish a chart of the attunement levels and exactly how much mana is required to reach each level. Possibly in the appendix of book 2?
    Keep up the good work, and take all the time you need to make the book as great as it can be.

    1. It’s actually pretty straightforward. I have an excel spreadsheet, I’ll try to throw that online at some point. (It wouldn’t display well online).

      Basically, you need 60 to get to Carnelian, then for each level higher it’s six times that. So, 360 for Sunstone, 2160 for Citrine, and 12960 for Emerald.

      The chart has all the intermediate steps (like “Citrine C”, “Citrine B”, etc.), but those don’t actually offer any new abilities – those are basically just ways of tracking progress. It’s only the actual “gemstone” levels that directly give new abilities.

  83. Expanding a little on Rowe’s comments: (as I understand it, and from the Book)

    Level Rank

    Quartz: (1 to 5) x 10
    Carnelian (1 to 5) x 60
    Sunstone (1 to 5) x 360
    Citrine (1 to 5) x 2,160
    Emerald (1 to 5) x 12,960
    Sapphire (1 to 5) x 77,760

    The 1 to 5 correspond to ranks E, D, C, B, A, i.e. E is lowest and A is highest. The second part is (10 x (6 to the N th power)) where N is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. (anything raised to the 0 th power = 1)

    These are for normal levels/ranks for normal (sized) people, we do not know if the strengths of God Beasts and Visages are the same. God Beasts supposedly have a lot more mana because they are very large physically.

    I am not sure if Quartz is considered 0 th level or 1st level, and Carnelian is 1st or 2nd level, etc.

  84. By the way, I do not think that Corin ever managed to read the scroll he got during his Judgement at the beginning of SAM. Keras would be a good person to try reading it, in case it is in a non local language, or else Derek or one of the professors, or Tristan (in particular), or his parents.

    1. Nor did he ever look at the duelling vest. I’m kinda surprised that Corin hadn’t used it for protection throughout the book. One thought process is the vest was too damaged to be repaired. I also know the auruas of magical items could interfere with each other, which could be a reason why this was over looked. However, I would like to think that Corin would want to look at runes to try to either repair it, duplicate or try to make it stronger (ie: self-recharging, more durable, etc.) I’m curious on your thought process on this one Rowe.

      1. Btw I’m excited about the SAM 2 To come out. Is there an update on the publish date for the book?

      2. The vest was too badly damaged to use. He looks into getting another one in the sequel.

        There’s no offical update on the publication date yet. I’m looking at probably late April or early May at this point.

  85. Hey Andrew, I know I check this blog post for your comments entirely to much, but for the people who are not quite that obsessively interested is there any chance of a monthly progress update?

    I know that I for one find any information about your writing and editing process to be fascinating. We all appreciate the time you have put in communicating with your readers and I hope things continue to go well.

    1. I’m planning to post an update soon. The quick summary is that I’m looking at probably late April or early May for publishing the sequel at this point.

    1. I’m making some more significant changes than I had planned, and that’s taking a while. On the plus side (at least for people who like longer books), the current manuscript is about 10% longer than when I finished the first draft, and I think people will probably like the new content.

      I’m still debating the title. I’ve been reading your suggestions (and gotten a bunch from other people), but I haven’t found anything that really sings to me the way that Sufficiently Advanced Magic did.

      I picked that title at the last minute, too (it was just “Attuned” until right before publication), so I’m not too surprised. For whatever reason, this series is giving me trouble.

      Fortunately, I already have the title for the next Broken Mirrors book (Defying Destiny) and the Keras spin-off for Arcane Ascension (Six Sacred Swords).

  86. It seems to me that Keras is supposed to help protect them (Corin and Sera in particular) against highly placed people in the Valia government, but I doubt he can do much while they are at school, particularly since they will be split up going to different classes (the same goes for Derek). What he and Derek could do, is help them (Corin, Sera, Patrick, and Marissa) out on an early (in Book 2) trip to and up the Caelford Tower to try to get healing for Sera, since Keras and Derek as a duo could probably handle almost any Tower challenge without any help from them. A trip up the Tower should get them more in experience towards raising their levels, and possible new Marks. The only other active thing they could do would be to help rescue/release Tenjin, but that is more a problem of locating him. Corin needs a lot more help and information from Tristan, particularly in reading the Scroll (or maybe from Keras or Derek for the Scroll).

    If they wait to the end of the school year, they may not have help from one or both of Derek and Keras, particularly if they need a school Professor with them. Also Sera may need to be healed to continue taking her classes, and a healed Sera will be much more capable of defending herself with Katashi’s Sword and her expanded summoning abilities.

    The third possibility is before the end of the school year but after some time has passed for training and preparation for the trip up the Tower. Is there any break in the middle of the school year? They are already well into the school year, they have had 2 of the 3 mock Tower tests already, so there may not be a lot of time left until the end of the school year. They may already be more than half way through the 1st school year.

    There is one interesting possibility, Elora Theas ought to know where Tenjin is, and Derek (as a former close companion/lover) should be able to provide a sample from her sufficient for the Jaden Box to summon her through any teleportation defenses she has, and if they can keep her from escaping (she is an Emerald Summoner), they can try to get Tenjin’s location from her. The problem is waiting for the Jaden Box to recharge.

    Also Tristan might be able to suggest various places to check for where Tenjin is being held (or at least rule out places he is NOT being held).

    Also how can they communicate with Katashi again if/when they find out where Tenjin is located? The only possibility I can think of is to send (teleport) someone (probably Corin) to Dalenos to meet him there. They need a reliable teleporter (Corin’s Mark?) now that Prof Orden is no longer available. (Maybe if Corin can get teleportation abilities from his new Mark, he will have fewer problems with nausa when teleporting). Or better yet, they summon Elora directly into Katashi’s presence with the Jaden Box, I am sure he would like that idea, and could keep her from escaping

    A long shot possibility is to try retrieving Wrynn Jaden from storage in the Jaden Box. If it works, she could provide a lot help in many ways, incuding training and lost knowledge about Pre Attunement Sorcery (or from a different perspective, Sorcery that does not use Attunement Marks). We already know that Attunement Sorcery can not duplicate the Jaden Box, and possibly other weapons/artifacts from that time period.

  87. Also maybe Katashi could help recharge the Jaden Box faster, in order to summon either Tenjin, if they have something linked to him, or Elora using something provided by Derek. Katashi certainly wants to question and punish Elora who directly betrayed Tenjin when he was captured. It certainly should help in locating Tenjin.

  88. One thing that Corin really needs to make for his party members for Tower trips, is an individual item for each person that they can use to store their own mana in, before the trip to use in restoring their own mana levels faster after they enter a Tower. He made a similar item for himself that stored his own grey mana, now each person needs their own version.

  89. I suspect that in order to not make the 3rd school mock test feel a let down, they will have to do the trip to Caelford to climb the Tower to heal Sera (assuming that is the way they are trying to heal her), after they have the 3rd school mock test before going to Caelford. This will give them some time to recover from the end of SAM, and get some new lessons and training in, plus make things to prepare for the Caelford trip. The same goes for a end of a year school test trip to a Tower with a Professor after already climbing a lot higher up the Caelford Tower to get Sera healed. So if they do go early to the Caelford Tower to Sera healed, it will count as their end of year school test, particularly if some/many/all of them come back with a new attunement Mark (except maybe for Sera who only gets healed, but her new Mark from SAM and Katashi’s Sword should be more than enough)(Corin may not get a new Mark either since that would give him 3 Marks. If/when Corin gets a 3rd Mark I would expect it for freeing/rescuing Tenjin (But I could be guessing wrong)). The real question is do they make the trip with a Professor or one/both of Derek and Keras. Plus do they take another student besides Patrick and Marissa with them, most likely Rowland.

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