Novel Updates

Hey everyone,

I was planning to do an update tomorrow, but then I realized everyone was just going to think it was an April Fools joke. Which, in fairness, it probably would have been.

But I’m going to restrain myself and give you an actual status update instead.

The edits for the sequel to Sufficiently Advanced Magic have been taking much longer than expected.

This is, in large part, because I had 20 beta readers this time instead of the 10 that I had for Sufficiently Advanced Magic. Moreover, some of these beta readers really went into depth. A couple of them sent me close to a thousand comments each.

I’m extremely grateful to my beta readers for this level of analysis, and I think it’s helping me improve the final product. But it’s taking a while.

The good news is that I’ve finished going through the comments of 17/20 of the beta readers.

The bad news is that some of the remaining ones are some of the most extensive.

Because of this, I’m *probably* going to do a few things I hadn’t planned on.

  • I’m currently planning to send this manuscript to my professional editor before I finish all my beta reader edits, most likely within the next few days. I’m just waiting until I finish all the major content changes (e.g. adding or removing whole sections) before sending it to him.
  • I’m then going to continue working on the last of the beta reader edits while my editor is also looking at the manuscript.
  • When the editor gets their version back to me, I will use their version as the master document, but merge the changes I’ve made in the meantime into it. (Word has a “compare” feature that makes this relatively easy.)

This isn’t the most efficient approach in terms of work for me – that would be for me to finish the beta edits before sending it over, and avoid having to do the merge. It will, however, get the manuscript ready for publication a couple weeks faster.

I may still change my mind on this.

Even with taking that approach, I expect it to be a good month before the book is ready. My book is extremely long by traditional novel standards – it’s about 240,000 words at this point, which is about 10% longer than Sufficiently Advanced Magic, and more than double the length of Forging Divinity.

Thus, I expect it will take some time for my editor to go through it, and then some time for me to go through all of the editor’s changes, approve or reject them, and do the merge.

This is not an ideal process.

For my next novel, I plan to take the advice of one of my beta readers and have my readers collaborate on editing a single file, rather than sending me twenty different documents to read through. I expect this will probably be a massive efficiency improvement, because right now a lot of my time is taken up by dealing with checking comments and edits for errors that ten other people caught.

That process does have disadvantages. Most collaborative editing programs are going to have their own slowdowns, and may not work on all reading devices. This is likely to be inconvenient or impossible for some readers, and I expect to still get some notes that are in different formats. But if I could cut it down to having to read through 5 files instead of 20, that would still be a huge improvement.

I know many of you are eager to see the next book, and I hope you understand that the reason I’m taking extra time is to improve the quality of the product. It’d be easy to just hit publish with what I have, but I’d rather put out quality products over quantity.

Hopefully with those process improvements, I’ll be able to manage both quality and quantity in the future.

For those of you who are wondering about the audio book version, I expect that will take at least a few more months after the Kindle edition is released. It takes time for the narrator to find time in their schedule, record the book, and then send it to the publisher for formatting and such. I’ll provide an clearer estimate as soon as I have a better idea of when it might come out, but for now my best guess is that it will be at least August or September.

I still haven’t settled on a title. I know that’s absurd because it’s this close to publication, but Wish Upon a Scar doesn’t quite feel right, and neither do the many other titles I’ve tinkered with.

Thus far, the closest alternate suggestions have been Risk vs. Reward and On the Shoulders of Giants.

Risk vs. Reward is a commonly used term in MMORPG design (and game design in general), generally in reference to providing sufficient rewards for completing challenges. It is, however, much better known as as a term for financial investments, and as such I don’t think it’s going to invoke the right idea for most readers.

On the Shoulders of Giants is probably my favorite, since this whole series has such a focus on magical research, but it’s also the exact title of one of Steven Hawking’s books. And while I *have* been tempted to use a Steven Hawking quote or title as a reference, I’m not going to use one of his book titles directly. I may still consider using a variant on this one, because I like it a lot, but probably not this exact title.

My titles for the Arcane Ascension series in general are going to continue to be references to famous quotes, most likely all from deceased authors or famous historical figures. (The “deceased” rule is part of why I’m not referencing something like Sanderson’s Laws, for example, which would be otherwise a very obvious route to go.)

I’ll continue to read suggestions, but please don’t be offended if I don’t go with your ideas. I’ve gone through dozens, maybe hundreds, of title options at this point. I’m being very picky.

Thanks to everyone for the support and interest! I’ll plan to post another update when the book is off to the editor, which I hope to be soon.

134 thoughts on “Novel Updates

  1. A good work around for the Steven Hawking title could be “On the shoulders of behemoths.” This dodges the direct copy and adds the gaming reference of a behemoth.

    1. Behemoths have a religious connotation as well, but the popular usage in Final Fantasy and such certainly makes a lot of sense for the book. I’ll keep this in mind as an option, thank you!

      1. There are definitely a number of synonyms for Giant than can be used for such. I personally like Titan. Goliath isn’t terrible, but I like both behemoth and titan better.

      2. I’m currently leaning toward Titan, but there’s already a book called “On the Shoulders of Titans”. It’s completely unrelated (looks like it’s a NASA thing).

        I might do another minor variation, like “Upon the Shoulders of Titans”.

        “On the Shoulders of Behemoths” is definitely still an option, too.

        I also like Colossus as another synonym for Giant/Titan, but Colossi as a plural sounds a little awkward.

      3. I like Titans more than the other alternatives to Giants.

        A couple of variations for the “On the Shoulders” bit could be “From the Shoulders”, “With the Shoulders, or “By the Shoulders”.
        Alternatively you could use “On the Works” or “On the Legacy/Legacies” of ; or variations thereof, ie Upon/From/With/Through/etc.
        However, using “Works” or “Legacies” would be a bit more divergent from the original quote.

        Could also use something like “On the Shoulders of Masters”, “Shoulders of Greats”, or “Shoulders of Legends”, although again, those would be more noticeably divergent from the original quote.

      4. I do like Upon the Shoulders of Titans. Not that this is a democracy, but it’s got my vote ;D

  2. Maybe you should limit your beta readers to spelling, word choice, and continuity issues. As a beta reader for other authors, this usually all that is required. However, they do employ paid editor(s) after we’re done.

    1. That’s what most of my beta readers do, but some of my beta readers are other professional writers or editors, and they tend to give me much more detailed feedback. I consider that feedback valuable, and I wouldn’t want to ignore it.

      The main issue I’ve been running into is redundancy on the typos, grammar, and spelling side. I get a lot of people reporting the exact same issues. Sometimes I remember that I’ve already fixed something, but I still like to check. This can be very time consuming.

  3. Thanks for starting a new comment line, the old one was getting too long, particularly for any one new to it.

    I can see several types of Beta input needed:

    1) changes in content, continuity errors, add and subtract content, or relocate content, etc.

    You might use a broader pool of Beta readers for the this, but not expect them to give the second type of corrections (below) so that when you get responses from them you do not have to check to see if someone else caught it. It also makes getting their responses back faster for you to act on.

    2) the nitty gritty of typos, misspellings, word order, etc with a smaller pool of beta readers who are good at spotting this kind of mistakes (NOT me for instance). This will take a lot longer for them to get back to you because sheer amount of the detail work needed.

    1. Have you ever thought of creating a subreddit for Mr. Rowe? It’s a great place to spitball ideas.

      1. I actually tried doing this yesterday and discovered that I didn’t have enough karma. I don’t know how much is required, but this is my next goal in life.

  4. How about a slight change in proposed title to “On the Shoulders of Magicians”, it is close enough to recognize the original quote, but different enough to catch attention. Plus indicate the change in subject matter. A variant would be “On the Shoulders of Sorcerers” which might make a closer connection to the Book 2 title of Broken Mirrors. I think either choice could work well.”… Sorcerers” rather than “…Magicians” may be a closer connection to how you write (wrote) your books.

    If you like “On the Shoulders of Giants”, I think you might like my suggested variations.

    1. I like “On the Shoulders of Magicians”. I’ll keep that in mind as an option.

      “On the Shoulders of Sorcerers” is appropriate, but I’m going to try to avoid using sorcerers until I end up having more direct crossover with the Broken Mirrors books.

  5. There might be other words that you could substitute for Giants for possible titles. Although only readers of SAM would recognize the meaning of Guardians in a proposed title, people who have not read SAM would not understand it.

  6. I wasn’t a beta reader so i don’t know what title would fit the book but one idea to call it would be “divine intervention” or maybe a different video game reference like “all in” or “crowd control”

    1. Thanks for the ideas!

      Another gaming reference is definitely an option. It’s tough to come up with ones that fit the story perfectly, though – mostly because the story has so many different themes to cover.

  7. On one hand, I think “On the Shoulders of Magicians” has a closer connection to SAM, While “On the Shoulders of Sorcerers” has a little bit more of a connection to the title, “Stealing Sorcery”. But either is workable. So since it is the sequel to SAM, using Magicians rather than Sorcerers is probably the better choice.

  8. Which would give an short version of OSM to go along with SAM when we are refering to book titles.

  9. Or perhaps a shorter version, “Shoulders of Magicians” by leaving off the “On the” part of the title. I am not sure if you would prefer a shorter version, but that should work also. (I am writing these messages as my own ideas evolve or change) Some people might miss the implied “On the” part of the title, but that probably does not matter much. I suspect that the shorter title might be preferable. Which would make SOM for the short version of the title versus SAM for Book 1.

  10. Happy for the book to take as long as it needs to be the best it can be 🙂 Are we talking closer to the end of April now? Also, are you able to put it up for pre-order on Amazon?

    Thanks for all the hard work!

    1. Yeah, probably end of April or early may.

      I’m not doing preorders because I don’t want to lock in a specific date (which is required for preorders). I’ll try to get it posted as soon as I can, though.


  11. You could use “Shoulders of Sorcerers” instead, but that make the 3 letter version SOS instead of SOM. I am not sure if you want a title whose 3 letter version was SOS, which also stands for “Save Our Ship”, but that is up to you and your publisher. And as I said above, I think Magicians has a closer tie to “Sufficiently Advanced Magic”, than Sorcerers.

  12. Hi there Really looking forwards to the next book and I think you are right – I would rather have to wait for a few extra weeks to get a book the author is fully happy with than one ‘rushed out the door’ to meet a deadline.

    As for the title – how about keeping the theme and mix in the Hawking title, ‘On the shoulders of Magic’ ?

  13. As I was suggesting above, Magicians have shoulders, Magic does NOT, so either “Standing on the Shoulders of Magicians” or “On the Shoulders of Magicians” is the better choice, or the shortest version of “Shoulders of Magicians” IF you think people will understand the implied “Standing On the..”.

    I think that the “(I have seen so far because I was) Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” quote goes all the way back to Isaac Newton who was the second holder of the Lucasian Chair as Professor of Mathematics (at the University of Cambridge) that Hawking more recently held. Newton invented Calculus (both Differential and Integral) (along with Descartes) to create Classical Physics using his Law of Gravity. Newton was refering to Kepler and Galileo, in particular (as well as others).

    PS. none of this is an April Fool’s joke.

  14. I discovered “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” a few months ago on Audible and, since then, it’s become one of my favourites! There’s just something about Corin and the world that you’ve created that I can’t get enough of! (Also coming from a gamer perspective, I can definitely say I’d play a game based on this world for sure!).

    There’s so much about it that I love! The world-building, the characters, how you managed to balance the school and dungeon crawling aspects of the story…just everything! I’m absolutely ecstatic that the book will be released soon (a bit miffed that the audio will take longer but such a long book will take a long time to record so it’s understandable).

    One thing I sort of want to gush about is the romance. I looked through a couple comments out of curiosity and I noticed quite a few people favouring Marissa and Corin over Jin and Corin and saying that the romance was rushed and awkward and I just want to say what I thought about it since it was honestly one of my favourite parts of the book. Hopefully, I’m able to explain myself well.

    Firstly: I love that Corin is so awkward in social situations. He hasn’t spent much time interacting with others and I like that he’s having to learn or re-learn the basics of how to function in a friend group. This, naturally, transfers to his relationship with Jin. He’s awkward and doesn’t really know what he’s doing but he’s also a teenager who has no clue about social interaction and it’s a joy to watch him figure it out.

    Next: Jin. I love Jin. I love him a lot for reasons I can’t really describe. In relation to Corin though, I liked that he communicated clearly with Corin. When they were talking about the dance, he asked what Corin’s boundaries were and made it clear that he wasn’t going to push the other into a situation he wasn’t comfortable with. That immediately caught my attention because it’s not something I see very often and I deeply, deeply appreciated it.

    Thirdly: They work well together. I feel like this is possibly a bit redundant because everyone in the friend group Corin has made works well together but I feel that these two balance each other out. Neither are necessarily front-line fighters but they use their abilities in clever ways. They’re both analytical and can understand the thought process of the other to a certain degree. The phrase “opposites attract” often gets bandied about when talking about romance and relationships but people with similar minds and interests are also very compatible. I see them as true equals which is important in the formation of any relationship if it’s going to last.

    Lastly (for the moment at least) I love that them going to the dance was seen as no big deal by either of them. It was treated as normal that two males could attend the dance together and that was just…thank you. I absolutely loved that. Really it’s the small things with these two that made me love shipping them.

    Honestly, I could probably gush about those two all day but I won’t.

    I also want to say something about Marissa. I like her quite a bit. She’s a wonderful addition to the cast but I’m sorry to the Corin/Marissa shippers but I just can’t see it. What I like about their relationship is that Corin is a noble who isn’t interested in Marissa. This is, from what we’ve seen in the book, rare for her. I honestly think she needs Corin to be a noble friend who isn’t interested in her romantically. Perhaps she has a crush on him but maybe realises later that it was born out of the realisation that Corin was a genuinely nice guy who just happened to be the first noble male not interested in her in that way and she latched onto him because of it before going off and dating Sarah (I can dream).

    Sorry about the sort-of rant that that became. Honestly, if I were to list out everything I loved about this book I’d be here for hours. I’m really looking forward to the sequel and what you’ll do with it! Who knows, maybe Corin will relaise he’s asexual and not end up with anyone in the end. At this point I’m considdering anything a possibility.

    One last thing. I had a title idea if you’re not sick of receiving them by now. It’s based on the “shoulders of giants” idea. I thought since this particular book series isn’t afraid to have a little laugh every now and then, why not let the title reflect that so, instead of the shoulders, the title reads “On the Elbows of Giants” or “on the foreheads of giants” or something like that. Maybe go on from the first book and go with the theme of “advanced magic” but instead of just sufficient it’s “Remarkably Advanced Magic” which can be shortened to RAM or “Supremely Advanced Magic” if you want to stick to a theme.

    Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now. Thank you again for writing such a great book!

    1. I liked the jin relationship, but I just can’t understand how people are still shipping them after the end of book 1. Is there a reason you are able tolook over what happened? I genuinely want to know, and I want to be clear this is not a direct disagreement, but a point against corin/jin.

    2. I’m glad you enjoyed the book, and I’m glad to hear your reasoning behind a Corin/Jin ship. =)

      I like the title suggestions, too. I might think about doing something with altering the earlier portion of the title rather than the end. Not sure yet.

      1. If you want to change the early part, here are several possibilities:

        “On the Wands of Magicians”
        “Using the Wands of Magicians”
        “From the Wands of Magicians”
        “From the Wands of Students”

        I think I like the last one best out of this group of suggested titles. Wands gives us the connection to magic, and students tells us who/what they are. It is different enough to be catchy, but still somewhat recognizable, but the next to last suggested title could work also well.

    3. I’m not sure anyone was particularly shipping Marissa/Corin very hard.
      For me, at least, I was mostly just noting that Marissa is probably the “best” of the currently available options – not that she’s necessarily a good one. Available options being named characters of their age – the others being Sera, Patrick, Roland, Lisa Stone, Thomas McCormick, Cecily Lambert, and technically Rupert Kent and Jin disqualified himself, IMO. Of those options, Rupert’s a hard no, Sera’s a hard no, Patrick’s a hard no, Roland’s probably a hard no, we only saw Thomas McCormick the one time and all we know about him is that he’s a Mender and in the same dorm as Corin, Lisa Stone was only mentioned once to be attending Lorian Heights as someone who was a classmate of Corin and Patrick, and Cecily has unknown issues.
      Being the “best” of that list doesn’t really take all that much. For that matter, as you noted, Corin doesn’t appear to be interested romantically in Marissa (although, we don’t know the extent of Jin’s possible influence on Corin’s emotions, behavior, decisions, etc), and Marissa would have issues of her own to work through with her being a commoner and Corin being a noble before any romantic relationship could happen, and she probably needs to work through at least some of them as part of a friendship.
      Besides, IMO, if there were to be a romantic relationship between Marissa and Corin, it’s not something that would, or could, happen anytime soon. IMO, it’s more likely that they’ll (eventually) be good friends – for that matter, it’s entirely possible that Marissa could become a retainer to either Sera or Corin, more probably Sera.

      I, too, have to ask how can you get around what Jin is known to have done, and the massive amount of suspicion inherent in Jin being a Sunstone Mesmer – and the person who was primarily responsible for driving the Jin/Corin relationship forwards?
      Mesmers have abilities in the area of mind-control, or at least, mind-influence. And that just makes everything about the relationship (and subsequent betrayal) even worse.
      Without the Mesmer bit, it’d still be appallingly bad – it’d be worse than a repeatedly physically abusive relation, IMO. With the Mesmer bit, it’s not at all clear to what extent Corin’s actions, decisions, and emotions actually were his own, and which were due to Jin using his abilities to influence Corin.
      Oh, I agree that the nonchalant manner of Jin/Corin being a same-sex relationship/date is a good thing.
      The problem is when one character has mind-control/influencing abilities, kept that secret, got most of the advantages out of the relationship, and then brutally and viciously betrayed the other the way Jin betrayed Corin, and the stakes and consequences if Jin had succeeded in his aims (seriously, Jin would probably have needed to kill Corin too, in order to silence Corin as a witness) … that’s not a relationship that I’d consider healthy, salvageable, or good.
      IMO, Jin/Corin as a relationship – of any kind except for a hostile/nemesis relationship – is permadead. I honestly don’t believe it can be salvaged nor should an attempt in that direction be attempted.

  15. Maybe “On the Mana of Giants”, while the characters shoulder alot of responsibities. Most of weight and the primary problem of the first book is Mana management and how much the characters are forced to despite their relatively small Mana pools. They are giants in character but not by any physical aspect.

    I am excited for your next book, between your SAM and AA series and your various recommendations on reddit, you have pushed me off the deep end into the litrpg genre. Thanks of the hundreds of hours of entertainment and thank you keeping us updated so regularly on here and on reddit. Congrats on the progress.

  16. A title idea could come from where we’re going to next. As I wasn’t a beta reader (insert crying face) I don’t know this is but it could be borne from one of the visages… Something like “The Serpent’s Kiss”.

  17. “On the Mana of Giants” is fairly good, but I would use Magicians instead Giants.

    A different possibility would be “On the Shoulders of Teachers” which is what the students are doing. Although it might not be as catchy as a title.

    I think I still like “On the Shoulders of Magicians” best of the recent ideas for a title.

    1. I concur with on the shoulders of magicians. On the Tower’s shoulders is my adaption to the the quote, and as you might guess my me thinking of it, I quite like it. At least I like changing the grammar to on the ___’s ____s instead of on the ____s of _____s

    1. Just worked on it some more since last night, started working on the sword more.

      Andrew Rowe, if you’re not terribly busy, I wouldn’t mind doing one of these for each visage. I took what I could from the parts of the book I remember describing Katashi at least. If you could point me in a direction or give me some non-compromising descriptions about the Visages, as I said I’d love to do one for each.

  18. Since I think research is going to be important …Maybe something about books or tomes.

    Possible alternative to “Shoulders of Giants” – “Shoulders of Titans”. Or “Works of Giants”.

    1. I’ve been using “On the Shoulders of Titans” for my working draft name for the last couple days. It’s cool that you came up with that one, too. =)

  19. As I suggested above, “From the Wands of Students”

    would give you connections: Wands to Magic and Students to a School, and put together you get a School of Magic book. Which you might want to appeal to Magic School genre of books/stories. And it reasonably descriptive of what to expect from this Book since they are still first year students only starting to master their abilities.

    1. I think using the word wand gets the wrong idea across, this book (most likely) has nothing to do with wands, but that title would imply that every student has and needs a wand.

      1. True, they do not use wands as such, but other forms of magically powered items and items that use the users own magic in some way. That had occurred to me as a possible problem with that suggested title, but it hard to explain to potential book buyers and easier to explain once they start reading. It is just the the book buying public is used to thinking of magicians as using (magic) wands. I was trying to find something in the title that would give a tie to magic in the buyer’s mind.

        I think that “On the Shoulders of Titans” should do well as Book 2’s title. It is hard to think of any other titles that would be significantly better, after all of the other suggestions (I made quite a few myself).

        It will be interesting to see what Corin will be able to do as an Enchanter with the various new types of mana available to him with his new Mark of Glory (and to find out what they are). I think that Corin will probably get some kind of a combat attunement out of it, particularly since it is on his right (weapon/sword/etc.) hand. I am not completely certain the center of his new Mark is a Life Rune, but it matches part of the rune combinations in two other items that did some healing. I have already argued that I think that he needs to get a Soul Blade attunement (possibly in a combination using his Enchanter Mark’s transference rune) to help with his Sword, Selys Lyann, which has been used by other Soul Blade owners. It would also be very useful for his party for someone, i.e. him, to get teleportation abilities now that they can not rely on Prof Orden for them. We do know (from Prof Orden who had it) that Dalenos has a Wayfarer attunement specializing in transportation and teleportation, so maybe he will get it between his Enchanter Mark and the Mark of Glory. I also think that he needs Ice as an ability/mana type to help in using Selys Lyann. The last thing he could use for the sword would be Spirit, but I am not sure we can squeeze all of these things into just 4 runes in his new Mark. But possibly if there is a rune for Distance ( I am guessing at this name for a Rune/mana type) in his new Mark he might pick up both Seer and Wayfarer in combination with his Enchanter Mark. If he does get Life he may get some (many) healing abilities (combinations).

        An all possibilities covered combination for his Mark of Glory would be Life, Distance, Ice, and Spirit (but I will be a little surprised to see him get all of that, but it would be nice).

        I would not be surprised if he gets Water instead of one of those 4 (in place of either Spirit or Distance), so my 2nd choice would be Life, Ice, Water, and Distance, but I am not sure Distance can be one of those 4 runes so it may be Life, Ice, Water, and a ? (unknown) for the 4th rune. I am also not sure if Ice and Water can be in the same Mark, which would strengthen the argument for Distance or something else.

        In theory, any one of the 6 runes between the two Marks could combine with any of the other 5 remaining runes, for a total of 30 (= 5 x 6) two rune combinations that “might” be attunements from the Towers. I am sure not all of those 30 will be official Tower attunements, but they will still be possible useful abilities for Corin to learn how to use. Corin is going to have a BIG problem in taking all of the classes he needs, and the 1st year (of 2) is already about half over (or more). I forsee a lot of private tutoring for him from various professors. I think that he was taking at least 4 or 5 classes/subjects already, he will need to add at least 4 more classes just for the new mana types (not counting any special classes for attunement combinations). Plus of course, he now probably belongs to several of the class/school divisions and their dorms.

      2. I haven’t read through all the other comments, so sorry if i’ve repeated someone else. Maybe something in the world?
        “On the Shoulders of Constructs” could be something.

  20. “On the Shoulders of Titans” can work well. I was leaning towards the first part anyway “On the Shoulders of…” (over my other suggestions), but I had not thought of “Titans” as the last word. it has much the same meaning as Giants to reference the original quote, but Titans has more of a classical Greek Mythology feel to it, and some of their most dangerous enemies (the God Beasts) are quite large (i.e. Titanic in size). Titans might even have a little feel of magic about as well.

    So if you are happy with that title, get back to the real work of revising and editing, so we can read it sooner than later (please and thank you). So I guess we will eventually be able to use SOT when we are discussing Book 2 as part of the Series.

  21. Hi Andrew,

    I might have a solution for you on your beta reader/feedback issue. This is going to sound like a shameless plug but I honestly don’t mean it to be. I’m a big fan of the first arcane ascension book and I was here checking in to see if/when the audiobook might be available for book 2 (I saw that you covered that in your post, so thanks!)

    There’s a website I’ve been working on called I built it to help writers organize writing groups, but you can totally use it to give all of your beta readers a place to organize their thoughts/comments/files all in one place. Anywho, if it’s useful to you, your more than welcome, if not, no big deal. I’m still a fan either way

    1. I was planning to just use Google Docs or something similar to collaborate, since I have some experience with that. I’ll take a look at your website, though. Thank you for the offer!

  22. Hi Andrew, just wanted to say that I really enjoyed SAM and that I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, when it’s ready.

    It’s not a good book title but there’s another Isaac Newton quite that seems to fit quite well with the general tone.

    “Errors are not in the art but in the artificers”

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Amusingly, the “The Art of Artifice” is one of the classes that Corin takes in Sufficiently Advanced Magic (it’s Vellum’s class) – but I wasn’t intentionally paying with the Newton quote there. I might have been remembering it unconsciously, though. =)

      I might actually use some version of that as a full novel title at some point, since I agree it’s very appropriate. Thanks for the suggestion!

  23. Hopefully all the (very) many title suggestions (from many people) may be of some use for inspiration for future books that Rowe may write and for book titles as well.

  24. If Corin gets Soul Blade, he would also be in Tortoise Division. He might not be in some of the other three (Tiger, Serpent, and Hydra) besides Phoenix (his original division), but that is uncertain until we know more from Book 2. Most of the healing related combinations would be in Phoenix. I am not considering Spider Division as a possibility.

    Professor Teft, who is in charge of the Dueling Class, is also in charge of Tortoise Division. He is the only professor besides Orden who knew about Corin’s mission before he entered the tower (the vice chancellor knew also). I think Corin will probably be getting special tutoring on the side from him, in particular. Even if most of the students and teachers do not learn much about the results of that mission, I think Professor Teft will learn most of them.

  25. Actually I do have some problems/questions about Prof Orden,

    First her Wayfarer teleportation abilities, I think that her Attunement Mark must be a Lung placed attunement since she was always using a verbal spell to do teleportation, the more important question is what mana types are she using to do it. The Jaden Box uses a LOT of Air and Transference mana (about 20,000 each, and recharges at about 100 each per day, but it is much more powerful and can summon through teleportation blocks.

    Second, she told us, just before they entered the Tower that she is a Sunstone level Enchanter with Wayfarer as a second attunement, but no level was given. But if Wayfarer uses Air and Transference, she already has Transference from enchanter, so she really only needs Air for Wayfarer, or as I am speculating above about Wayfarer perhaps a different mana such as Distance ( this is a guess). But when she did teleportaion spells she seemed to be invoking Air to do it.

    Third, she was in charge of the Serpent Division which specializes in reconnaissance with students having Shadow and Diviner attunements. You would think she would have some abilities (and mana types) along those lines to be supervising and training them.

    Fourth, for the 2nd mock Tower school test, she was the one summing the illusions, making the constructs, etc to be in those rooms and she used up a lot of her mana doing so. Remember that test got interrupted by the attack on the city by Katashi, and she was short on mana to do several teleportations. So what mana types was she using to run those tests?

    Fifth, Professor Orden was closely connected to the artificial attunement Mark joint program between Valia and Caelford which has been going on for decades (several or many). Could she have gotten an artificial attunement Mark? Could she actually have 3 Marks, but keeps that hidden from almost everyone? Or is her 2nd Mark an unusual artificial attunement combination?

    But she is also is making and using a lot advanced artifacts using her Enchanter abilities, which confuses us in figuring out what her actual Attunements are.

    So I am uncertain exactly what mana types are in Wayfarer. Also there should be more than one way to get teleportation abilities with other mana combinations. This casts some doubt on my suggestions about Corin getting teleportation abilities from his Mark of Glory. He might be getting it from a different mana combination than I suggested, if he gets it at all. It also casts doubt on my speculation/suggestion about Wayfarer being Transference and Distance while Seer was Mental and Distance.

    We will have to wait on Book 2 for more information to address these questions.

    There are a LOT of things about the artificial attunement program that we have not been told yet, and it will take more than one Book to learn them. My biggest questions are about Tristan’s involvement in that program. Did Tristan get an artificial attunement Mark and when did he get it? Did he get it the day he supposedly entered the Tower for his judgement? How many and what manas are in his attunement Mark (natural or artificial) and does he have more than one Mark? I suspect in his own completely different way, he may be as advanced and competent as Derek, who was his class mate when younger. How did Tristan become the Voice of the Tower and what does that mean? Why didn’t he come home the day after his Judgement five years ago since he obviously survived it (if he even entered the Tower. Written records can be altered or lie)? How do Tristan’s abilities differ from Corin’s old, new, and future abilities?

    Then there is the whole future story line involving Echion and Corin, which will take a long time, years (or several Books) to develop considering that Echion is a lot younger than Corin.

  26. Since Tristan was trained privately by Prof Orden, at least some of his mana types should overlap with hers.

  27. Also a lung placed teleportation Mark would enable Prof Orden to cast area Teleportation spells to move groups of people. Teleportation coming from an Mark placed on a different part of the body might well be more limited in scope, i.e. it might be a lot harder to do group teleportations for Corin from his (right) hand marked Mark of Glory. It would be useful for their party, if they could get teleportation from a lung mark, either Sera or a new Mark on someone else (including a possible future 3rd Mark on Corin). However, Corin could probably use his Enchanter Mark plus his Mark of Glory to make devices (artifacts) to do group teleportations, depending on what is in his Mark of Glory. Since Sera already has Air and Transference in her lung Mark, she might only need one more mana type in her new expanded Mark to do group teleportation spells once she gets healed. We do not know what is in that expanded Mark (yet).

    So maybe Corin will not get Teleportation from his new Mark of Glory, but he might be able to use Sera as a source of the appropiate mana types, once she is healed, to make various devices.

    Sera’s Summoner Mark is the problem with what manas are in Wayfarer. The Jaden Box (which uses a LOT of Air and Transference) would make us think that Teleportation comes from Air and Transference, BUT Sera can NOT do teleportations with her (basic) Summoner Mark with Air and Transference. So Wayfarer can NOT be Air and Transference, so most likely it is Air and something else, or Transference and and something else. Which brings us back to my old suggestion of Distance for that something else, and the possibility of Corin getting Distance in his Mark of Glory. Or the new possibility of Sera.

    I doubt that BOTH Sera and Corin have gotten teleportation abilities, but we can hope that one of them did. It is a good chance for Sera and some chance for Corin. Actually, as mentioned above, Sera’s lung Mark would be a better choice.

  28. So remove Distance from my guess about what Corin got from his Mark of Glory. That leaves more space for Water, if he can have both Water and Ice in one Mark. I think Ice is more important to him for his sword. Water and Ice could be the two runes on either side of the center rune I think is Life in his Mark of Glory. The big uncertainty is the rune at the bottom of the Mark, which may be in Derek’s Soul Blade mark as well. Possibly it is Spirit.

  29. Will you ever tell part of future stories from a different Point of View, i.e. Sera’s or even Tristan?

  30. Good, we need more POVs at least part of the time.

    I find when I am speculating about Corin’s Mark that I will try out other ideas but then eventually abandon them and come back to Life, Ice, and Water. I still expect his Mark of Glory to give him Soul Blade (possibly combined with his Enchanter Mark) and Ice to help with his Sword, and possibly Spirit. He needs them for his Sword, with the exception of Water for healing (combined with Life). I doubt that he got Earth to go with Life for healing. I also do not think he got Fire or Air. He is going to be very busy taking extra classes the rest of the school year.

    I do like my idea of Sera getting Wayfarer (or teleportation) added to her Summoner Mark. It makes a lot more sense for her lung Mark to do things like teleportation that are better as area spells, and I suspect that she only needs one more mana type to get Wayfarer (and she got 4 or 5 lines added to her Mark). I should have thought of the idea sooner. I know it is way too late to change what is in Book 2, so I am just trying to figure out what you are planning.

    It will be interesting to see how you handle them getting a replacement for Jin in their school party of 5 students so late in the school year. Or will they only have 4 students for their 3rd School mock Tower test? (Book 2 will provide the answer).

    I wonder what Professor will accompany them on their end of school year test, probably in the Caelford Tower. Professor Teft seems the most likely possibility, or maybe Professor Vellum. Particularly Teft since he already knows some things already about what has been happening with Corin and party.

    An interesting idea: how would any Tower react to them carrying an extra person or two stored inside the Jaden Box and swapping them with party members to stay inside the normal party limit of 6 members? I am thinking about normal Tower climbing expeditions not just school test parties. A separate question is if it is safe to store a person in the Jaden Box?

  31. I wonder if Roland has a heart location for his Mark. A heart mark person can channel mana from his entire body through his heart and then out through both hands (as you told us in SAM) , and Roland was using two practice canes, one in each hand, in that one particular test in the Dueling class. I think Marissa has a heart based Mark as well. I think most of us (readers) are assuming that Roland may join their party to replace Jin.

    1. Roland may or may not have a Heart-located Mark. For that matter, we don’t even know what Attunement Roland actually has. Presumably a combat-oriented Attunement, though.

      Marissa’s Guardian Mark is on her Heart, yes. Heart or Lung, but her Mark is on her breast, whereas Sera’s Summoning Mark on her Lung is on her back, so Marissa’s is probably a Heart location.

      As for Jin’s replacement on the team … assuming we’re limited to named characters of their year, there’s Rupert Kent (Elementalist, and so totally not happening), Tom McCormick (Mender), Roland (unknown Attunement, but presumably a combat Attunement), Lisa Stone (unknown Attunement), and (presumably) Cecily Lambert (unknown Attunement).
      Tom being a Mender is a possibility, but I’m not sure the team needs that much in the way of new healing capabilities, between the regeneration ring, the regeneration rock, and the two as-yet-unused Class 3 Life gems.
      I’d figure the team needs either more combat power or more noncombat utility powers, probably with greater need in the noncombat utility power category. Especially since Corin’s ability to make new items will have most likely taken a significant hit, since he had been relying on Jin for a lot of components, and Sera’s suffered severe Mana scarring, and so she cannot supplement with Summons or Pact-granted-abilities that have utility applications.

      It is, of course, entirely possible that they will have a previously unidentified character of their year join their team, or that they will be joined by someone who isn’t of their year (identified or otherwise). In the former, we of course can’t guess who it could be. In the latter event, we could make guesses amongst those who are identified characters, but everyone we know is significantly stronger than they are, and with the exception of Keras, would have already taken the tests (or the Caelfordian equivalent for the Corrington siblings), and Climbed the Tower at least once, likely more than once for most, if not all, of them.
      For that matter, Keras, while wildly out of line with the power level of students, might very well know less about the Tower(s) and the practices of Climbing the Towers, so he might learn something useful about Climbing for his Quest, but he’s effectively operating on a level vastly more powerful than what the Tests are oriented towards and designed around, so I doubt he’d get tapped to assist them for the mock Tower Tests (or for the end-of-year actual Tower Climb). He might get asked to accompany them for a run to Caelford to find Ferras, though.

      It is also possible, depending on events, that Sera will need replacement as well, if her mana scarring hasn’t been healed by Ferras, and she remains unable to use her Attunement – Sera is probably going to be unable to continue in most classes without a functioning Attunement.
      On the other hand, since it’s only been about a week or so since the second Test, and if there’s a Winter Break or something, there would be time to try to find Ferras. Of course, given the time before the next Test, unless Sera has to leave Lorian Heights on account of not having a functioning Attunement, there should be time to take a trip to Caelford, even if skipping a few days of classes is required.

      1. Keras may not be attuned, after reading the other series and looking at his dialog in this one, I expect he is a sorcerer, who may well be hundreds of years old. It is likely that he has at least one artifact relating to the dominion of stone and one related to the dominion of motion, both bonded to him. beyond that he seems like a war sorcerer. if @AndrewKRowe reads this, What happened to the harvesters/ other related fiends, and if they are what monsters are than have dead harvesters always turned into pure dominion essence? (If you don’t mind answering, is mana actually just dominion essence?)

      2. Harvesters are a whole species – there are still plenty of them around. They’re one category of elementals. Within this setting, elementals are not entirely composed of mana – they’re basically anything that’s native to a specific plane. So, a Harvester of War is an entity native to the Plane of War. You’ll get more specifics in the books themselves.

        Yes, mana and dominion essence are the same thing.

  32. Actually a heart based 3rd Mark for Corin could be very useful for him, since he could channel mana from his entire body to either his Right Hand and the Mark of Glory, or to his head to use with his Enchanter Mark since he is so concerned about using too much mana from his mind.

    1. I think the best thing for Corin is to get over his fear of using his mind’s mana, and buckle down on leveling both his current marks. Going for a third mark might eventually need to happen, but for now using what he has is far more achievable and important IMO.

  33. If they had a trip to Caelford to climb a Tower for healing for Sera that is NOT the end of year school test, there are 2 strong (in more than one sense) possibilities to add to the tower climbing party, Derek because he took part in the trip that injured Sera and wants to see her get healed, and Keras who Katashi has asked to help defend them, Corin and Sera in particular. This trip would not have a professor along, but if they can do extremely well, i.e. reach high enough in the Tower to meet Ferras to get healing for Sera and possibly 2nd Marks for Patrick and Marissa as well, maybe it could still count as their end of year school trip. Roland or another student would not be needed for this trip.

    The alternative is forgetting the above trip, and doing the end of school year test with a professor to grade/score them and provide some protection if they get in trouble. For this trip they would want a 5th student, probably Roland (particularly if he is Sera’s retainer, see early in SAM just after they arrived at school). I doubt they would be allowed to bring along either Derek or Keras on the end of school year trip, so they would have a MUCH harder time getting to the top of the Tower to get healing for Sera.

    The third possibility for healing Sera would be to try and and meet Ferras in Caelford outside of the Tower. This might be possible since we were told Ferras goes around regularly in Caelford working with and meeting it’s people without a retinue and appearing to be a normal person. This is possible but hard to judge the chance of success, but it would NOT require the whole party, it could be just Corin, Sera, Derek, and Keras (we know Keras wants to meet her and the other Visages and the Goddess). This would be a lot safer than climbing the Tower and could let Corin and Sera (and us) learn more about Caelford and some it’s people. They might even meet Vera’s brother and others associated with the artificial attunement project in Caelford, particularly Echion, and learn more of about it. This also might provide some clues about where Tenjin is being held in Valia. The end of school year test trip can come later after they return with a hopefully healed Sera.

    My idea about Roland having a Heart Mark combat attunement was that it would make sense of him using two practice canes, one in each hand, during that test in the Dueling Class. Corin is only one in that class with a non combat type of attunement, so we know Roland has one. An interesting question is which attunement, my guess is that it is one that the others (Elementalist, Guardian, and Summoner), do not have. Which probaly means that Roland has Shaper like Corin’s father. Roland parent(s) were attached to Corin’s mother’s household and so he left when Corin’s mother left

  34. I don’t think that Roland is actually Sera’s retainer.
    I think it unlikely that Laura Lyran would’ve skipped over Corin (her own son) to Sera (her retainer’s daughter) if she’d decided to reassign Roland from Tristan. Supporting that belief is the fact that Roland and his family are retainers to House Lyran; Corin is the presumptive heir to House Lyran in the absence of Tristan, but Sera is only a possible heir to House Cadence, not to House Lyran.
    And if it’d been Magnus Cadence responsible for reassigning Roland from Tristan to Sera, I’m pretty sure he’d’ve made sure that Corin knew about it.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that Sera would’ve said something about it (apologizing, probably), and there’d’ve been no excuse for Roland not being on the team.

    If there’s a non-school trip to Caelford to look for Ferras to get Sera healed, I would expect that parental figures would be involved as well – likely some combination of Laura Lyran, Magnus Cadence, and Sera’s mother.

    I think it’s probably unlikely that they’ll need to Climb to the top of the Tower in Caelford to find Ferras – Ferras is known for spending a lot of time outside the Tower.

    I’m pretty sure getting Sera to Ferras for healing will need to happen before the end-of-year test, and likely as soon as possible. Sera lacks a functional Attunement, which means she cannot pass or effectively take part in most of her Summoner-specific classes – and without a functional Attunement, she might as well not have an Attunement, and Lorian Heights is for the Attuned. There’s no way to avoid, conceal, or work around the fact that Sera has suffered crippling amounts of mana scarring.
    Also, and this is just a guess, but I’d expect that mana scarring would be easier to deal with closer to the original injury/event, rather than months removed.
    Or at least, that’s probably a reasonable concern – and as a general rule, the sooner an injury is attended to, the better.

  35. I think that an early climbing trip up the Caelford Tower that succeeds in reaching the top of the Caelford Tower, would make the later normal school test trip a step down in terms of plot line and story telling. It does have the advantage of possible participation by Derek and/or Keras for a much stronger party. So I think it is a less likely possibility. Unless it ends up being an acceptable substitute for the end of school year trip, this could be tried if the trip to find Ferras outside the tower fails. (see next paragraph).

    So if getting Sera healed needs to be done quickly, they can first try to meet Ferras outside the Caelford Tower, and they would not need the full party of students, mostly Corin and Sera, with the possibilities of Derek and Keras. Keras was told via Corin from Katashi to start protecting them, i.e. Corin and Sera, plus he wants to meet all of the Visages anyway. I get the impression that Corin’s mother and therefore her retainer Sera’s mother, will not be returning soon from Dalenos, that there is something important that she is busy doing there. Somehow, I can not see Corin wanting his father along on that trip. However, they might take a professor that can trust along with them. The problem is what professors can they trust to not be supporting the abduction of Tenjin. As mentioned above, such a trip would have the advantage of possibly making contact with Vera’s brother, Echion, and other members of the artificial attunement program who were betrayed by Prof Orden and others. So there is a lot to be said for this possible line of plot development.

    Then as above, the third major branch in possible plot development would be waiting for the end of school year test with a Professor accompanying them into the Caelford Tower, probably with a new 5th student to replace Jin. The problem with this storyline is that their party of students plus professor, will probably (almost certainly) be too weak to be able to make it far enough up the Tower to get Sera healed.

    So I see the most interesting sequence would be a quick trip with a small party to try to meet Ferras in Caelford outside the Tower to get Sera healed. If that fails, then they take an early trip up the Tower with Derek, Keras, and/or one of the professors. If a professor comes along it could probably count as their end of school year trip. But if they had Keras (or Derek) in the party they would have a much better chance of reaching the top of the Tower in order to meet Ferras and get Sera healed. Sera would have her new Sword to fight with in place of her summoning abilities, but she might have trouble breathing well enough to fight in a long battle. Corin will have his new Mark of Glory, plus his Sword, and whatever additional training he can get in using his new Mark, and any new (and old) items he can make. And Patrick and Marissa could along for it to count for their tests as well.

    1. Sera could potentially not need healing, her progress may have simply been reset, and her lungs could get better just from her attunement getting stronger (her mana reads as 0, but remember that her current bindings and contracts cause her max mana to be reduced, so if she removes the wyvern and the ogre she would have enough mana to start healing herself, though it would be difficult with her mana scarring, I believe it would be possible). I like your point about climbing a separate tower before the school trip being unlikely. I do however believe that between the sword and releasing contracts sera could certainly be strong enough to stay with the group as they enter the tower for the end of the school year test.

      1. Eh, if it were that simple/easy/straightforward to fix, I’m pretty sure that Katashi could have done something about Sera’s mana scarring.
        For that matter, if it were solely a matter of insufficient max mana, on account of what was free being tied up in pacts, Katashi could have upgraded/promoted Sera’s Lungs from whatever level she’s at to the next one (she had been Carnelian, but I’m not sure how the mana scarring would/could have affected that). Remember, Katashi was able to upgrade Marissa’s Guardian Mark from Quartz to Carnelian, so if it were purely a matter of insufficient Mana, Katashi could’ve just done the same sort of thing to Sera.

        Also, if Sera’s discarding pacts, I’m not sure she should drop the Wyvern unless she to – it’s a Spire Guardian, and apparently provides her access to other abilities, based on her retrieving that key in the Tower.
        Dumping the Ogre, sure, that’s the first to go, but I’m not sure whether the Wyvern or Vanniv the Karvensi should go next, but both of them should go before even considering dropping Seiryu.

        For that matter, it’s not clear that Sera could even drop a pact without having mana available to use.

        I’ll agree that dropping one or more pacts is unlikely to hurt Sera, and might even be able to help, but any such recovery without Ferras’s help is likely to be an extremely long, slow, painful process, IMO.
        And, even if Sera was able to recover somewhat without Ferras’s help, I suspect that Sera’s ability/potential for long-term progress/improvement beyond her pre-scarring ability level would be severely inhibited.

  36. Sorry I got interrupted to take care of a medical problem and visit to the ER for my mother. Everything is now taken care of.

    Continuing onward, if they manage to Sera healed by meeting Ferras outside the Tower in Caelford, then they finish off the rest of the normal school year, i.e. the 3rd School mock Tower test and then the normal end of school year trip with a school professor. For the last two they need to find a replacement for Jin in their party of 5 students. I am not sure they will be able to find a student available/willing to switch. If Roland, for instance, joined them then Roland’s old party of 5 students would need a replacement. But possibly individual students can flunk out in the middle of the school year (we know it is possible for the whole party to fail one of the mock Tower teats) and leave their party members to make other arrangements such as one of them joining Corin’s and Sera’s party. Possibly Corin/Sera’s party of students will remain at 4 students for those two tests, or they may not be able to get a fifth student that they would want and trust to join them (they do not want to take any random student).

    Regarding Sera and Roland, it is possible that Roland was made Sera’s Retainer before she was legitimized by Corin’s (and her presumed) Father. Sera may have had her Judgement on an earlier day than Corin’s Judgement. There was that one time early at school when Roland seemed (to Corin) to be walking in the position relative to Sera that a retainer would take.

    By the way there was one mention in SAM of Corin having an Uncle who was his Father’s brother and had a Shaper attunement as well. I wonder if Corin has any first cousins and what their ages are. It is also possible that Corin’s grandfather (father’s father) is still alive. At least Corin knew him while he was still alive, and never thought of him in a way that indicated that his grandfather was now dead. Also what about his maternal grandparents?

    Another interesting question, what is Sera’s Mother’s attunement(s) and level(s)? As Corin’s Mother’s retainer she probably went along on many of the same Tower climbing trips and may be almost as capable as a result. Particularly since Sera is so strong and capable.

    Plus there is the big question how much did either of Corin’s parents know about the artificial attunement program before Tristan entered the Tower for his Judgement, and was Tristan a test subject of that program. Possibly if Corin’s Father blamed Tristan’s supposed failure on the artificial attunement program, Corin’s father may have changed his plans for Corin regarding the artificial attunement program.

  37. And any aunts and uncles on his (Corin’s) mother’s side of the family, as well as any 1st cousins on that side of his family?

  38. What does the school do with any odd number of left over students who do not fight into a party of five? After all, the number of students changes and may not start or end a multiple of five.

  39. My condolences and best wishes. Hope everything turns out ok.

    Oh, sure, Corin almost certainly wouldn’t want his dad along, but it’s not like Corin would have a choice in the matter if Magnus decided he was going with. And it’s not like they can avoid Magnus finding out.
    However, it is an open question as to whether or not Magnus would go with, though, either to try and heal his heir-candidate with a combat Attunement, or whether he considers Sera’s crippling mana scarring to be indicative of her failing, possibly to an an unacceptable extent.
    While Laura Lyran is/was in Dalenos, and may or may not be able to return quickly – it depends on what she’s doing there, but the last we heard from her was several months ago I think, so she could be mostly done there – I’m not convinced that Sera’s mother wouldn’t be able to get away under the circumstances, even if Laura Lyran cannot.

    I don’t think any professors would go with if it is not a school-organized trip.
    Derek and Keras probably would go, though, that’s true.

    I’m of the opinion that the trip to find Ferras (who apparently spends a lot of time amongst humans doing things) will happen as soon as possible, rather than later.
    Agree that the most likely outcome is finding Ferras without entering the Tower in Caelford, and then returning to Climb the Caelford Tower on a later trip for the end-of-year exam.

    Again, Sera basically can’t participate in any of her Summoning classes until she can use her Summoning Attunement again. Without a functioning Summoning Attunement, or unless Sera gets a second Attunement, somewhere other than her Lungs, Sera might as well not have an Attunement.
    Lorian Heights is for those with Attunements. Without an Attunement, at least, one that she can use, I’m not sure Sera can remain enrolled for very long.

    There’s no way Roland could have been made retainer to Sera before her legitimization by Magnus Cadence. Prior to that legitimization, Sera was not a noble, and was expected to become Corin’s retainer. Nobles hold retainers – retainers do not hold retainers of their own.
    The one time we saw Roland walking in the relative position to Sera as a retainer, Corin thinks that either one of his parents transferred Roland from being presumptive-retainer to Tristan to Sera, skipping over Corin, or Roland was making a statement of his own. I’m inclined to think that Roland was making a statement of his own, and that he was not transferred to Sera. Transferring Roland to Sera instead of Corin would be a massive insult to Corin, as he is the elder (and the actual Lyran-heir). I don’t see a reason for Laura Lyran to have transferred Roland from Tristan to Sera instead of to Corin, even after Sera’s legitimization by Magnus Cadence, and while I could see Magnus transferring Roland to Sera instead of Corin, my impression is that Magnus would have made it very clear to Corin that he had done so and why he had done so – Corin’s got a “coward’s Mark”, whereas Sera got a combat Attunement.
    As for what statement Roland was making … I’m not sure what it might have been or why he would have felt it necessary to have made it. Especially since there’s no reason to think that Roland would’ve anticipated Corin attending the Dueling elective, so any such statement would have been aimed either at Sera, Patrick (who was with them), or someone else expected to be in the Dueling class.
    And anyone familiar enough with them would presumably also know/expect that Roland should’ve been assigned to Corin, not Sera, which further complicates matters.

    Sera most likely only had her Judgement either the same day as Corin, or only shortly before, since it’s likely that they’d’ve both taken their Judgements as early as they could have, or shortly after they became eligible to do so.
    On the other hand, it is also unclear at what point Magnus Cadence decided to legitimize Sera, or what caused him to do so.

    We know nothing about what Attunement(s) and strengths thereof Sera’s mother has.

    Corin’s mother, Laura Lyran, may well have been aware of the Artificial Attunement Project, since she’s a Councilor, although we don’t know how long she’s been one, so even if she knows now, she might not have known at the time of Tristan’s Judgement or earlier. Magnus may or may not have been aware at the time of Tristan’s Judgement, and he may or may not be aware now.
    However, even if they were fully informed at the time, I see no reason to think that Tristan would’ve been a test subject prior to his Judgement. For one thing, the Project, while a joint venture between the R&D establishments of Valia and Caelford, is physically based in Caelford, not Valia.
    Also, the indications as regards the status of the project are that they’ve been able to create Artificial Attunements emulating the regular/normal Attunements you can get from Judgements/Climbing for years, possibly decades. As such, in the unlikely event that Tristan were a test subject, he’d’ve probably been an earlier version of Echion, and therefore he would’ve been accompanied, and entered the Tower through a Climber’s Gate, not a Judgement Gate. Also, I expect that any test subjects would be monitored continuously in a lab.
    In addition, Tristan is/was the firstborn and heir to Houses Lyran and Cadence – that’s not someone who gets used as a test subject. Test subjects for secret augmentation projects would presumably be people who won’t be missed, especially if something goes horribly wrong.

    If a retainer ends up being a stronger Attuned than the noble they are sworn to, I’m fairly certain nothing specific happens. The noble simply has a particularly valuable retainer.

  40. They just do not let too many people know about it if it happens, it is kind of embarassing, since Nobles are “supposed to be” better that their followers (that is why they ARE Nobles). Just like Men are “supposed to be” more intelligent than their wives, so often women would not show intelligent they were, particularly while they were being courted and/or competing for husbands. Even afterwards, they might use indirect ways to make their suggestions to their Husbands to hide how smart they are.

    You are right about Sera not being a Noble before being legitimized, and therefore not deserving a Retainer.

    All we really know about Corin’s Judgment Day (in respect to other students) is that shortly after he left the Tower, people stopped leaving the Tower, until after Katashi’s first scouting/attack mission against the City. According to Prof Orden.

    It seems reasonable for a quick trip with just Corin and Sera plus one or two protectors to Caelford to see if they can her get healed by Ferras outside the Tower. If that fails, a Tower climbing trip would involve more people and a LOT more preparation to succeed in climbing to the top of the Tower, and they need to add some strong party members, i.e. Derek and/or Keras.

    The problem with such an early in Book 2 Tower climbing trip, from a story telling point of view, is that it would overshadow every thing that came after it in Book 2, even if it counts as their end of school year test. So maybe (hopefully) Sera will be healed without it being needed.

  41. While Professor Orden lies, she doesn’t lie about everything.
    And she has no reason to lie about people not being able to leave the Tower after Corin’s Judgement (for that matter, we know that the Tower was going to be sealed from the Voice/Tristan’s projection). For that matter, it’s a statement that probably wouldn’t have been all that hard to verify, and lying about it would’ve caused distrust (had Corin bothered to check), and it’s frankly not something that Orden needed to lie or even be misleading about.
    If it’s not necessary to lie about, I presume Orden would tell the truth (or just not discuss it), since that way she doesn’t have to worry about someone or something accidentally exposing a non-essential lie, and it would also mean fewer lies to keep track of.
    Some of what Orden says is a lie, some of it is true. The hard part is figuring out what’s true and what’s not true.

    We also know that Tristan was meddling with Corin’s Judgement to some extent – certainly he made it possible for Corin to find the cells with Keras, Echion and Vera, and I suspect that Tristan also meddled to create Corin’s entry room with all the items.

    At the moment, I’m assuming that Sera will either be healed by Ferras outside the Tower, or Sera’s mana scarring will be too severe for Ferras to heal conventionally and either Sera’s screwed up her Lungs irretrievably, or the only way for Ferras to treat the mana scarring will be to give Sera a second Lung Attunement and/or to upgrade Sera’s Lungs from Carnelian. A second Attunement might be necessary anyways, depending on what the changes to Sera’s Summoning Mark are and what those changes mean, which is something Ferras can probably explain.

    I’m also presuming that the trip to Caelford to look for Ferras will be relatively early in the book and will not involve Climbing the Tower in Caelford. Not entirely sure about who all is likely to be part of that trip, though.

    It might also be early enough that it takes place before Corin figures out what his new Attunement is/can do, and in that case, Ferras might also be willing to enlighten him about both it and the changes to Sera’s Summoning Attunement.

  42. Unless they can come up with something else important to accomplish by the end of Book 2, such as rescuing Tenjin. After an early in Book 2 Caelford Tower climbing trip.

    There are plenty of more normal things to do in the school year, they are just not as exciting. You want the climax of a story near the end not the beginning.

  43. I don’t see an early Caelford Tower Climb. If there’s an early trip to Caelford, I’m pretty sure they won’t go into the Tower.

    I don’t think that Corin and Company would be the team to rescue Tenjin.
    For one thing, they have no real way to find out where Tenjin is being held, and for another, I really don’t see why they’d be the ones to lead a rescue attempt, much less do so successfully.
    For that matter, if anybody finds out where Tenjin’s being held, it’s most likely to be a rampaging Katashi (at least, he’s most likely to be the first one to find out). And that’s assuming Tenjin’s location wasn’t in Orden’s head in the first place – which I kind of doubt, considering that Orden is both a teleporter and was directly involved in taking Tenjin down in the first place, and so is the logical candidate for having moved Tenjin to wherever he’s being held, and there can’t be all that many places sufficiently secured to hold a Visage and prevent the Visage from being found by another Visage, and it’s even more unlikely that such capability is mobile, or could be maintained for transport to relocate Tenjin.
    If Tenjin’s location wasn’t in Orden’s memories, Katashi would presumably go after the other conspirators identified by Orden’s memories and rip their memories out of their heads. I don’t see a reason why Katashi wouldn’t do something along those lines, since he’s demonstrated the ability to pull memories out of people’s minds.
    Even after being found, Tenjin might well be effectively out of commission for an extended period of time.

    What might happen at/near the end is Corin having face-to-face with Tristan, possibly during the end-of-year Tower Test Climb, or perhaps trying to find Tristan before Katashi does. That seems more likely than Corin being a key figure in the effort to track down and rescue Tenjin.

  44. I was not saying that Prof Orden was lying about it. Most lies work best when accompanied by a lot of truth, that way you are more likely to trust and not notice the lies when they happen.

    Tristan was meddling with Corwin’s Judgement, but I think Corin went in ways Tristan did not expect.

    I am hoping that Corin got 4 manas from his Mark, but that is not certain. Even Life is just a guess on my part since we saw multiple runes that might have been Life or used Life in some way. Ice is more of a guess based on what he needs for his Sword, along with possibly Spirit. Water is just intended to add to their party’s basic types of mana (Fire, Air, and Earth (if they pick up a Mender or Shaper (Roland?))). I think Life can combine with various manas to give different healing attunements, particularly with Water. He might get a healing attunement with Life paired with each of all his other mana types, except maybe transference, i.e. Water, Ice, Spirit, and Mental if he has them. As I said in a message above 6 mana types can form 30 different pair combinations with each other. That is a LOT of potential attunements, although not all of them will be official attunements.

  45. Tristan is a big question mark for Book 2.

    If Katahi frees/freed Tenjin, then there would be very little need for him to send Corin to Keras for protection from highly placed conspirators in Valia’s governement. I think that the author will want to keep that story line open, and I am expecting (hoping) Corin to get a 3rd attunement Mark from Tenjin for rescuing him. (it is very rare to have 3 attunement Marks, and unheard of for 4 attunement Marks, but that kind of thing may have been concealed.).

  46. Corin has already shown that he is not a close combat type of person in his heart, so even though I expect him to get Soul Blade for his Sword, I expect he will use it more for the Soul part, the beings he can bind to his sword, other objects, and himself, rather than the Blade part, i.e.being a user of a sword. Plus he will use the mana types he gets from Soul Blade with his Enchanter abilities to make more different types of magical items, along with any other mana types he gets from his Mark of Glory. Sera is much more a sword user than him. We have already been told that many Attunement users usually use the primary mana type associated it with more than the secondary type, but there are always some who specialize in using the secondary mana type more. Plus we know that when someone has more than one Attunement Mark, one of them is often at a different level/strength, i.e. used a lot more, than the other(s). Additionally Life may combine with other mana types to give various healing abilities/Attunements.

    Even though a Soul Blade marked person uses his own mana (like Derek) to maintain his ties with his bound beings, Corwin may be able to use his Enchanter abilities to make items that draw mana from the environment (or other users) to maintain those ties. This may enable him, with enough training and experience and higher attunement levels, to make Soul bound objects for others to use that are not bound to him. This another reason why I am expecting/hoping that he gets Spirit from his Mark of Glory, it might be connected to Soul Blade, or enhance it. We know his Sword has Spirit as one of its 4 rune marks/combinations, which is supposed to be very rare on objects such as swords

    People who can create permanent powerful magical objects are just as important as the direct type magicians, particularly since those objects can last for generations, i.e. much longer the lifetime of any normal person/magician. And Corin is starting to realize that, even if if his Father does not, but Soul Blade may help reconcile him with his Father.

  47. Katashi sent Corin and company to Keras because Corin asked if they’d be safe as Orden had implied that highly placed people in Valia’s government were involved.
    Even if Katashi knew where to go and went to free Tenjin immediately, it is likely that it would take some time to execute the rescue, and Katashi would likely be occupied for some time afterwards attending to Tenjin and any injuries Tenjin had sustained, even if that were limited to getting Tenjin to Ferras.
    It’s impractical to crush a conspiracy immediately. If Katashi went for Tenjin immediately, there’d still be time between doing so and when all the conspirators have been neutralized.

    Although, I have to admit, if I were part of the conspiracy, I don’t think I’d waste my time going after Corin and company. There’d be no real advantage or purpose in doing so, other than petty revenge for beating Orden – who is in Katashi’s hands already – or for keeping Vera out of the conspiracy’s hands and delivering her to Katashi.
    It’s not like taking out Corin and company would be an effective cover up or firewall for the conspiracy. Katashi knows basically everything they know and more. I mean, assuming Orden knows as much as/more than whatever Elora Theas told Derek when she was trying to bring him onboard, which is something I’d be willing to bet on.
    Plus, taking out Corin and company would probably cause more problems than it has the potential to solve. There’s no way there wouldn’t be an investigation, and you’d’ve made yourself an enemy of Houses Cadence and Lyran if you limited yourself to the students, and if you managed to take out Derek, you’d be an enemy of House Hartigan as well. No, there’s no way that ends well.
    And trying to take them out and failing would be even worse situation.

    Although, I suppose it’s possible that Katashi’s mind probes are more narrow in focus, and he has to know (roughly) what he’s looking for. That would slow him down, probably to a significant extent.

    I’m inclined to think that the Tenjin disappearance and associated conspiracy storyline will remain mostly in the background, and only periodically cross paths with Corin, as it did in the first book, at least for the time being, though it may come up more, as Corin is more aware of things, and so is more likely to be paying attention to things outside his immediate bubble.
    Corin’s a first year student, as are most of the people he knows (and can trust). They’re nowhere near the level of the people involved – they’re orders of magnitude weaker and far less trained, experienced, and equipped than the people involved in the conspiracy.

    Soulblades use their own mana for their bonded creatures/items because they’re like Summoners – their mana is akin to their signature on the magical contract.
    I don’t think it’s possible to use/create an item to replace your own mana for a Soulblade (or Summoner, or any similar/equivalent Attunement) pact. At least not under normal circumstances.

  48. I agree that it is not normally possible, but I think that it “might” be possible for a Soul Blade Enchanter combination, which is what I think that Corin is with his Mark of Glory. At least for an advanced, experienced and highly trained one, who is working closely with the person who will be contracted to when he (Corin) makes the rune combination on and charges with the appropriate mana types on the artifact. The other possibilty is making it self recharging with mana to maintain the bond, we know that self charging is something that is done with most permanent artifacts. Whether it is possible to do that for Corin to do with a Soul Blade Enchanter combination is what only trial and error can show.

    I also agree that Keras probably is a Sorcerer in the Broken Mirrors scheme of things, since he seems to be from off the continent and knows more about areas affected or controlled by the Tyrant in Gold. As such he probably does not come under the Attunement Sorcery way of doing things using Attunement Marks, just like Wrynn Jaden who was from the Pre Attunement Sorcery period, and who Keras seems to know, even though that was hundreds of years ago, as far as we can tell from what we know in SAM. It is interesting that Keras said after looking at Sera’s Mark, “Huh. Haven’t seen many Dominion Marks with that degree of complexity around here” and then he made the remark “that Wrynn Jaden might know what it was, …and that it was not like her to leave her (Jaden) Box behind anywhere, for any reason.”

    I think that it is likely that the Pre Attunement Period of Sorcery is the same as the Broken Mirrors system and did NOT use Attunement (Dominion) Marks “THEN” to learn how to use Sorcery.

    However, I think Blake Hartigan may be (or was) in the process of developing it (the Attunement Mark System), see near the end of the Book 2 of Broken Mirrors “Stealing Sorcery” when Lydia comes to him to begin her training, at his tower and residence, also see the Appendixes to that Book. So possibly Keras has picked up some Dominion Marks in the now current (SAM time period) off continent sense, which are somewhat differently organized and labeled than the SAM Attunement ways of doing magic. But the off continent areas are now using “Dominion Marks” now in a way similar to Attunement Marks in SAM, but they acquire them in a differently arranged and controlled system, that is perhaps controlled by the Tyrant in Gold rather than the Goddess Selys and her Visages.

    They at least seem to be using different names to label similar things, and are talking about other dimensional planes as a source for sorcery rather than mana. But stop and think about where do the beings come from that are summoned in various ways in SAM? Other dimensional planes is a reasonable or likely explanation. So the big difference in SAM versus Broken Mirrors is that they know how to see and measure amounts of mana (energy) needed to do Sorcery (Magic), but that mana (forms of energy) may be coming from those other dimensional planes into their world before they can use it. Attunement Marks just provide an organized method to channel and control that mana, and to learn how to do it. That is, without Attunement Marks it is a LOT harder and rarer to learn how to do Sorcery for most people, but not impossible. But even so they still used rune combinations to make Marks on magical objects, even in the Broken Mirrors period. They just did not know how (then) to place those Marks on people in way that would work after they were made(placed on).

    Just because each of the 7 Towers only use 8 Attunement Marks (and 8 mana types) of combinations of two mana types, for their standard or normal attunements, does not mean that other combinations do not exist (many of them may not have NAMES or be well studied, but that does not mean that they do not work) . We know that Visages can award Marks of various types, including Marks of Glory. Any combination of multiple mana types in Attunement Marks can have additional functions due to those multiple mana types. I think that we know of at least 12 names for mana types, but there are more we do not know off. (additional names for mana types include Water, Ice, Spirit, and Motion beyond the 8 used by Valian attunements). I suspect that there may be at least 15 to 20 mana types, possibly more (such as Light the opposite of Umbra). We already know that Caelford is using Motion in their automobiles (what is the opposite of Motion?). There may be something like Distance as well (for Seer and Wayfarer). If we have over 20 mana types then there are over 400 pairs of two mana types, although some may be impossible becuase they are self contradictory, like Water and Fire, or Light and Umbra (darkness), or Earth and Air. Just like some combinations of multiple Attunement Marks may not work together either (because they contain opposites probably) normally. What is the opposite of Life?

    So we could try to organize the manas as pairs of opposites, and we might have 10 or more pairs. I think we can guess at least 8 of those pairs (or at least one member of the pair): Umbra/Light, Life/? , Fire/Water, Air/Earth, Transference/Enhancement, Ice/?, Mental/?, Spirit/?, Motion/?, etc. With any normal person (non god like) only having at most one member of each pair, which could explain the limit on the number of Marks per person. 3 or 4 Marks might include a member from each (or most) pair(s). So Corin with his two Marks may already have a member of 6 of those pairs, if his Mark of Glory has 4 mana types, which does leave much for a future Marks. A 2nd Mark of Glory with 3 or 4 mana types might exhaust what he can acquire. Although maybe the advanced versions of Marks with additional lines might bring in opposites of what he already has on a different Mark (if that is possible). (Which can help explain why God like beings are so powerful: they not only have a lot more mana but have more mana types as well (including opposites), plus the god beasts are very large with even more mana). Things may be arranged differently like maybe Water/Ice instead of Water/Fire, in which case Corin may only get Ice or Water

    Let me know what you think of my speculations (I am not expecting anything from the author/Rowe).

    1. I actually tihnk Ice Is opposite Fire and Water is opposite Poison, now that we have confirmation that mana and dominion essense is the same thing. I dont think transference/enhancement are opposite, as they are both used by Corin and any other enchanter. Other than that I agree with your statements.

  49. In this suggested system, a normal Attunement Mark would have one member from two different pairs (of opposites). A Mark of Glory, like Corin’s, might have a member from 3 or 4 pairs (of opposites). So after you had three or four attunement Marks (particularly with Marks of Glory) you would have a member from most to all of the pairs of opposites. But you would have a lot of mana levels in several parts of your body, and a stronger than average shroud. And the only to get opposite members of the mana pairs in your party, would be to have a number of people in it, as well as multiple attunements from multiple Towers. (unless higher level Marks brought in opposite members from pairs) (or unless basic multiple Marks could have two members from an opposite pair).

  50. Keras is almost certainly a WoBM-style magic user, or perhaps a relatively close derivation thereof. And that’s probably the same as pre-Attunement Sorcery. It might be more accurate to call that non-Attunement magic.

    Actually, I think there is a difference between Dominion Marks (as we know them right now) and Attunement Marks.
    Attunement Marks produce shrouds and evolve. Even to the point of gaining/granting new mana types at higher levels.
    By what little we know of them, Dominion Marks do not produce shrouds* and are static, though the user can refine their skill (and thus produce new effects that are variations on a theme with the same ability), and probably improve their strength, though that’s speculative.

    Oh, and Attunement-style magic, its users, items made with it, etc, are color-coded.
    Everything we know suggests that non-Attunement-style magic, users, and items, are not color coded. And that includes Dominion Marks. I think.

    Just because Keras said Sera had an unusually complex Dominion Mark doesn’t mean he’s right about that.
    Keras knows things that aren’t common knowledge in the SAM-area, especially about non-Attunement magic, but he’s also likely significantly less familiar with the SAM area and Attunement-style magic.

    I think Corin might end up learning non-Attunement style magic, especially if Keras’s suggestion to try to summon Wrynn Jaden is successful.

    There’s a lot we don’t know.

  51. Some items such as the Jaden Box and Selys Lyann are also made with non attunement sorcery. Which is why they have trouble duplicating them. I wonder if some Visage related items such as Katashi’s sword may be as well.

    The problem with summoning Jaden is having an item linked to her. I still think that she may stored inside the box and only needs “Retieve Wrynn Jaden” to recall her from storage.

    What do you think about my ideas regarding only getting one out of a pair of opposite mana types for basic attunement marks and why they can only have 3 or 4 attunement marks before they run out of pairs to get manas from?

  52. Remember that the rune marks on the sword in the 2 BM books needed to be charged up with energy (mana) by the user before they would function to make the sword more powerful. This is different from SAM items.

  53. Or basic attainment marks are limited to choosing from a limited set of mana pairs. With advanced levels or Marks of Glory having a larger set of mana pairs to choose from.

  54. I tend to think that rune diagrams marked on items may be mostly the same in both systems. Although SAM does not seem to be able to duolicate the Jaden Box.

    The Attunement Mark system in SAM may have differences from any system (Dominion Marks) used away from that continent (as mentioned by Javvies). This system and its differences are somehow created or imposed by the Towers and/or the Goddess/Visages on people who enter the Towers for Judgements. Other systems can exist elsewhere in the world. These systems are artificial and created by intelligent beings, they are not native to the world and magic sources. There are similarities as well as differences between them.

  55. Think of them like our electric power grid, many wondrous things are possible using it, but it is still channeled and controlled, and other differnet systems exist, plus things can be done without it. But they are harder to do outside it.

    Caelford and Valia, in their own ways, are developing that SAM system in ways that are somewhat like our technology.

  56. I am not saying that what they are are developing is like our electric power grid, it is just an example of human imposed systems on what is naturally available, and that there can be multiple systems that differ from each other. But by working within one of those systems you can accomplish a lot of amazing things. Caelford has already developed trains and automobiles, while Valia has developed a lot of individually used items, in some cases for many individuals, such as students and military members, like shielding artifacts for protection against magical attacks. I think the Attunement Mark system is one of those intelligent being created and controlled systems, and that we (and they) only know a fraction of what it will be good for. The Dominion Mark system is probably similar but different as well. They may have had common historical ancestors before they went along separate paths.

  57. I think Caelford must have their own equivalent to Valia’s Enchanters, but with somewhat different abilities. Plus of course, some of their people have probably got Enchanter attunements form Valia’s Tower (and vice versa). There is lot for us (and Corin) to learn about foreign attunements, as well as their own attunements.

    1. Oh, yeah, Caelford has to have an equivalent to the Enchanter.
      My guess for their equivalent is something closer to the tech side of magitech.
      Enchanters create magic items. Per Professor Conway, Enchanters are the only Attuned capable of transferring mana into and out of objects, something no other attunement is capable of doing directly.
      I think Caelford’s equivalent creates (mechanical) devices powered by magic, but that are not magical items in and of themselves.
      IE, the mana-powered automobile Aloras Corrington brought as a demonstration. Someone needs to collect pure mana and put it into the auto like we’d put gas into a car for it to run. I think that’s an example of what the Caelford equivalent to an Enchanter can do. An Enchanter would be able to make the automobile collect mana by itself, and would be able to skip the engine – they’d be able to use a combination of runes to rotate the drive wheels directly via magic.

      That makes me wonder if Corin could create a magical railgun/mass driver (handheld/small-arm version, of course, though it’s possible that it could be scaled up to heavier wapons). I mean, I don’t think there’s a reason that’d be impossible to do, and it would be a rather useful alternative to melee. And there’d probably be a way to give it alternate fire modes that threw various forms of magical attacks, ala his gauntlet (but possibly/probably additional mana types).

      Definitely loads to learn about the non-Valian Attunements.

  58. We have no idea how the Caelford Cannons work, that Valia used to defend itself in the old War against Edria. I think that there is a good chance that they did not use gunpowder as a propellant, but mana/magic in some way. Also were the shells explosive or magical in some way, or simple balls of some material? Explosive/magical shells would be a lot more effective.

    Did the (hand) guns that Jin was using use gunpowder or something else? They had bullets. I had been assuming gunpowder, but that may be a bad assumption.

    Remember that the automobile used a liquid form of motion mana.

    We also have no idea how their trains work. They are likely not steam powered.

  59. It will be interesting to see if Corin ever gets the ability to use Motion mana (maybe he already did!) and what he can do with it. I would think that he would be more likely to get it from a 3rd Attunement that he gained in Caelford someday (perhaps when/if they climb it’s Tower). I think that Katashi would value other manas (from Dalenos) more in the Mark he gave to Corin.

    I also wonder about Light as the opposite to Umbra as a mana type. That could be a Caelford mana as well, as a way of revealing concealed things/objects, instead of hiding them with Umbra. It also might be a form of energy that could be used, in a different way than Motion.

    So how about Corin getting Light and Motion someday? There might be a Caelford Attunement that has both of them.

  60. I suspect that Tristan may have some Umbra related concealment abilities, so getting it’s opposite (Light) for Corin would make a lot of sense.

  61. I would like to see Corin get 2 out of the 4 elements (I suspect he can not get more than 2): Fire, Air, Water, and Earth someday. I think he may have gotten Water in his Mark of Glory, and no one in his party of 4 students (not counting Jin or any replacement for him) has Earth either, while Fire and Air are covered by Patrick and Air by Sera. If he gets Water, I doubt that he will get Fire also. I also doubt that Corin will get Enhancement since it is the opposite of Transference. I am not sure what the opposite of Mental is. (I hope it is NOT Life).

    Rowland might have Shaper which has Earth, if he joins the party of students to replace Jin, and no one has Shaper in their present party, so getting Shaper would be useful to them (He might have a Heart location for his Mark). Shaper is a strong combat oriented Mark. (Corin’s Father and Grand Father, and Great Grand Father all have/had Shaper)

    I think Corin needs to have access either directly (his own Marks) or through other members of his party all 4 of the elements and as many other mana types as they can get, to use in making things as an Enchanter. I think that Ice is separate from Water and I think he might have gotten it from his Mark of Glory.

    1. Ice is separate from water. The mana types are the same as the dominions in old world sorcery. that actually makes me think that there is a chance for corin to have a war mana type now, but it is very unlikely. Ice sorcerers as far as I know are not restricted or harmed by using fire, and water sorcerers are not harmed by using poison sorcery. The fact that it is uncommon for anyone to use opposite types does not mean that they cant, as far as we know. If using fire weakened the ice mana in your body we would know about it, because it would have been mentioned in book two of the other series when they were [SPOILERS OMITTED]

      1. We do not know (YET) if there is a hard prohibition against having opposing mana types, probably in different attunement Marks, or if it is just hard or rare to get. I DO think it probably impossible to do in the same Attunement Mark. I have thought that Ice was independent of Water, but wondered what connection, if any, there was since ice (lower case) is just a different physical state of water, and so is steam (lower case). But they could be related to different other dimensional planes, and therefore mana types. (There could even be a Steam mana/plane).

        As I have speculated in other messages, that if is impossible or very rare to get opposing (opposite) mana types in multiple Marks, that this could help explain why no one seems to get more than 3 Attunement Marks (and even that it very rare). (also we do not know just how many mana types are available to be used in Attunement Marks, and if there are any mana types outside the Attunement Mark system, but still available in rune diagrams). Of course, the general public and Corin may just not be aware of cases of getting 4 or more Marks, i.e. the involved beings kept it secret, or became Visages/God Beasts, etc. (After all, many Emerald status people conceal that from the general public). There is a lot that Corin (and we) do not know. I do think that the Goddess and the Visages through the Towers have created, imposed, and controlled the Attunement Mark system of Sorcery after they fled the Tyrant in Gold to this continent.

        I do expect Corin to get a third Mark at some point (maybe even another Mark of Glory)( in Book 2 is hard to say). Also certain Visages, particularly Wydd ( Forbidden Knowledge, unknown location of Tower), may have mana types In Attunement Marks that are generally not available or impossible to get in other Towers. We are already aware of several mana types not available in Valia’s basic Marks (such as Water and Motion). I also expect Corin and his brother, Tristan, and Sera, to end up with a lot of different mana types from each other. Tristan, is supposedly a Whisper of Wydd. I would not be surprised if Corin even ends up with a 4th Mark someday. They can also get mana types added to existing Marks, rather than new Marks.

    2. There may be a prohibition on separate mana types in attunement marks, but if Corin managed to pick up some old world sorcery (from keras, most likely) he may be able to learn things like travel sorcery or motion sorcery without the marks, and so he could do some really amazing things with enchanting. The Author has confirmed that mana is dominion essense, so it is likely that all attunments as they stand are artificial, and the knowledge of how to make them was actually just hidden from the public when their god came to power. I think that the attunement system is what causes mana to be poured from the body (shroud) instead of kept entirely inside the body like old world sorcery is. This is why Keras doesn’t have a shroud, but I think that combing old world and attunement could have amazing results. clearly not at the beginning of this book, and we know core sorcery is very difficult, but I still want to see Corin learning the secrets of the world (and us learning with him) The idea that certain visages have control over certain artifacts/power sources that let them bond people to domains seems likely to me, and is a great observation. A thought just struck me on the Sera Problem, It is possible she will pick up core sorcery, because her lungs are wrecked and be able to build up mana that way/ be useful even if she doesnt have a working attunment.

      1. I think that Keras has a shroud or something similiar, but it seems to be colorless. Just like Keras may not fall into the colored Attunement Mark System, even though he is very powerful. The interesting question is if there is old continent system that uses Dominion Marks on people instead of the The Attunement Mark System we see on Kaldwyn in SAM. Or does Keras get his sorcery abilities more along the lines of the War of Broken Mirrors system without a lot of improvements by Blake Hartigan.

  62. Checking SAM, Caelford (not what Aloras was selling) has a few Crystal-run (I assume he means source of energy) models instead instead of liquid mana. According to his sales speech it uses a combination of three types of mana, primarily motion.

  63. The autos Aloras is making and selling use 3 mana types, particularly motion, in liquid form (sort of like gasoline). He is apparently able to get the materials and parts needs locally, or get some of them shipped in from Caelford.

    We know that Aloras returned to Caelford with Echion to (re)unite him with the Caelford side of the joint Valia/Caelford artificial attunement program. If Corin and Sera make a early trip to Caelford to try to meet Ferras for healing, Aloras would might a good first contact (starting point) if they can meet him there in Caelford, or if he returned to Valia, since they already know him and can tell him the results of the trip with Vera to Katashi.

  64. We were told that certain combinations of Attunement Marks were so rare, that it was not certain if it was possible to get them, i.e. they just might be impossible to get. (leading to my ideas about the impossibility of getting opposite mana types).

  65. The interesting question is if Tristan will, eventually (after they graduate probably), go on any Tower climbing expeditions with Corin and Sera, and maybe the other students. (i.e. not in Book 2 or near future Books).

  66. My personal guess is that Wydd’s Tower is on one of the islands around the continent, probably one of those located North of Dalenos.

  67. And the Tower in the Unclaimed Lands in the center of the map is where Selys is located. That tower is probably the one that was invaded by the now dead Kindgom which got destroyed in response (as was mentioned in SAM).

  68. Although by approximate symmetry of the locations of the towers around the venter Tower there could be a missing/hidden tower (Wydd’s) in the mountains near the NE coast of the continent.

  69. Tristan’s on Katashi’s shit-list for being involved with Orden, and presumably having been the swordsman involved in the attack on Tenjin.

    I think before Tristan goes Climbing with Corin and Sera, well, one, Tristan needs to get off of Katashi’s list of targets, and two, Corin and Sera will presumably need to have fulfilled their military obligations, wherever they end up being assigned. Private Climbing is almost certainly frowned upon during the mandatory service period.
    Hopefully, Corin and Sera will get assigned to Tower Climbing as their mandatory service, and that’s probably a more flexible assignment, although if the Serpent Spire remains closed for an extended period of time … they might end up being part of a semi-permanent detatchment at another Tower.

    In short, I don’t think we’re going to see all of the Cadence siblings Climbing together anytime soon. Corin and Sera, sure, but Tristan’s not likely to be joining them anytime soon.

  70. I suppose that it is possible that Tristan is that swordsman that helped betray Tenjin, but I thought he did not approve of it, so I discounted that possibility. If he was that swordsman, he is going to have some major problems with Katashi and Tenjin, if/when he get rescued/released, for a long time. I thought that Tristan had split paths with Prof Orden, presumably before she betrayed Tenjin, but maybe it was afterwards. There is a lot going on that we do not understand yet.

    I do wonder when Corin will tell his parents and Sera that Tristan is alive.

    I hope we see book 2 soon!

  71. I am not sure if Tristan matches the description that Vera gave of the swordsman in the retinue of Tenjin who betrayed him. We know he matched the description of Derek although it was not him.

  72. The last message that Corin sent to the Voice of the Tower, i.e. Tristan, basicly wanted to know if Corin should blame him for helping to cause the situation and all the deaths (from Katashi) and working with Prof Orden. the answer is mixed, both yes and no. So I guess we have to wait for Book 2 to understand what is really going on. I had been assuming that Tristan had stopped working with Prof Orden before Tenjin was betrayed, but that may be a false assumption, and he split with her afterwards. If that is Tristan, Vera indicated that the swordsman had to be Emerald level since he fought off 3 Citrine line swordsmen with no problem, and he was not Derek because Vera would have recognized him later. It is too bad Corin did not try to get a memory class of that incident from her, but they might not have know what Diviner they could trust to do it. They should have just told Vera’s party in advance to stay out of the Tower with Echion (if it was possible for them to know in advance). If that was Tristan, about the only way to get off Katashi’s punish list is to free Tenjin, now that Echion has left Valia, and come up with a very good explanation/reason.

  73. There is one remaining possibly accessible memory of that event, Echion’s memory. So possibly, if they can meet Echion in Caelford, they could try to get a memory crystal made of that event by a Diviner. If they can get and view such a crystal memory record, then they (we) will know if that swordsman in Tenjin’s retinue that helped betray him, was Tristan.

    Vera and Orden are in Katashi’s hands, and the rest of them (including Eloras Theas) are tied up with/in the captivity of Tenjin in Valia with their locations unknown, not counting the Voice of the Tower (Tristan) whose role we are trying to figure out (without relying on the word/messages from him).

  74. We were told that when two different spells interact, i.e. from two different people, that opposites nullify each other, the same manas repell each other, and different manas generally explode. The opposites nullify is why I think that the same Mark can not have opposing manas, and why I suspect that even in multiple Marks that opposite manas are either impossible or very rare.

  75. Possibly some opposites nullify each other, while others can co exist with each other or work with each other, particularly with different people using them. I am wondering about transference and enhancement in particular. They seem more like two different ways of using something, so maybe two different Marks could have them for the same person, but quite possibly could not be used at the same time by the same person. We need a lot more information that the users of the Attunement System should have a lot of practical experience with. Corin has just barely started learning many things that take years to learn and master.

  76. Of course Tristan might try to claim that he had nothing to do with Orden’s betrayal of Tenjin, he was attacking the party with Vera and Echion which is what Tenjin wanted him to do. I am not sure Karachi and Tenjin would accept this or not, but he could try claiming it.

    Then he might be a Whisper of Wrydd rather than Tenjin, which would raise the issue of what Wrydd wanted him to do in that situation.

  77. Sorry I misspelled Karachi while to use my Kindle to write these messages rather than my computer, as usual.

  78. I’m not sure Corin will tell his parents (or anyone) about Tristan, if he doesn’t think he has to.

    Tristan, is, after all, wanted by Katashi, and it is not at all clear what Katashi’s Judgement upon Tristan would be.
    There would not, after all, be much point in telling people Tristan is alive if Katashi’s planning on executing Tristan. That’d just make things worse.
    Remember, Corin wants to find Tristan because he believes Tristan’s disappearance contributed to their parents’ separation, and Tristan’s return would make things better. Telling them Tristan is alive, only to find out that he’s been recently killed would just make things even more painful, assuming they believed Corin when he told them Tristan was alive in the first place.
    It is not as though Corin’s got a good way to prove Tristan’s alive without causing a whole clusterfrag of questions and probably causing more problems for the family.

    As for opposing mana types … I’ll agree they probably aren’t common in the same Attunement, or in the same location on different Attunements. Indeed, there might very well be locations that certain Attunements/mana types are never found on (ie, I could easily see that the Enchanter, Diviner, and/or Summoner Attunements are never found as Leg Attunements).
    However, I presently see no reason to believe that having one mana type means you cannot get an Attunement that grants its opposite.
    Especially if one or more of the mana types lines up with Mana types/Dominion Essences that are natural to the body without Attunements/Dominion Marks or training in non-Attunement style Sorcery/magic.
    Some combinations are, no doubt, rarer than others, but consider that Earth is associated with the bones (it’s required to magically heal bone injuries), yet Air is associated with the lungs.
    Likewise, consider that the Dominions of Ice, Heat, and Flame work together for the regulation of body temperature. Per the Stealing Sorcery appendix, anyways.

    There’s a lot we don’t know. There’s a lot Corin doesn’t know. There’s a lot that may be “known” in-universe, but is wrong, incomplete, or misconstrued.

    The Stealing Sorcery Appendix mentions the Dominion of Void, which I suspect may operate similarly to the Shrouds of Attuned. Actually, I now suspect that Shrouds, and their attendant/associated resilience increases may operate similarly to a combination of the Void and Protection Dominions.

  79. I keep hoping Tristan will come out of this, eventually, in good condition and reunited with his family and Corin (for Corin’s sake and happiness). I just do not see how it is likely to happen. Hopefully the author has some plans/ideas.

    First of all, he has a lot of explaining to do about why he never came from his judgement and let everyone conclude that he was dead causing (or contributing to) the breakup of his parents. Second, he has to find a way to satisfy the Goddess and Visages in a way that keeps himself alive and and not too badly punished (if at all). Third, he has to help solve the current problem of Katashi and Tenjin before Katashi destroys or inflicts major damage on Valia. Fourth, keep the artificial attunement and any other research projects going needed to keep Edria from invading and conquering Valia. Then, finally, support/guide the development of Corin and Sera in ways to help the families and Valia, without tieing them so closely to himself that they get punished for anything that he did by the Visages.

    There is definitely a LOT for us to learn about how the two systems of Magic/Sorcery operate. They seem to be two different ways of looking at things and how to organize and use them. I think that Blake Hartigan (in Book 2, Stealing Sorcery) is already developing some of the things that lead in the direction of the Attuned (Mark) System or Dominion Marks, before they diverge (possibly). We do not know what the forthcoming crisis which is supposed to threaten the World, but it is a reasonable guess that it might be The Tyrant in Gold.

  80. Then there is the problem of what Ferras, the Visage of Caelford, knows and thinks about the whole situation and how she might be involved in it, and how she will react to a request to heal Sera.

  81. I am not saying that he has to do all of that only by himself, but he will be involved in it, and as the Voice of the Tower he seems to have some kind of important position and powers in an organization of almost unknown purpose to us, and at least some (one) of the Visages are questioning his role and actions in a way that could lead to some SERIOUS punishment, if he does not come up with good explanation.

  82. Andrew, you are a spectacular writer and I don’t expect you will change for me. But so that you’re aware, your use of the plural “they” or “their” as the singular, i.e., in reference to a single person, is most distracting. Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion but I think you could do a better job on that score. Thank you, nonetheless, for great stories well told. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hello, and thank you for the feedback.

      I appreciate the note, but I have no intention of changing the use of they/them in my books.

      In case you’re not aware, using “they/their/them” as a singular has a long history of precedent in the English language. (See:

      Using it specifically for agender, non-binary, or gender fluid identifying people is more modern, but it’s one of the most common ways to handle pronouns for people in those categories (both in real life and fiction). Some people use alternative forms forms (like xhe or zhe), but I felt introducing a distinct pronoun would be more confusing.

      You can find some more info on non-binary pronoun usage here:

      The idea of using “they” as a pronoun was strange to me at first, too, but I’ve acclimated to it. I hope that readers like yourself eventually will, too.

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