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Adria Summers

October 01, 2021 at 02:38 AM UTC


I’ll be honest– I suspected Primrose, but only because I thought she was a disguise for Liliane. And this was long before I read the Court of Midnight and Deception trilogy (which I can’t stop re-reading because Leila’s still my favorite of your heroines!!). It’s been so long since I read the other books that I’d forgotten about the magic protecting Verglas. Just gives me an excuse to re-read everything. ^_^

I know it’s going to be awhile, but I’m sincerely looking forward to Blade of Magic. I don’t care how long it takes– both instinct and experience tell me it’s going to be amazing. Keep writing, Kitty! I’m proud to be your champion! ^_^

Monique

September 20, 2021 at 09:46 PM UTC


I knew there had to be more than one. I didn’t expect that huge number. I had cleared Lovelana and Clovicus because they were shown in Verglas.

I was worried about Sybilla. She had never been shown in Verglas and was *very* helpful which would also keep her informed about Angelique’s whereabouts. Her encouragement to Angelique to stand up against the Council could have been subversive if there had been fewer Chosen mages in the Conclave as a whole.

I also, from the moment I finished reading Snow Queen, wondered why the Conclave had relocated from their pre-made, anti-black magic fortress of a country to nearby Mullberg. Or at the very least why there obviously weren’t required regular field trips into Verglas for all students with a rotation of qualified mages, making them all visit regularly that way as well.

That made me realize someone high up was Chosen, and definitely someone in the Academy. Though it hasn’t been directly stated, I don’t think Quarrelous is Chosen. She’s too much like Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series. Umbridge is awful because she actually believes the garbage she’s spewing, not because she’s trying to grab power. I think Quarrelous is the same way. The Chosen all know they’re evil and working to overthrow the rightful order so they can seize power. Quarrelous is “merely trying to uphold the standards that have been handed down through generations of highly qualified mages.” (No, that’s not a quote from the books, but can’t you just hear the old snot saying it?) She’s scared of Angelique because Angelique is an unknown, not because she is a threat to the Chosen.

Ananya Goel

September 16, 2021 at 04:14 AM UTC


I want Sinead to shove Alfonso off of a cliff.

Miya

September 16, 2021 at 04:20 AM UTC


Me too.

Naomi

September 09, 2021 at 06:05 AM UTC


I for one did not foresee this plot twist. I thought that the chosen may of had one member inside the council, but four? no. Completely enjoyed Trial of Magic, and can’t wait for book 5. Wonder what future plot twists there will be…

Coventry Lance

September 08, 2021 at 03:48 AM UTC


Thoroughly enjoyable. I suspected Primrose, Blanche, and Rein (‘though glad he turned out innocent). I did not suspect the rest.

But I’m too much of a hopeless romantic, reading those scenes mostly for how they impacted Angelique and Evariste. Kept mulling over the idea of how you’d feel if your hero, so to speak, no longer had power and had to be protected by you, technically adding more burdens of responsibility.

Bookworm

September 07, 2021 at 09:34 PM UTC


I can’t believe that after all the mystery I read, I wasn’t able to predict this twist! I always had my suspicions on Primrose( she was too kind to Angelique to not be), maybeeee Crest. Definitely didn’t expect Lazare to be on in it! He always gave off that senile old man vibe- which is probably what the Chosen wanted him to give off right?
Plus I am really glad that Lovelana stood with Angelique! I feel horrible for Rein and Sinead, I hope they can move on someday.
Evariste and Angelique are more adorable than before now, and I find it so sweet how Angel keeps looking for Evariste everywhere and touching him!

Lynn

September 07, 2021 at 01:19 AM UTC


I have very much enjoyed all of the Timeless Fairy Tales and Angelique’s arc. I was surprised that there was anyone on the council not part of the Chosen!

I was also surprised – although upon reflection I don’t know why, she had already proven herself a strategist – by Snow White literally riding to the rescue and providing the solution. That was my favorite scene.

I think what Trial of Magic shows more than anything else is that as wondrous as magic is, it is ultimately a crutch. Angelique learns this firsthand on their camping trip when she has to refrain from using magic. The Royal Families of the continent have come to terms with no magical help coming and started stepping up themselves. Asnd the entire – well, 2/3, I guess – Conclave has learned that their magic has not and cannot keep them safe.

Jessica

September 05, 2021 at 07:55 AM UTC


The twist definitely threw me off! I individually suspected Primrose (for how unhelpful and kind she always was), Crest (because he was nice but also ultimately unhelpful), and Lazare (totally sassy enough to be a black mage) but I never thought it would be all of them!!! Not to mention, I always considered there had to be a network of Chosen mages in the Conclave, but I NEVER thought it would be a third of the entire Conclave!

Got to say, well done, Kitty, well done. The Conclave getting thrown into chaos was the biggest plot twist of the series so far and caught me off guard from the sheer magnitude of how much the Chosen was able to infiltrate and cripple the Conclave.

I suspected individual pairs like Blanche and Rein and Sinead and Alfonso, but I thought it was all of them, not just Blanche and Alfonso. In fact, if I’d had to guess, I would have gone with Rein and Sinead! Hearing the explanation of the Chosen during Sheacon really made me realize just how insanely twisted and cunning the Chosen is, from how they got the mirror out of Verglas to how they infiltrated the Conclave to, well, everything. Still hard to believe they’ll lose, that’s got to be embarrassing!

Katie

September 04, 2021 at 07:33 AM UTC


I knew there had to be moles in the plural, but the sheer number surprised me, but also that they were exposed at that point also surprised me, I had to say I thought the council were going to use the fact that Evariste was sealed to remove Angelique as his apprentice as they had been trying to do, so this ending caught me off-guard.
Loved it and eagerly waiting for when the next one comes out.

Melissa Jurica

September 03, 2021 at 05:01 AM UTC


I figured from the start at least one council member was a Chosen. There was no way they could have operated the way they did without having infiltrated the council.

I’m also pretty sure at least one more Chosen mage is with the Conclave, but just has somehow kept their hands clean enough to get into Verglas.

Liz Bowers

September 03, 2021 at 03:38 AM UTC


The way the end turned out didn’t surprise me, but it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. I think it’s interesting how it wasn’t just the council that displayed the behavior of making the good mages look like they were behind the malicious acts. As I was rereading everything I noticed that Rein was consistently more open about his dislike of Angelique and her abilities, whereas Blanche seemed merely apprehensive.
By the time Angelique stormed out on the council, I’d kind of decided that about 90% of the conclave sucked. Very few were helping her, and the ones that were passive were almost as bad as the ones working against her. Thinking on the matter, though, it does make sense that it would be 1/3 of everyone. There’s this theory my dad was telling me about where in any given company 1/3 of the employees are actually trying to do their best, 1/3 are more passive, and 1/3 will do whatever they can get away with (I’m not saying that it’s true, just a theory), and by observation of the books, that might be true of the conclave pre epic ending of Trial of Magic.

Marietta

September 02, 2021 at 10:35 PM UTC


I agree with everyone and what they’ve said. What I’d like to know is: was Lazare’s addition that they were scared of her on purpose or a slip of the tongue? And if it was a slip of the tongue, what was his double purpose for saying that. He was clearly more spry that originally portrayed, so I a little confused..

Thank you for wonderful stories!

Lydia

September 02, 2021 at 09:18 PM UTC


For some reason, I always read “Venevo” instead of “Veneno”, so even if I did know Latin I would have never guessed!

Toni

September 10, 2021 at 05:10 PM UTC


Yep, I am on the Venevo train too! It rolls off the tongue better, but I guess that’s to be expected as English is the only language I speak. If I had bothered to be serious about Spanish in school, maybe it could be different seeing as it’s one of the Romance languages.

,
Nix

September 03, 2021 at 03:16 AM UTC


Oh yeah me too, I always read it as Venevo!

Rocky

September 02, 2021 at 04:29 AM UTC


I was rooting for Clovicus to be a Chosen agent because of the absolute emotional and mental devastation it would have on both Angelique and Evariste and because it would make sense to have him use his eccentricities and facade of disliking the Conclave’s apathy as the perfect cover for his true malicious duplicity. But I guess we couldn’t completely break Angelique yet. Since a large part of Angelique’s character arc and development is based on her being ostracized and having so few people she feels she can trust, rely on, or truly befriend, it would be interesting to see how she would handle the betrayal of one of the few people she feels is on her side. Whether or not Clovicus is a traitor, I think Angelique still has yet to hit the lowest point and darkest cave of her heroic cycle. She has learned and grown a lot in Trial of Magic, but there are two more books to go and a final battle to determine the fate of the continent…

Louisa Allen

September 02, 2021 at 11:30 PM UTC


Don’t forget, Clovicus was in the country of Verglas, not just once but on two different occasions. So he should have be crossed off the possible Chosen list long ago.

Melissa Jurica

September 03, 2021 at 04:57 AM UTC


Some Chosen mage has the ability to get into Verglas. That mirror would never have been in their hands otherwise. If Clovicus is so innocent, and such a good friend, why didn’t he offer to take Angelique in the first place?

Emarynn

September 03, 2021 at 05:17 AM UTC


Kitty actually explained this at Sheacon! The Conclave sent innocent mages into Verglas to retrieve a “dangerous artifact” without actually explaining that it was the Snow Queen’s mirror because the Snow Queen’s magic *is* capable of keeping out every black mage.
And as for why Clovicus didn’t take Angelique as an apprentice, as of AoM I don’t think he knew what was going on, and for more of what he was doing after Evariste’s capture, you can read the short story Kitty posted after ToM.

Jocelyn Malone

September 03, 2021 at 09:23 PM UTC


Clovicus himself tells Evariste that if he (Evariste) had TOLD him Angelique needed saving he’d have claimed her as an apprentice instead. He apparently didn’t know about the problem until after Evariste had already stepped in, and for one reason or another, Evariste opted to deal with it himself instead of telling his old teacher about it.

Coventry Lance

September 10, 2021 at 04:09 AM UTC


I think it said he wanted a friend.

Jocelyn Malone

September 02, 2021 at 01:57 AM UTC


Oh, the Chosen were WAY too well-informed for it to be one mole–I always figured we had a few on the Council and some elsewhere, too. That said, it was still fun to watch the blinders get ripped off everyone on-page!

Nix

September 02, 2021 at 01:26 AM UTC


Yeah you stunned me Kitty with this twist ending!!! I had suspected that someone on the Council was part of the Chosen. Normally the meanest people are never the traitors so I crossed out Tristism and Felicienne (But I also harbored a tiny suspicion that Felicienne was Chosen). I thought it was Galendra because she almost never spoke, but I never suspected Crest and Primrose or Lazare. Also, the part where Lovelana told Angelique that there was a mole threw me off, so I kept searching for one person. I felt so bad for Sinead and Rein. I really loved having the opportunity to go back and search for all the little hints you left. Thank so much!!!!

Abby

September 01, 2021 at 09:17 PM UTC


Oh, you are marvelous! I did not see that coming!

I thought there might be quite a few mages who were from the chosen, maybe as many as a dozen or even 20, but I did not see how thoroughly they’d infiltrate the conclave! I thought they’d have problems with “trips to verglas” and other methods used to smoke out black mages, but I can see how with so many of them being dark, it was easy to hide the rest. I did think some of the mages might have been coerced in small ways, but not truly bad. I didn’t think so many bad mages could stand the “good” that the Conclave stood for.

The head of the Academy was definitely on my lis on my list. The way he influenced Madame Quarrelous (who on Earth would pick their mage name to be someone who constantly picks fights?) made that seem clear even if Evariste thought he was a good guy. Speaking of, you never did mention Madam Quarrelous? I think she was good, but you’ve surprised me many times.

Similarly, I thought that 1 or even 2 people on the council were bad, is were bad, specifically Primrose and my next guess was Tristasim. Primrose was just too kind but always unhelpful (yeah, that scene where she “ponders” in CoM hit me), but Tristasim just hated Angelique. I did consider Lazare, that “sleeping” could be a good cover, but really thought he’d just be oblivious.

No one else really stood out to me; Blanche and Sinead TOTALLY stunned me. Way to go! I assumed there were more, mostly because the Chosen needed to know more of the Conclave’s intelligence and actions, but I assumed it was people we didn’t know.

Yeah, the Conclave “suddenly” moving to Mulberg out of Verglas, and “suddenly” having a fire that destroyed so many documents from the library? Totally saw that as the efforts of the Chosen. Why on earth would they ever move out of a clear “no black mages allowed” country otherwise? I thought it would be so they could break in when necessary, though, not so that they’d fill it with their own people. Heck, now they can educate their people without wasting time on creating a school of their own!

Yeah, the problem became clear that the laws were often good, but the strict adherence to the rules, even in extraordinary circumstances, was the issue. This is why our system of governance is supposed to have people, judges, who can both uphold the law and understand when a situation is so far out of the norm that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter. Never, when lives are on the line, as so often happens to Angelique, should the law trump the safety and welfare of others. The law is made to keep people safe, not to endanger them by policy and procedures. Those who do not understand the delicate balance should not be those in positions of legal power. Sadly, that’s not always the case.

You have done a masterful stroke, Kitty! You have stunned and amazed me, and I applaud your work in keeping us all surprised!

JanuB

September 01, 2021 at 08:42 PM UTC


I did not see that ending coming. And, Kitty, you were right about the “mole” thing. It threw me off scent. I kept searching for one person.
In books and movies, usually the person who seems nice turns out to be the traitor, so I ruled out Tristisim and Felicienne (they seemed too obvious). First, I thought Crest could be the traitor since he was too nice. Then I thought that it could be Lazare since he was so oblivious and did not seem pose much of a threat. Then I wondered if it was Galendra, as she was so quiet I forgot that she was even present most of the times until she spoke. At one point, it even occurred to me that it could be Sinead or Alfonso, as theirs was a strategically good position. And I was very confused. It did not even occur to me that there would be more. 🤔🤔
The book was totally worth the wait🤩🤩.
Thank you Kitty.

Tara

September 01, 2021 at 07:44 PM UTC


Yes. I have thoroughly enjoyed going back through and finding the little clues you left. I knew that some on the council were Chosen, I just didn’t think most of them were. I guessed Crest–mostly because he was too nice and also because he had Clovicus followed. I also guessed Blanche, but I thought Rein was in on it too. I was so heartbroken for poor Sinead though. I didn’t guess that there were so many in the Conclave either. But I kept shouting “why don’t you just make everyone go to Verglas and those who refuse are black mages!” So I was glad you did that 🤪.

The Twist: How I hid it

I’ve given you Champions several weeks, so we’re finally going to discuss Trial of Magic! We’re going to start out by discussing the big twist at the end, which I also like to call “A textual record of Kitty’s spiking anxiety.” But before we go any farther, this is obviously going to be a huge, spoiler filled post, so if you have not read ToM, DO NOT READ THIS!!! It is going to take away your full enjoyment of the book! Just come back and read it once you’ve finished!

Okay, are we good?

Meme Creator - Funny I'm so excited!! Meme Generator at MemeCreator.org!

Yaaaay! We can finally talk about the fact that 1/3rd of Veneno Conclave mages were, in fact, Chosen mages–including four of the six Council members!


I’ve been sitting on this plot twist since the DAY I came up with the Veneno Conclave. As many Champions know, I love naming things based on Latin words, and Veneno is actually the Latin word for poison/venom/drug/infect. A few Champions figured that out, and I spent several years sweating as I wondered if they’d put the clues together and spill the big secret.


I actually had Lovelana tell Angelique there was a mole because 1) It was good for her relationship with Angelique 2) it would build story tension 3) it would hopefully throw a bunch of you off the scent so instead of noticing how bad in general the Conclave was, you’d try to find the specific bad guy supposedly hiding among the rest of the good mages.

I also was able to successfully hide this twist by making the Chosen downright diabolical, instead of flat, one dimensional villains that like to monologue and laugh in dark corners.


Lazare and Primrose don’t seem so bad compared to Tristisim and Felicienne–who appear to hate Angelique. But if you re-read the first scene in Apprentice of Magic you can see the four Chosen mages manipulate Tristisim and Felicienne by triggering their love of rule following. They appear to be kinder to Angelique when all they’re doing is setting up Tristisim and Felicienne by pointing out areas where Angelique fails to follow the typical example of an enchantress/enchanter. (If they had wanted to save her, all they would have had to do is talk about the Snow Queen–the first enchantress who had magic just as deadly as Angelique’s.)


They also hid their intensions behind words they that they knew would make them look good. This bit is taken from the first scene in Apprentice of Magic.


Enchanter Crest sighed. “I’m sorry, Angelique. I don’t see how we can allow you to keep your magic. If there was someone who could teach you—who could assure us of your safety and those around you as you grew into your powers.”

“Indeed,” Enchantress Primrose appeared to wipe a tear from her eye. “But there are few equipped to handle one with your strength and…” She didn’t have to finish.


They *seem* nicer, because they know there’s no one who wants to take her as an apprentice, so they can give her–and readers–this empty lip service since it won’t jeopardize their plan to have Angelique sealed…until Evariste calls their bluff and volunteers.

The best examples, however, of the ways they set off Tristisim and Felicienne with kind words can be seen in Curse of Magic. Here’s an example of a scene when they’re reviewing whether or not it was illegal for Angelique to perform magic in Carabas as it is illegal to use magic in Arcainia. Angelique makes a claim that it’s not because Carabas was owned by an ogre and not the King of Arcainia. When she first makes this claim, the Chosen mages demurely agree, because they’re biding their time and they know Tristisim won’t drop the issue, which brings us to this portion of the scene.


Tristisim frowned. “I think her line about Carabas not being a part of Arcainia is untrue.”

“I don’t know.” Enchantress Primrose looked thoughtfully down at her papers. “She spoke the truth that as long as the ogre was there, Carabas really was not acting as an Arcainian city.”

Yes! Angelique smiled politely and didn’t allow her inner glee to show. Thank you!

“And the time she was performing her magic, Lady Gabrielle was the new Marquise, oh, dear,” Enchantress Primrose looked dismayed, “which brought Carabas back into Arcainia, I suppose.”

Primrose makes it look like she “accidentally” pondered this–not that she’s seeking to incite Tristisim to bring any kind of half-baked charge against Angelique so she can be properly side-lined instead of mucking in all of the Chosen’s plans.


Using Felicienne and Tristisim to say the meanest of things to Angelique was the best way for the Chosen quartet to at least appear slightly less guilty. (I was pretty terrified you all would go re-read Angelique’s books right after Court of Midnight and Deception, which practically trains you how to see through all the deception tactics I used in Angelique’s series!)

Perhaps the easiest way for the Chosen to hide, however, was to use the Conclave’s laws against them–laws that are, in theory, good.

One of the biggest reasons the Council sites as the reason for their inactivity, is because it is important for the Conclave to remain nonpolitical, and to avoid showing favoritism of any kind.

This is actually a good rule. The Conclave would be easy to manipulate because countries could constantly be crying off that they use more magic on behalf of other countries, or then they could possibly blame calamities on mages because they weren’t able to stop them–the bottom line is there needs to be separation between the Conclave and country government. The issue is that under the Chosen’s influence, the Conclave went too far and essentially stopped being proactive.


The Conclave should have been all over the Chosen when Baris found out a generation ago that dark mages were stirring. That would have drastically changed the landscape Angelique is dealing with today. However, the Chosen used a very necessary law as an excuse for their inactivity. And because they didn’t react, the countries saw no reason to react.


There’s a lot more–if you skim any Conclave scene you’re bound to notice more–but that’s all we have time for today. I hope you enjoyed all the other fun moments in Trial of Magic! Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day, Champions!

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