Out Now–Alassa’s Tale (Schooled In Magic 14.5)

22 Jan

The first Schooled In Magic novella!


The kingdom of Zangaria teeters on the edge of civil war. The nobles are plotting another coup, the merchants are demanding political representation and a say in government, and the peasants are on the verge of outright revolt. Even the king is dangerously unstable as he grapples with the problems facing his kingdom. Everyone is preparing for war. It will not be long before all hell breaks loose.

And when a deadly secret from the past resurfaces at the worst possible moment, Princess Alassa, one of Emily’s closest friends, finds herself having to make a choice that will put her at the center of the storm and determine the future of the kingdom …

… Or see everything she loves destroyed in the fires of civil war.

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104 Responses to “Out Now–Alassa’s Tale (Schooled In Magic 14.5)”

  1. allyk January 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm #


  2. Dan January 22, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

    I feel like this is where everything goes off the deep end. I wonder if king Radnor thought about what Emily would do if he executed imaiqah considering she has the nuke spell or did he just not take that into account that emily would move against him at the death of her friend.

    • Thomas Tomiczek January 30, 2018 at 9:14 am #

      He does not know about the nuke spell.

      But she took down 3 necromancers AND broke out of his wards. Not exactly a good position to be in.

  3. G January 22, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    Yeah!! Please write SIM 15! You would think King Randor would be afraid to arrest or execute Emily’s regent given he knows Emily can destroy his wards and reach him…

    • chrishanger January 28, 2018 at 10:38 am #

      I’ll be writing it in march.


  4. Pyo January 22, 2018 at 11:22 pm #

    I unfortunately completely dislike switching POVs within series (why? If I read a different book it’ll have a different protagonist too … but somehow it’s not the same), so I’ll skip this. Presumably I’m not missing anything vital?

    • allyk January 23, 2018 at 1:16 am #

      i don’t want really extended excursions into side characters, but i rather enjoy brief little forays like this to get other perspectives

    • Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 7:44 am #

      It’s OK if the author manages to give a different voice, which I think Chris managed to do here. Book 3 of the excruciatingly painful Divergent series suddenly switched to having two points of view – and the “voice” felt the same for each.

      Anyway, I don’t think I’d want a full length book from other POVs, but I quite like shorter versions. Not sure I’d bother with prequels though (e.g., Shadeye before he became necromancer).

      • Jared January 27, 2018 at 9:23 am #

        It could be cool to see a short overview of shadeys decent to madness. And then a description of his actions that brought Emily to the nameless world.

  5. Tanner Carly January 23, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    I’m curious, are there any maps of the Nameless World? I can’t find any or another place I can place a query.

    • Tanner Carly January 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

      Haha, never mind. Thanks.

  6. allyk January 23, 2018 at 9:23 pm #

    seems like 3 main plausible outcomes:
    1. They get rescued against Randor’s will with various future consequences (Alassa disinherited?)
    2. They remove Randor
    3. They use various levels of carrots and sticks and logic to reach some agreement with Randor

    It seems like the point of this arc is to force some change in Zangaria, so everyone coming to their senses and reaching an amicable settlement that continues the status quo seems unlikely.

    Given that, option 3 initially seems the least likely, but depending on what conditions they force on Randor, it could very easily fulfill the overarching narrative goal.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm #

      Well, here’s what is going to happen………BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

      Darn That Snerk Collar Chris!!!!!!! 😈

    • Jared January 24, 2018 at 11:58 am #

      I am wondering if Cloak is behind this. And I see Emily braking Alassa and Imaiqah out. Then building support for Alassa to take the throne. I see a civil war in the works.

      • Jared January 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm #


      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

        Emily isn’t that confrontational or violent.

        If she was able to break them out, I don’t see her going back to fight Randor unless he was continuing to do something awful that had to be stopped (killing everyone in a village for retribution).

        Even if Alassa was dead set on taking back the throne, I’m not sure Emily would support on that (again as long as Randor isn’t doing something immediately horrible)

        She would simply accept banishment and take them with her to her new university or something.

      • Vapori January 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

        Actually I would call Emily very Confrontational, most people would back down when challenged by a superior Authority, but she didn’t back down from master gray. She didn’t even back down from Dua Kepala, even when she could have done so. without any personal ill effects. (after all she walked straight to his fortress.)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

        Emily can be very Confrontational, but what fools some people in the Nameless World is that she doesn’t act like the “Very Powerful Daughter Of Void” as they expect such a person would act.

        While she can’t stand being bullied (which IMO is how she saw Master Grey’s actions) or seeing others bullied, she also “sees herself” as just another person not somebody special.

        Plus, as we saw in Graduation Day, she is afraid of becoming a bully herself.

        Emily confronted Jacqui full of righteous anger but after she defeated Jacqui and saw what she did to Jacqui, she was very worried about “being a bully”.

        This concern didn’t stop her from confronting the Grandmaster later about Jacqui’s actions but it was still there.

      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

        She is only confrontational when she has to be, she doesn’t go looking to start confrontations. She’s far too passive for that. If there is a way to avoid confrontation without putting others in danger, she’s going to take it. She certainly isn’t the type to wakeup and say “Let’s go overthrow the king! Yeah!”

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 3:15 pm #

        I don’t think “passive” is the right word to describe Emily.

        She’s not interested in being a “big shot”. IMO She sees being a Lone Power as “being somebody that nobody bothers”.

        While you’re correct that she’s not the type to “wake up and decide to overthrow a king” that’s partially because she doesn’t want to replace the king with her self.

        She’s not “passive” when it comes to things that interest her. It’s more that “what interests her” aren’t the things that most people think that the “Very Powerful Daughter Of Void” would be interested in.

        Mild spoiler, Graduation Day ends with Emily willing to help Jade in the rescue of Alassa and once Alassa is rescued there is no way that Alassa is going to let Randor “get away” with his actions. Emily is going to back Alassa’s actions because Alassa is her friend.

      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 3:25 pm #

        During the trial Emily was extremely passive. Yes she looked for evidence, but she knew evidence was only a tertiary concern. Why wasn’t she out wooing and/or threatening the jurors? She only reached an agreement with one after he came to her first. Lady Barb was supposedly doing some of that, but that’s no excuse for her just to sit and wait.

      • clbeam January 24, 2018 at 4:56 pm #

        Emily is more of a system person , she will tend to try to fit in the system until some event push her to far. this means she will follow people that the system says have authority like Gordian and randor, which they tend to take as submissiveness and when they push to far. It look like Emily snaps

      • Pyo January 24, 2018 at 6:07 pm #

        Emily is as passive as a refrigerator. She’s barely any own desires or ambitions, and the few things that she decides on doing basically happen because they fall into her lap (like the convenient place for her university).

        The few times she’s not passive anymore is because her passivity got her painted into a corner she otherwise can’t get out of. And then the moment the situation is resolved she retreats into the same trap and waits for whichever enemies she have to have a new go at her/her friends.

      • Jared January 24, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

        I think of Emily more of don’t cross this line or else. She doesn’t behave like a crazy person and fight every time someone does something she doesn’t like. She thinks it through and then acts accordingly. As in wedding Hells when King Randor wanted her to pacify Swanhaven and she refused. She was willing to put up with a lot of crap from Randor because of her responsibilities in cockatrice. Yet she wasn’t willing to kill for him. She pretty much told Randor that she had limits when he interfered in her courtship. But he couldn’t see anyone giving up a barony. And as for this whole civil war, of course Emily will fight for Alassa’s throne. If there’s one thing that Emily doesn’t tolorate it’s messing with her friends.

      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 8:17 pm #

        > And as for this whole civil war, of course Emily will fight for Alassa’s throne. If there’s one thing that Emily doesn’t tolorate it’s messing with her friends.

        Protecting/saving her friends is one thing.

        Helping her friends overthrow the government because of a personal grudge is another.

        I can’t believe that’s something Emily is actually interested in doing that, so just going along with Alassa’s plan would be yet another example of her passivity/weakness of character.

        She should grow a backbone and say No, this isn’t right. Just like she wasn’t willing to help Randor kill a village, she’s not willing to help Alassa lead a revolution that’s going to spread death and destruction.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 8:30 pm #

        Or she willing to help Alassa to defeat Randor because worse would happen if Randor isn’t stopped.

      • Jared January 24, 2018 at 9:24 pm #

        The execution of Imaiqah is a personal grudge? I believe Emily will build support for Alassa from the rebellious faction among the common people. She’s does this before in book two when Alassa was captured. She garnered support for the royal family so she could break into the castle and save her friend. Not exactly the actions of a passive person. In Book three she volunteered herself as bait to save lives. In W.E. She charged into extreme danger to save her mentor. The book series is full of examples of Emily not being passive. So I don’t really know where you get that from. It is true that she has thus far only reacted to threats. But I believe we are seeing the change in her where she is going to begin using her power. Just like when she attacked the head girl and she realized just how much more powerful she truly was compared to her.

      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

        If there’s a clear and present danger to leaving Randor, then sure, fine.

        It was just the reasoning behind “of course Emily will help Alassa overthrow the government, she’s her friend” that bothered me

        that by itself is not a sufficient reason and would be very problematic

      • Pyo January 24, 2018 at 10:36 pm #

        “Just like when she attacked the head girl and she realized just how much more powerful she truly was compared to her.”
        And did she use that for anything of consequence? Did she use the power she had over Gordian at the end as she found out about his mistakes for anything? Did she use the power she obtained over a mage house at the end of the novel use for any concessions towards her?

        No, no and no. As soon as the immediate situation was “solved”, she forgot all about it – again. So next time she can start at the beginning once more.

        Don’t get me wrong; it’s no crime for protagonists to be passive, although those last two novels I found it at times frustrating, but then I didn’t think those were very good either way. But I find it weird to argue she’s not like that; and I really don’t see her organizing some sort of revolt – if it happens, it’ll be because she’ll be drawn into it against her inclinations …

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 11:25 pm #

        Passive or Reasonable?

        Sorry at the end of Graduation Day, IMO she saw that Gordian had some reasons for his concerns about her and since she had already gotten the idea that there wasn’t a good reason to stay at Whitehall, she didn’t see the need to “beat Gordian over the head” so left open the possibility that she could have a future friendly visit to Whitehall.

        As for her treatment of House Ashworth, please remember that Melissa and her were building a friendship between them and Melissa had put her own life on the line in attempting the rescue of Frieda. You don’t “beat over the head” an ally after you have won. Melissa acknowledge that House Ashworth owes a debt to Emily and Frieda. Remember, such debts are seen as very important in the Nameless World.

        As for “organizing a revolt”, of course Emily won’t be organizing a revolt against Randor and she will have very good reasons to assist Alassa against King Randor.

      • Jared January 24, 2018 at 11:42 pm #

        Very good points. I would also challenge anyone to come up with an example where Emily could have done preventative maintenance to head off any such attacks throughout the series. Emily has been playing catch up with allied politics.

      • allyk January 25, 2018 at 1:12 am #

        > The execution of Imaiqah is a personal grudge?

        wait what?

        you think Imaiqah is a goner? I’ve been operating on the assumption that everyone gets rescued . . .

      • Jared January 25, 2018 at 1:31 am #

        You said that Emily wouldn’t get involved zangarian politics because she wouldn’t do that over a personal grudge. This grudge you speak of is Randor wanting to execute Imaiqah for treason. -putting aside the vision from the demon.- I am hoping all will be saved but I think Emily with take it personally that another friend is put in danger, especially so soon after frida.

        Book 15 is called Princess in the tower. It wouldn’t be much of a book if Emily was able to just show up knock a whole in the tower and extract Alassa and Imaiqah then teleport out. It seems to me that she will need help. And I think that will involve the whole gang. And pherhaps some kind of help from the rebels.

      • allyk January 25, 2018 at 2:49 am #

        > I think Emily with take it personally that another friend is put in danger, especially so soon after frida.

        Assuming she’s able to successfully rescue everyone, she’s much more likely to be ‘Phew, let’s get out of here back to my university’ than ‘I can’t believe that evil little king tried to execute my friend! Let’s kill him! Wooohoooo!’

        I just don’t see her going after him unless there is an immediate need, even if he did try to execute Imaiqah.

        Now if he actually does kill Imaiqah, then all bets are off

      • Jared January 25, 2018 at 6:04 am #

        Pherhaps, your right. But I don’t see Alassa doing that at all. And I think Emily will support Alassa in taking the throne. With Emily’s help I think she would have a good chance in garnering support simply because the people love Emily and see her as a strong figure for the people. Remember that the 16th book is so far titled long live the queen. At least I think that was the title from a blog post about two years ago now. I can’t believe how long I’ve been following this series. LOL

        I don’t think they would go to the university. I think Emily would go to dragons den.

      • G January 25, 2018 at 3:18 am #

        There is an immediate need–King Randor has arrested and plans to execute Imaquaih and has imprisoned Alassa–and may kill Alassa once her child is born…I don’t see how you can invade a royal castle, attack the Tower of Alexis, almost certainly kill a lot of guards/sorcerer’s and NOT go to war with King Randor…It will be interesting if she stops off in Cockatrice to rescue Imaquaih’s family and gather support, though…

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 25, 2018 at 3:34 am #

        The idea is that Emily will rescue all of her friends and they’ll all run away to live happily ever after outside Randor’s kingdom. 😉

        Or Emily should rescue all of her friends and leave them to fight Randor without her help. 😦

      • allyk January 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

        > I would also challenge anyone to come up with an example where Emily could have done preventative maintenance to head off any such attacks throughout the series.

        She knew Imaiqah was incredibly vulnerable. She knew that a traitor’s family had to die. She knew that other people had to know of Parens involvement and that would eventually leak. She knew she had enemies that were specifically attacking her friends.

        What did she do. Absolutely nothing.

        What should she have done? Informed Imaiqah (and possibly Alassa) of the threat and quietly spirit her and the rest of her family out of Zangaria.

        Of course if she had done that, we wouldn’t have this arc about Randor’s downfall, so . . .

      • Jared January 26, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

        They targeted Alassa and she stoped them. And she kept the secret because it protected Imaiqah. If she would have told Alassa what would Alassa’s father have done when he questioned her and found out she was harboring treason most foul. And you keep saying things like spirt them away. As if they have no will or lives of their own. Do you really think they would leave? No keeping her mouth shut was truly the best and only course of action. Imaiqah’s ignorance protected her.

  7. Jensebaum January 23, 2018 at 11:31 pm #

    Short and sweet, I liked it!

    As to what other sidestorys I’d like to see… VOID! Who is he, where did he come from, something from his youth, what happened to his family, interactions between Emily and Void from his POV, so many possibilitys! Perhaps something along the lines of a series of short scenes, starting in his youth and leading up to the present, showcasing key events from his live.
    To me, Void is the single most fascinating side character in the series, followed by Lady Barb and Seargent Miles.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 12:13 am #

      ::Eyes Snerk Collar::

      I’m aware of Chris’s plans for future stories involving Void so I think it will be very unlikely that Chris would write stories set in earlier times from Void’s POV.

      Now, Chris might write a story from Lady Barb’s POV concerning her “adventures” with Void.

      There could be other early “Void” stories but as I said, they can’t be from Void’s POV as Chris won’t write a story that would be “spoilers” for future Emily Novels.

      • Wazman January 24, 2018 at 2:28 am #

        Well if Chris is open to suggestions I would love to see how Void managed to place a dragon in his debt. Which as we all know was paid when it delivered Emily to Whitehall

      • chrishanger January 28, 2018 at 10:40 am #

        That’s a good thought


      • Jensebaum January 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

        Then perhaps as a future project, when the main series has progressed far enough. Or maybe include something like it in the main series? No matter how, I’d very much like to get to know more about Void and his personal history!

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

        IIRC Some of Void’s personal history will be coming out in the main story.

        Oh, I completely understand why people want to know more about Void. 😀

  8. allyk January 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

    uninformed speculation we can later point and laugh at:

    the custodian of the tower is being built up, so I suspect she is going to put a serious crimp in Emily’s plans and perhaps even capture her

    so let’s say Emily and Jade bust Alassa out but she interferes and prevents them from rescuing Imaiqah

    (there is an alternate timeline where Alassa escapes but Emily is captured and we follow Alassa building the support and plan to free Emily, but since this series is about Emily, we’re not going there)

    Randor continues to plan to execute Imaiqah, but only after he rounds up the rest of her extended family so he can have a group bonfire. Alassa and Emily have to build up an insurrection and choose to do so by going to the commoners for support. The commoners are understandably reluctant because they’re like “Didn’t your father do the exact same thing? And we all saw how that turned out.”

    Thus, tada! we get the Zandorian Magna Carta (ZMC)

    Now this is the tricky part, do they force Randor to submit to the Magna Carta or is he entirely removed and Alassa takes his place? I’m not entirely sure Alassa has gotten enough experience to rule yet, but if she goes off into exile with Emily I don’t see where she’s going to get it. Perhaps she’s given ‘direct rule’ (as much as the ZMC allows) over one of the existing to keep her away from court (maybe Harkness, but probably Cockatrice, because even if he allows Imaiqah to live, letting her rule a baronry is a step too far).

    This allows Alassa to continue to learn while Imaiqah is free join Emily or perhaps take over her father’s business more directly?

    • allyk January 24, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

      alternatively, Alassa joins the new parliament (I thought about Imaiqah for that, but she doesn’t seem the type and again I’m not sure Randor would stand for that. but who knows, she has the connections among the commoners to do it)

      now, what to do with Nightingale? He’s going to get squashed at some point, but is that point now? And is he going to be able to get in a big shot before he goes?

      he seems like the type to survive Randor’s downfall and then go off plotting his revenge and come back later to make everyone regret letting him live

    • G January 24, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

      In prologue, we see King Randor concluding that if Alassa opposed him, he would remove her from the succession and name his illegitimite son as heir, while Alassa would never tolerate being removed from the succession without a fight–and there’s no half-way fighting a ruling King.
      Emily can’t rescue Alassa and Imaqaih and just take them to into exile–Randor would send assassins (his Black Daggers) to eliminate them. I think Emily attacking has to be all or nothing…I don’t see a Kumbaya moment. If Randor captured Emily, given her power he’d be a fool if he didn’t immediately execute her–thus I don’t see her captured…

      • allyk January 24, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

        > if Alassa opposed him, he would remove her from the succession

        it wasn’t merely opposing him, it was plotting to kill him

        which she hasn’t done


        as the keeper said, plenty of royals have regained their standing after going to the tower

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

        The keeper is likely telling the truth about past royals but it is very possible that Randor is only keeping Alassa alive until her child is born.

  9. Yanai Siegel January 24, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

    Enjoyed this bit very much. Nice setup for the next story, and worked quite well for me to bring to focus just how diverse the points of view range. King Randor is the ruler of his realm, and all must bow to his whims, but was taught in a harsh school of what need be done to retain power.

    Emily’s introduction of reading and writing as part of the New Learnings provides a channel for critical thinking for ALL the subjects of this and other kingdoms, enabling broader learning than just from the village wiser elders and all those inconvenient newspapers carrying pesky details that the rulers would prefer not to be questioned about. Add in newer technologies (and not just the hardware, double-entry accounting quietly revolutionized industrial development by creating the means to better track costs and set prices accordingly, so fewer business failures on that score – see US railroads in post-Civil War era), and King Randor’s training is now… obsolete. But who tells the King that he’s wearing no clothes?

    And then he does something to anger the true new powers arising, including his own daughter! There’s something for everyone here, and the converging ideals and practices benefit from a piece such as this, because these points of view are not necessarily obvious to everyone.

    Nicely done. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Only downside was… it was too quick a read! Looking forward to the next installment.

  10. Wazman January 25, 2018 at 4:10 am #

    I can only imagine how Emily would respond if King Randor does have one of her best friends executed for the only crime of being a traitor’s child.

    After rereading Past Tense again I couldn’t help feeling that Chris could do a possible spin off series or just a series of novellas. One of them could be from Lord Whitehall’s perspective or perhaps from his son-in-law Bernard. In the letter written specifically for Emily to read in the future gave us a hint of how Whitehall had finally revealed what he knew about “The Dark Lady” ie Emily. I can only imagine what it might of been like for him to be trying to lay the foundation that would eventually allow her to travel back into the past. It would have been difficult for them to forget really what she had accomplished and having a grand daughter named after Emily would have been a constant reminder.

    • Mark January 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

      Please don’t give Chris any ideas for any more series!!! I can barely keep up with him now!!!

    • chrishanger January 31, 2018 at 8:12 pm #

      I’ve given that some thought


  11. allyk January 25, 2018 at 5:41 am #

    It will be curious to see what exactly is going through Randor’s mind. He has to know that Emily and Jade are coming for him. And those who have opposed Emily in the past have fared . . . poorly. Does this frighten him? Does he see this as an opportunity to trap Emily and rid himself of this nuisance once and for all?

    Or maybe he doesn’t see it as that big of a deal? Traitors (Imaiqah) have to die and Alassa will be restored once she has completed her penance, so what does she really need rescuing from? (assuming he is indeed planning to restore Alassa)

    If it was just Alassa serving a temporary penance, Emily probably wouldn’t intervene. But Randor probably underestimates her attachment to Imaiqah, just like he underestimated Alassa’s attachment to her.

    • Jared January 25, 2018 at 5:57 am #

      I think Emily should just walk up to the castle and with the first battery destroy all the words with a massive anti magic ward. Then in the next moment with the second battery freez all inhabitants of the castle. Then just walk in and take her prize. LOL
      This would be quite a statement to all of Emily’s opponents.

      • Mark January 25, 2018 at 12:59 pm #

        Yep, but she would need a few more batteries than that-to enable her to shield herself from arrows, bolts, and bullets from the guards; to enable her to defeat any magicians in her path; to leave (sorry PCH – couldn’t resist) Randor hanging in mid-air for a week upside down, and naked.

        Besides -the bad guys can always hold a knife to the prisoners’ throats and say “back off – or they die!”

      • Wazman January 25, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

        While I do not disagree with you it would scare all the other kingdoms to death. Like it or not she would been seen interfering in mundane business, regardless of her status as powerful noblewoman. They might even go as far as demanding that either Void finally start controlling his daughter’s disruptive nature or the White Council will have to intervene.

      • G January 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

        Barons have been rebelling against the King for a long time in Zangaria (and probably other Kingdoms) and Emily is a mundane Baroness. The White Council didn’t involve itself in any of those rebellions–at least not openly–and Void would probably prevent them from attacking Emily. I suspect that Emily will help Alassa overthrow Randor, that Alassa will need Emily’s continued backing as a noble of Zangaria to dissuade other nobles and countries from attacking her, and that she’ll leave someone (Imaquaih or Cat) as regent while she does her apprenticeship with Void…

      • allyk January 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

        > she’ll leave someone (Imaquaih or Cat) as regent while she does her apprenticeship with Void…

        If Alassa does become queen, she’s going to inherit a right mess. All the problems her father faced aren’t going away and many new ones will appear plus we still have Nanette and friends working at some purpose that isn’t clear

        I would like to see Emily stay and try to help sort through all that before just disappearing into Void’s clutches (if she ever actually does indeed do an apprenticeship with him)

        she’ll have much more direct input to the government than she’s ever had before (even as Baroness her actions were still constrained by the crown), so it will be interesting to see what she does with. And how her ideas clash with Alassa’s

        there’s seems plenty of possible material to support a book or three

    • Mark January 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm #

      I strongly suspect that Emily will be forced to help Alassa overthrow Randor – for a few reasons.

      One: Randor is clearly becoming paranoid, and thus a threat to the Allied Lands, never mind the Kingdom of Zangaria.

      Two: Emily does NOT abandon friends. Instead, she will bend over backwards to help them. She hates bullies, as someone noted above, but the fact is that she has always felt uneasy about Randor – he is after all a King – potentially a very capable bully – and that is EXACTLY the way that he is going and Emily REALLY has a short fuse on that topic.

      Three: I suspect the “Keeper of the Tower” is not just the “Keeper”, but is involved with the MageCabal that we keep getting glimpses of throughout the series.

      Four: Alassa has been being shown more and more over the course of the last few volumes as possibly more progressive than her King and Father, as shown by her friendship with Emily and Imiaquah, her thoughts on the nobles of Zangaria, the New Learning, and the book that Emily gave her as a Wedding Present (we really haven’t seen much of her thoughts on that topic that I recall.

      Five: Another thought just occurred to me. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT RANDOR’S PARANOIA IS BEING CAUSED BY THE ROYAL BLOODLINE SPELL? After all, if Zangaria is going to survive, the only way forward is going to be for the monarch to GIVE UP some power – which would have been anathema to the one who created the spell. Unless Emily could cure the King and break the spell twisting his mind?

      Lastly: As someone else said, at the end of Graduation Day, Emily left with Alassa’s Husband to rescue Alassa and Imiaquah. Emily has already demonstrated that she IS capable of building Alliances with other mages – more on a one-to-one basis than say, House to House (which really makes sense as she doesn’t really HAVE a house – she can’t speak for VOID, and knows it.) I also suspect what we are seeing in Alassa’s Tale and will be seeing in forthcoming novels is the beginning of Emily’s road to becoming a Lone Power – but I really don’t think that she will be doing it entirely the way others expect. Her entire long-term goal is not only to better the lives of the commoners, but total defeat of the necromancers.

    • Mark January 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm #

      I honestly think Randor MUST be removed due to Insanity. He clearly has NOT been making good decisions for quite some time. In fact, the only character that I can recall at the moment that was making such bad decisions was some of the portrayals of Richard the Lionheart’s brother, Prince John, in some variations of the Robin Hood stories

  12. George Phillies January 26, 2018 at 2:29 am #

    Alassa—and she rides bareback.

    • Vapori January 26, 2018 at 11:13 am #

      I wonder what Alassa will think if Emily confesses, that she knew that Paren actually organised the assassination attempt on her.
      As for the story, if i guess correct, then either Imaiqah is a goner. Or Imaiqah shall be executed in a more public place. Were she can be saved while the princess actually remains inside the tower for most of the book until the climax. also i wonder what role mouse will play. And maybe they have a short but still kinda full blown civil war, before the information is resolved. What i find kinda hard to belief is that Nannette manged it to become the one of the kings spys, didn’t he check their backgrounds.

      • allyk January 26, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

        > I wonder what Alassa will think if Emily confesses, that she knew that Paren actually organised the assassination attempt on her.

        She pretty much already knows

        “it was easy to imagine Emily finding out the truth, afterwards, and keeping it to herself. What possible good would it have done to reveal everything? Imaiqah and her family – her innocent family – would be proscribed. Any of them unlucky enough to fall into her father’s hands would be tortured, interrogated and executed. A traitor’s entire family had to die.

        She should have told me, she thought, numbly. Her thoughts moved sluggishly. I could have handled it.”

        > either Imaiqah is a goner. Or Imaiqah shall be executed in a more public place. Were she can be saved while the princess actually remains inside the tower for most of the book until the climax

        I doubt Chris would kill off Imaiqah at this point, but maybe

        however you are right that it makes little sense for Randor to keep her around. Maybe the reasoning will be revealed to us, but why hasn’t he already killed her?

      • Wazman January 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm #

        > that it makes little sense for Randor to keep her around. Maybe the reasoning will be revealed to us, but why hasn’t he already killed her?

        I think in Randor’s current paranoid state that he attend to end the rebellion once a for all and I believe that he sees Emily as the cause of all his problems. So maybe his is using Imaiqah and now Alassa (he probably didn’t think his daughter would attempt to defy him so) as bait to lure Emily into a trap.

        Emily does have a uncanny ability of getting out of those…. gee I wonder why?

      • Jared January 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

        I think he’s keeping Imaiqah alive simply because he’s still searching for the treason in Cockatrice. Which he won’t find. My guess is he’s searching for the rebellion and he thinks Imaiqah is a connection to that rebellion. Killing her out right would not ferret out the traitors. If his plain had gone flawlessly Alassa and Jade would have been gone for weeks. And he could deal With all this at his leisure. But Alassa decided to stay and visit her friend. LOL

      • allyk January 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm #

        if he is baiting a trap, it was a rash decision. The initial plan seems to have been to execute Imaiqah immediately and let Alassa continue her duties. A hastily put-together plan seems unwise. On the other hand, maybe he’s been planning to have a means of ‘dealing with’ Emily for a while and this was just the first opportunity that arose.

        At least he’s not doing it near a nexus point, so he’s got that going for him.

    • Mark January 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm #

      true – but let’s face it: she has been CONFINED her entire life, even if she has in the past abused her power. She has been hemmed in and around by protocol and tradition, not to mention her Father’s poor parenting skills. In my opinion, both Emily and Alassa get along so well because they both grew up with abusive and or neglectful parents.

  13. allyk January 26, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    > And you keep saying things like spirt them away. As if they have no will or lives of their own.

    Um, Emily is the one who negated their will (and possibly lives) by hiding info in the first place.

    Emily decided what was best for them without even asking

    and she decided poorly

    > Imaiqah’s ignorance protected her.

    Randor’s ignorance protected Imaiqah

    and Emily couldn’t reasonably expect that to last

    Imaiqah’s ignorance just made her a victim

    It was actually really lousy of Emily to take that option away from Imaiqah. She should have agency over her own life.

    If it was just the ‘shame’ of having your father involved in the plot, sure, Emily could have reasonably kept that hidden. But when it directly impacts her friend’s life and the life of her family, that’s absolutely not her decision to make.

    I’m confident Imaiqah (and her family) would have decided to flee once informed of the situation, but if they hadn’t, then it at least it would have been THEIR decision

    • allyk January 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

      Sorry, I messed up the reply, that was for Jared (#comment-14825)

    • Jared January 26, 2018 at 7:34 pm #

      Do you really think things are so clear cut? Imaiqah’s ignorance has protected her. She can deny knowing anything about her fathers treason under truth spells. She can even swear an oath upon her magic that she has always been loyal to the crown. Which she couldn’t have done if she knew. Living in a world where you can be tracked by magic doesn’t really lend itself to hiding out. Or living a life of running. Imaiqah isn’t a powerful sorceress. She’s a specialized magician. I’ll grant you that either way Imaiqah’s life was in danger Weather she knew or not. But if Imaiqah and her family took off and hide Alassa would demand to know why. And then she would have had to be told. And her father would have found out that she was hiding treason. No IMO the only course of action that Emily could have taken was to keep the secret and hope it never got out. Remember Paren was adamant that nobody knew, and there was no evidence that linked him to the treason. Emily believed him and honored his dying request.

      And as for the family running off. What do you think they would rather do? Abandon their lives? Everything they had? everything they knew? I bet that their business was passed down for generations. I don’t see how telling them and ignoring Parens request to protect his family would have solved their problem. Either way they would have been screwed. At least with Emily’s way they had a chance.

  14. allyk January 26, 2018 at 7:59 pm #

    > Do you really think things are so clear cut?


    > Imaiqah’s ignorance has protected her.

    from what? she’s about to be executed

    > She can even swear an oath upon her magic that she has always been loyal to the crown

    It doesn’t matter, her father was a traitor, she has to die

    > Remember Paren was adamant that nobody knew, and there was no evidence that linked him to the treason. Emily believed him and honored his dying request.

    Paren has already shown he doesn’t make the smartest life choices.

    > What do you think they would rather do? Abandon their lives? Everything they had? everything they knew?

    Better than being executed

    But it comes down to the fact that it was their lives and it should have been their choice. Not Emily’s

    • Jared January 26, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

      I totally disagree, if they where screwed either way the best course of action is to wait and see what happens. If Randor was being reasonable he would realize she doesn’t have to die. I wonder if he’s being manipulated by subtle Magic. And as for it being their choice they where lower nobility. They follow their betters. 😁

      • Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 9:11 am #

        I wonder if he’s being manipulated by subtle Magic

        That thought occurred to me as well – just something to increase his natural paranoia would be enough. Nannette is pretty good at subtle magic, after all.

      • Jared January 27, 2018 at 9:27 am #

        Right and if Nannette posed as a young attractive woman she could have gained access to his chambers. It would explain why he’s grown so paranoid. And possibly has gaps in his reasoning.

      • Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 9:29 am #

        And if he’s being more paranoid now, then he isn’t going to respond too well when he uncovers Alassa’s secret stash of forbidden magical texts.

      • Jared January 27, 2018 at 9:48 am #

        Ya I found that interesting when I read it. I hope they’re not to dark. Alassa is a strong magician. But her magical knowledge is sorely lacking. I’m surprised that we didn’t see Emily talking with Freda about reading Malice.

      • Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 10:21 am #

        Interestingly, if Emily can establish that Nanette (who I’m assuming is Lynnette) is responsible for the previous coup attempt and Randor’s paranoia, then he may survive for the time being – but we must be two thirds through the story now, so maybe not?

        I don’t think Imaiqua will survive, though – I think that is one demon vision that will come true. Of course, the vision of Alassa’s wedding came true as well, but was misleading as Alassa survived. I think if another vision had a “trick survival” clause, I’d feel cheated. Alassa survived, so Imaiqua has to die.

        I seem to recall Melissa being present in that vision, but could be wrong. Do we have a summary of the visions somewhere?

      • Jared January 27, 2018 at 11:09 am #

        I left out most of the vision it was a lot to type lol
        …There is a gaping emptiness at the heart of Whitehall…

        …It is Alassa’s wedding day. Blood stains the alter, her white dress is ripped and torn; in one hand she holds a wand, in the other a staff. And she stares at Emily with accusation in her eyes…

        …She holds Imaiqah’s dead body in her hands, feeling tears prickling at the corners of her eyes. Then she looks up and sees Melissa. She’s crying, too…

        …There is a gaping emptiness at the heart of Whitehall…

        This took some effort to find but it seems that Imaiqah will die at some point.

      • Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 11:50 am #

        Yep, thanks for that.

        I thought Melissa was in that vision, but I couldn’t remember and was having trouble finding it.

        I don’t see how it’s escapable (without cheating). I wonder if that’s why Chris hasn’t spent as much time developing her character – it’s hard for writers to kill of their characters when they’ve put a lot into them.

        And if they know a character is destined for death at the outset, they tend to distance themselves. They can’t help it – it’s a psychological defence.

      • allyk January 27, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

        > Then she looks up and sees Melissa. She’s crying, too

        why I’m inclined to think it’s not Imaiqah’s time yet. I don’t think Melissa isn’t going to be anywhere near this as she has her own issues to worry about.

      • G January 27, 2018 at 10:12 pm #

        People keep forgetting that Chris has said demon visions give you only possibilities, not certainties…

      • Jared January 27, 2018 at 11:50 pm #

        I haven’t forgot that it’s a possibility and not a certainty. And don’t get me wrong I want Imaiqah to live. I want her to become baroness cockatrice, that way Emily can do her thing with magic.

  15. Fleeced January 27, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    (Spoilers for Alassa’s Tale):

    When Alassa “rescued” Imaiqua, we had the following:

    “Two of the cells are occupied,” an armsman called back. “But I can’t open the doors!”

    Alassa hurried down the corridor. The smell grew worse as she stopped outside the first door and pressed her fingers against the lock…

    Things got hectic after that, so we never did find out who was in the second cell. Any speculation as to who it could be? Remember these were explicitly referred to a the “upper-class cells”.

    • allyk January 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm #

      I wouldn’t read too much into it, they have a whole tower devoted to more important/dangerous prisoners.

      • Mark January 27, 2018 at 2:01 pm #

        IMO, the thing to remember is Emily is exceedingly protective of her friends. If Randor has Imiaquah and her family executed, I, for one, fully expect Emily to go nuclear on him personally and politically. Personally, all it would take would be for her to put together 5 or 10 batteries at maximum strength. Politically, Imiaquah has been functioning in Emily’s stead as Steward at Cockatrice, where most of the Kingdom’s peasants have been fleeing to. Randor’s execution of Emily’s friend and her family would give any rebellion-minded peasants a cause celebre for revolt directed specifically at Randor. Once Alassa is out of the Tower, she can sweep in and lead the Rebellion against Randor and the abusive nobles.

      • Pyo January 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

        That’d be incredibly “novel-style”, imo. Might happen in fiction, but in history revolutions aren’t lead by nobles; or at least not a Princess. And in that particular case, where the people already have been betrayed by noble promises once, I’d see the chances of them accepting her as leader even worse.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 27, 2018 at 9:06 pm #

        IIRC Most revolutions have been lead by “low-level” nobles and middle-class folks rather than by the poor.

        However, this situation is the classic rebellion against the king by his heir and/or high-ranking nobles.

        On the other hand, (Mild Spoiler) things are going to be messy as there are “revolutionaries” involved, there are high-ranking nobles rebelling, and there will be Alassa going against her father. Many of the nobles might not support her and while she may have a better reputation than “dear old dad”, the revolutionaries might not support her.


        Darn Snerk Collar. 😉

      • Pyo January 27, 2018 at 9:49 pm #

        If it’s lead by higher level nobility, it’s usually some type of civil war, not a revolution as such. Peasant uprisings and such are very common; they just weren’t that often successful (at least in the West; China has a bunch of peasant -> Emperor stories, like Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming dynasty. Of course, those in turn weren’t always very revolutionary …).

        Well, it’s tough making any sweeping statements and of course you are right that revolutions need funds and support and so on and that’s usually done by enlisting lower level nobles or whatnot else. I’m just saying that if you do a democratic revolution of “French revolution” type you don’t pick a princess as poster child. Likewise, if you go against central authority of a Kingdom, you don’t use a heir to said Kingdom as your leader, normally.

        Happens in fiction all the time, but I can’t think of a historic example except for some hostage-type situations (like having the Japanese Emperor sign over power to the shogun, that sort of thing).

        But generally it’s just contrary to your aims and you would never be able to trust them ^^;

  16. William Ameling January 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm #

    I think that Randor will die in the Civil War being stirred up, mostly likely at the hands of Nannette or one of her tools. Emily will face Nannette a final time in a major battle.

    Randor may (almost certainly) have heard what was happening with Emily and Frieda at the School and thought that they would be too tied up to interfere with his handling of Imaiquh and Alassa. Also he probably thought (hoped) that this time Emily was going to lose in a big way and would not be a big threat in the future, i.e. she might die or lose her magic, or lose all standing in the magical community and be declared an outlaw or rogue power.

    Also from Randor’s POV, he had to act against Imaiquh and he tried to get Alassa away for a while, while he did so. Emily surviving with her power intact and the doubts about her in the magical community settled (at least those stirred up by Fulvia), leaving the School, and reuniting House Ashworth under Melissa and Markus is more than his worst nightmare. He was probably hoping to let Alassa have her child and then raise it himself after either disinheriting her or executing her. I doubt that he expected Jade to leave to go to Emily either, and had plans to deal with him at the same time as Alassa. Having Jade free to help Emily was not what he planned on. He certainly did not expect them to find out what was going on so quickly. It will be interesting to see his reaction when he finds out what really happened (new prequel?). He now has to face the leaders of two of his baronies, who have very close ties to his arrested daughter, who are also very strong magicians and very familiar with the magical defenses of his castle. All of which he was hoping to avoid. He will become very desperate and end up relying on the wrong people to help him. I (more than half) expect Nannette to be the one who tells him what really happened in the prequel to book 15, in order to encourage him to rely on her.

    The only question in my mind is WHEN Randor dies, in the Princess in the Tower (very near the end of the book), or early in the following book when Alassa has to become Queen. Emily would only kill Randor to keep him from killing her friends or to avenge them. As long as they are alive, Randor has some leverage. So I expect someone else (Nannette) to do the deed or arrange it.

    Then there will be all the troubles he can expect from the rest of his Barons, as well as the revolutionaries from the lower classes (who he will discount and shouldn’t).

  17. G January 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

    Emily’s potential romance with Cat opens up interesting possibilities…Emily’s central tension is between A.) staying near her friends where living in Cockatrice makes sense and B.) giving up Cockatrice and focusing entirely on becoming an immensely powerful sorceress and fighting the necromancers. If she married Cat or someone similar, she could delegate managing Cockatrice to as the Ducal consort (he’s close friends to Jade), while focusing most of her time on fighting the necromancers…I hope Emily stays involved in Cockatrice as the politics is one of my favorite parts of the story–if she renounced her tittle and left the story becomes to simplistic–powerful sorcerer fighting bad guys is cliche also the rest of the nobility would never accept the idea of a noble losing/renouncing a tittle…it would be too threatening to their positions…

    • Jared January 30, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

      I can sorta see your point. But I don’t think it would be that easy. And Emily really doesn’t want to go back to cockatrice. It’s possible I suppose that she won’t be able to give it up. But I hope she can. It would make for a better story.

      • Pyo January 30, 2018 at 10:26 pm #

        I agree; it’s a shame so many authors shy away from transitioning their “action adventures” into “political intrigue”. I mean, I wouldn’t want to read it all the time, but the truth of the matter is that once you get to a sufficient point of influence you’ll need to do political stuff, not just bash every bad guy over the head.

        But in this case I don’t see how Cat makes a difference to Ima. Whether he or she rules in Em’s name is really not a huge difference, is it?

        Also, two incredibly rushed scenes and we’re already talking about marriage?! Talk about pressure ;p

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 30, 2018 at 10:31 pm #

        Chuckle Chuckle

        Chris has said that he’s not sure how serious he’s going to make Emily and Cat relationship. 😉

      • Jared January 30, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

        I think I can recall a comment from Chris that Emily and cat where not going to be serious.

      • chrishanger January 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

        There comes a point when political wheeling and dealing becomes boring (at least to me) .

        Obviously, there will be times in Emily’s life when she finds herself chairing a committee, but it’c certainly not going to be a major part of a book.


    • allyk January 31, 2018 at 12:58 am #

      she doesn’t have to marry Cat to let him manage Cockatrice. She wasn’t married to Imaiqah, so she could appoint whoever to manage while she’s away.

      It just seems awfully strange to marry for the express purpose of splitting apart

      • Jared January 31, 2018 at 1:46 am #

        I think speaking of marriage is completely premature. I think at this point it’s more likely that Emily will ask Alassa to let her walk away from Cockatrice. If Imaiqah lives perhaps she can become baroness and free Emily from the burden of nobility. Emily doesn’t want it. She has repeatedly stated this. In LLW she told Alassa she wasn’t happy being baroness. And Void wants her to give it up. I think this will be the most likely course the story will take. Although, I can see Alassa putting Emily in an advisory position. I think that Emily will become an advisor to many kingdoms. Zangaria will not be the last kingdom to have uprising. And I believe after different Kings/rebels see what unfolds in Zangaria they will want her advice on how to maintain/establish their realms.

      • allyk January 31, 2018 at 2:28 am #

        > . I think that Emily will become an advisor to many kingdoms.

        The idea of Emily being a travelling fixer (not unlike Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series) has it’s appeal, but realistically I can’t see that going anywhere

        > after different Kings/rebels see what unfolds in Zangaria

        that’s exactly the problem, everywhere she goes turmoil follows

        the head of Mountaintop befriended her. He’s dead
        the head of Whitehall befriended her. He’s being eternally tormented
        the king of Zangaria befriended her. He’s ‘gone’

        with that sort of record, what ruler would want anything to do with her?

      • Jared January 31, 2018 at 6:01 am #

        Actually, he wasn’t the head of mountain top. And to say he was her friend is stretching the truth.

        I think your not considering how many years Emily will live. With her power she will most likely live at least 150 years. Maybe much more. I think that given a few years as Alassa is able to bring stability to her country, using reforms suggested by Emily. That other countries will want to consult with Emily. Keep in mind that Zangaria will thrive and prosper with many advances in technology that will force the other kingdoms to give in or fall so far behind that they become irrelevant.

      • G January 31, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

        My point is after rescuing her friends, Alassa will need the support of the powerful Baroness Emily to rally support (and scare off enemies). Imaquaih, while nice, doesn’t inspire enough respect or fear to really help Alassa. Emily could then train with Void with a regent ruling Cockatrice and eventually marry and have a normal life, with a husband governing Cockatrice and Emily focusing more on the Allied Lands…later, after her husband and friends die, Emily could become more the Lone Power…

  18. William Ameling February 10, 2018 at 3:58 am #

    When any unhappy commoner, with no magic, Paren, Imaiquh’ s father, falls into the hands of an experienced manipulator and strong magician who wants to cause a lot of trouble, whatever he does can easily be blamed on the magician. She managed to use subtle magic on Emily inside a School of Magic for months. Paren had no chance against her, he was going to end up doing what she wanted done. No one had a chance to examine him for being under magical influence, since he was killed by her arrangement.

    When the time came, Emily could easily make this argument, except she was never given the chance to make this argument.

  19. Puffin Muffin February 12, 2018 at 12:38 am #

    I think all this is aimed at getting Emily involved in the situation and trying to force her into making a mistake. She’s made many mistakes in the past and her enemies (of which there are not a few) will be looking to capitalize on the situation. I don’t think her enemies care that much who runs Zangaria, and I would not be surprised to learn that Randor is being manipulated.

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