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Fourth Wing

Recap, Summary & Spoilers

The Quick Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros are below.

Ending & Explanations

See the Ending & Explanations for Fourth Wing

Quick(-ish) Recap

The three paragraph version: Violet is forced by her mother, a high-ranking general in the kingdom of Navarre, to enroll in the dangerous and brutal training to become an elite dragon rider at Basgiath War College. There, she meets Xaden whose father was executed by Violet's mother for leading a rebellion five years ago. Violet manages to survive training and bond with not one but two dragons -- Tairn, a large black dragon, and Andarna, a small golden adolescent dragon -- something that has never happened before. Tairn is mated with Xaden's dragon Sgaeyl, which creates a bond between Xaden and Violet. As Xaden helps to train and protect Violet, they develop feelings for each other.

Eventually, Violet discovers her "signet power" (a power manifested from the bond between the dragon and rider) of wielding lightning. Just before graduation, Violet goes with Xaden and a small group he trusts to complete a mission at an outpost outside the kingdom's boundaries. Xaden reveals he and his friend have been delivering weapons to help protect Poromiel, their enemies. Navarre has been under attack by gryphon fliers from nearby Poromiel because Poromiel needs resources from Navarre to fight off "venin" -- people who have been corrupted by channeling dark magic. Venin absorb the life force and magic from things around them and they are able to and conjure wyvern to fight off dragons. Navarrian authorities have led people to believe Poromiel is simply greedy and war hungry, and they deny the existence of venin.

Xaden figures out that Violet's childhood friend, Dain Aetos, has secretly been using his power of seeing someone's recent memories, on Violet without her consent in order to glean information about Xaden's activities. Violet agrees to join Xaden's fight as they engage in a deadly battle when venin attack nearby. Violet's lightning bolts are able to help kill the wyvern and the venin. When Violet recovers, she learns that her brother Brennan (who she believed to have been killed during the rebellion) is alive and part of the revolutionaries.

Chapters 1 - 3. Violet Sorrengail is a new conscript at Basgiath War College who is being forced by her mother to join the Riders Quadrant where she'll train to become an elite dragon rider, assuming she survives the competitive and brutal process. Growing up, Violet's training was to be a scribe like her father, but her mother, General Sorrengail, is a high-ranking officer in the Kingdom of Navarre and insists otherwise.

Violet's older sister Mira is an active dragon rider and warns her to stay away from Xaden Riorson, whose father Fen Fiorson was executed by their mother five years ago for leading a rebellion, since he likely wants her dead. The children of all the rebellion leaders were marked with a "rebellion relic" (a magical tattoo denoting their status) and were forced to conscribe in the college. Violet and Mira's older brother Brennan, a healer, died fighting against rebellion forces.

Enrollment at the college begins by crossing a narrow and dangerous parapet into the Riders Quadrant where many first-years die before they even arrive, since the training and challenges of becoming a dragon rider are designed to root out the weak. Violet manages to survive and makes a friend, Rhiannon. Once on the other side, she finds Dain Aetos, a childhood friend whose father is her mother's trusted advisor. Dain is a second-year cadet and a squad leader.

Violet and Rhiannon join Dain's squad. The Riders Quadrant is divided into four wings, which has three sections each and three squads within each section. Xaden, a 3rd year, is the wingleader of the Fourth Wing. After he meets Violet, he instructs that Dain's squad be moved into a section within his wing.

Chapters 4 - 12. Violet and her fellow cadets take classes in battle strategy and undergo a number of challenges as part of their training. In the battle strategy classes, they discuss recent attacks on their borders to keep everyone up to date in case they need to be shipped out early. However, Violet knows from doing library duty that there are also attacks that they are not being told about. The nearby kindgom of Poromiel has ramped up their invasion attempts and are sending out gryphon fliers to raid their supplies.

In training, Violet has never had combat training, so instead Violet uses her knowledge of foraging and herbs to poison her opponents to get through sparring matches. Next, they have to master The Gauntlet, a dangerous climbing challenge, consisting of five ascents. Violet uses her ingenuity to get through the last two ascents to survive the Gauntlet.

Meanwhile, Violet is relieved when Xaden does not attempt to kill her outright. One night, she learns that he's been leading meetings with other "marked" children, which is technically treason since it's impermissible for three or more people with rebellion relics to assemble. However, Violet sees that he's merely giving the younger ones advice and guidance on getting through the trainings and challenges, and she agrees to keep that knowledge secret.

The training and challenges all leads up to the Threshing, the day when the cadets will be taken to a field to approach and hopefully be selected by a dragon. The bond between a dragon and its rider is what makes someone a dragon rider. It imbues the rider with minor magic powers and more significantly a signet power, which is a powerful and unique magical ability. The stronger the bond and the dragon, the stronger their signet powers will be. Dain's signet power is the ability to see someone's recent memories. Xaden is able to control shadows.

Chapters 13 - 20. During their threshing, there are roughly 100 dragons available to bond and around 160 cadets, which means a bond is far from a guarantee. One of the dragons is a smaller weaker golden dragon. Three of the cadets decide they should kill the golden dragon because it's not fit for combat and is a liability. Violet ends up fighting off the other three in order to defend the golden dragon. When she does, a large black dragon -- one of only two black dragons and one of the strongest dragons on the continent -- descends and chooses her as its rider. The dragon, Tairn, tells her he has chosen her for her intelligence, courage and character. Then, the small golden dragon, Andarna, chooses her as well.

There has never been an instance of two dragons bonding with one rider, but the Empyrean (the dragon leadership) meets and decides that it is permissible, so the humans have no choice but to accept their decision. Violet soon learns that Tairn's mate is Sgaeyl, a vicious blue dragon who is bonded with Xaden. Once bonded, a rider will die if their dragon dies, though the same is not necessarily true for the dragon. However, Tairn nearly died when its previous rider died, which in turn nearly killed his mate Sgaeyl. In other words, Xaden now needs Violet to survive since her death could weaken or kill both Tairn and Sgaeyl which could also kill him in the process.

After the Threshing, Dain who Violet once had feelings for, finally kisses her, but Violet feels nothing. Dain has been trying to protect her, but has never believed in her or encouraged her. Instead, Xaden begins to take an intense interest in protecting and training Violet, and he believes in her in a way that Dain does not. One night, a group of unbonded cadets attempt to attack Violet in the hopes of getting a chance to win the respect of her dragon and bond with it instead. Violet is able to survive with the help of Andarna (who turns out to be a adolescent dragon with the power of freezing time, though it's a gift that will likely go away as she matures), and Xaden believes Violet when she tells him who was involved, while Dain doubts her.

Chapters 21 - 32. Xaden soon assigns his foster brother, Liam, who is the strongest and fastest of the first-year cadets, to watch over Violet. Liam tells her how they were taken from their homes after the rebellion and raised by loyalists instead, and Xaden trained him as kids. Xaden and Violet's desire for each other begin to grow, and one day they kiss.

Violet's squad soon participates in a squad battle, from which they emerge victorious. The prize is a trip to an outpost to learn from experienced dragon riders, and it happens to be where Mira is stationed. Xaden also joins them because Tairn and Sgaeyl cannot be separated for long due to being a mated pair.

Soon, the squads must participate in a series of battles as part of the War Games leading up to graduation. In the first battle, they're assigned to capture an egg that the First Wing is defending and to defend their own Fourth Wing flag. There is a near-death encounter for Liam, which Violet manages to prevent by using Andarna's time-freezing gift. Violet then kills Liam's attacker, Jack Barlowe, when she discovers and subsequently unleashes her own signet power as a lightning wielder. Xaden and Violet soon sleep together, but he isn't able to acknowledge his feelings for her, and Violet tells him she can't be with him until he's able to do so. Xaden eventually relents, saying that he's tired of fighting his feelings.

Chapters 33 - 38. The last War Game involves a mission that each squad must complete that takes place at outposts across the kindgom. Xaden is assigned to the Fourth Wing headquarters at Athebyne an outpost that sits outside Navarre's protective wards. He brings with him a cadre of people he trusts, and he instructs Violet and Liam to join him. When they arrive, it is completely abandoned, and Xaden realizes they've been sent there to die. He figures out that Dain has been secretly using his signet power -- to see recent memories -- on Violet, which is how he learned that Xaden has been visiting this outpost.

They're joined by gryphon fliers, and Xaden admits to Violet that he and his friends have been giving them weapons. He tells her that despite what Navarrian authorities are saying, Poromiel is not simply attacking them out of greed. They need the materials that Navarre uses to power their wards in order to fight off venin. Violet has only heard of venin as being referred to in folktales and myths -- they are men whose souls have been corrupted by channeling dark magic from the earth to perform magic and conjure wyverns. In doing so, they destroy the life force and any magic from surrounding areas. Xaden tells her that venin are real and that they've been attacking Poromiel.

Nearby, there is a trading post under attack by venin, and Xaden and the others wants to stay and defend it. Violet decides to join them as well. Xaden gives her two black blades which are capable of fighting off venin. The ensuing fight is vicious, and Liam's dragon is killed, which kills him, too. During the fight, Violet realizes she's able to use her lightning strikes to kill wyvern as well as venin. Once a venin dies, any wyvern conjured by it die as well. Violet is poisoned, but survives the fight. She's taken somewhere nearby to be mended.

Chapter 39. The book ends with Violet being greeted by Brennan, who is apparently alive and well. He welcomes her to the revolutionary cause.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Chapter 1

Violet Sorrengail is at the Basgiath War College of Navarre on Conscription Day. Today, she and thousands of other 20-year-olds will sign up for their chosen quadrant. Violet, along with hundred of others, plans on be joining the elite Riders Quadrant.

As she approaches General Sorrengail’s office, Violet overhears her sister Mira tell her mother, the general, that she’s sending Violet to die by having her joining the dangerous Rider’s Quadrant. Violet was trained to be a scribe, like her father who died a little over a year ago. Her mother suffered from a sickness when she was pregnant with Violet, which her mother believes weakened her. However, her mother insists that Violet become a dragon rider, warriors who are at the top of the social and military hierarchy.

Mira insists that Violet is too weak, but their mother insists that Violet is strong but capable. Mira reminds their mother of their brother Brennan’s death five years ago during the Tyrrish rebellion. Violet recalls how her father’s heart pains began after Brennan’s death. General Sorrengail tells Mira to leave, and she reminds Violet that she scored well in speed in agility. She also reminds Violet that she won’t be acknowledging her during the next three years since she’ll be her commanding officer.

Mira and Violet head to her room, and Mira insists on repacking her stuff to lighten her rucksack to ensure her survival. Mira then helps her get dressed and braids her hair so it won’t be a liability in battle. She also gives her a corset with dragon scales sewn in to protect her.

Mira then walks her to her gate and tells her to go find Dain Aetos, a second-year, whose squad she can join. She also says to stay away from Xaden Riorson, a third-year whose father, Fen Riorson, is known as the “Great Betrayer” and who likely will want her dead. All the children of the traitors were forced to conscribe, but Xaden has risen within the ranks to become a wingleader.

Violet eyes the entrances to the other quadrants — The Infantry Quadrant, The Healer Quadrant, and The Scribe Quadrant. To get to the Rider’s Quadrant requires crossing a dangerous stone bridge parapet. Mira steps up to sign her name on the roll and begin her crossing. As they walk up the stairs, Violet meets two other candidates, Rhiannon Matthias and Dylan. When Violet sees that Rhiannon’s shoes don’t have enough traction, she offers to swap one of her rider shoes with Rhiannon just before they cross.

As she starts to cross the parapet she spots a distractingly handsome and tall man, but then someone refers to him as Xaden Riorson. When someone speaks to Violet, he realizes who she is as well. He accuses her mother of overseeing the execution of his father, and she accuses his father of killing her brother. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of Dylan screaming as he falls to his death from the parapet.

Chapter 2

On the parapet, a guy named Jack Barlowe taunts Violet. The others have an incentive to kill each other if “there’s a shortage of dragons that year or a cadet is a liability to their wing”.

As Violet crosses the parapet, she forces herself to calm down and focus as she runs through facts in her head to push all other thoughts out of her mind. Out in front, she sees Rhiannon has crossed safely. As Violet gets to safety, Jack threatens her, but Violet manages to get the upper hand. He tells her “You’re dead, Sorrengail, and I’m going to be the one to kill you.”

Chapter 3

On the other side, Rhiannon greets her warmly and thanks Violet for the boots. Violet feels ill after getting across the parapet. Dain Aetos finds her and tries to comfort her. Dain’s father is one of her mother’s most trusted advisors, and Dain is a close childhood friend. He’s also the leader of the Second Squad, Flame Section, Second Wing. Dain says both of them can join his squad.

Dain asks Violet why she’s even here and not in the Scribe Quadrant, and Violet explains that her mother insisted on it. Dain then takes her to his room to help her wrap her leg that was injured during her crossing. As they talk, he encourages her to go back down and join the scribe quadrant, worried that even if she survives until the “Threshing” that a dragon won’t bond to her and that she’ll be killed. Dragons only bond to riders that they sense are strong.

He reminds her that here, you either graduate or die, but Violet says if she tried to leave, her mother would just force her right back. Dain says that she’s not really a volunteer if her mother is forcing her, referencing how the Riders Quadrant is the only quadrant that doesn’t accept conscripts. Because of how dangerous it is, everyone must be a volunteer.

Afterwards, Violet finds Rhiannon again, who has befriended someone names Tara. Soon, Commandant Panchek addresses the group, congratulating them for being one of the 301 cadets to cross the parapet alive. 67 died in the process. He says that they’ll continue to be challenged until and during the Threshing and until graduation, and Violet thinks about how it’s likely only a quarter of them will survive.

After that, they get into their squads. There are about 15-16 people in each squad, three squads in each section and three sections in each of the four wings. As they line up, Xaden says something to one of the other wingleaders, and Dain instructed to switch his squad into the Fourth Wing, for which Xaden is wingleader.

A riot of dragons show up and the cadets are impressed and scared of their presence. By bonding with humans, the dragons give humans signet ability which allow them weave protective spells to protect the Vale where the dragons live from things like gryphons. Once a human is bonded to a dragon, they cannot live without it. A dragon will live fine without a human, but they stil have to choose carefully since it’s shameful to choose a human who is too weak to survive.

Chapter 4

In the morning Captain Fitzgibbons reads out the death roll, which is the only type of memorial the dead get around here. As a first-year, Violet has gotten her academic schedule and then they’ll all be in the sparring gym later today. In two months, they’ll be expected to master The Gauntlet, a terrifying vertical obstacle course. Violet notes some of the other cadets in their squad. There’s Ridoc, a smart-ass, and a Sawyer, a repeat which means that he went through his first year but didn’t bond with a dragon so now he’s repeating his first year to try again.

Violet heads into the impressive rotunda, and Dain finds her to check on her. Dain’s dragon is Cath, a Red Swordtail. As part of the bonding process, Dain can now do lesser magic like opening dooring or speeding up, but his signet ability is that he can read a person’s recent memories. Violet thinks about how his is a very valuable ability.

She asks Dain why their squad got switched, and Dain says everyone assumes it’s because Xaden wants her dead. He also warns her of Xaden’s navy blue dragon, Sgaeyl. It’s a Blue Daggertail and it’s vicious. He reassures her that all the wingleaders stick to the Codex, their code of conduct, very closely and they’ll make sure that the Codex will keep her safe. When Xaden approaches them, Dain recommends that Violet leave.

Chapter 5

That morning Violet has history class, and later in the morning, Violet attends class with Professor Devera and Professor Markham, a scribe, where they have a battle briefs and talk about the politics and strategy of the situation they’re involved in. It’s the only class they have every day, since it’s important in case they get called into service early.

Today, they start by discussing a recent gryphon attack. She notes that it was made possible because the wards that protect their borders faltered in that area for some reason. There is a constant threat of gryphon raiding parties without them, since they are always wanting to get access to the resources in Navarre. Violet wonders why they attacked that mountain range and what caused the wards to falter, but she knows better than to ask.

Violet asks about the altitude of the attack and notes that it’s a strange place for the Gryphons to attack given that their weak at that altitude. She also notes that the squad that fended them off must’ve known about the attack since they got their more quickly than otherwise would have been possible. Professor Devera confirms that one of the dragons sensed the failing ward. Xaden then speaks up, asking more about the attack and noting that they must’ve been looking for something there.

At the sparring gym, Rhiannon says she’s impressed with Violet’s knowledge in their classes that day, but Violet shrugs it off, saying that it’s because she was originally training to be a scribe. Violet notes that her hand-to-hand combat training on the other hand is basically non-existent. Rhiannon offers to help train her in combat if she helps her with their classwork.

Before her, two of her squadmates fight, and Aurelie loses a tooth and is sent to the healers. Meanwhile, Jack Barlowe fights a first year and breaks his neck, killing him. Rhiannon is selected to fight another first year, Tynan, and bests him easily. Then, Violet is called up to fight a pink-haired second year, Imogen, who accuses Violet’s mother of murdering her family. Imogen uses her powers and attempts to stab Violet with a dagger, but Violet is protected by Mira’s armor. When Violet is bested, the moderator Emetterio tells them to stop, but Imogen breaks her arm anyway.

Chapter 6

Dain takes Violet to the Healer’s Quadrant. Healing is one of the rarest signet powers, and Brennan had been a mender. Here, Winifred helps Violet and calls for another mender, Nolon, to help. Dain insists again that Violet return to the scribe quadrant for her own protection, but Violet refuses.

When Violet returns to the barracks, her arm is in a sling. When she gets to her bed, Mira has left a note for her, along with a book that Brennan put together and had once given to Mira. As the reads it, Violet sees that it’s a guide to her survival. In the first entry, he talks about the hand-to-hand combat pairings are predetermined. He then tells her how to figure out who her sparring partner will be so she can prepare accordingly.

Chapter 7

Violet is out foraging outside when she spots Imogen and Xaden together. Then, more riders arrive and they all have rebellion cloaks. According to the codex, any three “marked ones” (people associated with the rebellion) who assemble together “is considered an act of seditious conspiracy and is hereby a capital offense”. Violet hears Xaden say that there’s 41 of them in all in the rider’s quadrant.

As Violet listens to them, she realizes that the group doesn’t really appear to be conspiring to do anything. Instead, the older riders are giving the new riders advice on how to survive their first year. Then, someone asks when they’ll be able to kill Violet Sorrengail. Xaden responds that when the time is right, he take care of her. Someone named Garrick defends Violet, saying that she shouldn’t be punished for her mom’s actions. Xaden also speaks up saying that Violet’s brother was killed, so Violet has reasons to dislike them as well.

The group disbands and then someone sneaks up on Violet — it’s Xaden. He says that his signet is a shadow-wielder so he could sense someone was there. Shadow-wielding is very rare and also very valuable in combat. Violet tells Xaden she has no intention of reporting their group to anyone, and Xaden tells her to go back to the barracks since she’s out after curfew.

Chapter 8

The next morning, Dain reminds her that the challenges start that afternoon. Violet has volunteered for breakfast duty that day, and she has followed Brendan’s advice to figure out that she’ll be sparring with Oren Seifert today. Dain tells her to steer clear of Jack Barlowe, though Violet thinks of Xaden’s advice last night to toss a few daggers near Jack’s head to scare him off. Violet then heads to breakfast and sprinkles some dried powered fonilee berries that she foraged last night onto Oren’s food.

Today, Professor Kaori talks about the Threshing and how to approach the dragons. He explains that there will be around a hundred dragons available to bond this year. The professor notes that the number of dragons looking to bond has been dropping each year in recent years, though the reasons why are unknown. He also admits that there’s been more breaches of their boundaries lately.

The rarest dragon breed is the massive black dragon. General Melgren is bonded to one, Codagh. There is only one other one black dragon, but it hasn’t wanted to bond with anyone since its previous rider, Naolin. In general, the strength of the bond and the dragon determines how powerful the signet power will be. Naolin’s signet was siphoning powers from others. Naolin died trying to resurrect a fallen rider, which was Brennan — but there’s no power of resurrection which is why he burned out and died.

The professor talks to Violet afterwards and reminds her that both her siblings were and are great riders, but she’s smarter than them both. And dragons choose people for reasons unknown, and not all strength is physical.

That afternoon, at the sparring ring, when Jack Barlowe threatens her, Violet does what Xaden recommended and flicks a few daggers near his to scare him off. Violet is then called up along with Oren. As planned, Violet is able to get the best of him when he gets nauseous, and Violet takes a dagger off of him (which are won off of other people).

The next week, Violet uses hallucinogenic mushrooms to help her win her next fight, and the week after that some poisonous roots help her to win that combat. By September, Violet has taken down five opponents in all. Her next opponent is Rayma Corrie, but Violet realizes she gave her the poison too early when Rayma is sent to the healer’s and can’t spar.

Instead, Xaden offers himself up as a replacement.

Chapter 9

On the mat with Xaden, Violet knows she’s completely screwed. Dain keeps yelling for them Xaden to stop. As they spar, Xaden lets her know that he’s aware of what she’s been doing by poisoning her opponents. He also gives her advice on her sparring tactics. Finally, Xaden simply stops. He tells Dain that Violet could use “a little less protection and a little more instruction”.

Afterwards, Dain tells Violet that he talked to Professor Markham and that she could still join the first years in the scribe quadrant. Violet gets upset, saying that she’s tired of Dain not believing that she can cut it. Dain says that the Threshing is in four weeks and he’s not going to be allowed to help her even if the other students are hunting her and determined to kill her. He pleads with her to think about joining she scribes.

Chapter 10

Today, they are outside to practice the Gauntlet where they’ll be scored on their performance individually and as a team. Professor Emetterio tells them to get started. He calls out their squad members — Sawyer, Pryor, Trina, Tynan, Rhiannon, Ridoc, Violet, Aurelie, and Luca — and notes that they’re the only squad to not have lost anyone yet since the day at the parapet.

The Gauntlet takes place on a cliff and is a climbing challenge with various obstacles in the way. There are five ascents designed to mimic the skills they need in battle — strength, balance, stamina, etc. The cadets one by one mount the obstacle course and things are going smoothly until a dragon flies overhead. Aurelie is distracted and loses her grip and falls.

The next day, Aurelie’s name is read on the death rolls. As the last person who saw her, Violet volunteers to take Aurelie’s stuff to the burn pits. As she returns, she sees Xaden, Garrick, and Bodhi and wonders what they were doing out that night. Xaden tells them to continue on without him, and he approaches Violet instead. As they talk, Violet admits that she isn’t able to make it up the Gauntlet yet. Whereas in practice they are allowed to climb down if they can’t make it, on the day of the Presentation, that’s not an option. Xaden tells her she should stop sulking because has everything she needs to be able to scale the Gauntlet.

Chapter 11

By the ninth (the second-to-last) practice session for the Gauntlet, Violet still hasn’t been able to scale it. Soon, it’s Presentation day, and Violet knows it will be a very deadly day for the first-years, but she has a plan though it’s not a great one. She ends up using a rope that’s meant for climbing down to help her scale the formation that has been troubling her. And for the final ramp that she’s too short for, she uses her dagger as leverage to help her over.

When she gets over, Rhiannon congratulates her happily, but Amber Mavis, the wingleader of the Third Wing who Dain was “close” with last year, accuses Violet of cheating. She marches up to talk to Xaden, but she’s intercepted by the section-leader Garrick who says he doesn’t appreciate her accusations.

Violet steps in to defend herself. She says that using the rope is just a 30-second penalty. As for the dagger, she says she’s allowed to bring any items that she carries into the quadrant and once they’re carried over the parapet, they’re considered part of that person.

By the end of the Presentation, the rest of their squad has made it through the Gauntlet safely as well.

Chapter 12

There are 169 cadets left by the time the morning is over, and their squad places 11th out of 36 squads for their combined performance on the gauntlet. Liam Mairi wins the gauntlet patch for being the fastest.

Next up, the dragons get to inspect the cadets as they walk past. There’s no approaching any dragons today, instead the dragons are checking them out prior to the actual Threshing. The dragons might also choose today to incinerate anyone they deem weak. As the cadets walk up, they note that another dragon, a feathertail, has been added to the list of dragons that will potentially bond with a rider.

They trudge up in a line, and at the end of the line is the golden featherfail. It’s smaller than the rest and bright gold. As they chat, Tynan is being obnoxious while Pryor is indecisive as usual. A red dragon steps forward and incinerates Pryor. They keep walking. Then, two green dragons approach Violet. She speaks to them as they try to sniff her. She realizes they must smell Mira’s dragon scales on her. As instructed, Violet lowers her gaze in supplication as she speaks and eventually, they retreat.

Luca talks about how she thought they were going to eat Violet since she’s the weakest link — just as a dragon incinerates her, too. Their squad returns with six cadets.

Chapter 13

October 1st is the Threshing. Violet says she doesn’t know what dragon she’ll try to approach. Rhiannon seems partial to one of the green dragons that sniffed Violet.

After a few hours, Violet has seen many dragons around but still hasn’t felt a particular connection to any one of them. Violet overhears a conversation where Jack, Oren and Tynan talk about killing the small golden dragon, saying it’s a liability and that it’s going to get someone killed. They say that feathertails are known to be useless in combat.

With that, Violet is determined to go warn the golden dragon. As she goes looking for it, she hurts her ankle, but she keeps going, determined to warn the dragon. She finds it and tries to shoo it off, just as the thee guys approach the dragon as well. She tells the golden dragon to scorch them, but it doesn’t seem to be able to. Jack has a sword. Before they can do anything, Violet steps in front of them and raises her daggers. Jack raises his sword.

Then, they’re interrupted by Xaden who arrives riding Sgaeyl and looking displeased.

Chapter 14

Violet is relieved to see Xaden, but she also knows that he’s not permitted to interfere during the Threshing. Violet notices that the golden dragon doesn’t even seem to have claws, it just has paws. Jack then runs at the feathertail, and Violet uses her dagger to attack his shoulder, which leaves him on the ground in pain. The other two attack, and Violet attacks back. Sgaeyl looks unhappy as well but still does nothing. Soon, Violet’s arm and leg are both injured.

Suddenly, Tynan backs off as the black dragon comes and wraps the golden dragon under its arm. It speaks and order Violet to step aside, referring to her as the “silver one” because of her hair color. It incinerates Tynan. It also suggests that Violet kill Oren, but Violet says she doesn’t want to kill someone who is unconscious. Meanwhile, Violet sees Xaden and his dragon take off.

The black dragon then tells her to get on, and Violet realizes that the dragon has chosen her. Violet doesn’t want to leave the golden dragon, but it flies off, and the black dragon tells her its name, Tairneanach, though it says “Tairn” is will do fine.

Chapter 15

Tairn takes flight, and Violet immediately falls off. Tairn catches her and chides her, telling her to stop making them look bad. As they fly, Tairn tells her that Violet was chosen because she is the smartest of her year and she chose to protect the golden feathertail. Tairn says Violet possesses the strength of courage.

When they land, the golden dragon comes back and is still tucked away under the black dragon’s arm. Typically dragons don’t talk to riders who aren’t theirs, but when Violet asks it why it didn’t fly off when she was trying to save it, the golden dragon responds that maybe it was there to save her.

At dusk, Violet approaches the roll call table where they record the bonded pairs. The General and her mother are seated there along with Professor Kaori and others. The table of people are appropriately impressed, saying that Tarin is a legend. Then, the golden dragon speaks up as well and instructs Violet to give them its name, Andarnaurram. Violet does and “all hell breaks loose”.

Chapter 16

There is pandemonium after Violet announces that two dragons have chosen her. The generals are screaming at one another. Violet meanwhile is waiting for a healer after the injuries she sustained from trying to protect the golden dragon. At the healer’s tent, Jack is injured from the encounter as well, though he did bond with Baide, an orange dragon. He tries to approach Violet but Professor Kaori warns him that Tairn is likely to scorch him to death if he does.

Kaori tells Violet that no one has ever bonded to two dragons before, but there’s no point in the generals arguing about it. Ultimately, it’s up to the dragons and not to them. When Violet returns to her dragons, Tairn tells her that the Empyrean — dragon leadership — will decide whether or not this is permissible. Tairn and Andarna join the other dragons to discuss, and Tairn advises Violet to stay close to Xaden for protection until they can return.

When Violet reunites with her squad, Rhiannon reports that she bonded with Feirge, a green daggertail. Meanwhile, Ridoc congratulates Violet and says that he’s riding Aotrom, a brown swordtail. Sawyer is delight to be bonded to Sliseag, a Red Swordtail. Trina sadly fell to her death, and Violet tells them Tynan is dead.

When Dain finds her, he tells Violet that she’ll have to choose a dragon and that she should choose the little feathertail. That way, she won’t be fit to ride in battle, and then they can make her a permanent instructor here instead, like Kaori. Violet argues that Kaori is an instructor because his signet powers make him a great teacher, not because he can’t fly.

Dain tell her that Sgaeyl and Tairn are a mated pair, so where ever Xaden goes, Violet will have to go as well since mated dragons can’t be separated for long. That means if Xaden goes into dangerous and unpredictable situations, then Violet will have to as well and it’ll get her killed.

Xaden interrupts them and Dain and Xaden get into an argument about what happened that day. Xaden then flat out asks Dain if he would have interfered to prevent Violet from getting killed, and Dain admits that he would not have because of the rules. Afterwards, Violet asks Xaden why he forced Dain to admit that, and Xaden says it’s because she has too much faith in Dain and she needs to know who she can really trust.

Xaden then tells her that a dragon’s bond to their rider gets stronger with each one. When Tairn’s previous rider died, it nearly killed him which then nearly killed Xaden’s dragon. Xaden’s dragon dying would kill Xaden too. So, for better or for worse, Xaden’s survival now requires Violet’s survival as well if the pairing is allowed to stand. Xaden warns that the unbonded riders are likely to try to kill Violet in hopes of her dragon bonding to them instead since Tairn is one of the strongest dragons on the continent and they all want its power.

The Empyrean meeting concludes and Codagh relays to General Melgren the verdict that the dragons have chosen and their choice stands. Violet is then marked as their rider, as represented by the “glistening black relic of a dragon mid-flight stretching from shoulder to shoulder and, in the center, the silhouette of a shimmering golden one” tattooed across her back.

Dain rushes up to Violet to congratulate her and kiss her, something she’s wanted for so long only to realize she doesn’t want it anymore.

Chapter 17

The next morning, Violet teases Rhiannon for hooking up with Sawyer. Rhiannon teases Violet back for kissing Dain, but Violet admits that she’s not actually feelin’ it with him.

The next morning, everyone is extremely friendly and accommodating towards Violet. There’s been a power shift, she’s told, and anyone with good sense is going to be scared of her. The unbonded, like Oren, have no been handed the less desirable duties to do, and Violet sees him on breakfast duty that morning.

Violet and her friends are joined by older riders in their squad, Quinn and Imogen, that previously showed very little interest in them. One of them Quinn explains matter-of-factly that there’s no point in getting to know the first-years when most of them are going to die. They’re also joined by third-years, Heaton and Emery. As they chat, Emery shows them his signet, which is water manipulation.

Imogen tells Violet that she’s going to help her train at the sparring gym today. Violet realizes they all know that Xaden’s fate is tethered to Violet’s so they need her to train and get stronger and survive.

At flight lessons that day, they’re told that 92 dragons in total bonded yesterday. Kaori reminds them that the bonds are at their weakest right now, so if they fall, the dragons might just let them and that there’s 41 unbonded riders to take their place. Right away, someone falls off their dragon and dies.

As Violet rides Tairn, he instructs her on what to do. Violet and Tairn keep trying to have her hold on, and she falls many times. By the end of the session, Violet is sore and bruised from being caught after falling.

She heads to the sparring gym, she runs into Dain who tells her that the kiss was a mistake since he’s above her in the chain of command and he’s determined to become wingleader someday. Violet is relieved and tells him that she understands. Imogen soon drags Violet away to help train her. Violet wonders about whether Imogen and Xaden are lovers given how dedicated she is to his survival.

Chapter 18

Today, Violet is assigned to the archives for her cadet chores. She sees Jesinia Neilwart there, who she previously studied with and who has recently passed her scribes test. Violet is happy to be back in the archives, but she also realizes that the Rider’s Quadrant was the right one for her.

She asks Jesinia if they have a book called The Fables of the Barren, a book of wvyern folktales, which her father had given her but she wasn’t able to bring because she needed to lighten her pack. Jesinia isn’t able to locate it, and Violet thinks about how she’s never seen that book around anywhere, and the Archives are supposed to have a copy of every book unless it’s forbidden.

Later, back with her squad, Sawyer’s signet power has appeared, and he’s now a metallurgist and working with the metals professor, Professor Carr. The older cadets talk about how the powers manifest when the dragon trusts them enough for it to do so. However, if it doesn’t happen after six months or so, then the power will consume them instead, though that hasn’t happened to anyone in a very long time.

At flight class, Tairn continues to practice advanced maneuvers despite them not being there yet in class, and Violet continues to struggle. Tairn says it’s to train her for battle. Dain soon comes up to Violet and gives her a hard time about falling off her dragon all the time, and he drones on about how he’s terrified she’s not going to make it to graduation. Violet finally tells him they’ll never be more than friends because he has no faith in her.

Suddenly, there’s a scream when one cadet, Jeremiah, starts to manifest his powers and he can hear others’ thoughts. He’s an inntinnsic, and “his powers are a death sentence”. Xaden tells Violet that she should find a way to clear her head unless she’s fine with Jeremiah knowing all her secrets. Jeremiah is about to reveal Garrick’s thoughts when Xaden uses his shows powers to silence him. Then, Professor Carr comes out and snaps Jeremiah’s neck.

Violet is dreaming of her father when Tairn commands her to wake up for her own safety. There are seven unbonded in her room. There’s a tussle and Violet tries to get away, but Oren gets her and is about to stab her throat when suddenly Andarna screams and no one is able to move other than Violet.

Chapter 19

With everyone else frozen, Andarna tells her to hurry, since she can only hold it momentarily. Violet breaks free, and Xaden shows up in the doorway. Xaden’s shadow grabs all the cadets in the room. He strangles them all other than Oren, who he slashes in the throat. Garrick and Bodhi soon show up as well.

Xaden checks on Violet and, she admit to him about her dragon scale armor that Mira gave her that she also sleeps in, which saved her life. He then tells her to come with him and takes her to a hidden door along the hallway revealing a tunnel. Xaden says they’re going to talk to Tairn. Violet asks him why he was out and about and fully dressed at this time of day, but Xaden declines to tell her.

Soon, they’re in front of Tairn, Andarna and Sgaeyl. Tairn talks directly to Xaden, who he called on to come protect Violet. Xaden demands to know what happened in that room, because from his perspective, Violet was under Oren’s knife one second and then across the room the next.

Finally, Andarna explains that feathertails generally don’t bond because they can gift their powers to humans and their powers can be unstable and unpredictable. Instead, dragons wait until they’re fully grown. However, since Andarna is still a feathertail, she was able to give her gift of freezing time to Violet. She’s two now and will be fully grown in a year. Andarna is an orphan so the rest of the dragons take care of her.

It’s important not to tell others that Andarna is still a feathertail because if they know, they would be tempted to hunt her and take her power for themselves instead of having to rely on signets. As for Violet, it’s dangerous for feathertails to bond because it’s too easy for riders to use their gifts and burn out their powers, killing them. She can see how tired Andarna is from just today. It’s also important not to tell people that Violet can now stop time because that’s not a power anyone else has.

Xaden and Violet both agree not to tell anyone about this power or about Andarna being a feathertail. Also, most feathertail gifts disappear when they mature so Violet likely won’t have this power that long.

After they leave, Xaden wonders how those cadets even got past her locks and into her room. Violet says she says there was someone else in there before who ran away before he arrived, and she must’ve unlocked it from the inside, but Violet is reluctant to tell him who. Xaden demands to know who unlocked the door.

Chapter 20

The next morning at roll call, Xaden arranges for Liam Mairi, one of the fastest and strongest first years, is put into Dain’s squad. Violet knows that he did it essentially so that Violet would have a bodyguard.

Next, Commandant Panchek informs them that a breach of the Codex has occurred. Xaden climbs the dais and informs everyone of the illegal attack last night and explains that it was interrupted by himself, Garrick and Bodhi. The perpetrators, he explains, were executed. He also says that one person got away, and then he accuses Wingleader Amber Mavis of being part of the illegal attack.

Amber steps forward and denies what happened. Dain asks to see Violet’s memories, but she doesn’t want him to see her freezing time so she refuses. Xaden then calls for the other wingleaders to discuss the situation. Their dragons soon all show up as well, along with Amber’s orange dragon.

Dain insists Violet is mistaken, and Violet thinks about how Xaden believed her and is up there fighting for her based on her word. Violet then asks Tairn to share her memory of seeing Amber with the other dragons, and he does. The wingleaders then condemn Amber to die by fire. Amber’s dragon, Claidh, wants to protect her but is stopped by Tairn. Tairn incinerates Amber.

Chapter 21

As instructed by Xaden, Liam accompanies Violet everywhere now, including to her library duties. Liam is nice and courteous and likes whittling little figurines. Violet notes how rude everyone is to the “marked ones” including Liam. He’s the son of the disgraced Colonel Mairi. In the library, Jesinia and Liam flirt gently.

Violet asks Liam about his relationship with Xaden, and Liam says that they were both fostered at the same estate — in Tirvainne under the care of Duke Lindell — after the Tyrrish rebellion against King Tauri, referred to by him as the “apostasy” which is the Tyrrish term for the rebellion. The great houses of their families were given to loyal nobles so the children of the rebellion leaders were sent to foster homes. Liam adds that his little sister was sent elsewhere. She’s a year younger so he’ll get to see her next year when she enters Basgiath if she makes it.

When Violet comments that she could choose a different quadrant, Liam tells her that the marked children are only allowed to become riders. Violet knew they were forced to conscribe, but she didn’t know that. Liam says some think it’s because they hoped to kill off the kids without doing it themselves and didn’t think the dragons would bond with them.

There were 107 children with rebellion relics (markings) in all, with Xaden being the oldest of all of them. The youngest, Julianne, is now 6. Liam says Xaden trained him to fight when they were kids and he owes him everything, which is why he is fine being told to be Violet’s babysitter.

Violet’s attention soon turns to a scroll that she finds. It says that the village of Sumerton was recently attacked along the southern border in another high-altitude attack.

Later that morning, Liam and Violet head into their daily battle briefing. They talk about Liam babysitting Violet and he mentions that Xaden warded her bedroom door so only Violet can open it.

Today, Professor Devera talks about the upcoming squad battle where the winning team will get to shadow an active wing on the front lines. Professor Markham then says that things have been relatively quiet lately so they’re doing to discuss a past battle. Violet wonders about Sumerton, knowing that an entire village was just raided and looted. Liam askes if the scroll had been marked confidential, but Violet doesn’t think it was. She tells herself that she must’ve just missed it.

Chapter 22

By December, Violet is still unable to channel and she wonders what else they’re not hearing about in the battle briefings. She’s sparring with Rhiannon when she’s distracted by the sight of Xaden and Garrick sparring, shirtless. Jack Barlowe comes and taunts Violet some more, though she reminds him of how he ran away from her that day at the Threshing. Xaden walks over to intervene, and when he leaves Violet notices that his back is covered in silver-lined scars.

At the end of practice Tairn notes that Violet seems ready to channel.

When she is alone later, a power expands within her. Then she has a sudden feeling of lust and realizes that she’s feeling whatever her dragon is feeling and that he must be mating with his partner. She goes outside to get some fresh air and to be alone, and she finds Xaden there doing the same thing, and she has an obsessive desire for him in that moment.

Tairn tells her she needs to learn shielding to block Tairn out sometimes. However, Violet says she hasn’t taken those classes yet. He gives her a crash course on trying to ground herself and mentally block her dragon out.

Xanden and Violet end up kissing, and she feels out of control, but Xaden stops things, saying that her feelings of desire are actually Tairn’s feelings and not her own.

Chapter 23

Violet tells Rhiannon about the kiss, and Rhiannon shows Violet her newly discovered signet power. She can summon objects. She says she can only do it from a few feet away and can’t go through walls, but Violet says she’ll get stronger. Violet also notes that this is a very rare ability that could make Rhiannon’s career.

At battle briefing, Violet looks over at Xaden who is with the other wingleaders including the newly appointed Third Wing Leader, Lamani Zohar, who replaced Amber. Violet’s thoughts are interrupted by Dain who wants to talk about what happened between them and with the incident with Amber.

Dain asks Violet if she trusts Xaden more than she trusts him, and Violet tells him that he needs to stop protecting her and start believing in her. She also says that she has no choice but to trust Xaden. Dain reminds her that because of his signet abilities, he has special security clearances and he knows that Xaden has his secrets and reasons to never forgive Violet’s mother. He just wants to make sure Xaden isn’t using her to get his revenge.

Back in class, Professor Carr addresses Violet, noting how both her siblings had very powerful signet abilities. Brennan was a mender while Mira is able to conjure wards to protect her squad. Violet miserably notes that she has no signet power yet, but Rhiannon reassures her. She says that even though Xaden is the most powerful rider of his generation so far, Rhiannon believes Violet will be which is why Tairn chose her.

By January, Violet still has no signet power. She continues to train and to try to learn how to shield. Ridoc is now an ice-wielder. Liam has the power of far vision. Technically Violet can stop time, but she can’t really use it for fear of draining Andarna’s energy. Instead, all Violet can do is little party tricks with her magic.

Tomorrow she’s sparring against Jack and she knows he’ll try to kill her. She warns Liam not to get involved. As they spar, Jack breaks a number of rules and they both get injured, but Violet wins by having a vial of orange juice, which Liam is allergic to.

Chapter 24

Bandaged up after her fight, Xaden comes to talk to her. Violet confronts him about their kiss, but Xaden says there’s no point in talking about it. They’re stuck with each other forever so getting involved would be a huge mistake. Xaden tells her he’s taking over her training. Soon, they’re training together on the mat constantly. February goes by, and still Violet has never managed to beat Xaden at the mat, and he never goes easy on her. Still, Violet has no signet powers.

Today, Xaden pulls Violet from wielding training. Even though she needs the practice for the upcoming squad battle, Xaden says that training that will keep her alive is more important since she’s likely going to be on the front lines next year. Xaden will be out fighting and their dragons can’t be separated for long periods of time.

They run into Violet’s mother, Commandant Panchek and Colonel Aetos. Her mom and Colonel Aetos ask if Violet would let them study her feathertail, but Violet says she doesn’t think Andarna would like that. They mention having limited knowledge on feathertails, and Violet’s mother says she though Violet’s father had done some research on them but doesn’t know where that information went. Violet knows where her father kept his notes, but she declines to say anything.

Out in the flight fields, their dragons greet them, and Xaden says they’re going to figure out this flight thing.

Chapter 25

At the squad battle, their squad is now 7th out of 24 as Liam secures another victory on the mat for their team. Despite her efforts, Violet still got the slowest time in the squad for the gauntlet sky race.

The announcement is then made that they’ll be proceeding with the last portion of the squad battle immediately instead of waiting for tomorrow. In the final task, their leaders have all been sequestered and the squads will be expected to carry out a mission without them: to “find and acquire, by any means necessary, the one thing that would be most advantageous to our enemies regarding the war effort.” They’re told that anything within the walls of Basgiath is fair game and they have three hours before they have to present their treasures.

The squad agreed on Imogen as their leader. They discuss what their skills are and what would be useful and they decide that information is probably the most valuable thing. Violet suggests breaking into her mother’s office.

AS they head up, Liam reports there’s only one guard in front of the staircase. Quinn has the power of astral projection so she can distract the guard. Then, Sawyer uses his metallurgy ability to keep the door shut behind them. They get to the office and Nadine has the power to unweave wards, so she gets to work.

Once they’re in the office, they look for something useful. They settle on the map with all their outpost and battlement markers and supply routes. They’re interrupted by the guard so they have to get out quickly. They end up taking out the guard and putting him to sleep with a tonic.

They’re the last squad to make it back. The various squads present their treasure. When Violet happily reports that they stole the map of current Navarrian military information right from her mother’s office, it’s clear their squad has won that portion, bringing them to first place.

Chapter 26

For their prize, there is six hours of flying to get to there, and they end up in Montserrat, where there are 12 riders stationed. Violet is surprised and delighted to find that Mira is there.

Two days later, Violet and Rhiannon have their own plan to go out since Rhiannon’s village is an hour away. As they prepare to sneak out, they run into Mira. Mira stops them at first, but Violet pleads with her to just join them and Mira relents. When they arrive, Rhiannon bonds with her family while Violet and Mira get caught up on her time at Basgiath.

Mira tells Violet that she has her father’s book of wvyern folktales at Montserrat that she can take back with her. They chat some more and soon it’s time to leave. Just before they do, Xaden steps out of the shadows.

Chapter 27

The next day, the group is split up into two. Xaden is there too now apparently since he’s chosen to tag along. Mira and Dain are both suspicious of Xaden. Mira goes through some questions about battle strategy with then, talking through an exercise about what they’d do if an enemy captured a fortress nearby. During the exercise, Xaden reveals to Violet that he’s able to talk to Violet in her mind without actually speaking because they’re linked.

Xaden and Dain get into a pissing contest and Mira pulls all three of them aside afterwards. Mira first gets mad at Dain for sulking about Xaden and Violet being bonded together. Then Mira tells Xaden and Violet they need to figure stuff out with their dragons since Violet needs her training and can’t be flying off to be with Xaden constantly. Mira reminds Violet that she can’t just become his shadow or she’ll never be the rider that Tairn picked her to be.

They’re interrupted by Tairn announcing a drift of gryphons headed their way. Mira has to go and tells them all to leave. Violet wants to stay and help, but Mira insists that they’re untrained and need to leave.

Chapter 28

Back at Basgiath, Xaden acknowledges his desire for Violet as they wait outside Professor Markham’s office to ask about the outcome of the gryphon attack at Montserrat. When the Professor shows up, Violet pleads for an answer, and he says the outpost was damaged but no riders were lost. Later, Violet asks Xaden about his scars, but he declines to answer.

In May, the first battle of the War Games approaches. Violet’s signet still has not manifested. For the battle, their squad has to defend a flag and attempt to capture a crystal egg that First Wing is guarding. The plan is to keep the flag moving among the squad so there’s not one clear target.

Tairn shows up with a saddle strapped on so that Violet can stay seated. Xaden had it made for her. Violet worries it’ll make her look weak to everyone else, but Xaden points out that everyone already knows she’s not able to stay seated. Violet gets on the saddle and the game begins.

Violet spots a group on three dragons and she assumes it’s where they’re keeping the egg. Violet alerts Xaden. She spots Jack and Liam’s dragons going at it, and she sees Jack jump onto the back of Liam’s dragon and attack him with a sword. Liam goes falling, and Violet instructs Tairn to try to catch him.

He just out of reach and Andarna tells her to freeze time other than her and Tairn to get to Liam. In a few moments, time snaps back and she has Liam safely on Tairn’s back. Furious, Violet is determined to kill Jack this time. She lets loose her power in the form of a bolt of lightning, and her signet becomes clear, she’s a lightning wielder.

Chapter 29

When Violet lands, she knows Jack is dead and that she killed him. Fourth Wing is victorious as Garrick clutches the egg and Dain holds on to their flag. Liam is injured but alive. Dain notes it’s been a long time since there’s been a lightning wielder. Violet wishes she had a signet power that was useful outside of battle, but Xaden reminds her that her powers will save lives in the war.

Rhiannon also asks her how she moved so fast in battle. She saw Violet going to catch Jack and it was like she blinked and she missed it, suddenly Violet had caught him.

Later that night, Xaden comes in to check on her. She vents her frustrations out, and they kiss.

Chapter 30

They have sex and in doing so confirm that she is able to use her powers indoors. Afterwards, she asks him about his scars. There are 107 of them, one for every marked child. He took a deal where he took personal responsibility over these kids in exchange for giving them a chance to become riders. The alternative was their certain death. If any of them betray Navarre then he dies.

The next morning, Professor Carr lets Violet know she’s off of archive duty and that they’ll be working together instead. He reminds her that lightning and books don’t mix. They go somewhere farther away where Violet can practice her powers. They practice her lighting strikes but her aim is terrible.

Chapter 31

Later, Xaden drops by, saying that he left yesterday because he had an early leadership meeting. He offers to help clean up the mess they made the day before with all the lightning and whatnot. As they clean they come across Violet’s book of wyvern fables from her father. Today she notices a note in the book from her father saying that he knows she’ll make the right decision when the time comes. She also tells Xaden that the fables in the book are all about the corrupting influence of power, so perhaps he thought someone in their leadership was corrupt.

Violet knows she can’t separate sex from emotion here and asks Xaden how he feels. He continues to insist that he desires her but doesn’t have feelings for her. Even though Violet feels certain it isn’t true, she knows she doesn’t wants to proceed with him unless he’s able to admit to himself where this is going.

Later, Violet is with her squad and they discuss King Tauri’s plan to celebrate Reunification Day at Basgiath. Xaden and Violet continue the conversation in their heads as she tells hin that they can be together if he’s willing to admit his feelings for her.

It’s now ten days before graduation and it’s been a month since they slept together. It’s also reunificatuon day as well as the 6th anniversary of Brennan’s death. They all attend the party along with all the other quadrants. Xaden is nowheere to be found, though Violet suspects where he is.

Chapter 32

Violet finds Xaden sitting partway across the parapet. Reunification Day is also a celebration of his father’s death. Barefoot and in a dress, Violet heads across the parapet to find Xaden. When he sees her, he demands that she turn around. While Xaden’s shadows can save him if he falls, Violet cannot.

Violet tells Xaden she wants to be together and she knows he wants it too. Finally, he says he’s tired of fighting it too. They get off the parapet — carefully — and head to his room. They have sex.

Afterwards, they’re interrupted by the sound of Garrick knocking on the door. He tells them to come out because they’re under attack.

Chapter 33

They hurry into formation in a panic, but Xaden soon mentally tells Violet that it’s just the beginning of the final war games before graduation.

Colonel Aetos announces the scenario and explains the rules. It’s a five-day exercise. Each squad chooses and outpost. Fourth Wing is stationed at Athebyne, and Violet remembers that’s where Xaden, Garrick and Bodhi were the night she saw them out, but Xaden wouldn’t tell her why they were there. She also knows that’s past the wards.

Dain chooses the Eltuval outpost for the squad. They’re given thirty minutes to pack whatever they need for the next few days and return. When Violet gets into formation, she sees her dragons on the field. She notices that Andarna has a harness similar to Tairn’s. Andarna tells her that it hooks onto Tairn’s harness so it can help her to keep up and that Xaden had it made for her.

Before they head out, Xaden instruct Dain that he’ll be taking Liam, Violet and Imogen with him to be part of the Fourth Wing headquarters team. Dain argues with him, and the two men bicker about where she’ll be safer. However, Violet tells Xaden that she trusts him and that she’ll go with him. She tells herself and Dain that she’s made her choice, and they leave.

Chapter 34

On the way to Athebyne, the group rests and recuperates after the long flight. Violet knows the final war games are always deadly for the graduating class, but there’s something she can’t quite put her finger on that’s unsettling her as well. Out here, Xaden and Violet are free to be a couple in public, since Xaden reassures Violet that he trusts every single person here with his life and that they would never say anything to anyone.

When they’re alone Xaden and Violet fool around until they are suddenly ambushed by a pair of gryphon fliers who emerge from the brush. They see Violet’s silver hair and surmise that she’s General Sorrengail’s youngest daughter.

Violet is about to lightning strike these riders when Xaden stops her. He tells them they’re early.

Chapter 35

As Xaden speaks with the fliers, Violet hears them talk about venin attacking villages. Venin are men who have been corrupted by dark magic and who create flocks of winged creatures called wyvern and scour the land for magic and power — but those are merely villains in folktales ad legends. The gryphon fliers tell Xaden that he’s been warned and they fly off.

Violet looks around and realizes she’s surrounded by separatists and feels the shock of betrayal. Liam urges her to give Xaden a chance to explain. Xaden tells the others to leave, and he asks Violet to consider whether they might’ve ended up on the wrong side of this war.

He tells Violet that he’s been providing weapons to the gryphons fliers so they can fight the venin. He says they’re real. They are people who can tap into magic without the aid of a dragon or gryphon but it corrupts them and drains magic from the lands.

Violet asks Tairn if he knew what Xaden was up to and he admits that he did, but it’s up to Violet to be smart and draw her own conclusions. He tells her the reason they don’t attack Navarre is because of the wards, and that leadership knows about the venin attacking Poromiel (the southern province outside their borders), but they choose to do nothing about it.

The material used to power Navarre’s wards are what’s needed to fight the venin, which is why the gryphon fliers attack them. Xaden then gives Violet a black dagger, saying she should have one in case she ever needs to fight the venin herself. Violet recognizes the dagger as being similar to one that her mother has, and Xaden says her mother probably has one for the same reasons.

Xaden says that he’s risking everything by telling her this now, since he knows if Dain were ever to access her memories of this or find out, they both know Dain would simply follow the rules and turn them in. Xaden says that his father was executed trying to help these people. Violet thinks about how there were no copies of the wyvern folktales book in the archives apart from the copy that her father gave her.

When they arrive at Athebyne, it looks completely deserted and they sense something is wrong that has nothing to do with the war games. Xaden then remembers how Dain had insisted that Violet would die if she went with Xaden, and he realizes that he’s been secretly reading her memories without her knowing. Xaden had told her about Athebyne in the past, so he must’ve known about this location and planned accordingly.

They find an envelope with a note written in Colonel Aetos’s handwriting that merely says their mission is to survive if that can, and that’s it. Xaden realizes they’ve been sent here to die.

Chapter 36

They quickly assess the situation and realize they have a decision to by made. Nearby, the trading post of Resson is being attacked by venin. They can try to save them. Or, they head to the new location for the Fourth Wing to carry out the War Games and let the trading post be destroyed.

Seven gryphon fliers join them, but tell them to leave. They say that four venin are too powerful, and they it would be a death sentence for them all, especially since none of them have even seen combat. She tells them that dragon fire won’t kill the venin. Instead, only the black weapons will work, so they have to killed in hand-to-hand combat.

The fliers thank them for their assistance, and they head towards the trading post knowing that their deaths likely await them. Xaden and the others talk it over and they all agree they can’t run from this fight. One by one they agree to fight. Finally, Violet joins in as well. She tells Andarna to stay hidden and fly away if the battle is lost.

They head towards the trading post. The plan is to evacuate the townspeople and then take out the venin. In the sky, they see a two-legged dragon and Violet realizes that it’s not a dragon at all, but a wyvern. Venin channel their powers into wyverns to create these monstrosities in order to go up against dragons. On a rooftop, Violet and Tairn see the leader of the venin who is wielding a staff.

As they work on evacuating people through the entrance of the mine, Soleil attacks, but as the venin is channeling it creates a dead zone that sucks the life out of everything around it — including Soleil. Soon, more wyvern appear. Violet asks Tairn how to kill them. He says it’s the same way you kill a dragon, you can use a crossbolt into their heart or you can use lightning for the same purpose.

To get the attention of the wyvern to stop them from attacking the others, Violet lets loose a few bolts of lightning. She then concentrates on her aim and trying to take them out. She’s able to take a few more out, but her aim still needs work. As the battle continues, Liam’s dragon is defeated by a wyvern, which means Liam won’t be able to survive. In his last few minutes, he asks Violet to take care of his younger sister, Sloane, when she arrives at the school next year.

Soon, dozens more wyvern appear in the sky and there’s not time to mourn. Instead, Violet and Tairn take to the skies to hunt the wyvern. She confidently lets loose her lightning until Tairn screams with pain.

Chapter 37

Violet sees that a venin has gotten on Tairn and shoved a sword into Tairn’s back. Violet unseats herself against Tairn’s orders and proceeds to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. However, the venin is too fast, and their daggers are tipped with poison. Still, Violet manages to kill the venin. Just like that, all the wyvern created from that venin fall out of the sky. Andarna senses what is happening and comes to their aid, though Violet tells her to stay away.

Violet then tells Xaden to drop the shadows so they can identify the leader and take them out. Tairn is able to spot their leader. Violet then draws on the power she has left and Andarna’s power. She pauses time as the venin rushes towards them, then she grabs for power to grab the lightning to attack the venin.

Violet watches as the venin topples over. In the next moment, half the monsters fall out of the sky. Then, Tairn banks left to avoid being hit and Violet feels herself slip and fall.

Chapter 38

As she falls, Violet feels time pause and realizes Andarna has used the last of her strength to stop her fall. Violet then starts to feel the effects of the poison-tipped dagger and slips into unconsciousness.

As she drifts in and out consciousness, she hears the others talk about what to do with her now that she’s poisoned and if they should bring her back to Basgiath. Xaden says that it’s a 12-hour flight, and that Violet has a broken arm. Instead, Xaden says there’s somewhere closer they can go.

Violet fights to stay alive as pain courses through her. Then, she hears a familiar voice.

Chapter 39

(The last chapter switches to Xaden’s point of view.)

Three days later, Violet still hasn’t awoken. Xaden is also grieving Liam’s death. Suddenly, Violet awakes. While she was unconscious Andarna matured and became much larger, though her gift is gone now, but there’ll be time to tell Violet about that later.

Outside the window is the remains of the city of Aretia, now just a small town. Xaden says they’re in the process of rebuilding the city. Violet wonders how the leadership of Navarre don’t know about it, and then she understands what Xaden meant when he said that their rebellion relic was both a gift and a curse. When more than three people with rebellion relics are together, it stops General Melgren’s gift of foresight from working.

From the trading post, they ended up finding a small iron box with the help of Garrick’s dragon, Chradh, who is drawn to runes. They think it’s what the venin were after, but they stil don’t know what the box is for. Xaden gives Garrick and Bodhi and update on Violet’s status and return to her bedside.

Violet and Xaden are talks about their feelings for one another when there’s a knock at the door. The book ends with Violet seeing Brennan there, who welcomes her to the revolution.

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Bookshelf -- A literary set collection game