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Trial by Fire | Going Down in Flames 3
by Chris Cannon
Careful: SPOILERS! Don't read if you haven't read the book yet!!
Someone tries to kidnap Bryn, but when it fails, a car bomb is triggered, which might have killed one Red, but since they are kinda fireproof, maybe he survived. The driver/kidnapper was someone who had worked for the Sinclair's for years, so theory is that he was somehow forced or blackmailed into action. After that, Valmont gets to live with Bryn, who was moved into the Blue dorm after being socially accepted by her grandparents, on campus, they even share a room.
As this is not to Jaxon's liking, he moves Rhianna into her own room. He is also jealous because Rhi and Green dragon Garret start becoming friends, as they are both left permanently injured from the previous attacks, yet decided to follow Bryn's call back to school, refusing to be shunned by their community. Jaxon claims he's only watching out for Rhi's status among the Blue's, but there's probably real jealousy behind it. Rhianna soaks up another males attention like sunshine, but remains in love (and a physical relationship?!) with Jaxon.
With this new group of injured students, Clan lines begin to blurr. In a test, a Directorate member is calling on one of the two Orange dragons to be taken in for questioning. In previous trials (over the years / generations), the order that singled out a student as a liar/threat was not questioned. Now, Bryn and several other classmates speak up in order to prevent unfair or unsanctioned treatment -- including Jaxon. Things are truly changing for the better, and especially dragons around Bryn start acting as a team when it's needed.
Bryn and Valmont grow closer, but they definitvely have a communication problem. After an argument, Bryn is left believing Valmont rejects her, and falls severly ill over night -- definitvely a downside to the knight-dragon bond. The two end up as a couple, but no one (especially not grandma Sinclair and Jaxon) take that very seriously. Plans for an arranged marriage between Bryn and Jaxon keep moving forward without their consent, yet Bryn is reminded she promised her family not to back out on them.
Bryn and Valmont discover a secret room hidden under a corner of the library. It contains many magical artifacts -- some of them meant for mixed breed dragons like Bryn. That's her proof that more mixed dragons exist, and that they were not believed to be a threat at some point. With the key she got from Orin, she unlocks a box that contains a bracelet. When she puts it on, the "Trial by Fire" requires her to be of mixed Blue-Red heritage in order to wield the magic flame sword the bracelet contains. There's also a matching real sword for her knight Valmont. After their discoveries, Bryn calls up her grandfather who takes control of the situation/room.
Bryn lets her Black dragon friends Ivy and Clint in on her secrets, and the two sadly get caught out after curfew. They are held over night and questioned by Jaxon's father Ferrin, head of the Directorate. Clint is given something, maybe a truth serum?, that makes him act weird until the next day. Later, several members of the Green clan are held captive as well, although they have not broken curfew. As Garret is about to blame it all on the Directorate, Bryn and Jaxon intervene, and it turns out the Red guards didn't act on behalf of the Directorate. It was probably a rebel move to turn the Greens agains the Directorate -- and it would've worked if not for Bryn an Jaxon. As they make a weirdly effective team, Garret suggest they be made into Student Directorate Council, which happens by the end of the book.
However, the fact that Bryn and Jaxon know each other quite well (knowing what the other is thinking) does not go unnoticed by Valmont who is definitvely jealous. Bryn thinks it's merely a Blue dragon kind of connection, doesn't have anything to do with character. Bryn deepens her relationship with both her grandparents, and in turn acts a bit more like a true Blue on occasion -- but only when dealing with other (snobbish) Blues.
Ultimately, Rhianna gets kidnapped by two rebel dragons, mixed breeds, during the Valentine's Ball. Bryn and the group have to bring the new Fonzoli waiter, Zane, to the library. He is made to rescue Rhianna from poisoning, thus becoming her Blue knight, hence able to open another secret door in the chamber. Zane manages to kill one of the rebel dragons, but the other gets away, and Zane dies as well. However, the large attack on the ball room is stopped in time.
It is revealed that the real Zane left Dragon's Bluff, then was killed and dumped on the side of the road, so the group met someone who impersonated him. As he worked with the rebel dragons, but turned against them when he saw a chance, theory is that he was somehow forced to cooperate -- just like the Sinclair driver. Bryn and Co. also develop another theory: As they previously learned/assumed "car accident" was code for "killed by the Directorate", they now think that a lot of pregnant misstresses have faked their deaths this way in order to give birth to more mixed breed dragons, because Bryn is also approached by other mixed breeds -- friendly, going to school with her, blending in so they won't be hunted. They tell Bryn that a few small friendly communities of their kind exist, probably another mix per village.