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Nightmare Fuel / Circleverse
aka: Battle Magic

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  • Sandry's introduction in her book. In the midst of a plague and people rioting in the streets out of panic, her maid had decided that the best way to keep her safe was to seal her inside a magically concealed room while she went for help. Instead, the maid was brutally murdered right outside the hidden door - all within earshot of Sandry, who was powerless to do anything. With her parents dead, as well as the only one who knew of her location, she wonders if all she can do is wait to starve to death.
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  • Unmagic, from a mage's point of view. Sandry has actual nightmares about it.
  • In Tris's Book, it's mentioned that all four are having nightmares about the earthquake in the previous book, and Tris gets a wind's-eye-view of the innocent slaves she slaughters in the pirate attack.
  • Sandry and Briar both deal personally with plagues that kill people close to them.
  • Everything that happens in Battle Magic. What Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy see leaves them with PTSD. Evvy in particular is tortured and left in a heap of corpses.
  • In-Universe example in Shatterglass. Tris is horrified when Nico reveals to her that Lark (of whom the book says this: "She [Tris] loved Lark") once worked in the entertainment section where the murderer of the story is committing his murders. Then the following conversation compounds it:
    Tris: She [Lark] actually wore the horrid yellow veil?
    Nico: Actually I think she wore it as a neckscarf. Now that's an unsettling thought. (The killer strangled his victims with their veils)
    [Tris draws the Circle of the Living Temple on her chest]
  • Daja's first scene in the series: she wakes up and realizes that she's all alone in the middle of the shipwreck, with no way out, nothing left except the suraku, and oh yeah, her family's corpses are all around her.
    • Being made trangshi is its own kind of Nightmare Fuel, especially since it's brought on by your entire family dying. Survivor Guilt is one thing, but your society's traditions demand that you caused it. You're also thrown out on the streets with nothing but a staff, regardless of age, and all Traders have to avoid you.
  • Lady Zenadia, the villain in "Street Magic", pits gangs of children living in the streets against each other for her own amusement. And when they fall out of her favor, she has them strangled to death and turned into fertilizer for her garden. When Briar first visits her estate, the plants happily tell him what good food they get.
  • The arsonist in Cold Fire burns and blows up several buildings, killing over a hundred people. The descriptions don't skimp on just how horrifically each victim dies. There's also the fact that Ben Ladradun keeps his wife's skeletal hand on a shelf; it's an in-universe example for Daja, who later has nightmares about it crawling all over her face.
    • Daja realizing that the magical gloves she created to fight fires have been used to set them instead.
    • The later targets: a private home full of people (including the guests for a child's birthday party), a bathhouse (the furnace of which exploded, setting most of the buildings around it on fire) and worst of all, a hospital.
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  • Sandry's kidnapping in The Will of the Empress. She wakes up in a wooden crate and panics due to her fear of darkness. She can't create a light source as the crate has a Power Nullifier. She is then told by Fin that he intends for her to marry him and will permanently restrict her magic. By the time she is rescued, her hands and feet need bandages due to wounds she inflicted on herself by hitting at the crate walls.

Alternative Title(s): Circle Of Magic, The Circle Opens, The Will Of The Empress, Battle Magic


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