Will Sumto ever catch a break?
It's a good question but the answer, the real answer, is complicated. I answered that question by saying that Sumto is suffering from a well understood problem - he has knowledge but lacks experience. There is a saying that the difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference, but in practice there is. And that's true, as far as it goes. It's also true that I'm breaking rules, playing games with story structure, because its fun and I think I can just about pull it off. It is also true that he does, in some ways, gain from his exploits; he is gaining experience. There is something else he is gaining that I can't talk about but should become apparent as the series progresses.
Speaking of the story progressing... I originally intended to dip in and out of Sumto's life at roughly two year intervals until I was done with a specific story arc. That hasn't happened. I now intend to do blocks of five books and skip larger numbers of years in between. That may not happen either.
Everything that happens is filtered through Sumto's senses and perceptions; so, when someone is off-stage for a while, Sumto has no idea what they are doing. He can assume, suppose, or guess, or think that he knows... but he really doesn't until their actions once more impact on him directly, or he hears word of them. Some of those events, motives, actions and consequences are going to have to wait until Sumto gets back to the city.
There will doubtless be a few surprises... and some of those surprises will involve the trials, which is about all I can say about that. Oh, and Jocasta, yeah - that's pretty much the way it was going to go, but someone off stage surprised me with a better idea. And yes, you were 100% correct; truth spells can be circumvented by subtle phrasing of answers, and what the speaker believes to be truth. And other things.