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five fingertips he conjured five brilliant points of light that rose upward, spreading to form a circle three feet across. In the center he created a foot-tall image of Wierden, who had formed the techno-mages into a cohesive group one thousand years ago. She was one of an ancient, extinct race called the Taratimude, with great stiff wings that hung in folds from her arms, and long, tapered fingers. In the image she wore a sleeveless black robe, her golden wings draped over it. She spoke in the ancient language of the Taratimude the words that every mage knew. "Our five wisest will form the Circle, which will guide and rule the techno-mages. Five is the number of balance." Her voice, which he had reconstructed from the ancient recordings, was high yet resonant.

Galen stretched the five points of light taller and wider, until the image became a circle of seven standing stones glowing with inner light, Wierden still at their center. Each stone was imprinted with a different brilliant blue rune in the language of the Taratimude. Galen rotated the image, so Elric could see the rune on each stone. Wierden said, "Above all will rule the Code, the seven principles of technomancy: solidarity, secrecy, mystery, magic, science, knowledge, good." Galen saw with satisfaction that he had correctly coordinated the motion of the stones so that Elric saw the rune representing each principle as Wierden named it. "Seven is the number of understanding."

The standing stones stretched longer, arcing inward at top and bottom to form a large sphere of light. Inside appeared the face of Wierden, with her wise, lined cheeks, the dark skin around her eyes that had always struck him as sad. "Let this begin an age of unity for the techno-mages. And let none violate the Code."

Galen squeezed
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