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the sphere into a narrow cylinder of brilliant light, sent the light streaming up to the thatched ceiling. He had worked painstakingly to create the visual impression that the light was flowing through the thatch and continuing upward, into the heavens, though it actually stopped there.

Galen dissolved the final spell with relief. It was the most elaborate conjuring he had ever done. He swayed a bit as Elric released him.

"Dissociate," Elric said.

Galen nodded, breathless, and focused on the equation that terminated the connection between his chrysalis and the implant at the base of his skull. The implant-much simpler than those of a full techno-mage-had been inserted three years ago, when he had entered chrysalis stage. While the connection between the chrysalis and his implant was active, the chrysalis remained bound to his body, clamped onto his head and sealed to his spine with the thin layer of his robe trapped between them. The chrysalis was drawn to him by the kindred implant that had originally been a piece of it.

He successfully broke the connection, feeling a familiar relief as the pressure against his body lessened. The device relaxed with a squelching sound, and Elric lifted it off. Wearing the chrysalis always provided an underlying sense of energy, a subliminal vibration or resonance. Now he felt the accompanying drop in energy. The cool air prickled over his hot skin. He ran a hand through his short hair, which was plastered to his scalp.

Galen followed Elric to the bench, where Elric lowered the chrysalis into its clear canister. Floating in the liquid, it looked somewhat like a terrestrial jellyfish. The umbrella-shaped top that clung to his head resembled the bell of a jellyfish, while the extension that ran down his spinal cord looked like
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