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diminutive, especially because Fed always seemed so familiar with him. Galen's awkwardness around people made him sound more distant than he intended. "Federico. Good to see you." Galen was always afraid that people-especially mages-were seeing things in him that he did not intend to show. In his attempt to prevent that, his behavior around others became strained or overly formal. At least until he knew them well. "You arrived last night?"

Fed nodded. For some reason, Fed's chrysalis seemed canted to one side, like a jaunty cap. His thick, wiry hair stuck out from it, mixing with his unkempt beard. He looked like a wild man. "Elric is inside, if that's who you're looking for."

"Yes," Galen said, forcing himself forward toward the hall.

"Where were you last night? You missed some manic action."

"I had to work."

"All work and no play, Galen. Speaking of which, Gowen went first this morning. That is one strange guy. Of course can you blame him, with Blaylock as his teacher. I'd bug out in a day." Galen greeted various mages as he and Fed passed. He was glad Elric had made him review all their names. "Anyway, he did this weird illusion-he had the heavens opening up, this choir singing, and a hand came down and put the chrysalis on his head. Truly freaky."

They reached the door all too quickly. But then, if it was sealed as usual, they wouldn't be able to get in. "How have people been getting inside?"

"Elric set it to open when there's no conjuring being done." Fed grabbed the latch and opened the door. They entered.

Along the front stone wall, a strip about six feet wide had been set up as a rectangular gallery from which the training could be watched. Mages and apprentices were packed into it, separated from the training area by a blue-tinged defensive
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