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hung open at a crooked angle, and his eyes drifted to the side, as if watching the future he contemplated. Like an apprentice about to cast his first spell, he seemed simultaneously terrified and excited. Then his eyes returned to Galen, and he laid a hand on Galen's shoulder. "Wish me success. And speak of this to no one."

Galen nodded.

Then Elizar was moving on, greeting others and giving embraces with that same anxious intensity.

Elizar had to be mistaken, Galen thought. Elric would have told him of any danger. And if there were a danger, the Circle would be doing their best to prepare them to face it.

He moved toward the shield. Razeel was training now, under the supervision of Kell. Galen didn't have much of a memory of her from previous convocations. She had followed Elizar around a lot, a pale shadow of her brother. The thing Galen remembered most was that at each convocation she dressed in a different fashion, her hair dyed a new color, her clothes reflecting a particular subculture of a particular historical period on a particular planet. It was as if she were trying on different identities. Yet whatever the identity, she always seemed lost.

This time, her hair was its natural dark brown, and her velvet dress matched Elizar's in style. Perhaps she had found who she was, or perhaps this time she had acquiesced to their requests. Yet the velvet dress hung shapelessly on her petite, slender form, too large. Even this identity didn't fit.

Kell towered behind her. Razeel's eyes were downcast, her arms hanging at her side. Galen couldn't recall the sound of her voice; didn't know if he'd ever heard her speak. Yet her small lips were moving now, in silent incantation.

The globes of light floating within the training area faded to blackness. A mist
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