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"I thought it might be a fluke of my language, that it might do nothing. But it did... do something."

A spell like this might explain some of the mysteries in techno-mage history. But the implications disturbed Elric. "It gathered great energy and instability."

Galen's hands tightened around the screen. He was still troubled about what he had done, and how he had come to do it. "The second term must stabilize the first. Perhaps it creates an opposing force of some kind."

"The result of the spell could not have been anticipated," Elric said.

Galen turned to him, brilliant blue eyes needy, unblinking. "How is it that my spell language led to this?"

"The same way that the study of the atom led to the atomic bomb, or the study of light to the laser. The potential was there. You discovered it."

"I intended no harm," Galen said.

"And you must make sure you never do." Through his discovery, Galen had imposed a great burden on himself. Elric wished Galen did not have to bear it, did not know if he could bear it. If Elric had not taught him, had not pushed him, harshly and relentlessly, Galen might never have had to bear it. But knowledge, once gained, could not be willfully forgotten. Elric stood, holding Galen's gaze. "You have a grave responsibility now, a burden that you must bear for the rest of your life. You understand, you must never conjure that spell again."

Galen put the screen down. "Yes."

"Under any circumstance. For any reason."


"We do not know what the effects would be, or how widespread they would be."


"A mage is sworn to use his powers for good, not for death or destruction."


"And you must never tell anyone how you arrived at the spell."


Elric gave a single nod. Galen had
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