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females. And now, as you are an adult, you may find a certain excitement in this. Many times, mages begin relationships with each other. These are almost always short-lived. As you know, we found long ago that mages do not do well in relationships with other mages. They are too opinionated, too intense. Disputes arise, feelings are hurt. Any attempt to create something of depth or duration ends unfortunately." He looked at Galen. "I say this merely as a precaution."

"Her shield was outstanding," Galen said.

"That it was. But there are many here with exceptional skill."

They walked in silence for a time. Galen's head lowered, and Elric could sense him falling back into worry. Yet after a minute or so he seemed to make an effort to fight it off, taking a deep breath and looking across the mak.

"Did you hear Elizar has his own ship?" Galen asked.

Elric had been anticipating those words from Galen since last night. "I saw it."

"Kell must have believed he was ready to have it."

"Apparently so."

Galen tilted his head curiously, and after a moment Elric saw him realize the argument was no longer one worth fighting. Elric had made it clear he could get his ship and begin working with it after he was initiated. Since that was only a day away, the fact that Elizar had received his ship early was not an issue.

"Where did you get that robe?" Galen asked.

"One of the apprentices gave it to me. A gift for hosting the initiation."

Galen walked backward, studying it, and Elric admired the robe again. Curving silver and copper cords adorned the front in a bold pattern, while within the fabric itself was woven a more intricate, subtle pattern.

"The hyperspace currents," Galen said.

"A fairly nice job in just two dimensions."


Elric nodded,
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