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knowledge of the Taratimude. They would know what had happened.

Galen laid down the last of his mats.

"How is that?" Gowen asked.

Hands on hips, Carvin appraised the situation. "That one"-she pointed at the last mat Galen had placed-"out just a little more."

Galen crouched, the chrysalis pulling at him, and adjusted the mat.

"Stop," Carvin said. "Perfect."

"The brazier is off center now," Gowen said.

Galen stepped over the mats into the center of the circle and wrestled the brazier around until Carvin and Gowen were satisfied that it was centered. Then everything was perfect.

They had set up the Becoming on the far side of the tents from the ships, near the cliffs that overlooked the sea. The echo of the waves carried up the rocks through the clouds and mist. It was a beautiful setting, and they'd found a natural depression in the mak, forming a shallow circular bowl that was perfect for the ceremony. Tonight the fifteen chrysalis-stage apprentices would sit in a circle around a conjured fire, and each would affirm his identity as a techno-mage.

Galen stepped back out over the mats. Razeel stood silently at the cliff's edge. The wind billowed through her oversized dress, swirled her thin, dark hair over her face. The others avoided her, as perhaps, some might now like to avoid him.

Galen came up beside her and looked out over the cliff. As the shrouded sun descended toward the sea, the mist was growing dark. It formed a heavy blanket below. "I've only been able to see straight down to the sea once," he said.

"Sight is illusion," she said, her voice richer and deeper than he would have expected. "The reality is sound."

"The few times I've been away from here, I've missed that sound."

"It is the sound of death," she said.

Galen didn't
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