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how the tech worked. He knew that he had a great deal to learn before he could even attempt it. Right now he was focused on mastering the discipline of its use, on understanding and expanding his spell language. Even if he was able to master it, he would know only how to control the tech. He would know nothing of its workings. Yet to understand its workings was a noble goal, and scientific exploration was a critical part of a mage's life. "It is never a mistake to seek understanding. It has been said that the tech is too far beyond us. That we have lost so much knowledge we must work our way step-by-step back to understanding."

Suddenly she stood beside him. She carried the scents of moisture and moss, and more than that, of a subtle combination of oils and perspiration, her unique essence. She held up a screen with an image on it. "Do you know what this is?"

The image appeared to be under extreme magnification. Galen recognized the pyramid-shaped cell bodies of neurons. The cell bodies were a light tan. Overlying them was a forest of dark dendrites, the branching projections that connected neurons to each other. These neurons were densely interconnected. The image didn't look terribly different from images he had seen of the brains of different creatures, except for one thing. These cell bodies were unusually uniform, all nearly the same size and shape, and they were arranged in a uniform pattern, a pyramid pointing up followed by a pyramid pointing down followed by a pyramid pointing up. They seemed arranged to fit the most cell bodies into the most compact space. "Is this some tissue you grew?" he asked.

"It's a piece of a chrysalis."

He touched his hand to the image, surprised that he had failed to recognize something with which he'd been so intimately connected.
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