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by the side of the tents. Galen went over to her. Her fists were jammed under her chin. She looked as if she'd been there for some time.

"You have to go back to town. This is a private time for the mages. You can't be here."

She did not look up at him. "You will be-initiated?"

"This is the start of it. Go home now. Go on." He shooed her away, and she ran back toward Lok. Galen was about to return to the fire circle when he saw Elizar and Isabelle standing farther around the curve of the tents. They were on the wide strip of land between the tents and the cliff that overlooked the sea. Elric and Galen had set it up as a scenic walk illuminated by globes of light, though it was empty now save for Isabelle and Elizar. Against the blackness of the land's end, their figures seemed almost to glow.

Isabelle had her back to him, as if she were heading toward the ships and Burell. It seemed as if she had never reached her destination. Elizar was leaning toward her. He gestured in a sharp chopping motion.

Galen approached them. This afternoon, Isabelle had said Elizar was following her. Was Elizar trying to gain her support as well? Or was his interest related to the training session today? Galen was suddenly overcome with the fear that Elizar was attracted to Isabelle.

"A shield cannot carry that kind of power." Elizar's hand again chopped down through the air, his tone argumentative. "Not any shield that we know." He was so intent on Isabelle that he didn't notice Galen until Galen came up beside them.

Isabelle's face was flushed and her eyes wide. Her hands were clenched together in front of her. "I don't know what else to say. I'm not keeping any great secret from you. My shield has no greater power than others."

Elizar flung his arms wide, pacing out a
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