Other mages fought, yes, but it was sound and fury, fireballs and shields, contests like Elizar and Isabelle had fought in the hall. No mage had died of anything but old age in hundreds of years.
Gradually Galen became aware of a sound beneath the steady murmur of the sea, a quiet sobbing. He searched for the source, found a dark silhouette in the mist. He climbed awkwardly to his feet. His legs refused to move at first, until the blood circulation returned. As his legs began to tingle he moved toward the sound, dragging his feet ahead step by step.
He stopped a short distance away from the figure, still unsteady. "Fa." He had told her to go home.
"That man went on fire."
He could barely see her in the dark, in the mist. She was crouching on the ground. "Yes."
"Why did he do that?"
"He didn't," Galen said. "I did."
She wiped at her eyes. "I don't want to see any more people on fire."
"Then you better go home." He realized how late it was, how tired and scared she must be. He bent and opened his arms. "I'll carry you."
She skittered away from him. "No. I can go myself." He had wanted her to respect the power of the mages. Now she did. She was terrified of him.
"I won't hurt you."
She popped to her feet and ran into the night.
Then he was alone.
He felt the worst for Elric. Elric hadn't been able to choose his own apprentice, instead being saddled with Galen. He'd dedicated eleven years of his life to teaching Galen, only to have his undeserving student fail so miserably on the night before initiation. Galen wanted everyone to know it wasn't Elric's fault. Elric had been the best teacher an apprentice could have.
The fault was in him. Galen hauled the sensor-pad back and threw it over the cliff. It disappeared in