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relieved when Galen joined us. Galen convinced Elizar that my shield had no special power. But then Elizar began to question Galen about the spell he'd done in the hall. Elizar wanted to know how it had been accomplished." Isabelle's voice strengthened, and she enunciated deliberately. "He seemed to feel an urgent need for this information. He accused us of wanting power for ourselves, of withholding information at the behest of the Circle. He said we wanted to crawl when we could fly, and those who crawled were crushed."

Blaylock made a disapproving grunt.

"Then he brought his hands to his mouth, as he had done in the hall, and I was certain he was going to attack. I had been prepared to throw up a shield, and so I did. Galen, I think, was more shocked, and instinctively cast a counterattack. I thought I recognized the same effect he'd created in the hall. A sphere formed around Elizar and began to darken. But then it changed, distorting and releasing a plume of fire. Galen told me later he had tried to change the spell, to neutralize it, but apparently that was only partially successful."

Elric had been occupied elsewhere, preparing the Being, when all this had transpired. He'd been flipping through images from his probes, searching for some tardy mages, when he'd checked the probe on the side of the tents that faced the sea. He had seen only the very end of the confrontation, and had sped toward them immediately, terrified Galen would be injured.

Later, Elric had accessed the probe's record, stored in his place of power. It was then he saw the full confrontation, as Isabelle had described it, Elizar's extreme agitation and Galen's precipitous attack. He had watched it over and over through the night, haunted by memories. Galen's instincts were wrong, as seemed
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