true in so many mages. In this case, vastly, dangerously wrong.
It had been perhaps his one hundredth viewing when Elric noticed an abrupt dip in the energy generated by Galen as he cast his spell. Elric isolated the second in which the spell was cast, accessed energy readings every tenth of a second, then every hundredth, every thousandth. There he found Galen's attempt to alter the spell, the energy vibrating wildly out of control. Galen had tried to stop the destruction, to reverse his error. But the attempt had come too late.
Isabelle's gaze met each member of the Circle in turn. "I should have gone to Burell or someone else when Elizar first confronted me, rather than considering the use of my chrysalis, which is forbidden. I blame myself for the escalation of events."
Burell had raised a truly outstanding mage. Isabelle had skill, determination, and honor.
"We thank you for your truthful accounting," Kell said. "Galen, have you anything to add?"
Galen raised his head. His eyes were hollow, the planes of his stubbled cheeks drawn. "Yes. Isabelle is wrong. What happened was my fault alone. I misread the situation, and I reacted prematurely and violently." His gaze remained focused on Kell, avoiding Elric. "Elric had forbidden me ever to use that spell again. We both realized that it carried the possibility of great destruction. I violated Elric's instruction. I violated the Code. I injured Elizar, I endangered the lives of all the mages, and more than that, I endangered the lives of all." It was an unqualified admission, as Elric had taught him to make. Galen bowed his head, unable to look at any of them any longer.
"Elizar," Kell said, "what have you to say?"
Elizar had been studying Galen intently, and it took him a moment to realize he'd been