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addressed. He turned to face the Circle and gave a deep bow, his left arm dangling. "Esteemed mages. I desired only to learn from my fellow apprentices. I apologize that my desire was so strong it somehow caused anxiety. I take very seriously the charge to 'know all that can be known.' I was disappointed at their failure to share information, and I acted improperly, using my chrysalis to conjure an image that I hoped might remind them of the necessity for solidarity and cooperation.

"At no time did I intend an attack upon Isabelle or Galen." He hesitated a moment, then raised his good hand, palm upward. "I would like to request lenience toward both Galen and Isabelle. As the injured party, I hold no ill will toward them. We are all young; we were all unwise. We all regret what has happened. Galen and Isabelle are both great assets to us and should not be cast away. For that I humbly beg you." Elizar bowed again.

He was full of surprises, Ehic thought. To harass Galen and Isabelle for secrets of power, to accuse them of seeking power for themselves. And then, when attacked, to request leniency for them. Perhaps Elizar felt more regret than he revealed. Of course, if Galen and Isabelle were cast away, Elizar would never be able to learn their secrets.

"Does the Circle require any further information?" Kell asked.

If all went as usual, Blaylock would present some challenge or complication. Blaylock and Kell were often at odds, and Elric learned much from their disputes while revealing nothing himself. Elric hoped Blaylock's instincts would not fail him this time.

Blaylock stood, a severe figure with his black skullcap and gaunt face. His pale skin, scoured of all hair, including eyebrows, had an almost waxy sheen. Blaylock did not need to stand to speak-Elric
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