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If there was something Kell didn't want the Circle to know, then they would not know it until he deemed them ready.

Elizar was the weak link here, having revealed the threat to Isabelle and Galen. How could Kell trust such dangerous information to an apprentice? Had he begun to lose his judgment? Elric had seen no evidence of that.

Perhaps the threat Elizar spoke of was not the Shadows at all. Perhaps Elric was seeing their hand where it did not exist.

"Are there any further questions?" Kell asked.

The only questions Elric had were for Kell himself, and those would not be answered.

"You will await our decision," Kell said.

The three left the amphitheater, Galen last, his head low. Would today be the last day Elric would ever see him?

Kell sealed the chamber and asked first for their judgment on Isabelle. They decided quickly on a mild rebuke, with the standard wording for a chrysalis-stage apprentice who has cast a spell without her teacher present but caused no serious harm.

Then they turned to Elizar.

"I propose a mild rebuke for him as well," Kell said. "He should not have used his chrysalis, yet he did no harm with it. And his forgiveness toward Galen and Isabelle is commendable."

Herazade spoke next. She had exchanged her usual sari for a black robe, and her thick black hair was piled on top of her head. "I agree. However, I found his comments about the future of the techno-mages offensive and wrongheaded. A return to the old desire for power and glory is a step backward, not forward. Yet we do not punish mages for foolish opinions. If we did, we would be a very small group indeed. On the issue of his actions, Elizar deserves a mild rebuke."

Herazade had been in the Circle only two years, yet Elric had a hard time believing she could
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