in a circle around the conjured fire, apprentices poised to become techno-mages. The light caught their faces- hopeful, determined, frightened, inspired. Tonight they would go around the circle, each asking questions of the next, questions that would define who they were as techno-mages.
The sea murmured quietly as Elizar said he would begin. He turned to his left, to Galen. "Who are you?"
"Galen." Galen carefully visualized the equation, felt the echo of the chrysalis. He raised his hand and drew in the air the fiery rune that represented his name.
"What are you?"
"I am a techno-mage." He transformed his rune into the rune that symbolized the mages.
"What is a techno-mage?"
He had recited the given answer many times over the years. "One who can alchemize science into magic. One who knows all that can be known. One who does not destroy. One who maintains the illusion, who keeps the secret. A breed apart, an ancient fellowship conceived in wonder, fired in discipline, proven in technomancy."
"Why are you a techno-mage?"
This was the one question each individual must answer for himself, the question with which Galen had struggled. Elric had objected to the answer he'd come up with-to further the work of the ancients-saying that Galen must find his own work. But Galen's attempt to be original had ended in failure. He had no other answer. "To revere and keep alive the traditions of the ancients. To devote my life to study and strive to further their work. To master control of the tech. To do good where I can."
He turned to his left, to Isabelle. She flashed a nervous smile. "Who are you?" asked Galen.
He went through the questions, and she gave the correct responses. He was curious to see how she would answer the final question. "Why are you a techno-mage?