the maze could not hold him. He raced upward, through the countless levels of the maze and out the top of it. As he soared upward, he realized what lay below him: a microchip. The corridors of the maze were the pathways of the chip's circuitry. Somehow, he could see through the chip's many grey layers to the passageways etched within, which glowed with a golden light. In one of those passages he saw the tiny black figure, running.
He, too, was lost, Galen realized. And afraid. They could hide from each other no longer.
With the inexplicable knowledge of a dream, Galen suddenly understood that he could manipulate the passageways in the chip. He blocked off the corridor ahead of the robed figure, and as it turned back, he blocked off the corridor behind. Then he shot down into the chip and through the many layers to the corridor where it stood.
Confronted, the figure removed its hood. It was Kell, though he was Galen's age, and not yet shorn of his hair. His dark eyes pierced through Galen. "You are not like us." His words resonated with significance.
Galen found he now could speak, though he had neither body nor voice. "My skills are weak. I lack control. I lack originality. I will never be your equal."
"A mage's conjuries should be an extension of himself. They should reveal, express, and complete him. You have hidden behind your conjurings. You have aligned them in regimented rows to prevent any of yourself from contaminating them. Likewise, you have aligned your thoughts in these rows, keeping them safe and contained. You have hidden so well that any more you might have been is lost. You have become these regimented paths, and the places to which they lead. Yet you do not know it. You do not know who you are, and so you do not know what you are or why you