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It had fallen to him to prove to the Circle what their leader already knew, but refused to say: that the Shadows had returned.

It was the irony of being a techno-mage. Elric did not want to disrupt Kell's plan, but at the same time Kell needed to be informed that he had kept his secret long enough, that now was the time for him to share his knowledge.

"Previously," Elric said, "our evidence has been uncertain, unconfirmed. But as you have seen, this latest evidence is confirmed and compelling. It strongly suggests the Shadows are returning to Z'ha'dum and gathering resources for war."

Burell's data was strong. One with an open mind could not dispute it. Yet the Circle's minds were not always open, and this, more than anything, they would resist. They did not want to believe their peaceful times would be brought to an end, that a war would come to overshadow all plans, all accomplishments, all desires in their lives. Everything would change, and much that they had built would likely be destroyed. They would no longer be making history, but would be made by it, overwhelmed by it.

Elric hadn't wanted to accept it either. But if the Shadows had come, that far-advanced race would pose the greatest challenge the mages had ever faced. Although the mages preferred to channel their abilities into scientific pursuits and magical displays, they were among the most powerful beings currently alive. With the exception of the Vorlons, who were arrogant and undependable, the mages stood the best chance of fighting the Shadows.

And the Shadows, of course, knew this.

Burell nodded to him, encouraging him to continue. They had both agreed she would speak as little as possible, to avoid introducing her reputation into the discussion. She had even brought herself unadorned
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