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Thank you for your efforts, and my appreciation to Elric for bringing your information before us.

"I am deeply troubled by this news. If it is true that the Shadows have returned and are preparing for war, we will be sought after by both sides. Our ships are among the fastest, our powers offer possibilities no others have. He who we will not make our ally, will make himself our enemy. And while we are powerful, such enemies as the Shadows would destroy us. I agree with Ing-Radi that caution, above all, should be our watchword. Before we can take any action, we must know, for certain, that the Shadows have returned. I support a small covert mission, as Ing-Radi has suggested, to further explore the situation on Zafran 8 and obtain evidence that leaves no doubt."

Kell would not share what he knew. He had a plan in motion. And he wanted more time before the rest of the mages became involved.

"I would support you in this," Herazade said, making a majority.

They would confirm what they already knew, what Burell's evidence clearly revealed. Anything to delay the truth.

Blaylock's eyes narrowed. He was even more unhappy with Kell's response than was Elric. Though Kell remained standing, Blaylock stood, challenging him. "Kell, you live on Zafran 7, neighbor to Burell's planet. Have you seen no signs of activity on your home? Surely such massive movements would affect Zafran 7 as well. Could it be that the Shadows are the threat of which Elizar spoke?"

Kell spared Blaylock only a glance. "I have heard talk." A flourish of his hand dismissed it. "But I have seen no evidence."

Elric found himself monitoring Kell's body functions, which he had never done before. Kell, of course, would maintain control of his body and reveal nothing. But the very fact that Elric
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