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arrangement of the threads held some kind of symmetry he couldn't quite identify. A tapestry hung on each wall, and a woven carpet lay on the floor.

Isabelle opened the closet, which contained a row of drawers on the right. She took a couple of sweaters from the top drawer, pushed them into the bottom. "You can put some things in here, and then hang up what you need." Along the bar hung several plain black robes and a couple of simple dresses.

He had never stayed in anyone else's home. When he traveled with Elric, they usually slept aboard the ship. Or when they couldn't, in a hotel. It seemed a terrible invasion of her privacy.

"I could stay in the ship," Galen said.

Isabelle's eyebrows had begun to grow back during the few days' trip, and now they contracted in a frown. "It's safer if we all stay together. Besides, this apartment is strongly tied to Burell's place of power, which lies below. We have best access here to events everywhere on Zafran 8."

She seemed a bit irritated, and Galen realized he'd said something wrong. "I hate to put you from your room."

"It's all right. I will stay with Burell. She often needs me during the night, and with the stress the trip has put on her, I'll feel better staying near her." As she looked toward the living room, her fingers intertwined nervously. Galen tried to imagine what it would be like if Elric were seriously ill. It was hard to envision, since Elric had always been healthy. Yet there would come a time, many years in the future, when age would cause major decay that the organelles would not repair.

Galen tried to take her mind from her worries. "Your amulet. Can you associate with it?"

She smiled, touching it. "Yes. Like your staff, I suppose. Burell made it for me." And so the worry returned to her
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