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party to a negative one."

Galen stared into her mysterious grey eyes, hoping he might see a positive future for them. "What if he didn't believe?"

"A skeptic does not ask his fortune to be told. And if he does, he should be politely rebuffed."

"Have you any predictions regarding our success?"

She smiled. "Yes."

Suddenly Isabelle's head turned toward the bar, and she grabbed blindly at Galen's arm. "Galen, look. It's Tilar."

On a stool at the far end of the bar, sitting by himself, was Tilar, the Centauri apprentice who had been cast away three years earlier. Several Narns had been standing in front of him before, so Galen hadn't seen him.

He wore an ornately decorated vest and a brilliant white shirt. He took a long drink from his glass, his sharp nose nearly touching the alcohol. He didn't look much different than Galen remembered, though he'd cut his crest short, and his hair even shorter. It seemed so strange, running into him here, now. Techno-mages, as a rule, did not believe in coincidences, except for those they had arranged. Seeing Tilar made Galen think of an old mage trick: turn up unexpectedly in a place, as if you had arrived ahead of the person you were contriving to meet. Many times Galen had gone on a walk along the cliff only to find Elric already there, waiting for him. Of course, Tilar wasn't a mage. But he knew the tricks.

Tilar turned in their direction, and Galen saw surprise, puzzlement, and then pleasure on his face. Tilar slid off the stool and came toward them, his gait unsteady. Galen felt uncomfortable as he approached. It wasn't forbidden to talk to someone who had been cast away, though it was forbidden to maintain a relationship with such a one. Galen did not want to know what Tilar had been doing since he had been cast
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