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away, did not want thoughts of his own failure resurrected. If the Circle had voted differently, Galen would have been cast away. He would be the one at the bar in shirtsleeves and hair, living with his own failure.

"Galen! Isabelle? I barely recognized you without the..." He waved a hand over his head. "It's so great to see you!" He bent down, glass in hand, and hugged each of them, wrapping them in the smell of alcohol. "What are you doing on Zafran 8?" He pulled a chair from the table behind him and fell into it.

"I live here," Isabelle said. "Galen came for a visit."

Now that Tilar was closer, Galen could see some blotching of the skin on his forehead, a sign of heavy alcohol consumption in Centauri. Tilar's body slumped in the seat at an angle. Galen had never been close to Tilar, who was several years older, but he remembered watching Tilar train at the previous convocation, and had thought his skills impressive.

Galen glanced at Isabelle, not sure what to make of Tilar's presence. Had he learned of their arrival and sought them out in an attempt to renew some contact with the mages?

"I forgot you lived here," Tilar said. "Did you always live here?"

"Yes," Isabelle said. "With Burell."

"It's so great to see you." He looked from Isabelle to Galen. "When did you get..." He waved his hand again over his head.

"Just a few weeks ago," Galen said.

"A few weeks. That's right. Third anniversary of my casting away." He held up his glass with the word casting, then swallowed its contents. He squinted at them. "Shouldn't you be at-still be at-the convocation?"

Galen glanced toward some noise at the bar. The remaining Narns were staggering out. He and Isabelle were losing their opportunity to talk to them-until tonight, anyway.

He needed to track
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