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where they went, listen to what they said. The Narns might reveal something valuable. Remembering his resolution to cast spells only with caution, Galen focused on the blank screen in his mind's eye, visualized the equation to access Burell's probes. The tech strongly echoed the equation. The network of probes requested Burell's key, and he gave it. A menu appeared, and he selected two probes in the lobby, watching as the Narns stumbled toward the elevator. They all seemed headed toward their rooms.

Galen received a message from Isabelle. I'll deal with him, if you track the Narns.

Yes, he responded. He visualized the equation to send the message while observing the input of several of Burell's probes and simultaneously keeping track of the conversation at the table. He felt as if he were back in the training hall keeping four balls in the air.

"We left the convocation early because Burell was taken ill," Isabelle said. "She's been ill for some time now, and hasn't left her place of power in years. The strain was very hard on her. We thought it best to get her back at once. Galen came along in case I needed help caring for her."

Isabelle was right not to confide in Tilar, of course. Yet Galen wondered if he might have some information that could help them. If it had been Galen cast away, he would have liked to help.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Tilar said. "Can't she be healed?"

The Narns pushed into the elevator, one of them starting up a drinking song. Galen switched to the probe within the elevator.

"No," Isabelle said. Silence followed.

Keeping careful focus to maintain probe access, Galen roused himself to speak. "What brings you here, Tilar?" he asked. He cast the spell to activate his sensors, feeling wrong to distrust a former member of their
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