to their Code. The techno-mages are noble and good, bringers of beauty and mystery; I am unfit to remain in their company. I apologize for the time this matter has taken from the Circle, and appreciate the wisdom you have dedicated to the resolution of it. I am grateful to receive your judgment. I apologize most deeply to my teacher, Elric, who has given me everything an apprentice"-or a son- "could ask." He drew a deep breath, struggling for voice control, and met Elric's gaze. "I wish I had been a more worthy apprentice. I wish I had not failed you. What I have done reflects only on myself. If I could give the time back to you that I have taken away, I would." Galen bowed, then forced himself to stand very, very still. He would hear their judgment, and he would leave.
Elric's face was stern; perhaps he thought Galen's words inappropriate.
Kell pushed himself to his feet. Though he was aged, his dark skin lined, shoulders hunched, he still had the bearing of a great leader. His large frame seemed imbued with power, and the short white fur cape over his robe added to his stature. His voice was vibrant. "The first word of the techno-mage Code is solidarity. In solidarity we meet, connected by a common dedication, common ideals, a common purpose. We seek to understand, we seek to generate beauty and mystery, we seek to do good. If our solidarity is violated, if we strike at each other, our purpose is lost in anarchy.
"You struck at a mage without knowing what he intended. You struck out of fear, not out of control. A mage must be master of his tech, his power. He must control it at all times. Only in control can you do good, the last word of the Code. And if you do not do good, then what are you?" Kell's intense gaze seemed to see right into Galen, to know things