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the Shadows.

The Drakh stirred.

The god spoke, in a dry voice that carried a faint echo. Isabelle had worked hard on the voice, which was similar to the Drakh's own, but more resonant. It spoke in the limited vocabulary of Drakh that Osiyrin had provided. The words were translated in Galen's mind's eye.

You have earned my wrath.

The Drakh jerked awake. His arms shot out to the sides, pressing against the mat as if he were desperate for balance. His mouth fell open in what Galen hoped was awe.

You have not prepared the way. You have not furthered my cause. You are not fit.

The Drakh's head wavered back and forth as he fought disorientation. Galen struggled not to make contact with his skin, though he doubted the Drakh would notice if he did.

The Drakh's lips moved, though no sound came out. Then, the Drakh whispered. Osiyrin's dictionary translated. I have tried. I am devoted to your cause.

The god's voice grew louder. You are too slow. You are too cautious. It is time I stretched forth my hand.

I am working toward the great conquest, the Drakh whispered. The plans are [words unavailable in program].

You are too slow.

Your high servants are cautious, but they will bring us victory.

Too late.

No, the Drakh said, flailing a hand in agitation. We are gathering the resources. We are gathering allies. We have made great progress. Within weeks, our provocations will begin. Within a year, the galaxy will be consumed with war. Chaos will ascend.

The Drakh pushed himself into a sitting position, his head slipping out from Galen's hands. Galen's heart jumped, and the tech echoed his panic. He reached for the tranq tab, glanced at Isabelle. He couldn't make out her expression, but the illusion continued.

I see no allies, the god said. Where
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