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12



"You are well?" Elric asked.

They stood again in Elric's circle, among the vibrant green stones and the sharp sea breeze. In the dreamlike strangeness of the electron incantation, Galen thought, Elric's sharp-edged figure looked almost like a flat paper cutout against the hazy background of mist.

"Yes," Galen said. "Our plan was poorly conceived and poorly executed, but we managed to survive it." Isabelle had sent Elric the recording she'd made. Galen felt ashamed, thinking of Elric watching it, seeing how quickly their plan had fallen apart.

"It would have been difficult to prepare for what happened," Elric said. "You have gathered valuable information. And you have handled yourselves well under unexpected and difficult circumstances."

The praise shocked Galen into silence.

"Thank you," Isabelle said.

Elric approached them, his figure becoming more three-dimensional. "Have you tried to locate Tilar since he left you?"

Galen nodded. "We detected the characteristic mage energy while he was in the tube station. But later, when we searched for it, we found no trace. He could have dissociated to hide."

"How could Tilar know so much?" Isabelle's face still carried some of the hardness he had seen in the tube station. She was still angry at Tilar, and herself. "I never knew him well, and we told him little in our meeting. If he has no continuing relationships with mages, then what is his source?"

"Some," Elric said, "may have come from Morden. Whether that accounts for all, I am not certain."

Galen suddenly saw the symmetry. "The Shadows sent Morden to investigate us, just as the Circle sent Isabelle and me to investigate the Shadows."

"Yes," Elric said. "Each side has sent its scouts. Now the time has come for the next step."

Morden
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