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particularly after his last conversation with Elric. He wanted more evidence for the Circle. "Can you find them and convince them to leave at once? Or bring them away yourself?"

Burell hesitated only a moment. "Yes. I can do that." Something in the steady control of her features told him how difficult this would be for her.

He regretted asking, but knew of no other way. He took her hand, kissed it. "Thank you. My queen."

As she smiled he dissolved the image, returned her energy to the place from which he had taken it. Then there was nothing for him to do but return to his body, to the lone chair in the empty room. And wait.

Chapter 13

They found the neighborhood still in darkness when they returned. They had forgotten to end their earlier blackout of the local power grid, and if any maintenance workers had come to solve the problem, it had proven beyond their abilities. The alarms in the Drakh's building would still be deactivated. They flew directly to a back window in the top story of the building. Galen was wearing Isabelle's scarf tied tightly and tucked into his robe, and he was glad for its extra warmth. The predawn darkness was dry and chill. Her shielded form glowed beside him.

I wish you would use a shield, she wrote.

I would if I could, really. I have a much better chance of dodging a threat, though, than shielding against one.

Her face lingered on him in the darkness, and he had the sense that she felt his failure to use a shield somehow repudiated her use of one.

I wish I had the skill you have, he added.

She turned toward the window, and he did as well. Galen scanned the interior for mage energy.

I don't sense Tilar, Isabelle wrote. They had agreed that if he was there, they would turn back.

Galen had brought his
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