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had revealed more than he had planned. He was expecting information. His plan, whatever it was, would bring them further intelligence on the Shadows. And none too soon. Burell had already died while he delayed.

Ing-Radi bowed her head. "I agree. Let us first send Burell to the other side. Let us second speak with Isabelle and Galen. Then a better decision can be made."

Elric stood. "We have not yet resolved the immediate issue. Who is to bring Galen and Isabelle from the Brensil system? I volunteer myself."

Ing-Radi extended an orange hand toward him. "You are needed here, Elric. Besides, Brensil is three days' journey. Galen and Isabelle will arrive there in less than two days, and would be safer picked up as soon as they arrive, in case they are pursued. Can we not hire a ship to bring them?"

"A hired ship would also take time to arrive there," Elric said. He had prepared for this. "Brensil has little traffic. It has no ships ready for hire. Those who owned ships left the system when the mine closed."

Kell ran his index finger over his white goatee, revealing his anxiety. "Perhaps we could send Elizar." His words were slow, reluctant. "In his ship, he can travel from Zafran to Brensil quickly enough to arrive before Galen and Isabelle. They could leave immediately."

"He is well?" Blaylock asked, the question an accusation. The implication was clear: if Elizar could heal so quickly, then he should not have left the convocation.

"He recovers."

Blaylock held them for a moment in the silence of his disapproval before responding. "Very well."

"It is best to have them picked up quickly," Ing-Radi said.

Kell turned to Elric. "Have Galen contact Elizar at once. See if they can make arrangements." Kell seemed more positive about the plan now.

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