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them into danger for nothing.

Yet at the same time, Galen realized that Elizar had been right before, in his warning about a threat. What if his accusations now were true? Galen's heart pounded.

"Where is your proof?" Isabelle hissed. "Where is the proof that the Circle sent us-and let Burell die-all for nothing? To secure evidence of something they already knew?" Isabelle had said before that the Circle's reason for sending them was irrelevant. They had agreed to go. Yet if sending them had been unnecessary, if they had agreed because they had been lied to, if Burell was dead for nothing-it would change everything.

"The proof is in Kell's own files, which I can show you. All you need do is swear allegiance to me. I dare not show you without that, for you could take the evidence to Kell and he could hide everything he has done."

This part of Elizar's argument didn't ring true. If Elizar had the evidence, why not just show it? Why not show it to all the mages? The more who knew, the harder it would be for Kell to deny it. Yet once Elizar released the information to all, then he, the source of it, would become unimportant. In keeping the information to himself, and perhaps a few others sworn to him, Elizar retained power. He could use the information as a base of power, gaining allies for a coming contest with Kell.

Yet all this supposed that Elizar spoke the truth, that he held evidence against Kell and the Circle. And if that was so, should they not support him?

"I have disagreed with some of the Circle's actions in the past," Isabelle said, "yet I cannot believe them guilty of what you claim. They are conservative, stubborn, and secretive. But to send us without need, hoping we would fail-I must see the evidence. Show me that. Show me that, and if it proves
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