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thin, fragile limbs. Several great black burns had blossomed across her chest and leg where her robe had been burned into the skin. Her head was turned toward him, the side of her neck and ear burned black. Her uneven green eyes stared at him.

He had not prepared sufficiently for their invasion of the Drakh's building. He had not aborted the plan when he learned the Drakh was not alone. He had not controlled the situation. Burell had paid for that failure with her life.

And Isabelle-she lay limp in his arms.

Galen realized he was inhaling in quick, shallow breaths. He was exhausted and surging with energy at the same time, his control unsteady. He forced himself to focus, carefully extended his platform below Burell. He put his arm across her and pulled her in close.

Isabelle started at the touch of Burell's body, pushed herself up. His relief at seeing her well was countered by the growing realization on her face. "What? No. No."

Galen remembered Elric walking out of the fire of the spaceship crash, the remains of his parents floating behind.

Holding desperately to control, Galen visualized the equation of motion, shot them up into the pale green sky.

Isabelle seized Burell. The tendons stood out on the back of her hand. Her head turned slightly back and forth as she mouthed the words. No. No. Her lips turned out, revealing clenched teeth. Her pain seemed horribly private, but he couldn't look away.

As she drew Burell to her, Isabelle discovered the burned ear. She cried out, then, hesitantly, brought her fingers to it.

Galen headed toward the port, not sure what they should do next, but knowing his ability to focus was rapidly deteriorating. He remembered the message from Elric, opened it.

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