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the curtains, all began to burn. The tavern filled with flame.

As the fiery equations blazed one after the next, he conjured a platform beneath Isabelle, slid her out through the hole. To follow her, he had to stop the flow of fire, but he found his body inflamed with it, racing.

He forced the pace of the equations, little by little, to slow, creating the fireballs, hurling them, creating them, hurling them, with longer and longer intervals between. He focused on Isabelle. She needed help. He could not help her with fire. He must go with her, now.

At last he stopped the fiery equations. His control had turned shaky, uncertain. He grabbed his staff and crawled out after her on quivering limbs.

On the other side of the wall he found a dark, empty room. In the dim glow of the fire, Isabelle was panting, her body curled up on the platform. Galen didn't allow his gaze to linger on her. They had to move quickly, before they were trapped again. Elizar was probably waiting in the passage outside. Galen extended the platform and stood over her on it.

His message to Elric was brief. Isabelle is wounded. Elizar andRazeel have betrayed us.

Then he brought his staff down against the stone floor, and the building shook. The great slabs of stone cracked, split. Fractures radiated outward, spread across the room, widened into fissures. The floor buckled, and huge chunks rained onto the level below.

The only chance for escape was to get back to the freighter. He could force them to take off immediately, to call for medical help. Isabelle had to have help. Elizar could destroy the freighter easily with his ship, but Galen hoped he would not attack so openly. Elizar's new partners, he thought, would not like that. The Shadows preferred to work more quietly.

Galen guided
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