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moment passed. "Tell us all that has happened since the death of Burell." He extended two fingers toward Galen in a precise gesture, then sat, hunched forward, his attention fixed.

Galen did not want to be there, did not want to think of it, did not want to speak of it. Yet he found himself recounting the events in an even, unemotional voice. Inside, quietly, the restless energy stirred, his anger and grief growing as he recited the actions that had led to Isabelle's death. Did Kell not carry some responsibility for the actions of his students?

The Circle listened without reaction until Galen began to repeat Elizar's accusations toward Kell.

"Elizar said that Kell had known the Shadows were returning for over a year. Elizar said there was a reason Kell kept his knowledge secret."

Kell's face remained impassive. Yet the other mages looked now from Galen to Kell.

Galen found the intensity of his voice growing. "Elizar said there was a reason the Circle had sent Isabelle and me on this task, rather than mages with more experience. He said we should never have been involved."

Elric turned toward him, gave a sharp, encouraging nod.

"Elizar said that we must forswear the Circle and swear loyalty to him, before he would show us the evidence he had obtained from Kell's place of power."

Blaylock grunted.

"When we refused, Elizar told us we could not be allowed to live, not with Isabelle able to decode the Shadow signals. We were attacked by the three from Zafran 8-Tilar, the Drakh, and Brown. Elizar told them no, not yet, but they attacked anyway."

Kell's shoulders straightened, as if he were relieved to hear of Elizar's action. Galen would end that soon enough.

"At first Elizar and Razeel did not attack. Yet they had reinforced the walls of the tavern
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