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with their power, so we could not escape. After I killed the Drakh and drove off Tilar, Elizar and Razeel took over the fight. Isabelle's shield had been so bombarded that she could not protect us both. She chose-to protect me." Galen remembered Elizar cupping his hands in front of his mouth, jerking as he released the long, deadly syllable. Anger flashed through Galen. He bit out the words. "It was Elizar's spike"-in his mind he hurled the word at Kell- "that killed Isabelle."

Kell's eyes flared wide, and they were filled with flames. He swept to his feet, bringing his staff to bear on Galen. "That is a damnable lie! Elizar is innocent. He could not-"

Energy surged through Galen at the threat of an attack. Yet as he held to it, watching avidly for a strike, Kell faltered. Kell's gestures, his words, his expressions were always perfectly formulated. But now he was at a loss.

Kell spread his arms to appeal to the Circle. "This is impossible. Elizar would not-" He whipped his fiery gaze back to Galen, as if his eyes could burn the lies out. Galen glared back, willing the truth to brand itself onto Kell's soul.

Slowly, Kell's arms lowered, forgotten, to his sides. The flames faded from his eyes. And then something in his dark, lined face shifted, some underlying structure that could no longer support itself. Galen thought of the image Elizar had conjured long ago, of Elric's circle of standing stones, crumbling. Kell's face had crumbled.

Kell shook his head. "You must be mistaken. That cannot be so. Elizar would never-could never-" The staff slipped from his hand, dropped silently away.

He collapsed to his knees with a great, anguished howl. "No! No. Have I been such a fool?" Kell looked up at the Circle, his mouth open in despair. His platform with the great
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