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his sensors, he located the three frequencies high in the ultraviolet. This ship was marked with Kell's rune. It shot into the sky. He was leaving them.

Galen found his legs had stopped a few yards from the tents. Everything was about to change. Perhaps the tents had not collapsed, the cliffs had not crumbled. But the mages would never be the same again. Isabelle and Burell were lost. The Circle was missing its leader. The Shadows had returned, and Morden had moved among them searching for allies. Galen felt that if he took another step, it would all collapse.

Carvin approached him, her eyes wide with caution. She looked different without the ponytail of hair bouncing behind her. It seemed as if something was missing. He hadn't noticed when she'd come to Brensil.

"Is the Circle finished with you?" she asked.

"Yes." She was a few inches shorter than Isabelle. That was why Isabelle's wrists had stuck out from the sleeves of her robe. Carvin had one hand clenched in the other. Isabelle's fingers were longer, stronger.

"Circe believes that the convocation may not end in the morning, as scheduled. Have you heard anything like that?"

"No." He realized it was New Year's Eve on Earth, the last night of the convocation.

She was regarding him oddly, eyes wide, lips sucked inward, as if she didn't know whether she should speak. A question came to him.

"Do you know why you were chosen to go to Brensil?" he asked.

"Alwyn sent me on a scavenger hunt as a way of getting me used to my new ship. It happened I was about half a day closer to Brensil than anyone else when your message came." She hesitated. "I'm glad I was able to pick you up."

His curiosity satisfied, Galen said nothing more. Carvin remained before him, and her lips once again retracted inward.
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