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He could not imagine what else there was to say.

At last her lips parted. "You know the custom among us." She spoke slowly, as if to someone who must be led carefully to the truth. "When an elderly mage passes, his wishes are followed. Or if no wishes are specified, the place of power is often used, or it is left to any who have been his students..." Her twisted hands came apart. She reached with one into the pocket of her robe, came out with a small vial.

It lay on her palm, the final, crushing reality.

He and Elric had released his parents' ashes around their adjoining places of power. Galen had thrown their ashes into the winds hoping he could lose his memories of them as well, consign them to oblivion. Yet still they haunted him.

And now, what was he to do with Isabelle? He would cherish his memories of her for as long as he could hold them. But her memories were not held in this vial of ash.

She had died too young for students, too young for a place of power. Her home had been destroyed.

Then he realized that she did have a special place, a place of power that would have been hers, had she lived. The Well of Forever. He would find that place for her, that source of tech and of knowledge, and when he did, he would pour her ashes on that sacred ground, where so many of their kind had been brought before. And he would use the knowledge left by her and Burell to try to find the answers she had so desired.

He took the vial from Carvin. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." She retreated hastily.

He had told no one that he carried pieces of their knowledge, not even the Circle. He had inherited them, and although they were just bits of what they had thought, what they had known, they were his.

Galen opened the vial, touched his fingertip to the top
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