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Galen's face was blank, his brilliant blue eyes caught in a place far away. Elric was uncertain how Galen would react to the Circle's decision. He would no doubt be unhappy with it. But whether he would accept it with detachment or flash again with the anger he had shown Kell, Elric did not know. Elric wished he did not have this disappointment to add to Galen's burden.

"The Circle has come to a decision," Elric said. "We will create a hiding place and retreat into it. We will leave known space. We will flee."

Galen's eyes snapped into focus, fastened on him. Galen had been in a hiding place of his own, and this had brought him from it. "What of the Shadows? And Elizar? We must fight them. We must destroy them."

"The Circle has decided we are in too much danger. We must preserve ourselves."

"They intend to let Elizar go?" Galen's breath was hard, and color rose in his stubbled cheeks. "What of the Shadow war? The Drakh said their provocations would begin within weeks."

Elric would have preferred to suffer what had happened to Galen one thousand times over, rather than watch Galen suffer it even once. "Their provocations have begun," he said. "And so the Circle believes we must leave as quickly as possible." Galen's face tightened, and Elric searched for the words that would bring him to acceptance. "Of us the Shadows know all. Of them we know nearly nothing. That is a situation rife with disaster."

Galen's lips bit out the words. "We will learn more, then."

Elric found himself echoing the arguments of the Circle. "They have given us a choice. We must join them. Or we must die."

"They try to frighten us. But we can fight them."

"The Shadows have great powers. We are few in number, and they could easily exterminate us all. They might even draw more
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