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of us to their side, through promises, threats, or even force."

"How can we run away and leave everyone behind? Where in the Code does it say that?"

"The Circle is afraid, Galen. Until a few days ago, no mage had been killed in our lifetimes. Now two have died, so quickly. And two lost to the Shadows. We are used to being the most powerful. We are used to being in control, to manipulating events. Now the Shadows have returned, and it is we who are being manipulated."

The anger seemed to abandon Galen. His face was bare. "Did you vote to flee?"


Galen's voice rose with desperate hope. "Could some of us not stay behind, then? I would stay with you. And there must be others who would be willing to fight. We could-"

"No. Division would only serve the purpose of the Shadows. Above all, we must remain unified. Solidarity," he said, speaking one of the words of the Code. It resounded with years of history, years of devotion, and Elric realized Galen had pushed him into the commitment that he needed to make. "Obedience to the Circle and the Code has been our salvation. They are the only reasons we have survived as an order. The Circle is already weakened with Kell's resignation. The direct line of Wierden is no longer represented, for the first time in our history. We must support the Circle with all our energies, or it will not hold. And if it does not, the mages will fall to chaos. The Shadows will have triumphed."

Elric had given over Galen to the Circle's task when they asked it; now, he would give over his place of power. That was as it had to be. Galen must realize the same. "I know that you believe in the Circle, and the Code," Elric said. "You have followed their ways and obeyed their rulings, which I know could not have been easy. We must both
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