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warp and woof wove through the sky. For Burell, starbursts bloomed brilliant gold, and red poppies rained down. A few shooting stars fell like tears.

An hour ago, the Circle had gathered them all together, telling them of the return of the Shadows, of Kell's resignation, and of the betrayal by Elizar and Razeel. They had explained the necessity of retreating to a hiding place, had gone over the plan by which the mages would destroy their homes and places of power and gather at a safe site to prepare for their migration.

Galen sensed the mages were uncertain, but they were also afraid. The deaths of Isabelle and Burell terrified them. They would follow the plan. They would follow the Circle despite the absence of Kell.

As would Galen. He had no fear of death or the Shadows. Yet he had made a commitment to the mages. He had sworn loyalty to the Circle. He had spoken the words of the Code. Despite Kell's deception, and all it had brought, his commitment bound him. Elric had spoken truly. Galen had not broken the Code when it might have saved Isabelle. How could he break it now?

He had planned to die with Isabelle, yet stubbornly he persisted. It was but the latest in a long string of failures- failures of skill, failures of planning, failures of character. Isabelle had told him he must transcend himself. She had said he'd completed the first step, opening himself to another. Yet even in that he had failed. He had never told Isabelle he loved her.

Galen remembered how they had laughed that morning at Ko'Dan's house when they'd made breen. He hadn't realized how happy he'd been. Now Galen had been left behind, as had Ko'Dan, who had moved to Zafran 8 to escape the memories of his wife. Yet it is in my memory of her that I find the most joy.

Galen found only
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