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"So you have no feelings for him at all?"

"Just because I hate him, doesn't mean I want to be the one to 'do this.' "

"I can do it."

"No, you can't. He does not trust you."

Tilar said nothing more, though his gaze lingered on Elizar.

After Anna had closed and repressurized herself, the techno-mage newcomer left his ship, and what little life Anna sensed within it vanished. The mage himself looked weak and aged. He walked slowly, with the aid of an ivory staff, his shoulders hunched. He wore a black robe with a short white fur cape over it. His skin was lined and dark. Like a negative image of Elizar, white hair on his chin grew in an elaborate pattern. This must be Kell, one of the Circle of five that ruled the techno-mages. He seemed no one to be afraid of, despite what her passengers had said.

They met him.

"So," Elizar said. "You have found me."

"And now I will die."

"Yes," Elizar said. "In time." His manner had changed, though Anna couldn't say exactly how. He seemed somehow younger, his tone bitter. "You should have stayed away. I don't know what you hoped to accomplish."

"To face my failure with my own eyes." Kell's voice was rich, resonant.

"A mirror would be more suited to that task."

"You are my mirror," Kell said.

Anna's attention was drawn to the small mage, Razeel. Short, thin hair drifted around her head. Her lips moved, though no words emerged. A darkness gathered in the air before her, casting her pale skin into shadow. Anna wasn't sure what was happening. She examined the area; energy was building. The darkness took on an undulating cylindrical shape. Then, at its top, the darkness seemed to unfold, revealing an even darker mouth. It shot at Kell. The black mouth swallowed his head and slid down his body, the cylinder
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