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voice had a strange quality to it. Anna couldn't tell whether he was upset or angry.

"It is the legacy of Wierden. I allowed you the knowledge when I thought you were ready. Secrecy was necessary. I believed you were the only one-who could save us. I still do."

Elizar turned his head away from Kell, and the hand resting against the wall tightened into a fist. "Then why have you come here? Why do you force me to kill you?"

Kell ran his index finger over the white hair on his chin. "Because if I'm wrong, and you have betrayed us, I want to die. And if I'm right, and you are trying to save us, then I give my life as evidence beyond doubt for the Shadows that you have joined them. So they will give you the information you need to save us. To allow us to fight the Shadows and defeat them."

Elizar faced Kell again. "I haven't betrayed the mages. I'm trying to save them. But I don't want to save them by killing you. Not now that I know the truth. How could you come here and lay your death upon me? And how will the mages survive without you?"

"I have already resigned the Circle. They must survive without me." Though Kell was the one tortured, he seemed calm, while Elizar grew more agitated.


"My secrecy led to the deaths of Burell and Isabelle. I made a desperate gambit, and they paid the price. Does any chance remain of success? If not, there is a third alternative. Together, perhaps we can escape this ship of darkness, or die trying, so we cannot be used for ill."

Elizar's hand curled closed, and his thumb circled nervously about his fingertips. "I believe there is a chance for success. They have trusted me more since-Isabelle's death. But I don't yet know all I need."

"What have you learned?"

"I've learned the workings of their ships,
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