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There is no point to your remaining with the Shadows, unless you wish truly to join them. I put too great a burden on you. The task was impossible, though I did not want to believe it. If your intentions are true, then let us attempt escape from this ship, and if we die, we die for the good."

"If they refuse to accept me and what I might learn, then the mages will die."

"Then they will die. But they will never accept you. Unless perhaps you return to them now, as my savior. Come with me now, Elizar. We can take my ship."

Elizar gave a ragged laugh. "Can you still believe I would ally with you? Your ship is destroyed. And I would not save you no matter how much good it might do me. You and the Circle have lied and lied and lied. It is you who have led us into this dire situation. Your resignation simply saves me the trouble of overthrowing you."

"There is still the other alternative."

"Kill myself? Destroy the line of Wierden? And the hope of the mages? I think not." Elizar stood. "The mages have a great capacity to do what is convenient, as you well know. They've practiced that skill over hundreds of years. They will accept me, when they need the knowledge I have." He bent over Kell, put his arm over Kell's shoulders. "Tell me where they will hide. I will share the information with no one. I will use it only to go to them, once I know all that can be known."

"I don't know their plans."

Elizar straightened. "You know. And damn you to hell for making me torture it out of you."

"You will be unsuccessful."

Elizar stood silently, his face downcast. Then he strode to the door. "Anna, open."

She did, and he called out.

"Bunny! Your time has come."

Bunny and Tilar returned to the room. Anna sealed the door behind them.

"He let slip that the
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