across the crunchy ice pack. Elric stood already before the empty ship. The ramp was lowered.
"This is not Kell's ship," Elric said. "It has been disguised." His voice had regained its strength, and he manipulated it with his old skill, extending certain sounds, pausing at specific places, and modulating his intonation to almost hypnotic effect. In the bright sun, though, Elric's face looked worn. Perhaps it was the blue tinge of the shield covering his body that gave his skin a pale cast. With his scoured scalp and high-collared black robe, he still appeared stern and severe, yet now Galen sensed a weariness in the thin line of his lips, an effort in the frown lines between his brows.
"Whose is it, then?"
"We will know soon enough."
They walked up the ramp, Galen matching Elric's slow steps. As they reached the air lock, the outer door opened for them.
"Only one of us need go," Elric said.
"But which one?" Galen replied. He knew Elric would prefer him to wait away from the ship, and danger. As one of the Circle, Elric could order him to remain behind. But Elric had not given him an order since Galen had ceased being his student and had been initiated as a mage. Galen didn't think he would do so now. And Galen didn't want Elric to enter alone.
Galen stepped into the air lock, and Elric entered with him. The door closed behind them.
They waited while the air lock pressurized. Then the inner door opened. Inside, all was dark. Galen removed his breather. The recycled air carried a faint stale smell.
Elric conjured a globe of light. Around the ship, other lights suddenly flashed on, one after the other. They all pointed in the same direction. Sitting in the spotlight was something that Galen, at first, could not identify. Then he recognized the white