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'may see the light'. You're a great man for talk, Alwyn. Superior in wisdom, superior in morals. Yet what of action? Your superiority truly shines in carousing and probe-spitting contests. Look at Galen. He of all of us has faced the Shadows, and fought them. And he leaves for the hiding place with Elric. He knows that if we fight, more of us will die."

Alwyn looked at Galen. "Each must decide for himself."

"That way lies chaos." Circe turned to Carvin. "And you, do you share your teacher's rash judgment?"

"He has told me the decision is my own, and I will not make it lightly."

"The decision," Circe said, "is the Circle's. They have made the only choice they could, the one best for us."

Alwyn shook his head. "Aren't you tired of always defending them, of always seeking to impress them, hoping that someday you will be one of them?"

Circe glanced behind her, as if afraid others might overhear. "You go too far, Alwyn. You always have." She turned and pushed her way into the crowd, her pointed hat marking her retreat.

"And she never goes far enough, unfortunately," Alwyn said. He turned to Galen. "Elric is my last chance of swaying the Circle. I've talked to the rest of them, but they don't give my opinion any weight. If Elric would argue to stay, perhaps he could convince one other, and the vote of the Circle would be tied. With the arrival of Elizar's ship, they must reevaluate their plan. Might Elric be swayed?"

Galen unbuttoned his coat. The undercurrent of energy from the tech had risen again to the level of discomfort, generating an agitating unrest.

At the last meeting of the Circle, Elric had voted to stay and fight, but the other three members of the Circle had voted to hide, and so Elric had bowed to the will of the majority. He had told
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