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Galen that the mages must remain united, above all. We must support the Circle with all our energies, or it will not hold. And if it does not, the mages will fall to chaos, and the Shadows will have triumphed. Elric had not wanted to leave Soom, to destroy his place of power. Yet he had done it. He had weakened himself, for the sake of solidarity.

"I think it may be too late," Galen said, "for any of them to change their decision now."

"I'll do my damnedest to convince him, in any case," Alwyn said. "But what of you, Galen? Is what Circe said true?"

Galen looked again down the crowded hall, wishing for the refuge of his room. Alwyn was forcing him to reconsider his decision, to relive the events that had brought him to it. He could not think of them, could not allow those memories to resurface. He had chosen to obey the Circle and the Code before. Just as Elric could not change, he could not change, could not admit that his earlier obedience had been unnecessary. How could he live, if he admitted that? "I have sworn myself to the Circle and the Code, and I will do what they direct."

"And if the Circle dictates one thing, and the Code another?"

"Then I will follow the Circle, for the first word of the Code is solidarity, and we must remain united." He said the words, but they brought him no peace. The possibility of staying and fighting, though he tried not to think of it, lingered in his mind, unsettling him, promising him the satisfaction he desired. The tech echoed his restlessness.

He knew he must go with the others, but it was no longer enough simply to know. He had to hear it confirmed, had to hear again the reasons.

Alwyn planned to make his argument to Elric. Elric would explain why the mages must leave.

Galen reached down with his right hand,
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