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and that the Circle had made, now seemed in doubt. Elizar and the Shadows knew where they gathered. Mages were missing or killed. Would it even be possible to hide when the Shadows pursued them so closely?

Galen broke free of the crowd and continued down the passage. In everything the mages said there were echoes of what Galen tried to bury. He had thought leaving Soom would help him drift further away from himself, just as leaving his home many years ago to live with Elric had helped him to forget. Yet things were only more difficult here. As Circe had said, he was the only one of them who had faced the Shadows and lived. When the mages looked at him, they thought of that, and of those who had faced the Shadows and died.

He was trapped here with those memories. And even once the mages reached the hiding place, it would be no different. The memories were everywhere. The pain was everywhere. There was no hiding from it. How could he continue to face it, day after day?

And how could he face, day after day, the fact that Elizar was out there, living his life?

Perhaps, if he heard Elric's response to Alwyn's argument, if he heard again the reasons they must go, it would put his thoughts to rest and calm the racing energy inside him.

He hoped that it would, for he could not remain this way.



* * *



"Must we speak now?" Elric said.

"It cannot wait," Alwyn replied.

The images from the probes Galen had planted on Alwyn weren't very revealing. The microscopic devices were caught in a fold of Alwyn's cape, and showed mainly a shifting curtain of black as Alwyn moved, with only occasional glimpses of the surroundings. At least Galen could hear their voices. He listened anxiously, relieved that Elric had finally emerged from the examination of Kell's
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