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it abused. We say that with it we'll seek knowledge, create beauty and magic, and do good. Then along come the Shadows, determined to drive all of known space into a war that will kill billions, and all we think about is saving our own skins. It goes against everything we claim to be. It proves that we have no right to the tech at all. It-it's rank cowardice, that's what it is. How can those jackasses justify themselves?"

Galen's breath quickened. Alwyn was right. Surely there must be some way that they could convince the Circle. They must fight the Shadows. They must fight Elizar.

Elric's tone remained even. "Blaylock believes fighting would go against our holy destiny. Ing-Radi believes we should fight only if we have a chance of winning. Herazade does not know how to cope with a universe in which we are not the strongest, except by hiding."

"I accept Blaylock as a lost cause. But couldn't Ing-Radi or Herazade be turned?"

"I tried and failed."

"Why not try again?"

That was exactly what Galen found himself asking.

"Because we have begun down this road," Elric said, "and as much as I wish we had not, we no longer have the choice to turn back. We are too weakened to form an effective fighting force. And with the murder of Kell, the attack on you and Carvin, and the other mages missing, it is clear we are besieged. Thus far they have attacked only a few of us, to frighten and intimidate the rest. But now we have gathered ourselves in one place, a place the Shadows have discovered, a place that is undefended. They can destroy us easily, at any moment. We must be very clever if any of us are to survive. The only reason they have not yet destroyed us is because they still hope for our alliance."

"We could use that against them."

"Pretend to join them,
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