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the care you put into it, the passion you felt for all she believed. Remember your commitment to obey the Code, and to prove yourself worthy to the Circle."

Galen averted his gaze, and his mouth tightened in a way Elric recognized. He was performing a mind-focusing exercise.

"We do what we do for the good of all," Elric said. "Our situation is grave. There is no simple answer, despite what you may think. It is our burden to find the best path. And it is your burden to follow. Think on that, while I am within. And know that if there is any opportunity for us to do good, I will fight for us to do it."

Galen glanced up at him, and the look on his face made his words unnecessary. "I am sorry."

Elric wiped his forehead. The heat was decreasing. "Violate the trust of the mages no further."

"I will not."

Elric only hoped that Galen could maintain control until the Circle's meeting was over. And that he would have the strength, then, to help Galen. "We will talk when I come out. I promise it."

Galen nodded, looking downward.

With a final, anxious glance at Galen, Elric continued toward the meeting room. Once again, his duties to the Circle kept them apart.

The others in the passage seemed to remember that it was rude to stare and moved about, looking anywhere but at Galen or Elric. Ing-Radi followed him inside, and the large doors swung closed behind them.

* * *

Galen walked stiffly down the passage away from the others, shivering, arms still wrapped across his chest. Energy raced through him, searching for outlet. He added letter after letter to his mind-focusing visualization of the alphabet, and as the neat row grew, it became more and more difficult to hold them all in his mind at once. Yet even the demanding exercise could not calm
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