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and he would apologize for his conduct.

The tops of his boots dug into his burning skin. His robe scraped like sandpaper against his shoulders. Even so, he found his mind returning to the harsh words he had spoken. When he'd yelled at Elric, he realized, he'd sounded just like Elizar, talking of secrets of power and deceptions by the Circle. The similarity frightened him.

And yet, nearly everything Elizar had told him had proven true. Kell had known of the Shadows' return. He had sent two inexperienced mages to investigate rumors of that return, hoping they would find nothing. If those accusations were true, then were the others Elizar had made true as well?

I tell you that the Circle has led us astray. They have lied to us, again and again. They have so constricted our powers that we are now only a shadow of what we once were.

Galen took a place against the wall, away from the others. He could not allow himself to be drawn into those thoughts. He pressed his back against the cool metal wall, his robe scraping against his raw skin. He must remain calm.

He focused on the two large doors opposite him. Eventually they would open, and Elric would emerge, and Elric would help him. Perhaps there was a task he could be assigned that would take him out of the facility, that would allow him to work alone. Perhaps he could be allowed to stay on his ship. All the mages were being housed within the facility, for security, but Elric might get special permission for him. It was common knowledge that mages did not get along well with one another. Surely they could make some accommodation to separate him from the rest.

Then, perhaps, he could force the anger away, still the restless energy, bury the memories one last time.

About a hundred mages waited in the wide passage.
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