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Though a few glanced his way, none approached him, for which he was thankful. Word of his argument with Elric had no doubt spread. Now that the sleepwalker had awoken, perhaps they would leave him alone and allow him to return to sleep.

Yet no sooner had he thought this than Alwyn came toward him. Why couldn't they just leave him alone?

Galen began an inventory of his pain, beginning at his shoulders and working his way down, intensifying the burning, prickling discomfort with his focus. Everything Elric had said to him was true. Galen had sworn himself to the Circle, to earning their faith in him, and he must not lose his way. The Circle and the Code had brought the early techno-mages to peace, had allowed them to focus on knowing all that could be known, and on using that knowledge to create magic, beauty, and good. He must put the Circle and the Code first, even if it was more difficult than he had ever imagined. It was no more than Elric demanded of himself.

Alwyn stopped beside Galen, appraised him with obvious concern. "I heard about your fight with Elric. I didn't mean to be the cause of trouble between you. Elric is a good man. Very nearly as stubborn as I am. But he's trying to do what is best for the mages. My concerns are a little more selfish. I want to do the best thing for me. And for me, the best thing is to stay and fight. I've made my decision. I was a fool to think the Circle would change." He shook his head with a glance upward. "I ought to know better after all these years. Wishful thinking, I suppose. I'll offer any help that is wanted or needed to bring the mages safely to their hiding place, but I will not enter."

Alwyn was going to defy the Circle. Galen hadn't thought he would go through with it. And if Alwyn refused to go, perhaps others
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