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Galen. He spoke in it as well. "It's not only Alwyn. It's all of them. It's what they remember when they look at me."

"That will pass, in time."

"I don't have time."

"You have your whole life, which may be short or may be long. I prefer to think it long, long enough that one day you might be elected to the Circle and lead the mages more wisely than I."

"You told Alwyn you didn't believe the mages would survive this war."

"Perhaps I am wrong. And if I am, the mages will need you to help guide them."

"And you."

Elric said nothing. His lips formed a thin, straight line. Elric had promised never to lie to him, and Elric had kept that promise. He might not return from this task. That was what he was telling Galen.

Once again Galen had been thinking only of himself. For the first time he thought of Elric's task. Elric must draw the attention of the Shadows, make his group their target to spare the rest. He was not well. He should not go. Galen couldn't imagine what he would do, if he returned from his task and Elric did not. He could not lose Elric too. He could not.

"If you truly want to stop me," Galen said, "then withdraw to the hiding place with me. I will not go on my task, if you do not go on yours. You are weakened; while with Alwyn you were overcome by pain. You should not be sent into danger." He didn't know how he would honor the promise, but if it would keep Elric safe, he would.

"I am capable," Elric said.

"The mages cannot afford to lose you."

"The mages will lose much that they cannot afford to lose before this war is over. Nevertheless, I do hope to return from this task unharmed."

"Can Circe not be sent in your place?" Galen asked.

"Members of the Circle must be seen, for the deception to be convincing."

"Let them see
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