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an illusion of you."

"I must create the deception, with the help of Ing-Radi and the resources at hand. The task must be successful if any of us are to survive." Elric paused, and he looked tired. "But you need not go with Blaylock. Your time is to come. Let Circe go with him."

"Blaylock and Circe are both weakened. Is it not better to send someone who remains strong?"

"Wisdom is often more important than power, as Elizar never learned." Elric raised a cautioning hand. "You admitted only minutes ago that you were out of control. You must not accompany Blaylock in that condition. You may endanger his life as well as the information we need. You may endanger yourself."

"I will maintain control. I swear it."

"You cannot make such a promise. You know that. You are not fit to go."

That might be true, but Galen refused to admit it. "Going to the rim can be no more difficult than remaining here."

"You will torment yourself with the temptation to act against the Shadows. It is a test greater than I would put you through."

"And yet the Circle has voted to send me. As you obey the Circle, so shall I."

Elric looked toward the windows, where the mountains had fallen into the long shadows of the setting sun. "I have often thought we are too much alike."

Galen was shocked into silence. He didn't have the skill of Elric, or the control, or the direction. "If I am like you in even the smallest part, that is the greatest praise you have ever given me."

Elric turned to Galen, his movement stiff. "Someday, perhaps, you will not think of me so kindly. I hope, if that day comes, you will try to understand why I have done what I have done."

"I understand," Galen said. Elric was in an odd mood. He was probably tired, and the death of Kell had upset him.

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