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filled with mages? It sounds more like a powder keg."

"There is no further need for discussion. You have asked and I have answered. The Circle has made its decision. As for Galen, keep him out of your plans. He is mine."

Galen heard footsteps. Elric, he supposed, walking to the door.

Alwyn turned, and Elric's image flashed momentarily into view. He stood a few feet away, a severe figure in his high-collared black robe.

"Don't you think the time for secrecy is over?" Alwyn's question sounded more like a challenge. A long silence followed. Finally Alwyn continued. "The mages deserve to know the full situation. And I believe if the Circle told them, they would want to stay and fight."

"Kell allowed Elizar to learn the secrets of Wierden."

"Everyone is not Elizar."

Galen stiffened. What was this?

The Circle retained more secrets, he realized, and somehow Alwyn knew at least one of them. His heart pounded. What was it? A secret of power? Elizar had spoken of such secrets, and he had learned some of them when he had invaded Kell's place. Did the mages have more powers of which they were unaware, and did Alwyn believe those powers could be used to fight the Shadows?

If the Circle did hold such secrets, then it should reveal them before the mages went into hiding. It should have revealed them before it had forced so many to destroy their places of power. It should have revealed them before... everything had gone wrong.

Secrecy was the way of the mages, necessary to manipulate others, to create illusions and deceptions, to perform acts that seemed magical. But their secrets should be kept from outsiders, not one another. Kell's secrets had already caused irreparable damage. What reason could the Circle possibly have for keeping secrets now?

He must
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