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directing him to help with the dispersal of supplies. Galen had worked to get the right combination of materials to each group, attempting to keep the process orderly as everyone rushed to meet their departure time. The frantic activity had been interrupted only once, as Blaylock's followers, over sixty in number, had marched into the hangar, bidding farewell to their spiritual leader in a grim, impassioned ceremony of repentance and self-denial. Galen was shocked to see some of them crying as they left Blaylock behind.

Carvin ran into the hangar, looked about, her gaze stopping on Galen. She rushed over to him with a rustle of her Centauri silks, Alwyn following in a more measured gait. Galen found that the prospect of speaking with Alwyn no longer upset him. He had discovered the solution he needed. He was at peace with it. And he would like to say farewell.

"I had to say good-bye," Carvin said, turning belatedly to include Gowen in her statement. "Alwyn and I are going to help Elric create the deception. Elric asked specifically for me, can you believe it?"

"You excel at illusions and misdirection," Galen said. "I'm sure you will be a great asset."

Carvin smiled at the compliment, though her eyes had grown serious. "Afterward, I won't be going to the hiding place. I've decided to stay with Alwyn and do what I can to fight the Shadows."

She hesitated, her lips sucked inward. "I know you don't like this, but I'm going to do it anyway." She threw her arms around him. "I'm going to miss you, Galen. Please be careful." She squeezed his raw skin.

"I will miss you," he said, realizing it was true.

She released him, moved on to Gowen, giving him an energetic hug. "Oh-we're going in the same group, aren't we."

"Yes," Gowen said, looking frustrated.

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