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stood before Galen. "You're a more tolerant man than I, accompanying Blaylock. I'd be ready to wring his neck before we got halfway to the rim."

"Please watch over Elric," Galen said. "He is not well."

"The stubborn bastard. I'll make sure he behaves himself." Alwyn shook his head. "Apparently he and the rest of the Circle are going to look the other way, ignore our defiance. It surprised me, to tell you the truth. I expected more of a fight. Kind of looking forward to it. Officially, of course, once we fail to show up at the gathering place, they'll sentence us to flaying, as they have Elizar and Razeel. But it will be a hard sentence to impose with all of them cloistered away in the hiding place." Alwyn laughed to himself. He embraced Galen. "If you come to your senses, you know how to contact me."

"I won't change my mind."

Alwyn hesitated, his mouth falling open. "You're making a mistake. Your father... he never walked away from a fight."

It had been a long time since Alwyn had invoked his father. Once, years ago, Galen had overheard Elric telling Alwyn never to mention his parents again. For the most part, Alwyn had obeyed. The few times Alwyn had persisted, Galen had refused to respond.

"I do what I must," Galen said.

"That sounds like Elric."

"Be well," Galen said. As passionate and unreasonable as Alwyn could be, he had been a good friend.

Alwyn gave a sour smile, realizing he was being dismissed. "Come, Gowen. You're going with Elric's group, aren't you?"

Gowen nodded. "I'll follow in a moment."

As Alwyn and Carvin crossed the hangar, Gowen turned to Galen. "I'll watch over Elric as well. Please see Blaylock safely back to us. He claims he is unchanged since the destruction of his place of power, but he has aged. And he barely eats.
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