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find the truth. The secrets had to be uncovered.

That was just what Elizar had told him, a lifetime ago.

"The Circle will never agree to tell the mages," Elric said. "We have discussed it many times."

"I could tell them."

"You know the penalty."

"The Circle would do to me what Elizar did to Kell. You could tell them."

"The penalty is no different for me," Elric said.

"How can you keep this from them? Don't you think they have a right to know? And how could you have kept Galen in the dark all these years? How could you have seen him through initiation and all that's followed, and never said a single word to the boy?"

Agitating energy surged through Galen. What had Elric kept from him?

For a long moment the room was silent. Then Elric answered. "We do what we must. Perhaps once we are in the hiding place, the Circle will feel differently."

"Hiding from this war solves nothing. What if the Shadows are victorious? What then? Or worse, what if the Vorlons are victorious?"

"I can see no path by which the mages will survive this war. Not in any form that we would recognize. If that has not been clear to you, then I offer it as an additional bit of despair. Our time is ending."

Galen couldn't believe Elric had said that. He knew Elric had disagreed with the decision of the Circle, yet Elric had behaved as if retreating to a hiding place, while perhaps not the best solution, was a viable one. Galen had never seen his hopelessness.

Could it be that the situation truly was hopeless?

"I can't believe that," Alwyn said. "You're tired."

"I am more tired than I hope you ever know," Elric said. Then he added, "I will tell the Circle nothing of your plans."

The nearby sound of laughter distracted Galen, drawing him back to his small room. He
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