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places of power. To see even one of them is a rare thing. To see more than one at a time is considered a very bad omen."

Londo knew of the mages, as Elric had expected and hoped. Londo's superstitious image of them, coupled with his ambition, would be very useful.

Security allowed Elric to pass through. The throbbing in his head was being echoed by his tech, filling his body with the pain of absence. As he waited for Muirne and Beel, he thought of Galen. Galen's was another unaccustomed absence. Before Galen's initiation, they had never been separated, not since Galen had come to live with him. On Soom, he nearly always knew where Galen was, what Galen was doing. Now he had only fears. Galen's task was extremely dangerous, and he had not only the Shadows to fight, but himself.

Elric wished that they could be together. Yet he did not believe they ever would be again. He'd told Galen he hoped to return from this task unharmed, and that was true. But while he might hope it, he did not expect it. His life was required, along with the lives of the others. That knowledge had made his parting from Galen awkward; he hadn't wanted Galen to sense his despair.

Galen, though, must survive. Elric had made it clear to Blaylock that returning without Galen would be unwise. But in truth, he knew that if Galen decided to engineer his own destruction, Blaylock could not stop it. And if the Shadows discovered their activities, neither would escape.

Of course, that was true for all of them.

Muirne and Beel were passed by security, and they continued single file through the customs area as Elric had directed, echoing an image from a famous Centauri painting of three techno-mages arriving to bless the first emperor of the Centauri Republic. They passed by Londo and Vir while
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