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with Alwyn, Elric was barely able to find his way into an empty room before he was overwhelmed. He pressed his forehead against the cold metal of the wall, his hands to either side, and ran through one mind-focusing exercise after another, searching for some way to manage the pain.

Its source was the cavity of darkness in his skull, a place that had been connected to the chrysalis, and Soom, a place that had shriveled to ash. That emptiness pushed outward, like a tumor of desolation, pressing at the backs of his eyes, at his forehead. It throbbed, a phantom pain, the pain of what had been lost. It threatened to consume him.

During the journey to Selic 4, the discomfort had faded as he'd rested, never leaving him entirely, but allowing him to sleep for a short time. It had begun to gain intensity while he and the others of the Circle examined Kell's remains. And as he'd spoken to Alwyn, it had built into a startling, incredible pain.

At last, in its own time, it faded.

Elric did not know whether such attacks would continue, or whether they would grow more or less severe. But he was determined that no one would know of them. The mages had to have faith that their Circle was strong and capable if they were to follow. Those within the Circle needed to respect his power and authority if he was to have any influence. And Galen struggled enough without this additional burden.

When the pain finally passed, he was exhausted. His body was covered in sweat, and his legs quivered with the effort of standing.

It would be morning now, where he once lived. The sun would be shining through the mist, turning it brilliant white. The smell of the sea would be on the air. The townspeople of Lok would be stirring. Before, it would all have been a part of him, it would have
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