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"

"Perhaps you should look at my work."

"I don't have time to learn both your spell language and Isabelle's. I trust in your skill, Galen, in your intelligence and your thoroughness. If I did not, you would not be here. It is your discipline I find lacking."

The criticism angered Galen. He had obeyed the Circle, he had upheld the Code, and she had paid the price. Wasn't that enough? "I have followed the dictates of the Circle."

"And you must continue to do so. We face great danger tonight. If we are to survive to pass our knowledge to the others, we must be of one mind and one intent."

"I have sworn myself to this task."

"As you have sworn to kill Elizar?"

Galen leaned forward eagerly. "Have you found him?"

"Finding him is not our task."

His body was racing again, energy driving through him. The images returned. Elizar's face, turned in fear. Elizar's blood and tech. Galen looked down, and his raw hands closed into fists. "Above all, we must find out as much as we can to ensure the safety of the mages," he said.

When Blaylock did not respond, Galen raised his head. Blaylock's eyes were narrowed on him. "You hold much inside. We all do. It is the way of our order. Secrecy. We all have thoughts of things we must not do, thoughts of destruction. It comes with having power. That is why obedience to the Code is so important. To obey the Code we require control. To gain control we require discipline. In discipline we do what we must, whether we desire it or not. Those of us who follow the ways of discipline reject emotions, desires, physical cravings. We seek to purify ourselves, to attune ourselves not to the flesh, but to the tech. Even then, discipline is never easy. Why do you think so many follow my ways?"

"Because they respect you and they
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