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a few moments, not to think about that, but simply to describe for this outsider the joys and wonders of technomancy, to which he had devoted his life. "We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers. We study the mysteries of laser and circuit"-he held up the crystal-"crystal and scanner. Holographic demons and invocations of equations. These are the tools we employ. And we know many things."

"Such as?"

"The true secrets. The important things. Fourteen words to make someone fall in love with you forever. Seven words to make them go without pain. How to say good-bye to a friend who is dying. How to be poor, how to be rich. How to rediscover dreams when the world has stolen them from you."

As he said the words, the realization came to him. At some point over the last few months, he had lost his dreams: his dream of the mages as he thought they had been, brave enough and sufficiently committed to good that they would fight the Shadows; his dream of growing old on Soom; his dream of watching Galen mature into a great mage. He had not even realized they had all been taken from him. Where they had been, there was only emptiness, like the emptiness that had once been Soom. And no spell could bring them back.

"There is a storm coming," Elric said. "A black and terrible storm. We would not have our knowledge lost, or used to ill purpose. From this place we will launch ourselves into the stars. With luck, you will never see our kind again in your lifetime." He paused for effect. He had said all he could. He hoped that it was enough. "I know you have your orders, Captain. Detain us, if you wish. But I cannot tell you where we're going. I can only ask you-to trust us."

Elric took John's hand, placed an object there, folded John's fingers over it, and walked off. John
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