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stood motionless, blocking his path. Galen approached the Shadow with even steps, maintaining his direction. He could not reveal that he knew it was there.

The shape subtly shifted, and Galen was suddenly certain that it was looking at him. Would it sense his mage energy?

He forced his heavy feet forward. The Shadow was eight feet ahead, six, four. At last, with the hint of some strange, scissorlike action, the shape moved to the side, and Galen passed by, nearly brushing against it.

They still knew little about the Shadows, not even what their enemy looked like. The Shadows had lived for tens of thousands of years. They were far more ancient than the Taratimude that had given birth to the techno-mages; their powers were vast. Blaylock had said that the moment he and Galen were recognized as techno-mages, they would have only one chance-to run. He had purchased two tickets on a transport leaving at dawn.

But Galen would not leave. Not until both of his tasks were fulfilled.

In his mind's eye, Rabelna rode the elevator to the top floor.

As they approached the glittering black tower, Galen became aware of a sound, below the din of construction and traffic and people and business. He realized the sound had always been there, since they'd arrived, yet it had existed just below the level of hearing, a deep, subtle pulsation, lost in the noise of the city until now. Here, at the City Center, the vibration became slightly more pronounced. He looked down at the shiny black street. The sound pulsed from below. His sensors revealed indications of a vast underground complex.

A great screech sounded overhead, and Galen jerked his head up to see a dark, spiky shape silhouetted against the glowing sky. G'Leel had once described to them a Shadow ship, a ship as black
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