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the Shadow a fading body of static with a head of pure blackness. G'Leel pushed Anna away from it, and Galen followed. Space became fluid, and the back of G'Leel's head rippled as if something beneath were pushing to escape. The tunnel began to distort, stone walls undulating in waves. Twisting and flowing, the other static shapes glided back the way they'd come.

They were responsible for all that had happened. They wrapped themselves in shadows, working behind the scenes, manipulating others. And from that safety, they encouraged treachery, provoked wars, inspired murder.

Galen had held in his anger, his need to act against them, all this time. But he would wait no longer.

The Shadows could hide no more.

He focused on one Shadow after the next, conjuring the one-term equation again, again, encasing one after the next in a sphere of destruction. The energy fell upon him, burned out of him, at last finding its release.

Answering the calls of the Shadows, the Drakh ran down the passage, weapons at the ready. But when they found their masters trapped within the darkening spheres, they hesitated. G'Leel yanked her gun up, fired. Most retreated in confusion around the curve of the tunnel, while the three nearest turned on G'Leel with their weapons. Before they had a chance to fire, Galen seized them within a single sphere.

The first Shadow he had encased was now nearly invisible in the darkness. Only the faint lights of its eyes remained, floating in strange, independent movement, like fireflies in the night. Gradually their light died, trapped within, and the black sphere began its rapid collapse. As it shrank, the sphere paled to grey, then, like a mirage, it simply faded away, a blast of air rushing in to fill the void with a great rolling crack.

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