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his. "It is a desire, I must admit, I am eager to gratify, with the right man."

Londo recovered from her frankness more quickly this time. "I am sorry to hear of your loss. It is a true tragedy. I would like to do everything within my power to correct it."

"You said you had a proposition."

For just a moment, his face froze with its mixture of playful solicitude and lust. Then he spoke. "Indeed I do." He pulled back his hand. "I have been thinking about what you said, about gambling fearlessly. Many times I have bet more than I should. But those bets were never fearless, merely foolish. We could gamble for high stakes, but as long as one knows the stakes, one can judge whether the risk is acceptable, no? The true risk comes in accepting the stakes when one does not know them. Which leads me to my proposition." He reached into his pocket, removed a simple black eight-sided die, and set it on the table. Half of the sides were marked with a circle, half with a cross. So this was Morden's plan. "On one roll of the die we wager blindly. If you win, I will undertake any action you say, so long as it is in my power and violates no laws. If I win, you will do the same for me."

Londo was far from fearless; he had to be certain he would win to suggest such terms. Morden had clearly guaranteed him success. Suddenly all of Elric's assumptions were cast into doubt. He had expected any wager would be designed so that the mages won. Only then could the Shadows learn what the mages wanted-which was what the Shadows always desired to know.

But if Londo won, what might he demand?

Carvin inclined her head. "A bold proposition. You surprise me, Londo."

"You inspire me, dear lady."

Elric had arranged with Carvin that if at any point he wanted her to withdraw, he would
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