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"

"I don't care what you found. You're a butcher, and you're in partnership with butchers."

Elizar looked toward Blaylock's limp body. "You won't care so much about him when you know the truth. I told you that the Circle has lied to us. They have kept the truth from all of us-a truth we deserved to know before initiation, a truth that has put us in the middle of this war and has now brought us to the brink of destruction."

There was a secret, Galen knew. Elric had refused to tell him. Alwyn had discovered it somehow, and had believed the rest deserved to know. Galen had thought it a secret of power, a secret that might help the mages fight the Shadows.

But Galen no longer cared to know. He just wanted the tech and all its blazing energy restored to him so he could crush Elizar. So he could crush the Shadows. So he could end this.

Elizar studied him. "You and I have often spoken of the Taratimude, of their brilliance in inventing the tech. We marveled at how lucky we were, to be the inheritors of their wisdom, the recipients of these implants that grant the power to make dreams manifest, to create beauty and magic and do good. We mourned the death of the Taratimude, and of their knowledge of the tech.

"But the histories we have read are inaccurate and incomplete. The Taratimude understood the tech's workings little better than we do. They did not invent the tech. They did not produce it. They took it, in exchange for alliance. They took it from a much more ancient, much more advanced race: the Shadows."

Galen's mind went blank. For a moment, he could think of nothing. He was floating, transparent. He was not in this room, in this place. He was a ghost again, with no name, no body, no history. It was as if his identity had slipped away from him and he
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