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not hold the secret for replicating the tech, as they've told us. They have no idea how it is made."

Galen remembered his tribute to Wierden, how he had admired her. "If Kell put that in his files, then he lied. He was manipulating you."

"I observed him. Six months before the convocation that saw us initiated, he met with a Drakh. He gave this Drakh DNA samples of all the apprentices who were to receive their chrysalises, and all who were to receive their tech. Your DNA and mine, Galen, were given over to the Shadows. Just two weeks before the convocation, he met again with the Drakh. I saw him receive boxes filled with canisters. Some of the canisters were clear and held chrysalises floating inside. Others were opaque, carved with runes. I saw him, when he arrived on Soom, turn those boxes over to Elric. I saw those opaque canisters, carved in runes, in the very tent where our tech was implanted."

Elric could not know. Elric could not be a party to this. Elric had said he would never lie to Galen. But this would make everything Elric had ever said, everything he'd ever done, part of one huge lie.

Galen had seen the canisters himself, each holding the tech for a new initiate. But Elizar was mixing truth and lies, to make his lies more convincing. That was the only answer. The Shadows pursued the mages because the mages were powerful and potentially dangerous. Not because they were allies who had taken and taken for a thousand years, and then, when something was asked in return, pulled out of the bargain.

Elizar could tell his lie. Galen would not be drawn in.

Elizar had paused, hesitant, his lips parted. Now he spoke. "Where do you think Tilar acquired his chrysalis?"

When Galen said nothing, he continued. "I didn't want to believe it either. I was furious
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