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at Kell, just as you must be at Elric. I felt betrayed-by Kell, and by the entire lineage of mages, back to the ancients we so admired. I wasn't sure what to do.

"That's why I was acting so strangely at the convocation. I wanted to tell you. But I feared that if we confronted the Circle, they would not allow us to be initiated. We would be cast away. I knew the Circle must be overthrown, and their secrets revealed. Yet at the same time I still loved the mages, and I wanted them to continue.

"Kell's files had told me that the Shadows were returning, for the first time in a thousand years. They would expect us to ally with them, and if we refused, they would kill us all. Even if some of us managed to escape, the Shadows would have no further reason to supply us with tech. The time of the techno-mages would be over."

Elizar's fist hit his palm. "The sheer irresponsibility of it was staggering. I was outraged that the Circle had placed us in such a position. We should be leading the crusade against the Shadows, and instead we were in secret alliance with them. Worse than that, Kell believed we hadn't even the option of fighting them. Early writings of the Taratimude suggested that the Shadows possessed a device that could nullify or control the tech. This possibility-that the mages might lose control of their own tech-terrified Kell and the Circle. They feared becoming slaves of the Shadows. Obviously, the Shadows do have such a device. If not, you would have killed me and we would not be having this conversation.

"Apparently the Circle has conducted secret research on the tech for most of our history, searching for this control mechanism so they could override it. They've failed to find it. The tech is so advanced, they're like fungi trying to understand a jumpgate.
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