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At the same time, they forbade any of us from studying the tech, to prevent us from discovering the similarity between it and the ancient technology of the Shadows, to prevent us from discovering their hypocrisy. That is why Burell was treated so harshly.

"But even so, their secret has not been completely secure. A few years ago, one of the mages did discover it, and when he went to the Circle, they told him he would be flayed if he shared his knowledge."

Galen could keep silent no longer. "Who was it?" he said, knowing the answer and praying Elizar did not.

Elizar gave a truncated laugh. "Alwyn. I can't imagine how he found out. Doesn't seem like he'd have the time, with his busy schedule of drinking and womanizing. Yet somehow he did."

It all fit. Galen answered absently. "Alwyn knows the language of the Taratimude better than anyone. He taught it to me." Alwyn must have discovered the secret in some of the ancient writings.

There were too many elements of truth in Elizar's lie. Galen could not find the lie in it. Everything Elizar had told him when they'd last met had proven to be true. Could it be that Elizar, who had killed Isabelle, who had flayed Kell, was telling him the truth? Could Elric and the Circle have lied to them all? Could he be betrayed on both sides?

He had believed that becoming a mage was the greatest calling one could have. He'd thought himself unworthy to be one of their number. The Circle portrayed the tech as a great blessing bestowed upon them by an ancient, dead race. Was it instead the benefit of a secret alliance, an alliance that tied them to a race responsible for countless deaths?

We will reclaim the techno-mages, the fiery runes on Kell's body had read. Galen had thought it a presumptuous claim by Elizar. But had the
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