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convocation. I had the knowledge. Whom better would you send?"

The more truth Elizar told, the angrier Galen became. He fixed Elizar with his gaze. "What else have you done for the Shadows, to gain their trust and learn their secrets? How many have you killed? Am I next?"

"Not if you will join me. Together we can discover the secret for making the tech. Then we need serve the Shadows no longer, and we can lead the mages in a great war against them. A noble quest, just as we dreamed."

"You tell me this story, and you think I will believe it and join you? You are lying, the Shadows are lying, Kell was lying. One thing I know for certain, and that is what you did." Galen's voice was shaking. He paused, and when he continued, his tone was emotionless. "For that, there is no excuse and no forgiveness."

Elizar looked away, and suddenly Galen saw G'Leel's gun. It lay on the gurney beside Anna's leg, half buried under a fold of her orange jumpsuit.

Elizar's gaze returned to him, and Galen tried to keep his face impassive. One blast should kill Elizar, though it would have to be to the head or the heart, somewhere the damage could not be undone by the organelles.

Elizar reached out. "I am telling the truth. The future of the mages is in our hands. What can I do to convince you?"

"Nothing." The gun was about five feet away from them both. He had to get his leg to work somehow, so he could reach the gun and aim it without interference. If they fought over it, he would lose.

"Galen-" Elizar extended his hand to grasp Galen's shoulder, and Galen jerked back. "For the sake of the mages," Elizar said, "you must help me. You must believe me."

Galen said nothing, and Elizar drew back his hand. For a few moments he regarded Galen in silence. Then he continued, his
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