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voice softer. "You of all people should believe it. I told you we had power much greater than we knew, power given to us by the Shadows. You discovered some of that forgotten power. You found one of the weapons they planted within the tech."

At the turn in the conversation, Galen's heart began to pound, and he found he was suddenly afraid.

Elizar continued. "The Taratimude warred constantly with one another. They sought power. The Shadows offered them a technology that would give them great power, make them great warriors. The Taratimude accepted. Many fought for the Shadows in the last war-another dirty secret. But after that war was done, the Taratimude returned to fighting amongst themselves. They destroyed one another. That is the great cataclysm that befell them, which has been so shrouded in mystery.

"What the Shadows did not tell the Taratimude, and Wierden came to realize only after the destruction of most of her race, was that the tech they had been given was not simply an advanced system of energy and control. It had been designed and programmed with a specific purpose in mind. As the Shadows promote war and chaos, they created the tech to do the same, to create an army of warriors, agents of chaos who would bring death and destruction wherever they went."

Galen's hand was gripping his side so tightly his arm was shaking.

"Haven't you wondered why mages are so quick to anger? Why we fight so often amongst ourselves? We can't even live together. The urge to fight is programmed into us. We are meant to attack others, to defend ourselves when threatened, to survive-through the healing power of our organelles- injuries that would kill others. To be nearly invincible forces of destruction."

Galen's mind jumped from one memory to the next, finding connections
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