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light, Blaylock's thin face was startlingly white, glistening with sweat. His eyes narrowed. "You claimed you came to help the mages, not to seek revenge for yourself."

"I lied. It's something mages often do."

"Your power could help save them."

"I have no desire to save them."

The sleeve of Blaylock's jacket bloomed with blackness, and he stumbled to the side, collapsed onto the ramp. Galen bent toward him, and more plasma bolts shot past.

Galen turned. Alwyn had come back out of the air lock, and as Galen waved him inside, Alwyn was enveloped in an explosion. Plasma erupted through the ramp, burning into his legs. He screamed out, crumbled.

On the walkway far below, one of the grey-skinned aliens stood, firing up at them.

Galen crushed him, crushed him, crushed him.

Shaking, Galen knelt beside Blaylock. Energy raced through him. He was furious at this gaunt, severe man. But still he didn't want Blaylock to die.

Blaylock had protected him, just as she had. And he had failed Blaylock, just as he had failed her. He could not protect; he could not heal. He could only destroy.

More plasma fire erupted through the ramp. Blaylock was still breathing. Galen quickly conjured a platform beneath him and slid him into the ship, then rushed to Alwyn. Alwyn's eyes were squeezed closed, his teeth clenched. The lower part of his robe was charred and fused to his burned skin in an indistinguishable mass. Galen slid him into the ship as well, following quickly into the dark, plain interior.

He hesitated a moment, standing over them, heart pounding. He would have to fly the ship. He would have to leave Elizar behind. His frustration sent a hard shiver through him. There would be no end to this. He would return to the way he had been on Selic, and he could
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