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executioners for the Shadows. I had to return to that place to learn whether those fears had merit.

"But what I saw revealed that we are not like those poor beings. They are subjugated to the Shadows' technology. We are masters of our tech. And when we master it perfectly, we will escape the Shadows' designs.

"You have grown closer to the tech than most. You manipulate it nearly effortlessly. But you must control your emotions. Instead of controlling them, you bury them. You do not speak of your parents. You say little of Isabelle. You hold these things inside, thinking that you control them. But inside, they gain power over you. Only in facing and mastering them can you attain control of yourself."

He hid from himself. That was what Kell had told him. And Galen knew it was true. A part of him had been cloistered away for a long time. He hoped now that he had locked away most of the rest. He had caught a glimpse of his true self with Isabelle's death, and another glimpse with Elizar's revelation. Light had illuminated the dark, secret center of himself; truths had been revealed. Each one showed him something he didn't want to see.

She had told him that he must open himself to himself. Perhaps the job was incomplete. But he had faced, now, what he was. He could stand no more.

Elric came from his ship, and before Galen could see him clearly, the mages crowded around him. No further ships arrived. Fifty had set off with Elric and Ing-Radi. Only half that number had returned.

"Galen." Blaylock's voice was harsh. He waited until Galen turned to him. "You must not speak of what you have learned, to any but those in the Circle, and Alwyn."

And what would they do if he did? Flay him? He would like to see them try.

Again he said nothing. He would not be drawn
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