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back, conjured one as well.

The memory flashed through his mind. The day Burell's illness had grown serious. He and Isabelle had fought. In her anger she had turned on him in a moment, conjuring a fireball. She had been ready to attack him, and he had been ready to counterattack with the spell of destruction. The incident was remarkable only in its familiarity. He had seen such fights at almost every convocation. Mages were quick to anger; the Shadows had made them that way.

Alwyn and Tzakizak faced each other, each waiting for any movement from the other. Then Alwyn turned aside, hurling his fireball to the ground, where it splashed in a fiery puddle, consuming the wiry grass. He walked away.

Tzakizak stared after him for a moment, then, finally, extinguished his own fireball.

After a few steps, Alwyn began to stumble. After a few more, he collapsed to his knees. He shook his head, his cry barely audible on the wind. "No, no, no!"

Carvin's ship had not been among those that had returned. Galen remembered the rustle of her colorful Centauri silks, the graceful movements of her conjuries. She'd been excited to help in Elric's deception. She'd always been excited about anything she undertook. To Galen she had seemed strangely fearless-passionate, friendly, open. She had not hidden from life, but lived it. And now she was gone.

Alwyn had left her to go to Thenothk, to save Galen and Blaylock. Whether he could have saved her if he'd stayed on Babylon 5, Galen did not know. But the loss would crush him.

It was, as Carvin had said, one death after another. The mages were doomed. Could they not see it?

The crowd around Elric began to disperse and return to their tasks. Among them Galen saw Herazade, Circe, Optima, Kane. They looked shaken. Many had not returned
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