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"You told me we stand for good, when instead we generate destruction. You told me we can spread light, but we are instruments of the Shadows. You told me you would make me a mage. And instead you have made me a monster.

"You have done nothing but lie to me. Only Elizar would tell me the truth. I feel nothing but disgust for the Circle, and pity for the mages."

Galen bit out the words. "But you need not fear. I will go with you. I have no choice. I am not fit to stay. Out here, I would destroy everything, happily. And there are too many innocents. If I go, at least I can destroy only mages."

He was trembling. He forced his lips closed, forced the flow of words to stop. The energy was stirring, quickening. He couldn't let it take hold. He squeezed his hands into fists, his nails digging into the raw skin of his palms.

Elric's mouth had fallen open as Galen spoke, and it hung now in a grimace. The lines between his eyebrows had vanished, leaving a horrible vulnerability. He stared at Galen for a long time, until Galen wanted to look away. But he did not. He had spoken the truth; let Elric live with it.

At last Elric gave a single nod. Then he walked stiffly away.

Galen forced his fists to open, his breathing to slow. He had said what he must say. Now let it be over. Elric was not his teacher. Elric was not his father. Elric was nothing to him. The Circle was nothing to him. The mages were nothing to him. He could retreat to that place deep inside himself, and no one could pull him back.

Galen realized Alwyn had been yelling for some time. His words carried on the wind. "You're all cowards! Hypocrites! She died for nothing!"

Blaylock was backing away, his hands raised in acquiescence. G'Leel stood between them. Some of the other mages had stopped their
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