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himself into movement, toward his ship. He had stood still for so long that walking seemed unnatural.

Alwyn's voice followed him, but Galen refused to hear, retreating within himself. After a moment he realized that G'Leel had run up beside him, and he stopped.

"Good luck, Galen," she said. "Keep the mages safe."

She thought he was leaving so he could protect the mages. Galen almost laughed.

"You're a strange, difficult person," she said. "I'll miss you."

"Take care of Alwyn," he said. "And yourself."

G'Leel's gloved fists tapped against each other. "If it weren't for you and Isabelle, I'd still be drunk with my crew in some bar. I'm glad I'm not. However this ends. I'm glad that I met you both."

Isabelle would say that G'Leel had transcended herself, that she had become a better person. Galen would argue that she must have always been so; they had just not seen it at first. It was impossible, by definition, to transcend oneself. They were what they were. He was what he was.

"Maybe when this is all over, we'll see each other again. In the meantime"-she gave him a friendly shove-"stay out of my dreams."

He couldn't imagine how he might see her again. If conditions were safe when the war finally ended, perhaps the others would emerge. But he could not. For him, this would never be over, so long as he lived. Whether or not the Shadows were abroad made no difference.

He nodded and moved quickly away. Blaylock stood beside the entrance to the bunker, watching. He could be reassured. Galen would go with them.

It was time to leave. It was time to withdraw from the universe. It was time to take their chaos and their destruction, and hide them where they would never be found. It was time for them all to vanish. He headed for his ship.



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