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18



With a whisper the mage ships rose into the sky like a flock of birds. They were to fly in tight formation, sending no communications, moving as quickly as they could, stopping only once before they reached the hiding place. Those who had died on Babylon 5 had given their lives so the Shadows would believe their order had perished. That illusion must be preserved. Only with speed and stealth could they avoid detection and reach their goal safely.

This was the last journey Galen would make; these were the final hours he would spend outside the hiding place. A few months ago he could not have imagined the mages fleeing. He could not have imagined himself fleeing. But then he had been a stranger to himself. He had not known who he was or what he was. Now he did.

Through the ship's sensors, Galen took one last look below. A single mage ship remained on the plateau, Alwyn and G'Leel standing beside it. Before taking off, Galen had sent Alwyn all the information on the spell for listening to the Shadows. Perhaps it would help him in the war. Galen could offer him no more.

Alwyn's dwindling figure seemed to yell after him, even now. You're the one person with the power to end all this. How can you go off and hide while the galaxy burns?

But if he stayed, he would be the one to destroy the galaxy in fire.

Galen tried to focus on the simple operation of the ship, on his speed, his course. As they shot up out of the atmosphere, he took a position near the back of the formation, away from Elric, away from the rest of the Circle. He didn't want to think about them, or what they had done. He didn't want to remember the look on Elric's face after he had said what he had said. He needed to regain his sense of stillness. He needed to leave all that behind.

Yet
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