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When he'd received the implants, he'd feared to use them, feared that violence would burst out. Later he'd decided it was not the tech he feared, but himself, his own instincts. Yet was there any difference? The tech, after all, carried his DNA. It grew to mirror him, as Burell had discovered. It reflected his brain, his thought processes. It echoed him. If he felt the urge to destroy, it was partly the tech; yet, he knew, it was also partly himself.

Elizar had said it was something in Galen's spell language, in his method of thought, that had allowed him to discover the spell of destruction. Its power had been hidden at the base of their spells, forgotten. But as he'd aligned his thoughts and his spells in neat, regimented columns, there, at the base of those columns, he'd found it. He had sought through his spells not to express himself, as Elric had taught him, but to hide himself. And in his attempt to hide, he realized, he'd built a spell language that was not so much a reflection of him, but a reflection of the tech and how its powers were structured. Instead of discovering spells original to him, he'd discovered the spells that had been placed within the tech, the spells they'd been meant to use, those of the Shadows.

There was an order to their powers, a design. But it was not the design of any god; it was the design of the Shadows.

Even now, the restless energy churned deep inside him, desiring to be released, to be loosed upon the universe. He could resist. But he did not want to resist.

Perhaps others could do good. Of himself, the most he could hope was that he would do no more harm.

And so he must remove himself from the galaxy, like the rest of the mages. Their history was filled with wars and violence. But in this war, at least, they would
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