were quick to anger, quick to strike back. They had not been intended to live amongst one another, but to live amongst their victims. They had not been intended for cooperation, but for domination. It was their way to follow their own agendas, vendettas, whims. The Shadows' programming urged them constantly toward action, and although they could resist, resistance was growing increasingly difficult. More and more were reaching the limit of their control. Galen sensed that, very soon, major violence would erupt. Perhaps they hid from the galaxy, but they could not hide from themselves.
Galen kept away from the others as much as possible. For he, of them all, could not lose control.
In the industrial-sized kitchen, he found some leftover meat and bread for a sandwich, and filled a mug with water. Back in the dining hall, he took his usual table against the wall and ate quickly. He preferred to come early for breakfast, and late for dinner. During the most popular times of the day, the large hall was filled with mages and food, argument and laughter, movement and magic. Galen required stillness.
Footsteps in the hallway outside broke the silence. Though they had grown slower, Galen recognized them immediately. Elric appeared in the doorway, approached him. Elric had once moved with strength and assurance, his posture erect, his gestures precisely controlled. Now his shoulders were bent forward like an old man's, his head hunched within the high collar of his plain black robe. Each step was made hesitantly, as if the floor beneath him might give way at any moment. Each movement seemed brittle, forced.
Galen could not see Elric without seeing the ghosts that accompanied him: the ghost of what he used to be, the ghost of who he'd been to Galen, of all they'd had together