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could remain still no longer. "And you would prefer I lose control?"

"No," Elric said. "But I would prefer that you lived."

Galen released a breath. 33,554,457. "Is that all?"

Elric hesitated. "On that topic, yes." His lips hung open, revealing an unusual reluctance. "I wish that you could stay a few minutes longer."

"I think we have spoken long enough."

"I know that we cannot rebuild our old relationship. I was only hoping that we might-talk of simple things, of home."

"The past is dead to me."

Elric's lips formed a thin, grim line. "Clearly, it is not. For if it were, you would have forgiven me, and yourself."

Galen kept emotion from his voice. "How can I forgive myself for what I have done? How can you forgive me?"

"I have forgiven you because you were not wholly to blame, and because you have repented." Elric reached out, and his quivering hand touched Galen's arm.

Galen jerked away, the tech quickening. He did not deserve forgiveness. He did not deserve even this torturous limbo of the hiding place.

67,108,890. Galen crossed his arms over his chest and walked quickly away. He would not allow himself to become agitated. 134,217,755.

As he reached the doorway, he received a message from Elric. He continued out, pressing ahead through the claustrophobic gray corridors. Elric's words followed him.

Although the road has not been easy, and you have yet to come to peace with it, you are one who does good, one who brings light. You saved Matthew Gideon, G'Leel, Alwyn, Blaylock. You have performed valuable tasks for the mages. Your research provides new insights.

In our self-imposed exile, it is hard for any of us to feel as if we can do good, as if we have purpose. But you have found your work. Once you find its purpose, you will find
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