"We're going to test your memory," Elizar said. "Then we'll know whether you can become a techno-mage, like us."
Fa glanced into the ring, her face tight.
Trying random keys was pointless. He could continue for years without stumbling upon the one his father had chosen. He would never find it in time.
But what if his mother had set up the system? He remembered watching as she made the ring, building microscopic circuitry into the silver band, creating the natural-looking black stone with layer after layer of crystals deposited in precise patterns. Although his father had been his teacher, she had taught him that day. Perhaps she had even chosen the key while he had watched.
Elizar extended two fingers toward Bunny, and the telepath came forward. She appeared much the same, tall, with long, curly blond hair. She would have conveyed a rather bland attractiveness except for a thinness to her face that gave her an unhealthy, voracious look. The tip of her tongue pushed through her lips.
Elizar turned to Fa. "This is Bunny. She can read your thoughts. You must think of those spells Galen showed you. She will see how well you remember. If you remember well enough, we can take you to Galen."
"Will it hurt?"
"Only if you resist her." He rubbed Fa's arm. "I know you're frightened. Something horrible has happened here today. We didn't arrive in time to stop it, and we feel very badly about that. If you're afraid to take the test, we can leave you here. But I would hate to do that. I know that Galen was really hoping to have you come live with him. It's your decision." He pulled back his hand.
Fa looked down at the ring, looked up at Elizar, at Bunny. She was suspicious; Galen could tell by her hesitance. But he hadn't come at her call, and they had, and