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the heel of his hand against his temple. It felt as if a great darkness would burst full-blown from his skull.

Galen conjured an image above the table, a coastal lowland shrouded in dust. Through that haze, Elric saw only windswept dunes and lumps of rubble. It had once been the city of Tain.

Then other images, other cities laid waste. The town of Lok, a smoking ruin.

Soom had been a planet imbued with life, a rare place of simple pleasures. He had taken precious joy in each creature, each blade of grass, each drop of water, each bit of rock. He had loved each, as a part of himself.

Elric accessed the probe records himself, searched through the images from Soom faster and faster, finding destruction upon destruction: vast tracts of barren land, fissures blasted deep into the earth, great clouds of dust darkening the sky.

His precious home, his heart, ravaged; those under his protection, killed. For duty, he had abandoned them. And the Shadows had destroyed them.

The pressure in his head was building into an irresistible, overwhelming pain. It spread through his body, the emptiness consuming him, driving out everything but despair.

He fixed on Galen, struggling to hear the boy's words, to maintain his composure.

"After the bombardment, Elizar, Razeel, and the telepath Bunny Oliver landed near Lok. They sought out one of the Soom that Elric and I knew, a girl named Fa." Various images accompanied Galen's description. There was Fa's wariness, Elizar's false solicitude. Galen's tone was flat. "I had once foolishly shown Fa some of my spells, including the spell of destruction, before I knew its nature. Apparently when Bunny scanned me on Thenothk, she learned this. Bunny searched Fa's mind for the knowledge. She told Elizar what she found was incomplete,
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