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think. Time was short.

To stop Elizar and Razeel, he must leave here. Breaking free, though, would mean destroying the machines that powered this place, devices that sustained the mages' lives on this unfriendly asteroid and masked their presence. He wasn't sure he had the ability to do such a thing; certainly the devices were protected by the Circle. Even if he could, he would not. It might be that the mages should never have been made; it might be that they were doomed, but let them live out their final years in this place, where they could harm no one but one another.

Much as he might want to deny it, although he hated the Circle, he desired their approval of his request. The last time he'd wanted to pursue Elizar, he'd misled the Circle about his motivations. Elric had voted against him then, and Elric had been right. He had been out of control, and should not have gone.

Through that journey to the rim, he'd learned that there was something more difficult than accepting that Elizar went on with his life, unpunished, after killing; and that was accepting that he himself went on with his life, unpunished, after all he'd killed. He'd improved his control since then. Still, though, he did not trust himself. If the Circle trusted him, if they allowed him to leave, that would be a sign that he was fit to leave.

As he approached the entrance to the dining hall, conversation and laughter echoed out. Fed and some of his friends commonly drank late into the night. The first time Galen had walked past, about ten of them had been within. By his last pass, the number had decreased to six. This time, only four remained: Fed, Optima, Ak-Shana, and Gwynn.

Galen passed the doorway, continued his endless circuit. Fed was popular with the women. Actually, he was popular
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