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" Blaylock said. "Gowen, keep Circe alive until we return to question her. First we must stop her confederates."

Herazade headed across the room, but Blaylock hesitated, studying Galen. Blaylock would be wondering whether he could be safely left with Circe. Galen pretended not to notice, returning his gaze to Elric and sitting very, very still. His eyes traced the gouges Circe had ripped down Elric's cheeks.

Elric had been tortured. Elric had been murdered.

At last Blaylock left.

Gowen wiped at his face, his shoulders still racked with sobs. "I'm sorry," he said. His shield slipped off of Galen. The room was clearing of smoke; it was no longer necessary. Gowen crawled across the blackened floor to Circe, turned her onto her back. With one hand on her head, another on her chest, he transferred organelles into her body, beginning the healing process.

Galen stood, walked over to her. Her eyes were closed, her eyelids a swollen, ragged red. Though her burns were not quite as severe as Elric's, they were extensive, and her breath, like his, was rapid and shallow. Galen did not expect she would survive long. Not if he had anything to say about it.

He crossed his arms over his chest, holding tightly to the burning energy. He focused on his voice control, issued a command. "Circe."

Gowen's head jerked up, fear on his face. His sobbing stopped.

"Circe."

Her eyes snapped open.

"Tell me everything."

Her blistered red lips twitched. Her voice was a raspy exhalation. "Nothing."

More than anything, Galen wanted to conjure the spell of destruction, to feel that great rush of energy, to crush her in the fist of his will. "Where did you plan to go when you left here? Whom did you plan to see?"

Circe's eyes flicked toward Gowen. "Protect me."

"Galen.
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