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What are you doing?" Gowen wiped a hand over his forehead. "You're-hot."

"Sustain her life," Galen said. His eyes fixed on Circe. "You will answer me. Or you will know what it feels like to burn alive."

"I would rather-die now than"-she coughed-"be flayed later."

Gowen's crystal remained in his lap, his hands at his sides.

"Do," Galen said to him, "as Blaylock directed."

Gowen nodded nervously to himself, held the crystal over Circe, and closed his eyes in concentration.

Galen glanced at Elric's still, ruined body, and his outrage was answered by a surge in the tech. Quickly he added a second mind-focusing exercise to his first. He could not look at Elric again, or he would lose all control.

He visualized the equation, conjured a brilliant blue ball of energy above Circe's head. The red, blistered skin should be supersensitive, raw nerves exposed.

"You can't-" she said.

The energy fell upon her, a thick, undulating wave of blue rushing down head, torso, legs, scouring away the remnants of her clothes and brushing over her skin. Circe shook, releasing a startled, warbling cry. The tiny conjury provided him no relief.

Gowen jerked his hands back, wide eyes on Galen. "What are you- How can you- Galen, you have to stop."

"I will not stop. And if you abandon her to fight me, she will die."

Galen conjured a second blue ball. Circe's eyes jerked up to face it in fear. "Where did you plan to go?" he asked. "Whom did you plan to see?"

The energy raked down over her, scouring away blisters and skin, and she grunted, her breath coming faster. Gowen extended the crystal again over Circe and bowed his head, eyes closed.

"Why don't you use your great spell on me?" she said. "Kill me."

Galen sent the scouring energy over her again. Her body
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