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the ship, as if the ship's walls were transparent. He sat, watching as the ship lifted off, pulling away from the circular gray structure of the hiding place, the barren surface of the asteroid. He had thought he would never leave. But he had one more task, and it would be his last.

A message came from Herazade. Protect us at all costs.

He would kill their enemies, and he would keep secret the mages' location. He wondered, though, how long they could endure, within those curving, claustrophobic corridors, before they fell upon each other in a great frenzy of destruction.

The jump engines kicked in, an immense, churning orange vortex forming ahead. Control of the ship flowed back to Galen.

As it continued on its preprogrammed course, the ship passed through the jump point, and the roiling red currents of hyperspace surrounded him. He was free. He was back in the universe.

He accessed the probe network, eagerly searched for Elizar and Razeel, or any signs that they had used the spell of destruction. He needed to find them quickly.

He searched through the many places where the Shadows might show aggression, where wars were being waged, or resistance organized. He saw no sign of brother and sister, yet conflict and destruction were all around him. Explosions, battles, massacres-one war merged into the next, revealing the vast dance of death consuming the galaxy. Each image carried a new sense of immediacy, for he no longer watched from the detached, conscience-soothing confinement of the hiding place, but from amidst the destruction.

He accessed a probe in orbit about the Kaikeen Confederacy's capital planet. The Centauri had declared war on the confederacy nearly a year ago, but as just one of a dozen wars the Centauri had been prosecuting, the Kaikeen
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