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you hide away. You won't even tell me your spell. If I'd had that power... I could have saved so many over the last two years." He came again toward Galen, his voice rising. "I don't understand you, and your father wouldn't either. This isn't how he raised you. He never backed down from a fight. He was nothing like Elric. He didn't sacrifice his integrity for a seat on the Circle."

Anger rose up in Galen, irresistible and overwhelming, and the tech surged in response.

Alwyn didn't mean it, he told himself. Alwyn was carried away. Alwyn was speaking to hear himself talk. Alwyn still grieved for Carvin. And though he might not even know it, Alwyn wanted to fight.

But Galen would not be provoked.

He would not be provoked.

He would not be provoked.

He would not be provoked.

He wanted to crawl down deep inside himself, as he used to. But he could not. With oblivion came loss of control. 3.87298. 4.

G'Leel stepped in front of Alwyn, laid a hand on his shoulder. "You're doing it again. Take a breath, would you? This isn't helping anything."

Alwyn went back to the refrigerator, took out another beer.

G'Leel turned to face Galen. "He had an entire strategy worked out. 'We'll reminisce about old times. Then we'll find out why Galen is here, and we'll help him accomplish whatever he needs to do. If he intends to return to the mages, we'll gradually convince him to stay, explaining how bad things are, and showing him how much he could help. By the time he's ready to head back, we'll have convinced him to fight with us.'"

Galen nodded. "Alwyn was always better at making plans than following them."

"I have to speak my mind," Alwyn said.

"Nothing you can say will change my decision."

An awkward silence fell between them, and Galen continued his
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