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desire for control.

They were kin, more closely controlled even than Anna and the Shadow ships, trapped on that same spectrum of chaos and death as the mages.

Down a side passage he saw a cluster of them. Sustained red beams of plasma shot from their palms, blasting into the rock. They were excavating.

Ahead, light bled into the tunnel from some larger space. When he reached the threshold, he stopped, looking out onto a vast cavern, far larger than any he had yet encountered. He was at one end of this great hollow in the rock. Directly ahead was the source of the high, pulsing energy. It was some kind of circular pool, about thirty feet across, filled with a churning black liquid.

He dissolved the platform, took a few halting steps toward it. The cavern stretched miles across, and perhaps a mile high. On the great stone plain before him, thousands of machine people stood in regimented columns. Beyond them, centered within the cavern, stretched a great abyss perhaps a half mile wide. And on its far side, a sprawl of towering structures gleaming with lights formed a city within the city.

The walls of the cavern stretched high above, with rows of parapets and ramps linking various levels. The walls themselves were carved with runes, covered with them. At the center of the rocky ceiling, dull light streamed in through an expansive skylight that gave a view of the sand-filled sky of Z'ha'dum. The vaulted space and ornate, carved surfaces reminded Galen of a temple, though this was a temple devoted to darkness, not light.

Here was the heart of the Shadows' complex.

He turned his attention to the black pool from which the energy emanated. He scanned it more closely and found it was deep, a shaft that penetrated as far into the planet as he could detect. This
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