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Galen, and his rippling mouth curved into a smile.

Elizar brought his hands to his mouth, and his body jerked. The darkness passed up over his face like a shadow, and suddenly, incredibly, the sphere had moved. It hovered now above Elizar, empty.

It was impossible. One mage couldn't control the spells of another. It had to be some illusion, some trick.

He could find no sign of it.

His body racing, he visualized the spell again, felt the tech's eager echo.

Elizar nodded, cupped his hands again around his mouth. The second sphere rose beside the first, just as the first snapped into its rapid, fading collapse. A thunderous crack split the air.

Galen had waited so long to crush Elizar, so long. He would not be denied now. He walked toward Elizar, visualized the simple spell again and again, building a neat column in his mind's eye. Energy raged through him.

The spheres flew from Elizar as quickly as they formed. They filled the air above him, collapsing with a fusillade of sound. Then Elizar jerked yet again, and the sphere around him did not rise up, instead passing to one side, stopping to surround one of the machine people.

Though Galen burned to continue the spells, he wrapped the walls of his exercises tighter, forced the screen in his mind's eye blank. He did not want to kill any others. He would not kill any others.

The sphere around the black figure grew darker, and somehow Galen felt as if his own vision were darkening, as if he too were encased by the sphere. He stumbled to a stop, confused, and a rush of whispers poured into his mind, infecting him. Chaos through warfare. Evolution through bloodshed. Perfection through victory.

Then he was standing in two places. He stood where he had been, at the back of the black columns, and he stood
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