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coordinating, directing. He needed to find that intelligence, to find the heart of the Eye, to strike there.

The Shadows had wanted Elizar to bring him to the Eye. Perhaps they believed it could overwhelm him, turn him. But he would relinquish control to no being, no power. They didn't know the extent of his control. Galen did. He had learned. And he knew. He knew how to hold himself in control.

He smacked face-first into the squirming mass of machine people. They grabbed on to him, drawing him below the surface, pressing into him, engulfing him in blackness. Legs, arms, bodies churned, their Shadow skin hot and slick. The closeness made him want to strike out, to fight his way back to the surface. He felt as if he were drowning; he couldn't breathe.

But the machine people, he realized, were breathing. Galen conjured the Shadow skin over himself, and suddenly air was filling his lungs.

Then the black light of the Eye pierced him, its latest addition, and the whispers infected him. Chaos is the way to strength. Chaos is the engine powering life. Chaos finds its fullest expression in times of war. In war all are put to the test. In war those unfit are exterminated. Only in bloodshed can true progress be made, can promise be realized.

His tech rose in sympathetic vibration with the Eye, echoing those whispers, his energy blooming anew in a great rush of heat. He remembered Razeel's thigh crumpling, her leg dropping away. The Drakh in the tunnel pinwheeling into nothingness, or collapsing into a pulpy mass, crushed in the fist of his will. Elizar smiling, hand cupped to his mouth, sending Galen's spheres away as fast as they came. That task still remained. Elizar could not escape him. Not again.

You must have revenge, the Eye said. You must have justice.

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