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but a handful of the Taratimude were killed.

"Only then did I realize what the Shadows had given us. Beings of other species began to take the implants, and again chaos grew. These new mages built empires, killed one another for them. Yet I believed that, properly trained, we could do good. We could suppress the programming of the Shadows. With the few surviving Taratimude, I began a formal order. It would be run by a Circle of five, and follow a Code of seven principles. By exposing the destructive nature of the implants to the other mages, and revealing the fate of the Taratimude, we gradually convinced many to join us.

"Still, some did not want to follow our discipline. And the Shadows were not pleased with our Code. Eventually I was betrayed, by some of our own order."

Just as he had been.

"I was caught, captured, brought to this place. When I realized what they meant to do with me, I no longer tried to escape. I realized that the mages would never be safe and free, so long as the Shadows had power. I believed that I could take control of their great machine, and either destroy it or use it to protect the mages. That was my mistake.

"The machine is too strong. It is programmed with such powerful desires-conflict, chaos, cruelty, destruction, victory- that it cannot be resisted. I struggled to control it, as I controlled my tech, but the Eye is not designed that way; it does not allow domination.

"It does require of its nexus strong will, consciousness, mental discipline. One of their conditioned machine components cannot run it. But the will of the nexus is directed toward the ends of the Shadows.

"I fought it. I tried to prevent myself from allowing the Shadow signals through me. I could not. I was lost within it, a mechanism for coordination and
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