of the Taratimude. There was the rune for secrecy, and there the rune for mystery. The mages' great Code, the Code to which they all swore obedience, the Code that embodied everything that they stood for, had been written in the alphabet of the Shadows.
No wonder there was no rune to signify good, he thought. The Shadows knew nothing of that. The rune that the mages translated as good, he had learned in his studies, actually meant useful.
A faint vibration pulsed through the ground in time with the light. Galen looked out over the rocky landscape, seeing the shadowy figures of other stone fingers in the dust. Each mage marked his place of power with a circle of stones inscribed with the Code. Those circles were only the faintest echo of this place, yet the connection was clear. Here was the source of their tradition, the genesis of the mages' tech, the mother of all places of power.
He had come home to die.
Tilting his head back, Galen tried to see the entire inscription. The top half of the towering stone was lost in the currents of dust. As he waited, different pieces became clear, until at last he could read the entire message. The Shadows' language was different than that of the Taratimude, but they were closely related; his study of the mages' ancient language allowed him to make a translation.
With every light is born a shadow.
He had tried to bring light, to do good, but it was not his nature. If there was a balance of light and dark in the universe, then it was his part, he knew, to represent the darkness.
He moved on, toward the entrance to the underground city. As the rocky outcroppings rose up before him, he found the opening in a cliff wall. It was covered by a membrane, similar to the one in Morden's air shaft. Patches of gray and black