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as if he'd stood up too suddenly. He fell over, faint, breathing hard.

He knew the organelles would provide only limited benefit to a non-mage, unless their activities were directed. On their own, they did not have the ability to coordinate their movements, to prioritize tasks. But he could not reach the organelles inside Morden's body. He had no crystal to facilitate communication with them, and the tech confirmed that without such an aid, communication was not possible. He had been made to heal himself, not others.

Yet he refused to attend another death in helpless despair. He pushed himself up, grabbed Morden by the shoulders, and shook him.

"Morden," he said through numb lips. His voice was rough; he had no saliva. "Wake up."

Only a watery, wheezing breath broke the silence.

Galen returned his hands to Morden's chest and sent in more organelles, wave upon wave. Red spots danced before his eyes, and he leaned forward, resting his forehead against his hands to hold them in place. The tech resonated with concern. The organelles had been helping to sustain him, to heal his injuries. But the tech knew why Galen wanted to save Morden, and it too wanted to save him. Reluctantly, the tech allowed the flow of organelles to continue.

Galen persisted for as long as he could; then the darkness closed again around him.

He awoke, some timeless time later, to two sets of wet, labored breathing, Morden's and his own. He had fallen onto his back and felt no strength to move. He directed his sensors outward. Beyond the thick cocoon, he could gain only limited information, but it was enough. No life survived there. Instead, layer upon layer of charred organic matter filled the shaft above and below. He lay in the middle of a vast tomb. The Eye was dead. It had sacrificed
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