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recognizing Elizar's black figure standing at its rim, Razeel hovering above him, one arm and leg remaining, her body riddled with holes. As Galen saw them, they raised their palms, and their twin beams of redness struck him, slamming him back into something, hard. It was a platform, and the beams pinned him against it, centered on his heart. The plasma burned into the Shadow skin, drawing from it a dull red glow.

Galen did not want to cast the spell of destruction, did not want to risk inviting the Shadows' contaminated light inside him again. All he need do was keep Elizar and Razeel in the cavern until the White Star arrived. The bombs would do the rest.

Elizar sent a message. What did you do? How did you escape the Eye? It can't be done.

Heat built over Galen's chest as Elizar glided closer, patterns of gray and black shifting over his face. Still Elizar searched for secrets of power. To learn those secrets, he had tortured, had enslaved, had murdered, beginning with the one who had hurt more than all the rest, the one whose name and image had been buried for so long that it made the memory of her loss all the more acute.


The anger resounded through him, through the Eye, which had watched as Elizar and Razeel created new tech infected with the Shadows' pestilence, used it to build an army.

Behind brother and sister, on the plain, stood ranks of machine people, frozen into stillness, awaiting orders. As the Eye, he felt himself focusing his power on them, commanding them. With a unified, thunderous step, they turned to face the pair.

Razeel and Elizar broke off their attack, and as their beams released him, Galen dropped to the ground.

The soldiers raised their palms toward Razeel, midwife at their birth into slavery. And fired.

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