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followers. They wore plain black robes, their bodies scoured of hair, small fireballs cupped between their hands, holding vigil in silence. Some seemed not to notice his passing; others looked on with resentment.

The door to Blaylock's room stood open, with more followers inside, including Miostro. Fed whispered something to the grave mage, who watched Galen with narrowed eyes. Galen didn't care whether they welcomed him or not. Blaylock was the one most likely to understand his joining with the tech, and the one most likely to accomplish it himself.

The desire resounded within him, to free the others, tech and mage, to allow them to find themselves, and their purpose, without the poison of the Shadows. Perhaps Blaylock would know the way.

Galen drew close beside him.

Blaylock was laid out in his robe, his body a stick figure beneath it. His skullcap was tipped slightly back, too large now, a gap between it and his head. His face was sculpted in severe planes, his skin a shiny yellow, looking almost artificial. At least his skin remained free of hair, as he would have wanted. His breath was a soft whisper in the quiet room. His hands lay at his sides, stiffly open, as if still they pained him.

Galen wrapped his hand around Blaylock's cold one. Sent a message. Blaylock. Another. Blaylock.

No response.

He and the tech performed an electron incantation. Galen chose as his setting the great amphitheater where, legend had it, the first Circle met under the leadership of Wierden. He believed that would please Blaylock. The amphitheater took shape around him, rising in tier upon tier of stone to a vast dome of blue-green sky, a pale yellow sun. Around the bottom tier glowed the runes of the Code. Galen stood on the second level, and in his self-image, his burns
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