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were gone, his health restored. Blaylock stood a few tiers above him, a thin, severe figure in black. His expression was dour, his voice, as he spoke, harsh and certain.

"They tell me that you and John Sheridan destroyed Z'ha'dum. That was not part of your task."

Galen had expected Blaylock would be barely coherent. "It was a place of atrocities. Enslavement."

"They tell me that you joined with a Shadow ship."

"I joined with the tech. Just as you said. I found the way." Excitement rising within him, Galen climbed the high stone blocks toward Blaylock. "We are one now, beyond any control or programming of the Shadows."

"They did not tell me that." Blaylock's gaunt face contracted in a way that somehow suggested pleasure. "I see the change in you. You have healed the rift between tech and mage. You have attained perfect control, just as I hoped. Elric taught you well. You will be the new leader of the mages, a Wierden for the new age."

Galen couldn't tell Blaylock that he wasn't leading anyone anywhere, that the other mages didn't understand. He paused in his climb, found Blaylock still an equal distance above him.

"What is it like?" Blaylock asked.

Galen continued upward. "It is like embracing yourself, and more than that, like embracing an old friend, and more than that, like embracing the universe. It is becoming connected to something beyond yourself, something very simple and yet profound. It wants to understand. Everything."

"You have learned its will. Now you must carry it out."

Galen paused again. Blaylock seemed no nearer. "Its will is to free you."

"My time is past. Though I have tried for a lifetime, I have failed to attain perfect control."

"Control is not the way."

Blaylock grunted, and Galen quickly continued.

"You cannot
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