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join with the tech by gaining perfect mastery of it. The path to unity is not in imposing control. Only in sharing control."

"That way lies chaos."

"That way lies uncertainty," Galen said. "But I have learned that a little uncertainty may not end the universe, simply enrich it. My tech is a part of me. It wants what I want. Just as yours wants what you want." The truth of that resounded through him.

"I have suppressed my desires for many years. What they might be if freed, I barely know."

"You have devoted yourself to good, to the mages and their spiritual growth. The tech is a reflection of you. It knows all your thoughts, and it shares them."

Blaylock was farther above him than ever. Galen bounded up the levels, fearing that he had come too late. "All you have to do is conjure nothing. Cast a spell in which you ask the tech to do nothing. That is the way to open the door between you."

"So simple. Yet it is a solution I would never have found."

"Please. Try it."

"I have spent my entire life in the pursuit of perfect discipline, perfect control. I don't know if I can relinquish that control."

Galen stopped his climb, panting. Blaylock stood on the top tier of stone, a black figure against the blue-green sky. "Try, at least. Only in uncertainty can we gain understanding."

"How does one conjure nothing?" Blaylock lifted his stiff hand and seemed to regard it for a moment. Then he lowered it to his side. Within his black silhouette, a light began to grow, a pale yellow light, suffusing his form and radiating beyond, spreading its warmth, growing brighter and brighter until Galen had to look away.

"I understand," Blaylock said, his voice stronger, fuller. "This is what we were meant to be. This is what we will be, someday. I embrace the universe
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