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in the middle. By refusing to accept control by either side, he showed the two enemies that their manipulations would no longer work, that the younger races were no longer children to be fought over and dominated, but adults who had found another way, the way of freedom and uncertainty.

Neither took his rejection easily. Yet ultimately, they realized they had no choice. If they did not leave the younger races, they would destroy their charges. They passed, together, beyond the galactic rim, leaving the rest to live outside their control. And so the war between order and chaos ended, the cycle at last broken.

The mages had been uncertain, at first, how to react to the news. The end of the war, and the mass killings, was certainly cause for celebration, as was the departure of the mages' sworn enemy, an enemy who had tried to exterminate them. Yet the passing of the Shadows, and their knowledge, the mages considered a two-edged sword. Just as it gave them hope for the future, for a life outside the hiding place, it took that hope away. For without the Shadows' tech, their order had no future. As the Shadows passed, so would the techno-mages.

But within minutes of receiving the news, the mages had seemed to decide that celebration was the only possible reaction. They could not pretend to believe in good and support the continuation of a bloody war. Instead, they would pretend to be happy and hope that the pretense would become reality. It had been a long time since they'd had anything to celebrate, over two years.

Galen was glad to see them happy. Even if their order would end, it need not end in despair. Now that the Shadows were gone, they could go back out into the universe, and Galen could go with them. They still could do good, could heal the wounds of war,
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