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will be flayed.

"You are not greater than others here, but lesser, having failed to abide by the principles of our order." Herazade pressed her palms flat against each other. "We hope that you will go forth in humility. Behave as Elric would have wanted you to behave, with a commitment to solidarity, above all. Devote yourself anew to the Circle and the Code. Do your share to make our time here as pleasant and productive as possible. That is the way back into our goodwill."

Our time here. Galen couldn't believe it. "We will not leave the hiding place, then?" This upset him far more than the reprimand.

"We shall remain here until we are certain the Shadows have truly gone and will not return. And until we are certain no servants of theirs will attempt to take their place as our masters."

Galen wondered how they could ever be certain of that while they still remained in the hiding place, and the Shadows' servants believed them dead.

Herazade stood, indicating the conversation was at an end. "While we are here, you will continue to serve us with your observations of events outside."

They studied him, anxiously, in silence, waiting for him to accept their pronouncements and leave, and he realized that underlying their callousness to those enslaved by the Shadows, underlying their reprimand, their anger, their decision to remain in hiding, was one single, overpowering force: fear.

Galen looked from one to the next as he spoke. "I am happy to aid the mages as I can. And yet, I feel I can best aid you by pointing out the truth. Remaining in the hiding place is a mistake. You operate from fear, when there is no need to fear. You fear for the future of our order, you fear the uncertainty of a universe without Shadows, you fear losing control-of the mages, of
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