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walls. Across the chamber and far above, on one of the balconies, a flash of movement caught his attention-John, the Eye revealed. Even farther above, the cavern's towers, even higher, the great skylight, and beyond it, a falling point of light, like a shooting star, universal source of curiosity and wonder, Kell's symbol for the techno-mages.

The White Star would finish his task. He need only wait, and soon it would be over.

Yet something within him cried out for life. Did he have to die? They were just beginning to understand. There was so much more to learn, and they could learn it together. Galen didn't know if the thoughts were his or the tech's, but it didn't matter.

He didn't have to be a monster anymore. Whatever purposes the Shadows had designed him for, he had his own now. Could he not fulfill them?

In the hiding place, the rest of the mages struggled and fought and died. He could teach them what he had learned. He could help them to free their tech, to become one with it. The tech shared his desire.

The shooting star plunged downward, its brilliance shining through the dusty atmosphere, spreading a growing radiance through the cavern, casting Morden's shadow across Galen.

Morden stopped firing, looked over his shoulder to find the source of light. His head whipped back around to Galen, his face alive with surprise and, perhaps, relief. The rifle dropped to the ground.

Galen had thought that neither of them would escape the Shadows' influence, except in death. Morden had sworn to serve them for as long as he could. Yet perhaps, if the Shadows were defeated, destroyed, Morden could finally be free.

Perhaps they both could be.



* * *



Exactly as Justin had told her, John came out from the side passage into the tunnel where Anna
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