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Isham read over the letter one more time.

Please don't come. Don't waste your talents on a waste like me.

After all their other correspondence, how could he not?

Isham's power was sufficient to find the true way to the masked entrance. His knock was answered in time by a man whose presence, if not his appearance, marked him as the man he sought.

"Master Arisilde. I've come to serve you."

His eyes focused; his brows drooped. "But I said-"

But Isham pushed his way into the disaster beyond. "Master," he implored, looking around. "Should all your knowledge be lost?"