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It’s harder to see magic in winter, Skroder knows, when space heaters and furnace-vents have their own floating hazes to compete with the ripples in the air of sorcery at work. Neither the wine nor the candle-dim helps.

“Look, Harkins has seen Saigon. We haven’t,” says Albion, earnestly turtlenecked. “If we don’t intervene–”

“Which ‘we’ is that?” murmurs Erske.

Albion flushes, but Skroder steps in. “Well, that’s a good point. ‘We’ Americans or ‘we’ Adepts? Imagine bringing a mass invocation to bear on the insurgency.”

“Are you sure,” says Erske, “nobody has already?” Her tongue shimmers like a summertime road.