But it may be that I betrayed myself. Since Dorcastle, my ability to supress my emotions has diminished. I know feelings are showing, not in ways which commons might see, but clearly enough for Mages to spot. My elders could well have decided that I am ruined, that my contact with you has corrupted me beyond correction. ...What does it take to corrupt a Mage, anyway?I told you. They thought that you had attempted to seduce me. Perhaps they thought that you had already succeeded despite my denials that such a thing had happened.Once again Mari stared at him, her face darkening. I was under the impression that your elders thought I would try that at some future point. What did you tell them to make them think that I had already put my moves on you? Or that I had already hooked you?Hooked? Alain asked. Ensnared. Mari got the word out between clenched teeth. I told them nothing. That is the illusion they wished to believe, not thinking there could be any other reason for a female Mechanic to seek my company. Alain paused in thought. A young and attractive female Mechanic, that is.Oh right. The one with all those physical charms.Yes, Alain agreed. She gasped a laugh. I was being sarcastic again, Alain. I hope that isn't the only reason you've been attracted to me. Not the only reason anyway.You are very pleasant to look upon, Alain said and Mari's face flushed again. Had he angered her? But my elders were foolish to think physical desire alone could corrupt me. It should not be possible with all of my training, but I found that a single shadow was by far the most important part of the world illusion. That is what doomed me, so my elders were correct in thinking that you had altered my thinking. Not with your body or other physical temptation, but with who you were and the things you did. Alain made another effort to bend his lips into a smile. I will never be able to return to what I was before I met you.
Jack Campbell