1795717?token=97fc8c9f-0f29-40ae-ad89-940157c1e591 by Unknown

1795717?token=97fc8c9f-0f29-40ae-ad89-940157c1e591 by Unknown

Author:Unknown
Format: epub

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Chapter Fifteen

THE DOOR OPENED into a dark hall. If there was sunlight in the rainy season, none of it reached this place; not even through the gaps between doors and floor. The hall was a narrow thing, with floors that would have creaked at the weight of a mouse; they groaned as Jewel stepped on the boards. She reached into her pouch and pulled out the magestone that was her prized possession. Passed a shaking hand over it, speaking words of illumination. It brightened.

And the sounds from below drifted up through the floor, muted but unmistakable.

She stopped; Carver stopped as well, although he did it by once again running into her back. “Jay?” Quiet voice now, shorn of humor.

“It’s started,” she said. “We don’t have much time.”

They looked down a hall packed with small doors; each one could have opened into a closet. She counted twelve; the hall wasn’t long. At the other end, however, was a door.

She ran toward it, ignoring all the others, and heard the floor’s evidence that her companions were following. The door wasn’t locked, which was good; it was stuck, which was bad. In this weather, old doors and warped frames seldom went together well.

She tugged on it for a while, and then Carver shouldered her aside. Which would have been more comforting had he Arann’s brawn behind him. As it was, he strained at the door for a moment, and then Jewel tried to add her weight to his.

When it did open, they all fell over—because Finch was literally right behind them.

It was helpful, because while they were disentangling themselves and finding their feet, the other side of the door didn’t seem as threatening. But when they stood, they hovered in the frame for a moment, because in its fashion, it was.

It opened, not into another hall, but into a vast room; the room had rails in the center, and odd diagrams on the wall. They might have looked like paintings, but they had no frames; they were drawn on heavy parchment, something that might have once been attached to a very large cow. They covered the wall opposite the door, and in front of those drawings was a single long table with no chairs to gird it. To her left—east, west, north, and south had been swallowed—were other doors.

There was carpet here, but it was the same faded carpet that adorned the hall from the foyer. A few more footprints weren’t going to make much difference.

“Jay,” Carver said sharply, as she walked toward the far wall with its lines and its unframed drawings, squinting, waiting to see what they resolved themselves into. She gave him a quick glance. “Time?” He said, the single word urgent.

She nodded, but she walked in the wrong direction: instead of the doors that led elsewhere, which were much wider and much finer than the one they’d entered, she continued to approach the drawings. And frowned. “They’re . . . maps,” she said at last.

“What?”

“Maps. They’re supposed to be pictures that tell you where things are.



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