THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT.
The words tumbled through Sophie’s mind as she raced up the spiral staircase, counting her steps, trying to guess which door to take.
The first handle she tried was locked.
Another opened into darkness.
A third revealed a path that glowed with eerie blue balefire sconces.
The floor shook as she hesitated and threads of dust slipped through the ceiling, scratching her throat and making it hurt to breathe.
She followed the flames.
Back and forth the halls snaked—a careful maze, designed to deceive. Swallow. Separate.
The tremors grew with every step, the shifting subtle but unmistakable.
And too far away.
No one else would feel the ripples swelling, like waves gathering speed.
They were too focused on their celebration.
Too caught up in their imagined victory.
The ground rattled harder, the first fissures crackling the
This is what they want…