Without warning, the floor heaved and roared.
Elthán threw one arm back to brace herself and curled the other protectively around Josie. Crying out in panic, those who were standing, fell; those who were seated on benches – including the Guild Masters – toppled off their seats. Shouts of confusion were drowned as the walls of the chamber flexed like a tapestry unfurling. Every surface shook for minutes that seemed like hours. Crystal sconces fractured; some fell off their housing, plunging the chamber into unfamiliar shadows. A crack tore open in the wall behind the dais and raced into the room, screaming as it rent the earth, dividing the dais in two and causing the Guild Masters to scramble out of the way. Everywhere people tumbled over each other to get away from the opening chasm.
As suddenly as the earthquake had started, it stopped. The break in the floor slammed shut with a boom, showering rock splinters into the air and over everyone in the chamber. For some seconds there was absolute silence as people held their breaths in anticipation. A large sconce behind the dais fell and shattered into thousands of pieces, spilling bright drops of phosphorescent light over the floor.
The WhiteŌne’s Song flooded the room, the liquid sound soft and comforting. People began to weep with released tension. When the Song withdrew, people surged to their feet, looking to the Guild Masters for explanation.
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