2

Wordwright Sofia guided Chala to the enormous doors of the Aula. Outside the people of Oscura were assembled in a circular formation which looked like a huge wheel, divided into thirds by the colour of their cloaks.

It’s the same pattern as the Whirlstone, thought Chala. In the flickering torchlight, she saw the red cloaks of the Keepers, swirling like flames. Her older sister, Pathfinder Malita, stood with them smiling at her.

‘Wallbuilder Chala of the Artisans Guild,’ announced Wordwright Sofia.

A tall, well built man stepped forward from the throng and draped a blue-purple cloak around her shoulders.

‘I’m Wallbuilder Buski. Welcome to the Artisans Guild.’

Chala saw the expression on Malita’s face change from pride to disgust.

I won’t cry, thought Chala. She straightened her shoulders.

‘What happens next?’ she asked Buski.

‘When all the initiates have left the Aula, you go and sit with your family for the Whirlstone Feast.’ Buski placed a hand on her shoulder. His dark eyes were twinkling. ‘But for the moment, stand here with your Guild. We’re proud to have you. You look strong. You’ll make a good Wallbuilder.’

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