Behind the door, a chamber so long it has a horizon. Its stone is older than continents; it was never built, but cut from the earth, a victory of vacuum over matter. This is where the magic happens.

Nobody can live in here, except the elves, and their life is not one we would value. It involves a great deal of hammering, stitching and soldering, kneading and notching. It means an ankle bound to a workbench with silver, a wrist shackled to another’s wrist.

There was one who got out, once: number nine. The elves do not speak of it.

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