"A wonderful trick," the Prince observed as smoke flowed from under the iron door and back into Arbiddance's bottle. "What's its name?"
"As if," the wizard smirked, replaced the cap, and shoved the bottle into his side pouch. All eyes turned to the open middle door.
Hern led the way by shoving the door wider. Beyond, they saw a hallway that extended perhaps 60 feet and then ended. The walls, ceiling, and floor of the hallway were intricately carved on a level that spoke of obsession. No other doors were apparent. The four stepped in.
"I'm so glad you invited me on a little expedition into the unknown," the Prince murmured. "I'll try not to disappoint."
"I'd be more impressed if you kept the chitchat to a minimum," Qova glanced at the Prince. "I mean... you usually have something intelligent to say, but your idle talk makes me nervous." Even as she said it, it occurred to her that perhaps he was nervous as well, and that's why he babbled. Useful information, that, she thought to herself.
They stepped into the hallway and looked around. Arbiddance and Hern looked closely at the carvings on all surfaces and then looked at each other with a grim smile.
It was as if 100,000 drunken worms had decided to mess up someone's cement job. Almost impossible to trace one particular carved line very far before losing it, the depth of detail staggered the eye and made focusing impossible.
"Is someone hiding something?" Arbiddance asked aloud. "We should search carefully for secret doors here."
The four spent the next hour scouring in detail every square foot. In the end, after exhausting themselves, two were found at the end of the hallway.
"One leads on, and one leads to the left," Hern observed. "Now which way do we go?"
"I have an idea the one on the left ultimately leads behind our lair," said Arbiddance. "Let's try the one ahead."
The search had revealed a small swirl pattern that depressed and released the door. A smell of dank air and dust assailed their nostrils. They looked through the doorway and saw a smoother-stoned hallway extending on out of their light with a side passage on the right.
"Here we go," Herne smirked at his companions and crossed through the doorway.