Arbiddance dismounted and strode toward the house. The two guards parted to allow him through the door.
Through this room, he entered another... and in there sat the tunnel leading below. He descended the passage, past the little mother arch, turning left and entering the meeting hall to see Qova.
The priestess sat at the table writing on a sheet of parchment. She replaced the quill pen when the wizard entered and looked up.
"I'll need at least another hour to finish these," she said.
"We descend in two," he replied. "Be ready."
"Are you taking your smoky friend with you?"
"As much as I hate to do so, yes," he picked up a sheet and glanced at it. "Where's the Prince?"
Qova thumbed toward the collapsed room. Arbiddance decided to see for himself.
The Prince was rigging some sort of pulley car when the wizard down the new steps into this room. A sturdy oak frame dominated the area around the shaft. A triple rope came through a large pulley and spread into three strands attached to a large round platform. Arbiddance looked to the left and saw the carpenter's tools used to construct this apparatus.
"Just until you get your carpet back," the Prince smiled. "This would have been easier with a little muscle."
Arbiddance pointed. "I'm serious when I say none of the soldiers can ever come down the passage into this complex." He stopped and rubbed his nose. "Personally, I think we can hold this place against the Duke's forces... if we need to do something like that."
"Let's hope not," the Prince said as he lightly spun the platform to see if the clearance was enough. "You know, the three-sided structure is traditionally the most unstable."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Arbiddance asked.
"I mean if pressure is put on one point, the other two will suffer," the Prince sat on the edge of the shaft. "The four sided structure, however, is much more stable."
Arbiddance gazed at the fighter for a moment and then examined the platform. It was thick and broad, with plenty of room for the three of them. The rope went through the middle of the platform, through the pulley and it's locking mechanism, and down again to hold the whole thing. It looked sturdy enough.
"And now the test, which poor me," the Prince said. He hopped onto the platform, and jerked the rope to release the lock. The whole platform shuddered, but held still.
"Not too far," Arbiddance said. The Prince grinned and began to shuffle the rope upwards. The platform slowly lowered into the dark.
Qova descended into the room and stood next to the wizard. "Will that thing hold all three of us?"
"Yes, it will. It's actually quite ingenius. We'll delay our descent for four hours so he can rest a little."
"Not too long," she replied. "I'm thirsty for blood."
Arbiddance glanced at her quizzically. "We all are."