After being stymied by the pool at the bottom of the eastern stairs, the party decides to close things up and backtrack to the other stairs, hoping for drier ground.
"I'm telling you I'm not going swimming! Come on, back up the stairs." Durego sounds a bit peeved.
"Just a second, let's close this up again, and try to clean it up so we can tell if someone else comes through," says Raúguey. He and Mordikarr shove the resistant doors closed.
"Well no way to cover those tracks," mutters Rawon, eying the party's many footprints in the room, and on the stairs. He watches as Raúguey tries to smooth the mud at the doors, then intervenes. "Look, you're just making more of a mess. Just draw a line in the mud along the base of the door. It won't be noticed, and if it's wiped out when we come back, we'll know the doors were opened.
Ingvild gives an admiring nod from the base of the steps. "Good idea. I'm headed back up."
The party tromps up the steps, back into Cross Hall, through the west double-doors, and then south down the other staircase. Down and down and down, sixty feet of gray stone stairs leading to a small landing with an open iron-bound door to the south.
"That wasn't open before!" hisses Durego.
"Let's check it! says Raúguey, pressing forward.
"What about the hole in the wall?" asks Dagmarten.
"What hole?" says Raúguey, already in the passage beyond the door with Mordikarr. "Hey there's a statue here! A man in mail. Pretty nice looking stuff. Big through."
Mordikarr looks down the short hall, which runs off to the west, with another door, this one closed, in a small alcove in the north wall. "Stone man there too."
Maro peers into the hole in the wall. It's a narrow opening, too narrow for even Locky to squeeze through, but it widens out beyond the wall. Five feet or so in a heavy cloth hangs across the opening, obstructing further sight. "What do you make of this Ingvild?" he asks the thief, who is looking in as well.
"Bad news," he mutters.
"I think I see more of those holes around the corner here," calls Durego. By now the party has filtered forward, with Mordikarr, Durego, and Raúguey in the hall, Ingvild and Tesso at the door, Maro near the wall opening, Dagmarten, and Ohwatoo on the bottom step, and Rawon and Locky a bit further up. Rawon has his attention on the stairs up, and on his ever-present flask of course.
"Careful, I think those are arrow slits," says Ingvild.
"Let's check these out Mordikarr." Raúguey approaches the nearest opening.
"What this on wall?" asks Mordikarr to no one in particular.
Durego glances his way and can just make out a pattern of dark smears on the gray stone. "I don't know, maybe Ohwatoo can figure it out. Careful Raúguey, you don't know what's in there!" He moves to Raúguey's side as the fighter reaches through the slot, feeling around for anything on the floor or wall.
"Maybe there's a switch or lever or something. I..."
A high pitched but muffled shout sounds from nearby. Nearby to everyone. Instinctively Raúguey yanks his arm out of the hole, and he sees movement in the shadows beyond. The cloth billows and shifts, and a small figure leaps into view from around the wall's edge, crossbow at the ready!
Maro sees something in the opening near him too, and he quickly ducks aside, back to the wall. "Watch out!" he cries, waving back the others on the stairs.
"I knew this was too easy!" says Ingvild, drawing his sword and stepping into the hall.
Mordikarr, Durego, Rawon, Ingvild, and Tesso are in the E to W hall, with Mordikarr near the W end, Durego and Raúguey near the first hole in the wall, Ingvild and Tesso near the E door.
Maro is in the little landing, wedged into the SW corner. Dagmarten and Ohwatoo are on the bottom steps, Locky and Rawon slightly higher.