As the group discusses the plan for getting down in the hole, Saurabh speaks up, "I think Ingvild has a good idea. Let's save the levitation for escape, not for getting down. We have a rope ladder, and these rocks are big enough to serve as a secure tie-off. Use a length of rope to suspend the ladder from the rocks, cover the exposed parts with some of the debris here, and get moving." [Recall that at least some of the previous room occupants have used the crevice as a disposal chute.]
Durego agrees with Saurabh's plan, and no one else voices any serious objections though a few people are unhappy with leaving such a clear sign that someone went down the crevice.
Meanwhile... Ohwatoo has moved over to the bug room door and opened it. Peering inside with his continual light stone, he sees the hall floor is wet and muddy, and there are many small prints and drag marks visible. He's about to squat down for a closer look when a loud CHIRP, near at hand catches his attention. He looks toward the sound and sees an enormous black bug crouched on a crooked flagstone. "Blast!" he cries, fumbling for his dart. CHIRP! A second call from the other side of the passage marks the position of another, slightly smaller bug, and that's enough for the mage. He pulls the door shut muttering, "nope, nope, nope!" and rejoins the others.
"Had to mess with the bugs, didn't you?" says Ingvild.
"I forgot they were there," says the mage.
"Bugs?" asks Grendor.
Rawon describes the huge cricket-like bugs that attacked the party on one of their earlier trips into the maze, and the many tunnels and holes leading away from the rooms that provided shelter for more.
"Guess we won't be using that door as an escape route, eh?" says Strom, before he clambers down the rope ladder.
The descent goes off without a hitch (except for the half-hitch used to secure the ladder). The group finds itself in a five-foot corridor that extends north and south, with rotted tapestries hanging on the east wall north and south of the crevice. There's a door about 30 feet north of the descent and a bend to the east about 35 feet to the south. A faint, smoky smell hangs in the air, and Ingvild, Maro and Rawon can hear faint scuffling, shuffling sounds nearby.
"I guess that's what Locky heard," whispers Ingvild. He points to the two tapestries. "I think those just cover openings in the wall. Let's check one out." The party falls into formation and moves south. Grendor, Raúguey and Strom move past the tapestry and peer around the corner into another length of five-foot corridor. Ingvild peers past the tapestry into a short passage that ends in another tapestry. "Let me check this out. Cover me," he says, disappearing behind the wall-hanging. He returns quickly. "There's a pretty big room beyond, and some kind of railing around a huge pit in the center of the room. The noise is coming from down there. What's around the corner?" The last question directed at the fighters.
"More passage, at least 30 feet. Looks like another tapestry on the wall too," answers Grendor. "I can't be sure, but I think I hear noises from here too."
"Before we move on we should check the other tapestry behind us," says Durego.
Ingvild nods agreement and moves back, repeating his scouting performance. "Same deal," he whispers, then, "May as well check the other too. Come on." He moves up to the tapestry around the corner, which is little more than moldy rags hanging from a rotten wooden rod, and peeks inside again. When he comes back, he says, "Yep, same room. There's something that looks like a cage up at the north end, but other than that," he shrugs. "It's dark and smells burnt. I can still hear whatever it is down below."
As the thief has been scouting, the others have looked further down the hall. The narrow corridor bends again, back to the north, with a door on the east wall. There is another tapestry around the corner, no doubt leading to the same big chamber, and the corridor continues beyond, into the darkness.