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The Guardian
4. Up and down

"I detect no danger behind the door," said Rhissa after they (with no success) tried to open the secret door in the yard.

They both were studying the door; they had found the thinnest lines separating it from the rest of the wall, but alas ! The door didn't move even a hair. Strangest of all, there were no locks, no magic or other traps, - just a carefully hidden part of the wall.

"I doubt we can break it," Rhissa remarked after trying to move it by force. "This door should open very easily. Let's think. What could force it open ?"

"Special key," Nlaminer replied at once. "Some device that could unlock whatever mechanism holds it shut. But I scanned the door; it has no definite source of magic emanation. It emanates magic uniformly, no places with greater or less radiation." He touched the door and stood listening to the sensations. The door seemed to be alive; as if it waited for some polite word.

"If only," Nlaminer said and Rhissa's eyes shone for a moment with red light. "If only..." He touched the door again and exclaimed, with the known sensation of the discovered clue "Maybe I will ask this door to open !"

'This is your special ability', Rhissa whispered far beyond his hearing, after the door slowly opened, allowing them to enter. 'No hidden traps can stop you'. She made a sacred gesture, asking for guidance. Though no reply came to her, it calmed her agitation. The clearness of mind cost dearly now.

They entered and, after several paces, they found another staircase.

This one was spiral. Nlaminer led the way, weapon ready, listening and alert. Rhissa followed; her staff glimmered again, though she paid no attention. No hostile life was around; they descended into a vast and brightly lit hall filled with stands, bookshelves and other things. The steps creaked under them; three glowing spheres shone under the ceiling of the dome-like room and provided light enough to read.

"A laboratory !" Nlaminer exclaimed as he studied the surroundings briefly.

"I hope we find something useful here," Rhissa replied and hid her staff in the sheath on her back. "Nothing harmful... at least while we do not eat or drink anything."

The door closed softly after they had descended. They both heard the click and exchanged looks.

"Well, we will find our way out," Nlaminer said carelessly, fascinated by mysterious books and devices all around him. "Let's study all of this."

They began to browse through apparata and books, potions and miscellaneous reagents, through many interesting things. All of these were set up in some unknown system... though there WAS some system here. Rhissa began searching through alchemical paraphernalia and was completely lost to anything else. Nlaminer took a book labeled "History" from a shelf and began looking through it.

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-- mecenat --

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