Freida, who had by now removed her lantern from her pack and trimmed it to a brilliant yellow flame, said, “Truth is, Paign, I just know it is the Widow’s Cave. It’s the only explanation that makes sense to me. If this is just a hole in the side of Ruar’s Ridge, this won’t take more than a moment to explore. Otherwise…” Her voice became muffled as she turned away from the opening and began scrambling inwards, through the piled-up snow.
Since Anders was in between the lanterns carried by his friends, he pulled out a little parchment journal from his pocket in case he needed to take notes of their journey. Paign considered this almost ridiculous, expecting this trip to be short. He’d concluded that there was a small void behind the chunk of stone that must have fallen out of the rock face during a recent storm, and was now covered in snow. So he was very surprised when Freida—and her lamp—disappeared up ahead.
Dropping almost to his knees, Paign crouched to get below a nodule of rock that jutted down from the ceiling, snickering because it reminded him of the uvula at the back of his throat. Not far ahead, he could see Frieda had stopped. Her light revealed they were in a much larger opening than they had just come through. The roof rose nearly twenty feet over them, with the walls retreating into the far reaches of the lantern’s beams. Towards the back, a few stalactites dangled down. Paign could dimly see there were three corridors, or tunnels, branching off of the open hall they had just stepped into. Even though it was warm inside the chamber, he shivered.
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