Will felt as if he was inside a stone pipe, and though the darkness was washed away, seeing the height as he looked over the railing which wound down the stairwell, fear pinched his gut.
Feeling ill, he turned around and knocked into Anala. He lurched back, his cry echoing into the void, followed by her amused giggling.
‘Boo,’ she grinned,
‘I’m not sure if I can get used to all this magick stuff,’ he panted, clutching his chest as his heart eased back into rhythm.
‘Maybe if you stopped being so uptight, you’d feel better.’ She punched him lightly on the arm, turning to the stairwell, oblivious of the pain her words had inflicted.
Gulping, Will followed, clenching the railing and looking closely for the edge of each step whilst Anala strode down happily, often two stairs at a time. Only a few steps down, he kept looking over the edge to see if they were anywhere near the bottom, to no avail.
‘How much further does it go down?’ he asked, by now wishing that he could turn back.
‘Oh, not far at all,’ she said, a satisfied edge to her voice. Much further below, Anala looked up at him, her back to the wall and stepped out.
Before his breath could form into words of protest, he froze, looking in shock at what he saw. It seemed as if Anala was standing over the gaping hole of the stairwell, and it took him a while to realise that there was no endless staircase at all. The floor was in fact an intricate painting, fooling him into believing that the shaft was more than just a short twist of a stairwell.
‘H – h – how?’ he asked, looking intently and realising that the railing gradually sloped down into the ground, and where Anala stood, only a couple of metres down, there was a draped doorway leading off to the left.
She only laughed. ‘I’m sort of hoping you never get used to it. The look on your face is magnificent,’
‘Shut up,’ he snapped moodily, reaching the floor where the illusion had been so well painted with hued oil lamps and shaded steps.
‘Ready to meet the Draíochta?’