We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it ~ Tennessee Williams (3/26/1911 to 2/25/1983) a major American playwright of the 20th century who moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee", the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948. Quote from The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.
"Ahhh! my eyes!" Letta the halfling thief cried. "Hold still" Suri Cruz told her friend, grasping the female halfling by the shoulders. Suri opened her canteen and poured a copious amount of water in Leeta's face, attempting to wash the frog man mucus away. Leeta used her fingers to scrape off the rest of the goop and Suri doused the area with a bit more liquid. "That really stings" Leeta complained. "The mucus seems to be slightly acidic" Suri remarked. "Your eyes and skin are a little red, but you should be OK".
Suri turned and scanned the area, looking for William. He was crouching down next to the treasure chests, furiously scooping gemstones into his open knapsack. His gear was lying in a heap where he had dumped it (to make room in his pack). "What the hell are you doing William?" Suri demanded, upset that William did not seem at all concerned that Rutgar had just been killed. "Those Croakers are coming back with reinforcements. We have to get the hell out of here". "How does he know that?" Leeta asked. "William possesses the earwig of understanding, a magical item that translates all foreign tongues heard into one the wearer understands".
"Neat" Leeta remarked. "When they first entered the room they were all yelling die human scum, then when the remaining two ran away they vowed vengeance and promised we would die in agony. They also said they'd be back soon with the rest of their tribe", William explained, summing up everything the Caecilanoids had said, all the while continuing to scoop gems into his knapsack.
"Well, then we have to go" Suri concluded. Suri ran toward William, grabbed a box of the metal vials and stuck it in her knapsack, then stuffed a few handfuls of precious stones into her pockets. Leeta did the same. "OK, let's go" Suri announced. "No, wait" William demanded. "We can't leave the remaining chests unopened! There may be magical items inside". Everyone knew the value of a single magical item could be more than that of all the gold and gems combined.
But there was no time to ponder that, because just then the remaining four companions heard the shrieks and guttural growling of the returning frog-like humanoids. From the sound of it their numbers were great. "There is no time" Suri cried, grabbing hold of William's arm in an attempt to drag him to his feet. "Get over here now Leeta!" William demanded. But Leeta was moving in the direction of the door.
Damn her, William thought, deciding to attempt to smash open the lock on a fourth chest using the hilt of his sword. Suri and Joshua looked on in stunned silence as William bashed the lock, which finally gave way. When the destroyed lock dropped to the ground the lid of the chest popped open with great force and a metal rod shot up, almost stabbing William squarely in the face. After jumping back to avoid the rod William peered into the chest and found it to be completely empty.
William let out a loud swear, but his voice was drowned out by the sound of rock grinding on rock. "A booby trap!" Joshua shouted. Both he and Suri turned and ran, but took only a few steps before a huge slab of solid stone approximately 6 feet high and 4 feet wide dropped from the ceiling and landed with a enormous boom right in front of the door they had entered through. In addition to sealing off the exit the stone also squashed Leeta who happened to be standing there, about to step over the threshold.
"Oh my Gods!" Suri screamed in horror as Leeta was flattened like a bug under the heel of a boot. Approaching the huge rock Suri and Joshua saw a pool of sticky red blood flowing like molasses from underneath. Leeta's fingertips could be seen protruding from the edge of the slab. "I bet she blames me" William thought, not saying anything. He had likely just saved the lives of everyone (except Leeta) by blocking the Croakers from getting in. But he knew it unlikely that either of his remaining two companions would show him any appreciation.
"Don't you have some magic spell you can use to open the remaining chests?" William asked an in-shock Suri. Getting no response, he repeated the question, this time louder. "No, I don't!" Suri exclaimed angrily, her voice cracking as tears streamed down her face. "You need to stop your blubbering and help me find another way out of here, or this cavern will be our tomb!", William chastised the magic user. Suri didn't respond. She was too upset by the death of her friend, but she did realize William was right about them being trapped.
"I have a spell for detecting secret doors", Suri eventually replied. "But it won't disarm any traps that may be present. Keep William away from the chests", Suri added speaking to Joshua. She was worried that William would trigger another trap. Then the magic user walked the perimeter of the room, making sure there were no doors that were detectable by normal means. There did not appear to be any way out except the way they entered. Meanwhile a loud pounding could be heard on the wall next to the sealed-off door. Were the Caecilanoids attempting to tunnel their way in?
"I think they're trying to tunnel their way in" William declared. "Quite please while I cast my spell", Suri commanded. Suri moved her hands in an intricate pattern, muttered a few arcane words, then threw some chalk dust into the air. The dust hung there unnaturally, then drifted toward the back wall. Eventually the dust settled on the wall, resulting in the appearance of a rectangular outline that looked like someone had drawn it there. "So, that's the secret door?" William asked.
"Yes", Suri confirmed. "Then open it" William demanded, not knowing what the hell Suri was waiting for. Suri placed her hands in the center of the chalk outline of the secret door. Pushing hard produced no results. She looked around for a knob, a latch, or some other means of opening the exit but found none. "How do we open it?" William inquired. He finished filling his knapsack with gems and attempted to hoist it onto his shoulders. Unable to do so he drug it over to where Suri and Joshua were standing at the rear of the chamber.
"Out of the way" William said, rudely shoving Suri. William then repeated her actions, but the door did not budge. "You're sure this actually is a door?" William asked, eyeing the chalk outline with suspicion. "Of course" Suri replied. "Then how the bejesus do we unlock it?" a stymied William exclaimed. "Well, without the skills of Leeta the only method of opening the door remaining would be by magical means". "Ah, ha" William grunted. "Then get on with it" he insisted, turning an accusing eye to Suri.
"As I said when you asked me to open the chest, I don't have the appropriate spell memorized" Suri explained. "Why the blazes not?" a frustrated William sputtered. "I may have a scroll" Joshua interjected. Everyone turned their attention to the half-eleven cleric. Joshua removed his knapsack and, after setting it on the floor of the cavern, started rummaging through the contents. "Here it is", Joshua declared, withdrawing a wooden tube from his belongings. Joshua uncorked the tube and, after tapping the other end, a rolled up piece of parchment was produced. "A knock spell" he said, unrolling the yellowed paper and handing it to Suri.