The spike whirred into the wall, the ancient stone seemed to cry out in protest but the power of the metal's enchantment proved stronger than that of the gateway. Harald relaxed and let the gate slide down, it caught against the enchanted spike and much to the ranger's relief, it held.
"Remind me," Harold said to them all, "I don't want to leave that spike behind."
"I remind," spoke up Little Rat.
"Good," Harold nodded then looked over at Ivo. "You remind too."
"I remind, I remind," Ivo said imitating the small orc, "now let us worry about what still lies ahead."
"I don't like these doors," said Harold the first to step under the gate and into the room.
"Magic portals," Ivo offered.
"I like that even less," mumbled Harold.
The ranger was the last to step inside. He nudged a strand of silver which had sprung from the floor and eyed the axe head which lay before the portal that swirled with brown smokey tendrils. With his fingers almost brushing the broken haft he stopped and made a clicking sound with his tongue.
"Harold... Ivo, do you think this is trapped?"
The halfling gave a derisive laugh.
"Who knows in this place, but better to check and be cautious."
"Which portal did Talberth go through?" asked Ivo.
"This one," Harold pointed to the gateway in the middle that was directly opposite the corridor. "That is the one," Harold said glancing over his shoulder.
"Ivo, this axe head, did it appear enchanted?"
Ivo pondered the question as he stood before the central portal. He'd picked up a chip of stone from the floor and rolled it in his hand. "Yes, but is it trapped? As you say Harold, better to be cautious."
"Leave it alone," Harold said to the ranger. "That means you as well," he turned to Little Rat.
"No touch," the orc held up his hands and shrugged.
With a flick of his hand Ivo tossed the chip of stone into the swirling mist. It passed through the unseen barrier which kept the mist in place and sank into the cloudy depth disappearing almost at once. The stone disturbed the swirling pattern slightly but only for a moment and then the mist was flowing in unbroken curls again. Ivo breathed in deeply, the gnome considered what he'd seen then drew a knife. The blade touched the mist, he pushed in further, there was no resistance, but his fingers upon the hilt tingled. Frost covered the steel it steamed in the warmer air.
"Ivo," said Harold, "not much in this room. I did break off a bit of this silver wire. It is not pure, some alloy, I had to use my knife to cut it free."
"Good," Ivo took the wire from Harold. "I was going to try throwing my dagger through the portal, with a string attached of course, but this will be easier."
"Isn't the wire enchanted?" asked Harold.
"So is my dagger," Ivo smiled, "I'd rather risk the wire."
"I can see why. You tried your dagger already." Harold had kept an eye on the steaming blade. The frost was gone but it had left a wet sheen on the steel.
"Cold," Ivo wiped the moisture from the sides then resheathed his knife. "That mist is cold; perhaps it is cold in the room beyond."
"If Talberth went through there," the ranger nodded to the way before them, "then we will have to follow."
"Yes, but with caution, Harald," Ivo told him.
The wire went through the mist, one foot, then a second, the thief had broken off a four foot length and Ivo pushed all but the last half foot through to the other side.