Falfysson gives his minks commands to "Fault!" and to "Cut!" - whereupon the minks cease to snarl and hiss at the party.
With the minks and Falfysson leading the way, the party following behind, and the dwarves (a little concerned about the trustworthiness of this new "ally") taking up the rear, complacent and expressing themselves in no more than long looks of doubt, pass through the door at the top of the hall.
This door opens directly into a mostly verticle cavern, filled with magnificent stalactites, many of them 20 foot spears, no more than six to eight inches wide, draping from the ceiling. The magnificent space is like the third part of a corkscrew - turning 120 degrees as it ascends up at least 300 feet - it is perhaps, at its widest, 100 feet in diameter. There is a great bonfire burning some 50 feet horizontally, and 40 feet vertically, up and above you. This fire lights the whole cavern.
A path follows the left side wall from the door, ten feet wide. You might guess the path leads to the fire, but you cannot see all of its route. The path does, right by the door where you enter, overlook a deep, black hole on the party's right, 30 feet across. Falfysson releases his minks, and both plunge into the blackness - the splash of water proves that the hole is a well. Upon closer examination you can barely detect a surface some twelve, perhaps fifteen feet down. This well is the bottom of the cavern; there are no flat surfaces except for the path and the platform above you where the fire is. All else is the verticle walls of the cavern, sloped anywhere from 45 to 90 degrees, the latter particularly true of the heights at the very top.
Above and beyond the fire, you can perceive some 20 feet of stairwell that winds along the wall, nearly 200 feet up the side of the cavern. It has a sheer drop of 90 feet, onto pointed stalagmites below.
Falfysson leads you steadily to the fire - he warns you to watch your step, to stay on the path and to beware of dark places. "There are holes all about, that you would not see until you fell to your deaths," he says. "The stone off the path will give without warning, so do not trust it, and take care of places where water has made the rock slippery."
He leads you as far as the fire, where there is a small stone cave. The fire, you can see, seems to burn from a cleft in the rock itself, though it has fueled with coal as well. A massive pile of a ton and a half of coal, with a shovel, fills a crevice close by the fire.
Falfysson provides a key, then shows you the way to the bottom of the stairs that will take you to the Stinger's Tower. "I will not go with you," he says. "I will feed my minks and slip out from the passages a way that only I know. At the top of the stairs you will find a door - open it silently, for there are men-at-arms in the tower."