Two of the thieves remain with you once you’re inside the Lair, the small, hidden door in the tavern's stockroom sliding quietly shut behind you on oiled hinges. It closes with a soft, final click!, and you shift uneasily from one foot to the other in the darkness. A moment later, the lights flutter on; dim incandescent bulbs that cast shadows over you and your two escorts. The entryway is small, with just enough room for a few people at a time to cycle through, and the battered door in front of you looks no better than the one you just entered through. It all looks different, and yet familiar at the same time.
After a moment, the small, rust-covered intercom by the door speaks. “Jedar, who’s that with you?”
“That’d be Nylessa, Cutter.” Jedar replies, his voice cheerfully sarcastic, and the other thief beside you stifles a chuckle.
“It astonishes me that you’re willing to risk standing out in the cold forever just to try my patience, Jedar.” The voice on the intercom is smooth and confident, though laced with the barest hint of impatience. “Who’s with you and Nylessa?”
You state your name and rank, a pleased thrill running down your spine at the notion of finally being home again after so many years away. The voice on the intercom is silent for a moment save for a few key-clicks, then: “Welcome back.”
The intercom shuts off, and the door in front of you unlocks quietly. Jedar gently pushes it open and the three of you step inside before the blue-haired drake shuts it again. “Don’t mind him,” he says pleasantly. “We’ve had a lot of people returning lately. The Saurian Invasion really hit us hard, and we scattered for a while.”
“Jay’s probably just cranky at being on door duty.” Nylessa says with a grin. “He usually has poor Sparky handling that; but even apprentices have to sleep sometime.”
She starts down the long, narrow corridor and the two of you follow, the hallway’s floor and walls growing cleaner and newer looking with each passing step. The initial dirt and disrepair is evidently a front to fool outsiders, and once you descend the flight of stairs to A-level, the wear and grime vanishes entirely. The Lair is still as old as it ever was, but looks to have been much better maintained in recent years. The tavern you entered from is a new addition as well, though why the Brotherhood's started running a drinking establisment is a question probably better left for another time.
“I’ll see you later, Jeddy.” Nylessa says, and gives you a smile. “Glad to have you back, hon.” She heads off, and the few people scattered in the common area glance at you, some with welcoming smiles, others with suspicious glares.
Jedar ignores the looks you’re both getting and turns to face you. “I don’t doubt you were quite familiar with the layout before the invasion, but we’ve changed a couple things since you’ve last been here. Nothing too drastic, but you might want a tour to get your bearings back before you report in to the Leader.”
You glance about the small common area, with doors lining the outside wall, each bearing a small metal plaque with the room’s number. It’s still a bit chilly, still slightly dusty, but there seems to be far more activity than the last time you visited, and a guided tour suddenly doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Your gaze shifts back to Jedar, and he looks at you quizzically before speaking.
"Are you in?"