Otto Kleinhund sniffed the air issuing from the trapdoor.
"You say no-one has been down here for more than 20 years? I would believe it, Master Wilhelm." He took a torch from the massive slab of a man to his right, and began to descend the rickety ladder, nearly setting his straggly beard aflame as he tried to hold the torch, while gathering his ornate robes to avoid tripping on the staircase, whose side-rail he was also attempting to grip.
"Perhaps, Kleinhund, you should drop a torch down first?" suggested the aged Master of the College of Speculative Antiquarians, a lesser-known cousin of the Guild of Historians.
"I would, Master, but the steps are made of wood and there may be parchments in the room," explained Kleinhund, after a moment's thought.
"Ah, I see, might need to fight them off, you mean? Good thinking," replied Master Wilhelm.
Kleinhund stared at him. "Parchments?" he asked.
"What? Parchments? Sorry, I thought you said trolls. Anyway... carry on." Having grown bored, Master Wilhelm wandered away, back towards the better-lit corridors of the ancient and crumbling College. He beckoned the large man who'd provided Kleinhund with his torch. "Come, Dorothy, there's a wardrobe I want you to move. I think it has a witch in it."
Kleinhund stared at the two backs slowly receding down the corridor. "Well, this is it, my old son," he said to himself, "you knew you'd be on your own in the end. When you come out you'll either be a hero to historians everywhere, or a laughing stock to any man who can write his own name." A horrid thought struck him, causing another pause. "Assuming you do come up that is. Here goes..." and he rattled down the rest of the ladder, into the musty dark.