Finding themselves in a strange, new world, Red, Clodius, Gregor and Wu Bao made their way down the grassy slope to the nearest village, Larm.
All felt slightly different from their magical journey; Gregor, in particular, felt physically changed as though his orcish heritage had receeded slightly, and his communication with his god had become more distant.
The party settled themselves in at Larm's one tavern, The Borderland, and over the next few days began finding their feet and settling in to the community.
Among the many strange things they discovered about their new world was its odd, occasional similarities to the one from whence they had come - such as the name of the country they were now in was Tekralh, where back 'home' it had been the name of the continent of their homeland.
Chatting with locals in the tavern they learned of the nearby "haunted" castle, White Rabbit Castle, which had once stood as part of Tekralh's frontline against the evil creatures that lived in the adjacent borderlands (also known as the Badlands) and beyond.
They heard how, a century ago (about fifty or sixty years before Larm was founded) the Fist Of T'Ao (the ominous, supernatural cloud that keeps the "evil lands" permanently enshrouded in darkness) had rolled forward and swept over White Rabbit Castle.
Nothing more had been heard from the castle since, but the inhabitants of Larm had plenty of rumours to spin about the influence of The Great God T'Ao and the magics that must be hidden in the cellars and dungeons of the overrun castle.
While preparing to head off and explore the castle, Red was approached by a nervous halfling, Jabo Furfoot, who offered his services as a torchbearer - and a map drawn by his grandfather. Jabo's "grandpappy" had run errands to and from the castle back in his youth and had drawn a crude map of the interior to find his way around the courtyard and its environs.
The party made their way to the castle and, at first sight, it seemed as deserted as they had been told. Not expecting to find much in these empty buildings, after initially exploring quite cautiously, they split up to try and find a way into the inner courtyard or even an entrance that would lead underground.
While alone, both Clodius and Wu Bao heard strange whispering voices; Clodius was quite freaked out and didn't really understand what was going on. Red and Jabo headed for the huge gates of the inner gatehouse, where Red thought he heard a noise or maybe someone speaking. By the time everyone else arrived he was convinced they were not alone in the castle.
A belief that proved to be correct when Wu Bao was felled by an arrow from a kobold up on the batrtlements of the inner keep.
Having pressed thesemselves to the gates for safety, Red and Gregor heroically charged out, with the intention of turning and firing (Red with his crossbow and Gregor with a sling) at the kobold... only to see ten faces and ten bows shooting arrows at them.
Both were struck by the tiny arrows, although Gregor still managed to take a kobold down with a well-aimed stone, and eventually Red suggested he head back to the original gate towers and try to make it up onto the wall, with Clodius, to assault the kobolds from that direction.
Gregor and Clodius made it through the hail of arrows to the tower, but before bursting out and attacking the kobolds from the flank, Gregor enchanted his mighty scimitar so it glowed magically.
The kobolds fled in horror at the sight and sound of the roaring, tattoed man armed with a glowing blade bursting out at them. He managed to catch up with a couple and butcher them mercilessly. He and Clodius pursued the kobolds around the walls to a far tower, then waited for their comrades to catch up.
Descending the tower, and following a very clear path left by the kobolds, they headed down into the castle cellars; their way lit by Gregor's "magic" sword. Almost immediately they stumbled into the kobold's lair and a pitch battle ensued, and was soon joined by the kobold's leader and his burly bodyguards.
Gregor was a whirlwind of death and destruction, his skin and clothes becoming increasing caked in kobold blood, guts and internal organs as he carved a swathe of death through them.
Red took on the kobold chieftain; a duel that lasted surprisingly longer than either side expected until eventually the weight of the entire party - having killed the other kobolds - forced the chieftain back into the room he had emerged from. With a final, telling blow, Red slew the leader and everyone paused to catch their breath.
At this point, Wu Bao and Jabo, bringing up the rear, pointed out the apparent kobold shaman that had come into the first room, behind them, with a large, red frog by his side.
Red and Gregor slammed the door shut behind them and everyone thought they could relax... until they realised they were now in a room with half-a-dozen angry female kobolds and half-a-dozen sobbing baby kobolds - all rather upset that their husbands, fathers, uncles and friends were dripping off of Gregor and Clodius...
[Illustration from Larm, by Brave Halfling Publishing]
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