Their expedition led them down into the rooms formerly occupied by kobolds, but these now appeared to be deserted and their hunt for clues to the location of the lost temple only unearthed a giant statue of a knight with the symbol of Thaxon (a chalice) on his shield.
The trio headed off into a long, winding tunnel and it may have taken them an hour or so to eventually find some more doors.
Without thinking, the foolhardy adventurers went through the door straight ahead, into a short corridor with another door at the end, and immediately fell victim to a cruel trap. Two collapsed from posion gas and one was struck down by a scything blade from the wall. Bernard managed to stay alive for a while, attempting to force the doors at either of the corridor - but to no avail.
Slowly the darkness embraced him and he knew no more...
Sometime later another reckless trio of adventurers came upon the castle, via the village of Larm. A steppes woman called Irena, looking for a mystical herb associated with the forgotten god Thaxon, a gruff, zealous priest Father Melvin The Smiter and the child thief Tom.
Caution was their watchword as they explored the ground floor of the castle; Irena being slightly spooked by the strange whisperings they heard in some buildings (and despite attempts by the party to communicate with these voices, they heard no more).
Father Melvin had refused to enter the chapel to Thaxon in the castle courtyard, but Irena and Tom managed to topple over the altar before continuing on their way.
Carefully making their way along the battlements and through the inner keep, the groupd eventually found the staircase down into the underworld and began to explore.
At first they discovered very little, passing through rooms already cleared by previous adventurers (although unknown to them), until they entered a side room where a skeleton was collapsed over a locked chest. Pushing the skeleton aside Tom tried to pick the lock and was fried by some form of magical energy. Brought round by Father Melvin's healing hands, Tom watched Irena try to shatter the lock with her small club before trying to pick the locks again.
Once more the young thief was rendered unconscious by the magically trapped lock, but he had managed to pop the lock - revealing an elaborately engraved gold key, which Irena pocketed.
Father Melvin and Irena decided now was a good time to rest up (so Melvin could pray for more miracles to restore Tom to full health), but couldn't decide where to pitch camp. Deciding against the great outdoors, because of the perpetual cloud that hangs over the region, and ruling out the chapel (because of Father Melvin's aversion), they sought the old tavern in the 'village quarter' of the castle.
A derelict, gutted building, the old tavern seemed a sensible choice until they started to make camp and disturbed a frighteningly monstrous beetle from its nest. Irena and Melvin attacked the beetle, but it soon brought the Father down leaving Irena to face it alone.
The warrior from the steppes fought bravely, delivering much damage to the tough brute, but eventually she too died bleeding under the pincers of death!