This game is for and dedicated to the RABIES 5 crowd, without whom we would not have found nearly as much crap in those bushes. I sort of recall promising a one-shot game, so here's my lunchtime's worth of brain-spaff.

Introduction

Throughout the afternoon they dragged item after item out of the hedge – traffic cones, shopping trolleys, chairs, everything up to and including a kitchen sink. They laughed and joked as they ventured further through the wilderness beyond their garden, finding more and more lost things.

At long last, after fighting through undergrowth and following twisting half-formed paths, they made it to the river. Do not for a moment imagine any mighty watercourse – this was nothing but a tiny stream, barely more than a flowing puddle. But still, it was running water. And for reasons long forgotten by humanity, running water was Important.

They jumped the river easily, but as they touched the opposite bank, the world lurched. Not to the side, nor forward or backward, but somehow through. Someone whacked reality's contrast setting up to maximum, lighting the evening sky up a lurid purple and turning leaves a colour of green that did not belong in any moral and upstanding electromagnetic spectrum.

And no longer were they alone in the forest beyond the hedge. All around them stood hideous creatures, three feet tall at most, and what they lacked in height they made up for in length of nose, evilness of grin, and sharpness of axe.

“They're here!” shouted one, and an eerie cackling sound started up amongst the other creatures.

“Finally!” said another, tighening his grip on his axe.

“Well then, humans,” said the one with the red cap, which they supposed probably made him the leader. “Here's the deal. You've taken our stuff, and debts must be repaid. We'll take you!”

The cackling and laughing reached a crescendo.

“We'll eat human flesh toni-” Thunk.

Way back in the crowd, the creature who had spoken toppled forward slowly. The shaft of a silver arrow protruded from his back.

Silence fell, and was shortly followed by three more arrows, felling creatures ever nearer to the red-hatted one. A horn called out in the distance. Then, the panic began.

“Shit!” shouted the leader. “Hunt!”

The creatures scattered, diving into bushes and dashing down burrows and climbing over one another, and within but a few seconds they had all but disappeared.

A minute passed in stunned silence before into the clearing came a woman dressed all in green, riding a pale doe. A silver-embossed bow and quiver hung over each of her shoulders, neatly solving that question. She glared at the group for a moment, and sighed.

“Humans,” she said, in a voice that ought to have belonged to a farmer's wife twice her size. “Well well well. It's been a while. Thompson!”

A voice responded from amid the trees. “Yes?”

“Inform her ladyship. We'll be returning to the castle.”

“Certainly.”

The woman seemed to address the group again, despite never having shifted her gaze from them.

“Humans, you will follow me.”

“Um.” One of the group found the courage to speak up. “I mean, thanks for saving us and all, but we'd really better be heading back, so…”

He turned, ready to jump back across the stream. But no longer was it a stream – it was a river, wide and fast-flowing as the Amazon. On the opposite bank, a couple of goblins patted their axes and shook their heads.

“Oh.”

“Exactly. Now, follow.”

“Not like we've got a lot of choice.”

“See? Now you understand.”

“You can call me Rosie, by the way,” the woman said as she led the humans into the forest. “You can save your introductions for when you meet Her Ladyship.”


Characters

Lady Deathbunny

A noble Faerie, Lady Deathbunny presides over all things connected to the demise of rabbits, including by unfortunate coincidence, RABIES events. With a fondness for black and long rabbit ears atop her head, she could be the poster girl for any number of perkygoth-oriented fashion labels. At the young age of 150, she considers the War on Goblins (and the Causes of Goblins) to be an irritating nuisance and a distraction from the important things in life, i.e. boys and listening to The Cure.

Not-that-old-thankyouverymuch Rosie

Brought from the human world as a mature woman to be a midwife to Her Ladyship's mother, Rosie remained in Arcadia to be Her Ladyship's nanny. Though gifted with the body of an elven queen, she retains the voice she had as a human – a voice that has a commanding effect on children… and adults. Not forgetting livestock. Possibly also major planetary bodies, though the need has not yet arisen.

Thompson

Thompson is Her Ladyship's butler. He is frequently heard but never seen, which is in part due to years of practice at his job, and partly due to the Leet Ninja Skills that form a compulsory course at butlering school.

Red Cap

Leader of the Hobgoblins, his hat is drenched in something red – human blood, raspberry coulis, no-one's ever been brave enough to ask.

Hobgoblins

Nasty, brutish creatures, the hobgoblins are currently at war with the rest of Arcadia, whom the goblins refer to as “Them poncy-arse prissy fucking bastards”. They are close cousins of the Gnomes, though if you had a hobgoblin in your garden instead, he would fashion an improvised weapon from his fishing rod and you'd wake up the next morning to find your cat in seven pieces.