|Ursa the Witch, as rendered for a mini by Renee Calvert|
Leaving the bard and the ranger (the player's were absent this session) to guard the still-ailing druid, Lailogan, the group returned to the Spouting Spring and then to the abandoned hermit's hut near by. Investigating it (like they hadn't done when they first passed), they found the door to be magically locked and noticed it to be unusually clean on the inside--and their was a spot under a wooden table Kairon the Warlock detected as magical.
After much dithering and some failed attempts to get in, the group finally got inside and discovered an invisible box of some sort. They were reluctant to try too hard to get it open when they couldn't see what they were dealing with, but they suspected (erroneously, it turns out) they it held the musical device they knew the witch had. They took it back to the druid's cabin for safe keeping and set up and ambush around the hut, thinking the witch would come there for the box.
At nightfall, they heard the music wafting up from the ceremonial ring and knew they were wrong. They headed toward the ring; there was now animal sounds coming from it. They hid beside the trail, and manged to get the drop on three manhounds. Erekosse the fighter fell pray to a number of bad rolls, but Waylon the frox thief more than took up the slack. Kairon took shots from cover, and Dagmar the Cleric delivered some coups de grace. They manhounds returned to human form when near death. They saved one to interrogate and tied him to a tree.
|Ursa the Witch o' the Woods by Richard Svenssen|
They wasted no time, and their first attacks are really successful. They blast her from a distance and she reels from the assault. Still, she isn't down yet and her counter-attack puts the two spellcasters to sleep. Then she steps to the side and seem's to dissipate like mist. The party looks around the ring and finds six indentical robes that must belong to the manhounds. They detect magic on the phonograph and find that only thecylinder is magical.
The shadow watches them a bit then slides off the tree into the night sky, and its dark laugh is carried away on the wind.
The group confiscats the phonograph and the wax cylinder. They scoop up the naked former manhounds as they come wandering back to the ring, looking like drunks recovering from a binge. They quickly give up their cabal of libertine gourmands and tell how they paid the witch to transform them for the hunt. The one the group left tied to the tree has had his throat slit, though, and the boat and the hunchback henchman holding their clothes and waiting for their return is gone. Ursa has made good her escape.
The group takes the captured malefactors back to Rivertown to claim their reward and again be lauded by Mayor Gladhand. They also kept the invisible chest that turned out to be the gold the gourmands were paying Ursa.