When last we left our zero-level schlubs, they had rescued Lilya Jormal, the Innkeep's daughter and snuck her back into town. Unfortunately, their heroics would bear gruesome fruit. Later that night, The Hound would strike the town. The victims were a fisherman and his family, all of whom were slaughtered. Their home had been ripped asunder. Some members of the party decided to investigate.
When they arrived on the scene, the found Sylle Ru, the Yamash's councilor already at work, attempting to discover more about the beast. Harris (the aspiring apprentice wizard, hereafter knows as "Harris Patter") decided she would seek wisdom from him. She inquired what he was about. He answered her gruffly, asking her who she was, and why she wanted to know. She volunteered her name, and desire to be a wizard. He seemed unimpressed. So, she continued to pester him. Soon, her incessant questioning annoyed him past all endurance. "You want something to do, then?" he asked. "Fetch me my aura stretcher!"
Harris, not knowing much about magic, and never having worked in the construction trades, did not realize that he had sent her on a wild goose chase. [Authorial aside: Similar to when I was asked, by one of the carpenters on a construction job, to fetch a "joist stretcher" from my uncle. My uncle, upon hearing my question, fetched a toilet plunger, attached an electrical junction box to it, and told me to, "Tell him I said to shove this up his ass."] In any case, she soon realized the ruse, but returned to find the councilor gone. However, she would not be forgotten, oh no...
Other members of the party, though, sought out the witch, Ymae. They arrived at her squalid hut to find an old woman weaving golden thread from the flames of her cooking fire. Surely she must be quite powerful, both to accomplish such a feat and to avoid the wrath of the Temple of Luz (which abhors sorcery and witchcraft). After speaking to Ymae for a bit, she offered that she might have a way to make the Hound vulnerable to mortal weaponry, but there would be a price: One of the characters would have to marry her. After some discussion, someone agreed to do it. She rewarded them with a rope made of corpse hair, all magicked up good, and (supposedly) what they needed to get the job done.
About this time, the Yamash, Sylle Ru, and the Yamash's body guard descended on the town square. Clearly, the Hound had taken its revenge on Hirot the night before, leading Sylle Ru to proclaim that the sacrifices had not been accepted for some reason. Investigation led to the truth of the matter. It would seem that, in the absence of the PCs, Lilya's presence in the inn had been discovered. So, her life would remain forfeit. Even worse, another sacrifice would be selected in the lottery. If there was any doubt whatsoever, at this point, that the lottery was rigged, it was dispelled. The Yamash selected a name (among which were all of the party's names). "Harris Potter!" he proclaimed, and Sylle Ru smiled nastily at the lass. Lilya and Harris were quickly corralled and led away until such time as they would be taken to the standing stones.
Also, in an act of kindness seemingly uncharacteristic of him, the priest, Beacon Duu, of the Temple of Luz, attempted to provide comfort to the party. He believes the Yamash's councilor to be a sorcerer, and wicked through-and-through, but feels powerless to gainsay him, lest the Yamash decide to dispense with him and his acolytes. Clearly, there are faultlines in the power structure of the town of Hirot.
Can the PCs rescue Harris? Will they be able to slay the Hound? Can they get to the bottom of Sylle Ru's fiendish plot? Tune in next time to find out.