As the party was standing over the corpses of a cleric of Unklar and four Ungern (from last week), the Witch Queen and escorts appeared to do combat with our heroes.
The battle with the Witch Queen proceeded quickly, with the party consisting of only four—Barbarian, Cleric, Ranger, Wizard. Menlaus took out an Ogre (with sleep), Tarak caused a delay to opponent spellcasting with Silence, and Dai’ga did huge damage to the witch queen with a massive critical hit, before she tossed a fireball and took out both Tarak and Dai’ga (unconscious, not dead). Fortunately, Kiint and Menlaus (controlled by John and Brandon) were able to finish off the fleeing Witch Queen (two Magic Missiles) and, finally, the remaining Ogre who’d also been significantly weakened by the fireball his mistress had so callously cast. The use of all party healing potions was enough to restore everyone to single-digit hit points.
The rest of the evening was spent hunting for the Witch Queen’s base of operations, which also entailed getting prickled by stone blades and spears summoned by an Ungern high priest (at least one of Dai’ga and Tarak went down again; dexterity checks are hard when you’re large and clumsy) before he was dispatched. Some clever trap-avoidance and secret-door-finding later, the party had a lot of swag, most of which was sold after a relatively uneventful trip (other than the half-day lost fleeing and then circling around 7 giant spiders) back to Botkinburg. The gold and resulting xp will be shared with Magic Jack (if he returns) and Witrix, so everyone is now fourth level (other characters will be similarly enhanced on their return).
Discussion with the recently-returned Aldadius suggests that Ludensheim is the source of the region’s troubles, from apparently paying Redcaps to raid, to making deals with Miles Freland (via Barldrus and his companions), through to the Witch Queen both supplying the Silk Guild (Dietbold Heimer’s power base) and having her agents take over Havenwale and charm and exploit its inhabitants. Added to Aristiculian’s concerns about a great evil being done in the town, a return to Ludensheim may be on the cards!