As it turns out, the route suggested by the agent turned out to actually exist. Clearly marked with a signpost, and in a good state of repair, the side road struck off the riverside highway in a north-eastern direction, winding low into humid marsh lands and deciduous canopy forest.
After two hours of riding at a medium pace, the Heroes hear singing from an indeterminate direction, and find themselves needing a Will Save.
Almost everyone successfully resists the singing, finding it off-key and otherwise distressing. Lester and the Dread Pirate Wobberts, on the other hand, seem to hear more in it than their fellows, and are captivated by the delightful tune. They alone do not raise alarm to the threat.
The Dread Pirate Wobberts, enthralled by the melody and wishing there was a table nearby, perhaps selling tunics with the singers’ image stitched on the front and amphitheatre dates on the reverse, dismounts and begins to walk towards where he senses the tune is coming from.
Faldorn, a Druid wise to the ways of the woodlands, has no difficulty spotting what he knows to be the source of the din. Through the foliage, Faldorn easily Spots three Harpys. The she-devilish creatures stand armed with what must be weapons looted from the corpses of previous victims; a trident, a morningstar, and a handaxe. Two wear armor; Hide, and Leather, both evidently reclaimed. The third wears Bracers.
Genive falls back off the road, drawing a bow and readying an arrow. She cannot make any line on a target.
Lester dismounts, compelled towards the music, taking no heed of his own safety, walking innocently into the forest in the same direction as Wobberts.
In the next few seconds, everyone manages to Spot the Harpys. Jaques casts Haste on himself. Wobberts, trudging through the weeds, happens to notice an unusual vine. Startled, he senses danger and in that moment, breaks free of the enchantment, stopping just short of stepping on the quivering vine nestled in among the greenery. In a few moments Lester will have the same stroke of luck.
Faldorn’s sharp woodland eyes spot the Assassin Vine from a distance; it is a Huge specimen, at least forty feet in length, camouflaged in the underbrush parallel to the Harpys and in perfect position to intercept victims caught in the Harpys’ auditory trap. Faldorn’s new allies just stopped short of stepping on, and likely being Grappled by, the dangerous forest specimen.
The Heroes explode into action; Jaques attacks the Harpys with spells at a distance, disrupting one’s singing. Faldorn assumes the form of a giant Scorpion, and scuttles forward to engage them. Lester Teleports to a safe location as the Assassin Vine thrashes and attempts to ensnare him; Wobberts draws his flaming rapier and hacks at the Assassin Vine. He incorrectly believes that he is dealing considerable fire damage with each strike. Genive, assailing the Harpys at range with her bow, is almost blindsided by an animated pile of underbrush and roots. Beside her and behind the main party, a Shambling Mound has broken from hiding and nearly ensnared the spymaster.
The Heroes find themselves cut off from direct engagement with the Harpys by way of the Assassin Vine; and flanked by a Shambling Mound. Unrelenting, they press their attack. As a defensive measure, the Assassin Vine animates all plants within thirty feet of itself; these plants entangle and harass the Heroes within range, slowing movement or holding Heroes in place altogether. Wobberts hacks away at the Assassin Vine, retreating just as it was about to die to allow Jaques to cast an Acid-substituted Fire Wall on the vine, desiccating the murderous weed into a shrivelled brown-black core.
Their concentration broken, the Harpys resort to fly-by attack tactics. One is obliterated by a Maximized Disintegrate spell from Jaques; from the point of impact the Harpy crumbles into fine dust and is not to be seen ever again. Faldorn, in Scorpion form, snags one Harpy in his pincers, stinging and crushing it to death in a matter of seconds. Arrows and magic slay the last Harpy, as is the fate of the Shambling Mound, too slow to catch up with the nimble Genive.
The Heroes have proven themselves a force to be reckoned-with, destroying the ambush with seemingly little effort, even having expended spells earlier in anticipation of a troll fight that did not happen as expected.
It is mid-afternoon and there is a long way to go to reach the main road, if it may be reached before the shadows grow too long in this marshy wilderness and a camp must be made in these eerie lowlands…
The adventure ends here for the night.