Formed entirely of shadowstuff, Ranunculus passes through matter and living things. While objects are unaffected by its passing, living creatures, when struck, are stunned and descend instantly into madness, effectively removing them from any battle. Upon spoken command, Ranunculus will instantly return to its owner’s hand.
A casual remark by one of the party about something met on a previous adventure leads to a summons to and grilling by the Mages' Guild (or equivalent), probably resulting in an expedition back to that area to recover the things for 'study' by the Guild. The party's presence will be 'requested' for this expedition.