It took just over a day to track them back to their lair, which was situated inside and beneath the exposed roots of a large grove of mangaroo trees. The party arrived, keeping their distance at first, and splitting into two scouting parties. Kaziim and Fenn circled the lair to the left while Rohagar, Ixen, and Jack circled to the right. Siegfried, Josephine, and Ekhaas remained behind. The lizardfolk on patrol around the lair managed to spot Rohagar and Jack. They blew a horn to announce this to the tribe. Rohagar attempted to yield, but was merely stabbed and captured in a net for her troubles. Jack attempted to magically disguise himself as a lizardfolk, claiming to be the one captured back at the keep. He tried to persuade the lieutenant that Rohagar was helpful, but only succeeded in angering the lieutenant. His disguise failed to fool the lizardfolk when he was struck, further enraging the lieutenant. Jack fled back into the trees as Rohagar was bound by rope, dragged into the lair, relieved of her possessions, and dumped into a shallow pit. Also in the pit were four other prisoners: Marzena, the keep’s battle mage and Josephine’s contact, two human officers, and the keep’s House Sivis gnome. Marzena’s jaw and fingers had been broken to prevent her from casting spells while the two officers looked like they had been tortured.
When the remainder of the party regrouped, they ambushed three lizardfolk that had entered the jungle to search for Jack and any of his comrades. Two of the lizardfolk were killed while Ekhaas charmed the remaining one into being helpful. Believing that the lizardfolk would not cooperate, the party devised a plan to send the charmed reptile back into the lair and asked him to inform the others of the party’s location and their “intention to be diplomatic”. The charmed creature departed for the lair while the rest of the party snuck around to the other side of the grove. They expected the lizardfolk to send out extra search parties that would leave their lair somewhat undefended, allowing them to infiltrate it easier and rescue Rohagar. As it turned out, the charmed lizardfolk exited the lair with a single, elderly lizardfolk accompanying him.
Returning to their former location, they met with the lizardfolk who they learned was the tribe’s head shaman, Hishka. He did not approve of the lieutenant or the lizard king’s war-mongering ways. His only concern was the safety of the tribe as a whole and the eggs. Primarily, he was concerned with the infection of worms that the human from the keep brought with him when he visited the lair a few days prior. This caught the group off-guard as they had believed the soldier had become infected at the lair. Hishka explained that it was a black dragon named Ilthane who had told the tribe the humans were responsible for the infestation of worms in the last generation of lizardfolk eggs. There was some confusion and some suspicion thrown around, but with little time to spare, they struck a deal: the shaman would send lizardfolk out on a wild goose chase in the jungle, making it easier to rescue Rohagar, and in return, the party would kill the lizard king and his lieutenant. This would put Hishka in charge of the tribe.
Soon after he left and the party was ready, a large number of lizardfolk exited the lair and spread out into the trees away from the group. They took the opportunity to sneak Kaziim, Fenn, and Ixen into the roots to scout ahead. The three encounters little resistance at first, but once they pushed further in, they found a sizable number of lizardfolk still inside and were spotted. They fought a few before Ixen breathed fire at them and ran away. Outside, having heard nothing from the scouts, the others decided to make their way in. They took out the guards outside, but not before one managed to sound his horn. Knowing their was little time to spare, they all pushed into the lair. Although many of the lizardfolk were hostile, some confusion arose when those that had witnessed Ixen breathe fire seemed to revere him as a dragon. As a whole, the lizardfolk decided to bring the intruders to the lieutenant.
Meanwhile, Hishka returned to the lair and dropped a dagger into the prisoners’ pit for Rohagar. The more nimble gnome managed to cut himself free and then freed the others. Rohagar climbed out of the pit and considered her situation. There were two guards outside the room who she tricked into opening the door. With little effort, she killed the first one. The second quickly fled. Despite the gnome’s protests, Rohagar left the prisoners in the room while she searched the tunnels. It wasn’t long before she came face-to-face with the lieutenant. Enraged at her escape, he attacked, and the two fought until Rohagar realized she was losing. She made a tactical retreat; the lieutenant pursuing quickly behind. Not knowing what had transpired with the rest of the group, her flight ran Rohagar straight into the mass of lizardfolk escorting the remainder of the party. One of the lizardfolk attacked her, the lieutenant arrived, and all hell broke loose.
A battle began with most of the party surrounded. Siegfried and Rohagar concentrated on the lieutenant while the others defended against the horde. Ekhaas succumbed to a number of wounds, but survived. Once the lieutenant was dead and a number of the lizardfolk were killed, the others scattered into the tunnels to inform Shukak, the king. This gave the party time to heal and return to the prisoners… who had all been killed except Marzena, who was now missing. They searched on, eventually locating the lizard king’s chambers. He had taken Marzena and was using her as a bargaining chip. At her throat, he held a sharp trident, threatening to skewer her if the party advanced any further. Siegfried offered a trade: a life for a life. If the lizard king handed Marzena over, he could live. After a moment of thought, he agreed, shoving Marzena toward the group. Ekhaas worked on healing her as the two began to return to the keep, escorted by Fenn.
Outside, there was some commotion. Josephine and Ixen went to investigate and saw some of the lizardfolk running in fear from perceived monsters in the egg chamber. One of them pleaded with Ixen, still believing him to be a dragon, to save the eggs. He and Josephine swam through an underwater tunnel to the egg chamber where they discovered eight lizardfolk with various grotesque growths blocking their way. The lizardfolk moved with halting motions and their eyes curcled back up into their heads. By the looks of it, they had little control over their own bodies. They did not initially attack, only doing so when Ixen attempted to breach their line. Some possessed a whip-like tentacle that protruded from an arm, other grew crystalline shard from large beetles that had dug their way into the skin, while another had a third eye on a stalk that produced an electric charge. There was one lizardfolk that did nothing nor showed any obvious aberrant growth. Ixen and Josephine began their struggle.
Back with the lizard king, Siegfried thought about the promises he’d made. While he had told Shukak that his life would be spared if he handed over Marzena, he had already promised Hishka that he would get rid of the lieutenant and the king. They were the instigators of the attacks on the keep, after all. So he made up his mind to finish the job. Sensing the imminent betrayal, Shukak took the initiative and threw the trident at Sigfried, striking true. The weapon then pulled itself from Sigfried and returned to the king’s hand. Siegfried, Rohagar, and Kaziim charged in. Hishka arrived in time and aided the party by restraining the king with what magic he could conjure. The fight was bloody, but eventually they overcame their enemy, striking down Shukak. His corpse showed signs of the worm infestation. During the confrontation, the king had let slip that he was working alongside Ilthane and that they “would have an army”. What exactly he meant by that or why he was infested with the worms, the party did not know. The shaman thanked them and took Rohagar to get her items from the lieutenant’s chambers while Kaziim and Siegfried went to help Ixen and Josephine.
Meanwhile, Jack, disguised again as a lizardfolk, had also been exploring the lair in search of Rohagar’s belongings. He found the blast disk discarded in a garbage heap. When he sent a furtive filcher to investigate, it caught the attention of the otyugh nestled in the garbage. The attack destroyed the filcher and shocked the otyugh into rampaging about the room full of garbage. Jack struck it with a crossbow bolt and then lit the creature on fire, dodging past it while it flailed about in agony. He grabbed the blast disk and exited on the other side of the garbage room into a very large room with numerous trees. Jack noticed the considerable amound of bird dropping on the floor and moved in with caution. Having deduced the room’s inhabitants to be harpies, he plugged his ears and pressed forward. The harpies, however, saw their meal approaching and swooped down to grab him. Though he fought, they managed to snatch him in their talons and lift him up to their nest to feast on him. At this point, Jack doused himself and the harpies and the nest with oil and lit them all on fire. He leapt out of the nest, using feather fall to slow his descent. With haste, he found his way out of the trees and continued on.
Covered in mud and bird feces, Jack stumbled into the next room, which happened to be the lieutenant’s chambers. Rohagar was appropriately startled by this. Jack reverted from his lizardfolk features, but neglected to keep up his full disguise. That is, his voice gave him away and revealed to Rohagar that Jack was, in fact, Hohenheim the entire time. After reclaiming her gear and some of the lieutenant’s items, Rohagar was given an amulet by Hishka that he said would “make her closer to nature”. She then proceeded to drag Hohenheim to the egg chamber where the others had dispatched all but one of the guards. The last guard ran, dashing through the hundreds of eggs floating in the shallow water. He made his way to the center where a larger, black leather egg resided. He lifted it into the air with an otherwordly screech. Unsure of what was coming, but certain it couldn’t be good, Rohagar, Ixen, Josephine, and Kaziim charged the lizardfolk. Siegfried, slower, got as close as he could. Hohenheim remained outside the water.
Unfortunately, those that had made their way to the lizardfolk proved unable to stop him in time. He flung the egg down at his feet. It cracked and exploded as hundreds or thousands of worms scattered through the air and water, working their way into eggs and flesh alike. Rohagar managed to kill the lizardfolk swiftly. Other lizardfolk had arrived and began removing what eggs they could from the chamber before the worms could infect them. Josephine electrified patches of water, destroying worms and infected eggs. Kaziim, though, had been infected. Multiple worms were chewing their way beneath his skin and he soon felt them wriggling inside his skull, eating away at his brain. Hohenheim produced a potion to help him in time, but not before he’d been hurt quite a bit. When Josephine had exhausted all her magic, she moved to help Kaziim.
The infected eggs that remained were hatching. The small, shriveled forms of undead baby lizardfolk crawled forth from their eggs, dripping new worms into the water. They began a slow, steady progression toward the shore. Siegfried charged back into the water and made his way to the center of the chamber. He called upon Dol Arrah to give him the strength he needed to cleanse the room and rid the lizardfolk of the undead creatures now plaguing them. There came a flash that filled the room as surely as if the enclosed space was explosed fully to daylight. Every last undead creature in the room crumbled to dust. Exhausted, he returned to the shore. The party retrieved a chest that Ilthane had left and Hohenheim captured a worm from the water to study. In doing so, he managed to infect himself, but this was soon remedied.
Once more, Hishka thanked them. He did not know why the worms were there and he found it difficult to believe that Ilthane was responsible, despite the evidence. Ilthane had left the leather egg as a sign of trust, claiming it was his mate’s own egg. He had also gifted the eight guards with abilities to better protect the eggs. Hishka was worried, but assured the party that he would lead the lizardfolk to a new home elsewhere in the Mistmarsh and destroy the worms here so that they would not be trouble again. Afterwards, the group returned to the keep where they found Marzena fully healed of her injuries. She offered to return with the party to Sharn to file the papers necessary to grant them special dispensation. She wrote up temporary papers for them and began their journey to Sharn soon after.