Upon sunrise the next day, attempts to track the two surviving mercenaries from the previous night’s battle proved futile. At the very least, it seemed the the banshrae’s fey nature allowed it to easily move through nature without being detected, apparently also assisting the swordmaster.
Double-checking their maps, the party concluded that at their current pace and on their current course it would take them roughly two and a half weeks of marching to reach their border, and an indeterminate amount of time that was probably no more than two weeks to reach one of their objectives, the Undead location being the closest one. Seeking alternative modes of transportation, Akarn tapped into his connection with the spirits and summoned forth a flight of giant eagle spirits to carry the party.
Flying over several burned out villages and towns as they traveled, the party noticed something disturbing about areas that had been attacked by the Undead: there were no Desian corpses. The Orcs had done rather standard burn-and-pillage jobs, while the lizardfolk left piles of bones from their meals, but of those who had fought or been hunted down by the walking corpses there was no sign. And since there had been no reports of turned Desians at Three Bridges, that left them wondering: if the missing Desians had been made into undead, then where were they? Aside from that disturbing though the day was calm, and after flying almost from dawn until dusk the party calculated that they’d shaved three days worth of marching off of their trip.
With Mary-Lou trancing, Laesath on watch, Akarn transforming into a tree, and Cole Glamour Blading himself so that he could both sleep and stay on watch at the same time, the group had no trouble hearing what sounded like approaching cavalry, of a sort. Trying to set up an ambush, the party were surprised to see what at first seemed like drakkoths – a type of reptilian/draconic centauroid creature – stampeded into their camp. But once the reptiles came closer the freakish truth was revealed: the four-legged part of the creatures were apparently from normal drakkoths, but the humanoid portion were just as apparently Lizardfolk, the same odd hybrid types that had been encountered before. Worse, the lizardrakkoths were not seamless; signs of a crude grafting were easy to see, hinting at some sort of vile experiment.
In the opening moments Cole managed to successfully ambush the four lizardrakkoths, and Akarn’s sudden transformation from majestic tree to enraged wolf also took the reptiles by surprise. The two lizarddrakkoth ambushers proved weak fare; one of them was down within seconds of the fight’s start, flanked by Akarn and Laesath and then slain by Bigg, and the other did not last all that much longer. The rager and venomshot lizardrakkoths proved more troublesome. All of the creatures could spit venom, and the venomshot’s arrows seemed made to to enhance the effects of that venom. The rager was simply a fierce opponent, tough and skilled with a battleaxe. The creatures eventually came to settle on striking at Mary-Lou once the rager managed to break away from Cole and attack the eladrin wizard, who had been knocked prone by a panicked ambusher. Although Laesath took the venomshot’s head off in payment for it’s last shot at Mary-Lou, and the wizard herself did no small amount of damage tossing ice and fire around, she spent most of the latter part of the battle fading in and out of consciousness due to venom and battleaxe wounds, with Akarn struggling to keep her alive.
Still, once the rager was on its own the group was able to pile onto it and hack it to pieces, Laesath literally disarming it before Bigg struck the final blow. That left the party wondering over something they’d noticed earlier: some of the lizarddrakkoths had been wounded in another fight, and the rager had the blade and several inches of the shaft from a standard-issue Desian glaive stabbed into it’s flank. Who had the creatures been fighting before stumbling across the party’s camp?