Magda made me go to sleep. Seriously, what have I gotten myself into? Seems a fairy that isn’t trying to be the prettiest has a lot of energy to focus elsewhere. And don’t get me wrong, Magda was super cute. If she were about ten times her normal size, I’d see if she wanted some healing, but I understand the limitations. So, I stood in front of Lilith and Liz, contemplating which side I should sleep on, and gave it up as a bad choice. I curled up with my normal cloak and bed roll in the clearing at the feet of their sleeping forms. Better to be seen as not choosing one over the other.
The problem with being this close to an enemy stronghold is the fact the enemy are in the area. Luckily for us, these particular enemy are not the brightest candles in the scribes cube. I slept for almost six straight hours. A near record for me. I was hyper-vigilant and didn’t think to ask any of the wizards for that warning spell they cast on various occasions. Not that I could cast the same spell or anything. But I’ve learned that if I put my mind to it, I can be pretty creative.
The fairies, it turns out, are better than some silly proximity spell. They were very adept at saving their own skins, normally, and were more than ready when the frogs shows up just before dawn. Also, apparently everyone but me knows that fairies can use magic to conceal themselves, especially in woods. Made me wonder how many times I’d been spied on by fairies when I went off the trail to make water or such. Best not to think on it.
Magda woke me with a quick rattle of my left pauldron. I rolled to my feet immediately, mace in hand and was trying to decide which direction the enemy was coming from when they burst in the clearing from all compass points. Eleven frogs, but no lizard folk. That proved to be a blessing.
The fairies used all their magical skills to obfuscate and bedazzle the frogs, despite them being bigger than Liz. Not as big as me, by any means. By this point in my adventure I was a strapping youth with muscles and shoulders like a bear. That was one of Sister Edna’s comments about the temple guard she tutored on the side. She explained to me many times his various positive attributes, explaining how I would someday surpass his prowess. So there.
I had no shield, but I did have spells. While the first frogs fell about themselves, dazzled by the fairies, I called a quick little number I like to call “eat mystical hammer”. I’m sure it has a more dignified name in the official liturgy. I just knew I could summon a mystical hammer to fight with me as if a mighty warrior wielded it. I took out one frog just a breath before the hammer took out a second. Morning Glory’s squad hacked another frog down, while Booty Shake’s slaughtered two.
That only left six frogs when the tide turned against us. Seven more frogs came in from the woods and one of them was a caster. He wasn’t caught off guard like the last one, unfortunately. He wove some spell that swallowed Morning Glory and her crew in a net, dragging them to the ground where they were useless. Three frogs pressed forward against Booty Shake’s squad and the rest turned to me. I was the largest and most obvious target for them. Three spears flew toward me and I managed to bat one away with the mace, and dodge the other two, mostly. One careened off my left pauldron, the one Magda had used to waken me. The armor kept the spear’s edge from my flesh, but I know I had a nice bruise in my future.
I ran at the squad that had not thrown their spears, a group of four to the west, and knocked through them, killing one with my first swing, and shattering a second’s arm on the back swing. I spun, putting my back to a tree and faced off with the other two, blocking several thrusts of their spears with the mace. My mystic hammer had flown forward to engage the spear throwing bunch and killed one before they smashed it out of existence. It was an ephemeral thing, after all.
The two who had me pinned against the tree were using spears, so were managing to keep me at a distance that I couldn’t use my mace. And to rush forward this time would get me a spear in my gut or throat. Instead I called a bolt of fire from the aether scorched the two with spears, making them recoil. It wasn’t enough to kill them, but it gave me some breathing room.
Then I heard Booty Shake scream and turned to find her flying through the air, bleeding, with one wing broken. She landed near the burned out campfire with a sad, thump and did not move. The rest of her crew went into a frenzy and two more frogs stumbled away with faces slashed and arms pierced with poisoned tipped arrows.
Unfortunately the caster frog got off a second spell and Booty Shakes crew fell to the ground with the patter of five unfortunate thuds. They were sound asleep. That spell I was familiar with. Wizard frog then. Not a shaman. Oh, I wanted to smash him, but he was surrounded by too many allies. I ran toward the sleeping fairies and stood between them and the frogs who were moving in to kill them. I was quickly running out of options and things were looking bleak.
That’s when a bolt of lightning crackled through the camp, slamming into and threw the frogs surrounding the caster. In a blink eight frogs lay spasming on the ground, the smell of frying frog flooding the camp. Man, I was hungry.
The caster was not touched, having managed to avoid the bolt and the way it split between each of the frogs near him. I was torn, there were two frogs left standing along with the caster, and the fairies were all in mortal peril.
Then Bob came screaming into the clearing from the east with the brigands at his heels. Alfred stomped into the clearing from the south with Rufus riding on his shoulder. Only Johann, Calladil and Clarisse were missing.
For a moment the world held its breath, as each of my friends sized up the situation. Then I heard liquid hitting the dirt and I realized the frog caster’s bladder had given away.
I saved him the indignity of his situation by smashing him in the face with my mace.