Cleric Journal: Day Two Hundred and Twenty Three




I had planned to torch the dead hobs on their pyre with all the oil we had and let the smoke draw the frogs here, while we were elsewhere.  I’d even started that plan in motion, but had not really discussed it with anyone.  Now we had a dozen toad riding frogs and what I later learned were sixty other frogs chasing our boys.  The frogs are not that hard to kill, but there were so many of them.

I wasn’t the only one to cotton on to this situation.  Luckily the brigands had a slight lead, but those toads could jump pretty far, pretty fast.  They were outstripping the other frogs for sure.

“I’ve got this,” Rufus said, patting Alfred on the knee.

Liz started shooting arrows at the incoming toad riders, catching one frog at the very edge of her range.  She was an excellent shot with that bow of hers.  The toad did not slow down, however.   He would be mess to deal with.

Alfred picked Rufus up and set him on his shoulder, holding him steady with one hand.  Rufus said a few things I didn’t recognize and a wall of flame erupted behind the brigands, cutting off the clearing from the approaching frogs.  It was a trick I’d seen Wizard Tim use to keep the lizard folk alive that bitterly cold night the rift opened between here and the plane of  ice.

“Nice,” Alfred said, letting Rufus down.  The two of them were bonding nicely.

Five toads and four riders were on this side of the wall of flame and our crew launched forward to attack.  Several of the toads on the other side of the wall tried to jump over it, but could not breach the height.  The screams of frying frogs rent the air, and the shrieks of burning toads added to the maelstrom.

Sparkle darted to the side as one of the toads jumped over her, out of the reach of her swords, which obviously made her angry by the words she shouted.  Bÿglar was behind her a dozen steps, and was poised to catch the toad when it landed, but the critters were not stupid.  If jumping was part of their attack plan, they had to have experience with landing near enemies.  Bÿglar got one feeble lunge with his spear, wounding the frog rider in the process.  Unfortunately the toad, likely hungry for the tasty, tasty flesh of a hobgoblin lashed out with his long, thick, and sticky tongue, wrapping it around the hob, and pulled him back into its gawping maw, swallowing the hob whole.  I guess the good news was the wounded frog fell from the toad at that, unable to stay on when the frog swallowed my warrior.

That really was not one of our best moments.  I’m not sure why I was surprised, a giant toad is just a much larger version of a regular toad, and they eat things with their tongues.  It made total, logical sense.   But to see a warrior just a head or so shorter than myself sucked into that great, bloated gullet startled me.

Liz, using her bow to good use, sent a couple of arrows into the nearest toad to her, and the thing crashed to the ground, throwing its rider in bone crunching sudden stop.  The  fairies flew forward and show arrows into the crumpled figure of that frog.  If he had survived the harsh landing, he was not getting up again from those arrows.  Turns out the most illustrious froggy people of the swamp kingdom are not immune to poison.

Also turns out, that they bite, hard.  One of the toads landed near me, which made it easier for me to smash it with my mace.  Rather convenient, I thought.  That is until the frog rider jumped off the moving toad and landed behind me.  I was able to deflect his spear (goodness), and dodge the giant toad’s flapping tongue of doom, but the frog bit me on the right arm.  I seriously needed a new shield.

Bob, however, while he had a shield (it came with the outfit) he much preferred his double headed axe.  I had all but forgotten that until I saw it cleave deeply into the giant toad in front of me, severing off the beast’s right rear leg at the hip.   Not quite enough to kill the beast, but enough to catch its attention.  He was on his own there.

I swung at the frog attached to my arm, smashing it with my mace.  Unfortunately, he did not let go, so the torque of his body moving against the force of my mace swing wrenched my right shoulder pretty badly.  Pain flared along that side and I grunted from it.  I wanted to hit him again, but Magda flew into my path, diving straight for the frog, and stabbed him in his great bulbous left eye.

Then he let go of my arm.  Mainly because he had a spear the length of my hand shoved through his eye and into his brain.  The brigands turned at this point and cranked their crossbows.  This was not the fastest motion, but would prove helpful later.

Liz just kept peppering anything that moved with arrows and by the time Magda had flown up to sit on my shoulder, all the frogs were down, as were three of the five toads.  Spears started falling amongst us and Brendon, one of the young brigands, called out from where a spear had lanced into his shoulder.  He wore thick studded leather armor, so the blow did not kill him.  I could heal him later as long as no major blood vessels were spewing the red stuff.

Alfred stood over Rufus, protecting the weasel gnome as he concentrated on keeping that wall of fire between us and the rest of the froggy army.  I was in some serious pain and opted to give myself a quick dose of healing, just to ease back the throbbing.  Didn’t totally repair the arm and shoulder, but the pain was down to a dull roar.

Unfortunately at that moment, so was the wall.

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