They had camped here for days, awaiting my return with Bob. When I didn’t return at the estimated time, they grew anxious, Wizard Tim more than the rest. After three days of growing impatience, he said he was going to take a look at things, and left them.
The next day the frogs attacked. They beat the first group that showed, then the second and a third. But by this point, the rest of the frog leadership realized they had a serious threat on their borders and sent a full scale expeditionary force. Three hundred frogs. The camp was overrun. The hobs fought valiantly, but among the frogs were three casters who held certain artifacts that quelled the fighting of the lizard folk. On command each of the lizard folk fell to the ground, writhing in pain. All but Liz, of course. Turns out the only reason Jira and her kin had been able to turn against their froggy masters previously was because we had killed the casters who controlled them. Jira had known this and rallied her people to strike back at her oppressors.
But this close to the heart of their kingdom, the frogs learned what they needed and sent the slave keepers out to wrest control of their people from the vile wizard, Timoteus, the Betrayer. As Tim had no control over Jira and her fellow lizard folk, the job was pretty easy for the froggy casters. And the hobs fell one by one, overwhelmed. That is, except for Bÿglar and Reginald. They had each been assigned to protect Liz and Lilith respectively and they fled into the wood with their wards when the battle had been lost.
Lilith and Reginald fared worse in the ensuing hunt. Finally, on the last day of the cat-and-mouse game, Reginald had been mortally wounded, and with his dying action, forced Lilith into the tree and plugged the hole with his body. The frogs found him sometime later, and left him to die. They did not bother to look for Lilith, assuming the hob had been the one to harass the scouts.
Liz had a different plan in mind. After picking off the occasional stray frog, she decided that the best way to infiltrate the stronghold was to be captured. She arranged for Bÿglar to take her gear, then she attacked a squad of frogs with spears, killing a dozen of them before being beaten down. What the frogs didn’t know was that Liz was a ranger. Once she was brought in the grand high frogginess himself passed sentence on her. He knew of her exploits ever since he had captured Liz’s kin, and declared a great feast day in celebration of her capture. Liz, was put on display and all her kin were brought forth to witness her additional beating and to instill upon them that even the legendary Ssaralac, shaman daughter and scourge of the Derelict Basin swamp could be quelled. Yes, Father Mulcahy, I finally have the phonetic spelling of Liz’s true birth name. She assures me that my name for her is the only name she will recognize, except with her father, of course. He is the shaman of her people, and her only surviving parent. He could call her by her child name if he desires, but now that she is an adult, she picked her own true name. She wanted me to write that into the journal.
The frogs had no notion that Liz had some healing powers of her own. So while they beat her and tortured her, she was never as injured as she let them believe. At one point they broke her arm, but she did not heal it right away, rather she used her magic to deaden the pain and pretended to pass out, all the while assessing the state of her captors. She has a stout heart, that one. After the great feast, the frog emperor, or whatever he fancied himself allowed Liz’s father to come to her. He was forbidden to heal her, but he could drag her back to the pens he and his people lived in. Once she was taken back with the rest of her people, she healed herself, setting the broken arm and allowed her father a bit of healing as well, as his powers were much stronger.
She explained a bit of the situation, and said that she was leaving again, now that she understood exactly what they were up against. Her father started to protest, but Jira stayed him with a touch. She pointed out that in his zeal to hurt and humiliate Liz, the frog ruler had not set the casters upon her to tie her to them. She assured everyone of her people that she would return with a force of her own and free them all and her people grew confident for the first time in years. If they had not the frog wizards to contend with, they would have risen up then and there. But they had been patient for more than two years, a few more days would not be too much to bear.
Jira showed Liz where their weapons were stored and how to escape through the tunnels. She had been nearly free to roam the complex since she’d been so compliant and the frogs were lazy and assumed they were more powerful than they truly were. As Jira helped Liz escape, she told her baby sister that she was proud of her, which had not been said in the time Jira and her folks were freed. Jira had been upset that Liz had taken up with humans, had taken a human name, and was pursuing a tradition, while good for her people, not a typical tradition for her tribe. She agreed that the ranger skills were highly prized and that her reputation had driven the frog emperor nearly mad over the last year. Things were definitely unsettled in the region and it made his grasp on power tenuous. Not something he relished.
Liz’s shaman father, Ssarwick, said he would tell the jailors that Liz had died and that they had thrown her body into the pit where the carrion eaters were kept. They would believe him in all likelihood and never assume that anyone could escape their devious machinations. Arrogant was the word he used, I believe.
One flaw in the plan was the patrols that were still searching for Bÿglar. The young hob continued to harry the scouting groups, keeping the hornet’s nest agitated and off their beam. Unfortunately Liz ran into one such patrol and had been nearly killed. She managed to kill the entire patrol, but not before taking grievous wounds. Bÿglar had heard the combat and was making his way there to see who’s side he would join. When Liz stumbled into my camp, he rushed forward to save her, not realizing who I was. He panicked and the rest is documented here already.
I stood and hugged Liz, apologizing over and over, but before the seventh time, she punched me in the breadbasket and told me to sit down.
That’s the woman I have bonded with. May she never change.