Chapter 3: All That Glitters is a Giant Frog

Back at Tamaryn’s temple…

It was dark and smelly. Water seemed to be dripping from somewhere inside the walls, it wasn’t nearly as loud as Bender’s gruff breathing coming from up ahead. He was mad and, currently, most of that anger was directed at her via glares he shot back every once in a while. The other members of the group had fallen silent, probably due to the dark gaping hole they seemed to be plodding into without restraint.

Her mind wandered through old memories of daunting times, none were more peculiar than this. More were terrifyingly dangerous in comparison. She’d be all right.

Bender’s lumbering steps changed sound as he hit a new type of flooring. “Well, here’s the bottom,” Haro cheered, “no one fell and broke their necks.”

“No, but I don’t like this place one bit,” Jim said.

“If you’re afraid, leave now,” Bender grunted gruffly.

“I’m not afraid, I just don’t like it!” Jim protested.

“Let’s keep going,” Chrom said, pushing his way through the group and walking towards a large room that lay in front of them. The rest of the party followed, torches fanning out to give everyone a better view. The room was 20 feet wide and triple that tall. In the center was a hole that stretched across the room barring their way to the other side. In the middle of the hole was a giant, golden frog. It didn’t move or blink, just sat there.

“There seems to be a door on the other side,” Diarus said, “we should leap over to it. Might lead to what we’re looking for.”

Chrom.jpg“Are you worthy?” a booming voice emitted from the frog in the center, he turned to look at the party. “Look at all of you, let see who we have here,” he squinted in the light, sucking every detail. “A wizard fellow,” the frog muttered, his long tongue hanging from his mouth for a second. “I don’t know you,” he continued talking to Chrom, “what name do they call you?”

“I am Chrom, a wizard,” Chrom replied.

“Interesting,” the frog moved on, looking up and down at Diarus.

The druid was enthralled with this new creature and immediately began speaking, “Oh great one,” he said, bowing with a flourish, “I am Diarus, Druid of the Forest and friend to animals everywhere.”

“Is that so?” the frog chuckled. Diarus was about to reply when the frog turned to Haro, “And what name do you go by in this life?”

“I guess Clary Haro,” she replied, “though I’m not sure what you mean.”

“Very interesting, this will be one for the memory,” the frog said, he looked to Jim, “and you?”

“Jim.”

“I know you,” the frog chuckled pointing a webbed hand at Marie, “what name are you going by now?”

Marie glared at the frog, but made an effort to appear puzzled. Haro stared quizzically but no one said anything. Turning back to the frog, she replied, “Marie.”

“I quite like that one,” the frog said, “and you dwarf, I know you but not your name.”

“You don’t know me,” Bender grunted.frog

“He’s Bender, O wise frog,” Diarus put in helpfully.

“A stubborn dwarf, ” the frog smirked, “how original.” He took in the party once more and shook his head, “You are not worthy yet,” he growled.  With that he lashed out with one large hand, striking Jim and pushing into the water below. Everyone prepared for battle.

The frog was quite spry for its large size, it hopped nimbly to one side positioning itself to attack Chrom. Bender charged forward, knocking Diarus aside who was beside himself with shock.  With a mighty roar, Bender swung his great axe hacking at one of the legs of the creature.  It bellowed in pain, but didn’t stop attacking. It’s tongue lashed out at Haro who cleverly avoided it. Rapier prepared, she sliced its tongue instead.

Marie took no time trying to rescue Jim, with a full set of armor on he would have trouble swimming to the surface. Hurriedly she pulled a rope from her bag and wound it around a column that connected to the ceiling. The other end she threw over the side as she peered over the edge looking for Jim.

Bender was furious, swing left and right. He and Haro were a vicious duo. She leapt from the floor and onto the back of the golden frog.  It shook violently, trying to get her off. She was too nimble and held fast.  In his attempt to dislodge the Halfling he ran over the still upset Diarus and shoved him into the water. The druid yelped as he hit the frigid water below. Chrom stood ready, his arm outstretched. With a flick of his wrist he called forth a fireball that smashed into the side of the frog. It bellowed again, finally flinging Haro off.

The frog bowed its head and began shrinking. Jim had finally caught onto Marie’s rope and pulled himself up.  Bender charged again, but the frog held up its webbed hands in defeat. Now the size of a normal frog, it hopped casually forward.

“You have passed,” the frog said, “you are worthy to enter the temple. I warn you however, it isn’t safe. Nothing here is safe.”

“That was a test?” Diarus whimpered, pulling himself up after Jim.

“You think Tebris is just going to let anyone into his temple?” the frog scoffed.

“You mean the dragon Tebris?” Diarus’ face lit up excitedly.

“Who else?” the frog replied, “It is curious that you know of him, how do you?”

“It is my mission to resurrect Tebris,” Diarus replied.

“Then you have come to the right place,” the frog answered.

“Noble creature,” Diarus continued, “what name we call you by?”

The frog rolled his eyes, “What does that matter? There’s a darkness that’s invaded this temple and I need you to get rid of it for me.”

“You can’t?” Haro smirked.

“No, I can’t,” he growled, “but you seem capable.”

“Fine,” Marie butted in, “but if we need you, you have to come. We’ll call to you. It’s your temple, no reason we should do all the work of the guardian.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” the frog replied, “now off with you.” It a split second the frog hopped into the air and disappeared.

“Well that was all very odd,” Haro sniffed, crossing her arms across her chest.

“Temple Guardians are a bit daft,” Marie chuckled.

Ever the sensible one, Chrom spoke up, “Shall we destroy some evil in another room?” Everyone gathered themselves up while Jim went around making sure everyone was healed. No one seemed to notice the new towershield he now carried.

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