It didn’t take long for the company to make their way back to the giant frog statue – the apparent source of the evil. Zephyros stated, “So, what’s your plan Osric?”
Osric replied, “I need some time to contemplate.”
Zephyros answered, “More time?”
“With our Maker,” he retorted.
“Ah, very well,” Zephyros responded impatiently; obviously anxious to leave the mire complex. “Let’s have another look at those scroll cases Dudda while we’re waiting for our Maker,” he commented with a slight grin.
“I’d love to boss!” Dudda replied, as he cleared a spot on the beach and put down his cloak so he could sit more comfortably. “Ansger, would you mind holding your lantern over here, I need some light.”
Ansger answered, “If you’re looking for a steady hand, I’m afraid I’m not up to the task. Xenocrates, please take my lantern.” He stated with beads of sweat on his brow and quivers of chills rippled through his body. Xenorates took the lantern and held it in position for Dudda who began tinkering with the lock mechanism on the first scroll case.
“I’m very worried about Ansger.” Zephyros whispered to Zelik, “What do you think we should do?”
Zelik replied, “Only a pray from the Maker can relieve his suffering and I’m afraid that prayer is beyond our abilities.”
“Precisely, which is the reason why we need to get back to town quickly.” Zephyros stated sharply as his eye’s pierced through the back of Osric. “I won’t lose another friend today,” he muttered under his breath as he walked over to Ansger’s side. “Ansger, here sit down and rest.” He pointed to a nearby box next to the wall, “And keep hydrated,” as he fished through Ansger’s pack looking for a water skin to hand him.
“Thank you, m’lord,” Ansger replied as he sat down wrapping his cloak tightly around his body.
“How are you coming along Dudda?” Zephyros inquired?
“One of these is beyond my skill, but the other seems more worn. I think I see the pattern from its use.” Dudda replied as he manipulated the scroll case in the flickering lantern light. “There!” a brief click was heard as Dudda opened the end of the case. “What do you make of this boss?”
Zephyros grasped the scroll and held it to the lantern light and studied the script. “This does not appear to be an arcane spell, but perhaps a prayer scroll.” With a few strides he was at Osric’s back. “What does this say?” Zephyros asked as he held the scroll in front of Osric’s nose.
Osric furrowed his brow at Zephyros as he grabbed the scroll out of Zephyro’s hands. “It’s appears to be three prayers.” The frown disappeared from Osric’s face. “By the Maker! Our prayers have been answered!” He stood up and positioned himself directly in front of Ansger and started reciting one of the prayers off the scroll. A faint halo of gold could be seen forming over Osric’s head as waves of energy pulsed to his hands. Upon completing the prayer Osric’s hands were brilliantly glowing with a soft yellow light. He touched Ansger where he was bit with one hand and the other he placed on his brow. Ansger gasped for air and collapsed. Xephyros and Dudda helped his body fall prone. The pulsing energy was transferred to Ansger’s body; it rippled about and then shot into the air, disappearing into the darkness. “He’s cured!” Osric exclaimed. “Let him rest while we purge the evil from this statue.”
Zephyros shook his head with a beaming grin and snorted, “Osric you never cease to amaze me! Thank you!” Without hesitation Osric stepped forward to face the frog statue and began reciting another prayer. Balls of blue energy began swirling around his head; the pattern slowly grew to a maelstrom as a buzz of energy could be heard. He finished the prayer with, “By our Father I command thee!” The balls flew to the frog stature and swirled about it in every direction emitting a buzzing energy and at once they all burst into a bright pulse. At that same moment a crack could be heard as the statute shifted. “Our Father has answered our prayer! The power of the cult has been banished!” Osric exclaimed. Zelik stepped forward and pulled the cloak off the head of the frog.
“Look, the central eye has melted! Proof the Maker has answered our calling and is the one and only!” Zelik cheered. The statue had also cracked in half no longer serving as a vessel for evil.
“There is but one more step; the blessing of the Maker.” Osric stated as he began chanting another prayer. The heaviness of evil departed as Osric finished. Everyone within the company breathed a sigh of relief.
Dudda couldn’t help but notice the topaz eyes of the frog were still intact. “Boss, do you mind if I try and pry out those stones?” He asked.
“Great idea.” Zephyros replied. Dudda took his dagger and easily popped both gems free.
Having awoke from unconsciousness; Zephyros asked Ansger, “How are you feeling?”
“I feel great, but I do long for fresh air.” Ansger replied.
“Aye, I think we all do.” Zephyros stated. “Let’s get out of here.” Zephyros announced to the company. Over the next few minutes the company gathered their belongings and treasures. They then formed up and set about making their way to the stairs to the level above. “Henryk, please guide us through any areas we have yet to explore,” Zephyros requested.
“We go to the left then Captain.” He replied as the company wound around the shafts of the complex. Soon they were back in front of one of the pools on the upper level, one that had not been fully explored. “Get one of the boats up here,” Henryk yelled.
“Get in position!” Osric yelled as he noticed movement in the water. Altan stepped forward with Osric as Ansger and Zelik formed up behind them. Giant frogs could be seen crawling slowly towards the company attracted to the light and motion. Zephyros cast a spell of Ogre Power on Osric in an effort ensure the fight was brief. Within a few moments the frogs were within striking distance.
“Yahhh!” Altan roared as he dodged the first frog’s attack. Zelik took the opportunity to skewer the frog’s soft underbelly from behind Altan. It fell lifeless from his attack.
“Watch it!” Ansger yelled to Osric as the next frog coiled for an attack against him. Osric easily dodged the attack and responded with one of his own.
“Take that toad!” He cried as his mace fell soundly on the crown the frog’s skull. Ansger quickly assisted Osric with his spear and finished the frog off. After the brief encounter the company quickly brought the boats into position and searched to the West and then North, circling around to the East side as guided by Henryk. With no more areas to search the company moved to the entrance of the dungeon to discover their mules had been stolen. With the help of Henryk the company collapsed the entrance of the dungeon. The company then moved to the nearby Hamlet to check on the townsfolk and rest. As they arrived in town they noticed one of the buildings was on fire and the apparent owner was on lying lifelessly on the ground.
Zephyros made his way to the front, “What’s the matter he asked the nearest town person?”
“Ah well, a few of us have had enough of this fella’s antics.” It was clear to Zephyros that the fear that was present upon their first visit days ago was gone.
“Very well, he had it coming then.” Zephyros replied, “We wanted to advise you that the source of evil that was causing your hamlet trouble has been cleansed, so you should not experience any more strange behaviors from your people. All we ask is that we are able to rest up here this evening and that you please keep an eye on the cave entrance that we collapsed. If you see any signs of the cult returning to the area or the entrance being disturbed please send message to Taygle’s End and ask for audience with The Tarchoony Brotherhood.
“Aye, we will and please make yourselves comfortable. We’re appreciative of your help. We’ve had a very rough year. We will all be glad to put this time behind us,” The villager replied. The company made themselves comfortable and started discussing their plans once they reached Taygle’s End.