Death of a Hero

Previously when we saw our bearded, based heroes, they were just coming into the last set of shoals before reaching the mysterious island. Despite the disappearance of the Marksman and the Wizard, the pull to celebrate making landfall after so many days and nights at sea were too much. A grand celebration pursued on deck, with singing, dancing, and drinks all around. The weary voyage began to look brighter until a loud rumble shook the air….


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The loud throaty boom echos through the shoals, the vibration rattling the windows of the Mystic Wave. Some sailors hold their ears as the sound rattles their skulls. The joyous mood suddenly evaporates as the crew is reminded that they are still sailing on wildly dangerous seas. 


The grin melts from Crimson’s face, replaced with a rigid look of consternation. He whips out his eye-glass and looks towards the shoals, scanning for whatever made that sound. Crimson scans the shoals for movement when a pink blur comes flying towards him. Captain Crimson ducks for cover as the pink whip-like object passes right by where Crimson was standing and strikes the back-mast. The tentacle-like appendage pulls taut, pulling the mast sideways, the wood cracking. The Gunslinger, seeing that the object is about to pull the mast over, looses a quick shot, hitting the pink menace. The lightning-fast object retracts and Captain Crimson jumps up to see where it returned to. 


Crimson looks for several seconds, seeing nothing but large rocks, but then he sees it. What at first appears to be a large rock shutter, its muscular back legs shift, as the beast turns. What at first appears to be fossil gray rock reveals itself to be leathery, bumpy skin. The monster’s pitch-black eyes blink, and just under the chin, an air pocket begins to form.


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“It’s… a frog?” exclaims Captain Crimson.


The frog’s tongue springs out of its mouth once again, hurtling at the Mystic Wave. Crew-members scatter, but unfortunately one was too slow. The tongue slams into the crew member’s chest and, in the blink of an eye, the sailor disappears from the deck, flying back into the mouth of the frog. 


“MOVE THE GUNS TO 320 DEGREES BY 30 DEGREES, FIRE ON THAT FROG, OTHER GUNS FOLLOW SUIT JUST RAISE THE CANNONS BY 10 DEGREES!” screams Captain Crimson.


Several crewmembers scramble to arm the guns and to move them to the appropriate orientation. Crimson hears several of the crewmembers yell out that their cannons are loaded, and gives the order to fire. The Mystic Waves guns roar, dark gunsmoke rolling out of the cannons like ash out of a volcano. Crimson watches the shells push the amphibian backward, but the rugged skin of the frog holds strong.


The frog bellows another loud *ribbit* and leaps high into the air, diving into the water. The ensuing wave towers over the Mystic Wave. Captain Crimson springs into action, madly turning the ship’s wheel, directing the ship up the wave. Crimson crams the throttle all the way back, driving the ship up the wave. The Wave climbs the gigantic wave, reaching the peak before it crests, and rides the wave back down. 


The heroes and the crew frantically search over the railing looking for the amphibian to the surface, but the frog is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly the ship begins to list to the port side as the frog begins to climb up the side of the boat, using its sharp claws to tear into the side of the Wave, pulling itself up in the process until its head was peering up over the railing. 


Dr. Wolf (already transitioned into the Wolf) springs into action, scratching and gnawing at the front claws of the frog that are holding it up over the railing. The frog screeches in pain, dropping off the side of the ship, diving back down under the water. The amphibian quickly re-surfaces on the other side of the Wave, dragging itself up the boat’s starboard side. As the Wolf rushes over to attack again the frog quickly strikes with its tongue, but before it can retract Wolf back into its mouth, the Wolf digs its claws into the deck, the muscles in its hindlegs rippling and holding strong for the moment, but would be unable to hold on for long. 


Seeing an opening to attack the frog, the Scribe runs over to one of the deck guns and begins cranking out several rounds into the frog’s open mouth. The frog squeals, retracting its tongue, then kicking off the side of the boat and falling back into the ocean. 


“Get eyes on that frog! This isn’t over yet!” cries Captain Crimson. Crimson scans the waters with his eye-glass until he sees the frog resurface on the shoals.


“Get ready to open fire!” commands Crimson.


“Wait!” cries the Gunslinger, “I have a plan.”


The Gunslinger quickly relays his idea to Captain Crimson and the other heroes.


“It is worth a shot,” says Captain Crimson, “Our ordinance has been ineffective against the leather skin of the beast so far.”


The Hero runs out onto the center of the deck and begins thrashing wildly and screaming, trying to draw the frog’s attention. “Why do I have to be the fly?” questions the Hero.


“I think your purdy coat might draw the frog’s attention,” says the Gunslinger reassuringly. 


Sure enough, the frog’s tongue shoots out after the Hero, but the Hero was expecting this. The Hero dodges, allowing the frog’s sticky tongue to strike the mast. Captain Crimson and the Hero quickly stick their swords through the frog’s tongue and pin it to the mast, careful not to touch the sticky tongue with their hands for fear of becoming stuck. The Distiller and Barkeep quickly place a pair of gunpowder barrels on the frog’s tongue and begin to join the fuses. The frog is trying to retract its tongue but the Hero and Captain Crimson lean heavy on the hilts of their swords.


“Can you two hurry, I cannot hold on much longer?” begs the Hero.


The Distiller is hurriedly wrapping the cannon fuse together, ensuring that the explosive gunpowder is consumed by the frog before detonation. 


“Ready!” shouts the Distiller as he holds his lighter to the fuse. A fiery shower rains down from the fuse. Just then the frog pulls back hard, jerking the whole ship. Both crew members and heroes lose their footing, Crimson falls backward, his sword coming loose from the frog’s tongue and the mast. Everyone jumps right back up, but their eyes fall upon the Hero. Amid the frog’s pulling, the Hero has placed his hand on the frog’s tongue, and his sword is being backed out of the mast.


“Oh no,” mumbles the Hero. Before anyone can intervene, the frog’s tongue snaps back, seemingly at the speed of light, taking the Hero with it...

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