The Warrior of Frog Island
By Jeff Baker
I had been travelling for months, days of exploration and adventure and nights where a bed-chamber was a luxury if it had a roof overhead, when after a small trip by sailercraft, my companions and I came to Sanar; the place sometimes known as “Frog Island.” The small settlement near the docks provided a tavern for eating and a small hostel where we quickly acquired rooms once the management saw our coinage.
As we had arrived in early evening, I was able to survey the island from the windows of the tavern which faced opposite the direction of the setting sun. The light made the ancient trees the same brownish-orange as the ancient stone turrets that seemed to grow out of the island. When we were done with our meal, the sun had dipped below the horizon on the sea and the island was bathed in purple darkness, illuminated by stars and two of the wan moons.
It was on the next day that we made our explorations. I was always the more adventurous and so I strayed from the well-worn path into the center of the island with its small hills and ancient turrets. As I walked, I recognized the many varieties of plants that were edible and knew that between them and the fish the locals did not starve. I rambled onward until I made a turn and found myself in a small clearing, free of the foliage which obscured my view of everything but the path and a strip of clear, green sky above. I found myself facing the tall façade of what I found to be one of the stone turrets. It was in deep shadow, being early morning, and as I stared I could see an outline of a huge figure crouched against the stone. As the light grew brighter, I was taken aback by the sight of huge, muscular arms, glistening eyes and powerful legs; all tinted green and white. For a few moments, I stood near-panicked, wondering if I should flee but I stood transfixed at the glistening musculature and aspect of what was revealed to be a giant frog-warrior, standing erect, complete with a shield strapped to its back!
I had heard the legends of the fierce battle of the frog-warriors millennia ago, but I was convinced that they had been defeated and never returned. This specimen stood motionless and I suddenly realized that this was no living being, but must be a carving, a statue of some kind. I cautiously moved around the frog-warrior and saw that, indeed, it was attached to the stone of the turret and was almost as high; nearly four times higher than a man.
I was singularly struck with the appearance of the frog; the detail of the mottled green on the backs or the arms and tinting the face and head as well as the pale, almost sickly white of the frog’s underside which was fully on display. It had (I learned later at the tavern) been built into the rock wall of the turret and had been carved and polished but it was, amazingly, the same dull, yellow stone as the turret walls—no jewelry had been used to make it glisten, not even the eyes! The stone had been polished to bring out the glasslike qualities of the rock, and it was considered a thing of beauty.
I had to agree. I surveyed the frog-warrior; probably the last representation of its kind on this world, the living representatives long-fled or remains tossed in the ocean after defeat and death. The light from the sun was beginning to hit the frog in full and I marveled at the delicate work; a stark reminder of ancient days. I had been told by a tutor that the Frog-People were a myth. Looking at this huge, amphibious addition to the edifice, I certainly hoped so.