The professor looked again into his students eyes and smiled. This was such a popular class, and such a popular subject, that he didn't even consider this work.
"Turn to Page 82 in your Novisky/Van Houton Text. Let us examine the picture dominating the top of the page. Jake, describe it for us."
A young lad with auburn hair smiled, then begain speaking in a sure voice.
"It's a picture of a boat - my guess it's the unnamed merchant vessel from this chapter. In the foreground, we see an ominous storm approaching. It looks pretty serious. In the background, we see a Turanian war ship fighting a Xebec rigged ship - probably one of the red brotherhood."
"Excellent. That's it exactly. We learned that our heros, Raz, Lady Maja, Hadrathas, Rahka, the Zamoran thief and Tirah, the slave girl turned warrior, had taken berth on a merchantman for ports east. We also learned, they never made it to that ship, as they were then pressed into service of the Turanian Navy. "
"Months passed, and they became acclimated to life upon a sea vessel. They weren't happy with their lot, but couldn't manuever an escape together. They had to wait it out."
"Fate intervened, as it always does, and they were chose, along with many others, to board three of the shops boats and perform night raid on a catapult emplacement on shore. In addition to taking out the catapults, they were to talke out the semaphor tower above the lone building on the pennisula. They were able to manuever such that they all were on the same boat, with the part on the mission"
"The crossing went well, and the group attacked the gaurds at the catapults while the rest of the force took out the tower. AFter disabling the guards, they found the catapults out of commission. Unbeknownst to them, Rahka played a large part in this as he was able to disable each catapult using sorcery - and he managed to keep this from the others. He was still unknown to the group as a sorcerer, instead posing as a stygian scholar who could wield a bow."
"As they turned to see if they needed to help (and finding the tower in good hands, if not completely silenced as yet), one of them noticed the small merchant vessel in the shallow bay on the opposite side of the pennesula. There was no hesitation, they ported the lightest boat over and attacked."
"The attack went well, and the merchant vessel was theirs. They were able to bring her underway, just as the two larger vessels sailed in behind them, still trying to bring resolution to their engagement. "
"It is here where we find the portrait. At one point, they found they were facing an oncoming storm to the front, and the large combat vessles to the rear. From one ship, they had just deserted, from the other, they were probably enemies as well. They could not go back. Nor could they go further. And to ad more insult to injury, the ship, once out of the shallows and sitting deeper, began to leak. Unbeknownst to them, their boat had sustained damage below the waterline. The merchants had been about to beach her in the morning to repair the hole."
"With some excellent sailing, they were able to turn their baot around and ran from the storm. It was extremely fast moving, however, and it overtake all of the shops in the vacinity."
"I won't go into the details of the storm voyage, but rest assured, they did hit a reef and it did cause the immediate sinking of the boat. They each scrambled over the side clinging to whatever flotsom they could find."
"The next morning found them on sure of a lonely island. As they moved inland, trying to identify their situation and to see if some ruins spotted from shore (via a high tree) would have any promise. Right now, none of them had their primary weapons, and the only blades to be had at the moment were a hand axe and a dagger. Spears and clubs were soon found. Additionally, only one leather jerkin survided. Everyone else was had clothes only."
"As they progressed inward, they found more and more brightly colored frogs. Eventually, the frogs attacked. The first group was only hand sized, the but second group was almost the size of large dogs. The group defeated them handily."
"Upon the ruin, they found a single alter, with a woman standing behind it. She was bare chested, sun-bronzed skinned and dark haired. She also was missing one arm. She introduced herself as Maia and told the two who had been injured from the frogs that the only way to survive the poison that had been injected was to go to the caverns below and use the liquid within the frog eggsacks to negate the poison. The group agreed, despite her warning that the frog people could attack at any moment."
"Going below, they found the floor covered in water. Each cavern had the water getting deeper. Finally, they found the equivelent of the hatchery. A Stalagmite stood in the center of the room and around it clung sacks of while frog eggs. Lady Maja rubbed into into her wound at Maia's urging, but Hadrathus would not. "
"At this time, several frog people stood up out of the water, and attacked the single entry from outside. A grand melee erupted, with Hadrathus almost being drowned, Lady Maja, Rahka and the thief almost being killed. Unfortunately, Tirrah was killed as she tried to rescue Hadrathus from his (almost) watery tomb. During the combat, Maia proved to be a sorcerous with staff. Whenever she tourched someone with an orb mounted on the staff, they seemed to follow her will."
"In the end, Maia and the frog people were killed, the staff was taken and Tirrah was dead. And worse, they were still marooned on an uncharted island with plenty more of the frog people. Now, take out a writing utensil and a piece of paper. It's time for a pop quiz."
"Not a single 'aww' was heard, and the professor smiled again."