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Insurrection - A Tale of Amphibiana

Chris Conley
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The aroma of fried grubs caused Hermit to awaken from his peaceful slumber. Still disoriented from his state of unconsciousness, Hermit stumbled to his feet and hopped out of his bedroom and into the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, he was greeted by his lovely mother, Phyllis, and his various younger siblings that were eagerly waiting for some breakfast.

The peaceful atmosphere of the morning was interrupted by a loud knock at the door. The unexpected guest turned out to be a messenger of King Theodin Toad the X, ruler of the entire kingdom of Amphibiana. The messenger announced that Princess Tammy, the oldest daughter of King Toad and close personal friend of Hermit, was requesting his presence at the LilyPalace. Hermit was stunned. He'd been a friend of Tammy since the two of them had been tadpoles, and in all that time she'd never summoned him into her presence. Despite the fact that he was more than a little worried that the princess had summoned him instead of coming herself, Hermit kissed his mother goodbye and left for the LilyPalace to see Princess Tammy.

Hermit arrived at the LilyPalace without incident, and was escorted into the palace. From there, Hermit was quickly ushered into the presence of Princess Tammy. Hermit was awed every time that he saw the princess. Her large eyes captivated him, and she had warts in all the right places. In his eyes she was a goddess, and he'd loved her for as long as he could remember. The two amphibians embraced, and Princess Tammy began sobbing uncontrollably.

Through her tears, Tammy related her horrible story. Earlier that day, King Toad had informed the princess that he had arranged for her to be wed to Prince Saladin, ruler of Amphibiana's Salamander Province. Prince Saladin was considered by many to be a power hungry tyrant, only concerned with advancing his own rise in power. Hermit had heard rumors that Prince Saladin was raising a powerful army, and many citizens of the aristocracy feared that Saladin was planning on proclaiming himself king, and overthrowing King Toad. This arranged marriage was obviously an attempt on the part of the king to prevent a civil war, as well as to protect his own slimy hide. Despite his obvious reservations against the situation, Hermit attempted to assure Princess Tammy that everything was going to be okay. He then held her until she cried herself to sleep.

Hermit gently moved the princess to her bed, and quietly left the room. By this time, Hermit had concluded that he needed to try to convince the king that it would be a huge mistake to give Prince Saladin any more power than he already had. Saladin needed to be condemned, not rewarded for his aggressive actions. At the same time, Hermit couldn't imagine the individual that he loved more than life itself being wed to such a cruel and evil creature as the Prince of the Salamanders.

Hermit arrived at the throne room and humbly requested an audience with King Toad. After a few moments, Hermit was admitted into the presence of the king. King Theodin was an exceptionally obese creature, with large hideous warts. The king greeted Hermit without emotion, and inquired into the purpose of the Frog's visit. Hermit told his sovereign of his visit with Princess Tammy, and told King Toad that he felt that Prince Saladin was an odious creature, and it was wrong to submit anyone to Saladin's tyrannous rule, especially Princess Tammy. The king shook his head sadly, and told Hermit that he was only doing what his title required of him. Hermit started to speak, but was silenced by the king. Hermit then rose to his feet and turned to leave. He was alarmed to find himself standing before a great menacing creature. After recovering from the initial shock, Hermit realized that this crimson monster could be none other than the infamous Prince Saladin. Saladin introduced himself as King Saladin, ruler of all Amphibiana, and ordered Hermit to proclaim his eternal loyalty to his new sovereign. Desperate for aid of any kind, Hermit looked back at King Toad, hoping that the Toad would stand up to the menacing Salamander.

The king sat motionless, staring at the floor, as Saladin once again demanded Hermit to bow to his new master. Hermit boldly informed the great beast that King Theodin Toad the X was still the king, and that he would never accept the rule of a tyrant. Saladin's arrogant smile disappeared and was replaced by a look of sheer malevolence. Saladin seized Hermit by the throat, and hoisted him high into the air. Hermit struggled frantically to get away, but this only served to infuriate Saladin further. With a maniacal laugh, Saladin slammed Hermit into the wall, and threw him to the floor.

Hermit awoke a few hours later, and realized that he had been thrown in the palace prison. Despite the blinding pain, Hermit managed to drag his battered body to the front of the cell. He then began shouting for a guard. After a few minutes, the prison guard grew tired of the shouting, and sauntered over to the cell. The guard eyed Hermit sympathetically, and turned to walk away. In desperation, Hermit reached out and seized the guard, and slammed him repeatedly into the iron bars. Eventually, Hermit realized that disabling the guard wasn't going to get him any closer to freedom, and he let the guard's limp form collapse to the floor. The valiant frog then collapsed to the floor, weeping bitterly.

The sound of approaching footsteps brought Hermit out of his fit of self-pity. Hermit quickly rose to his feet and prepared to defend himself. To his amazement, the approaching figure was that of Princess Tammy. The cell opened, and Hermit rushed to Tammy, embracing her passionately.

Their jubilation was short lived, however, as they were seized by palace soldiers. The guards forced their prisoners into the throne room, where they were thrown at the feet of Prince Saladin. Saladin decreed that the princess was to be killed for her treachery. King Toad started to protest, but Saladin only laughed. King Toad then ordered the soldiers to arrest Prince Saladin, but to the horror of the king, the soldiers instead knelt to Saladin. The king attempted to run, but was quickly cut down by his own soldiers.

The princess screamed and turned to run to her fallen father. Hermit lunged to stop her, but was tackled by a pair of burly guards. Hermit looked on in horror as Prince Saladin seized Princess Tammy and violently threw her to the floor. Hermit flew into a rage, and easily dispatched the two guards that had thrown him to the ground. He scurried to Tammy's broken body, and scooped her in his arms. Turning quickly, Hermit hopped into an adjacent room and barricaded the door.

There were so many things that Hermit wanted to say to his dying love, but he just couldn't make the words come out. He just sat there holding her in his arms, and wishing he were dying along with her. Somehow, Princess Tammy managed to open her eyes, and smile at the frog she loved so dearly. He told her that he couldn't go on without her, and that he was going to die along with her. She shook her head sadly, and with her dying breath, she ordered him to protect her younger brother.

Up until that moment, Hermit hadn't even thought of King Toad's youngest child, the wee lad, Theodin the XI, who by all rights was now the rightful ruler of the land. Fortunately, as luck would have it, the young prince was still just a tadpole and was therefore just swimming around in a bowl in the king's chambers.

At that moment, the barricaded door collapsed and Prince Saladin's soldiers came crashing into the room. In desperation, Hermit grabbed the bowl, and dove out a nearby window. Hermit quickly, and efficiently, wrapped his tongue around a tree and swung to safety.

Upon reaching the ground, Hermit raced to his house in order to ensure that his family made it out of the area safely. To his horror, Hermit found his entire family impaled on long pikes in front of the smoldering remains of his former home. This was the final straw. At that exact moment, Hermit's life had only one purpose, to kill "King" Saladin, and thus ensure that the Toad Dynasty once again ruled Amphibiana.

After pausing to give his family a hasty burial, Hermit scooped up the young prince and headed westward, toward the scarcely populated marshes of Goosh. He hoped that the secluded area would allow them to remain out of the evil grasp of the evil King Saladin. Once out of immediate danger, Hermit intended to spend day and night preparing the two of them for their ultimate destiny. The events of the day would mold the two of them into a deadly weapon, which they would then use to stab at the heart of Saladin himself.


Insurrection: A Tale of Amphibiana © Chris Conley

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