Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 10

Previously...
In Episode 9, Bujilli cleverly used his spell Thought Wall to protect himself from the confusing influence emanating from the Oneiric Vortex. Twenty-six Dreamsnails were in the process of crawling out of that same Vortex. They were toothsome. Carnivorous. Hungry. They spotted Bujilli. His Thought Wall reflected the confusing influence of the Vortex back at the Dreamsnails who were vulnerable as they were still in-transition. It was while the Dreamsnails were confused and milling about randomly that the remaining Miasmagaster Spawnlings came crawling and wriggling past the Vortex. The two sets of monsters fought. Bujilli made good his escape by going North into Area 8. That's where he is now standing, looking at some Thing That Watches him from behind a seething bubble of sorcerous forces.

For better or worse, Bujilli now has the undivided attention of this...thing...

Questions, Questions
At first Bujilli wondered if this...thing...might be the synchronocitor, but then he remembered what little he thought he knew regarding the synchronocitor. It was a device of some sort. It resembled a staff, after a fashion. It was also something far more portable than this massive blob-like entity.

But the thought persisted; perhaps this thing was somehow connected to the Synchronocitor. Maybe it knew about such things. But then, so would whomever trapped this thing here -- the coruscating energies followed the lines of peculiar hyper geometries that Bujilli could only just barely follow. Perhaps this was the work of someone using a Synchronocitor? Bujilli studied the slow-motion lightning crawling around the gross form of the thing trapped upon the corroded metal dais at the center of Area 8. A thin layer of absolute vacuum sealed the thing off from him. The energies swirled along a cycle that took them across more than one planar layer in succession. This was heavy sorcery, the sort of thing that his Uncle would never practice -- it took a lot of specialized knowledge. This sort of thing required a great deal of power. It wasn't something tossed around casually or randomly. It was a deliberate, very determined effort, the sort of thing that one would plan and prepare for, the type of work that was done for a specific purpose. But what was the purpose behind this?

SkReeeeeeCCCCHHHHHHH!!!!!

Bujilli slid towards the nearest wall and dropped into a defensive posture without a thought. His tulwar at the ready, he saw one of the Dreamsnails coming into the room behind him.

It was bleeding profusely.

A trail of rainbow oily-ichor led back to the carnage mounded-up around the Oneiric Vortex. The Thought Wall still stood. It still blocked the emanations from the Vortex.

The Dreamsnail had slipped through the wall -- Bujilli could see the outline of colorful gore at the point where the creature had slipped into the side of the corridor in front of the Thought Wall, and again at the point where it had flopped back out again into realspace.

For a moment Bujilli hesitated. He wasn't nearly bloodthirsty enough. His Uncle had often had to beat him to get him to kill things when he was being trained to loot tombs and rob graves. Bujilli felt almost sorry for the colorful, bizarre creature. Then it lunged towards him with a wide-gaping maw full of sharp teeth.

Snap. Thak. Chak.

Three strikes and the Dreamsnail was dispatched. Its head removed from the body and the heart pierced through and through.

Bujilli watched the ferocious mollusc expire with a sense of disappointment. He didn't like killing things he couldn't eat or didn't have a use for, even in self-defense. Especially in self-defense. He was very good at hiding and moving about undetected. He should have been able to evade and elude the Dreamsnails. Should have.

Ha!

Bujilli replaced his tulwar at his belt and with a lingering glance at the thing trapped behind shimmering purple  energies, he went to work examining the Dreamsnail's corpse. With an expert eye and deft fingers Bujilli tested the snail's shell, pinched its hide, scented its blood and tasted its flesh. The Almas were a tough people, hardy, survivors who dwelt within a barren and unforgiving environment. They didn't waste resources. They could not afford to leave things behind for the yeren or other enemies to use against them, and anything that could give them an edge or advantage was worth taking. He had been trained from an early age to always bring something useful back from his explorations, if he wanted to eat.

The hide was ruined, too torn up and pierced to be of much use, and there was no good way to preserve it, unless he wasted salt on it, and then it would be useless. The blood was bubbling away, the ectoplasmic content sublimating now that the creature's life force was extinguished. That might have been useful, even valuable, but Bujilli had no way to catch or contain the evaporating ectoplasm. He considered attempting a manifestation or summoning, but the stuff was fizzing away too rapidly for him to really do anything with it. This time. Now that he knew that these things were so rich, so saturated with ectoplasm, there might be a way to put them to good use. Maybe.

He looked about him. So far the release of so much ectoplasm was not attracting any Ordrang or other such ectoplasmic scavengers. So far.

A few firm taps with the backside of the hand-axe and Bujilli had a small sack of very sharp teeth that looked like oily icicles. The teeth glistened oddly, almost as if they were on the verge of evaporating like the Dreamsnail's blood, but they remained firm and held an exceptionally keen edge. They might make decent arrow-heads. He also knew of a craftsman back in his village who carved such teeth into ornaments and gaming dice. There was definite value in these teeth. They might even have sorcerous applications, once he sorted out their correspondences and affinities.

Bujilli went back to the Dreamsnail's shell. It was translucent, finely ridged from the way it had developed one layer after another, overlapping like a naturally laminated sort of thing. It felt...odd...but tough, durable.

It took only a few minutes to hack a few sections and assorted fragments from the shell with his hand-axe. He scraped each shard clean of the flesh and gore, then loaded them into his pack, along with the sack of teeth, all of it wrapped in some loose burlap and felt-scraps --  the kind of junk that any scavenger or looter always carried in order to make sure that anything fragile they retrieved made it back home.

Bujilli nodded to himself. The teeth and shell-bits would be useful. Many things could be made with such material, possibly a buckler or potentially some armor could be fashioned from the shell-pieces--there were a lot of spell-casters who did not wear metal as they believed it to interfere with their energies. He snorted. He had seen the metal-draped shamans of the low-landers call down fire and ice upon their enemies, totally unimpeded by all the iron and other cast-off bits of metal dangling from their robes. It wasn't the metal that mattered; it was the attitude and the expectations of the caster that really mattered. Bujilli's uncle had explained it to him; magic answers need, just as sorcery reacts to expectations and responds to inspiration. Thus superstitions and tribal customs carried weight. Tradition could build-up power. Repetition was the heart and soul of ritual and ceremony, not just symbolism or raw energy. But those ways took time, required training and support. They were not all that well-suited to the sort of work for which his uncle had trained him.

Bujilli was a sorcerer, not a shaman, not a wizard, but one of those trained and tested, battered and bested until they were able to perform their attacks and defenses much as any fighter or hunter was expected to do--instinctively, intuitively, without hesitation. But Bujilli was still prone to wondering, to questioning, to over-thinking things at times.

Like now.

He shook his shaggy head. Now that he had left his uncle behind, Bujilli was questioning everything and learning a lot about himself and the world he had always found cruel, cold and unforgiving. A lot of that was really his upbringing and his uncle. Having left the bitter-tongued old Almas behind in his smelly yurt, Bujilli was beginning to find himself, find his own way in the world.

But still, he had the profound feeling that this was not his world.

This was the world of his uncle. The world of his father.

He spat in disgust.

It would never be his world.

He intended to leave it behind.

The Gem in his pouch whispered of multitudes of Adjacent Worlds, Parallel Realms, Exotic Planes and stranger places beyond the known horizons and boundaries of this tiny, insignificant world.

Wherever he wound-up, the Dreamsnail shell-pieces would be useful to a sorcerer, shaman or wizard and they could pay for such things. In knowledge if not in gold.

He replaced his hand-axe.

The corridor behind was seemingly clear, but it was only a matter of time before something else came through the Oneiric Vortex. He extended his left hand and examined the Thought Wall. It would hold for a while yet. good.

Bujilli regarded the thing trapped behind the sorcerous barrier.

It squatted at the center of a four-way intersection like some sort of monitor...or sentry.

Or was it placed here for some other function?

So many questions.
So few answers.

Bujilli sighed. He reached into his pouch and grasped the green Gem.

It seemed to know many things. Perhaps it knew something of this thing.

Bujilli closed his hand over the warm green Gem and stared intently at the thing trapped behind shimmering silent lightnings. Silently, Bujilli asked the Gem his questions, hoping for answers, directions, guidance.

'Do I dare release this thing--would doing so be beneficial to either of us--if I even knew how to do such a thing?'

All That Is Bound Can Be Unbound.
All Can Be Released.
Surely You Know Your Own Heart
Better Than Anyone Else.
Who  Knows The Heart Of Anyone Outside Themself?


'But HOW could such a thing be released?'

The Synchronocitor.
Among Other Such Things.

'How do I find this synchronocitor? What Path best leads to it's current location?'

Forwards.
Onwards.
Downwards.

"Forward?" Bujilli looked away from the grotesque figure and glanced at the way ahead. There were three choices of direction onward from this chamber, not counting going back towards the Vortex.

"Do you mean North then?"

His voice echoed in the silence.

The Gem was still. It had already spoken.
What guidance it could offer was given.
The decision was not for it to make.

Now it was all up to Bujilli...


Now it is all up to You.

Should Bujilli go North?

Or should he explore the passages to either side of this chamber?

Maybe he could by-pass the Oneiric Vortex and examine the other section of this place that he saw hinted at on his Map.

There are always the options of examining the contents of Area 6 with its ophidian-stink or the seemingly empty Area 7...

What should Bujilli do next?

You Decide!


Previous                                                     Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

8 comments:

  1. If the Gem says go downwards and the passages to east and west run upwards, over a short distance at least, I'd suggest Bujilli heads back to check out that hole in Area 6. That's assuming there are no more than a handful of snails left in the corridor.

    It would be good to get a better sense of the hole's depth, angle, how fresh it is, signs of coming and going and the potential size and number of the snakes. Then it might just be worth seeing where it goes...

    He should move carefully of course in case there are serpents about, and he should watch his back too, in case the Dreamsnail drew anything along the east and west passages, and because we don't know what might be in Area 7.

    And as single-mindedly as he can too, because the Vortex could still cause him some confusion. He should concentrate on the idea he might need to get out fast, and not get trapped and start dreaming. He'll want to keep hold of his tulwar.

    If there are still a lot of Dreamsnails in the corridor, I'd say go have a sneaky look down one of the passages and maybe follow it some way. If he can avoid stepping in the strange mud to the east, he should go that way, but if he can't, better to go west.

    What say the rest of you?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay. Definitely take a moment and re-check the Map from Episode 10, as it is posted separately as a follow-up to the main episode-post to make it more convenient to readers. You can also always click on the Most Current Map link under the Bujilli icon in the right-hand side bar.

    A point of clarification: Bujilli was facing North, away from the Oneiric Vortex while standing in Area 8 just off to the left/West of the big monster-trapped-in-the-weird-energy-field. The passages to East and West (from Area 8) do slope upwards. The passage running North from Area 8 slopes downward. Forward, to Bujilli, would imply North more than South, but that is entirely up for readers/commenters to decide. I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page.

    What Bujilli Currently Knows: There is no movement down the corridor back to the Oneiric Vortex. At least not when he last checked. Anyone who wants to roll a D20, that would be appreciated. There is a big pile of Spawnling & Dreamsnail carcasses right at the base of the Vortex. The place reeks horribly. It is clear that the stinky little critters gave at least as good as they got and the lingering fumes appear very nasty--possibly poisonous, corrosive or worse--but the vapors are dispersing. Slowly. Going back that way would be ill-advised.

    The Thought Wall spell remains in effect for a little while longer, and Bujilli can extend its duration if someone wants him to expend a few hit points to do so--again that'd be up to whomever comments.

    Examining Area 6: This will require Bujilli to relinquish the Thought Wall, if you want him to go back to Area 6 and investigate that room. He could re-cast the spell, of course. Bujilli recalls that from his initial look-see into the room, that the hole burrowed up from the edge of the wall is very likely large enough to accommodate him, but it would be restrictive of his motion and very cramped. It would be a very bad spot in which to encounter a large serpent or other hungry monster. The dirt around the hole is fairly dry, even slightly crumbly.

    If you want Bujilli to go towards Area 6, roll 2 D20s.
    If you want Bujilli to go East or West, roll 1 D20.
    If you want Bujilli to go North, roll 2D20s.
    If you want Bujilli to go in another direction, attempt something else, cast a spell, whittle a little sculpture from Dreamsnail shell, carve his initials on the wall, or whatever, someone still needs to roll 2D20s.

    Bujilli is getting hungry, by the way...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bujilli should grab a bite of whatever travel food he has in his pouch (I'm assuming he has a pemmican-type blend for easy noshing) so he's not distracted by a grumbly belly. I'd like to see him go North (going around the entity on the dais by passing on its West side, no sense in a muddy slip-and-fall incident by passing closer to the East passageway) and I rolled a 13 and a 6. He needs to keep an eye on the entity as he passes and take a quick peek down the West passageway as he moves past it.

    We can deal with the portcullis once we're across the room. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay. I will adjust the records for Bujilli's supplies accordingly. In doing this, he notices that his water is going nasty. A quick check reveals that some Dreamsnail blood got onto one of the water-skins and is seeping into it, polluting the water. Thankfully, the other 3 skins (one filled with water, one with Gapf*, one with a butter-tuber vodka) are okay, intact and fully usable. Bujilli now has food enough for 2.75 days, at his customary rate of noshing.

    13: There is movement in the sparkly mud along the East half of Area 8. The movement has in fact been noticed by Bujilli. It reminds him momentarily of eels squirming in the viscous mud. A very nasty, rotten smell is starting to come from the Eastern passage, as though something just recently stirred-up some rancid mud or something equally as foul and fetid.

    6: A blood-curdling scream has just erupted from Area 6, followed by sounds of violence and a massive heaving thud. Then silence.

    Oh, and the Potcullis is not only translucent, as Bujilli gets closer to it, he can see clearly enough that it seems to be fading in and out of phase cyclically. Rhythmically. Perhaps one could slip through it if they judged the intervals appropriately...

    *Gapf is a strong (highly flammable)herbal liqueur favored by Almas. It is very good for sterilizing wounds, cleaning antique fire-arms, and killing most forms of insect-larva, whether deposited within a victims digestive tract or elsewhere. You could say it is an acquired taste...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hang on to the tainted wineskin, but mark it so he remembers not to drink it. Might come in handy down the tunnel. :)

    Definitely avoid the water and the wrigglers to the east.

    Bujilli should cast Protection from Aethyrial Intrusions, then attempt to pass through the portcullis when it seems to be most passable to him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Okay...1 vote seems to be to go back to Area 6, one vote is to go forward to the portcullis and attempt to pass through it using a spell. Any other suggestions, votes, or ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I back Entirely Too Perky's approach. That's a proper plan, building on the progress so far. Plus Bujilli needs an inner harmony in such testing times.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay. That's two votes to go towards the portcullis and attempting to get through then thing using a spell. I'll check this post one more time before getting to work on the next episode in the morning...er...later this morning. After some coffee.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment. We value your feedback and appreciate your support of our efforts.

ShareThis