Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 29

Previously...
Leeja, the girl with white hair whom Bujilli just met in the Beast Pens has turned out to be far more than just another pretty face. In fact Leeja appears to be something other than strictly human. And now Bujilli must decide whether her recent attempt to infiltrate his mind, body and soul is something that he should see as an attack, or more of a misunderstanding. He's a stranger in this strange world, and perhaps...perhaps...Leeja might still be of some help to him. If he establishes firm boundaries and explicit expectations up front.
But all of that isn't what really concerns Bujilli. What bothers him most is that on some level, he rather enjoyed Leeja's subtle predation upon his person. Her attentions could become achingly addictive if allowed to continue...

"Your Nature?" Bujilli barked the words. His stomach rumbled. His skin crawled. All his hairs were on-end and he fought his body's automatic tendency to go into a fighting crouch.

He'd fought demons, yeren, oni and worse over the years...but this felt different somehow. Different and new. New and dangerous.

"I...apologize. I should not have done that. I realize that now..." Leeja averted her eyes. Stared at the floor. Fidgeted. She resembled a little girl caught in the act.

Bujilli smirked. He saw all the hallmarks of a consummate manipulator, an adept in emotional camouflage and misdirection. Like the hairless demon-bitch his uncle kept locked-up in a seven-metal cage no one else was supposed to know about. She'd taught Bujilli a few things before his uncle discovered their covert liaison. Her destruction had been painful to witness. Painful but instructive. He'd sworn then not to be fooled again, not by such creatures, not ever again.

"What are you?" He considered employing the Wrathful Facade spell, but held back. Willing disclosure was more valuable than fear-inspired confession. Bujilli distrusted the questionable fruits of fear or guilt; they were too closely akin to the misleading narratives received under torture. Only a fool believed anything gained in such a manner.

"My father was a great Lord among the Pallid, before he was driven out of the Garden by his ancestral enemies. My mother was born among the lowfolk who dwell in the deep places below Aman Utal, but she was out-caste, the child of an unsanctioned union. Thus I was also out-caste. Unsanctioned. Unwelcome."

Bujilli stared at the pale girl in disbelief. Shock. She had been unwanted, unwelcome among her mother's people, even as he had been. Half-breed, hybrid, not quite acceptable.

He shook his head. It was incredible. He wasn't used to having anything in common with anyone else.

"I grew up wandering the deep regions. My parents...they both died along the way to this place."

"You're an orphan?"

"There are a lot of orphans in Wermspittle. More every Spring." she shrugged.

"It appears that we have a few things in common. For that reason, I am willing to make an allowance for our initial misunderstanding. But listen to me well; never, ever try that...that...with me ever again." He glared at her. There was no need to append any 'or else' clauses to the statement. His intentions were crystal clear.

"I understand. I will respect your wishes in the matter."

"Good. I would rather discover allies than make enemies in this place."

"Do you wish for me to leave you now?" She hesitated delicately, poised on the precipice between unfounded hope and utter defeat.

"If you can behave yourself and speak openly and honestly, then I'd like for you to act as my guide, as we discussed originally."

Leeja smiled broadly. A bit more broadly than should have been possible.

"Let me get cleaned-up here," she pointed to an area past an arch on the right, "and we can go get some food and discuss where to begin your tour."

Bujilli nodded assent. She traipsed away to the showers. He watched her go. There was something alluring in her movements. Seductive. He looked away. It reminded him of Ahtrishka. His eyes burned slightly at the memory. Her kiss-mark was a scar upon his soul. One of many. But Her scar was also a gift. It had saved him from succumbing to Leeja's intimate invasion of his being. It let him discern what was happening. Made it a choice. An invitation. Not a violation. Not outright. Not as completely as it could have been. Might have been. Might--

He shook his head once again.

The subtle touch of those tendrils...

...intoxicating.

But Bujilli had experience with such things. They left a bitter after-taste. Ashes. Scars. Screams in the midst of one's dreams as they curdle into nightmares.

The temptation passed.

Slowly.

Like an insidious liquor that still burned upon his lips and tongue.

His soul.

He performed the Voorish Sign once more.

He hoped it would be enough.

It wasn't Leeja he was worried about.

It was himself.

BANG!

Blood.

Sharp, acrid smoke.

White. Billowing. Smoke.

Why was he leaning against the wall?

He slipped. There was blood dribbling down his arm. Left arm.

Bujilli watched the blood drip from his finger-tips.

His blood.

Bujilli smiled, his thick lips peeling back from his teeth. The tulwar whipped out with a snicker-snack.

He pushed off from the wall and went into a fighting crouch as he quickly scanned the area for some sign of his assailant.

Nothing.

No one.

Empty pens.

The office door was locked. Unfred had left the premises or was hiding.

There.

Movement.

More.

Three figures. One tall and lanky, with a gonne of some kind, probably a fowling piece. Pitchfork, sizzling prod-stick.

Bujilli moved back into the dissipating cloud of white smoke. He moved quickly, quietly past the empty manticore pen and slipped behind some stacked crates and supplies.

He checked his wound. It was superficial. Not more than a scratch, really. But it could be trouble enough if it went septic or was tainted. This was a filthy place. He set the tulwar against the crates and pulled out some yak-wool rags. He packed the coarse fabric into the wound so it would clot quickly. Then he re-gripped his blade and snuck around to the other side of the crates.

The three assailants were arguing.

He grinned nastily.

He considered his options. Invisibility would be a waste with the lingering smoke. But Haste. Yes. That would do the trick.

Bujilli cast Haste.

Then he climbed to the top of the crates and leaped back onto the mezzanine. He ran along the mezzanine until he came up directly across from the three attackers and without pausing ran right at them, leaping from the railing and landing right in their midst.

Slash.

Hack!

The impact was jarring, but he didn't let it slow him down. He swept the legs out from under the pitchfork wielder. Spin. Extend. Jarring stop.

The shooter's head left his shoulders.

Bujilli stood up.

The prod-wielder stared at him in terror.

His accomplice's head landed in front of him with a wet thud.

The fowling piece clattered to the floor.

Bujilli grinned.

The would-be assailant threw away his prod. Turned. Ran.

Directly into Leeja.

He tried to scream but quickly succumbed to her peculiar embrace.

She looked at Bujilli.

He nodded.

She devoured the assailant.

Bujilli tore away his gaze. He examined the second assailant. He kicked the pitchfork out of easy reach. Kneeling down he could tell that they were still breathing. Blood was seeping out from under their body.

Bujilli considered the boy sprawled on the dirty floor bleeding out his life.


What should Bujilli do now?

Let the attacker die?
Or should he try to save the attacker in order to find out who sent them and/or why they attacked?

Are there more assailants waiting in the wings?
(somebody Roll Some Dice!)

What is the connection between Leeja and these attackers?
What is going on with Unfred?

So many questions...What will Bujilli's next move be?

You Decide!

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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

13 comments:

  1. So last time it was mentioned that perhaps Bujilli had been coming across as a bit of a gentle soul compared to the standards of Wermspittle. This seems an opportunity to rectify that.

    Bujulli should drag the wounded attacker into the center of the pens (where Leeja and anyone watching can see) and execute him in a cold, calculated and swift manner. Not asking him a thing and trying to come off as a really merciless tough guy.

    Then he should get out of there with Leeja and find out if she learned anything when she apparently ate the mind/soul of the other attacker.

    11, 6, 14, 10

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  2. He's a boy and killing him won't prove any toughness. He already made short work of these, although there may be more in hiding. While he may or may not learn anything from Leeja, there would be no other option of sending a message back besides sparing the boy. And this boy might know something the other did not.

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  3. I agree with interrogation, also. He can always threaten to feed the boy to Leeja, or ask her to charm him a bit into giving up answers.

    Here are a few dice rolls from the ruby d20 with teal numbers: 7,2,18.

    About Leeja's species-being. Was she inspired by the creature in Dark Conspiracy known as The Pale? The Pale in that game are beautiful hermaphroditic heat-vampires. I played on in a Shadowrun game back in the mid-90s.

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  4. @John Till: In respect to Leeja's species-being, nope. The Pallid are a form of humanity. They are inspired by several Radium Age stories by Bulwer-Lytton, Haggard, Wells, and others. They are a very dominant faction within what is left of Zalchis, and they have a habit of showing up all over the place, often behind the scenes. Monsieur Zenith, Odd John, Ayesha, Those Damned Kids, certain Machen-ian beings, and others might also have ties to the Pallid, but that could all just be lies and balderdash disseminated by Pallid operatives...

    We'll be detailing the Pallid in one of the PDFs that are coming together. They have a definite presence in Wermspittle...

    Leeja gets her hybridized demi-tentacular-form and peculiarly parahuman nature and appetites more form her mother's side. Her mother was a hybrid, a half-breed of some so-far indeterminate type, and her grandparent might have been a member of a very obscure species that may or may not have walked across the wastelands of old Mars long, long ago. Maybe. There are several other possibilities still open, so one conjecture is as good as any other, for now.

    In any case, Leeja is not so much a vampire per se as she is much more closely akin to certain Keatsian entities, with a slight degree of similarity to a creature from Malaysian folklore that often gets lumped-in as a 'vampire,' when in fact it is much more complicated than that...

    Leeja devours soul essence, and possibly a good deal more, not simply body-heat. Though a heat-draining vampire could be a fun beasty to spring on somebody one of these days. Reminds me of Colin Wilsons' Space Vampires in a way, only they drained life force, not just heat. Or a reverse Fire Vampires, sort of thing.

    Now that you mention Dark Conspiracy, I'll have to look into it. I missed-out on a lot of stuff while I was outside the RPG sphere of influence during most of the Nineties.

    As for inspiration...well...I tend to read a lot of old books. My sources tend to be old books. I haven't found much inspiration from RPGs that wasn't second-hand from someone else's books, so I tend to cut-out the middle man and go right into the old books directly. Guess I'd best get the bibliography thingies done and posted pretty soon...

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  5. Thanks for the context. I was tempted to scream "Shambleau" when her tentacles appeared, but I try not to succumb to mob mentalities and popular prejudices as much as possible. ;)

    The detaching monster is fairly common in one form or another throughout SE Asia. In the Philippines, it is known as a Manananggal (which is a mouthful) and is derived from tanggal, which means "to detach".

    I actually snuck a variant of a Manananggal into the D30 Strangerside Encounters table that I published yesterday. We live in a world full of synchronicity.

    BTW, Dark Conspiracy is a fun game with a clunky GDW ruleset. It had all sorts of weird, weird critters in it. The game was a strange mishmosh of cyberpunk with UFO and Fortean phenomena. There were one or two attempts to republish the game in a POD format (this was in the early days of POD and it was an ugly child). I also think there is a thread connecting DC to Over the Edge, which is the elements of high weirdness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr Till and Mr. James, nice bit of backstory their. Plumbing both lesser know folk legends and golden age Science Fiction. Color me impressed.

      Delete
  6. @GJ: And thank you for your erudite response with all of the interesting links.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, I just pilfered from my notes here for the post on the Pallid...
      Definitely going to have to get that 'Erudite" T-shirt...

      Delete
    2. If you ever do a female detaching monster suitable for a T-Shirt, we should talk. I want one that says "Manananggal" for a change!

      Delete
  7. RE: Bujilli's next course of action...

    I won't start writing the next episode until Thursday morning. that leaves plenty of time to ask questions, debate merits, and so on.

    Decapitating the gonne-man with one swift blow as he came barreling off of the mezzanine railing certainly made am impression on anyone/everyone watching. That's pretty badass. And impressive. A few good rolls can do wonders. Killing someone who attacks you with a fire-arm in an outright assassination attempt shows good sense and better reflexes.

    Killing the attacker is one option. But so far Bujilli has flown in the face of convention and showed compassion -- something that earned him some major support from Eberhard, Hedard and possibly others. Just killing the kid out of hand would be the kind of thing that one of the feral children or hard candy addicts might do. Bujilli's prestige has come out of him doing things differently...so by going the route of becoming just like everyone else might not be n his best interests. Also, there is no guarantee that Leeja can recover, let alone accurately recount anything from the mind/soul of the attacker she has consumed. And if she could reveal such things, will she do so without distorting them or leaving out important bits? So far Bujilli does not entirely trust Leeja, maybe for good reason, maybe not. They still have to work out the dynamics of their relationship, depending on whether it is a henchperson, hireling or contractor/mercenary situation...

    That said, Bujilli just might be P.O.ed enough to do just as +GibberingMouther suggests...he will drag the boy out into the center of the main area in either case...then we need to see how this all develops from there...

    He's also wounded and going into shock. Haste combined with serious exertion can lead to extra stress and bleeding...

    We'll also need to roll to determine how dirty the ball used in the fowling piece was...

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  8. Oh the Shambleau connection is still a distinct possibility, but it is not the only option. There is something of the 'detaching monster' to Leeja, but that might just mean that her lineage gets even more mingled as it goes farther back. At this rate I'll be rolling-up at least the basic details of her bloodline back at least three if not four or more generations...and I strongly suspect there is a bit of Shambleau taint in there...especially with the numbers that got rolled...

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  9. Can Bujilli's Counsel identify any additional potential attackers in his immediate vicinity, and their locations? Once Bujilli determines that there is no longer an immediate threat (or addresses it if there is one) he should stabilize himself (with Counsel's help, if needed), then the last living attacker. He can question him, potentially make him an ally, or trade / ransom him, depending on how things turn out.

    Bujilli has garnered three powerful allies (Gnosiomandus, Hedrard, and Eberhard) in less than a day by being true to himself, acting from what he knows to be right. While this will make him a target to be taken out or taken advantage of, depending on the individual, he will surely lose those allies if he does not hold fast to those parts of his nature that fostered the alliances. More importantly, he will lose who he is and, after all, "I did not crawl out of hell to be like anyone else."

    In Episode 24 Eberhard specifically challenges Bujilli. "You have a choice Bujilli. You said you wanted to help this child. Now that you know that it is risky, do you have the heart to do what must be done, or will you turn your back on him?" Then in Episode 25 she only gives Bujilli a "pass" on his Entrance Exam after he agreeds to have Hedrard cut Lemuel away from him and attempt to heal Lemuel. Had Bujilli taken the more expeditious route of letting Lemuel die I don't know that he would have passed.

    In Episode 26 Hedrard said to Bujilli, "I get the feeling that things are going to get a lot more interesting around here. If you survive." Also, "You are welcome here. Any time. For any reason. It's good to have allies in this place. Your life can depend on it." Given Unfred's reaction to Bujilli's voucher from Hedrard in Episode 27 she is not someone whose goodwill you push aside lightly.

    I rolled 5d20's and got 20, 20, 17, 16, and 14 on WolframAlpha's Open Dice Roller on their website.

    ReplyDelete

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