Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 31

Previously...
Bujilli and Leeja were attacked by a group of students. One of the attackers shot Bujilli only to lose his head. Another was dealt with by Leeja who now is carrying a severely wounded third attacker. Three more would-be assassins have been discouraged from following and as Bujilli and Leeja turned the corner they were confronted by Unfred...

"Get in here!" Unfred barked. His breath reeked of onions.

Leeja looked at Bujilli.

He nodded.

The girl needed tending to. She wasn't going to make it if they didn't get her some help right away. Bujilli wanted answers...preferably without having to interrogate the dead to get them. He disliked necromancy. He distrusted the dead. For good reason.

Unfred slammed the heavy door and threw the bolt.

"On the table." He pointed.

Leeja slid the unconscious girl onto the work table. She backed up apprehensively. Almost skittish. Her weird eyes never once wavered or left Unfred. Her claws were out.

Unfred ignored the Un-girl and started examining his impromptu patient.

Bujilli watched the big man attend to the wounded girl. He was gentle. Deft. Well-used to such things.

"She's lost a lot of blood, but she'll have a good chance of making it. No thanks to your blade." Unfred scowled, "What are your intentions?"

"I want answers."

"Oh do you now?" Unfred reared back from the table. His spine cracked thrice. A nasty grin split his scarred, pocked face.

"Yes. I want to know why she..." he pointed to the girl "...attacked us out there."

"She attacked you?" Unfred wavered momentarily.

"Yes. Her friend shot me. There were three of them. They had another three friends backing them up."

"And they are?" Unfred perched his meaty fists upon his ample thighs.

"One lies headless next to his fire-arm."

"I dealt with the other one." Hissed Leeja.

"And I dissuaded the other three from pursuing us."

"You dissuaded them? How?"

"I have my ways."

Unfred stared into Bujilli's eyes.

Finally the tension broke.

"Don't we all? Fine. Trade secret. I understand. Used to belong to a guild before I bought my way out. Like that did me much good. Hah."

"Who is this girl? What can you tell me about her?"

"She's another one of the bitter dregs left-over from the Winter. Like your--"

"Her name was Sharisse. She was lodging in the dorm next to mine."

"You knew her then?" Bujilli turned to Leeja. His fingers flexed instinctively. Spells gleamed and glittered in the back of his mind, each one nudging him like a pack of greyhounds eager to get released.

"No. Not really. We both worked the pens. We both..."

"They both survived the Winter. No little thing. Especially since neither of you had any money or much luck, eh Leeja?"

"I'm no whore!" Leeja shrilled.

"Not that anyone is tossing coins about girl--some as don't have your particular talents have to find some way to get by, don't they? Not everyone makes the best choices. Especially when they're hungry and scared." Unfred looked down on the girl laid out on his work table. He shook his head ever so slightly.

"Why would Sharisse and her friends attack me? Us?" He gestured to include Leeja, "I fail to understand what they thought they were going to gain." Bujilli stared at the girl.

"Gain? Hah. Not all who attack are out to gain. Some just as soon kill or maim as spout uncouth words. You've not endured a Winter in this place. It is harsh. Unforgiving. Not all who come through it really survive, not as such. Some come into Spring damaged, ruined. Not just tainted or befouled with the White Powder. There are those who go feral. Wild. some began with far less to lose than the rest, making it a short trip indeed. Like this one."

"I can understand that." Bujilli closed his eyes for just a moment. Just long enough to push away unwonted memories.

"Yes. I believe you do, don't you?" Unfred growled sympathetically.

"So why did she attack him?" Leeja scratched a deep furrow in the table next to the girl's arm.

Unfred snorted.

"Why do you think? Stupid girl." He shook his head slowly. Sadly. "She wanted more than she had. She was terrified of facing another Winter without some sort of an edge. Without friends. Without hope."

"What do you mean?" Bujilli placed his hand on Leeja's shoulder to forestall any outburst. She shivered like a wet cat. But she didn't shrug off his touch.

"Look at her." Unfred bowed his head. In shame?

Bujilli stepped over to the table and took a better look at the girl. She was filthy. Rags. Everything she wore was cast-off or cobbled-together from disparate pieces and broken parts. Her scars held a weird, slightly quicksilver sheen to them--"

"Yes. You've noticed." Unfred drew his blunt finger along the edge of the scar that twisted around Sharisse's right wrist. Like a throbbing eel the scar bulged and writhed. Alive. Parasitical.

"What...is...it?" Bujilli gripped the handle of his tulwar and caught himself before fully making the Voorish Sign.

"Worms."

"Worms?" Bujilli's voice squeaked comically.

"Yes. There's a few vermin-peddlers and wermifices who know how to raise small batches of Gore Worms that they feed a solution containing a good amount of refined White Powder."

"But why? These...things...are alive and under her skin--" Pieces began to click into place for Bujilli. It was not a pretty picture. Not at all.

"Of course. They wouldn't do her much good otherwise."

"What do you mean?" He closed his eyes, knowing he already suspected the answer and dreading confirmation of his suspicions.

"The worms are parasites. They process all White Powder derivatives in her bloodstream."

"Process? How? Why?"

"It's a way to get through the hard times. The worms work to help their host survive, at least physically. For the most part. They aren't too finicky about whether you're still alive or undead, so long as the blood flows and they get their fix."

"So these worms help keep her alive?" Bujilli could barely keep the revulsion he felt from his voice.

"They're the only thing that have kept her alive. Here. Let me show you." Unfred snatched-up a knife and busied himself removing the make-shift bandages around her abdomen. "Here. Take a look at your handiwork."

Bujilli moved around to Unfred's side. He looked down on the section of the girl's exposed belly. The wound was sealed with pulsing, glistening wermskin.

Sharisse opened her eyes. Her irises were pools of blood, vivid red and unsettling with the desperate, insatiable hunger they radiated.

Leeja held her half-extended claws right before the girl's face.

She didn't scream.

She didn't flinch.

She didn't say a word.

Bujilli stepped back. He wasn't quite so hungry any more.

Unfred brought over a ladle dripping cool well-water and handed it to the girl.

She looked at Leeja.

Leeja withdrew her hand. The girl sat up and took the ladle from Unfred so she could sip the water quietly.

Unfred took the empty ladle and quietly retreated to the back of the kitchen. He began peeling tiny rutabegas.

"You -- and your friends -- attacked me -- us -- I want to know why."

Sharisse laughed. It was an unpleasant sound. It reminded Bujilli of a screech owl. An owl trapped in a deep well.

"I don't have friends."

"Why did you attack him?" demanded Leeja.

"You do have friends, don't you?" Sharisse smiled nastily. She stretched. Her limbs were long, lithe and only slightly unnaturally narrow. A poet would describe her as being coltish. If he was drunk, blind and ignorant of the things writhing about beneath her scarred and pocked skin.

"Yes. I do." Bujilli thought of Gnosiomandus, Hedard, Beatrice Eberhard...they had all been decent to him, after their own fashion. Maybe they were his friends? He wasn't sure. He'd never had friends before...

"Would you like for me to be your friend too?" Sharisse licked her lips hungrily...






So...ahem...

Should Bujilli attempt to befriend Sharisse?
How might he go about asking her his questions?
He does want answers, but how best to get them?
How will he know if she's lying?
Why did Sharisse and her allies attack?
Were they doing some else's dirty business?
If so, who were they working for?
What's the motivation?

What's going on in this place?

What's the deal with Unfred?

So many questions...

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

7 comments:

  1. If she wants to be friends, she needs to give up more information and prove her intentions. He should tell her so and find out why they attacked and who they're working for (if anyone).

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  2. I've just done some catching up - the past few episodes have been a wild ride. This is turning into an epic.

    For me, Trey's spot on. As for confirming her honesty, Bujilli might want to see if the machine can analyse her reactions in some more scientific way - assuming this is actually possible in any world. He might ask about the three additional attackers, as control questions, to see how far her information matches what he received via the pursuit deterrence protocol.

    He could also reward her for any clear honesty, to reinforce it, maybe by offering her something stronger than the water, a drink via the ladle from one of his wineskins.

    As a secondary line of enquiry, he might want to find out more about the symbiosis with the worms, either through the machine or from Unfred, or even the girl direct. He does seem to have a lot to learn about Wermspittle.

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  3. Certainly it seems worth figuring out what the girl knows, but Bujilli is collecting a lot of dependents and this one seems only marginally useful. Nothing wrong with him getting a party together, but unless these worms grant extraordinary powers I can't see this waif being a valuable addition.

    Perhaps Bujilli can reward her with some coin or a promised favor if she gives him good information but if it looks like he'll take on anyone who stabs him he may have hordes of young scavengers after him with the hopes of hitching themselves to his rising star.

    Also what of his gunshot wound - shouldn't he be getting to the infirmary?

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  4. Certainly is strange to be come onto by a starving wounded girl in Unfred's makeshift kitchen-infirmary? I think Bujilli is too decent and sensible to be taken in by that. He is also not a creep, and is probably a bit repelled that this kind of thing goes on here.

    I agree with Trey's idea of prompting the girl for more answers. I also think Gibbering Mouther has a point and he should get his own gunshot wound looked at pretty soon. Finally, Porky also has a point about researching the Gore Worms. He also has not really done any research yet on the White Powder, either.

    Bujilli really needs to start a list of research topics. Pretty soon he will need to hit the books.

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  5. Question Sharisse, but don't promise her anything. Her allegiance has already been bought and paid for. Counsel might be able to determine if she's lying. Talking with Unfred apart from Sharisse is probably a good idea as well.

    I rolled 5d20s and got 18, 14, 12, 14, and 17.

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  6. @Trey: You don't trust the girl? You've been in Wermspittle before, haven't you?

    @Porky: Counsel can do a few things, but it learns best how to help Bujilli by him teaching it how he thinks and operates and what his capabilities are. It is not a crutch, but a tool-set, much like being handed a developer's code-kit, in some ways. It can influence his metabolism, rewire his reflexes, and modify various systems, but that's not its primary purpose. Counsel is meant to assist, aid and enhance, not replace, oppress or stymie development. This aspect of the Counsel will be coming out more clearly as things progress, and it evolves in response to Bujilli's interactions with it. your suggestion is a good one--it would help push the boundaries of the current situation and spur more development, which should prove interesting.

    Bujilli has several handy spells at-hand, such as ESP, that might also be useful in this situation.

    Your approach makes sense. Learning more about the worms might be very important to Bujilli's continued survival...

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  7. @Gibbering Mouther: Yep. Bujilli needs to get educated real fast and stop walking around blind. He needs answers. As to just what the worms do for this girl...that will probably be revealed all too soon. The reaction rolls on both sides were not too good, so it is doubtful that Sharisse will join along to form a party...and the worms certainly are opposed to such a thing.

    your right on the money--Bujilli cannot allow people to attack him and let it slide. that approach will get him killed in less than 1d4 episodes. Almost guaranteed. This is a dangerous environment, he needs to get up to speed fast...and make the right impression. Unfortunately, just cutting a few throats isn't going to be enough. Not by a long shot. doing what everyone else would do is not in Bujilli's best interest. If he cops out and goes that route, Beatrice Eberhard will take exception to his betrayal of her trust...and that would be a nasty bit of business.

    Bujilli has the support of exceptional individuals precisely because he is not going about things in the typical manner. He represents a chance to break the old cycles, to short-circuit some of the persistently destructive patterns of behavior and feedback that are killing Wermspittle. But Bujilli is no Muad Dib, no messiah, no chosen one: he's a disposable asset to some, a catalyst to others, and a wildcard that has already disrupted the status quo just by walking into Gnosiomandus' room.

    Glad you brought up the matter of Bujilli's bullet wound. Yep. Bleeding stopped. Bullet fell out. Fever broke. It isn't registering as an issue any longer. Bujilli's healing capability just improved dramatically...thanks to White Powder poisoning...Lemuel's influence...and the Counsel's effects...I'll need to update his Character Sheet.

    @John Till: Yes. It is strange. Very. Convenient as well, don't you think? Are you really shocked, shocked to find gamb--this sort of thing going on here in Wermspittle? So you think those are Gore Worms that Sharisse is carrying? Hmmm...maybe...but keep in mind there are more than a few varieties of worms infesting this place...

    Getting Bujilli to the library to do some research, or maybe checking into a laboratory to do some first-year chemistry experiments might be a good idea. Bujilli needs to know more about what all he's gotten himself into, and the chemistry involved here is just as intrinsic to the situation as any inter-personal politics.

    I'll set-up a Page for Notes and players can post their notes to that page as Comments. I will check that page as part of the preparation for each new Episode. How does that sound?

    @Entirely Too Perky: Yes, her allegiance has already been bought and paid for, but what if Bujilli could render that arrangement null and void? He doesn't need to eliminate opponents he can convert into free agents with no grudge against him. A lot of this can be approached as an exercise in tactical economics. Mercenaries are as much motivated by economic factors as anything else. Again, before looking to Counsel to sort out the girl's story, look at the spells Bujilli already knows--like ESP--Counsel can then assist and augment the process. The more he leans on it, the less responsive it will become. The creators behind this technology had a definite agenda, design philosophy, and serious motivations to make it behave in certain ways, reinforcing certain actions/choices, and with-holding support in other situations. There's a good bit to discover about this stuff...if Bujilli ever gets the opportunity to look into it.

    Thanks for the D20 rolls! They came in handy. Poor Unfred...

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