Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bujilli: Episode 58


Previously...
Bujilli and Leeja survived their time in the Arena. They've both been admitted to the Academy. Beatrice Eberhard has been rushed off to Hedrard's offices and Gnosiomandus would like a word with them both before Orientation officially begins...

"You've done well. Both of you." Gnosiomandus sounded distracted. Everyone else was gone. They were alone on the edge of the Arena.

Bujilli stood before the old man. Leeja still held his hand. They had witnessed something profound, he was sure of that much, but he was drastically out of his depth, tossed into the deep end of politics and internecine academic conflicts he knew nothing about. He looked out at the Arena. He disliked this place. It reminded him of the naked belly of a beast. It was cold and empty; no hungry. Waiting.

"You're right, of course. This place will not lie fallow and neglected forever. Nor is it the only Arena established within these walls. Much blood has been spilled here. Not all of it for the better." Gnosiomandus rubbed his gnarly old hands together. They were none the cleaner.

"But why? What's the point?" Bujilli regarded his erstwhile mentor as if seeing him for the first time, a sense of betrayal boiling up from his guts.

"So now you'll want to ask whether or not we're actually civilized. Alas, yes, we are quite civilized. That's a large part of our problem, the root of so many of our many problems."

"I do not understand..."

"An excellent place from which to start. Come along you two. We can share a drink or two while I set the requisite paperwork in motion and perhaps I can answer a few of your questions...though I doubt I can do much about any doubts you may be harboring. This is Wermspittle, not some cosmopolitan metropolis where things work like they ought to, where things didn't crash or get overwritten by malwa--malevolent spirits. Things went sour here, badly. Intensely. But some of us are trying to do something about all that."

"Was there a war then?"

"Many wars. Wermspittle has been surrounded by wars from before it even had a name. Heretics, bandits and outcasts; our unfair little enclave was founded in the midst of a great war. We're no strangers to war, not here. But to answer your question, no...it wasn't so much a war...hmmm...well...hmmm..." Gnosiomandus scowled. His eyes took on an unfocused, glassy appearance as he contemplated what he was attempting to explain.

"Yes?" Leeja prodded the old scholar.

"Ahem. Yes. Ah, let us go to my office. No. My study. I have some rather good brandy that I brought back from Anselgo that you might enjoy. They make it from green peaches. It's quite sour, but something tells me you both have something of an affinity for such things."

Gnosiomandus led the way to one of the arches that slid into view as he approached, just as Sprague and the Head Mistress had done before. A soft golden light flickered across the comfortable, familiar study--the room where Bujilli had first encountered Gnosiomandus.




BLACKNESS. FREEZING COLD. HOWLING WIND. TASTE OF BLOOD.




Bujilli propped himself up. He was sprawled across an uneven, harsh stone floor. Sickly green light seeped towards him from an ornate brass lantern swaying from the crooked arm of a black iron staff jammed into a crack in the floor. Blood dripped from his mouth, matting on his chin whiskers.

He nearly vomited as he sat up. His eyes took a while to adjust.

He was in a cave. Alone.

Crumbly chalk and coarse-ground blue-green salt described a geometric figure, a diagram with seven points. He was at the center of it. The other six lanterns were burned-out. There was a heavy scent of yak butter and incense clinging to the space. As far as he knew, only certain of the Almas used dung as a binder for their ritual incense.

Bujilli didn't need to look out the icicle-fanged mouth of the cave to know where he was.

He knew this cave.

All too well.

His scars itched.

Damned centipedes.

He considered his options.

Going farther back into the cave would take him to a well-worn ledge overlooking a dismal shaft that led deep down below. There were many centipedes down there. Some of them the size of whales. and there were the things that they hunted, or that fed upon them. He'd spent much of his youth as a 'dangler' getting lowered on a harness from rough ropes by his mother's kin. Either his baskets and bags weer full when they pulled him back up, or else they'd kick him back over the ledge and he'd have to start over again.

Bujilli hated centipedes. But he knew how to handle himself around them.

The storm outside was certain to hide his tracks...but they wouldn't need to follow his footprints, not if they could rip him away from Wermspittle with a crude diagram and some shitty incense. Summoned like a demon. Bujilli grinned, making his lips bleed a little more. Then he spotted the bundle next to the lantern post.

Red silk. bound with strips of chitin cut from a medium-sized centipede.

The sigil daubed on the bundle in golden, greasy paint was his name.

It contained a severed braid.

His hair.

"Uncle? Why have you brought me back here?"



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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

4 comments:

  1. Whoa. Quite a turn!

    I love that paragraph description of Wermspittle, by the way. Great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Trey; I had a dream and now it is Bujilli's nightmare...
      Wermspittle has a very strange history behind it that I hope to be exploring/revealing a bit more over the next few months...

      Delete
  2. Blimey. No sooner than come up gasping in Wermspittle than get sucked off across time and space possible into a past nightmare, or maybe another version of it. It's more power than I imagined his uncle had though. If so, it augurs even worse.

    First things first - I'd suggest checking what he has with him. How much of what he was wearing and carrying came through too?

    Next, can he see or does he know if there's any prepared or practical way down the shaft, in the event he needs a back way out, desperate as it is?

    Also, how are his spellcasting muscles feeling? One of the subtle defensive spells could be useful, especially one he might have learnt since he last saw his uncle, for the possible surprise.

    Beyond that, there's waiting for a reply to his question, checking the lie of the land and pondering whether to head out into the storm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Bujilli has some unfinished business to attend to...and he is wondering just how much of this is a memory or a dream. We'll all know next Thursday for sure...maybe. As to his Uncle's power level...things have changed a bit. After Bujilli left, there were some developments. His Uncle has gained, and lost a few things, and he has very serious reasons to call his errant nephew home like he did. But at least he's ready to barter with the boy...

      1) Doing a quick self-check. Everything he was carrying into the arena is intact and present. I'll adjust the Character Sheet, but it is safe to say that he's not carrying a whole lot of food, water or even a bed-roll or blanket. No torches either. If there's something that you'd like for Bujilli to have on his person, like some item from a previous exploit, and he has it on his character sheet, speak up and we'll consider it. Might roll some dice...

      2) Yes. Bujilli knows his way around this cave very well. There are ropes, winches and a block-and-tackle arranged over the yawning abyss so he can lower himself, climb down using the ropes, or use the hand and foot-holds worked into the sides of the shaft. A lightsource would be handy...

      3) Spellcasting. Fine and dandy. Bujilli is physically a bit beat-up, but his spellcasting ability is unimpaired. If anything he feels quite comfortable in respect to his spellcasting abilities. More confident that he has ever felt before. Ready to face his Uncle...

      4) Bujilli has learned a number of defensive spells, any/all of them are available to him.

      5) The storm is fierce. It's the kind of blizzard that the Yeren use as cover when they raid upland regions like this one. Bujilli could make his way through the storm to his mother's kin's village-site, though it would take him a while, as it tends to move about according to season and other factors. He can sense his Uncle's yurt because of all the weird artifacts, strange scrolls and other occult paraphenalia the cranky old Almas has accumulated. So, yes, Bujilli can certainly go out into the storm and have a reasonable chance to not only survive, but to find his way 'home.' If he wants to do such a thing. Of course, doing so will run the risk of encountering Yeren or worse. These are wild lands. Dangerous. Even knowing the lay of the land and being familiar with the weather and beasts will only help so much. The avalanches and howling winds can be even more formidable than dragons...exposure can be deadly...but Bujilli grew up here; he knows the dangers and he knows how to face them. He is not trapped, just in an undesirable situation, for now...

      Delete

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