Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bujilli: Episode 95

Previously...
Bujilli and Leeja have been reunited. Some purple-eyed kid has tried to ambush Bujilli with a galvanic prod. Leeja has taken exception to this...

It had stopped raining.

Bujilli reached for his hand-axe.

The boy screamed.

As well he should; his hands were wrapped tightly in writhing white hair constricting so tightly that blood was spurting out through every tiny gap.

The galvanic prod sputtered in the mud then went dead. It was very likely rigged with some sort of dead-man switch. Bujilli had no intention of touching the thing.

"Good to see you." Bujilli smiled broadly at Leeja for a moment, then reality sunk its teeth back into his flanks; "We've got to get moving. Lemuel is in trouble."

"Lemuel? But he's with Hedrard--"

"Exactly. Or at least that what he claims. A lot has happened. This is not the best place to explain everything..."

"No. It isn't. Back to your room? Or somewhere else? I know a place that's close. sort of close."

"And him?" Bujilli felt ambivalent about his would-be ambusher. Failure probably meant death to the kid. Just like it had for Ahven previously.

"I can--"

Sirens sputtered, warbled then began to wail forlornly. Their sound quickly escalated into an ear-piercing dissonance.

"Scheiss--SMOG!" Leeja clouted the boy on the back of his head and hefted him over her shoulder; "come on--we need to get to a shelter!"

Bujilli followed her through the tumult and chaos of the market to a sphinx-topped bunker of some sort. There were yellow signs, broadsides and posters all over the place in a confusion of languages and acronyms. Recruiting. Political rallies. Warnings. There wasn't time to really examine any of them in detail., but he did notice a couple of posters that featured a very large and cartoony figure all in red crushing a some symbol in his gauntleted right hand--it looked like blood streaming through his fingers and the three-headed black eagle of Middle Sileza loomed behind him--it wore a tabard-style label across its cuirass-encases chest. Very striking.

Leeja tugged his hand. He nearly dropped the thimble.

The thimble.

Bujilli hesitated for a moment. He started to say something but then people began to yell and raise a commotion--they were closing the doors of the Smog Shelter earlier than usual. He slipped the thimble into his belt-pouch and started to run beside Leeja.

They made it through the heavy, purple-stained doors into the shelter.

Leeja slipped. Went down on her knee. Dropped the boy.

Purple vapor swirled from his lips.

Bujilli grabbed him and heaved him back through the doors before they fully closed.

He couldn't help noticing that the smog was rolling in across the lowest spots in the street and marketplace. Things that might have been people were capering and contorting and generally carrying on in strange ways back where the smog had billowed up into a deep purple zone or macabre wonderland. He wasn't sure which. Then the doors closed with a loud clang. The seals were pumped into place. The lights flickered and people began to look around and take stock of their situation.

Bujilli went back to Leeja. She was sitting against a wall. Eyes closed. Obviously in pain.

"Might I be of assistance?" A thin man in a white suit bowed slightly. His left eye squirmed oddly. It was some sort of graft.

"My friend has been poisoned..."

"Certainly. I saw the Purple Wisp as it left the boy's lungs--you did us all a great service in eliminating that villain from our midst and I'd like to repay the favor."

"What can you do?"

"Well...with your...ah...friend's permission, I can attach a couple of leeches to her back and they will draw off the toxins from the Purple Wisp."

"Leeja? Does that sound acceptable to you?"

"Yes--" she leaned away from the wall. Her cloak was ruined--half of it stuck to the concrete in a mess of blood and purplish ichor.

"I had best hurry." The thin man made a few quick hand-motions to his three unobtrusive and mouth-less homunculi-servants in some sort of gestural code. They each handed him a wriggling, black-striped leech that he carefully applied to her back.

"In this case, under the circumstances, we'll need three leeches. You'll start to feel better presently. The little darlings produce a numbing substance that they freely share with their clients at no extra charge. Very considerate little things."

"And these things will remove the poisons?" Bujilli watched the leeches wriggle and flop about as they slowly grew plumper from absorbing Leeja's blood. The damage to her back stopped hissing. She slumped forward a little.

"Does it help?"

"Yes. Thank you." She shivered. It had been a close call. The boy had nearly gotten her. It had been stupid to carry him like that.

"From now on, we can't afford to take any more chances with these purple-eyed--"

"Purple Irised folk? The Ledaan have been troubling you?"

"Yes. We don't know why--"

"And you may never find out. If you did, it might not matter--or make much sense. The Ledaan are part of the Purple Horde. They worship and serve the Purple Clouds and are ruled over by the Desert Fathers..."

"Do you know a great deal about these Ledaan?"

"Whether directly or indirectly, they are responsible for a great deal of my most lucrative business."

"Your leeches..."

"...drain off the toxins from the various and sundry unpleasant things the Purple Clouds have gifted us with; it tends to pay much better than the usual sorts of things people come to me for, like pus-drainage, blood-letting or reviving circulation in a defective or botched graft and the like."

Bujilli looked at the leeches. They were getting fat, bloated with tainted blood. There wasn't much trace of the oily purple sheen that had covered her back only moments before.

"It seems to be working."

"Of course. I'm no quack. I deal in only the very finest and most exceptional leeches available in all of Wermspittle."

"I have no doubt of that. I am impressed with how quickly they are removing the poisons--what do you do with the things once they've gotten too bloated to take anything more?"

"Some can be milked for useful compounds, others get sacrificed as components to various things, a few I pickle and preserve for the proper time of the year..."

"So you know ways of making use of the toxins your leeches draw-off of their victims, I mean hosts?"

"But of course. Otherwise it would be a pointless waste of my time."

Leeja grabbed Bujilli's ankle. He leaned closer.

"When the All Clear is given we need to go to the right, along Schwarzenegger Lane, past the decapitated statue of Dorothea Witchmangler. You'll see a sign for the Grampus-and-Krampus. It's a tavern. Of sorts. Tell the bar maid, the one with the black hair, not the green-toothed one, that I need her help." Leeja slumped forward with a shudder. She wasn't going to remain conscious much longer.

"There. My lovelies have nearly completed their task." The thin man delicately removed one of the blood-engorged leeches and deposited it into a container held out for him by one of his servants.

"She'll be weakened for a little while--she's lost a lot of blood, but there was no other way to get at the poisons. You've seen the purple smog now, haven't you? How it swirls and writhes like a thing live?"

"I've seen it." Too damn many times for my liking, he thought to himself.

"The poisons do the same thing. They swirl and writhe deeper and deeper into the flesh of their victims. The stuff could be alive for all I know." He pulled loose the second leech.

"Have they gotten it all then?"

"Yes. I believe so. This one," He carefully raised up the third leech which was noticeably less plump than the first two; "Yes. If there was more of the stuff in her flesh and blood, this one would have kept going until it had sucked it all up. Greedy little things. But very useful." He slipped the leech into a third container.

"Thank you."

"Not at all--thank you!" The white-suited thin man bowed and presented his hand to Bujilli who shook it. The leech-monger left behind a business card in the palm of his hand. It was set in a flowery script and looked like some sort of Drushik, but he wasn't sure. He slipped the card into his pants-pocket. He didn't want to open his belt pouch. Not here. Not yet.

Leeja slept. For the most part.

Bujilli kept watch over her.

The rest of the people in the shelter seemed to avoid them.

Some gambled. A few slept. Most just slept or read the papers and pamphlets their neighbors shared among one another.

The All Clear sounded. The seals popped and hissed as they were deflated and retracted. The heavy doors opened. It was raining heavily outside.

Bujilli scooped-up Leeja in his arms and moved towards the doors. An old woman smacked him in the back of his knee with her cane; "Where do you think you're going?" she snarled.

"Out." He turned to glare at the woman.

"Oh sure. Go running in the Purple Rain like a damn fool. Not like we don't have enough madfolk and murderers running around the place already."

"What?"

"Are you not from around here young fella? Don't you know what that is out there?" She stabbed outwards with her cane.

"No." He was feeling surly.

"Take a good look before you go running into that rain." She shook her head in disgust and walked away to go harass some other young dumb fool.

"But the All Clear--"

"Vujjdut!" The old woman scowled at him fiercely; "Those things haven't worked right in decades. Not since the verammdt Pruztian engineers tried to dismantle them. Go ahead, put your faith in ancient unthinking machines. See where that gets you. Ha. Manshonyaggers or worse. no one remembers. No one studies history any more. If they ever really did." She shook her head sadly and walked away into the crowd.

Bujilli looked outside. The puddles had an oily, purple sheen to them that he hadn't noticed before. More toxins. He was sick of poisons. Especially purple poisons.

He set Leeja back down, slumped down beside her and watched the rain for three more hours. He needed to get going. He had to go after Lemuel. But he needed to deal with Leeja first. He thought about the thimble. About the wanderers and Mama Rudta. The three dead purple-eyed kids who had nearly killed Leeja twice now. The rain made him drowsy. It was easy to get lost in second-thoughts and recriminations. Self analysis.

Idiot. He slipped Hedrard's amulet from under his armor and concentrated on it. The thing grew warmer at his conscious touch.

'Bujilli?' he could sense Hedrard on the other side of the connection. She was pushing the link hard from her side, allowing it to form a bridge between them. He could feel the tension within the imprinted spell forms. If it had been anyone other than Hedrard, who had created the amulet in the first place, this sort of thing would have ruined the thing. As it was, it still might.

'Yes.'

'I sent word to the Strixin to keep an eye out for you. They can tell you what you need to know.'

'I was contacted by Lemuel-'

'I know. I told him not to do it. He went ahead anyhow. They've been very hard on him.'

'Who? What is going on?'

'War. We've been captured. The Purple Horde is on the move. They intend to take Wermspittle.'

'We have to tell-'

'No one. It would be pointless. Shael already knows. Everything is about to-' The connection was severed.

The rain became a lurid drizzle.

A fine mist.

The clouds broke up and the sun came out.

Bujilli scooped-up Leeja once again and headed out into the sunshine. It was good to be out of the rain.

He looked at the people streaming back into the market. Looked left where the lane sloped down and curved back towards the Low Streets. Looked right and saw a wide bridge over a section of rails and what appeared to be a headless statue atop a large block of malachite. He adjusted his grip and started walking...


Which way should Bujill go?

You Decide!


Meanwhile...


"I am so glad that you interceded on their behalf like that." Gnosiomandus kept packing his trunk while they talked.

"It was my pleasure. She's quite striking, isn't she?"

"In her way, for a youngster, I suppose." He loaded more of his vintage picture-books into the trunk. He hoped there would be room for his pewter miniatures.

"So now you are going to just abandon them? Abandon us all?" The Middle-Sized Bear snuffled and growled to accentuate its displeasure.

"I am getting out of here before we go through yet another long drawn-out siege by some moronic mob of inbred barbarians with pretensions of relevance." He looked around the room. Almost all the essential things were loaded. It wouldn't be long now and he could be on his way.

"You're running away."

"Of course. I'm a scholar, not a warrior and certainly not a soldier. Those are serious professions for very serious practitioners. I prefer to leave what is coming to the professionals."

"These are not the Pruztians. Not the tripods. These bastards mean to ruin everything--"

"As if what we have here is anything to defend or protect!"

"What we have is freedom to change things. Nothing will get better unless people make it so through hard work--"

"Spare me. We both know that the Vested Interests won't let anything change unless they've approved of it. Look at what happened to Shael--"

"That was unfortunate."

"That was a damn site worse than 'unfortunate.' At least Sprague was able to escape with what was left of her. Maybe he can figure out some way..."

"Is there any way to get you to stay? The Revolution--"

"There is no 'revolution.' But there will be war. Gods help us all."

Should bujilli follow Leeja's instructions? Or should he try something else? What would you suggest?  

Initiative: Roll 1d6 each for (1) Bujilli, (2) The Obsever.

Reaction: Now we could use a Reaction Roll for the Observer. Roll 2d6, apply a penalty of -2, and check the result against the Monster Reaction Table on p. 52 of Labyrinth Lord.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions let me know in the comments, or via email.

What happens next is up to you, the readers.

You Decide!



Previous                                  Next

Series Five
Bj69  Bj70  Bj71  Bj72  Bj73  Bj74  Bj75  Bj76  Bj77  Bj78  Bj79  Bj80  Bj81  Bj82  Bj83  Bj84  Bj85  Bj86  Bj87  Bj88 Bj89  Bj90  Bj91  Bj92  Bj93  Bj94  Bj95  Bj96  Bj97  Bj98  Bj99
To be Continued...


Introduction: The Story So Far...

Starting Page  |  Central Index

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

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

Series One (Episodes 1-19): Quick Index  Episode Guide
Series Two (Episode 20-36): Quick Index  Episode Guide
Series Three (Episodes 37-49): Quick Index  Episode Guide
Series Four (Episodes 50-68): Quick Index  Episode Guide
Series Five (Episodes 69-Ongoing): Quick Index  Episode Guide

Labyrinth Lord

4 comments:

  1. I say go with what Leeja said.

    1 and 3 respectively for initiative rolls. I get 6 for the reaction, but don't have LL with me.

    Oh, and this: "They worship and serve the Purple Clouds and are ruled over by the Desert Fathers..."

    is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One vote for going along with Leejas' instructions. Thanks for the Initiative Rolls. That works out nicely. The Reaction Roll I'll check when I sit down to write the next episode, so thanks for that as well. Glad you liked the line about the horde and their leadership. They are a decadent bunch of misanthropes with bad taste in gaudy clothes and a penchant for burning cities to the ground...

      Delete
  2. I agree with Trey, follow Leeja's instructions. While he's walking Bujilli needs to consult Counsel. He needs as clear a picture as possible of the various routes in to, out of, and around Wermspittle, including nodes and Weak Points. ("Can you give me a map of all the places you know about and the ways connecting them all? And can you make it so that no one can take it away from me? Ever?" COMMENCING APPLOAD INTEGRATION PROTOCOL"--Episode 19) Bujilli needs a better way to get around than running through the streets and needs to know his options if they need to get out of Wermspittle entirely.

    He also needs Counsel to do an analysis of everything they know about the Purple Horde, Purple Wisps, Purple Rain, Purple Clouds, the Desert Fathers, and the Ledaan as well as what it's observed from Bujilli and Leeja's personal interaction with it. Too many people in Wermspittle know too much about the Purple Horde for it not to have been through here before, and yet they're all still here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay. Two votes to follow Leeja's directions. No dissenting opinions. We'll go with that.

      Consulting Counsel makes sense. You've just opened the door to a very useful new resource for Bujilli. This could make a real difference going forward!

      So you want to know more about the Purple Horde, etc.? Good thing I've been getting all of those posts dug out from under the pile of stuff in the back-log. I'll provide a brief overview and link to the relevant posts and we can take it for granted that Bujilli will now know most of what's included in those particular posts going forward.

      Yes. There have been Purple Clouds in Wermspittle before. That's where the lingering Purple Wisps come from. And the Breathless. There are Miasmamancers, Vaporists, Gasmasters, and there used to be a specialized form of Miasma Hunter/Buster active in Wermspittle once upon a time. It might be a good idea to see if any of them are still around...

      Delete

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