Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 132

Narrowly averting a potentially disastrous encounter with the denizens of Yian-Ho, as well as avoiding running into the shapeless, whuffling, voorish-beast that is hunting after Leejas' scent, Bujilli and his intrepid partner slog their way deeper into the swirling murksomeness of some unnamed interstitial mirrorspace realm...

Whuffling noises drew closer. Something rough and ponderous slouched towards them. The murk swished and billowed all around, making visibility questionable where it wasn't already unreliable or simply too dim to be sensible.

Bujilli felt himself drifting. He was exhausted from shutting down the aperture to Yian-Ho. He had learned a lot in the attempt, but it had also cost him a lot of energy, a lot of his vigor and vitality. Of course, he was lucky to still be alive, let alone thinking his own thoughts. The Arkash-Tal were cruel possessors of other people's minds, bodies and souls.

Leeja took Bujilli by his hand. She saw that he was wobbly, nearly wore-out and too tired to do much more than stagger along after her.

She had no intention of facing whatever the voorish-beast might be back there. Especially not with Bujilli about to drop in his tracks.

With every direction looking as ambiguous and indefinite as any other, Leeja looked for whatever landmarks she could spot. Rocks loomed out of the fogginess, like limestone bluffs in a watercolor painting left out in the rain. She led Bujilli towards the outcroppings.

Something about the resistance, the overall feeling of this place was different now. Perhaps it was some lingering after-effect of the energies Bujilli had released in the course of closing the aperture? She looked back at her partner. A flickering mauve nimbus wreathed his form. It was just at the threshold of her visual perception. It was flowing across her hand, over her arm, covering her as well.

The squishiness shifted below her feet. Grit. Small rocks. Sand drifted beneath the murk. Larger rocks poked through the gloom. Boulders. Tumbled piles of debris. Columns of ancient limestone, snapped at odd angles or pushed over by long ago cataclysms or upheavals.

Her left foot kept going. She pulled herself back from the edge of a precipice. The murk receded slightly. A dry, warm breeze teased her writhing white hair. They were atop one of those limestone bluffs overlooking a flat, gray expanse of bitter dust and forlorn dunes that stretched off into what might as well be eternity or infinity. She'd never know the difference.

Zebra-striped cacti prowled the gray wastes below. Dry, brittle bones clattered in the stingy wind, each one discretely separated from the others by shadowy gossamer strands. Fossilized werms formed rounded and curling, coiling hills half-buried by the slowly drifting sand.

There was no sky above, only a hazy emptiness.

This was a stark, inhospitable region.

Leeja led Bujilli back to the ruined columns. She was unfamiliar with the lesser dynasties of the peripheries, those bizarre little enclaves and empires that grew up along the fringes of the myriad overlapping and inter-mingling Dreamlands, Wonderlands, and other exotic spaces and regions this side of the Nightlands. But she was a daughter of Aman Utal and had grown up learning about the six kinds of Soft Spots and various types of Zones one might encounter when least expecting it.

An three-sided obelisk leaned precariously, the bottom third of it buried in a collapsed heap of crumbled stonework. One side was covered with a host of thin, curling squiggles incised into the limestone as though it had been softened or half-melted at the time of the carving. Insects, mostly scarabic-things, but a few spiders and one armored centipede-thing were depicted at various spots where the curving script formed elliptical non-cartouches that seemed to wriggle slightly. The second side was carved with thousands of little fishes, some cut into the stone, others raised out of it in high relief; the shivery, flowing motions of their shadows formed softly flowing glyphs that changed meaning and placement according to the observer's position. The ceaseless interplay of shadows and the shifting schools of fish gave her a headache, so Leeja stepped over some debris to examine the third side. Triangular shapes formed harsh borders between three sections where bulbous-things with many thin limbs fought and killed and danced free around the angular legs of tripodal things, either machines of living beings. Mucoids.

Leeja was not going to willingly enter the gray wasteland, now would she remain in this place. Her people knew too much about the star-begotten, roving tyrants and their insane campaign to become the masters of all living things. Her brother had been killed by the yellow-masked vassals of a Mucoid triumvirate. They had been furious when they discovered that he had left his body behind, a lifeless, empty shell that they could not interrogate, nor would their mechanisms or apparatus serve to analyze or interpret his flesh, for he took after their mother as she and Niobe did.

Dark, jagged rocks stretched upwards on either side of the little bluff with the tumbled shrine. Gnarled and twisted trees, scarcely more than persistent shrubs, clung to the fractured and weathered stone with tenacious roots. The scrubby brush thickened, grew denser, more distinct, becoming more like a grove of trees. Farther out she could sense the presence of taller, sturdier trees. A forest on either side of her. Good. She liked the woods...

"My what a sweet, sweet morsel!"

Greeshaw sipped spiced milk at the bar, impatiently tapping her steely-nails on the pitted zinc surface. It wasn't like Mondrikus to be late like this. She wondered if the Todtenhilzig had finally got the better of him. The nasty little things had invaded the spaces in-between his room and the neighbors, some deaf old convict-cobbler from Lurzime who boiled rotten cabbage over his rusty stove constantly. Mondrikus hated cabbage almost as much as he despised the little people who were pilfering all his illegal magazines and penguin-jerky. Wait. What was that? A Blue Zoog dragging a leaky burlap potato-sack. She doesn't say a word as the little rat-thing offers her the sack. She knows without asking that her friend's head is inside. She kills the Zoog with her nails. Then she heads out into the softly falling rain to go teach some naughty little things a valuable, if harsh lesson in friendship...

Bloated and throbbing with vast hunger, an enormous Purple Spider  clacked and cleaned its feeding-limbs as it scuttled across the jumbled, broken detritus.

"Come no closer." Leeja shouted. Her hand-axe slipped into place almost as smoothly as she had seen Bujilli do it. Her ivory hair slashed and snapped in anger. She really wished she knew some useful spells, like something to boil uppity arachnids within their own shells.

"Ah Ha! So she dares to command--"


Leeja yanked the blade free of the spider's face, forcing it side-to-side as she did so, in order to split the thing's chitin even more.


Her second attack broke away a section of chitin as a torrent of ichor and fluids gushed forth.

"Go away." Leeja struck it once more, right behind the left mandible.

Screeching profanely and bleeding profusely, the enormous Purple Spider skittered off into the gloom.

Leeja wasted no time in getting Bujilli moving towards the trees.

Any place would be better than sticking around for the spider to send back a war-party of its people hell-bent on exacting revenge for her assault on one of their number. The Purple Spiders were fussy about such things. Their Kings tended to be reactionary. Their Empress was a Terror.

She led Bujilli down the sloping almost path, careful to not steer him into the worst of the loose rocks or gravel. Pine trees formed a fragrant dark green space to the right, birches and poplars spread across the left with the gleam of water just past them...

What should they do next? Which direction should they go?

You Decide!

Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.

Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli (-4 penalty), 2) Leeja, 3) The Spiders, and 4) Whatever lurks off to either side...

Which Direction?
Do you want to go climbing the rockier region where the pine trees grow, or take the easier way down among the birch trees and whatever body of water is to be found down in that direction? Or do you want to wait for the spiders? Maybe set an ambush, or attempt to parley with them if they do show up? (Probably not a good idea...unless you think that Leej'a 14 Charsima and Charm Person spell could somehow turn things to her favor...and yes, if it speaks, it is a 'person.') Or maybe you have a better idea? Feel free to make your suggestion or to ask a question! Whichever direction they go, it is up to the readers. You decide!

Roll for Possible Observation.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter. If you get a 6, then the encounter is from the other side of another mirror-aperture.

Optional Spot Mirror Roll. (1d30)
We'll also need another d30 roll to determine if Bujilli or Leeja spot yet another mirror in the distance. A result of 10 means maybe/it isn't clear, a result of 20 means that there seems to be a mirror in a random direction, but it looks closed/shuttered; and a result of 30 means that they spot a mirror in the distance that might be open and accessible...or at least whatever they are seeing appears that way from a distance. A result of 1 means something else mirror-related happens, possibly some sort of environmental effect or shift in the surrounding terrain...

What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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  1. The easier way with the water could well mean meeting other residents or passersby, but the rockier region would be tougher for Bujilli and maybe lend the spiders an advantage, if they are coming.

    Does Leeja have a preference? If she's likely to feel more comfortable in one direction or the other, that one is probably the best.

    The rocks might also have the advantage of being the less obvious route, and may even have a hollow or two they could hole up in while Bujilli sleeps it off and gets his mojo back.

    I'm tending towards the rocks...

    Here are the initiative rolls:

    Bujilli - 2, which with the -4 modifier becomes -2
    Leeja - 2
    The Spiders - 3
    Whatever lurks off to either side - 2

    Looks like everyone's having trouble in the trees and gloom, but the spiders are just that tad sharper.

    I'll leave the rolls for the possible observation and the mirror spot to someone else.

    1. Both directions hold their share of ease or peril, both imagined or unreal. The rockier region is no less easy for Bujilli--he is half-almas and grew up in far rockier, rugged-er terrain, so he can manage fine, even in his depleted state.

      I'm drafting-up some tables for possible encounters. we'll work from the raw notes for now, as I'm working on a project that needs to get finalized. I'll be producing some more polished resources for following-along Bujilli's adventures after I wrap-up some of the lingering little things, now that my hands are working reasonably well and I'm able to get back at it again.

      It's a lot easier to cover your tracks going up, over rockier terrain than slogging through squishy-soggy marshland...but who knows what's prowling around up there?

      The Purple Spiders are not immediately on the way. I rolled for the injured prowler's CHAR, got a grand old 7 on 4d6+toss the lowest, so they are not terribly convincing/motivating and their fellows are leaning towards chalking it up to an over-zealous bit of biting off more than they could chew, which combined with the Initiative score of 3...means that no one is in any hurry to go teach Leeja any the moment.

      As for the trees/murk being troublesome to navigation to everyone not a spider...those spiders have eight eyes, all the better to see through the murk and gloom...and this is their preferred hunting grounds...

      Oh, as for Leeja's preferences, she's ambivalent about either course. She comes form a place that is more ordered and structured, layers and full of passages, chutes, ramps, stairs and all this water, trees, and murk is a bit disorienting...but she is adapting to it and has discovered that she rather likes the scent of pines and birch about equally...

  2. I think they should head for the pines. Probably a little easier to move through than the marshiness and, since Leeja's a bit out of her element, moving toward what's most familiar to Bujilli might provide some advantage.

    For the d6 observation roll I rolled a 4. For the d30 spot mirror roll I rolled a 15. I also rolled 5d20 and got 14, 15, 8, 16, and 18 and 5d6 and got 4, 2, 6, 3, 4, in case they're helpful.

    1. Into the Woods it is. Fewer leeches in that direction at least. Bujilli is recovering quickly--he has gotten better at assimilating the drastic shocks and traumas that go along with poking your nose into obscure, esoteric secrets of the universe and the like. It's a class skill, really. Except for cultists...they want to go insane...ahem.

      Thanks for the rolls, I will put them to work. No new mirror-aperture spotted, nothing coming out of nowhere to get them...maybe they can do some exploring now...


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