Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 121

Previously...
Bujilli stands before a war-herd of Grunters that have sworn themselves to him as a scintillating violet lance shrieks and howls in frustrated, thwarted rage that only he can hear...

The Un-Babe's eyes were a lurid pink that darkened into a heavy red along the edges while a scarlet glow smoldered deep within. There was no denying the fierce intellect that operated behind those squinty, piggish eyes. Wet with birth-gore and wrapped in filthy rags, the creature snuggled closer to Leeja and watched everything very intently, knowing all too well that everything she saw or heard was shared with another...at least for now.

"Warriors approach from above!" One of the perimeter guards crumpled to his knees, a yellow-metal arrow sunk deep into his left shoulder, leaving his arm to hang useless at his side, his armor crusted with dried, old blood.

"There's no time to lose! We have to reach Bortho and his people before they start dropping gas-bombs or worse on us!" Bujilli pushed his way through the clamoring and clomping Grunters. He only hoped he could reach the fighters defending Idvard's Keep before things went all to hell.

Leeja grabbed Bujilli by the shoulder; "That guard came from the wrong direction!"

Zulli snatched the violet lance from Bujilli's hand and rammed it through the guard's face with a sickening, all too wet squelch. Pale off-white mycellium-strands burst out of the guard's shuddering, juddering corpse to writhe and lash about in a frenzy.

Zulli slipped in the muck losing her grip on the violet lance. Flat on her back she looked up at the fungal horror looming over her. The violet lance snapped in two as the corpse lurched and shuddered and tried vainly to remove it from its head. Purplish fluid frothed delicately as it dribbled freely from the flesh surrounding the broken lance.

"TYRANT!" The cry went up among the Grutners who took up positions to block the fungi-possessed corpse from escaping or advancing. they had faced several of these things before* and they knew now what must be done. Those nearest the thing used their halberds and spears to hem the thing in, to hold it back so that those behind them could get to work. They knew from hard-won experience that they might not survive, but they were certain that the others would end this thing once and for all.

 Leeja started to turn away, intending to carry the Unchild born form Talzag's self-spelled flesh away from the coming mayhem but the little creature reached out and gripped her chin and forced her to look down at it; "Take me closer!"

The command was so forceful, so earnest that Leeja complied without argument.

The Unchild growled and grumbled and sputtered in some uncouth tongue as its pudgy little hands went through a series of motions. Black Flames roared forth from the Unchild's six out-thrust fingers arcing over the heads of those still in-between it and the fungi-infected corpse to cascade down upon the thing in a torrent of sibilant whispers and a cold that burned more deeply than any natural flame could. Six snarling, sputtering nodes of black fire took up position on either side of the cadaver forming a pair of opposing triangles. The little pig-imp glanced over at Bujilli then she set the nodes to spinning. Faster and faster they swirled around, becoming a screeching blur that radiated an intensely wrong sort of cold.

The Unchild made a fist and barked a command.

Immediately all the nodes stopped in place, fluctuating, crackling tendrils of black flame roared into position forming a hexagonal cage of energy around and half-within the torso of the fungi-ridden cadaver. It blackened and crackled and collapsed in upon itself as the wicked flames danced through its flesh, then it began to fracture like dark glass under impossible pressure. The black flames snapped into place, one after another, one triangle after another, the whole assemblage expanding outwards, increasing in size and intensity until finally forming a smoldering black icosohedron that fully encompassed its victim.

Zulli scrambled back from the mess clutching the section of the violet lance that had broken off. The Grunters arrayed behind her would not let her pass. One of them set his vinksome halberd at her midsection. She would ahve considred it ironic under other circumstances.

"Let her pass." Bujilli commanded the Grunters. One moved aside smartly, but the next-nearest one hesitated, almost looked back towards Talzag's den.

"Will your spell destroy this thing?" he looked down at the bloody and dirty little Unchild in Leeja's arms.

"If you like. Or I can incapacitate it if you prefer. Do you wish for me to destroy it Skull-Thief? Or would you like to interrogate it somehow?" The Unchild's was utterly sarcastic in its feigned deference.

"Not yet. I might be able to make use of the thing, but it will have to be later. After we return from conferring with the Lord of the Keep Above." He considered what to do about the little pig-thing.

"You have a use for this thing? Is it a secret? Will you tell me what you intend to do with it?" She batted her too-long eye-lashes and heaved a mock sigh that was as comical as it was disturbing.

"I may be able to use it to track down its source, the Fungal Tyrant that sent this thing back here among your people..." with luck he might be able to do much, much more than that, but he wasn't sure how much he wished to confide in Talag's Unchild. It combined the worst features of the wrinkled old shamaness-sow and an infant like some twisted sort of putto only someone suffering from a fever would ever have sculpted...or someone truly warped would ever bring into the world like Talzag had done. Her ruthlessness and ambition were as profound as they were grotesque.

The Unchild nodded sagely, as if savoring a particularly subtle joke, then she terminated her spell, leaving behind a gleaming black twenty-sided object that hovered six inches off of the floor with a violet lance jutting out of one face. Frost rimed the edges of the thing and a bitter mist trickled off of its surface.

"My progenitor can keep this thing frozen for weeks if necessary." The Unchild squirmed in order to face towards her 'mother,' Leeja turned without having to be asked. "Isn't that right 'mother' dearest? Perhaps while we're gone you can let the strongest and worthiest males attempt to free that violet lance from the black stone...maybe if one succeeds you could take them as your new consort..."

"Talzag made to get up, but was too weakened from her efforts. She glared at the impish spawn.

"We'll deal with it when we return." Bujilli nudged Leeja and they began walking away from Talzag's nest.

"Lead on Head Taker." The Unchild smirked as it waved him toward the passage to the next chamber.

Bujilli looked back at Talzag. She made the same gesture that her spawn had. She slumped back down upon a pile of furs and cushions. Guards took their place behind her. Those who wished to curry favor with the new mistress jostled and pushed their way in front of one another; things were settling down into familiar patterns again. He wondered how long it would take for Talzag to betray him. He expected maybe an hour. She was still a bit worn out from having birthed her weird imp-pig after all.

"You needn't worry about that old hag. She'll behave. I promise."



Meanwhile...
The Tripods were moving through the Tulgey Woods, burning down anyone who got in their way....





"Halt!" Three gladius-wielding skirmishers called out to them from the top of a ramp-way where all the embedded lamps had been broken of covered over. Four more fighters wielding spears stepped out from behind camouflaged manlets on either side of the blade-wielders.

"Can I kill them?" wheedled the Unchild.

"No. These are Bortho's people. They serve the Lord of the Keep Above." Leeja hissed.

"Send word to Bortho and Idvard. We bring an emissary from the Grunters."

"Who the hell are you then?" The burlier of the three waggled his gladius at them as if to encourage them to speak up and be quick about it.

"I'm Bujilli and this is Leeja--"

The fighter on the left elbowed his friend; "Those two are friends with Bortho and Zutissa."

"I don't care who they think--"

"Stand aside Grallaf." Zutissa stood three steps behind and to the right of the guardsman, one hand on her sword, the other bearing a slim metal rod topped with a bluish crystal that gave off a deceptively gentle illumination.

 The burly guard backed away and they passed without further incident.

Zutissa led them up ramps and along passages, through the Keeps underworld defenses and up into the Central Courtyard where six unter-fighters in studded leather waders, breathing masks and other such gear were gathered around waiting further orders while the rest of Idvard's forces were occupied clearing-away debris, mitigating lingering pockets of poison gas, and other such tasks.

Bortho was suddenly in front of Bujilli, clasping him by the shoulder; "It is good to see you. We were about to descend in force...try to get you back from the pigs..." He stared at the Unchild. She in turn stuck out her tongue at him.

"We've brought an emissary from the Grunters. She speaks for Talzag, their leader--"

"They have surrendered?" Bortho sounded incredulous, possibly disappointed. Either way it was substantially different from how he had acted when they had first met. Back then all of Bortho's folk dreaded going down into the lower levels of the Keep. They had been incredibly frightened of the Grunters. Not any more, apparently...

"Not hardly." laughed the Unchild.

"They serve me now. That's why I want to talk to Idvard. I think we can all come to an understanding that would be in each of our best interests." He still wasn't sure what to say abouot Zulli just yet.

"I would certainly like to hear your proposal!" Idvard hovered into view from around the corner. He was flanked by a dozen insectile drones, each wielding an impressive assortment of weapons.

The Unchild was dumbstruck. Neither she nor her progenitor Talzag had ever encountered a Triloo before.

Idvard rang a small green bell with his left hand. A Spirk clad in black and tan motley and an outrageously ruffled collar stepped out from a slim aperture.

"Jumdrim, please prepare the informal dining room off of the main hall. We have several  distinguished guests for dinner." He looked intently at Zulli. She tried to meet his gaze, but looked away.

"It will be as you say." The Spirk Steward disappeared back through the aperture which then closed back upon itself with a faint popping sound.

"Come then. Let us adjourn to more comfortable environs and by all means let us discuss such matters as you have in mind." Idvard floated on ahead so as to lead the way. The drones marched along in mindless synchronization. There was no overt evidence of his having cast any spells, but they passed along through the chlorine-damaged gardens; through the main inner-gatehouse; down a pillar-lined hall, kitty-corner through a trapezoidal room draped in vivid pink; along a corridor flanked by twenty statues of squat and shaggy morlocks wearing over-sized ovalish masks; up a spiral ramp and ended their journey in a richly paneled and well-lit room where a small banquet was set out for them buffet-style.

"Make yourselves comfortable. Have something to eat, drink. I have the impression that we have much to discuss."

"You are not the builder of this place..." The Unchild sneered.

"No. By no means do I claim to be. But I do claim it. And have defended it. Do you wish to dispute my claim?" Idvard poured a small snifter of brandy and took up his place at the head of the heavy oak table.

"This isn't about me, but rather my people...and Head Taker here."

"Head Taker?" Bortho set down a plate heaped with smoked salmon and roast potatoes. Zutissa shushed him.

"The Grunters have taken extreme losses. They've fought their way into the spaces down below and they've had to fight to remain where they are...and they've fought very well. I doubt very much that they would have stayed around this long nor attacked you directly if it wasn't for outside agitators who stirred them up and set them against you with lies and empty promises."

"Who? Who would do such a thing? I doubt very many people even know that I'm here..."

"The Purple Horde want to use this place in order to infiltrate Wermspittle--"

"WHAT?!?" Idvard set down his brandy and stared at his friend with his central eye, all the while keeping everyone else, and particularly the Unchild well within view of the other two.

"They came to us. Our Sow-Mistress at the time was an ignorant slut with no real grasp of strategy despite her penchant for penny-ante schemes and vendettas. She made a deal with the purple robes. They were setting us up, using us. Long story short; she's dead, I'm the new mistress and Sow Slayer here has claimed our fealty. We follow him now...my progenitor serves him, the rest follow after."

"But this is no good..."

"Talzag and her people need a home to call their own. Your Keep is woefully exposed to outside forces down below...you don't have the troops or resources to really consolidate your hold on everything down there...not without a major, very bloody, very costly fight. Then there's that Fungal Tyrant to deal with once and for all."

"What are you suggesting?"

"Hire-on the Grunters. Put them to work. If you don't want them down there under your Keep, then help them find a place of their own."

"An interesting proposal..."

"What's to stop us from taking over this place?" Grumbled the Unchild in between mouthfuls of roast beef and succotash.

"You don't have the numbers, nor the resources. You can fight, make a real mess of things, but in the end you know as well as I do that you have not established your claim. Your people have been misled into fighting someone else's battle for them. You deserve better."

"You say this? You? Skull Thief? One of the most notorious enemies of our people?"

"I say this...whatever happened before was...another place, another time..."

"And another group led by another mentally challenged sow. You're right. We cannot hope to establish our claim here...nor can we hope to take over this Keep...not at this time..."

"I have discovered six Weak Points in the ruined city in the valley below us."

"Ahem." Zutissa scowled at Idvard.

"Forgive me; my associates have discovered six Weak Points in the valley below. Two of them lead to places that might be especially worth further investigation. I would be open to discussing terms for your group to act as scouts or to lead an expedition--"

"What about the lower levels of this place?"

"I would be interested in contracting with your group to serve as consultants on how I--we--might go about better securing things down there and perhaps you might lend some assistance in regards to this Fungal Tyrant as well..."

Bujilli sat back in his over-stuffed chair. They were talking each other's language now. The Unchild was completely engaged and trying to negotiate the best possible deal for her people...after all those years of mocking those who had taken over her group and criticizing everyone else's efforts, it was her turn to show what she could do...show what Talzag could do, working through her imp-spawn.

He looked over at Leeja.

A slight nod to the door.

He quietly excused himself. Idvard and the Unchild were so engrossed in their negotiations that they didn't notice, or chose to ignore his departure.

She met him at the end of the hallway.

"I still need some new arrows...and I'd like to spend some time in Idvard's study like he offered last time..."

"That...sounds like a plan..." She smiled.

Hedrard's amulet pulsed three times.

"So; should we stay or should we go?"


What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!



* See Episode 44.


Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.


What should they do now?

Should they go see Hedrard? Or go learn a few new spells? Or visit the Armory & Arsenal to re-equip themselves? Any other suggestions?

Things seem to be going pretty well at the moment, all things considered. Maybe someone would like to roll a Reaction Roll for the Unchild to see what her feelings are towards Idvard? (2d6 per LL p. 52)

Should Bujilli stick around to ratify any agreements that get made...or should he rely on the Unchild to handle things?

While they are here, it might be a good time to ask about the control amulet for the set of drones Idvard was supposed to provide to Bujilli.

They both have their own rooms here at the Keep, so they could get some sleep...

Whatever gets decided, we'll definitely need a few D20 rolls.

Feel free to ask questions or to discuss the situation in the comments. I'll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner.

Let me know what you think they ought to do in the comments below, or via email and we'll resume things next week!

What do they do next?

You Decide!

Previous                            Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six  |  Seven


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 - 111)
Series Seven (112 - ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 120

Previously...
Bujilli stands before a war-herd of Grunters that have sworn themselves to him as a scintillating violet lance shrieks and howls in frustrated, thwarted rage that only he can hear...

Grunters are a harsh folk. Barbaric nomads who call no world home for very long, they do not remember where they began. The oldest bones and ashes and souls of their ancestor are lost; left behind on some nameless, abandoned, dead world thoroughly poisoned by fighting gasses, ravaged by a host of war-poxes and manufactured pestilence. They carry the marks and the lingering traces of the diseases that decimated their people, killed their world. They bear the pox-marks, the viral stigmata, the festering sores and lesions no shamaness-sow can heal; they embrace these things as honorable scars gained in combat...scars that pass on from generation to generation as the war their ancestors fled persists in tormenting them, twisting them, driving them onward.

Bujilli looked upon this rag-tag host of Grunters who have accepted Talzag as their Shamaness-Sow...and pledged themselves to him. 'Sow Killer' they called him. Head-Taker. Skull-thief. He was a legend to their kind after his time in Kallkendru, in the Blade Maze. They feared him; that was a bitter, slippery hold and not the best thing to rely upon. He knew how fear worked all too well. He'd learned from a master.  His uncle.

Fear was not the way to hold power over these things. They were savage, even cruel, but were also thinking, feeling beings. They were fighters now, with vestiges of a bastardized and degraded form of soldiery impressed upon them, perhaps imprinted deep within them. He wondered what it would be like if the Grunters, if these  Grunters, were somehow able to reclaim their heritage, to become warriors and soldiers and not simply rootless, aimless, marauding barbarians. They formed 'Legions' when they staked a claim on some territory. He grinned at the thought of a Legion of Grunters marching across the blasted and ruined territories of the Dead Worlds. They were an adaptive people, cunning, clever, quick to adopt new things if they offered an advantage in battle. Perhaps there was a way to re-direct these creatures, to put them on a path that was far more worthwhile than simple pillaging and rummaging around in the cold dirt...what if he could set them on a better course?

"Head Taker!" Talzag clomped back towards him with a cluster of six other Grunters in her wake; "The purple bullets have all been gathered-up as you commanded. They stained the leather and burlap sacks we used at first, so I had them all transferred to a stout wooded crate that is waxed inside, one of the crates that used to hold our chlorine bombs."

"Excellent. That should do very nicely to contain the vile things. The fragments will make highly toxic bullets...but they are toxic to handle at all times. They are each a sort of 'seed' for a Purple Cloud. It would be extremely foolish to use these things wantonly or recklessly."

"I will have the crate sealed and placed in the caged-wagon we use to haul our most dangerous weapons..."

"A good idea. I trust your people to know how to manage such dangerous weapons."

"You honor us--"

"I have faced your people in battle; I know what you are capable of and I've learned to respect your kind."

"As we've come to...respect you, Head Claimer."

"Talzag," Bujilli smiled and gripped the old sow by her shoulder; "You, and your people, have no need to fear me so long as you remain faithful and loyal. I would like to help your people find a suitable place to call your own; someplace where you can rebuild your society, reclaim your heritage..."

Talzag tilted her head and squinted at him in disbelief; "Why would you do this for your enemies?"

"We are not enemies, are we?"

She stared into his eyes, into his soul for the space of seven seconds then looked away; "No."

"Long ago I was led astray by bad advice; I ran afoul of DuKushKa's war-herd because I was led into a trap by a duplicitous green gem that whispered secrets and lies into my mind--"

"The Gem of Muktra? But I did not detect any sign of it--"

"I left it behind me."

"But it is a source of great power..."

"Only at a greater cost. The Gem seeks a way to return to Zalchis and it cannot be trusted. It deliberately led me into one conflict after another as it tried to find a suitable, pliable host that it could dominate and control and get to carry it back from whence it came."

"Perhaps another might have better luck with it..."

"I have found greater power without the Gem." He held up the violet lance meaningfully.

Talzag looked at the metallic lance in his hand and nodded. She was sorely tempted by the things that the Gem of Muktra was rumored to offer to its hosts...but the Gem was far away and there were no guarantees it would still be wherever it had been abandoned...and besides, she stood before a legendary being whom she knew carried tremendous power in his bones and soul. Talzag chose the power she saw arrayed before her over the nebulous promise of power she had no way to claim. At least not yet. There might be a way to claim both for herself. A scheme began to sprout within her skull and Talzag smiled; it wasn't a pretty sight.

"But will you share your power?"

"No."

She scowled as she nodded involuntarily to herself--it was exactly as she had expected. Sorcerers never shared their power, not in her experience.

"I intend to help you find your own power."

Talzag froze. She blinked. Scratched her jowls. It made no sense.

"What do you mean?"

"First we must get your people busy doing something productive, then I'm going to take you to meet a friend of mine. If you make a good impression on him, you may just gain all the power you can handle."

Talzag nodded. She wasn't certain what the Sow Slayer was hinting at, not exactly; but perhaps there was some way she might be able to turn all this to her advantage yet. It never once occurred to her that Bujilli might possibly mean exactly what he was saying.

"Do you have a map of these caverns?"

"No." She grunted in disdain. They had no need for any maps, not while they were still establishing their claim on this place.

"I see. Well then, you'd best set a crew of your best scouts and whomever can put together as accurate and complete a map as your people can manage right away. You're also going to want to re-secure your perimeter, set guards at critical junctions and set-up a regular, rotating patrol."

"But why? We're the only ones down here..."

"I very much doubt that. Look at it this way; you got in, so it stands to reason someone else might get in as well...and you're not going to want to have to fight-off a superior force that gets the jump on you from behind while you're getting things sorted out."

Talzag squealed in agreement and quickly got to work issuing orders. The war-herd surged into motion. If it is one thing Grunters know all too well, it's the need to defend their camps.

"Do you have a plan in mind for these creatures?" Leeja crossed her arms across her chest and watched the Grunter camp swirl into action all around them.

"I have the beginning of a plan, but it all depends on a lot of things that are out of my hands..."

"Such as?"

"Whether or not I can get the Grunters to work with Idvard and vice-versa...and how long I can keep the Grunters occupied so they don't waste time and resources in pointless squabbles and power-grabs..."

"They're Grunters. That's what they do."

"No; that's what they've been doing for a long, long time. They could do better, given the right guidance..."

"Better? Guidance? You've claimed them, made them serve you...but to what end?"

"This particular Adjacent World isn't truly dead, that's why Idvard was able to claim his Keep, why Bortho's people were able to survive, why the Grunters came her in the first place."

"So it's really more ruined than completely dead. I suspect it isn't for lack of trying."

"Do you remember what Gnosiomandus told us about the Dead Worlds?"

"Not particularly."

"Wermspittle is surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands of Dead Worlds."

"So?"

"I want to set these Grunters out to explore and reclaim  some of those Dead Worlds."

"Is that a good idea? I mean..."

"Leeja--there are terrible things already out there growing and festering and taking over entire worlds, not just the Horde and the Purple Clouds or the Scarlet Plague or any of that. If someone doesn't start pushing back, the Horrors surrounding us will continue to proliferate until they overwhelm us, destroying everything, killing us all."

"But why these things?"

"We have to start somewhere."

"You're a fool." Zulli coughed fitfully as she sat up. Her eyes were amber-orange swirled with mossy green. Her lips were stained a deep purple from her one-time captor, the vaporous horror that had once taken her body as its unwilling host-vessel.



Meanwhile...
Beatrice skewered another homunculus. This one had three slavering jaws on three rudimentary, eye-less heads. It wasn't fully-formed so she knew she was getting closer to the source....




"Perhaps." Bujilli hunkered down beside the Vinkin Gaswerker; "You've had a rough time of it from what I can see. I was told that your people were immune to the poisons and influence of the Purple Clouds."

Zulli glared at Bujilli. He stared right back at her. She gave-in, nodded, closed her eyes, began to weep milky-white tears.

"They found a way to break your innate defenses down..."

"I was taken* by the Comprachicos**. They...did...painful...things to me." She shuddered in revulsion at the memory of what was done to her.

"Did they sell you to the Horde then?"

"No. They made me into a slave, an experiment, a toy for their clients. Their fleshwrights and organ-grinders worked on me for months, putting things that didn't belong inside me and making them take root and grow and become functioning, working parts of my body. They grew seven sets of lungs inside me. Gills taken from fungi and fish. A heart that came in a zinn-clad box they bartered away from some Butcher named Unfred. I remember that very vividly--the rest is something of a blur--but that I'll never be able to forget...or forgive."

"Unfred?" Leeja slitted her eyes as she studied the Vinkin girl more closely. She knew Unfred all too well herself. She suspected, but never could prove that he had been connected to the Butchers. She was doubly glad he was dead...or was he? He had accidentally overdosed on White Powder, perhaps he had arranged it all, allowed himself to be exposed deliberately...there were stories about those who somehow retained some semblance of their personality after undergoing the Vile Transformation.

"Do you know him?" Zulli looked up at Leeja suspiciously.

"I thought he was dead. But if he was connected with the Comprachicos or the Butchers, or both...well...there are worse things than being dead."

"They did bad things to you--why? To what end?"

"I was made to be able to breathe and to contain all sorts of poisonous gasses. They wanted me to serve as a vessel for alien, vaporous things that were more gas than flesh, things with inhuman, cold and calculating minds..."

"The Purple Clouds."

"No; something else, other things. They had made some sort of a deal with the Wall Guards stationed on the Inner Ramparts***. I was meant to serve them as a scout, being able to move about in an environment that quickly infiltrated their masks, got past their defenses. But instead I never reported back. I ran and I kept running. I fell through some sort of aperture...I think it might have been a Weak Point...and I found myself trapped in a buried labyrinth made up of half-flooded caves or rough hewn chambers covered with strange paintings all across the ceilings. I floated from one dimly luminous, echoing space to another until I was dragged under by a whirlpool. An underground river swept me out into a deep, deep canyon...some sort of oasis surrounded by bitter-black sand and caustic dust. The Purple Horde found me there..."

"Do you remember what the thing that was inside you made you do?" Leeja felt sorry for the girl. She knew what it was like to be an experimental subject. She also had a sneaking suspicion she knew whose heart had been in the box.

"Only vaguely. The thing wanted me to watch, to know what I was being used to make happen, but it was too poisonous, too toxic...it all feels like a garbled, distorted dream. One I'd just as soon forget. If I can."

"Do you have any idea why they sent you here? Why this place?" Bujilli knew it wasn't likely he'd get an answer, but he had to ask.

"Passage. They planned on using this place as a passage into Wermspittle--"

"Scheiss! This place is not on the maps. It's a back-door right into the heart of Wermspittle..."

"Talzag!" Bujilli bellowed for all he was worth. There wasn't any time to spare.

"Yes Head Claimer? I am here."

"Do you have anyone you can trust to watch over your people while you accompany me to meet the Lord of the Keep Above?"

"No. But I may have another option. Will we be gone long?"

"I cannot say. If we're lucky, you'll be able to return in a couple of hours...if not, then we might not ever return."

"Ah. Dire circumstances call for drastic measures. I have a spell well-suited to the occasion. Give me a few minutes to prepare--"

"Time is of the essence." Bujilli scowled, not certain if he liked what he saw within the Shamaness-Sow's aura. It was too similar to a spell he'd studied from his father's Little brown Journal. He had to trust that the old sow knew what she was up to...

"Do you want to watch?"

"No. Thank you." He had too good of an idea what she was going to do and didn't trust his stomach to bear up under the circumstances.

"I would." Leeja moved past him to accompany Talzag back to her nest-like jumble of filthy draperies and humped-up old carpets.

He reached out to Zulli, proffered his hand. She took it, tentatively, hesitantly.

"You're under contract to Idvard as a consultant..."

"Yes. I know. I didn't mean to...it was that thing inside me..."

"I'll talk to him. He's usually pretty reasonable. Are you inclined to throw your lot in with us, or are you going to head for the hills?"

"There's nowhere to run. We're surrounded by Dead Worlds...anywhere we go, they're probably already there, waiting patiently."

"They've had centuries to claim their domains out along the perimeter."

"Centuries. Longer. Time doesn't mean the same thing out there. It's broken. Fractured. Fragmented."

"I wonder how it all got that way..." Bujilli shifted his grip on the violet lance. For a moment he considered handing it over to Zulli, but he didn't quite trust her enough for that, not yet.

"It was a war...a war to end all wars..." She wobbled to her feet. He let go of her hand.

Talzag screamed. The entire camp went completely still. She shrieked again. Again. Weird after-image ripples swarmed about her sleeping area. Leeja cursed softly in some Underworld tongue he was untutored in. Talzag gasped, swore vehemently, began to laugh.

Bujilli looked over at the draperies, to where Leeja had gone in there with the old Sow...into her den. He would have rushed inside to confront the duplicitous sow, but he didn't want to abandon Zulli. He didn't trust her.

Leeja pushed back the drapery. Strings of bones and bits of metal and other things clattered and rattled as she emerged carrying a slightly bloodied bundle of rags that squirmed.

It was a baby Grunter. One that had Talzag's features. It pulled back the rags wrapped around it and poked its snout over to glare at Bujilli; "I will accompany you to meet the Lord of the Keep Above."

"Is...is Talzag..."

"I'm fine. I'll need a couple of hours to rest and recover--I lost a lot of blood. The spell I used worked, but the grimoire I copied it from did not provide any details. I will have to write down my notes while I recover..." Another hand, bloody with birth-gore, rudely threw aside the drapes to Talzag's nest. It was Talzag. She clomped over and examined the speaking, wrinkled and wizened infant in Leeja's arms.

"I will remain her with my people and oversee the defenses of this place, as you said. In the meanwhile, I will also accompany you to meet the Lord of the Keep Above. I can see everything this one sees, hear all she hears and can speak through her. We are not quite of one mind only, but she is newly born and will not be strong enough to sever the connection for some time."

"An interesting solution..."

"Spoken like one of the wombless." Talzag scoffed softly. She was pleased to have disgruntled the infamous Skull Thief.

"Mistress--Sow Slayer--Warriors approach from above!" One of the perimeter guards looked from one to the other, a yellow-metal fletched arrow sunk deep into his left shoulder.

"There's no time to lose! We have to reach Bortho and his people before they start dropping gas-bombs or worse on us!"

Leeja grabbed Bujilli by the shoulder; "That guard came from the wrong direction!"

Zulli snatched the violet lance from Bujilli's hand and rammed it through the guard's face with a sickening, all too wet squelch. Pale off-white mycellium-strands burst out of the guard's shuddering, juddering corpse...

"TYRANT!"


What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!



* We posted a random table of Takers previously. Perhaps someone would like to roll to determine which group abducted Zulli?
** We've given a brief overview of the Comprachicos...and will have more  details to share very soon.
*** We discussed the Inner Ramparts a while back. A more extensive set of encounter tables, scenario seeds and the like are on the way. 


Synchronocitor Status: (1) Day to Recharge.


What should they do now?

First and foremost we need to roll Initiative for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) Talzag(elder), 4)Talzag (younger), 5) the camp, and 6) The Fungal Tyrant that has been lying in wait for a few months now after most of his other spore-drones were destroyed by these Grunters after their sneak attack as seen in Episode 44.

There is a 50% chance that the Tyrant possessing the spore-saturated cadaver recognizes and remembers Bujilli & Leeja.

If someone wants to roll for the Fungal Tyrant's Reaction once it recognizes Bujilli & Leeja in the midst of its enemies, go for it. [See LL. p.52, roll 2d6]

Zulli has slipped on the muck near the guard and is prone. The violet lance has completely impaled the spore-possessed head of the abdead guard. There is a base 40% chance that the cadaver is slowed down for the next 1d4 Turns due to the lance.

If the Tyrant recognizes Bujilli & Leeja (Combination of the % roll and the Reaction Roll above), it might try to negotiate rather than mindlessly, pointlessly attack...or it might attempt to do the most damage possible and go for the most important or the most potentially useful target, perhaps trying to take the 'baby' hostage or going after Bujilli directly, or something else--it's up to the readers to decide.

I'd like to determine how far away Bortho and his strike team is right now. Let's roll 3d6 and let the result determine how many minutes away he is from this spot. He'll have 4d4 fighters with him and Zutissa will have 4d4 fighters with her in a back-up team. Idvard will have an observation mechanism of some sort with each of the two teams.

I had hoped to get them back to the Keep in order to confront the Cuckoo and see what was going on with Shael, but things got going and this seemed like a good spot to end the episode. We'll try to get back to Shael and her new 'friend' next time...providing something else doesn't interrupt things like a left-over spore-soaked abdead Grunter stirred up by the renewed patrols...

We also need to decide about Hedrard's Amulet and whether or not this is a good time to connect with her...but that can wait until next time.

Feel free to ask questions or to discuss the situation in the comments. I'll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner.

Let me know what you think they ought to do in the comments below, or via email and we'll resume things next week!

What do they do next?

You Decide!

Previous                            Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six  |  Seven


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 - 111)
Series Seven (112 - ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 119

Previously...
The traitor Zulli has been captured. Idvard and Leeja take control of the interrogation. Bujilli re-loads his pistol. He hopes they manage to get some answers...

Zullis' master was not prone to mercy. Her life was forfeit the moment she was captured. She was resentful, angry that she had not prepared her escape better. But how could she have known that these others would intrude or that her master's enemy would interfere at the worst possible moment?

"Do with me what you will--the Grunters will take my revenge for me!" Zulli glared at Idvard.

Sirens began to wail once more.

"The Grunters are coming up through another Well-shaft!" Zutissa stood next to Idvard, gleaming-glass long sword in-hand; "There's a lot of them!" She was gone.

BOOM!

The floor vibrated underfoot. Green chlorine gas began to flood across the gardens and paths once more.

"Who sent you! Whom do you serve!" Demanded Bujilli. pistol in one hand, he began to run through his repertoire of spells in case one of them suggested itself.

"Let me tell you..." Zulli smiled broadly as deadly purple vapors began to stream from her mouth and nostrils...

"Scheiss!" Bujilli started to pull Idvard back and away from the vapors but the Triloo archivist shrugged off his hand and began to cast a spell instead. Bujilli's hand ached. His whole arm throbbed. His shoulder and onto his chest and back. The old scars he carried from the Violet Fractal Weirdstorm writhed within his flesh like a living, burning thing. The spell had come from his father's journals. He had tried to cast it while still a small child and failed, just not enough to kill him. Instead the spell had wrapped itself within his flesh, mired itself to his bones and lay fitful and never entirely dormant for years until he had finally been able to cast it once and for all.*

He had annihilated a demon that had tormented him all through his childhood using that spell.

He considered using the Zone of Normality spell to contain the purple smoke.

The pain flared through him like lightning.

He reached out to his Counsel when suddenly it all fell into place in one timeless moment.

Bujilli laughed. He raised his empty left hand overhead and willed the Synchronocitor to appear. Violet Vrillic arcs of something not quite electricity cascaded across and around the strange device. He could feel the energies streaming around and through him. He felt the old scars resonate with the energies and the device and more besides...much more.

He knew exactly what he wanted to do next.

Zulli screamed in terror.

Suddenly Bujilli, Leeja and Zulli were gone.

Idvard evoked a gentle but insistent breeze to push the remnants of the purple vapors out through the balcony windows then he went down to oversee his people's efforts against the Grunters.



Meanwhile...
Shael woke up with a start. She was floating in a column of green light. Alone. Her left side was stiff, numb, still slowly transforming into cracked and bloodied glass. Or was it?

She slowly raised her hand. The glass crackled and splintered and fell away in tiny shards as she moved it. It ought to be worse than it is, she thought. The curse was accelerating, or at least it had been before they had come here to this place.

Past an unmarked Weak Point to some unrecorded Adjacent World. It was a Keep of some sort, claimed by some friend of Bujilli and Leeja's. A Keep that was under siege from below by horrid pig-things.

She lowered her hand back to her side. The green light was soothing. It kept her nearly weightless, letting her sleep for the first time since...since she learned the truth about her husband and everything went all to hell.

"If you release me, I can help you."

Shael's eyes snapped open. She turned her head faster than was prudent. It hurt. blood trickled down her chest and back. There. Another figure, a slim girl with too-large eyes and a lop-sided grin was suspended in another column of green light. A Cuckoo-child...




Bujilli cast Zone of Normality, but he modified it as he cast it, based on his counsel's advice as it flickered through his field of vision. The revised spell forced the purple vapors back down Zilla's throat which stopped her screaming.

He adjusted course three times before the vortex surrounding them synchronized with their destination.

Leeja stood beside him, stiletto in-hand.

"You won't need that." He felt everything settle into place.

"Just stay close to me. Things are about to get interesting all around us."

Leeja nodded, but she kept hold of her blade.

Zwoooooooooop!

The vortex spun away in a flare of violet energy. Everything hung just on the verge of motion all around them. They were surrounded by a legion of Grunters.

Bujilli fired his pistol again and again and again, sliding it into his belt after the fourth shot. Each shot reverberated through the gelatinous air like distorted thunder. Leeja watched as four champion-consorts staggered backwards from the shots trailing gore and brain matter as they fell in slow motion.

Then he drew out his hand-axe and took her head. He did it in one fluid movement, just as he had learned to do back in the Blade Maze when he'd been hunted by another sow, another group of Grunters.

Air and noise rushed around them as time and space caught back up to them. Blood sprayed like geysers. The consort-champions crumpled to the floor. The sow lay dead and decapitated at Bujilli's feet, twitching in shock and surprise as her nerves finally registered the impact.

Bujilli slipped his hand-axe back in place then he picked-up the gasping, gagging head with its grotesquely bulging eyes and held it up so all the Grunters could see it clearly.

"Your mistress is dead. By My Hand." He slammed the skull against the floor then set his foot on it in the timeless gesture they would all recognize and understand.

He cast Wrathful Facade then yelled loudly: "Where is your new mistress?"

Silence. Sullen and punctuated with a few grunts, a fart, some grumbling.

He drew out his hand-axe again.

"Uxmilla comes, killer of my liege-mother." A tall Grunter maiden clad head to toe in well-oiled greenish chain-mail pushed and shoved her way through the shocked and dazed warriors who had only moments before been in attendance upon their sow-mistress.

"Do you submit?" Bujilli demanded.

Uxmilla strode forth from the milling, shifting mass of disgruntled Grunters. She sneered, drew her own blade, a wickedly serrated scimitar and charged Bujilli with a deep-throated squeal.

Bujilli relaxed his hold over Zulli's body enough to allow a compressed stream of purple vapors to spray out right into the charging Grunter-sow's face.

Her weapon clattered to the floor. She howled in agony. Her flesh began to melt from her face where the purple vapors attached themselves like hundreds of tiny, vicious eels made up of so much smoke and malice. She dropped to her knees as blood ran freely between her fingers as she tried vainly to hold her face together. The crowd of Grunters withdrew from her as tough she were a plague-carrier.

"This one will soon be dead as well. Do you have a sow among you with a brain? With some sense? Again I ask you--who will be your new mistress?"

A fight broke out at the back of the crowd. Three females quickly hacked, chopped and slashed their way past those that would dispute their respective claims and ambitions. A lucky stroke and there were only two left. A blast of sulfurous flame and the victor howled in glee. The Grunters parted to either side of her as she clomped to the front of the group.

She was shorter than the first one. Her left leg bent and crooked from an old injury. Dozens of bones clattered and rattled against the small mirrors and sharp iron fragments caught-up in her threadbare shamaness-shawl. He right hand was still smoking slightly from the spell she had used to eliminate her last rival.

"I will be the new Mistress--"

"That depends." Bujilli smiled broadly; his Wrathful Facade spell had no effect on this scarred and grizzled old sow.

"On what?" She growled menacingly. He might have killed the consorts and the others, but he was still mortal and she knew ways to make him regret trespassing on her people's rightfully claimed territory.

"Answer two questions for me."

She tilted her head in disbelief. She could see the shimmering fury of the Vrillic power coursing through him. That was what had made her stay her hand before, despite her better instincts, her inclination to try and attack him by surprise before he was fully prepared. But she could see clearly now that she was closer; he was far more prepared than she had imagined. A cold shiver ran down her warped spine. She lowered her hands. Relinquished the spells she had been slowly building-up in her fingers. Nodded in assent.

"Why do you attack the Keep Above?"

"It is ours by right--"

"No. no and you know damn well it isn't yours by any stretch of your laws. If anything you are unwelcome squatters and intruders and the master of the Keep Above would be fully in his rights to destroy you all."

The Grunters hissed in barely restrained anger, but they knew he spoke truthfully. They had so far failed to establish their claim.

The scarred sow-witch scowled at Bujilli. She watched his aura fluctuate and shimmer with the power of his device and the spells that coiled within his heart, head and hands. She averted her eyes and made a protective sign when the violet thing that curled and coiled about the golden flames dancing within his bones responded to her prying sight by lunging at her almost playfully. Even so the thing had made her snout bleed slightly. Just from that alone.

She wobbled as she knelt before him. All thoughts of ordering the band to attack him all at once fell away like the sides of a bee-hive in a furnace. It would only result in her people getting wiped out by the foul thing imprisoned in the Vinkin girl's body.

"You are right. We have no real claim. That one you hold in thrall beside you, she knows why we attack the Keep Above; it was her master who bid us to do so. He promised us the Keep for ourselves once his folk had made use of it."

"And do you still abide by this arrangement of your fore-Mistress?"

"No. It would be pointless."

"Good. You demonstrate some sense after all. Renounce your former Mistress and her arrangements with outsiders."

"I Talzag declare myself Mistress of this band." She rose to her feet, flexing her gnarled hands as a spell seeped out toward her filthy claw-tips; "Acknowledge me now, or run for your lives and never hope to return."

Four adolescents in badly patched leather fighting harnesses turned and began to run.

Talzag dropped them one after another with the spell she had almost used against Bujilli. Each of them twisted and contorted painfully as their rapidly glassifying bones snapped and shattered. Hooves, spear-hafts, a quick motion of a blade and they were dispatched.

The new Sow-Mistress looked out across the remnants of her would-be legion. Barely a hundred remained. She silently cursed her predecessors vanity and stupidity...and her greed.

"Anyone care to challenge me then?" She snarled viciously.

The gathered ranks shifted and withdrew from in front of her, leaving the remaining females of suitable age exposed to her spells, wrath or command.

They all stared down at their hooves. There would be no challenge.

"Then as my first act as Mistress, I rescind all previous arrangements and agreements, especially those entered into by my idiot niece Jeqleesha. Cast down the black banner of that imbecile. Any of you who show that accursed thing in my sight ever again will suffer my wrath."

Clatter. Rattle. Clunk. One after another of the Grunters ripped banners from the wall-sconces and cast them down upon the floor to stamp on them in disgust.

She turned to face Bujilli; "I have done as you asked--"

"No. You answered my two questions well enough, but make no mistake I gave you an order to renounce your former Mistress and you carried it out."

"A Mistress does not take--"

"You are Mistress of this band only so far as it pleases me to let you serve me."

Talzag clenched her fists. She knew of no spells that would help her against this sorcerer and his terrible allies. She wondered if he was the spawn of some demon or demi-god.

"Your people are far from Kallkendru--"

Talzag gasped in shock; "What do you know of Kallkendru?"

"I survived the Blade Maze. Better than that; I took the head of every Grunter who thought that they could hunt me down. I claimed DuKushKa's head."**

Talzag made a subtle gesture. A simple enough spell. She knew then: he spoke truthfully. This sorcerer was the one who had killed one of the mightiest shamaness-sows her kind had ever known.

"Sow Slayer. Head-Claimer. You are the one we tell tall-tales about around our camp-fires in order to frighten our young..."

The band of Grunters went silent. Still.

"Serve me."

"Yes. We will serve you Sow-Slayer!" Talzag shivered in shamanic ecstasy. She Knew that she was caught in the claws of destiny and the plans of greater powers. She also knew that serving this sorcerer who carried coiled demon-flames in his bones might just open the way to more power for herself and her band. It was certainly preferable to total annihilation. She had no intention of letting him take her head to adorn his lodge.

One of the younger warriors raised his trench-truncheon and roared approval. Another called out the other name they used for Bujilli, which when roughly translated was 'Skull-Thief.' Two more began striking out a martial dirge on the tubular war-bells. Then the entire mass of Grunters took up the cheering, chanting, dancing and casual violence that served to acknowledge their sudden transformation from rootless wanderers who had been deceived by ruthless whisperers in purple cloaks to the personal servants of a figure of legend who might lead them to glory or at least to a better place.

Leeja's mouth hung open in surprise.

"Now that's no way for a princess of Deep Dendo to act in public."

"But..."

"Look. I finally realized why the Horde of the Purple Banner hate and fear me..."

"Can you tell me?"

"Let me show you instead.

Bujilli felt the violet scars rise up from deep within his flesh, from out of his very soul to flare into flaming life across his skin and he reached forth and yanked the billowing, hateful Purple Cloud out of Zulli's body and forced it to flow into place before him. His eyes were radiant gold as his Counsel, the Violet Fractal Weirdstorm spell, and the Synchronocitor flowed into and around one another.

Talzag stood her ground despite the arcs and sparks of Vrillic energy lashing out from Bujilli and the mass of evil vapors forming a rapidly spinning vortex before him. The Sow Slayer had torn the smoke-demon from out of the Vinkin girl's body; she had picked the wrong side in this battle. The Shamaness-sow smiled; she had not.

The Purple Cloud swirled and shrieked and sought a way to reach him, to poison him, to assault his senses or his mind. But Bujilli wasn't impressed with its hatred or arrogance or its pretensions to godhood. He laughed as he crushed the cloud into a darker and darker column of condensing vapors. Tighter and tighter he pressed the howling, raging cloud back upon itself until finally it took on a dense, metallic sheen.

SNAP!

Bujilli reached out and the vortex collapsed into a momentary fluttering chaos and he was left with a dark violet lance in his grip as little hail-like left-over fragments of the deep purple stuff clattered and bounced across the floor.

"Have some of your people gather up these little pieces. They will make very nasty bullets."

Talzag nodded and began slapping, punching and shouting at those Grunters closest to her to get moving and to do as the Sow-Slayer commanded.

"What have you done?" Leeja reached out to touch the deep purple lance. It was ice cold and slick. It also hurt her to touch it and her skin bruised where she had contacted the thing.

"I know how to kill the Purple Clouds."


What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!



* As seen in Episode 60.
** as related in Episode 41.


Synchronocitor Status: (1d4) Days to Recharge.


What should they do now?

So Bujilli still has not managed to get any fresh arrows, but maybe that's okay.

So what should Bujilli do next? Return to Idvard? Broker a deal with the Grunters to guard the lower-regions of the Keep perhaps? Or should he set the Grunters to raising an army to go after the Horde? Maybe he ought to return upstairs and study a few new spells in preparation for any such war...or maybe you'd prefer that he and Leeja run off to Deep Dendo and forget all about the Keep, the Purple Clouds, and the battle for the Academy back at Wermspittle. In any case the Synchronocitor will require some time to recharge [someone might want to roll a d4 to let us know how many days it'll need this time], so maybe it would be a good idea to wrap-up some lingering loose ends? Maybe they should go back and check on Shael and the Cuckoo-girl, or at least let Idvard know what's going on, especially before he sends down any more troops or another bomb...

We also need to decide about Hedrard's Amulet and whether or not this is a good time to connect with her...

Then we need to decide what to do about Zulli. Now that she is free of the Purple Cloud, is she still an enemy, just another victim, or a potential ally? Does she know anything that might be useful? Can we trust her?

Talzag is another thing to consider...is she going to remain loyal to Bujilli, or betray him at the first opportunity? She fears him, as befits his legend among the Grunters...but might that grow into resentment? What should he do about these Grunters now that they've pledged service to him?

Feel free to ask questions or to discuss the situation in the comments. I'll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner.

Let me know what you think they ought to do in the comments below, or via email and we'll resume things next week!

What do they do next?

You Decide!

Previous                            Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six  |  Seven


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 - 111)
Series Seven (112 - ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 118

Previously...
A raid by Grunters has only just been driven back down one of the ventilation well-shafts when Bujilli and his companions discover a traitor in their midst. Their mission compromised, the saboteur has fled...
KRACK-KOOOOOM!

Leeja's overcharged gonne split open the sky like thunder. Unfortunately the barrel likewise split, only just barely avoiding a calamitous explosion. She discarded the ruined weapon in disgust, thankful that it had not destroyed her hand. She wondered what sort of weapons Idvard had on-hand in his arsenal that she might appropriate.

Zulli screamed. Leeja hit her target. She would have sworn it had been a good hit, close to the center mass. If it had been anyone else, it would have been a killing shot. But Zulli was a Vinkin and her body wasn't structured like most humanoids. The shot had torn away a chunk of fibrous flesh, but the wound was already closing-over before she hit the ground. She had been injured worse during her training.

They watched the traitor plummet down through the trees. She was quickly lost in the roiling toxic vapors that lingered from the recent battle with the Grunters. A host of winged monkeys scattered screeching and chattering in fear and agitation, their band disturbed by Zulli's falling into their midst.

Zulli screeched and chittered madly at the winged monkeys. Just like she'd been taught. It worked. They settled down around her, watching her, studying her, intrigued and so caught off-guard. She examined the band carefully, not making any sudden movements. The fifth one was a large specimen, broad-backed and powerful; a ring-tail. She couldn't believe her luck. The spell slithered off of her tongue in seconds and she had a slave. A few curt commands and she was carried aloft by the band of winged monkeys led by the ring-tail.

Bujilli caught himself before he reached for an arrow that wasn't there. He'd used all his arrows up in the battle. He needed to re-load his manticore pistol. He considered his repertoire of spells but Zulli was clearly out of range unless he wanted to push himself...and that might prove dangerous. He was still recovering from a nasty head injury. No sense doing anything stupid.

"Idvard. Can you stop her? Do you have a spell that might prevent her escape? We should try to question Zulli. find out who sent her and why."

Idvard fixed Bujilli with his middle eye as he floated over towards the glass doors opening out onto the balcony. "Yes. I might have something that should do the trick. One moment."

Bujilli stepped aside and set about re-loading his pistol. He was grateful that he now knew how to do it properly. He shivered at the thought of getting his hand blown off through mis-handling the thing in ignorance.

Idvard spoke six guttural words in a language Bujilli did not recognize. Lambent green light streaked outward from the Triloo Archivist's fingers to snarl and snare the winged monkey carrying Zulli. The green light sizzled as it coiled and slithered around and around the fleeing creatures who screeched in outrage and terror as the spell-light singed their fur and blistered their ears or sparked into their eyes.

A tug was all it took to convince the winged monkeys to adjust course and fly back towards Idvard.

"A most useful spell." Bujilli nodded in approval.

"You will find at least three versions of this one in my collection, if you're really interested." Idvard was proud of his personal archives.

"I would like to spend some time going over some of your spell-books and grimoires..." Bujilli felt a tug on his amulet. Hedrard was attempting to contact him. He knew he had to deal with her and with Shael and the Cuckoo-girl who had ambushed them, but he wasn't ready to do so just yet. He wanted to know what had happened while he was unconscious first...and he wanted to re-stock his arrows and take some time to get his armor on right before opening a connection to Hedrard that might very well drag him and Leeja off on an adventure all in itself. He would really appreciate a chance to get up-to-speed before getting dragged down into some perilous pit or whatever, if only this once.

"As would I." Leeja folded her arms across her chest and glared at the screeching winged monkeys as they settled upon the railing, spilling Zulli onto the cold stone floor of the balcony. The suddenly silent little beasts looked like guilty children caught in the middle of some mischief.

"Of course." Idvard nodded then floated towards Zulli. His left hand crackled with orange Unflames while a swirling cloud of caustic lime trailed along behind his right hand.

"Please!" The Vinkin saboteur pleaded.

"Traitor!"

"Have pity on me!"

"If you would save your own life, I suggest you tell us who sent you and what your mission was...before your former employer makes your last few seconds of life entirely too excruciating to contemplate."

Zulli could smell the lime, could feel the Unflames; both could destroy her painfully. Idvard knew well how to deal with her kind. Little good it would do him. He was soft. Weak. She knew he would consider showing her clemency if she said the right words. He was civilized. Unprepared for what was coming.

Her master was not prone to mercy.



Meanwhile...
Blood, fur and body parts flew in every direction. Putneys' rats fought fiercely, but they were drastically outnumbered. A dozen or more emaciated, diseased rats swarmed over each of his beauties. They could only bite or claw their way through so many at a time. He was proud of them. There was a rapidly-growing mound of dead rats all around them. His boots squelched through rancid rat-flesh churned into the mud. The war-lamp sputtered and died. He threw it as far from him as he could, his gloves smoldering from the unnatural heat cascading through the hexed thing. Knives it was then. He could see them just on the edge of the area that fell within the fitfully dying flashes and sparks of the lamp. He despised these pestilent, pretentious cadavers and their sickness and schemes. Whistling the shrill signal to go on the offensive Old Man Putney scrambled out of the light and plunged into the darkness where he and his rats did some of their best work. A nosferatu hissed only inches from his face. He lashed out...  




Idvard barked one harsh word and the band of winged monkeys evaporated in a flash of inversive green light. The railing was scorched with the frantic silhouettes of the unfortunate creatures.

Zulli struggled to her knees, still caught-up within the snarling, sizzling green light-strands. She looked up at Idvard, into his three eyes and knew all was lost.

"Why did you sabotage the bomb? Why would you do that?" Bujilli finished re-loading his pistol.

"I..." Zulli looked over at the not-quite-almas. He had livid purple scars across his forearm that ran across his chest where his shirt fell open. He was marked. He really was the one she had been warned about.

"You! There's no refuge for you here, nor for that deluded bitch you dragged here either!" She dredged-up as vile a curse from the deepest, darkest parts of her soul to fling at this not-man, this pretender to humanity, the sworn enemy of her master.

Leeja's ivory-flame hair snapped out, lashed across Zulli's cheek drawing forth a spattering of a yellowish substance that served her kind as blood.

Zulli bowed her head involuntarily. Her curse collapsed before it could truly take form.

"No you don't." Leeja stalked over to the kneeling prisoner and roughly grabbed her by the chin; "You think you recognize my partner, but do you know who I am?"

Zulli went still. Her eyes closed tight. All fight went out of her. It was true then. Too terribly true.

"I take it by your silence that would be a yes." Leeja squeezed the Vinkin girl's jaw; "Now look at me."

"I...I cannot. It is forbidden! You wear no mask!" Amber-yellow tears streaked down Zulli's cheeks but she refused to turn her head, would not look at Leeja no matter how much she tried to force her.

"This is not Aman Utal--"

"Even in this place you ever are and will always be a Princess of Deep Dendo. Do with me what you will--the Grunters will take my revenge for me!" Zulli glared at Idvard.

Sirens began to wail once more.

"The Grunters are coming up through another Well-shaft!" Zutissa stood next to Idvard, gleaming-glass long sword in-hand; "There's a lot of them!" She was gone.

BOOM!

The floor vibrated underfoot. Green smoke began to flood across the gardens and paths once more.

"Who sent you! Whom do you serve!" Demanded Bujilli.

"Let me tell you..." Zulli smiled broadly as deadly purple vapors began to stream from her mouth and nostrils...

What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!



Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.


What should they do now?

First we need to Roll for Initiative: 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) Bortho, 4) the Grunters, 5) Idvard, 6) Idvard's Defenders. (1d6 each as per LL p. 50)

We'll need a round of Saving Throws as well, while we're at it. This will require 1d20 for both Leeja and Bujilli, as per LL p. 54-55. We'll be using the Save vs Poison or Death column. Leeja rolls as a Thief, Bujilli as a Fighter. If they fail, they'll take some serious damage. If they make their saves, then the damage will be minimal as they were able to get out of the area of effect quickly enough.

We'll also need four or five d20 rolls.

Like we mentioned last episode, Bujilli certainly needs some fresh arrows. Next episode, he can request some from Idvard's servant-drones that carry such supplies to the defenders. Those drones are going to be kept busy, but Bujilli has priority, thanks to his previous contract with Idvard.

We will be checking-in on the Cuckoo-Girl and Headmistress Shael next episode. Promise. Things just sort of flowed this way, so we'll loop back to them next time. Bujilli is also going to put the Synchronocitor to good use, per reader suggestion, once he gets a better idea of the situation...possibly even before the purple smoke clears...

Feel free to ask questions or to discuss the situation in the comments. I'll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner.

Let me know what you think they ought to do in the comments below, or via email and we'll resume things next week!

What do they do next?

You Decide!

Previous                            Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six  |  Seven


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 - 111)
Series Seven (112 - ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

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