Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 23

Blood trickled down Bujilli's arm. His wound wasn't sealing. There must have been something nasty on the boy's knife.

He looked down at the boy.

Writhing. Sweaty. Feverish. Bloodied.

It was hard to take any satisfaction from the sight. If anything Bujilli felt profoundly sad. The boy was acting out of fear. Sometimes the most terrible demons of all came from within. Whatever this boy was afraid of, it rode him hard.

"I have an arrangement with someone called Hedrard...there is money involved. Perhaps enough?"

Bujilli looked up at the tall, gaunt woman in the cold, black fighting gown.

She returned his gaze. Her eyes were translucent amber. He could feel her appraising his soul with those weird eyes.

"Yes. You seem to have sufficient means lined up, don't you? That's not precisely what I meant, nor will it be likely to secure the assistance of a healer. Not during the Revels. But no matter. You are certain that you wish to attempt to heal this child?"


"Even though they attacked you?"


"Poisoned you?"

"Wh--" Bujilli's stomach heaved. Once. He kept standing. Barely.

The woman in black smiled. A ruthless slash of a smirk. Her skirts rustled like a nest of sharp swords as she turned on her heel and stalked back into her office.


Bujilli stood and watched her leave for the space of two heart-beats before it sunk in; she meant for him to follow, and to bring along the boy.

So he knelt down and picked-up the boy. Sweet, sticky nastiness exuded from the kid like a toxic miasma. Just touching him made Bujilli's skin crawl. Even through his armor. He tried to not look at how much skin the boy left behind. Melted to the floor.

Setting his shoulders, adjusting the strangely gurgling mass in his arms, Bujilli quickly followed after the woman in black.

The door slammed shut with authority.

He was going down a hallway. There wasn't time to look at all the strange objects or paintings hanging on the walls. He hustled to catch up with the woman. She seemed to always be just that much farther ahead of him. He increased his pace. She remained well out in front. He began to run, as best he could with the oddly soft load he was carrying.

Door. Door. Another door. Another. Still another. They turned a corner. Stairs. Bujilli's breathing was becoming labored. The boy was getting heavier. The scent of many different animals in confined spaces punched him in the nose; it was an unpleasant, pungent mixture of musk, manure and misery.

The woman stood next to an open door. He carried the boy inside.

"Whose this then?" coughed an old hag squatting on a stool next to a table piled with offal. She was in mid-stitch. Sewing together veins and arteries and masses of bruised looking flesh that still wriggled in slow-motion.

"A client. Bujilli here would like to ask you for a favor." The woman in black stepped back and motioned for Bujilli to come forward.

"Bujilli?" The hag put down her knitting and leaned forward to squint in his direction. Her left eye was milky. The right one was worse. She smiled, after a fashion, as only a woman with three good teeth can do.

"Yes. This boy. He needs help. Urgently."

"Ah. Lemuel. tch tch. I knew his father. And his grandfathers, though they were not so great, nor so smart. Ah, but that was when I was still young. And stupid, myself. Bah. Let me take a look at the boy. Let me see what there is to be done, what can be done."

She pushed the grotesque mass of flesh to one side of the table and patted it.

Bujilli set the boy down on the bloody, messy table.

There were wet strings of pinkish flesh stuck to him as he stepped back. The smell of corruption was horrible. He nearly choked. Gagged. The scent was repulsive in the extreme.

There was a hand on his shoulder. Hard, cold, talon-like. The woman in black. Oddly, it felt almost comforting.

"Ach. He's near gone. Hard Candy. The damned fool. As though his father hadn't warned him of the filthy business. Poor lad."

"Can you help him?" Blood ran down Bujilli's arm again. He looked at the rag he had used to bind his wound. It was flaking away in a fine gray ash. He felt feverish. A bit wobbly.

"To a point," the hag gestured morbidly with her over-long, thin fingers; "After a fashion. Some cures are worse than what they alleviate, just as some solutions are far more bitter than the problems they solve. Yes. I can help him. The question is how should I address his predicament?"

"What do you mean?"

"Look at him."

The boy was barely recognizable as anything human. He looked more like a pink and white grub, wiggling slowly, feverishly, covered in a milky froth that stank sweetly. Again, Bujilli nearly vomited. He felt cold.

"Ah. It's a filthy, terrible thing, is it not? Yet it continues. Every Spring they hand out the stuff to the incoming children. It's a vicious cycle. We're all caught-up in it. all." She looked down at the floor. Guilt weighed heavily on her warped frame.

"What can you do for him?"

"I can put him out of his misery. That'd be easiest. Possibly the best. Or..."

"Or what? He's...melting. You have to do something--"

"No. I do not have to do anything. You want me to do something. Why? Who is he to you?" The hag demanded. She seemed almost angry at Bujilli. But why?

"Please. Help the boy. I will pay you."

"Ach. Yes, you would, wouldn't you?" She scrutinized him more intently for a moment then sat back on her stool as though baffled by something.

The hag turned away from Bujilli and started really examining the boy. Her hands looked like crow's feet, only with pronounced varicose veins. The woman in black reminded him of a raven, this hag was more like a crow or a magpie. Or a starling.

She did something, he wasn't sure what.

"He's far gone, but I've stabilized his descent. You've acted from kindness, as you know it, I can see that, but know that you've locked this child into a hellish existence. He's trapped now, caught in mid-transformation. Of course that does mean that his flesh, such as it is, will be quite pliable, moldable, after a fashion."

"Can he be restored, or has ...this... gone too far?"

"Restored? No. Look at him. Barely a face, his skin is mostly liquid, his bones are beginning to bend. No. He's been using the Hard Candy for too long, in too large a dose, like a greedy sweet-pig. I can stitch him a new skin. It'd only be a temporary fix, really, but I have some good wormhide on-hand. but that'd be a bit of bother. He's practically a Gelbore now."


"Bone-thieves. Wicked, misshapen wretches like the boy here, their flesh is reduced to a gelatinous mess, but for some reason they don't entirely deliquesce, at least not right away. They slither around catacombs and ossuaries trying to scavenge bones. They eat bones. Absorb them, really. It forestalls the inevitable. Damned pains in the ass. They've ruined any number of shrines, churches or reliquaries and only the Bone guard ever really do anything about them. It's no life for this one. Kinder if you killed him."

"There's nothing else you might do?"

"Well...there is one other thing that I could try. It's dangerous. It'd hurt. But it wouldn't hurt me. It'd be you who'd have to make the contribution. but you look young and strong enough to manage it."

"What do you mean?"

"I could transfer some of your blood, a bit of your flesh, and a portion of your vitality over to the boy. It'd give him a fighting chance to recover at least some of his humanity from the transformation process. No guarantees just how much, no promises that it'll even work, but I will tell you now that it'll hurt like hell, for you both, and it'd be wicked dangerous. for you both."

What should Bujilli do now?

Pay to have the hag stitch a new skin for the boy?

Let him complete his transformation?

Should Bujilli let him turn into a Bone Thief?

Kill the boy and be done with the whole sordid thing?

Or take a chance, gamble a bit, and try to salvage what can be saved from this horrid mess?

You Decide!

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

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

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

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion


  1. I think I'd want to know some answers to some questions first: how much of my vitality? Would it come back? Just how dangerous is it? What could happen?

  2. Good questions. The dice say: 1) 3 HD, 2) Yes. Within 3d4 days, with successive Saves, and barring any unforeseen complications, 3) Pretty dangerous. The connection could contaminate Bujilli's blood, it might interact with the mods made by the Transveyance back in episode 19-20, and it could do some scary things to the kids like make him a demi-clone of Bujilli, after a fashion...

    So, a lot could happen, all depending on dice rolls, people's comments, and so forth.

    Bujilli an ask either the hag or the raven-woman in black questions if you'd like.

    Bujilli an also consult his Counsel.

    You Decide...

  3. I think Bujilli's wary of putting himself at risk further for the kid. I think he should consult his Counsel about the relative risks.

  4. I think Bujilli is very conflicted about doing nothing, especially when a kid is involved. His own childhood experience of misuse and privation makes him distrust the "He should have known better." Kids do stupid things. Trying the Counsel first seems prudent, but I thinkmBujilli would be inclined to help the kid even if it involves some degree of sacrifice.

    Bujilli should also ask the raven-woman: "You also said I was poisoned and need help. Should we take care Iof that first?"

    Here are a few d20 rolls of the ruby die with the teal numbers: 5, 15, 13.

  5. I agree that Bujilli should consult his Counsel. But his first course of action should be to question the raven-woman: "You said I was poisoned; am I still in imminent danger? Perhaps we should attend to that first."

    I also think Bujilli, as someone who was manipulated and abused as a youth, won't necessarily take the healer's "the boy should have known better" justification at face value. He is more likely to see it as an abrogation of responsibility.

    After consulting his Counsel, he will need to weigh the odds. I am not certain Bujilli will be able to sleep peacefully without trying to help the boy. the boy's predicament may be part of a larger problem. Will Bujilli himself be the next victim? Is MOST of the food contaminated here?

    I rolled 5, 15, and 13 on the ruby die with teal numbers.

  6. Okay. Thanks for the die rolls. Those will come in handy.

    Counsel: Preliminary Risk Assessment -- High Risk Indicated / Extremely Variable Situation / Probability Unmappable: Too Many Unknown Factors

    RE the question regarding food in Wermspittle. No, not all food is not polluted with White Powder, usually. Hard Candy and Black Liquors are very available in the Winter, when other food-sources aren't so plentiful or are extra-questionable. In the Spring, Hard Candy is handed out just about everywhere by agents of the Corruption Trade who deliberately target the gullible, vulnerable, ignorant and temptable. Most places within the patrolled sections of Wermspittle serve legitimate food, when they have it and you can afford it. Some of the less reputable places, especially some of the delicatessens down along the Low Streets and past the barricades are suspected of all sorts of culinary infamies and social infractions...but they operate outside the reach of the patrols.

    Bujilli can ask his Counsel to monitor his food and warn him of toxins, etc. that's one of those things that gets revealed as questions get asked and Bujilli tries things out.

    RE: Poisoned. Hmmm. The boy is trapped in a form of biological suspension. His transformation is halted, for now, so it could be a good time to address the poisoning. However, Bujilli is feeling much better now. The wobbliness and fever were a side-effect of his enhanced metabolism eliminating the poison on the kid's knife. But this is not just a poison that does nasty chemistry within the target's bloodstream, it also has a component that physically keeps the wound open. It looks like a wispy hairball or tangled mass of tiny, thread-like worms, all silvery and metallic and disturbingly mobile. The Hag, will offer to buy the bloodthread from Bujilli.

    The '5' result means that Bujilli has another 5 minutes of bleeding before his system expels the threads and he heals normally (the new norm, not the old, slow norm, and not the fat guy from Cheers).

    So, do you want Bujilli to sell the bloodthreads, or wait it out?
    Any specific questions for the Counsel? the more direct and precise and limited the question, the more useful it tends to be.
    Bujilli can ask for the advice of the woman in black, if you'd like.
    He can also ask the hag a few questions, if someone has a question or two that they'd like to ask either of those two NPCs.

    Oh, and before it comes up--no, the boy cannot remain suspended for too much longer, attempting to do so will either kill him or cause the situation to get even worse, and yes, it can always get worse--you're in Wermspittle now...

  7. Yes, Bujilli should sell the blood threads. I think he would take the risk of the procedure to save the boy. It might be worth asking the hag a very open question, such as "Telll me more about your craft and trade."

  8. Bujilli should sell the bloodthreads as a part of the price for the healing, should he decide to do it.

    Can Counsel determine the nature / components / source of the poison in Bujilli's system? Can Counsel determine the components / source of the Hard Candy, how it may be causing this transformation? Does Counsel have access to any records of similar substances / transformations and how to negate or reverse the effect? Is it possible for Bujilli to make the same modifications (including the enhanced metabolism and potential healing benefits) to the boy that the Transveyance gave to him? What would it take to be able to do that?

    Questions for both the women: Have either of them done or seen done this transferance the healer suggests. How many times? Who were the people involved? What were the results? Bujilli is half-Almas. Will that make a difference? Will it make the process more or less likely to succeed? What would increase the odds of success and enhance Bujilli's safety?

    These are a lot of questions so I rolled some d20s: 20, 19, 16, 20, 14.

  9. Okay, here I am reading through the comments before beginning the next episode. There seems to be some consensus in regards to getting more information before proceeding, inquiring via Bujilli's internal Counsel, and getting more details from the two women before proceeding. My take on all this is if Bujilli is confident of his chances, he'll consider helping the kid. There are a few questions asked at the last-minute that might just figure into the next episode very nicely, so instead of nattering on here, I'll get on with the new episode--thanks to all of you who are participating. You make this happen, each and every one of you!


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