Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 135

Bogles, Hobyahs, Kalidahs, Damned Things and more have all been met with along the way and for the most part discretely avoided or evaded. Now Bujilli and Leeja are heading towards a tumbled-down and greatly overgrown ruin that might be some sort of ancient manor or redoubt...

Fog roiled and billowed all around them. Dew-blackened trees loomed out of the apparent emptiness, each one contorted or twisted about in a torturous pose more elaborate or disturbing than the previous one. Ferns whispered and hissed softly as they moved along the twisting, muddy track only Bujilli could call a trail. Leeja slogged through the mud as best she could, but her boots were falling apart. They were soft-soled, roof-runner boots; made for silently crossing pavement and stairs, for climbing walls, gripping eaves and clinging to roof-slates. They were never intended to stand up to gnarled old roots and jagged rocks and sloppy mud.

"You sure you want to check this place out?" Bujilli paused beside a lichen-crusted birch. He was worried about his partner's boots. She was not the sort of person to run around in this sort of terrain bare-foot...not like he was. for a moment he considered offering her his own boots, but they clearly wouldn't fit.

"I don't want to go back, and that last place, with the funeral carriage and the thunderstorm...that was just wrong to me. I can't explain it. Just wrong. A bad place to go." She slipped, landing on one knee.

"This terrain reminds me of where I grew up. Not exactly, but enough."

"Have you seen one of the apertures lately?" Leeja leaned against a boulder and adjusted her foot-gear. The left boot tore along the edge where the sole was glued to the heavy felt and moleskin panels.

"Like that one?" Bujilli pointed behind her.

Dull, smoldering orange, this rectangle rose from the rocky soil to about waist height before it had been sheered-off abruptly. Pink and gold lightnings played about the severed edges as a tinkling cloud of shards whirled and spun unconcernedly in the half-light.


"Yes. That's the third one I've spotted like that. Shattered...somehow..."

"But can they still be used? Or are they too damaged? Too dangerous?"

"I would rather not try to use one of these fractured things. I don't even like getting close to them. It gives me a slight nose bleed. There is some sort of feedback between them and the Synchronocitor..."

"You still have it, right?"

"Yes. But I need to keep a more active grip on it in this place. The broken mirrors seem to be causing it to slip and slide about. I almost lost it."

"That would be a very bad thing to do in this place."

"Probably. Holding it instead of letting it tag along out of phase like it tends to do also means it can help protect us from the effects of all these broken apertures..."

"Effects? Like what?"

Bujilli raised the Synchronocitor over his head. Instantly hundreds of tiny pink and gold tendrils of energy lashed out from every direction to flash and flare and jitter across the length of the weird staff-like device.

The air reeked with ozone. Both of them could feel their hair standing on end. Their teeth buzzed slightly, even as their skin crawled in response to the electrically hyper-saturated air.

"It's like one of those street-corner galvanic demonstrations..."

"It feels like a strange kind of lightning, but it isn't completely present in any one place or surges and flows...jumping from one place to another after another quicker than I can follow, even with the help of my Counsel and the Synchronocitor." Bujilli wiped away another drip of blood from his upper lip. He was getting a terrible headache. His bones felt like they were getting heavier, but he knew that was just how it felt; his muscles were reacting to all the energies flickering and arcing about. It was a lot like wading through a condensed storm, one without rain or sound, just lightning slashing through the clouds.

"Is it some kind of storm? A storm behind everything else?" Leeja removed her other boot. It was pointless to try to salvage her boots. They were ruined. Her feet sunk into the mud up to her ankles as she flung the ripped and frayed remnants of her boots away from the trail.

"That's as good a description as any I can come up with, only it isn't behind everything--there are things behind it...quite a lot of stuff, actually. So it's very much like a storm that is mostly behind us, but not entirely. And it might sneak up on us if we're unlucky or stick around in this place for too long."

"Let's not stick around then. Should we..."

"I want to go check out this ruined place we spotted after getting out of the way of that carriage."

"I'll do my best to keep up with you..."

"Actually, I have a better idea." Bujilli closed his eyes in order to recall one of his older spells. A slight revision here and there, some rearranging of the primary parameters and he was ready.

"Take my hand."

Pale violet light washed over them both. Leeja's feet pulled free of the mud with a wet, sloppy sound.

Together they levitated a few feet above the mud.

With a gesture they floated towards the overgrown ruins.

"You couldn't have done this earlier? Like before I ruined my boots?"

Drevi struggled with the sticky strands binding her wrists and upper arms, heedless of the forest floor more than thirty feet below her. She had to escape. Her people had to be warned about the Purple Spiders who were coming to the aid of their arachnid-kin along the Great Rim. War was coming to Jalamere and the people of the cliff-cities would be caught unawares between the wild tribes of spiders and the ruthless armies of the Octarchy...

Dark gray rocks protruded from the wet ground. Here and there a broken column or portion of a wall stood out amidst the vast profusion of bushes, brambles and thorns. But these thorns were unlike any they had seen before; these were serrated, with a profusion of backward-pointing barbs that wriggled slightly, almost like cilia or little limbs.

These things would burrow deep into any flesh they came into contact with...and they would do so rapidly.

Bujilli was pleased with how well his improvised spell was working.

It would have been a miserable, painful, probably dangerous waste of time to have hacked and slashed their way through all the thorns. Especially since Leeja was without her boots now.

The air pressure dropped suddenly.

His ears 'popped.'

A cold, drizzle began to spatter across them.

"Great. More rain."

Thunder shook their bones as a smoldering pink after-image jarred their eyes.

It took a moment for Bujilli to realize what had happened. Then he spotted the little arcs and sparks swirling into a sort of spiral that rapidly grew brighter, hotter, more powerful as it rotated into a conical mass that exploded upwards into the heavily overcast sky.

He had to adjust course three times to avoid getting dragged into the midst of another sky-surge.

They reached a clearing of sorts. Small rocks and gravel filled-in the gaps between large, half-melted and bizarrely amalgamated masses of stone, concrete and metal.

There was less mud here, though rusty-colored puddles of contaminated water had formed along the lowest spots and nasty tangles of bladed or barbed wire took the place of the over-eager thorns.

The electrical activity was much lessened. Bujilli could sense that though they were pretty much surrounded by the sky surges, this area was relatively safe from the peculiar electrical phenomena.

Wind tugged at his hair. The rain was becoming increasingly chilly, even icy. Hail was starting to fall with it. It was even more like home in that regard, but the mangled and blasted sections of walls and bulwarks was as far from anything he'd ever seen before. All the angles were off-kilter, smeared into imprecision due to the vast outpouring of terrible forces that had once roared through this area. Sections of the rubble were so vitrified as to be cloudy glass. Shadows capered and slithered across, through and around the place, none of them quite as they ought to be. What he had taken to be some sort of black grass was really razor-fine shards of some sort of exotic matter that ought not to be stable, or dense enough to be visible.

"I am beginning to dislike this place the more I see of it..."

Bujilli set them down atop a mound of blackened stone shaped like a half-melted candle.


A colossal iron-plated centipede scuttled out from behind a mass of wreckage.

It lunged at Bujilli...

Roll for Initiative...

Then what should they do next?

You Decide!

Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.

Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) The Colossal Ferropede.

Defensive Measures?
Should they try to run away? Would you rather see Bujilli and Leeja attempt to use an Invisibility spell to avoid the nasty iron insect-thing? Or should they attack it with their weapons? (which ones would you suggest? fire-arms or hand-axes or offensive spells?) Perhaps they could try to talk to the thing in the few seconds before it lands on top of them...or maybe there's a better option one of you clever readers might like to suggest. Whatever happens next; You Decide!

Roll for a Possible Secondary Encounter.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter.

What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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  1. I got a 3,4, and 2, respectively for initiative rolls.

    I say avoid with invisibility.

    Rolled a 2 so no "bonus" encounter. :)

    1. Thanks for the Initiative rolls. Avoiding with Invisibility in the rain should be interesting and will require some adjusting of the basic spell, which ought to open up some cool options.

      A 2 certainly means no immediate 'bonus' encounter...but this Ferropede is a big, noisy thing and while it does draw a lot of attention, it's the things it scares out of hiding or sends fleeing away form it, towards observers like Bujilli & Leeja, that can make for some nasty complications or in some cases fairly amusing situations...

  2. There was even more evocative description in this than usual, and some superbly fine details of the space.

    I agree with Trey. Buy some time with the invisibility, but watching the behaviour of the creature. Maybe it will become clear whether it can be reasoned with, and that could be a useful option. They ought to avoid pushing too far in for now though, unless there's a clear path back out, for fear of it cutting them off.

    If they think they're going to be in this realm for a while, it may be Counsel could be set to finding the nearest likely source of boots or materials for them, and means, possibly arcane, of making them.

    1. Thanks. This is another liminal space on the fringes of some already pretty fringe places...we're moving past the oneirically-resonant mirror-regions into the lingering echoes of broken worlds, half-worlds, and unworlds that are collapsing into fictivity, obscurity or oblivion...if not all three simultaneously.

      Invisibility can be tricky in the rain, but Bujilli does have Counsel, the Synchronocitor, and a good bit of experience with adapting and improvising his spells...not to mention an abiding dislike of centipede-things (his first/worst scars are from centipedes) it is eminently do-able. Might even be able to turn the rain into an advantage...

      Those broken mirror-apertures means that we're moving well past the point of no return--going back will now be more difficult that proceeding along this course. It can be done, but there will be resistance and attempting to switch now will take time, effort and trouble. All very much things that they can manage, if they choose to do so--if you the readers want to go back--it can be accomplished...but going forward from here, into this strange liminal zone and on to whatever world(s) lie beyond it or are aligned to it, or resonant with it, etc., will prove much easier...though no less fraught with the usual amount of peril, obstacles, challenges and anomalies...

      Getting some boots is a great idea. Leeja is not used to the great outdoors and would appreciate some sensible, comfortable footwear. Supplies in general would be a good idea. They aren't carrying a lot of food or drinkable water, so that is going to become an issue shortly...

      Counsel will do what it can, but in this sort of fragmented, disjointed is struggling to keep up, let alone process what it is able to is not an imaginative entity, but a surrogate/symbiotic prosthetic with a lot of computational capability, wonderful reserves of memory and a few handy tricks. If it were enabled to develop imaginative capabilities, it would soon outgrow its need for a host and become a fully volitional being in its own right, and it is prohibited from doing that without express permission from its current host...

  3. I agree with Trey and Porky, try invisibility and observe the Ferropede. Can they tell if it's organic, a construct, or a combination? Since it's raining and the Ferropede is getting wet, it might be worth seeing if Bujilli can modify his Haste spell to speed up the oxidation process and rust the creature to weaken or immobilize it, if they can't avoid it or reason with it.

    I also like Porky's suggestion about boots and would extend it to supplies and shelter in general.

    I rolled 5d20s and got 20, 14, 19, 18, and 17 and 5d6s and got 1, 5, 4, 4, and 1, in case they're useful.

    1. Invisibility--with some modifications--it is. Observation might reveal a few things, so that could be an interesting option. As far as they/Counsel can tell the Ferropede is both organic and metallic, not a cobbled-together assemblage-thing, but something more elegant, more designed. The thing has a high concentration of iron in its pseudo-chitin and the muscles to enable it to function as a high-end predator, making it a fearsome beast indeed. I won't even tell you about the nastiness that comes into play from its sting, since one look at those clashing scythe-like mandibles ought to be enough to discourage anyone from provoking it. this is not something you can simply beat to death with a pointy stick, no matter what titles or funny names one may have accumulated...

      Adapting Haste into an accelerant-spell is something that brings back memories indeed. That is something to make sure makes into the Little Brown Journal for sure. Excellent suggestion!

      Supplies and shelter will be a real concern going forward...but it's better I show why, so I'll get to writing.


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