Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 137 (Rapunzel Overdrive)

Rust and debris swirled and splashed down in a riotous torrent right at Bujilli...

Crackling, sizzling ripples of orange dust spread out from the center-mass of what had only moments before been a gargantuan metallicized insect.

Ripples grew into wave upon wave of rust, dust and ichor and dwindling remnants of chitinous stuff. One after another. Each one spreading out farther. Washing across the rubble and wreckage. Rapidly growing into a crashing, smashing tidal wave of corrosion looming over Bujilli and Leeja as they looked on from their precarious little ledge.

Bujilli raised the Synchronocitor in an attempt to ward off the worst of the rust.

The Synchronocitor flickered and shimmered with violet flames. Bujilli commanded it so protect them both. The violet flames surged all around them both, forming a Zone of Protection.*

The mound of rubble beneath them shifted. groaned, began to wobble to the left under the impact of the rust, dust and debris flowing and frothing about the place.

The Synchronocitor's Zone of  Protection was not going to be enough.

Leeja grabbed him around the waist and used her lashing, flashing white tendril-hair to lift them higher, up out of the way of the onrushing rust and towards some part of the mound that might be somewhat more stable.

It was a valiant effort.

She struggled for every yard they covered. Sweat glistened across her skin as she exerted herself like never before. Leeja closed her eyes and focused entirely on her hair and getting them up and away from the mess caused by Bujilli's runaway spell.

Jagged fragments of stone and metal provided plenty of places to gab onto. She avoided the worst of the tangled masses of barbed wire or anything that gave way too quickly when she came into contact with it--having grown up in Aman Utal, she was very well aware of the sorts of things that might lurk amidst the jumbled rubble or disguise itself as a clump of rocks and the like.

The the bulk of the rust struck the mound full on.

Metallic screams filled the air. The entire mound shifted. Orange flakes sprayed over everything. Debris flew everywhere.

The mound began to teeter backwards. they'd never reach the top now and if they did, it would be a very bad place to be when the whole thing fell over into the backwash of rust.

Leeja realized that her hair alone would not be enough to get them out of harm's way. It was strong enough, just not long enough, nor could she move them both fast enough. She needed something else. A spell? She did not know Levitation, not yet. In fact she only knew a few spells. Most of what she knew were perceptual manipulation things. Lesser beguilements, discerning surface thoughts, that sort of thing. The sort of spells her mother had passed on to her more through a form of osmosis than outright instruction; things that came easily to them both because of their nature.

Her nature.

For a large part of her life she had rebelled against her true nature.

Niobe, her sister had mocked her for it.

She had struggled to fit in with the others, to be something they could accept. But no one ever really had. Not until she met Bujilli.

He had accepted her as she was. He knew she had something monstrous in her heritage. He'd accepted her anyhow.

That meant a lot to her.

She wasn't going to let them both die now just because she was afraid of becoming more like her mother.

Her mother's folk were highly intuitive, very empathic...but not in the sense most others thought of that capability. They didn't just 'read' emotions or cloud people's minds, they could reach in and manipulate, twist and even remove things.

She reached into Bujilli's mind. He was open to her. He trusted her.

The Levitate spell was easy to find. Even easier to trigger.

Both screamed in agony as the spell exploded into effect and they were borne upwards into the cold, dark night...

* See the post on the Synchronocitor for more details.

Mak-Ait-Akh**, Makait as the spindly apelings insisted on calling him, scanned the horizon. All around him spread a lurid red landscape. Desolate, barren, deadly; he was expected to die miserably out in the wastes surrounding Ylgreve when he had been expelled. That conniving little liar Jamildra had wasted no time in getting him black-listed and banished in retribution for his so-called betrayal. Never mind the fact that he had carried her back from her disastrous debacle of an expedition beneath Zormur's Palace. She was upset all the more since he had deliberately left behind her precious ancestor-possessed scimitar. Let her go get it for herself. He had declared when the solicitors had interrogated him at her behest. If they hadn't already accepted her bribes they might even have agreed, but the winds of political skullduggery were even more whimsical and wild than the winds of war and he she had gotten her way, for the most part. He had gotten exiled from Ylgreve. Banned and barred and banished, just as she had demanded; right before she was set with the geas to recover the blade she had allowed to be left lying in some ruined place through her incompetence. Because he had been black-listed, she could not call upon Makait for assistance. The memory of her spluttering impotent rage amused him. Even now after all these long weeks and longer miles trekking through the Kalaramar Drifts...

(**Now we know something of what happened after Episode 13...)

Waking up in the darkness with blood running down his lip was nothing new to Bujilli; but doing so while being suspended nearly a hundred feet in the air by a spell he didn't recall casting was a new twist.

He shook himself. Spells. His head ached horribly. He tightened his grip on the Synchronocitor. There was a Levitation spell in effect. It felt very similar to the one he tended to use...but it had been subtly altered, empowered, overcast in a way that ought to have fried his brain to a cinder. Except it hadn't. Instead the spell had bulged outwards, distorted by what appeared to be some seriously inexpert casting. It had been cast from within him, from his repertoire, using his mind and his knowledge, the patterns residing within his brain. But how?

Bujilli sat up. This took effort. He ached all over. His singed hair reeked and would need to be trimmed, again. At least the bloody nose had stopped. He felt like warmed-over wermscheiss, but at least he was alive. Nothing dead hurt this much, from the texts he had read growing up.

Down below the rust surged and sloshed and was settling down into a sort of lake of flakes.

They had escaped the worst of the crashing wave and the cloud of abrasive dust that had followed.

The synchronocitor gleamed with violet light that shimmered and shivered and flowed outward from the staff-like device in a dozen or more streamers that all led back to him. To his skull. His brain. For a moment it reminded him of Leeja's writhing and wriggling hair, only this was violet light that was seeping into his brain.

His Levitation spell hovered before him like some abstract defense against imaginative intrusions.

It had been his spell.

But he did not cast it.

He had been involved, of course, but it had not been his idea.

The spell had not spontaneously cast itself. He knew because he checked. that was how he knew it had been his spell and that it had been cast from within his skull and should have burnt his brain to a cinder at least. But it didn't happen that way. Instead the spell had jumped like a spark from one pole to another in some galvanic demonstration. It had connected with the Synchronocitor and somehow went into a resonant feed-back loop with the Zone of Protection.

This had over-charged the spell and very likely saved their lives.

The Synchronocitor was softly singing to itself in a creepy little child's voice. some sort of nonsense ditty in excessively inflected Franzikaner dialect.

Out on the horizon Bujilli spotted what looked like some sort of city or castle or fortress. Whatever it was, it had towers, spires, domes and lights. Either torches or street-lights; he wasn't sure which, but either one indicated an active presence of some sort of people in the place. Whoever lived there, whatever the place was called, it could offer them shelter, maybe even food and drink.

His hand brushed against Leeja.

She was very, very still.



Bujilli reached out to his partner. Golden filaments of light spread outwards from his hand, sinking deep into her flesh, down into her bones, awakening whatever it was that lurked inside her, whatever parallel to his Counsel that had imprinted itself upon her back in Wermspittle at Idvard's old place.***

Whatever it was, if it was some duplicate form of the Counsel etched into his bones by some ancient machine, or something else; it was not enough.

He willed his energy through those golden threads of light and into her form. All his vitality, his will, his vrillic essence. There had to be some way to help his friend, his partner.

The Synchronocitor stopped singing. He could feel it observing him, but he didn't pay it any attention. Everything he had, all that made him who and what he was boiled through his body and soul to flow through tiny golden threads that linked him to Leeja.

He called on all his allies and guides and whatever spirits or things might help him set things right.

Lightning flashed and roared overhead. The rain resumed, only harder and mingled with hail now.

He struggled with every last bit of his strength and personal power.

His nose began to bleed again.

Violet sparks snapped and crackled all around him.

It wasn't enough.

With an inarticulate howl of rage Bujilli seized upon the spell vibrating all around them, the Synchronocitor, the Counsel-things scintillating between and within them both, and something happened.

Something wonderful. Something terrible.

Bujilli awoke in a dark place...

*** See Episode 39 for details.

Roll for Initiative...

and a couple of Saving Throws as well...

Synchronocitor Status: Somewhere between curious and bored, while recharging itself.

Roll Saving Throws!
Bujilli needs to roll a 11 or higher on 1d20.
Leeja needs to roll a 6 or better on another 1d20.
Both are suffering from a -2 penalty at the moment.

Should both of them succeed, then they will be together when they wake up. If one or both of them fail, then they are separated when they wake up. You decide!

In this instance the Saving Throw pertains to both damaging effects and displacement. Speaking of Displacement Effects, you can check out our old table for those HERE. You can read more about Saving Throws on Pages 54-55 of the Labyrinth Lord book.

Will it Leave any (more) Scars?
We need to determine how long Bujilli and Leeja have both been incapacitated (both times). If someone would be so kind as to roll 1d6 for each of them, we'll know how many hours they spent suspended over the rust lake. Another roll of 1d20 will tell us how many hours Bujilli was out of it before waking up in the dark this second time.

We can then roll for Initiative for each of them normally.
1d20 each. If Leeja gets the Initiative, we'll determine her situation first, depending on the rsult of the Saving throw above.

We'll need a few d6 and d20 rolls, and actually a d10 or d12 roll would also be pretty handy as well, since now we need to determine where they are, what the prevailing conditions are, and all sorts of fun things like that.

Then we need to decide the top three priorities for Bujilli and Leeja. Should they try to figure out where they are first, or look for one another?  If they find each other early on, should they explore this dark place, or try to get out, or attempt to sort out what just happened between them?

Whatever happens next; You Decide!

And of course, it's Time to Roll 1d6 for a Wandering Monster.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, the encounter is an environmental factor. A result of 6 will mean we need to roll on the new Wandering Monster Table I'll be posting tomorrow to determine what might be prowling around out there in the darkness...

What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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  1. Savings throws:
    Bujilli = 16 (unmodified)
    Leeja = 14 (unmodified)

    Incapacitation d6 rolls
    Bujilli = 2
    Leeja = 2

    More to come....

    1. Thanks for those die-rolls. Bujilli & Leeja will be near one another when Bujilli wakes up in the next episode. We now know that they were both unconscious for about two hours while suspended over the rust-lake that used to be a gargantuan Ferropede...

  2. A couple of major twists there, with potentially big ramifications for their relationship, and even the suspended state was an interesting situation. Plus that vignette - the worlds don't stop moving. The dark place can't be any less engaging...

    Based on the rolls, they ought to be close and maybe close in time waking up. I think they can wait with clarifying what happened between them, at least while they work out where they are and explore with a view to getting out, or safe as a minimum. When they get the time though, they might want to considering deciding how to approach the connection in future, and maybe optimising it, but in such a way that separation or loss doesn't hinder the other person more than even it usually would. They don't have easy lives after all.

    1. Definitely. Quite a few things happened there, some of it won't fully register until they've had a chance to collect themselves, but it all will have an impact going forward.

      First priority is survival/determining their immediate situation. Then they can consider the other stuff...unless one of them is overcome with a deep abiding need to deal with things before moving on...

      Exploring the connection between them, and the continual development/evolution of Counsel into something far more organic and ingrained and less of a machine like it was originally might be worth doing--it might become something they cannot put off much longer. Counsel has morphed form a simplistic machine intelligence operating under some quite rigid parameters into something that is more elegant and integrated into both of them now. I'm sure they are both curious about what is gong on.

      No, they do not live easy lives at all--that would be boring.

  3. First priority is their immediate situation, making sure they each can move, checking for damage, and assessing their surroundings. They need to stick together as they figure out where they are and what to do. Proximity will help them figure out what's going on with their connection and with Counsel.

    For initiative I rolled d20s and got 18 for Bujilli and 17 for Leeja, both unmodified. I also rolled 5d6s (2, 5, 5, 1, and 2), 5d20s (16, 18, 18, 19, and 15), a d10 and got 9, a d12 and got 1, and a Wandering Monster d6 and got 3.

    1. Sounds like a pretty good basic plan is coming together. Thanks for the Initiative and other die rolls, this will help going forward...


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