Fumo the Free - Part 3

Incensed

Fumo the Free - Part 3

 

 

It seemed Fumo was not finished slapping himself today. He rubbed at his ear, which felt hot.

 

“Thought you said the incense kept all kinds of bugs away.”

 

The campfire—a last remnant of his attempt to burn out the ants—was barely brighter than an ember of punkincense itself. Gobber had a habit of ritualistically poking at it. The elf barely glanced up at him.

 

“It duz, mate.”

 

“Well I keep getting bitten by something. Some kind of flying ones.” Heavy insects, maybe attracted to the fire, had been blindly whizzing into him in the dark. They were striking him mostly around his head.

 

Gobber shook his head with a grave seriousness. “Nah, y’not.”

 

“Then what is—”

 

In the darkness behind him, one of the Punk Elves made a sound like a snore, which immediately turned into a cackle. A couple of the other ones shushed and then punched the first one, before busting up into laughter themselves. Fumo turned around on his log to see if he could tell which ones were back there. He couldn’t, but he was pelted with the rest of their pebbles all at once.

 

The warlord stood up, his anger mostly aimed at Gobber. “Look, if you didn’t want me to sit here with you, you could’ve said so.”

 

The Chief Elf went back to poking his fire. “Dunno wotcha mean, mate.”

 

Fumo drew his cutlass. This earned him a modest fraction of Gobber’s attention back. Laughter in the near bushes faded to nasty snickering, and a whisper or two.

 

“I’m going to try to sleep,” the warlord announced to the jungle in general. He pivoted on a muddy boot heel, and began hacking away with his sword to cut a trail through the underbrush. He should probably care if any of the punks were hiding in there, but he didn’t much.

 

“Ja’know how?” Gobber asked. “Y’close boaf yer eyes at the same time.”

 

---

 

Gobber meant that question as a jab, and it did have a sharp point on it. Fumo had literally never slept before. His maritime gear included no bedroll for camping.

 

But the lining of his officer’s coat turned out to be a hammock, made from sailcloth. The stitches holding it in place were more like lacing. After some fumbles and picking in the darkness, he was able to pull the whole thing free and even resize it a bit. Then he stretched its twiney cords between two trees of the “That Tree” variety (neither of which was actually That Tree), tied a few strong knots he couldn’t name, and carefully let himself sink into it.

 

To his surprise, the canvas bore his weight. It was even comfortable. He flattened his bicorn hat into something pillowlike, and poked his arms into the opposite sleeves of his coat to make it a kind of blanket. Not a great kind, but a kind.

 

He proceeded to fail at sleeping anyway, whether he closed his eyes or not. Lying on his back, staring up through the dense forest cover for a glimpse at twinkling stars to find one worth wishing on, he wasn’t sure he was even attempting to sleep.

 

He needed a plan to live through tomorrow.

 

When dawn came (assuming no units with a natural turn before his were in the battlespace), he would begin his second turn with the same 10 move he’d popped with today. All of the hexes bordering this one were dense jungle, so whichever way he went, there would be a cost of 4 move to leave.

 

He’d come to this spot through the hex to the southwest, and that hex was surrounded by more of the same. So he really only had a choice of five directions, and that choice was already made. He would chop his way northwest.

 

The elves said the northwest face of that hex would finally be the edge of this damp green prison. The hex past it was sunny shoreline. For a warlord, a coastal hex with clear weather meant a move cost of only one (and border scouting was free). So he’d have up to five more hexes to follow the beach to...somewhere. Maybe he’d spot a ship. If he ended up working for a sea power, even inland, then at least his Signamancy would make some sense.

 

Along the way he’d have the option to spend a bit of that move to try and catch a meal. He didn’t seem to have any fishing gear, but there’d be a chance of a turtle, a seal, maybe shellfish to dig up...

 

The problem was, the gem hadn’t given him enough Shmuckers to make his upkeep the following turn, even if he did get lucky. The Punk Elves wouldn’t give him any more. They wouldn’t come with him. And they wouldn’t let him tag along with them, not even for one more turn. Not even if he popped smokes and could be useful in a fight (probably). They just didn’t like warlords. Especially him. Chucks had a problem with his raiment or something.

 

So he probably wouldn’t forage, unless he saw something easy to gather or hunt. Dates or coconuts might be worth spending a move on. Land crabs, maybe. But anything that could get away—a bird or a thing swimming in the shallows—probably wouldn’t be worth the risk.

 

Huh. There was a bird up there now, Fumo noticed. He’d spotted a scouting unit, circling the night sky, way high up.

 

It was out of his reach, like so many probably-important things. But spotting it was a minor accomplishment, and this bird felt more worthy of wishing on than the faint, erratically twinkling stars.

 

“I want to live,” he said to the bird. He spoke softly, in case the elves were still lurking in the darkness to punk him. “I’d like to see a third turn.”

 

Soon after that, Fumo slept.

 


Recent posts... (See full thread)
Caprice wrote:
It's interesting that the see bird was able to record and relay an entire turn's worth of happenings (in some form) to Noah, even though it's just now flying overhead and presumably moving at a speed of several hexes per turn. Wonder what its subjective "speed of time" is up there.

I also wonder just how much of this Noah is getting. Presumably not Fumo's inner monologue and things like that.

We cannot be sure that Noah is getting the entire backer story. We are not Noah.

However, Lookamacy may allow the bird to See more than what happened during its time spent flying in that hex.
Oh, boy. The rulers of erf are arthropods... the Seer omni-see-ant, the Hippie omni-pot-ant, the Playa-Dater omni-nice-ant, etc, etc. The Tight Ants...
Arci wrote:

So yeah, the odds that you "pop" in an environment that is LITERALLY hostile to your very EXISTANCE is fairly slim. It happens of course, but it's fairly slim, as it requires that the female carried you through (or into) an environment that is hostile to your life and likely her own as well and did so knowing she was going to give birth and soon.

So yeah, odds are against it, not that it doesn't happen, but it's still unlikely.


That is a post-festum or post-hoc fallacy you are making there.

If you are one of the millions of infants that die (every year) within your first month of life, let along your first few years, then you don't survive to make the mistake that you are making in assuming everyone's early environment is not hostile to your existence. And this is for a period in history where infant mortality is at its lowest.

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news ... wborn.html
I think for the most part that fomo is going to be saved. He wished upon the bird and the bird has carried his story to Noah. Noah has demonstrated the ability to bring wildlife from distances into a hex possibly to save the lives of other life-forms. It's very possible that Noah will send a big meal or even Smuckers attached to a meal to fomo once he realizes that fomo isn't that far away and possibly still alive.
Umbrathor wrote:
mortissimus wrote:
DeanXeL wrote:
Have we ever had solo units travel along roads before? I can only remember columns: Royal attack on GK, GK attack on Stanley.


Yes, that twoll whose name Stanley forgets traveled alone from Gobwin Knob. And I appear to be suffering from the same forgetfulness as Stanley so I can't find the episode through the wiki.

'tWas Brillig.



Erm. Well, that calls for an explanation. The twoll reminds me of a boxer. Wocky.

Even though he is called Zhopa.


So there are roads and even bridges between cities.

PS: I am an idiot, the beginning battle of Book 2 was staged around a bridge being the chockepoint on the road to Spacerock.
Busymm wrote:
It's very possible that Noah will send a big meal or even Smuckers attached to a meal to fomo once he realizes that fomo isn't that far away and possibly still alive.

If Fumo is still alive at the time Noah's watching this story (which Noah guessed to be at least a tenturn after the fact), he's already got life more or less under control and doesn't need help. At least, no more than any other barbarian unit in Erfworld. Plus, it doesn't sound like Noah and his tiny side are rich enough to give charity to strangers they've never met.
I would imagine that Noah would do it as a means to recruit fumo to the side.
LordMilkman wrote:
Finn MacCool wrote:
Brother Mirtillo wrote:
When you wish upon a bird,
It won't mind if it's absurd.
Anything your heart desires will...


...probably be in another hex.

Not feeling a lot of hope for a happy ending here, but one could argue that Fumo has nowhere to go but up. Still, it was a bit of a letdown to hear it confirmed that the Elves won't keep him around, not even for smokes. They weren't exactly charitable at the start, but any port in a storm etc.

If only he had a port...


Or at least some port...


Alas, he's a Sail 'Em man, not a NuPort man. And the elves are going to take them, anyway.

I was referring to the drink, but you're probably right either way.
As an odd thought regarding the seeing eye bird, a sudden guess of mine (that isn't likely but would be neat) is that these birds might actually flock in 'packs', and share all of their experiences internally. A group of these birds might share their experiences (or maybe he's tapping into the experience of all the seeing birds through this one via his experience as a Grand Abbie). The general concept of 'that might be a separate bird' makes 'this is the same turn' plausible.
Quakken wrote:
Arci wrote:
So yeah, the odds that you "pop" in an environment that is LITERALLY hostile to your very EXISTANCE is fairly slim. It happens of course, but it's fairly slim, as it requires that the female carried you through (or into) an environment that is hostile to your life and likely her own as well and did so knowing she was going to give birth and soon.

So yeah, odds are against it, not that it doesn't happen, but it's still unlikely.
If you are one of the millions of infants that die (every year) within your first month of life, let along your first few years, then you don't survive to make the mistake that you are making in assuming everyone's early environment is not hostile to your existence. And this is for a period in history where infant mortality is at its lowest.

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news ... wborn.html

Coagula wrote:
Regarding the likelihood of popping into hostile environments in stupidworld...

... consider for example that you might pop as a gay man (or woman) in almost any part of this world. You just wouldn't realize how bad your situation is until a number of years had passed. There are plenty of awful situations one can pop into that can't be controlled before birth.

Noah wrote:
Or were they joke people? At any rate, barbarian commander units popped in the wilderness as commonly as other ferals. Empty of purse and with a level 1's limited move, Noah guessed that more than four in five of them would live for only a single turn. In most cases, the Titans gave these poor units no chance of survival. None at all. It did not matter what choices they made or what outcomes they rolled. Like Fumo, their random points, specials, and equipment weren't often a match for the environment. It was possible to pop in a high mountain hex and be unable to move from there. Noah hadn't yet seen a warlord or caster pop in the ocean and immediately drown, but the idea it might be happening constantly gave him recurring nightmares.
Infant mortality isn't really relevant until someone carnies up some infants in Erfworld and we're not talking about a hostile social environment here, however hostile it may be. Noah's talking about over 80% mortality (croakality?) in the Erfworld equivalent of one day. the vast majority of barbarian commanders pop as confused young adults only to "die" within "24 hours". I wouldn't read much into it beyond it being a grotesque mirror of Stupidworld and a meta-commentary on how expendable most games treat minor, randomized people as.