Session 13 – Sinking Deeper

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

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Despite her headache and definitely not wanting to go, Jessy does head out in the morning for her first doctor’s visit since her ‘accident’. The hospital’s bright lights and long wait times already have her in a bad mood by the time her doctor, Edward, enters the examination room. Jessy’s new bandages and wounds, sores made from a thousand needles burrowed into her skin, force Edward to ask many worried and intrusive questions until Jessy guilts him to stop. She had sex. It was consensual. Deal with it. While examining and redressing her shoulder wound, nearly healed, the doctor asks Jessy about her head injury. Has she experienced migraines, mood shifts, noises, flashes of light, anything else strange? While Jessy tries to explain to Edward that she’s been hearing and seeing her grandmother, he at first appears to ignore her response entirely and later dismisses it as dizzy spells. Jessy gets the sense that what she tried to tell him and the words that actually came out of her mouth didn’t match up. She told him something different.

A knocking on the door, persistent. Edward continues his examination, slowly unwinding the bandage around Jessy’s head. She asks him to answer the goddamn door, but he hears no knocking even as it rattles the inoffensive art piece framed on the wall. She complains about her hallucination, and the building headache. At first Edward tries to calm her, the examination will be quick, but as the bandage loosens around the hole in her head she can feel air and spirit seeping inside her, reach for her. Jessy’s distress becomes too much to ignore, her panicked screaming loud and persistent. Edward calls for help and extra medication for Jessy. Crying from pain and distress, she demands he open the fucking door. Of course there’s no one there, but the knocking continues, a loud banging rattling the entire room, coming from somewhere below. Angela, Jessy’s grandmother, is calling out to her. Beckoning her, asking to be let in.

Nurses enter the room to help Jessy calm down or at least get a sedative in her. They talk over her, discussing what to do while getting Jessy to her feet. Doctor Edward seems gravely concerned by Jessy describing her hallucinations and suggests that the nurses take her to another room, down two floors. The banging and begging from below was bad enough, but Jessy knows she’s on the hospital’s ground floor and doesn’t want to know how deep they would take her. She refuses, struggling to leave. A muscular nurse holds on to her as they take her out into the corridor, ready to bring their unruly patient with them. Jessy slips out of the nurse’s grip1 and makes a run for it. She’s shaky on her feet, her heels make her fall over at least twice, and she trips at least one person walking past her with a crutch in her panic to get outside. Jessy reaches the lobby to the sounds of Code White being called out on the PA system, but she is out in the cold Toronto afternoon before they manage to catch her. The hallucinations, if they were hallucinations, diminish and disappear to be replaced by the noise of her phone. Hospital calling. She blocks the number, runs to a side street, and takes an Uber home to Tan’s apartment where she crashes onto her bed for a drug-induced nap, speaking to no one. 1 Act Under Pressure
Full Success
When she wakes up, Jessy goes to look for Carolina. She finds her in the second floor lounge, dusting the exaggerated bosom of an old erotic statuette. Carolina asks about Jessy’s hospital visit, and she explains how she ran away from it. They were going to keep her there and she didn’t trust them. Carolina agrees with her on that notion. She shouldn’t trust doctors, strangers that they are, she doesn’t know what they want nor who they work for. The conversation turns to Jessy’s grandmother, who she admits seems to be haunting her, trying to ‘get in’. Carolina says she understands, and promises Jessy she’ll get in contact with someone who may be able to help. In the meantime, she suggests that Jessy spend some time praying to Dehu and Mil and let the Twins grant her power and control over the situation. They see her potential, and can lead her anywhere. Just as their chatter fades and Carolina readies herself for work, Jessy asks what Carolina’s impression of Jessy is. She responds by naming Jessy a thief, and the smile fades from her round, saggy face2. 2 Liar Hold spent
Tan told her. Of course. Jessy feels herself losing grip on the conversation and quickly tries to recover, apologizing to Carolina with as much sincerity as she can fake3. While Carolina puts Jessy on the defensive by insulting her for her stupid, senseless actions, she sees in Jessy’s eyes just how much she wants Carolina on her side. Jessy, frustrated, asks if she needs to cut off her hands to make it up to Carolina, to which the older woman laughs and instead suggests Jessy’s hair. Jessy is stopped dead in her tracks. Carolina goes on to calmly explain that she would like Jessy’s hair for a private ritual of hers, perfectly harmless. She has done the same with Daisy. While Jessy finds it funny that Daisy wears a wig, the suggestion is still a shock as she fails to understand what the ‘catch’ is. There is none. If Carolina is allowed to shave Jessy, all of her, and keep the hair for herself, she would consider it a gesture of goodwill from Jessy and the start of a great friendship between them. It is simple as that. 3 Read A Person
  • Intuitive
Failure
  • How can I get you to like me?

What can she do but agree? Strange though it is, a wig would be easier to take care of, and besides it could have been much worse. Jessy can deal with strange. Carolina and her go down to the first floor bathroom, where Jessy strips naked for Carolina and allows her to meticulously cut and shave off every bit of hair on Jessy’s body. It is a long process, done in near silence. Head, eyebrows, arms and legs, privates, Carolina moves down her body with ease without mistake or hesitation. Once she is done, Jessy feels more naked than she has in a long while. Carolina offers her a wig, similar to Daisy’s but in a darker color, and leaves Jessy to her own devices while she sweeps up all the hair left behind.

Over text, Jessy messages Carl and suggests they go for dinner. She hasn’t given him the attention he needs, and knows she has to rekindle their relationship somehow or risk losing him and his credit card. She doesn’t need it, but she wants it anyway4. Carl books them a private lounge at a high end restaurant, obviously eager to spend money on Jessy. The pudgy older man sits in a neat gray suit across from her, admiring and complimenting Jessy on her smile which looks so much like his daughter Maddie’s. Jessy has dressed up for the occasion, donning clothes in Madeline’s colors and improving a makeup look she’s posted on her Instagram. Everything to look good for Carl, in just the way she knows he wants it. She expertly lies and explains away her poor behavior, apologizing for being so distant to him and telling him how grateful she is. She’ll move in to the apartment he bought for her when she’s not so sick, and of course she’ll re-apply to the university. Carl eats it all up, blinded by Jessy’s glamour, and the two part ways later with a long embrace. 4 Influence Other
Full Success

After far too long and much awaited, Jessy gets a day where Tan is home. Other than their incessant flirting, sex and general debauchery, Tan would also like to talk to Jessy about something important, a feeling which she shares. She explains to Tan what happened at the hospital. Her grandmother, the doctor trying to take her down two floors into the basement, her escape. He agrees, same as Carolina, that Jessy was right to run away and that she shouldn’t return. Jessy’s grandmother seems an unstoppable presence, and whatever she’s planning Jessy must remain alert and strong minded against it. 

In his office, Tan reveals to Jessy what his plan is. An old book, falling apart, is placed on his desk. Alongside it two parchment scrolls, one ripped in two, and a stack of printed paper from his computer. These are his research materials, and his notes, for the ritual he intends to perform with the Twins’ guidance. In three weeks time, he and Jessy will act as the leading pieces in this grand gesture to Dehu and Mil, performed in ceremony together with the rest of the faithful. Their purpose? To summon a mancipia, an enlightened creature of lust and power. Through Tan’s many years of research, he has discovered the true name of one of these spirits, and will use it to bring it amongst them. Tan explains to Jessy that this servant of the Twins will bestow upon them, as the two sacred summoners, incredible insights and power over the rest of the flock. All will be shared with them through Dehu’s wisdom, and with Mil’s guidance they will use their higher knowledge to control and benefit from all of Toronto and Canada. Jessy wonders why Tan has chosen her for the task, and with a glimmer of excitement in his eye he professes that he simply believes her to be the perfect candidate to stand alongside him. He’s looked for someone for this, and no one has been like Jessy. To him, she embodies everything the Twins needs in a woman.

The notes are detailed. Everything on the scrolls, and in the book, has multiple translations provided by Tan to ensure Jessy grasps all the layered meanings of the words, and additional clarifications on top of it. He explains briefly some of the arcane diagrams to Jessy, configurations of people involved in various actions, sexual or otherwise. All of it is connected, and each participant is chosen and placed based on who they are and what their relation is to everyone else in the ritual. Tan has pages upon pages of text, detailing the personal and interpersonal life of every member of his flock. Very intimate details. Jessy sees no notes for herself, however, but this is surely a conscious decision on Tan’s part. He asks her to study all these materials thoroughly. She must understand every bit of the ritual, its design and intent, for it to work. Tan trusts that in three weeks, they will perform great deeds together.

Jessy promises to help, of course. Her heart races when she thinks about the power Tan is offering her. Their flock. However, she still feels so new to the faith. In fact, though she’d never tell Tan, Jessy isn’t sure about this worship of the Twins at all. She needs to learn how to pray without Tan’s help and feel Dehu and Mil’s presence on her own. Carolina suggested it, but Jessy needs guidance. Tan is understanding, and provides several suggestions. Any form of meditation, wherein you admit and revel in the Twins’ purpose and wish, will serve as prayer to them. Building an altar, or two mirrored ones, also helps, especially offered together with a sacrifice either physical or emotional. These are simple steps, but Jessy must find her own path towards worship. Nothing is off limits in the search for enlightenment.

It’s been too long since Jessy saw Andi. After solidifying their plans over Instagram, there’s finally a date where Andi and her friends can meet Jessy. She’s wrapped up for her various injuries, but her head bandage is now thankfully hidden underneath the wig she wears. The three wait at Fran’s until Jessy gets there fashionably late and notices a familiar face among them she wasn’t expecting. Jessy stops and meets Simon’s eyes. They recognize each other. Jessy reacts with barely suppressed shock, Simon with desire. She was sure the man was dead, given what Artyom had her do to him, but still he sits next to his and Andi’s friend, Jana Causevic, looking decisively alive. It takes a moment for Jessy to recover, but she eventually walks up and greets the table with smiles and nods. Andi is so excited to see Jessy again, making sure at all times she’s feeling okay. Sitting across from Simon, Jessy works hard to maintain her composure and getting used to the smiling man whom she last saw naked and mutilated.

Once the pleasantries are over and done with, Jessy turns to Jana and asks for stories about Granger Fine Jewelry, as much as she knows and remembers. She worked in the sales team for the company for eight years, and claims she has so many odd stories and anecdotes about the place that she could never get through all of them. Jeremiah Redwood, the man who made Jessy’s ring, is an angry and old little man. He must be a hundred years old, yet he continues to wander through the office in his dusty suit, not looking at or talking to anyone except his own senior team of designers. It is his team, too: a separate team of designers under Jeremiah’s guidance who, to Jana’s knowledge, don’t really communicate with the rest of the company other than Efraim Granger himself. They work on the third floor of the office, off-limits for everyone else, and stay late enough that even the self-admitted workaholic Jana didn’t always see them leave. They’d stay up there, and the singing and shouting would sometimes reach through the floors and down to her desk. Visitors for Jeremiah who Jana never saw leave, employees carrying boxes of old books, paintings and other assorted junk up to their floor. There was so much she witnessed and never had time to register while she was there. Andi asking her to come meet Jessy opened the floodgates to all these memories, and she’s sure there is yet more to say.

As Jana gets a call from work and Andi leaves for a bathroom break, Jessy and Simon are left alone together. Immediately, she leans in close to him and asks why, or rather how, the hell he’s there. After what she did to him, she was sure Simon wouldn’t survive. He explains with a wide smile how Artyom saved him, as Simon had known he would. Artyom found him via a mutual business contact and promised such beautiful suffering. Oh, how Jessy had delivered… Simon is ecstatic to have found Jessy again, professing again and again his desire for her to do to him what she did before. He even reaches out and places his hand, fingers swollen and at disturbing angles, on top of Jessy’s. He begs for more, without reservation. Jessy suggests that Simon contact her privately over Instagram. She won’t pass up such an alluring opportunity.

The group continues their discussion over food, making wide-ranging speculation on what this secret team of supposed designers actually do. Perhaps Jeremiah Redwood runs a secret business which only Efraim knows about. All the clients that she saw Jeremiah interact with were specifically there for him, and none of his dealings ever went through their regular sales system so far as she knows. Jessy wonders whether there’s any way for her to get into the office. Jana explains that security is tight, but the two hatch a plan together to get Jessy there as a client. Money will not be an issue, Jessy assures Jana who figures she may be able to contact Efraim Granger about it. She admits that she too is curious about all this, and if Jessy finds anything out she wants to hear about it.

When their lunch is almost complete, Jessy receives a message on Instagram, from the mystery account that’s been pressing her for details on Tan for the past weeks. She is in danger. Police are coming for her. Follow instructions to remain safe. As if waking up from a daydream, Jessy hears the blaring of police sirens closeby. They’re so close. She excuses herself from the table with the lie of a personal emergency, drops a bundle of cash she stole from Carl and heads out into the frigid city. Quietly in her mind, Jessy begs for the Twins to guide her and protect her, a repeated prayer hoping to avoid capture. A flurry of messages on her phone guide her two streets north, into an alleyway, then back again only to run across the street and continue west before switching directions once more. Downtown becomes a labyrinth of glass and brick. With each turn and every time Jessy stops to catch her breath, the sirens hound her. Finally, a message instructing her to enter a building and take the elevator far up. She is so relieved to have found safety that it’s not until she looks herself in the elevator mirror that Jessy realizes she has no idea where she is. She can’t recall which street the building was on, its number or name, nor what path she took to get there.

The elevator comes to a halt on the 35th floor. Jessy steps out into a reception area, all wood tiling and thick carpets. Behind the desk sits a receptionist, a cute thin girl who can’t be much older than Jessy herself. She peeks up from her laptop and greets Jessy by name with a smile. Sol will be ready in his office shortly. Jessy takes a seat in one of the wide, plush arm chairs and idly flips through one of the nondescript business focused magazines on the lacquered wooden table. The rhythmic ticking of a large pendulum clock hanging by the receptionist desk is her only indication that time is passing. Everything else is quiet. There are paintings hanging on the walls, portraits of old men and scenes of warfare against native Americans. Jessy flips to the next page and looks up at the receptionist, whose thin wrists appear more like two sticks wrapped in human skin. The ticking continues, but the clock has no number markers and every time Jessy looks at it, it seems to hang askew, totally unhelpful in telling the time. Seconds are passing. The receptionist, her face stretched taut against her skull, reaches across her desk and grabs something crawling across the surface. She cracks it between her fingers, audibly, and licks them clean. Time has passed, perhaps half an hour, and Sol is ready to see Jessy.

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Session 12 – The Cult of Dehu and Mil

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

This post contains visual nudity, memory loss, sexual content and flagellation.

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Jessy sits in the bedroom, confused, and listens to James run down the stairs. Carolina and Daisy immediately go to check on him. Realizing this situation might get out of hand quickly, Jessy hurries to catch up to James. He is on the verge of tears, trying to give Daisy a rambled recollection of what happened. He was terrified, stuck with suffering and pain for an eternity. No joy, no passion. He sought his god, and found only torment. Carolina and Daisy are shocked, but Jessy approaches and tries to mend her now ruined relationship with James1. She didn’t mean him any harm, she only did what she thought he wanted. She cares about James and making this right, but right now he needs to calm down. Carolina has already called Tan, recognizing the weight of what’s unfolding, so perhaps they should just wait for him. Daisy leads the temporarily placated James to a chair in the lounge, and when he asks for his 3DS she gets it for him from the staff lounge. They all sit down and wait for Tan, with the cheery sounds of Animal Crossing as background noise. Jessy’s mind is running at full speed, trying to piece together an excuse or explanation Tan might listen to. 1 Influence Other
Partial Success
Daisy is soon to confront Jessy, demanding she explain what the hell she just did. James doesn’t act like this, so whatever Jessy did it must have been really fucked up. Jessy, of course, doesn’t feel the need to explain herself to an annoying teenager, and tells Daisy as much. The arguments continue, Daisy yelling at her to tell them where she went afterwards, since she came back to the apartment dressed like filth. Jessy claims she went to look for a pharmacy, but couldn’t find one. Daisy sees right through her bullshit2, since there’s a pharmacy in the lobby of the god damn building. There’s not even any blood! How did Jessy make any of this happen? More refusal to answer. Their argument escalates into insults hurled at one another, until Carolina steps in and tells them both that it’s probably better for everyone to be quiet and wait for Tan. Except for a few snide remarks, the girls quiet down at that. 2 Liar Hold spent

Two hours pass in silence, save for James’ game with its friendly music and happy chirps. James himself does not reflect the game’s mood, staring blankly at the screen and occasionally sobbing or shuddering. When Tan finally opens the door, he hollers a casual greeting and wanders with little urgency into the lounge. The smile on his face withers when he sees James and the large symbol carved into him, deep scars already healed but permanently staining his muscular chest. He drops his suitcase and marches over, giving James his full attention. What happened? James rambles for some time, telling Tan the same thing he told Daisy and Carolina. Jessy led him away from The Twins, pushed him into what he can only describe as hell. So much agony, uncountable horrors inflicted. His crying and panicked screaming builds in intensity as he tries to put words to what he saw in his sleep, until finally Tan leans in close and calms him in just a few whispered words, inaudible to the rest.

The warm disposition Tan usually displays is completely gone when he turns to Jessy. Explain this. With everyone’s eyes on her, Jessy at first refuses and asks for a more private discussion. Tan won’t let that happen. She has branded one of his flock with something clearly harmful that none of them recognize. Jessy tries to handwave it away, saying she doesn’t know what the symbol means, she doesn’t know anything, but that’s not good enough for Tan. He demands she tell him, tell them, in detail, exactly what went down.

Jessy’s story is full of convenient omissions and some outright lies. James offered her to help him find God, and she did what she thought he wanted her to. She made the symbol which, again, she has no idea what it is or what kind of demon or god it might represent. Tan pushes her on it, but Jessy has no idea. It simply came to her. Not once does she mention Artyom. The story gets a little muddled when she claims to have left the apartment, and eventually admits with some vitriol towards Daisy that no, she didn’t go to a pharmacy, she lied because she didn’t want to talk to Daisy about it. She keeps her focus on Tan, apologizing and trying to explain that she’s only trying to follow his teachings. She thought that she was doing something right but instead she hurt James, and she would never want to do that to him. In the end, Jessy can tell3 that Tan doesn’t believe her lies. Something in his eyes, cold but curious, reveals that he’s willing to put this aside for now despite it. Jessy is strong, a source of conflict, and maybe that’s all he actually wants. Tan suggests they all calm down for now, and invites James, Carolina and Daisy to stay late for a small ritual. Something to unite them again and pay their respects to the Twins. Jessy shoots off one last insult towards Daisy, muttered under her breath, and then leaves the lounge to take a few deep breaths alone. 3 Read A Person
Partial Success
  • How do you feel right now?
  • What do you wish I would do?

The mood is muted in the condo for the rest of the day, the sun long gone from the horizon line by the time Jessy knocks on Tan’s office door and invites herself in. He is warmer to her now, almost as if nothing happened. Jessy tries to apologize again, feigning a modicum of sincerity even though she knows Tan isn’t buying it. She explains again that she did it to try and follow Tan’s example, and that she feels terrible that everything went wrong. Jessy reveals that the ring must have had something to do with it, that it takes people places but she can’t understand why. Wilma wanted the ring to get to the city under the world, Honey was afraid of it because he couldn’t find his way around the city, and Jessy ended up alone in some strange hotel across Toronto after cutting the symbol into James. She was chased, too, someone or something calling out for her and trying to reach her. There’s so much she needs to tell him, and so much she still needs to keep hidden.

Tan suggests that perhaps the ring demands a sacrifice. He tries to explain that often, these things we cannot understand need something to fuel them, spiritual energy or a gift from a deity. The ring has power, but everything Jessy tells him points towards it requiring a sacrifice before it shares that power with Jessy. Tan admits in their conversation that while still tempted, he is not keen on buying the ring from Jessy anymore. It has put her into dangers he would rather not face, and Jessy has enemies whose eyes he does not want directly on himself. He’ll keep her safe, of course, but he cannot risk taking the ring for himself.

Once the conversation inevitably turns to flirtatious remarks, Tan waves Jessy off and tells her to wait for dinner. A simple meal is prepared by Carolina, in light of their regular cook’s current state. Tan comes downstairs and into the dining room wearing a black robe with a red, wide velvet slit down the center, religious garb Jessy doesn’t recognize. He sits at the head of the table, the other four along its long sides. While James is left alone in his own world, shaking and occasionally crying into the food, Tan remains warm and flirty with the rest of his guests. Once dinner is over, Daisy is asked to bring out the drinks, tall and dark red. The room is cast into darkness, save a few candles lit by Tan. He holds a sermon on the nature of Dehu and Mil, about understanding social and material hierarchy in order to cast it down and take through conflict what you desire. The sermon ends with well wishes to each person around the table, and then they drink the blood served them in the tall crystal glasses. Tan wishes for Jessy to allow him and the rest to guide her on the path towards The Twins.

Days pass, with Jessy spending most of her time indoors. Tan’s rough treatment and her still healing body from the attack weeks prior prevents her from being too active. The atmosphere around the condo is decisively icy between her and Daisy. James has not been cooking. She knows that her absence on Instagram and YouTube will become noticable soon, but she is in no condition to post new pictures or videos. She does venture outside to see her friends, but both her bandaged appearance and increasingly disturbing manner of speaking puts a damper even on that. 

Finally, the night of the ceremony. With Tan speaking so well of it, Jessy gets eager to participate as she makes herself up and dresses herself in some of her most beautiful clothes for the occasion. The condo gradually fills throughout the day and evening with faithful members of the elite, laughing over drinks and making candid smalltalk in the corners of both the first and second floor lounges. Some flirt and slip away to the several private rooms in Tan’s home, others seem content to wait for the ceremony to begin in proper. Tan is locked away on the third floor, preparing and praying. Jessy drifts through the lounge for a while, enjoying the warm and dense atmosphere of power and riches with a glass of white wine in her hand. After spotting David Clap, one of MyGems’ founders, receiving and packing away a bra soaked in dried blood, she approaches him for idle smalltalk. He does not recognize her at first, but seems happy to see a new face nontheless. Jessy receives similar comments from many others, always pleased when Tan finds more promising folks to take part in The Twins’ wisdom.

As the night proceeds and Jessy migrates upstairs with a woman called Tammy and some of her acquaintances, a distinct sense of unease builds within Jessy. The man one table over, sitting by the graphic orgy painting and receiving both a drink and more services from Daisy, looks familiar. A flash of recognition, like deja vu, hits Jessy like a bag of bricks but immediately fades. Even the person she’s speaking with, a mildly crazy art collector named Joe, gives her the same drastic feeling of familiarity, as if she’s seen this entire scene before. Jessy leaves to go downstairs, looking for a change of pace, but she turns back up the stairs the moment she enters the lounge and sees the dark shape out on the snowy balcony waiting for her. It stares at her with golden-brown eyes, a pale face she can’t recognize across the room. She rushes up to the locked third floor door to bang on it, but gets no response. She turns to leave, only to have the door shake in its hinges as something knocks back. Nothing after that. Jessy’s distress is mounting, and she rudely interrupts Daisy in her oral duties on the second floor to ask her how she might get in contact with Tan4. Daisy informs her, more than a bit annoyed by Jessy’s mere presence, that Tan is busy but she could always talk to Carolina. She has a key to the third floor. Jessy leaves Daisy with a harsh insult, all she deserves, and braves the downstairs. The presence on the balcony is gone, but Jessy’s paranoia remains. 4 Influence Other
Full Success

Carolina is casually conversing with guests in between carrying trays of underwhelming food and apologizing for the state of the kitchen. James is working, but he is not feeling well. Jessy gets in her way and asks if they can speak in private. She guides Carolina to the empty dining room, where the older woman places her blue clutch purse on the table and asks Jessy what the matter is. She confesses to Carolina that she feels hesitant, unsure about the ceremony and what’s about to happen. She feigns upset about the trouble she caused James earlier in the week, and she doesn’t want to fuck things up. Jessy allows Carolina to calm her, telling her that all Jessy has to do is relax, listen to what Tan says and follow along. Dehu and Mil will reveal their truths to her.

The faith of the Twins seems to come so easy to the rest, and Jessy laments that she feels out of place. Carolina soothes her further, stroking Jessy’s cheek with her hand. She needs to allow it to come naturally, to listen to herself and hear Dehu and Mil’s voices in her own thoughts. The older woman guides Jessy to a chair, and Jessy allows the situation to escalate as she knew it would. Her dress is hitched up. With a strained grunt because of her bad back, Carolina carefully lowers herself to floor to put Jessy at ease. Playing along is easy, and soon Jessy is moaning loudly and running fingers through Carolina’s brown hair to distract from hearing Jessy fumble with the clasp of the clutch on the table5. She gets it open one-handed and carefully whisks the keyring out of there, hiding it in her scarf before closing the purse once more. Carolina seems none the wiser. Jessy feels good about her deception and, truth be told, the cunnilingus. 5 Act Under Pressure
Full Success

A few minutes of pleasure pass before Carolina looks up at Jessy with a smile, her round weathered face glistening. She asks for the purse, telling Jessy she has a surprise in there for her. Jessy, having seen the contents of the clutch, already knows of the sex toys kept in it. She is not keen on Carolina discovering the stolen keys, so she refuses to comply and instead grabs the thick dildo in there herself. Taking control of the situation, much to Carolina’s delight, Jessy shows what Tan must see in her by forcing the toy deep into Carolina’s throat. She holds it there until the older woman is nearly passed out, eyes wide and watering. When she collapses on the floor, Jessy laughs and makes herself presentable again. Still hiding the keys, she waits for Carolina to regain her composture and then leaves with a wide smile.

Done with her thieving, Jessy heads up to the third floor door when she pauses, hesitant to continue. It’s only at this point that she realizes that maybe Daisy and the others weren’t lying when they said Tan didn’t want to be disturbed. Something strange and bad is happening, but she’s already ruined James and doesn’t want to get on Tan’s bad side again so soon after. She stands by the third floor door, looking down at the keys in her hand, and turns to leave. She brings up her phone to text Tan a message about her visions and fragmented memories. It rings in her hand. Unknown caller. The crackling voice on the other side is begging to be let inside. The frightened screaming from the other end of the line sounds too familiar, as if it is Jessy’s own voice. She almost drops the phone and hurries downstairs and into her own room. She locks the door and stays there, hiding.

Jessy emerges once she hears Tan’s voice. He calls his flock upstairs, inviting them into the ceremony hall. He’s wearing the same black and red robe as during the dinner, smiling at each person as they enter the third floor. Again Jessy feels as though she’s done this before, and soon realizes why. The abstract paintings in black and red on the walls are the same as those few pictures she took at the MyGems afterparty, the night she couldn’t remember after she first met Tan. This is not her first time here. It’s a stressful realization, but there is no time to dwell on it. The cult of Dehu and Mil undresses, spreading out through the large conference hall. Kisses are exchanged and a large black cloth is unfolded below the dark stone throne towering at the far end of the room. Tan’s watchful eye guides every movement, directing his flock from his elevated seat of power and surrounded by truly grotesque, surreal art of a being with two goat heads breaking chains and violently penetrating its lessers.

Jessy stands in the nude, save for the bandages around her arms and legs from injuries new and old, and watches as Tan walks across the large black cloth in the center of the room. With white spray paint he creates a complex sigil on it, careful lines and curves. Around him, some are humming prayers or songs while others watch in silence. Many have their hands on themselves or each other, idle pleasure in preparation for the event. A woman with heavy breasts and a steady gaze, Jasmine, is brought forward by Tan to stand at the center of the symbol. She’s prepared herself for this all month, knowing she would play the centerpiece in the ceremony. Tan whispers to her and caresses her body, loving gestures formalized into beautiful ritual. The room falls silent, watching as Jasmine’s determined face softens, turns blank, and then begins to twitch. The rest of her body is soon overcome by spasms, and a monotone shriek escapes her as Tan finally pushes Jasmine to fall onto her back. Surrounded by his arcane art, Jasmine convulses feebly on the floor while her piercing howl continues without fail, as though her lungs contained all the air in the room.

It is at this point that Tan begins his sermon, his loud voice in harmony with Jasmine’s scream. Eleavated above the rest he speaks at length about pain, subservience and the ruthless nature which must be upheld to better serve ourselves and the reality around us. He produces a whip, a nasty thing with multiple gleaming metal tips, which he places at the feet of the shrieking woman they are all standing around. She exists in front of them as a creature of submission, a cowering whelp who expects nor deserves anything but contempt. Jasmine, or the thing she represents, is a vessel for others’ domination. With the whip, each cultist must display their power over this creature, feel themselves stand tall above it. After the whipping, they must also drink from Jasmine’s blood, which will weep from the wounds on her body to fill the jagged cup Tan holds in his hand. Each of them must do this, after which the adrenaline and divine inspiration of Dehu and Mil will set them free to do anything they like to each other.

Jessy’s turn, finally. Those who came before her have entirely descended into perverse pleasures among each other, filling the room with sounds of prayer and ecstasy. Eager members of Tan’s flock watch her walk up to the already bleeding Jasmine laying dutifully on the floor, waiting for their turn while celebrating hers. The whipping feels good. It feels easy. Jasmine’s pain is beautiful, the blood flowing feels like it anoints Jessy’s very soul. She is overcome by desire to give more, and more, and more. She keeps lashing6, the metallic tips of the whip slashing deep into Jasmine’s thighs and back as the rest of the room fades from Jessy’s consciousness. The black whip whirls in front of her, blurring her vision with each lash. One moment, she is sure that she can see Tan on his throne, comfortable and in control through the Twin God’s guidance. He is the last to blur out of sight, eventually leaving the room empty and silent. Not even her feverish lashes break the emptiness, and Jessy comes to realize that she is whipping the floor. Distant shadows are all that remain of the flock. 6 See Through The Illusion
Failure
The distant murmur of crying and howling only makes itself known once Jessy sees the woman marching towards her, golden brown eyes gleaming as bright as the little smile on her parched lips. Jessy knows her, recognizes the elder from childhood photographs. Her grandmother, Angela, a woman she’s never met, dead before Jessy was even born. She regards Jessy with an intimate and familiar hunger. She is fast, too fast, as though the room itself is contorting and shrinking with each step Angela takes towards Jessy. The ring, it has to do with the ring, it’s burning and Jessy’s grandmother begs, screams and demands to have it, to be let back into life. Bring her back, take her in, let her inside7. The whip strikes Angela Ericson across the face, but Jessy can’t stop her. They tumble onto the floor to the sound of tires screeching and Jessy’s head shatters from the impact. A car horn blares out across all of existence and leaves Jessy no choice but to drown into the golden sea of her grandmother’s eyes. 7 Keep It Together
Full Success

Once again a blackout. Jessy hates that she’s getting used to them. She wakes up in her room at Tan’s condo, still undressed from last night but with no recollection of how she got there. She’s disoriented and distracted by a splitting headache. The world at least feels stable. The walls aren’t moving, no one is hunting her. She relaxes in bed a while longer, and Carolina enters the room to check up on her. Jessy asks for Tan. She apparently acted quite disruptive last night, screaming about how her eyes were wrong and how Tan needed to get them out of her head. Luckily, panic attacks and similar upsetting behavior is not an uncommon occurence during their ceremonies. Most than once does at least one person crack under the weight of the divine. She was cared for, and the orgy continued in spectacular fashion without her. Tan is sorry to say she missed the best part of the ritual, but Jessy still remembers the whipping she’d given Jasmine and can’t imagine anything better than that. Her recollection of what she saw is confused, but Tan tries to comfort her with lighthearted jokes and assuring Jessy of her safety. As a servant of the Twin God, she need only follow the words of Dehu and Mil to guarantee success in life and the defeat of her adversaries. Tan makes no attempt to apologize for not telling Jessy that she’d been to his place before, nor does he tell her what happened on that night. He simply smiles, tells her she has no reason to know, and leaves.

PreviousNext

Session 11 – Transcendence

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

This post contains sex, sexual violence, non-consentual bedroom acts, and gore.

PreviousNext

The text on Jessy’s phone is clear. Carl wants to talk. Specifically, he wants to call her. With little time to prepare, Jessy grabs her headphones and sits down on the balcony in the cold afternoon. She’d rather not be overheard by Tan’s staff for any reason, and she doesn’t know if his camera surveillance also picks up sound. Better not take any chances. Carl and Jessy haven’t been talking, since his wife is apparently close to discovering his relationship with Jessy. Now, though, he is worried. Jessy has to explain to him how she got into the hospital and why she wasn’t registered as a student at the university. It’s all one big sob story, and one big lie. According to herself, she couldn’t keep her grades up and was forced to leave. Carl in turn tells her that he’s bought a place for her to stay, as he promised that he would. It’s up in Brampton, a bit far away, but at least she won’t have to stay with friends. Jessy isn’t nearly as excited about this as he would have expected, telling Carl that she’d rather not be alone right now. She explains it away with her wounds, which she still needs help tending to. Better to just stay with friends for the time being. Thanks anyway.

Done with her tiresome phone call, Jessy heads back in and ends up conversing with Carolina, one of Tan’s staff, while she’s cleaning the lounging area1. The older woman is curious about Jessy’s phone call, how she knows Tan, a whole lot of things. It seems any idle chit chat quickly turns to pointed questions from her. Jessy responds with lie after lie, comfortable with rehashing stories she’s told strangers and friends for the past two years. Jessy turns the conversation towards Carolina herself, but the woman seems to be the most uninteresting and bland person to have ever lived, to hear her tell it. She tells Jessy she’s worked for Tan for ten years, and that she’s really found herself while doing so. She reveals nothing else. While Carolina claims she loves to learn about other people to better help them, Jessy has yet to see the lady lift a finger if it wasn’t for her own work. Talk, she can do. Clearly, Jessy believes, the woman is just hungry to know things for whenever it might come in handy. 1 Eye For Detail
Partial Success
  • Why are you here?
  • What are you working on?

The rest of the day goes by in a haze, Jessy lazing about and posting updates to her socials. She takes care not to reveal anything identifiable in the backgrounds of her pictures, simple wallpapers is all her followers get for now. She reschedules with Andi and her friends, still eager to hear all the crazy stories that apparently cropped up when discussing Granger Fine Jewelry. Once Tan’s staff leaves her alone for the evening, and with Tan calling to tell her he won’t be back until morning, Jessy is given a perfect opportunity to find access to the surveillance records. She prances about the condo for a minute, imagining it all hers, before heading to the second floor and darting into Tan’s bedroom. She already has excuses ready in case he checks the camera footage.

Searching through Tan’s bedroom and closet, there is little discovered which Jessy didn’t already know or at least suspect. The room is decorated with strange, sexual art. The centerpiece above the bed, a naked woman screaming in either fear or agony, has eyes which seem to follow Jessy around the room. Sex toys, incense, candles, little statuettes of goats and goat-human hybrids, oils and salts and knives and whips. The most curious item she finds is a small syringe-like object with a handle of green, patinated copper and a needle as long as her thumb. It fits easily into Jessy’s hand. Her instinct tells her not to mess with it, and she quickly places it back in the drawer where she found it. The two phones beside Tan’s bed are locked, naturally, and she finds no sign of the key to the third floor. With nothing gained except a flavorful look at Tan’s personal life, Jessy leaves with the screaming portrait seeing her out.

She doesn’t particularly care if Tan finds out that she’s rummaged through her stuff, confident she can charm her way out of it. In Tan’s office, aside from the computer, are a few cabinets and bookshelves. It all seems well organized, and for the most part securely locked up. The computer certainly is. She does, however, notice the external hard drive attached to it. If there was a place to store extensive camera records, it would be on that. She doesn’t take it. Instead, she casually swipes a pen and paper and leaves to do some inoffensive video for her Instagram story. She promises herself to take the hard drive eventually so she can find out why Tan has such extensive surveillance. Her mystery friend on Instagram also receives an update with more images of the condo, and a message telling them that Jessy can’t find the key. She now believes Tan keeps it on him.

Tan is busy, but Jessy still looks for every opportunity to flirt with him. Yes, she may still be bandaged and have a skull that’s not quite intact, but that’s not going to stop her from sleeping with him. They find themselves alone one night, Tan inviting her to his own bedroom. Their idle, friendly chatter turns quickly to sex. It is fun enough, certainly, but Jessy knows she wants more and that Tan can give it to her. She thinks back on how fun it would have been to cut Evan. Her night with Tan at the hotel had been a miserable, painful failure, but tonight would be different. On this night, Jessy strives for a euphoric, painful success.

Tan does not take much convincing. While he studies her for a second, trying to gauge whether she is in physical condition for what he is intent on doing with her, it seems those worries are soon left behind as he orders Jessy to get up off the bed. There is idle smalltalk as he walks around the room, lighting candles and incense and humming some simple tune. Having already scoured through Tan’s belongings a day earlier, Jessy knows what he is reaching for before he even has it in his hands. She could not have been prepared for the contents of the heavy metal box, though. Tan carries it under his arm, drops it onto the bed, and then flips it open and pours its contents out onto the bed.

Needles. Long, sharp, needles. Thousands of them. He and Jessy make a few jokes, but it’s clear he is perfectly serious. He covers the king-size bed with these needles, spreading them with his hands and arms until they form an even coat and he has a hundred tiny pricks on his skin. Finally, with Jessy as ready as she could be, Tan lifts her and throws her onto the bed. The needles scrape against and stab through her skin, Jessy’s entire back immediately pierced and raked into a bloody mess. She screams in agony2, but avoids passing out for now. Tan gets onto the bed with her, unflinching as the needles burrow into his legs. It is not his first time. 2 Endure Injury
  • 1 Harm
Partial Success
  • Serious Wound

“Remember what I told you. Conflict is love, and love is conflict.” – Tan

He punches Jessy, unprompted. The pain blinds her, but she fights back with nails and fists as the room around them turns into a white and red blur. She barely considers Tan fucking her, fades away from her back turning into a bloody mess, and instead focuses entirely on hurting Tan. That, she can do. She fights him even as they make love, if it could ever be called that, forcing needles against his arms and chest, beating at every part of his body she can reach. She wrestles him on that bed of needles, both of them with the shining metal sticking painfully to their skin or sinking so deep as to barely be visible. They go on through it all, the pleasure and the pain, with Tan gaining the upper hand and dominating Jessy with harsh, violent treatment. This is his love. He brings his fist down against her head, and Jessy feels as though the wound in her skull cracks open again and floods the room with immaterial essence, everything turning to liquid as she falls through the bed and into the void.

The vision is impossibly vivid. She can smell the suppression and impotent frustrations. A pyramid of flesh, men and women standing on each other’s backs and shoulders and reaching ever higher until, at the top, there is only one. The rest of them are naked, sweaty and in pain, but he is clad in a red robe and wears a heavy golden crown. It rests easy on his brow, but its weight crooks the back and bends the knees of every man and woman beneath him. Below this living construction rages a machinery of bronze and iron, old cogs spinning eternally and patinated pendulums keeping their rhythm. Those humans who cannot bear the burden of their task fall, or throw themselves, into these pounding machines to be devoured, torn asunder entirely by the thrumming contraption. Body parts tumble around amongst the cogs and splatter them with blood. Their only option is to live for upholding the pyramid, or not to live at all. Jessy drifts towards this sight, feeling in her hand the shape of her goat mask.

She bestows it on one of the men in the pyramid, and things then move very quickly. The man dons the goat mask, as do others around him, and together they begin to climb. From within and without the enormous human monument they crawl up, stomping on the faces of the unlucky. The structure becomes unstable, wavering and falling apart with a bloodbath beneath as bodies are smashed by pistons and ground up by cogwheels in the unfeeling machinery. As Jessy drifts over what’s left of the pyramid, she sees that those who disturbed its rigid structure have changed, now appearing as blood-soaked naked bodies with the heads of goats. They tear apart the red-robed man, ripping his limbs off of him and eating him whole. The golden crown falls from his head and clanks into the machinery around them. A screech, an ear-shattering explosion, and the rhythmic droning comes to a halt. All that’s left are the goat headed humans, now only fighting amongst themselves. They fuck, slash, punch and headbutt at each other. One of them has a gun, shooting with a braying laugh at whoever dares come near. Amongst them, not fighting but still celebrating the gleeful conflict, is Tan. He is also a goat, yet Jessy recognizes him at once. His whispers and gestures dictate and guide the violence surrounding him, assuring his own safety. 

When Jessy returns to consciousness, she is unsure how much time has passed but knows from Tan’s bleeding that not for one second did she stop her violent assault. Tan has already finished inside her, perhaps more than once, and the two bloodied lovers finally rise exhausted from their bed of needles. Tan offers a simple prayer, the metal pricks still hooked in his skin. The process of picking the needles from their bodies is a long one, yet they do it methodically and carefully. The air in the room is heavy with the smell of sex, blood and incense, and neither Jessy nor Tan feel up to breaking the quiet atmosphere with conversation. Tan helps Jessy bandage the worst spots on her back, and she does the same for him. With tired steps they make their way to the second floor lounge, and there find space to relax and soak in the pain amongst vulgar paintings and erotic busts.

It is dark outside, but the two sit up late in the dimly lit lounge to talk about what happened. Jessy explains her vision to Tan, as best she can but certainly not well. He listens and nods along, suggesting to Jessy that she may have received her insight directly from the Twins themselves. Indulging in sacred conflict through sex is the clearest path to speak with Dehu and Mil, the two goat heads which govern Tan’s faith. Jessy has been given a taste, and Tan argues she should no longer hesitate to join him and the rest in worship and celebration. The Twin God can give Jessy not just insights into the state of the world, but offer advice and material things. It is through this devout worship that Tan has found his success, and he doubts that Jessy would pass up on such an opportunity. She agrees, admitting that her worries about the weekend’s ceremony have vanished from her mind. She confides in Tan that she truly, above all else, enjoy inflicting pain onto others. That’s what brings her satisfaction. Tan chuckles at that and assures her that if that is the case, then she has a lot to look forward to. 

The day after, Jessy craves more. James, Tan’s hired cook who makes Jessy’s meals throughout the day, is preparing her a delicious lunch when she saunters into the kitchen. He immediately remarks on her new wounds, some dressed and others left to heal on their own, guessing correctly that she and Tan had a good night together. Nothing too shocking, to tell the truth. Jessy flirts with the cook for a bit, asking what he gets up to with Tan, since James shares the faith. James offers to show Jessy, once she’s eaten. He explains that in his sleep, he can reach the Twins and speak with them. This, along with Dehu and Mil’s teachings on sexual struggle and domination, allows him to experience the divine. It’s almost too perfect for Jessy. She eats her lunch quickly and waits for James to be ready.

James informs Jessy, slurring a little bit, that he just took some very powerful drugs to help him sleep, viagra ‘for her pleasure’, as well as something else to open his mind. He asks Jessy which bedroom she would like him in, and after that leaves her alone. She can do with him as she pleases, and she intends to. Once James is gone, Jessy wanders through the kitchen and picks out a few knives of varying sizes. Toys. She has no plan as she walks up the wide stairs carrying her tools. She simply wants to have the knives with her, just in case.

Just as he told her, James is asleep in the middle of the bed, spread out and fully dressed. Jessy closes the door behind her, locks it, and places the knives on the bedside table. All she can do it stare for a long time, trying to figure out what she wants to do. Her eyes drift from the knives to James’ chest, down to his obvious erection, back to the knives. Deep in thought, she takes herself back to her time in room 119, with Artyom and Simon. The memory consumes her thoughts3 until they coalesce in a single course of action, and Jessy tears James’ button-up shirt off of him to expose his muscular chest and abdomen. Her knives balance on his skin for a while, making slight marks but never truly cutting, so many possibilities running through her head. When she finally can’t bear it anymore, they slice as if through butter through the man’s skin. He lets out a few weak grunts in his sleep, but shows no signs of waking. 3 See Through The Illusion
Failure

She carves, and cuts, and slices, the knives moving more on their own than by her hand. Inspiration floods her mind, a wordless guide for what to do. The sigil she draws in blood and flesh on James’ chest is something she’s never seen before, and it pulses with power to the beat of James’ heart. This is what she needs. When Jessy looks up from her work, she realizes that the room has changed, or perhaps is changing as she looks at it. Her eyes pass over the walls, which fold into themselves and offer dark, impossible passages where once was wallpaper and home decor. Reality is melting around her, Tan’s condo drifting in and out of her awareness as something else overtakes the room. Somewhere far away in the distance, a scream of pain echoes through her burning ring. A familiar suffering, echoed by more cries and whimpers from the endless, labyrinthine corridors surrounding Jessy. The only fixed point around her now is James, on the bed and still sleeping despite the blood pooling and sinking into the mattress.

There is a loud bang, and a clatter. Jessy’s mind maps it to the first floor of Tan’s condo, but when she leaves the room the very concept of Tan’s home becomes difficult to hold on to. The corridor continues endlessly upward, stone arches harboring darkness. The erotic paintings are falling off their hooks, revealing crawlspaces behind them which lead towards agonized murmurs in the distance. A voice calls out to Jessy, one she’s heard once before. It was distant before, but now it is right behind the door that should be downstairs, a woman’s voice calling her name and demanding to be let in. Jessy takes a few steps towards the banging sound, each careful stride pulling her further and further away from Tan’s home. A second voice cuts through the disorienting surroundings. Don’t get closer! Run! Jessy hears her mother4, that beautiful voice she’s not heard for years immediately seizing her by the heart and stopping her dead in her tracks. Her mother needs her to get away, but what’s away in this place? The door breaks apart somewhere below Jessy with a crash. She is lost and in danger. 4 Keep It Together
Full Success

Distant screaming and vague visions in the darkness guide Jessy, offering her a path towards something she can almost recognize. It is a room, but not one of Tan’s. Jessy sees a door before her, and knows before opening it what’s on the other side. She calls for Artyom as she shoulders her way in through what is not a door but a solid wall and stumbles into the filthy confines of room 119. The footsteps approaching behind her die out, the human choir of suffering at once falls in line with the train clattering by outside, and the walls finally feel solid again. Jessy, dressed in nothing but the pajamas she normally struts around Tan’s home in, knocks on the door to the adjoining room and waits for Artyom to open it. The tall Russian invites her into the hotel room as though he was expecting her. Despite knowing what he is, Jessy cannot help but feel safe near him.

Artyom immediately compliments Jessy on her work done on James. Through conversation, she comes to understand that the sigil she carved onto James’ torso was meant to communicate with Artyom. The razide explains that he refuses to come near the goat fucker’s domain, but that Jessy now knows how to reach him. The ring helps Jessy in her work of bringing pain, he muses. It offers her raw power, but she clearly has no idea of how to use it. He could give her that understanding, but in turn she must do something for him. In two weeks, he instructs Jessy, she will perform the same rite as she did with James. Artyom will come to her then, and tell her what must be done. Jessy tries to get more information about her ring from Artyom, but he claims not to know. Abbas Ali, though, who he knows that Jessy is aware of, he understands the ring well. Artyom suggests she speak with him.

Jessy leaves in a taxi, again in ragged lost and found-clothing from the Silverpine Hotel, and returns to Tan’s condo. Daisy mocks Jessy for the clothes she’s wearing, but for once Jessy doesn’t have the energy to get into an argument. She steals upstairs, and finds James still on the bed, sleeping. The symbol she carved has dried and scarred into his flesh, a brand. She sits with him for a long time, tracing her fingers over the lines she cut and admiring her own work. An hour passes before James finally stirs. A few shifting motions, and then a scream of terror. His eyes open wide and he throws himself out of the bed, completely without himself and screaming off the top of his lungs. When he can finally focus on Jessy, he stumbles towards the door and starts running away from her.

“What did you do? What the fuck did you do?!” – James

PreviousNext

The Kult Take: Poppy

Poppy is a singer, songwriter, actress, author, YouTuber, model, and religious leader. That is what Wikipedia tells us, and it is quite a picture painted in just one sentence. She rose to prominence through a prolific YouTube channel full of surreal videos, where she among other things spoke nonsense and bled black sludge from her mouth. Her musical endeavors carried her to stardom, becoming not only a fashion icon but a literally worshiped pop idol through the Cult of Poppy. To look upon her is to look upon a personification of modern culture, of mass consumption and plastic appeal with a veneer of faux authenticity… but she is more. The casual observer might assume that Poppy is a puppet to some of Tiphareph’s servants, or perhaps (if you are truly deluded) an incarnate of the same. This is not only false, but dangerously so. No, the Truth of Poppy’s being and the path she has travelled is much more complex than that… and worrisome. We start from the beginning.

Bubblebath and insanity

In the early days of Poppy’s existence, she was chiefly known for her YouTube channel where she would upload strange and upsetting clips of herself in a featureless room, sometimes featuring props or other characters such as the mannequin Charlotte or a bible. While most of those who found these videos would simply dismiss them as innocuous or stupid, her inner circle of fans were those who could not help but read into the underlying messages. They were there. Poppy’s mad presentation masked a greater whole, and they were intent on finding it. The word spread of some weird, ditzy waif who spoke about the transcendental nature of the internet and fame while mocking the trivial concerns peddled by more mainstream entertainment outlets. Little by little she spread, and though she was definitely unwell and delusional this appealed to niche communities in the corners of the internet. They rallied around her, eagerly waiting for her next revelatory video clip.

She made music, too. Starting with Everybody Wants To Be Poppy, she established herself as a competent artist, if not the revolutionary force she would become. Her first single, Bubblebath, would prove pivotal because through its production Poppy came into contact with the very forces she spoke out against. They sought to control her, keep her a bland bubblegum pop idol and ensure that her fanbase of halfway crazy YouTube commenters returned to whatever lives they had neglected to follow Poppy’s word. This did not work out for either party. For her short while under Island Records’ control, Poppy’s mental state suffered greatly under the demands to conform to what they thought acceptable. She could finally see first-hand Tiphareph’s iron grip on the entertainment industry, all she’d suspected and preached laid bare before her. Poppy soon left the company behind, escaping their ever-present tentacles to alert the public of this corrupted arrangement in a way they could not hope to stop.

Money: Peddling a parodical desire for and attitude about money which tries to be at once appealing and transgressive.

And money doesn’t grow on trees
You can’t just plant a seed
You gotta work it out

Poppy.Computer and mocking the order

Under a record label of her own making, aptly named I’m Poppy Records, she realized her protest against the established order of the entertainment industry as her first album: Poppy.Computer. The album was a resounding success, not only invigorating her loyal fanbase but expanding it, spreading her message. Both her music and especially the accompanying YouTube madness was intent on illustrating both her facade of pop vanity and the darkness lurking just beneath. She spoke a lot about “Them”, the people who supposedly control Poppy. Some believed this aspect of Poppy, not realizing that she worked for herself all along and constructed the entire farce to illustrate others’ twisted arrangements. She was never a member of some music industry conspiracy. Instead, she fought the influence of that ruling shadow elite by presenting their goals and ideals as parodies of themselves. There were voices quick to accuse Poppy of supporting Tiphareph’s cabal, often called the Illuminati, since her videos and live appearances often featured the eye of providence, pyramids, and all those markers which serve to ensnare and enfeeble humanity. The vague symbolism used to keep us asleep was placed front and center so none could doubt its existence.

Poppy’s live shows at this time became a rallying call for her cult, a way to draw strength from numbers and protest the powers that be in a public and outwardly harmless way. From her bright scene surrounded by TVs and pink lights, Poppy made her audience swear loyalty to her word and gave to her most fanatic followers a drink she only referred to as “Poppy juice”. Its contents are still unknown. There was no easy way for Tiphareph’s servants to stop any of this without making themselves known to the world. Between new music and the spread of her Gospel, her first printed religious text, Poppy’s many cults grew to a formidable church in its own right. She offered liberation from the modern world’s net of oppression. Media’s influence and oligarchical control over worldly narratives could finally be opposed and questioned in public, and under the guise of Poppy’s madness the ideas spread quickly. Little by little, she eroded Tiphareph’s grip on her worshippers and took them as her own.

Let’s Make A Video: Vacuity clashes with the hijacked symbolism of the ruling elite to illegitimize their attempts at control.

Get up, put my makeup on, I know it’s time to go
Sing along to a dumb pop song that they play on the radio
Time for a pic, ’cause I’m all dressed up
Don’t make me look too typical
‘Cause I’m ready for my close-up

Am I A Girl? and self-expression

While her previous work challenged the dominance of the Archons within music and entertainment, this cause was but a stepping stone for Poppy. She rose from a small mad soul to become a recognized artist and, though concealed by layers upon layers of irony, a spiritual leader to many. As she did, the more deeply rooted issues plaguing mankind could no longer escape her. Her direct connection to Malkuth or the Rebel’s servants is unclear, but Poppy certainly took it upon herself to wake people up from their slumber. Am I A Girl? is a departure from her previous work, not only in musical genre but in tone and subject matter as well. The song Time Is Up serves as a wakeup call, reminding her listeners that the world is nearing a deadly precipice through climate change and worldwide conflict. Girls In Bikinis and the album’s namesake song Am I A Girl? both toy with ideas of sexualization, gender conflict and a rejection of the binary we’ve been fed since long before our own birth. The album was written to challenge some of humanity’s very basic assumptions about our existence and society, thus directly prodding at the carefully constructed veils of our prison.

It should come as no surprise that this ruffled the feathers of our jailers. Poppy had few defenses, but her enigmatic personality and already surreal interaction with her cult and fans made her difficult to stop. Few knew where she was, yet fewer were willing to reveal it. Any appearances were arranged in secret and often very sudden, public affairs, and little other information ever came out. A lawsuit was hurled her way via a human proxy, attempting to disparage Poppy and tarnish her image. The grip she had on her legion of fans, all too well aware of the Illusion’s machinery and its thousand dangers, were not so easily turned against her, and Poppy rose to become stronger for it. She fought the law and won. The EP Choke continued her descent into outright rebellion, but its lyrical content was even darker than her previous work. Something had changed behind the scenes, but it would take until her next album to learn what had happened.

Am I A Girl?: A protest against the values we assign ourselves and others based on preconceptions about genitalia.

Am I a girl?
Am I a boy?
What does that even mean?
I’m somewhere in between

I Disagree and Poppy’s corruption

There is no doubt that Poppy is done with her positive outlook. I Disagree is not an uplifting album, nor hopeful. The feeling one gets from listening to it is that it is already too late to fix the problems Poppy has spent the last several years trying to highlight. We failed, and all there is left to do is letting it all burn down. She may have been able to avoid the grip of our jailers, but years of pressure from them combined with a rapidly deteriorating global situation has left Poppy unable to continue her message of enlightenment and resistance. Her cult is vast, but is either too inefficient or suppressed to affect the problems plaguing Elysium. Between armed conflicts, oceans full of plastic, increasingly maniacal political discourse and the literal forces of hell come to claim us, Poppy has no more hope to give. While she previously aligned with Malkuth’s ideals, her experiences have corrupted that striving. Poppy has been twisted into the hands of the Death Angel Nahemoth. The result of this dark influence is an album which shames humanity’s hubris and our neglect of ourselves, each other and our situation. Awakening has eluded us. From our doomed struggle comes only Discord.

There is no saying what Poppy may do in the future. Her tours continue, as does her music and YouTube channel, though the former has long lost its former glory. Whatever my Queen has in store, we will have to wait for it. I look forward to it, with a healthy dose of fear.

I Disagree: We have let the wrong people speak for us for far too long. They have led us astray, and all we can do now is watch the world collapse and wonder what comes next.

Down, let it all burn down
Burn it to the ground
We’ll be safe and sound
When it all burns down

I think it should come to no surprise to you, if you have indeed made it down here, that I am a huge fan of Poppy and what she does. This text is of course not a reflection of reality, being a Kult Take on an odd pop star and nothing more. I’ve chosen to leave out a lot, from Mars Argo to Poppy.Church and many other things. Focusing only on her music felt like the most fair way to create a Kult narrative around Poppy without becoming voyeuristic.

Session 10 – Recuperation

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

This post contains sexual imagery.

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Finally. After a week at the hospital, though only half of it lucid, Jessy is allowed to leave. She listens, not patiently, to her doctor once again rattling off all the things Jessy needs to keep in mind with her injury. No strenuous activity, no alcohol, take pills daily, dress the shoulder wound once every two days, weekly checkups at the hospital. Not even her doctor seems too invested in the conversation, days of having to deal with Jessy enough to dampen the enthusiasm he usually has for his work. Tan, there to pick her up, has brought Jessy new clothes to leave in. The blood and filth-soaked ripped rags she came in with have been disposed of as biohazardous waste.

While Jessy’s head is still swimming from her intense painkillers, Tan brings her around to her old apartment, the one that was broken into. She collects all her belongings from there, muttering about how all this is off-brand garbage and last season’s clothes. All her good clothes are still at Evan’s, but they will have to wait. Once she’s stuffed her life into a couple of bags and into the back of Tan’s car, they head down to the harborfront. He drives into a small, secure garage and parks his car at his reserved spot, number 11. The elevator leading up to his condominium is large and slow, giving Tan time to inform Jessy not to be alarmed by the daytime staff, but rather to get to know them. The elevator stops, and Jessy is led into Tan’s home.

Three floors, though the third Tan keeps locked unless there’s an event requiring use of the large conference hall there. On the first floor, a massive lounging area and balcony could easily fit thirty people, abstract art and green plants bringing some color and life to the modern furniture. The second floor, up a wide set of stairs, provides a very different atmosphere with its explicitly sexual art hanging on the walls and erotic sculptures placed on display tables throughout. Tan keeps no less than four bedrooms, with Jessy free to sleep wherever she like. Made uncomfortable by the framed photographs of genitalia in the second floor bedrooms, one of which is Tan’s own, she elects to sleep in the bedroom closest to the balcony. She laughs and flirts with Tan as he gives her the tour, pointing out his office and bedroom for her. Jessy, overwhelmed, dizzy, and amazed, steps out onto the large balcony facing Lake Ontario to finally get a breath of fresh air.

Out in the cold March afternoon, Jessy decides that she needs to tell Tan about what’s happened. All of it. She starts by revealing that her ring is gone, though she thinks she knows who has it. She tells Tan about Wilma, about her nightmares, about Honey, and the monsters in the tunnels. Jessy decides to leave out her visit to Artyom. Tan doesn’t need to know that. She concludes that she feels safe now. She did what she had to do, and now it’s over.

That is, until Tan asks whether anyone else knows about all this, and Jessy tells him about her encounter with sergeant Ellis O’Donovan. She leaves no detail out, not even the disturbing visions of O’Donovan as a pale, hulking beast. Ellis knows as much as Tan does. Tan’s smile fades from his face as he listens to this. Jessy is not safe, he tells her with some alarm. That beast, in Tan’s words, constitutes an ‘enemy of humanity’ and no matter what she wants with Jessy, it’s not good. He demands Jessy stay in doors for at least a few days, while he thinks about this. She can get to know the staff and the condo, Tan will provide her with anything she might need, but she has to stay safe and so far as Tan is concerned, his home is the safest Jessy can be.

Jessy isn’t supposed to drink, but after that runthrough of Jessy’s hell from the past few weeks, Tan ensures they both get some alcohol in them. They sit together in the lounge, James the chef preparing a light dinner for the two. The large windows to the balcony provide them with a great view to relax, eat, drink, and not think about much in particular. Jessy’s only worry is for the ring, but her exhausted mind finds not even the energy to stress about that. She takes to bed early and falls into a long sleep. Instead of nightmares, only darkness and the muted sounds of the city. Instead of an uncomfortable hospital bed, a luxurious king-size mattress to sink into. Instead of panic and fear, only the heavy lull of alcohol and painkillers.

Jessy gets several days to take care of herself. Jessy’s first demand from Tan, when she wakes up past noon, is to get some people to the condo that can fix her hair, skin, nails, and… honestly, she would love a spa day. Once Jessy has been treated to that, she’s far more comfortable moving around Tan’s home. She learns the names of some of the staff. Carolina is a saggy but friendly maid, Daisy is a hard-working teenager determined to impress Tan, and James is a strict chef but otherwise a pleasure seeker. Jessy learns from him that he’s been converted by Tan into believing in the same Twin God that Tan does. Not only that, he explains that all the staff has done the same. The religion’s message of love as conflict and conflict as love really speaks to them, and Tan is always more than happy to discuss the faith with them.

While drifting through the rooms, learning the ins and outs of the apartment, Jessy spots a small camera mounted in the corner of the second floor lounging room1. It’s well hidden, between a marble bust of a woman fondling herself and a masterfully painted orgy scene. One camera would be strange enough, but she soon spots many more. Every room seems to have at least one, and she even finds one in the first floor washroom. Disturbed by this, she asks around amongst the staff. James and Carolina assure her that the cameras are security measures, necessities for when Tan hosts his events and ceremonies. James briefly mentions that there have been incidents in the past, but doesn’t elaborate. Daisy simply shrugs it off, the cameras means Tan might be watching her and that’s all she wants. 1 Observe A Situation
Partial Success
  • What is being hidden from me?

She keeps the existence of both the cameras and the staff themselves from her ‘friend’ on Instagram. Once she tells them that she’s staying in Tan’s condo, demands for pictures of every room are followed by Jessy’s bank account filling up within minutes. The anonymous account notes the stairs up on the second floor, and Jessy explains that the third floor is locked and that she doesn’t have the key. She counters the request that she find the key with a demand that she get her money upfront, and so she does. Feeling confident, she decides to look for a way to the third floor some other time.

Two days pass. Tan spends some time with Jessy, the two flirting and joking while Jessy wonders when she finally might be safe to leave the apartment. She’s itching to find her ring. She doesn’t ask Tan about the cameras yet, but sitting down for dinner she does ask again about Tan’s faith. The Twins, or the Twin God, or the Two-Headed Goat, or what else Tan uses to refer to the deity he discovered in the ancient temples of Pakistan he sought out. He tells Jessy the story of the man who was the least, and how the goat with two heads named Dehu and Mil helped him overthrow the rulers and challenge the gods. Tan is open about his hope that Jessy, like his staff and many of his friends, will see the value in this worship and convert.

“Improvement demands conflict.” – Tan

Next weekend, Tan intends to host a ceremony for fellow believers, a somewhat common occurrence. He hopes that Jessy will take part and see the good they do and the joy they live. She could even bring out her goat mask. Jessy’s gut feeling2 tells her that aside from the networking and worship, Tan expects there to be a lot of sex. It is an integral part of the religion, she knows. Other than that, he seems intent on waiting for the ceremony itself to show Jessy the full extent of their celebrations. Explaining it with just words won’t give her the understanding she craves. She’ll simply have to be there. Jessy asks again about whether she can leave the condo, and Tan finally agrees that she should be safe so long as she does not attract attention to herself and she keeps to safe activities. No more crawling through the sewers. Jessy is not given a key, however, so she is expected to return while Tan’s staff are still present to allow her in. 2 Read A Person
Partial Success
  • What are you about to do?
  • How could I get you to tell me more about it?

Jessy gets up early the next morning. She has several things she knows she has to do, all of them important. After taking her painkillers, dressing her wound which is healing nicely, and dressing herself for the day, Jessy texts Evan. She’ll be at his apartment in an hour to pick up her things. He better be there. She calls for an Uber, the tiny woman picking her up eyeing Jessy curiously through the rearview mirror as they drive away. Right as Jessy exits the vehicle, the driver wishes her luck in finding her ring. Jessy stops for a second, had she really just heard that? No time to ask questions. She marches up to Evan’s apartment and wastes no time.

Evan, confused at first and then angry, tries to defend himself against Jessy’s rage. He was worried about her, she’d disappeared without telling him where she was going. Still, he had no right to do what he did. She slams down every attempt Evan makes at bringing his feelings for her into the argument. She’s a hot girl for him to fuck. That’s what he sees her as, and if he dare say that he loves her she’ll make sure he regrets it. It ends with a fight while Jessy packs up her things, Evan bitterly calling her a two-faced whore and Jessy laughing at his sad attempt at taking control of the situation. 

After bringing all her actually good clothes back to Tan’s, Jessy heads out after lunch to hunt down Honey3. She heads to the place where she first met him, and though some of the homeless and downtrod in the area now seem to avoid or at least be cautious of Jessy, money and Tim Hortons’ donuts soon persuades someone to admit they know who Honey is and where he might be. A brisk walk through the cold afternoon brings Jessy to the back of an employment center, Honey and two others sitting on a bench smoking. Pepper spray at the ready, she marches up to the cold and homeless man and demands her ring back. 3 Investigate
Full Success
  • How can I find out more?
  • Is there anything weird about this?

Honey waves his friends away, stuttering out that he wants to talk to Jessy in private. When she again shouts at him to tell her where the ring is, he brings it out of one of his jacket’s many pockets and hands it over very willingly. He’s eager to get rid of the ring, it’s been causing him nothing but trouble. There was no chance for him to pawn it off or sell it, he realized that soon enough, but wearing it was a big mistake. Honey rants about how he wasn’t able to get around the city, that the ring brought him to the wrong places and the wrong people. He’s almost entirely incoherent when he mutters that Jessy’s mom didn’t want her to have the ring, that it wasn’t her who put it in the will.

Disbelief. Jessy stares at Honey. What the fuck did he just say? He tries to explain, his brain clearly misfiring over and over as he stumbles over his words. It wasn’t Jessy’s mom who put the ring in the will, it was someone else, a person Honey only refers to as ‘her’. She’s after him, too, angry at him for taking the ring. She’ll come for Jessy aswell. That’s her problem now, not his, he doesn’t want anything to do with it. When Jessy furiously demands to know how the hell Honey knows any of this, he tells Jessy that he spoke with Jessy’s mom. He doesn’t know how either, and yes, he knows that she’s dead. After proclaiming Honey a useless meth addict (to which he can only respond that he uses heroin, not meth), Jessy stomps off with more questions than answers.

By the time she’s back at Tan’s place, Jessy has already figured out exactly how to deal with the online drama Evan caused. Her follower and subscriber counts are dropping, her comment sections and DMs are getting increasingly filled with angry spam from men and women she’s lied to in the past. Time to put an end to it. Jessy records and releases a video, explaining ‘her side’ of the situation. She paints Evan as a jealous ex and a liar. He tried to capitalize on her injuries to get back at her, and now him and his friends spam her comment sections to make her look bad. She reveals several (fabricated) instances of Evan being a crazy, abusive person, and ends the video by announcing that she’s back in full force and ready to move past all this stupid drama.

The response is immediate, and overwhelmingly positive4. Within hours, comments from her boyfriends and girlfriends are downvoted into oblivion. Jessy stays active on the topic and ensures that the most hateful of them get banned from their respective platforms, while reaching out to whoever hasn’t freaked out to win them back over to her. In the coming days, Jessy is sure that her haters will have been metaphorically firebombed by her fans. She sees comments on Twitter on how other YouTubers intend to cover the drama, all of them seeming to prefer her account of the events. That’s sure to bring her even more followers, even more fame, and even less a chance that anyone will listen to Evan or anyone else like him again. 4 Influence Other
Full Success

While all of this is unfolding, Jessy is mulling over what Honey told her. The ring took him places he didn’t want to go. The same had happened when they were below Toronto, after killing that skinless beast. Does the ring allow her to teleport? She sits on her bed for a while, attempting to ‘will’ herself to the other side of the room. Predictably, it doesn’t work. Perhaps moving around is a better choice? Jessy walks around the condo, opening doors and imagining herself entering a room other than the one on the other side of the door. She receives strange looks from Caroline as she steps into the laundry room for the third time. Nothing happens, but Jessy does feel like she is getting closer to uncovering something. If only Honey wasn’t so outrageously dumb, she might be able to figure this out.

Among her hundreds of new notifications, Jessy’s phone buzzes with a text message. It’s from Carl Hunt. She hasn’t heard from him in days, and had no intention of contacting him yet. She’d figured it best to lay low, not any more eager than Carl himself for his wife to find out about them.

“I saw your latest upload. Can we talk?” – Carl

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Session 9 – Flashback

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

PreviousNext

A warm summer day, window shutters clattering lightly in the breeze. MTV Cribs is playing on the TV, but Jessica is only half paying attention. She’s sat in her family’s old-looking but comfortable living room, flipping through a magazine her younger sister had brought home last week. It’s not particularly interesting to her, but it’s something to do. Marie, her mother, appears in the corner of her sight. She enters the living room, her glazed eyes slowly moving over all the details of the room, taking it all in with great, but sluggish, interest. Another one of her weird episodes. Jessica tries to get her attention, but she only half-responds with a dragged out nonsense sentence before finally snapping out of it and asking Jessica what she’s reading.

Jessica deigns to hold a half-hearted conversation with her mom. How’s school? How did your test go? Do you want anything specific for dinner? More than anything, Jessica would like her mom to go somewhere else, but she’s still sitting next to her blathering on. Marie knows Jessica is barely listening, so she finally reaches out and touches her daughter’s hand to alert her, as if she has something important to say. She tells Jessica to never let anyone else live inside her head. She seems serious.

What does she mean? Marie continues to talk, a little bit disoriented now, about how when someone leaves you, sometimes their thoughts and your memories of them make them continue to live in your head. If you let them, they might change you. Jessica feels as though some terrible news are coming, are her parents divorcing? Marie tries to quell her worries. It’s like with her mother, Jessica’s grandma. She’s not with them, but her memories and thoughts are still part of Marie. 

Jessica knows her mom’s smile. It’s warm, not entirely attractive but definitely welcoming. The smile that slowly spreads across her face is not that smile, and her eyes glaze over once more. It happens over the course of a few moments, slow enough that Jessica doesn’t immediately catch on. She snaps her fingers in front of her mom’s face. Hello, is she still in there?

“I will never leave you.” – Marie

It’s not her mom’s voice, and it’s not her eyes. The entire world seems to color correct, the room flickering into a mess of pinks, purples and dusty blues as Marie’s eyes turn from their bright green into a golden brown. Jessica is beset by a pounding headache, like a hole has opened up in the back of her skull with tendrils of pain shooting out to her temples. She tries to stand up and yell for her dad, working out in the garden, but she falls to the side and collapses on the couch. Her mother, shocked and worried, huddles close to make sure that Jessica is alright as the world fades to black.

Jessy wakes up to a protesting body, her headache as bad in real life as in her memory. Her shoulder is burning too, but it has been bandaged. So has her head, though it still feels like she has a gaping pit behind her ear. The bright hospital lights blind her for several minutes before she, very carefully and with great effort, can look around the room she is in. Heart monitor, an IV pumping some concoction of medicines into her, her wallet and busted phone, and a window to the outside. There’s a button to call a nurse, and Jessy reaches for it. Her ring is gone, and through the daze and pain a deep panic sets in. Her first question to the nurse is about where it is, but he knows nothing about a ring. He explains that Jessy has been badly hurt, that a man called Honey brought her in three days ago, but disappeared before they could ask him any questions. Jessy, furious that Honey must have stolen her ring, closes her eyes and goes back to sleep after demanding more drugs for the overwhelming pain.

She is woken up to a dinner plate that smells and tastes of nothing. Chewing hurts her head. Her doctor explains the situation, but hopes that Jessy can shed some light on what actually happened. The police will want a statement so that they can investigate the apparent assault. Her last memory, she claims, is of going to the store for steaks to cook for her boyfriend. The doctor notes with some concern that Jessy’s emergency contact is not a real person. She’d changed it after her last time at the hospital, when they’d called her father. She asks, sternly, for a phone, interrupting the doctor outlining her recovery process. She’ll be out of the hospital in four days, that’s all that matters and he can stop talking now.

Later in the evening, Jessy experiences several heartbreaking disappointments. First, that part of her hair has been shaved off for the stitching done. Second, the phone she is brought is an iPhone 2. She complains loudly about the latter to the nurse who helps set it up, moving the SIM card from her old, waterlogged phone to this one. It was all they had laying around. Still, at least it lets her read her messages. Everyone in her life has sent texts asking for her, wondering where she’s gone. Jessy explains to Andi that she’s been in an accident and is at the hospital. Andi offers her condolences, but also hints that the meetup with her contact who’d worked at Granger Fine Jewelry went well and that she has some juicy stories to share with Jessy.

Carl, in addition to multiple texts asking for her and exclaiming his worry, has also left several voicemails. Because he’s old, Jessy figures. He seems close to tears, explaining that he thinks his wife is finding out about Jessy. He’s been trying to contact her, but the University of Toronto says she doesn’t actually go there1. Carl’s wife must have started picking up on his distress, especially after he cancelled last minute what he claimed was a ‘business trip’, but was actually their weekend getaway. He’s also afraid that his wife has found the second phone, the one he uses to talk to Jessy. His life has clearly taken a turn for the worse. Jessy does not immediately respond to any of this, in large part due to the drugs and general disinterest in Carl’s life. 1 Liar Hold spent

Tan seems to have had a rough couple of days too. His messages indicate that police have contacted him, asking about Jessy. He doesn’t know why, and naturally provided them no answers. She texts him the hospital name and her room number, and Tan is soon on his way over. Their conversation is brief, but they come to an understanding that Jessy will stay with Tan once she’s out of the hospital. They will talk about all that’s happened in detail then. She complains to her favorite person in the world that they gave her the world’s shittiest phone, so Tan leaves the hospital and comes back just an hour later with a new one for her. She readily gives away all her login information to Tan as he sets the phone up for her, and the two part with an understanding that Tan will pick her up at the end of the week.

Several days pass in a blur. Headaches, the fuzzy reality of painkillers, her infected wound again and again cleaned and checked on. The doctor and nurses tell Jessy that she will be fine, but that the recovery process may be long. She’ll have to come in for weekly checkups, dress her own healing shoulder, take great care not to hurt herself anymore, and so on. Jessy barely listens. Instead, she buries herself into her new phone’s screen, obsessively scouring the internet for meaning to escape the confines of the hospital.

Evan, the college boy she stayed with for a few days and who still has her things, apparently made a public post on Instagram using all her professional hashtags. Her entire fanbase has seen him claiming to be Jessy’s boyfriend, and explaining that she’s disappeared. Hundreds of messages from worried fans can easily be ignored, but more troublesome are the messages both private and public that decry Jessy as a two faced whore. She has plenty of boyfriends and girlfriends, and they’re not supposed to know about each other2. Evan and her need to talk, and Jessy tells him as much after pointing out that she’s in a hospital and he’s a huge asshole. 2 Liar Hold spent

The police sergeant, a short and stocky woman with long brown hair pulled back into a simple ponytail, introduces herself on the day before Jessy leaves the hospital. Her name is Ellis O’Donovan, and she needs Jessy’s statement of what happened to her so that they can get to the bottom of who attacked her. At least, that’s what she says while the doctor is still present. Once Ellis asks him to leave, her demeanor changes. She may be short, but the woman dominates the entire hospital room with a presence that Jessy can’t escape from. Ellis moves from the door to the window and to the side of the bed, the bright hospital lights casting confusing shadows in every direction as her stern face moves from the feeble, bandaged girl to her notebook and back again.

She begins by asking several difficult to answer questions for Jessy. Her emergency contact was fake, why? Her publicly listed address is wrong, why? She knows the man who brought her in, but can’t remember meeting him. Explain3. Ellis questions every bit of Jessy’s story, and moves on to thoroughly explore any potential bad actors in the joke of an industry Jessy works in. With the way Ellis is treating her, Jessy realizes that she’s seen as a threat or a suspect rather than a victim4. Jessy acts frightened, near tears, but Ellis doesn’t relent. She can see through those crocodile tears, and is willing to make Jessy talk if she doesn’t on her own. The woman knows that Jessy isn’t telling the full story, or even a part of it. 3 Liar Hold spent

4 Eye For Detail
Failure
  • What are you working on?

With officer O’Donovan pacing around the room, Jessy finds it difficult to keep focus on her. The medicine still has her a little dazed, and the image of Ellis gets harder and harder to parse. She’s large, huge even, and beneath the uniform is white, thick skin with wrinkles and calluses. Every part of her body swells out of her clothing, something massive impossibly fit into the police uniform and Ellis’ skin. Jessy stares in confusion at the sight. The way O’Donovan’s black tongue rolls and bounces across her chest as she talks seems to defy all sense. She looks back at Jessy, and a wide smile with sharp little teeth, yellow and filthy, spreads across her face. Her eyes, bulbous and white and shimmering like pearls, bore into Jessy’s. They see each other.

Jessy acts shocked, horrified, disgusted, and when all those fail to get a reaction out of whatever sergeant O’Donovan has become, she falls back to frustration. She responds to the hulking police monster’s every question with an indignant or dismissive half truth, but Ellis pushes on, determined to drain Jessy of all she knows. She demands complete answers, told in full truth, and the incandescent globes that are her eyes expose anything Jessy might withhold. She exhausts Jessy, for information and physically, under her intense questioning. Hours pass by, and through gritted teeth Jessy answers every question, defiant but unable to defeat the sergeant’s questions as they keep hammering her. Her mother’s ring, her nightmares, Wilma, the monster under the PATH. Her connection to Tan, the precious few things she knows about his religion, why she keeps his company. Jessy gives Ellis O’Donovan everything, and it still doesn’t seem to be enough. In the end, the sergeant leaves infuriated and with fewer answers than she’d like, though what exactly she expected Jessy doesn’t know.

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Jessy’s Story – The Return! Plus recap of Arc 1

Hello, Kultists! Last year on this blog, I presented session recaps of my ongoing Kult campaign titled Jessy’s Story. It got so far as eight sessions in, when I decided that a hiatus was in order to allow my wife and artist some time to move on to other projects and commissions. At long last (read: a bit overdue), Jessy’s Story is finally returning! The preliminary schedule will be to have one session posted every three weeks until the campaign is DONE! There is quite a ways to go, so there is lots of content to look forward to if you enjoy Jessy’s descent into madness (and eventual rise to power). However, I imagine there are those who either haven’t read all the first eight sessions, or have forgotten much of the details. Not to worry – below is a summary containing some of the major characters of the story, and what happened in each session.

Jessy’s Story – Session 9 will be posted on Friday, February 28th, some time in the evening (GMT -5)!

Characters

Jessy Button – Real name, Jessica Buckle. The deceitful homewrecker whose life this story follows. Sleuthing about for details about the strange ring she inherited from her mother, Jessy comes into contact with dark and alluring forces. Some are her enemies, with others it is not so easy to tell. Jessy’s greed, both for money and for knowledge, knows no bounds, and through stubbornness and an infinite stream of lies she always gets what she wants. No matter the cost.

Tan – A rich and incredibly charming man, interested in both Jessy’s ring and her body. He is deeply religious, worshipping a strange and obscure twin deity represented by a pair of goats. It seems to be in his and his religion’s nature to be socially and sexually dominating at every opportunity. 

Wilma – She appears in Jessy’s dreams, a vicious woman wearing gorgeous jewelry and an unchanging mask of anger and resentment. All she wants is Jessy’s ring, creating nightmarish visions to wear Jessy down until she finally gives in and hands it over.

Artyom – This emotionless Russian man, bald and clad in expensive suits, is what Tan refers to as a razide. Beyond Artyom’s human visage lurks a ragged shape of rusted metal and torn flesh. Jessy cannot help but pursue this enigmatic being who revels in causing others pain and suffering. Whatever his true purpose, he offers Jessy deep insights at the cost of her sanity.

Carl Hunt – An older man whose money Jessy has been taking in exchange for charming smalltalk and the occasional private picture on Instagram. Seems to have a fascination with Jessy and her likeness to his own daughter.

Jeremiah Redwood – Cofounder and senior designer for Granger Fine Jewelry, the business from which Jessy’s ring originated.

Abbas Ali – A former developer for Instagram, somehow involved with Granger Fine Jewelry and associated with Artyom. Appears ageless.

Session 1
At a party for developers and influencers of a recently launched app called MyGems, Jessy seeks out woman named Andi to discuss with her the design and history of her ring. Andi explains that similar rings, also from Granger Fine Jewelry, have been seen on the fingers of powerful people all over the world. This is also where she runs into Tan, dressed in a colorful suit, who she immediately takes an interest in. Her curiousity is reciprocated, and Tan invites her to a private room with the founder of MyGems, David Clap, and many other influential men and their dainty dates. Tan seems to know all of them, and after many drugs and celebrating with a drink which tasted suspiciously like blood, Jessy agrees to go to an afterparty with Tan. She doesn’t remember any of it the day after, waking up in her own bed with vomit-covered clothes and a strange goat mask in stone strapped to her face.

Session 2
The morning after, Jessy receives a message on Instagram from an anonymous and seemingly glitched account, asking her pointed questions about her night with Tan. The person on the other side offers up money for any information she can get on Tan, and encourages her to see him again. She spends the day with her friends, but when a snowstorm hits Toronto she’s forced to go down into the underground PATH to find her way to a hotel. Unwashed homeless people seem to stare her down, but she hurries along and tries to put them out of her mind. At the hotel, a young girl named Elise tries to hide in Jessy’s room before being dragged off by men who, according to Elise, intend to kill her. Hotel security does nothing. Jessy is beset by nightmares, concrete corridors and vast abysses guiding her into the deep.

Session 3
Jessy meets with Andi, who has some contacts which may prove valuable in finding out more about Granger Fine Jewelry and the tumultous crimes attributed to the company in the late 70s, right around the time Jessy’s ring is estimated to have been made. The nightmares continue, leaving Jessy sleepless and disoriented. At a breaking point, she descends again into the paths beneath Toronto in hopes of finding a clue as to why these dreams persist. Instead, she is lured deep down into maintenance tunnels and filth-caked corridors where she encounters a truly horrific beast. Lost for what feels like an eternity, she is eventually drawn back to reality by the sound of a subway train.

Session 4
A elderly woman with alzheimers named Agatha serves as Jessy’s emotional dumping ground and fake grandmother. Her week of hellish nightmares is capped off by accompanying Tan to a luxurious party hosted by a man named Eduardo Sarmento. Here, Jessy meets Artyom. She recognizes him as one of the men who kidnapped the girl at the hotel, but after Tan aggrevates him she sees him for what he truly is – a monster. Jessy becomes absolutely fascinated with Artyom and can’t get the image of his tattered body out of her head. The evening ends in disaster as Eduardo dies a grisly and public death, though with nothing to go on and lab results inconclusive, the police eventually lets everyone go. Tan, seemingly unphased by the horrific fate of his acquaintance, offers Jessy to come stay at a hotel with him and not let the night end just yet.

Session 5
Alone with Tan at an upscale hotel, Jessy speaks with him at length about his worship of the Twin God. He lights candles, decorates the room with figurines of goat-headed men, and seduces Jessy with a promise of transcendental knowledge. Through harsh love, he intends to reveal higher truths to Jessy, but she is not ready and is hurt deeply both physically and emotionally. Once asleep, she is drawn deeper into her nightmares and finally meets Wilma, the woman behind Jessy’s sleeplessness. She demands the ring, threatens a defiant Jessy, and eventually shunts Jessy out of her short rest for yet another night of staring at the dark ceiling. Once she finally leaves for home, Jessy discovers that her apartment has been broken in to. Someone was hunting for her, and she recognizes the threat Wilma poses.

Session 6
Jessy speaks with Carl Hunt about her apartment being broken into, since he is the one who pays for it. They agree she should be staying with friends until he can sort something out, so Jessy drifts in and out of the homes of people she’s lured into her orbit online, boyfriends and girlfriends all. She also digs deeper into the dealings of Granger Fine Jewerly, discovering that the man Abbas Ali which she saw at Eduardo’s party apparently worked for them in the 70’s and looked no different then than he does now, as if he hasn’t aged a day. She gets into contact with Abbas, who in turn helps her reach out to Artyom for a private meeting. Jessy visits him at a rundown hotel in Etobicoke, where they discuss many things, including Tan’s foolishness in playing with powers far beyond his control. She is unexpectedly forced into performing torturous acts on a man named Simon. He seems to be enjoying the entire procedure, and Artyom allows Jessy to delve deep into the euphorias of causing others pain.

Session 7
Leaving her ‘boyfriend’ Ethan’s apartment to buy some food, Jessy is stalked and assaulted by two homeless people seemingly working for Wilma, but with pepper spray in hand she disables one and forces the other, Honey, to become her guide. She learns from him that Wilma abuses them through their nightmares and keeps them sleep deprived and tortured until they have to do her bidding, and that they’ve been hunting Jessy for at least a year. They descend beneath Toronto together, but after a skinless monstrosity attacks them Jessy kills it and unwittingly uses the magic of her ring to bring them much, much deeper. Now lost and fumbling in the dark, they stop to rest in an abandoned cathedral to some unknown god. In a dream, Wilma appears again before Jessy and the two exchange threats. Jessy is coming for her, not to deliver the ring but to put an end to this lunacy.

Session 8
With her arm wounded from the monster’s attack, a deranged, sleepless mind and filth covering her entire body, Jessy forces herself and Honey to press on. They don’t know where they are, but must continue to move until Honey might recognize their surroundings. Silence rules these parts of the world, only broken up by the strange beings which live in the dark. After a long while and with both of them hungry and thirsty, Honey finally sees a path he knows will lead to Wilma. They push onward and enter the bunker complex which she has made her lair, home to folks in tattered clothing and gruff looking squatters. Brought before her tormentor, Jessy sees that Wilma is in fact an old woman, decrepit and withering with a shrill voice, hard on the ears. She demands the ring, and with her servants keeping Jessy under close guard the situation seems hopeless until she manages to incite some doubt and dissent into their ranks. Chaos erupts, and Jessy leaps onto Wilma. Her knife is plunged deep into the hag’s body, but she has no time to celebrate before a hard object strikes her in the back of her head and the world goes black.

And, of course, don’t forget to check out my artist’s Instagram and Facebook pages, where she posts the art made for Beyond Elysium along with some of her other work. She also has a personal website with more projects and contact information.