Session 7: Desperate Measures

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, violence and gore.

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Jessy makes her way back to the apartment she’s currently staying at – Ethan, a college student living with two roommates, allowed Jessy in after hearing about her break-in. Ethan is in his room when she comes to grab new clothes. If she’s going for a shower, he’d love to join. Jessy relents1, and hurries to hide her blood-drenched clothes at the bottom of her bag of makeup before Ethan comes into the bathroom. She can’t hide the bruises Tan gave her, but explains it away by being ‘oh so clumsy’. Ethan, overjoyed at having Jessy naked with him, doesn’t question her further. 1 Influence Other
Result: <9

The shower sex is emotionless to Jessy. She goes along with it, of course, moaning and thrashing and doing everything Ethan expects, but more than anything she’s staring at the razors by the sink and wishing she could use one on Ethan. Maybe if she cut him, this would at least feel like something. Once cleaned up, Jessy sees that she has an email waiting for her, from Granger Fine Jewelry. Jessy reads it, but puts it out of her mind for the moment. She has other things to worry about.

The next day, sleepless from her constant nightmares, Jessy groggily decides that perhaps she should actually cook some food for herself instead of just stealing Ethan’s supply of frozen microwave dishes. She heads to the local store, walking slowly on icy streets with the traffic plodding along equally slow beside her. She picks up meat, just meat. It’s really all she can keep in her mind at the moment.

On her way back, Jessy feels watched. A homeless man dragging bags of garbage behind him stares as she passes, as if recognizing her, and she sees another wiry person across the street do the same. Staring. She slows down to assess the situation2 and realizes that she’s being followed – the guy who passed her has turned around. He’s keeping his distance. Frustrated with what is now well over a week of harassment and nightmares, Jessy walks down a narrow alley and into a quiet, isolated parking lot. The man with the garbage bags follows. 2 Eye For Detail
Result: 10-14

She demands, pepper spray in hand, to know why he’s following her. In the large, gray jacket, the man’s expression is hard to read, but he is stuttery and unfocused when he speaks. Jessy, intense, drags the answers out of the man. He’s been told to follow her, that Wilma needs eyes on her. Wilma, the lady below, she wants something from Jessy, but he doesn’t know what.

In the middle of the conversation, the wiry person from before approaches. Tall, lanky and with large bulging eyes on an emaciated face, they seem a lot more aggressive than the man in the gray jacket. Confusion erupts over what’s going to happen, with the newcomer demanding Jessy come with him for the good of everyone. They can’t sleep. Jessy refuses, of course, and gets punched in the face for it3.

She stumbles back, her pepper spray falling to the ground as she loses her grip4. Head still spinning, she runs to grab the pepper spray and shoots it straight into the newcomer’s bulging eyes5. They fall, screaming, and Jessy points to the homeless man who stood motionless as the situation unfolded. Take her down to this Wilma. She’s done dealing with this. Before leaving, the man walks over to his screaming accomplice, grabs their head, and bashes it against the asphalt twice. They stop screaming. A part of Jessy wonders if she should have been the one to do it6.
3 Avoid Harm
Result: <9

4 Endure Injury
Result: 10-14

5 Act Under Pressure
Result: 10-14

6 Keep It Together
Result: 10-14

The man Jessy goes with introduces himself as Honey, and aside from his staggered and confused speech he seems mostly harmless to Jessy. He takes them down to an empty offshoot of the PATH. Honey sits down in front of an unmarked door and taps it repeatedly in no particular pattern or rhythm, after which he opens it. The room inside is small, and contains only a ladder down. Honey doesn’t want to go down, but fails to convince Jessy to go alone. He sees Jessy brought a package of steaks with her, which seems to comfort him.

Walking through old, trashed maintenance tunnels with only Jessy’s phone for light, the two begin to talk. Honey tries to explain that Wilma doesn’t let them sleep, and that she’s been looking for Jessy for at least a month. Honey also overheard someone else, he can’t remember who, saying that Jessy is the same person that Wilma demanded they find several years ago. Jessy keeps all her knowledge to herself, not telling Honey about being attacked for her ring nor that she knows Wilma wants it. Honey mutters something about the monster in the tunnels too, how he doesn’t want to think about it. Can’t let it get into your head, can’t ever listen to it. Down in the dark, he clams up, but maybe Jessy could interrogate him about it on the surface7. If she ever gets back up. 7 Read A Person
Result: <9

After descending stairs and getting lost in a labyrinthine expanse of filthy cement corridors and strange excavation sites, a locked metal door hinders their advance. An inhuman snarl from the room they just passed causes a panic. While Honey works on getting the door open by screaming off the top of his lungs and banging his head against it, Jessy steels herself for whatever is coming and arms herself with a knife she picked up on their way down. The phone, their only light source, she drops to the ground to have a free hand.

Some skinless horror, nails twisted into mean curled knives, throws itself out of the darkness at Jessy. She meets it with her knife8 which slashes through its face while claws dig in deep into Jessy’s shoulder9. A large, slick tongue falls out of the creature’s mouth, severed from the knife cut. With no time to lose, Jessy stabs the monster in its guts, hitting it again and again until it falls over. She hunches over it, and continues her rampage.

The knife plunges deep into the monster’s stomach, and face, and chest. Blood splatters over Jessy, pours in thick streams in all directions, and her ring burns on her finger. Far away, something breaks10. Jessy senses it, as if a rumbling machine she’d listened to all her life stopped. Her knife cuts straight through the mutilated creature, and blood turns to sewage pouring like a fountain from the cavity she’s created. She hears a voice calling out to her, a voice she can’t recognize though it feels familiar. Dark, filthy water continues to gush out of the cadaver until it fills the corridor.
8 Engage In Combat
Result: 10-14

9 Endure Injury
Result: 15+

10 See Through The Illusion
Result: <9

Jessy finds herself, and Honey behind her, knee-deep in stinking sewage water, and darkness. She picks her phone out of the water, but there’s no chance of saving it. Somewhere in the distance, a tiny light. With no clue where they are, the two head towards it. A old flashlight has been dropped here, the only source of light they could hope for now.

A corridor of mortared stone becomes their path forward. Thin, black beetles, as large as your forearm, crawl and flutter here. They shy away from the light and disappear into crevices in the walls as Jessy and Honey pass them. Since neither of them know where they are, they are completely lost in these strange underground paths. They pass a corridor in which several dead bodies lay scattered, a bloody rampage now silent, and hurry away from the scene. Now is not the time.

After hours and hours of wandering hopelessly onward, Honey decides that he has to rest. They need to lay down, focus themselves, and think of a plan. Well, Jessy needs to think of a plan. Honey needs heroin, which he stole from his murdered accomplice before going with Jessy. They stop in what looks like a place of worship, fashioned from bedrock. Rows upon rows of stone pews, but where one might expect an altar is instead only a large pile of bones, inhuman skulls leering at them from the other end of the room. Jessy turns the flashlight off, and finds a place to collect her thoughts.

The darkness and emptiness is overwhelming. For a long time, Jessy lays still and listens to the silence until she hears things she cannot determine whether they come from her own mind or from the corridors and halls outside their resting place11. Finally, she decides that she has to sleep. Honey has said nothing for a long time, perhaps he finally found some rest too. 11 Keep It Together
Result: 15+

When Jessy wakes up, candles burn with a black flame at the front of the carved stone cathedral. The pile of bones has reformed into a massive altar on which Wilma, the woman who’s been tormenting Jessy with nightmares, is laying. Jessy is still dreaming. Behind the altar, another figure is visible. Or rather, the black and lightless outline of a woman can be seen as if a three-dimensional shadow is cast against the space behind the altar. This figure reaches down and inside Wilma, and extracts something out of her. Images of snakes shedding their old skins come unbidden to Jessy’s mind as she watches, but the lightless woman soon sinks into the background and leaves a gaping abyss behind her. The entire wall falls into endless nothingness, as if the room exists on the very edge of reality itself.

Through a tense conversation, Jessy explains to Wilma that she has come to see her. No, Wilma still can’t have the ring. Through rambling and whispering interlaced with threats, Wilma lets out that she needs the ring because the other ones have gone missing and they’re her only way to reach the city of Ktonor and the liberation of all waiting below it. She helped Jeremiah create the ring, so she more than anyone understands its power. She doesn’t care about Jessy, to the point that if she handed over the ring Jessy might be allowed to leave completely unharmed. She seems unhinged more than angry12, and Jessy starts to believe that perhaps Wilma can be manipulated with the right lies. 12 Read A Person
Result: 10-14

The conversation deteriorates, and Jessy lunges with her knife at Wilma to bury it deep into the woman’s neck. Wilma screams, her face distorting, melting and growing old before Jessy. Their eyes meet, and Jessy feels her entire body spin underneath her while her head stays locked in place. A sickening crack, and the dream goes dark as Jessy wakes. Honey mutters something to her about not falling asleep again, but Jessy demands he get up. They need to get moving. She thinks Wilma might be angrier than before and she’d rather not stay in one place right now. She wants this over with.

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Session 6: Sadism

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 violence and gore.

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After texting Carl Hunt, her kind sugar daddy, about the break-in, Jessy quickly has to clean herself up and put on clothes that cover her bruises from the night before. He’s going to come over. They’ve never met before, but this is his apartment and he needs to survey the damage. Carl is quick to get comfortable with Jessy once he arrives, hugging her close and petting her head as she explains with some panic in her voice how she has no idea why this has happened, that she was studying at a friend’s place and came home to this.

Carl is worried. The police have not taken what happened to Jessy at the hotel seriously, assuming it a strange scam, and now this. Because nothing was stolen, he feels it may be viewed as a poor attempt at insurance fraud, and he would rather not get involved in that. It may reveal his relationship with Jessy to his family, which is the last thing he needs. Instead, he promises Jessy that he’ll get a private investigator on it, and eventually sort out a place for her to stay. Jessy makes him promise this will all be alright. For the moment, she’ll have to stay with friends. She is given a kiss goodbye when Carl leaves.

On Instagram, the mystery account offers money yet again, asking pointed questions about what happened to Eduardo Sarmento. Jessy shares the pictures taken at the party, confirms when asked that yes, Eduardo and Tan were alone at some point, and promises that she will deliver the names of any people that Tan associates with in private. Two thousand dollars are added to her PayPal. It will all soon be spent on shoes, no doubt.

Finally catching up on her emails, Jessy also notices that she finally has a response from the forum user she messaged last week about Granger Fine Jewelry. He provides her an information dump, which delivers some odd information even when you filter through some of the crazy claims. The poster argues that “puppeteers” control the world and that the raid on Granger Fine Jewelry was a counter attack because the puppeteers were scared of Abraham Granger’s powers. Records, either stolen or public ones, show that no police investigation came prior to the raid. A massive amount of materials were collected for ‘evidence’, but barely any of it is documented. Abraham Granger was briefly arrested on suspicion of high treason and conspiracy, but the charges were dropped in favor of financial crimes. The list of oddities goes on, but one linked picture in particular sticks out to Jessy. A picture of Jeremiah Redwood shaking hands with then-newcomer to the team, Abbas Ali.

Abbas Ali in the picture is identical to the Abbas she saw at Eduardo’s party. At most there is a year in difference, but it is undoubtedly the same person. The picture was taken in 1974. It is unnerving, but it does remind her of something that Artyom told her – that Abbas used to work for Instagram. After doing a bit of research, she finds his full name and manages to connect with the man through LinkedIn. His birth year is stated as 1982.

Over the next few days, Jessy drifts in and out of homes1. Some guy who adores her private pictures, a woman she went on a date with, she has a network of people to use up. For the first two nights, she stays with a girl her age called Liz. The two bought a dog together, but Liz takes care of it. Really, Jessy doesn’t care for the mutt much at all, it’s too jumpy and poorly trained. She avoids any and all sexual advances, ensuring Liz that she’s just not in the right headspace, that it’s too traumatic for her to be able to. Later, she promises. Always later. Jessy does seem unwell – her nightmares get worse every night, and she either wakes up terrified or doesn’t sleep what so ever. 1 Impostor
Result: 10-14

After several days of messaging with Abbas, there’s finally a chance for Jessy to bring up Eduardo’s party, and Artyom. This is why she actually contacted him. For now. His connection to Granger Fine Jewelry still needs investigation, but Jessy can’t bring herself to focus on that for the moment. What she saw at the party demands all her focus. On a phone call, Abbas seems a little hesitant to tell Jessy how to find Artyom, but she insists. She needs to see him.

In a rundown brick building, next to the train tracks well west of Kipling Station, lies Silverpine Hotel. It is a sad place, with a breakfast and lunch café for old people and crackheads to get a stale sandwich. Jessy does as Abbas instructed her and asks the old lady at the reception for Artyom. She gives Jessy, in her chic designer clothes, a judging glance, but hands over a brass key with no room number to her. Jessy’s nicely manicured nails contrast against the woman’s fat fingers where no fingernails can be seen at all. Only raw, red flesh.

Down a set of stairs. Through the nondescript corridor, doors on either side labeled 101, 102, 103, and so on. Room 117, that’s what the receptionist said. Jessy knocks first, then unlocks the door, as she was told. The room is almost shockingly normal, an old flat-screen TV mounted on the wall and a neatly made double-size bed below a small window near the ceiling overlooking a parking lot and the train tracks. Two old, wobbly arm chairs and a side table finish off the room, along with its faint smell of dust and, hm, something else. There is a door leading into the next hotel room over.

Artyom, sitting in one of the chairs, was not expecting to see Jessy. He had been told that someone would come over, but not the goat fucker’s whore. He says as much, openly hostile towards Jessy because of her connection to Tan. However, Tan hasn’t talked to Jessy since the morning of her break-in, despite her repeatedly messaging him. She’s there alone, for herself. Jessy tells Artyom that she needs to understand what happened at the party, that Tan isn’t telling her everything he knows. If it is truth she wants, Artyom confirms, then he can tell her.

He refuses Tan’s explanation as Artyom being a servant or a slave – he does what he does because he wants to, because it is his calling. Everyone who uses his services do so because they want what Artyom can give them. Jessy can take part in that, if she is willing to look at the truth of humanity without balking. Desperate to learn, she agrees, and she is shown into the other room, room 119. Artyom looms behind her, ensuring that once her foot steps over that boundary there is no return.

Chained by his hands and feet to the bedframe standing in the middle of the room, a wiry black man named Simon greets her with a smile. He is naked, with tight curls of hair around his crotch and chin. The rest of the room is dark, cardboard taped over the window and boxes stacked in front of the door and with only a flickering lamp standing in a corner. Garbage bags are strewn about the sides, and the dark, green rug is covered in blood. Jessy is more than a little bit uneased2 by the stark contrast, stepping across the border from simple hotel room into this… whatever it is. Still, she has come so far. She has no choice but to dive deeper. 2 Keep it Together
Result: 10-14

Artyom explains plainly that is Simon is there for the same reason Jessy is – to experience truth and pure humanity. It is pain, Artyom asserts, that is the final gospel, the only path to understand reality. When in pain, humans find their truest essence, and to give that to someone else is a euphoric experience in itself. Artyom gives Jessy the opportunity to give pain, to experience that most human feeling and welcome it into her life. On a small table beside the bed is a scalpel, a pair of scissors, metal pliers, and a large barbeque lighter. They will be her tools.

Jessy takes the opportunity. A pause, certainly, but she knows this is the way forward. Artyom places the scalpel in Jessy’s hand, then guides her through the first movement to place the blade against Simon’s stomach. She makes the first cut, realizing just how easy it is. Simon’s screams of agony and bliss fall upon deaf ears as Jessy cuts a deep wound down to his hip. She likes it. The feeling of control, the simplicity of it, the way blood gushes out of the wound, filling it up like a river.

She sees a reflection in the blood. Artyom, as he truly is, and some other place. Here, but somewhere else. The blood feels like a gate, Simon’s pulse welcoming her to the true depths of reality. Jessy places her hand over the wound, and when the blood gushes over her ring, it burns. Something screeches to a halt, far away, and Simon’s agonized crying becomes a choir of likeminded euphoric suffering. Jessy realizes in that moment that the garbage bags surrounding her are filled with body parts, that beyond the barricaded door lies not the hotel but some other place entirely. She can not see Artyom behind her, but she feels him. There is no disguise covering his broken and rebuilt body in this place.

Snapping back from her vision, her sweet sadism is interrupted when she realizes that Simon is hard, fully erect and begging for more. Disgusted by his display, she grabs hold of his manhood and slices it clean off. A spurt of blood explodes over her clothes and Simon’s cock deflates like a balloon in her hand before she throws it to the floor. With the distraction gone, she returns to methodically experimenting on his body.

With scalpel, scissors and pliers, she cuts off skin, drives deep wounds into his stomach, and attempts to cauterize some of the wounds by burning them into horribly charred scabs. She snaps several fingers, testing different methods to break Simon’s bones until she feels satisfied with the result. She smiles at the twisted Artyom-figure watching her, elated, and he finally decides that it is time to leave. Simon is left bleeding and wailing, chained to the bed, while Jessy and Artyom step back into the calm hotel room. The door to room 119 closes, and Simon’s screams disappear entirely.

Artyom, now again as a tall Russian man, sits back down in a chair. After her experience, Jessy can with ease see why he always looks so off. He doesn’t smile because the mask doesn’t let him. His walk is so twisted because the stakes driven through his legs can’t bend. The suit is ill-fitting because Artyom’s stomach is ripped and stretched. It seems so obvious.

The two discuss what happened. Jessy liked it, and she says she understands why others would too. How could anyone not enjoy that, if they let themselves free? She asks about Elise, saying that it didn’t seem like she wanted the pain. When Artyom asks if that would matter to Jessy now, knowing what she knows, Jessy concedes that it doesn’t. To give pain is what matters, and whether Elise wanted it or not seems to matter less the more Jessy thinks about it.

Artyom knows so much, and Jessy has so much she needs to learn. The woman in her nightmares can’t be stopped, she doesn’t know how to. She tries to explain the situation to Artyom. Nightmares, threats, panic. Jessy is brought so much pain, and Artyom has a simple solution for her. Bring pain to her. That piece of advice burrows deep into Jessy’s mind and sticks. Give her pain.

Finally, Jessy wants to know what Artyom dislikes so much about Tan. That is, other than Tan pointlessly trying to enslave Artyom. He responds that Tan is playing carelessly with powers he doesn’t understand, and it will not end well for him. Jessy asks whether Tan might die, but for Tan, death is only the beginning. She leaves soon after, in borrowed clothes to cover up the stains of Simon’s blood.

On her way back to the apartment she’s staying at, since this morning with a college guy called Evan, Jessy calls Tan. He hasn’t responded to any of her messages in several days, but he does pick up the phone. Seeming stressed and hurried, he apologizes for not responding, tells Jessy that things are crazy right now, and that he will call her soon. She is not given an opportunity to talk before he hangs up.

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Session 5: Transcendence Denied

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 rape.

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Tan drives to a nearby hotel and gets Jessy and himself a room with a view overlooking downtown Toronto from a distance. The snow makes it nothing more than a dim outline, bright spots in the sky marking the CN tower. Tan brings from his car a black sports bag, which contains candles and odd trinkets. He begins setting these things out while Jessy has a shower and cleans herself up. When she comes out from the bathroom, the hotel room is illuminated by candles burning on every surface. A half-circle surrounding a circular steel medallion on the side table, a triangle of six tall candles on the desk, and on the shelf above the desk a sizable statuette.

The figure, in black stone, depicts a man seated on a throne, large hands grasping the arm rests. In place of a head, two large ram skulls look out to either side of him. The being has a large, erect cock sculpted.

Tan is seated by the desk when Jessy comes out of the bathroom, now only in a robe provided by the hotel. He explains with a smile that he follows an old religion, more ancient than islam or judaism, which he learned of while travelling throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was taught the way of the Twin God in old temples and ruins from sages who know all the old stories. He was taught how to always value himself above all else, how to command himself in order to command the world. Tan tells Jessy that his beliefs are real, as real than anything else he knows, and that he wants to share it with her.

The question comes up whether Artyom, whatever he was, is part of Tan’s religion. He explains that he cannot know for certain, but it certainly feels that way to him, that all of it is connected. He explains that Artyom, a ‘razide’, is a slave created by some god, and comes from a hell more physical than Jessy could possibly understand. Yes, Tan was trying to make that creature serve him, and he explains to Jessy that someone like Artyom could be an invaluable contact for a person in Tan’s position. Artyom is dangerous, though. Interesting, yes, but deadly.

Jessy wants to know more, and Tan speaks to her about his belief in achieving transcendent knowledge through sex. He offers Jessy a chance at knowledge like that Tan has, she need only submit to him. Jessy knows that this means absolute and total submission. As Tan pleasures her, preparing her for this, Jessy comes to understand that her choice is between letting this happen and Tan possibly rejecting her completely1. He is sharing something deeply important with her, something frightening. 1 Read a Person
Result: 15+

Jessy isn’t ready for it, she knows that it’s too much for her. She’s by no means experienced when it comes to sex, and what Tan asks of her is completely different from what they did earlier in the day. Still, afraid to lose Tan, she lies and tells him that she trusts him in this. That she wants it.

Transcendence eludes her2. Tan takes Jessy roughly, at times violently. She is held down against the bed, Tan’s hands pushing her head into the pillow to muffle her screams and tears. Still, despite leaving her numb and bruised, Tan realizes that she will not reach the insights he wants to guide her towards. The only thing Jessy can feel is a weight around her head, as if a heavy crown rests uncomfortably on her brow. 2 Liar
Hold spent

Tan listens intently to Jessy’s crying, her apologies, before telling her that they will leave it for the moment. Tan will offer her the same at a later time, he still wants to share his experiences with Jessy, but this is the only way. The candles have all burned to their bases when Tan finally blows them out. One advil later, the two fall asleep next to each other, Tan’s hand resting on Jessy’s stomach.

In the middle of the night, Jessy wakes up from a light knocking on the hotel room door. Tan is asleep. Outside, the city is as dark as the sky. Jessy peeks out of the peephole in the door, and sees nothing but the unlit corridor. The door continues to rattle from the light knocking until she finally cracks it open, expecting the worst. At the end of the corridor, barely visible in the darkness, a woman beckons to her. Jessy follows, dressed only in her panties, bare feet sinking into the carpeted floor. There is something metal underneath the carpet, hard steel digging into her feet, and the moment she realizes where she recognizes that painful sensation from, she falls and the world falls with her.

She does not wake up. Jessy lands face first onto a hard floor and wobbles to her feet, struggling to take in her new surroundings. A concrete room, some bunker or storage, with doors in every direction. Construction lights are strung in the ceiling to illuminate the old crates, cardboard boxes and sleeping bags strewn about. The entire place smells of stale garbage, sweat and mold, a stench that hits her all at once. Jessy barely has time to take in the haphazard heap of moldy, stained mattresses in the middle of the room before the woman seated atop them as if on a throne steps down to the floor and towards her.

The woman is taller than Jessy, young and with a face of impossible beauty. Her black hair flows past both shoulders and waist, and her simple gray dress is contrasted by the glittering jewelry covering her arms and neck. Her eyes show no love for Jessy, or for anything else. She demands to know where Jessy is, yells at her, threatens her. She doesn’t answer to Jessy’s questions with more than a scoff or an insult, continuing her barrage of questions and demands.

She wants the ring, needs it. It doesn’t belong to Jessy, and since Jessy isn’t in her apartment tonight, it seems the woman’s patience has run dry entirely. Jessy refuses, of course, and demands to know what she wants with her and with the ring. The woman gives no explanation, calling Jessy a thief and a whore and again demanding the ring. She makes it clear that if Jessy doesn’t cooperate, her nightmares will continue, and they will only get worse. When Jessy still refuses, the woman lets out a scream of pure rage. All the doors in the room slam open and shatter, a burning hot red light filling the room and swallowing Jessy. She falls out of the bed with a scream and a thud, waking Tan. Tired, he asks Jessy about her dreams and tells her to go back to sleep. She doesn’t sleep much more.

The next morning, Tan has to leave early. They check out and Jessy gets a ride home. It’s not until she gets up to her floor that she realizes that she must have dropped her keys somewhere. Fortunately, in some ways, her door is already open. The apartment is a mess, but not completely destroyed. A lamp knocked over, some glass shattered in the kitchen, and her laptop must have been stepped on because the screen is all fucked. Her bed has several deep punctures straight through it, about an inch in diameter. Still, nothing is missing.

Jessy comes to accept last night’s dreams. That woman she met is real, completely real and with influence in the waking world. She sent whoever, or whatever, it was that rummaged through Jessy’s apartment looking for her. If Jessy wants to figure out what that woman actually is, who she is and how she’s doing this to her, then Jessy has to find someone who understands dreams3. An interpreter, a psychologist, someone. 3 Investigate
Result: 10-14

Jessy takes the goat mask Tan gave her from her closet and inspects it closely. No new insights come to her, but she knows, perhaps fears, that they will.

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Session 4: Let Loose, Have Fun

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 blood, gore, violence and sex.

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Friday morning, Jessy decides that she needs to talk to someone about all that’s happened to her. She doesn’t want to seem crazy to Tan, her friends wouldn’t understand, and she’s already putting so much on Carl. Luckily, she has another option. Jessy has for the past two years been tricking miss Agatha Dupont, a lady in her nineties who suffers from alzheimer’s, that Jessy is her granddaughter. The staff at the elderly care like Jessy, she visits once every month or two. As Agatha can’t remember conversations, Jessy feels safe confiding in her.

When she visits Agatha the tiny old lady is sitting in her bed and looking at the snowfall outside. She comments again and again how beautiful it is. She’s nothing but skin and bones, save her large blue eyes. Jessy speaks softly to her, trying to talk about Agatha’s past, nightmares, and that she thinks she saw a monster. Not quite able to keep up with the conversation, Agatha goes on about how her doctors are putting things in her medicines and how angry her dad got after Korea. It is a long conversation, the two talking past each other at different speeds. At least Agatha seems to be listening, a little. When she finally leaves, Jessy feels as though she has gotten a weight off her chest.

Her nightmares of jumping into an endless abyss to get away from hidden pursuers and Elise’s suffering keep Jessy up most of the night. She spends all morning preparing for the party she is to go to with Tan in the afternoon, her shaking hands firm only when she’s applying her makeup. She flirts a lot with Tan throughout the car ride up to the Bridle Path, and Tan tells Jessy about the host. He’s a film and show producer named Eduardo Sarmento, and the party is mostly a fun little get-together for TV personalities, actors, and some models Eduardo is fond of. Eduardo knows Tan through Cliq, a streaming platform they’re both invested in. When they roll up to the massive mansion and hurry through the snow to get inside, Jessy feels at least a little revitalized by sheer awe.

After brief introductions, Eduardo gives Jessy permission to take pictures and video of the pool, but the rest of the place he’d prefer to be a private space. The glassed-in pool area, with its ‘tribal’ decorations and lush plantlife, is plenty enough for the guests to sit around, swim, and hold private conversation without ever feeling crowded. A bar serves free alcohol, and the atmosphere is relaxed and joyful with nice ambient beats playing from a surround sound system. Jessy feels right at home. She takes plenty of pictures and video, keeping Tan visible in the background whenever possible, though for a while he is off somewhere else, most likely with Eduardo.

Skipping snow day for a tropical afternoon #JustJessy

Jessy drifts around the party in her bikini, drink in hand and chatting up anyone who looks interesting. She sits down for a conversation with an Instagram model, Sasha Giordano, when several men stomp the snow off their shoes in the entry hallway. They greet Eduardo with smiles and spread out to enjoy the party. Among them, a tall man in a black suit. Jessy has seen him before – he is one of the men who came into her hotel room at the Fairmont Hotel to take Elise away.

The man moves slowly, stiffly, and walks over to talk to Eduardo and Tan for a moment. Jessy overhears him presenting himself as Artyom Sokorov. When she looks around, noticing how some of the men in Artyom’s entourage immediately approach the girls by the pool, she realizes that Artyom is there for the same reason he was with Elise at the hotel1. Someone will disappear with these men tonight. Jessy feels a desperate need for another drink. 1 Eye for Detail
Result: <9

Jessy sits down with Tan once she spots him, eager for more attention. Tan suggest the two of them slip away somewhere more private to have some fun, and Jessy almost agrees. She points out Artyom to Tan, and remarks that he looks especially ‘spooky’. Tan finds him more interesting than anything, and invites him over for a talk. If the stone-faced Russian man in his strangely ill-fitting suit recognizes Jessy, he does not show it. They learn that Artyom is there as part of the friend group of a man called Abbas. Abbas, it turns out, is currently down by the pool flirting with Sasha. Asked about his own work, Artyom explains with his thick accent that he offers ‘personal, discreet experiences’ to the rich, allowing them to experience any of their desires. Tan acts interested, but without speaking in private Artyom does not seem willing to give details.

A lot of things happen quickly. Tan reaches forward and whispers to Artyom while holding his hand, that he is the Twins and that Artyom will kneel for him. As he begins to speak in some unknown language which Jessy doesn’t recognize and stroking Artyom’s face lovingly, the Russian stands up violently and in that commotion the Illusion concealing him crumbles to reveal what he truly is.

When Artyom stands up, Jessy realizes that he must be well past eight feet tall. A white plastic, expressionless mask has been crudely stapled onto his face with thick, metal clamps. The suit is ill-fitting: Artyom is much too tall, his flayed body stretched and ripped beyond any repair. Gangrene spreads from his head and down his neck, dried and cracked black tissue. Mid-thigh, his legs have been cut off and rusted metal stakes have been forced into his body and screwed into his legs with iron bolts and wires.

Knee-less, he stomps across the floor with an unnatural gait and punches Tan straight in the face to send him flying half-way across the room, landing against a small tree planted indoors. Jessy can do nothing but stare, unable to parse what she’s looking at but desperately craving more of it2. 2 Keep it Together
Result: 10-14
Obsessed

Artyom yells a threat to Tan and leaves, his entourage leaving with him. Sasha leaves with Abbas, as do two others from the pool. Tan seems to be okay, just a tad shaken. After feigning confusion as to why Artyom attacked him, he is offered some privacy in a small living room to recuperate. Jessy comes with him, sitting down next to Tan in a lounging couch. She has so many questions, especially since Tan seems so calm about this experience. He tries to explain to her that what she saw wasn’t human, that ‘Artyom’ was a guise. Tan knew that Artyom was something else, that’s why he wanted to get closer to him, but clearly that wasn’t a great idea. When Jessy asks about the words Tan spoke to him, he makes excuses about the inability of the English language in expressing what he was doing, but eventually settles on telling Jessy that he tried to make Artyom serve him.

Jessy still has concerns. Sasha was taken away by those people, after all. Tan shrugs and tells her that whatever Artyom and Abbas intend to do, it will need to happen. They can not stop it. Since Artyom plans to stay in Toronto until spring, it will probably happen again. Their conversation inevitably turns to flirting, which turns to making out, which faster than thought possible turns to sex. Tan takes the reigns, playfully dominating Jessy. Her mind stays on the vile creature that was Artyom, even as Tan ravishes her. Rather than frighten her, it only serves to turn her on more. Time disappears while the two make love, and once it is over Tan and Jessy slip back into the pool. They flirt more with each other, and with others in the pool. It is all a very good time, until a scream from the hallway puts the party at a standstill once more.

Eduardo is falling to pieces. Having come from his bedroom, his flesh seems to be ripping and falling off of his body in gory chunks. No amount of screaming, scratching or squeezing seems to help, and Eduardo helplessly tries to hold his flesh together as it shears off the bone like wet clay. Any attempt to help is in vain, and it is not long before Eduardo dies as a stinking, broken mess of blood and flesh on the floor3. 3 Keep it Together
Result: 10-14
Guilt-ridden

Police and medics arrive, and the corpse falls to yet more pieces even as they try to lift it up onto a gurney. A foot, half an arm and Eduardo’s entrails need to be carried off in a separate bag. The police investigate and interrogate all guests, holding everyone there until preliminary lab results return several hours later. They show nothing unusual. Jessy and Tan leave, speaking sincerely at first about the terrible death they witnessed. Tan has no explanation for it, but does not seem too torn up about it. Soon enough, the two return to jokes and flirting, and on Tan’s suggestion they take in to a nearby hotel. Jessy leaps at a chance to spend her night with Tan.

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Session 3: Descent

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 violence and dead bodies.

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On Tuesday, Jessy goes for a coffee date with Andi to discuss her ring and collaboration ideas. Andi admits that she’s been doing her own research about these Granger Fine Jewelry rings, because seeing one in real life made her a little too excited. Jessy allows her a closer examination, and she decides that it was likely made in the late 1970s, before all the legal trouble started for the company. Andi shows Jessy old pictures that one of her friends managed to dig up – similar rings to the one Jessy has, on the fingers of Henry Ford II and Saddam Hussein. She doesn’t know what became of them. She again questions, in her friendly tone, why Jessy would have the ring. She may be rich, but she’s not Henry Ford.

Discussing the possibility of Andi writing a blog about Jessy’s ring, they decide that more research is needed. One of Andi’s friends, Simon, knows a lady who used to work in sales for Granger. Meeting with her could be a great next step. Past this, the conversation turns to the lighter subject of doing a collaboration video about the latest line of jewelry that Andi got her hands on.

The day after, Jessy texts Carl Hunt again, asking what the hotel has said about the outrageous behaviour of their security staff. He did show them the footage that Jessy shared with him, but the hotel assured that those men were not employed security. Obviously worried, the hotel staff will handle contact with the authorities. The men dragging Elise away also remain unidentified. Carl promises to keep Jessy up to date. She expresses her worry for Elise, the girl may well be dead now.

Jessy’s sleep is ruined by nightmares, all week they continue. Always going downwards, Elise’s screaming face as she’s cut into tiny pieces by a razor sharp knife, and the homeless men breaking into Jessy’s apartment to take her away. Each dream inevitably ends with the collapse of reality, everything plunging down into an emptiness and Jessy following. The fall wakes her most days. She can’t remember what happens next in the dreams when she doesn’t.

By the end of the week, Jessy has had quite enough of it. She doesn’t like having to triple check whether her door is locked, nor sleeping with pepper spray next to her, but the dreams have her paranoid. She decides to go down below Toronto again and check out the spot where she saw those homeless men spying on her. She hopes that going there might put her mind at ease. Jessy walks down the same streets, the same corridors of the PATH, all the while unnerved by the begging men and women always present downtown. They all seem to be staring at her.

Jessy tries to inconspicuously spy back at those keeping watch on her. An old dark-skinned lady with no sign, no cup for change, nor any interest in anyone passing by except for Jessy1 meets eyes with her. She gets up and limps her way over, a tired but determined look in her face. Follow me, she demands with a thick accent and waves Jessy along. Startled, she follows. The woman leads her to the same door in the PATH as where she last saw those men haunting her dreams. Conversation is stilted, but the woman has something to show her. 1 Eye for Detail
Result: <9

Jessy is ushered through a filthy, vandalized maintenance corridor and down a set of stairs to an unlit storage room, the TTC logo printed on water damaged boxes stacked on pallets. A few of the boxes have been pushed up to block a door on the other side of the room. Jessy keeps the flashlight from her phone up, trying to take in her surroundings. When questioned on where they’re going, her guide tries to tell her something about the way forward. The vocabulary isn’t quite there, though.

Something moves among the boxes. Jessy stops and tries to get a better look, on edge already and not interested in nasty surprises. No time to pause, Jessy is ushered towards the metal door at the end of the room. Once the guide has opened the door, she grabs Jessy and roughly shoves her through it with surprising strength. Jessy catches the door frame with one hand2, but the woman behind her slams the door shut and she has no option but to pull away or break her fingers. She can barely hear the woman head back up the stairs on the other side, leaving Jessy alone.

A corridor leads left and right, flickering or smashed out lamps barely lighting the way. The handle on this side has been broken off, leaving only a hole to the internal mechanism of the sturdy door. She can’t get it open, at least not without tools. Jessy’s strong sense of direction tells her that she could get to Union Station if she follows the corridor to the left. It may be her best way out of here.3.
2 Act under Pressure
Result: 10-14

3 Observe a Situation
Result: 15+

Ignoring the crude graffiti of six-legged men and hastily scrawled racial slurs, Jessy walks down the corridor, phone in hand as the sound of clattering machinery echoes in the distance. From behind a closed door, she hears what sounds like a poorly tuned radio. Jessy turns on her phone camera then and starts recording, realizing that whatever is happening she wants proof of it. The path forward leads past a set of stairs heading deeper down into the dark. She’d rather not go there if it can be avoided.

Jessy pushes the door the door open and lets her phone camera and flashlight sweep the room on the other side. The radio is playing a strange sermon about pushing through dark corridors and discovering the true face of God. The corpse sitting by the radio has Jessy on her toes as she hurries through the room4. It seems to have been either a break room, or a workshop, or both. She finds a screwdriver and a crowbar, hoping that she may be able to pry open the door she came through. Before she leaves, Jessy spots an old advisory poster, the paper yellowed and partly torn. 4 Keep it Together
Result: 15+

ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYEES

Please be advised that the No Entry signs refer to you. They are posted for your safety, and the Toronto Transit Commission nor Erinyes Security can assure your safety should you choose to disregard this.

The words ‘THEY KNOW’ is scribbled in black marker on top of this paper, tearing off part of it so the writing ends up on the wall. As she walks out into the clattering, noisy corridor, she can only just pick up the sounds of someone or something coming up the stairs ahead. She wastes no time, immediately running back to try and get open the broken door. Jessy runs a long, long while, until she’s certain she must have passed the door. The corridor seems to go on forever and she’s out of breath by the time she finally reaches it. She can see her two pursuers, and hear their guttural screams, though she is well ahead of them. They hobble after her, and Jessy has no interest in letting them catch up.

Working in a rush to get the door open, she throws herself into the storage room from earlier, the door closing behind her4. Jessy stumbles and drops her phone, the flashlight casting a light on something Jessy never wanted to see. Beside the stairs leading up, she mistakes it at first for a pile of corpses. Then the thing moves, and screams, and wails for her to come closer5. Jessy lets out a panicked scream, dives for her phone and rushes to the stairs. It’s not until she’s at the bottom that she realizes that the stairs were going the wrong way. She has run into a place with no lights, no walls in sight, and, once she turns around, no stairs back up. Jessy’s phone runs out of battery soon after, and she is left to wander blind in the silence. 4 Act under Pressure
Result: 10-14

5 See through the Illusion
Result: 10-14

She loses grip of time. Minutes, hours, days, she could not say how long she spends in there. Finally, a sound breaks through the silence – the clattering of a subway train. She runs towards it, and finds a door which she rips open in a panic to rush headlong into Wellesley Station. How did she get there? Shaken beyond belief, Jessy finds her way home before calling up her friends. She needs, more than anything, to get absolutely plastered. She drinks all night, invites Amanda over, and the two fall asleep together in her bed with empty bottles and cans around them. Having company over still does nothing to stop her dreams, locked in an empty endless space with the wailing of that corpse beast beckoning her.

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Session 2: A Hotel Stay

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 abduction.

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Jessy spends a long while cleaning herself off, finding blood under her nails and vicious scratches on her arms. She tosses the mask in the garbage, turning it so she doesn’t have to deal with the enormous goat eyes staring at her. In her heap of new Instagram messages, she finds one of a hand holding a whole bundle of hundred dollar bills. This immediately piques her interest. The person who sent it to her, an empty account with a garbage name, asks immediately about Tan. Where did Jessy go with him? Who was there? A thousand dollars are offered for the information. Jessy tells the person that she’ll tell them next time she sees Tan. After hitting up some of her followers for easy money, selling personal photos to them, she gets ready to head outside.

Spending time with her friends Amanda and Tomiko, Jessy talks about the party she went to and about Tan. She confides in her friends that Tan seems to be into her, and they discuss ways for her to contact him again. After a nice manicure session, they go shopping as a snow storm hits Toronto. Amanda and Tomiko head out in a hurry, not wanting the snow storm to completely bury their car, and Jessy is left at the shopping center.

With Uber down, traffic at a standstill, and unwilling to take the PATH to her home, she calls Carl Hunt, her beloved sugar daddy with a family of his own. Carl organizes for her to stay a night at a hotel nearby1. 1 Impostor
Result: 10-14

Down in the PATH, heading to the hotel, Jessy spots two filthy homeless men staring and pointing at her. When she gets closer, they quickly open an unmarked door to a maintenance hallway and leave. Clutching her pepper spray, Jessy hurries onward to the hotel, where she gets a nice room to relax in. She flirts with Carl over text, sending him more and more risque photos even as he’s laying next to his wife in bed. A banging on her door interrupts it all, with a girl outside yelling for help. After some hesitation, Jessy does let the girl in, who in a panic tries to explain that she’s being chased.

The girl, Elise, is no more than seventeen and clad in pajamas. Through her tears and hyperventilating, she tells Jessy that the men who ran past her door soon after Elise was let in were planning to cut her into pieces. She was with them hoping to make some money by hanging around rich men and seeing where it took her. She warns Jessy not to call the police, because one of the men following her is a police officer. The men chasing Elise come back to their floor, banging on doors and arguing with other guests. Eventually they come to Jessy’s door, and Carl inconveniently calling her phone alerts them that someone is in there. They continue to hammer at the door, demanding to be let in.

Jessy calls security, who to her relief arrive quickly. Relief soon turns into panic, however, as the security officer unlocks the door for the men outside and let them in. Elise, crying and screaming and begging, is dragged out of the room, and Jessy lays into the security employees. She yells at them about how she’s going to get them fired, how she’s been filming their faces, and how she’ll ruin their lives. Nothing seems to bite: they leave, and eventually she is left alone with only blood stains on the corridor carpet to look at. Helpless, she calls Carl and explains the situation to him. She goes to bed, but the vivid image of Elise crying as her body is cut into a hundred pieces stays with her the entire night.

The day after and with the storm subsided, Jessy manages to get herself home. She relaxes, gets drunk, and gets into a call with Tan after a brief text conversation. They chat with lots of laughter, and Tan explains that the mask was from a party game they played after Jessy had gotten wasted and that she hadn’t wanted to take it off. He urges her not to throw it out, but to keep it around as she may grow to love it despite its strange looks. Finally, he invites her to a party for next week, and dinner after that.

She wakes up in a bare, concrete corridor, everything behind her covered in darkness. A loud scream of pain drives her forward, dressed only in her negligee as she runs down metal frame industrial stairs. A gut wrenching emptiness tugs at Jessy, and the entire world falls around her into an endless abyss. Jessy is left standing on the precipice of this emptiness, and something deep down urges her to jump. When she does, she wakes up to another message from the mysterious Instagram account. She’s asked about what she and Tan were talking about, which she answers to immediately. Another thousand dollars are added to her PayPal account, but she receives no answer to her question of how the person knew that she had talked to Tan, or who they are at all.

The only way out is down.
Jessy spends her morning researching Granger Fine Jewelry2. A company founded in 1941 by a French-Jewish refugee and apparently based in Toronto, it made a name for itself by hiring only the absolute top talent and producing their designs for high-end consumers. In the late 70s and early 80s, several criminal investigations lead not only to the original owner Abraham Granger’s death, but massive layoffs. 2 Investigate
Result: 10-14

Digging further, she discovers a self-proclaimed “well researched” poster on a forum claiming that Granger Fine Jewelry attacked and cursed the “puppeteers” that control the world, and that they sent the police to kill several employees of the company to stop them. Jessy, with no other leads, sends a message to the person on the forum. She also contacts Granger Fine Jewelry directly through a throw-away email account, inquiring about what to do about the ring she’s inherited. That night, another nightmare like the last one. The hobos she spotted down in the PATH break into her room, and as she attacks them the entire world falls apart and dives straight down into an endless swallowing emptiness before she wakes up.

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Session 1: The My Gems Party

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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Jessy Button enters the large lobby of a nameless skyscraper in downtown Toronto. On the top floor, she knows, a party for influencers and sponsors of the newly launched app My Gems is taking place. On the guest list is Andi, a fine jewelry blogger and socialite that Jessy wants to get into contact with. Jessy herself, however, is not on that guest list.

Sharing the elevator with a few people, all but one get off on the top floor. Where the gray-suited gentleman who stayed behind is headed, none can say. Jessy expertly lies her way past the doorman and My Gems’ marketing specialist Shrey, allowing her into the party. Several large rooms with tables, couches, a TV showing the hockey game make up the scene. A DJ is playing music loud enough to make every conversation a bit strained, and a wide variety of finely dressed men and women get to know each other.

Jessy heads straight to the bar, as a drink in hand officially makes her part of the fun. She flirts plenty with the bartender William, who takes a liking to her yet still manages to spill her drink1. Some gets on Jessy’s dress, and one hissy fit later she’s in the back of the bar getting help from William with stain remover. At least he promises her that the next drink will be free.1Influence Other
Result: <9

Finally with a drink, Jessy spots Andi and sits down next to her. The two make friends quickly, and she shows Andi the ring she inherited from her mother. Andi knows plenty about it, which is what Jessy had been hoping for. Crafted by the old master jeweler Jeremiah Redwood of Granger Fine Jewelry, the ring is a unique creation and breathtakingly expensive, possibly priceless. She confides in Jessy that she believes the ring serves some symbolic purpose, as every ring like it that she’s heard of has been in the possession of some vastly wealthy and influential person, including the late Rob Ford. There is little enough info on these customized rings, but Andi seems eager to talk at least about what she knows.

As the party continues, Jessy manages to introduce herself to the My Gems founder, David Clap. The man enjoys talking a lot, and she learns at most that he started the project and company because of his own collector’s habit. Still, having a powerful man know her face and name is not without value.

She makes a more lasting impression on a man in flamboyant garb who introduces himself as Tan, one of the bigger investors for My Gems. He offers to buy her a drink, and another one, and invites her to the roof for a smoke and some more talk. Jessy is interrupted briefly by an influencer at the party who recognizes her, though he thought she’d moved away. In reality, she’d simply lied as a way to ghost him2. She makes a vague promise to talk to him, and hurries off. 2 Liar
Hold spent

On the rooftop, IR heaters are making the cold winter night bearable while the floor is shaken by the bass below. Strong-smelling vape smoke is thick in the air, but Jessy and Tan stand off near the edge to share a joint and speak privately. Tan takes an instant interest in her ring, offering up ridiculous sums of cash for it. Jessy, put on the spot, stammers out that she has to think about it, which Tan accepts for the moment.

Many more drinks later, Jessy is invited by Tan into a smaller room on the other side of the building, a glass wall giving a beautiful view of Toronto and the lake. In here, sushi is served from a naked lady on a central table while some man in the corner presents lines of cocaine for those interested. This place is by invite only, and Jessy is surrounded by the rich and powerful and their dull, giggling escorts.

The party rolls along until Jessy realizes she has a glass in her hand with some thick red drink in it. Everyone else has one too. Tan stands up, next to David Clap, and makes a toast to the room. It was all worth it! Everyone, including a startled Jessy who normally doesn’t accept drinks she hasn’t seen poured, drinks3. It tastes like blood. Hiding her disquiet, Jessy accepts Tan’s invite to the after party, which he warns her ‘might get wild’. 3 Act Under Pressure
Result: <9

The next morning, or mid-day, Jessy wakes up in her own bed, covered in vomit. Her head is pounding, and strapped tight to her face with a leather band is a mask of black stone. It depicts a grinning goat with bulging eyes. She at least finds some comfort in finding all of her belongings still on her, including her ring. Shame about the dress, though.

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Character Profile: Jessy Button

This character profile was written by my player, my wife, my immortal enemy: Larissa Kratz. She also provided the art.

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Jessy Button, 22 years old

Jessy Button was born as Jessica Buckle to Victor Buckle and Marie Ericson-Buckle in rural Saskatchewan. She is the eldest of three daughters that Victor and Marie went on to have. Jessica’s early years were filled with a loving, connected family, at least on her father’s side. They spent plenty time with their cousin, Memphis, who was the only son of Victor’s brother, Stephen, and his wife, Jennifer. Jessica and Memphis, being born around the same time,were fast friends, her sisters going only when their parents needed a cheap babysitter. Jessica hung out with Memphis and his stay-at-home dad almost every weekend. Stephen loved having Jessica around, and treated her like his own until the summer she turned eight, when her parents left her and her sisters with their uncle to go on an anniversary vacation.

It was the height of July, and Stephen had filled up the small, faded plastic children’s pool in the backyard. As the other three children played, Stephen brought Jessica into the house with the promise of a present. In his room, on the bed, was a plastic bag containing a small bikini. Jessica’s mother had only ever let her wear one piece bathing suits. It was exciting to get something she had very vocally coveted for a long time, and maybe a little more exciting to know she wasn’t allowed to have it. Her uncle told her than she was only allowed to wear it at his house and that he would keep it hidden for her. But, he let her put it on. Before Jessica was allowed to go outside, though, she had to model it for him, just so he could make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with it. Jessica wasn’t sure, but with the promise of ten dollars, she did it while he took photos. She spent the ten dollars the next day on snacks at the convenience store.

This happened with increasing regularity, Jessica resisting at first, but relenting with the promise of larger rewards. She latched onto his idea and, when she wanted something, would start to offer to model for him. It wasn’t until her uncle asked her to model without any clothes on did Jessica resist again. But, with the promise of a whole fifty dollars, she relented. She was saving up for a new bike, afterall.

The arrangement lasted for years, until, suddenly, they just stopped going to her uncle’s. No matter how many times Jessica asked, her parents offered no explanation, and she eventually just stopped asking. Jessica moved onto other boys. The schoolyard boys never paid as much as her uncle, but she could get a few dollars or a chocolate bar by taking a boy around the corner of the school and lifting her skirt for them. That was a pretty decent profit for an eleven year old girl, or at least that’s what Jessica thought. And this grew, once she realized that as long as she looked pretty, desperate teenage boys would do anything for her. Her favourites were nerds and rich boys. The former because of their sheer desperation for contact with any girl, the latter because she could ask them for more unreasonable things. When the two intersected, though, that was perfection.

In her teens, Jessica started using social media, several direct message conversations open, all bartering for nudes. A unique message blipped onto her screen. Jennifer Buckle, her aunt, sending paragraphs of insults, calling Jessica a slut and a homewrecker. This was how she found out what happened with her uncle, otherwise she might have never known. Her aunt had found the folders upon folders of photographs Stephen had taken of young Jessica, which caused screaming from both sets of parents. Most of her aunt’s screaming hadn’t been at her husband, though, but at Jessica’s parents. Her aunt denied her husband ever communicating with his brother again. But, that had apparently not been enough, even if Jessica’s dad refused to turn his brother in. Jennifer was now attacking Jessica personally because she was older and could understand the repercussions of her actions. She sought to hurt Jessica and make her feel guilty. But, Jessica only found it funny. Hilarious, even. She responded only by apologizing that her aunt was too old for her husband before blocking her. When she told her mother about it, her mother spent the night screaming into the phone receiver at her sister-in-law.

Jessica’s mother was always her biggest defender; whether it be her aunt, or a boy who had hurt her, Marie was there for her daughter. This was, of course, in spite of her prematurely deteriorating mind. Marie never seemed to be able to keep her children’s names straight, would forget she’d placed her glasses on her head, and would often walk into a room and forget what she was doing. Jessica and her sisters always chided her for it, and Marie laughed along with them.

When her mother died, Jessica felt nothing, and she wasn’t sure if that was a lack of feeling emotions, or lack of wanting to feel them. Everything passed in a blur. Police men at the door telling her father of the vehicle accident that took Marie’s life, the people who brought their condolences, the funeral. It all passed as though Jessica was in a stupor. Her mother left her a jewelry box, full of her favourite pieces, most of it junk metal and fake stones, but there was one that caught Jessica’s eye. It was beautifully crafted silver, taking ornate, organic shapes surrounding a large, marquise cut white diamond. The light took to the diamond, dancing around inside it at the slightest movement and Jessica found herself completely captivated by it. That was the first time she’d cried since her mother passed.

Knowing life could never return to how it was, Jessica left home. She’d always wanted to live in the city, the thought of all the lights and glitz and glamour captivated her, and she sought to live that city life she coveted. Her Instagram, having previously been filled with bad selfies and photos from her small town, was quickly overrun to look like the lives of the other girls she’d been following for years. With this came offers from brands and partnerships and Jessica Buckle, now Jessy Button, watched her follower count rise. She began relationships with people in her DMs on Instagram, none of which she was serious about, but all of whom thought they were special to be noticed by her. Jessy sold pictures of herself, nothing too lewd, and prices depending on who she was speaking to. Very rarely did she meet anyone.

Jessy never considered what she did to be dangerous, she felt invincible to harm. Truly, everyone seemed to love her. A few months after her Instagram really started to get notoriety, Jessy was attacked while returning to her apartment, a place she had been a little too open about living at. The oddity in the attack was that they focused on her ring, grabbing her hand and trying to pry it off. For Jessy, though, they would have to pry it from her cold, dead hands. Jessy slipping away and, knowing she couldn’t very well run from men who were taller and wearing more functionable shoes, she took the nearest exit: a window. Jessy spent the next week in the hospital, and another several weeks to be fully recovered. She did garner quite a bit of sympathy from her admirers, though.

Why the men were trying to take her ring, Jessy had no idea, but she no longer felt invincible.