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 elder abuse.
The pendulum of the old clock punctuates Jessy’s every step, the ticktocking of its exact machinery guiding the pace of all things in this place. She is guided down a hallway of closed doors, no names, titles or signs of life other than her and the withered receptionist. At the end, a heavy wooden door states with a gold plate: SOL. The door is opened for Jessy by the receptionist’s starved remains, and she is quick to step inside and confront whoever has orchestrated all of this. The man waiting in the room, tall and broad in a checked suit of brown, greets Jessy with a heavy handshake. He has a sturdy figure and small beady eyes. At the far end of the sizable office stands a desk of dark wood, a massive piece of furniture that looks completely immovable. Behind it, just above the exquisite leather chair, hangs a map of Toronto and all its boroughs. Every road, alleyway and tiny walking path is a thin line on the map, lines which continue past the black, narrow frame and out onto the wallpaper. The entirety of the room’s walls swarm with a myriad of lines, an endless city surrounding Canada’s finest metropolis.
|Jessy has questions, of course. Why was he communicating over Instagram? What does he want from her? Most importantly, though: What can he offer for it?1 Sol explains that secrecy and anonymity were necessary, and he found no better way than to reach out to her in the way he did. They both had to be certain that they could trust one another before this meeting could take place. Jessy is in a unique position to provide insight into the dealings of Tanver Farooq, his hubris and his blindness. She must tell him everything she knows. For it, she will be rewarded with a life of luxury. If she helps Sol with this one problem, Jessy will effortlessly receive fame and fortune. The world will be at her fingertips. Travel anywhere, meet anyone. Be on the frontpage of every website and magazine, or disappear forever to live in a solitary paradise for the rest of her days2. Sol means every word of it.||
Read A Person
Jessy compliments Sol on the offer. He is much better at this than Tan. She will take it, no use lying about that, but she would like to ensure her own safety. Sol smiles, offering a comfortable seat in front of his large desk to Jessy as he takes his own. Beside him is a glass case. Within it, three large white feathers mounted on little stands. The name of Ellis O’Donovan is brought up, a lady whom he knows has taken an intensely personal interest in Jessy. Sol assures her with a nod that the police officer is already taken care of. He clasps his hands together and rests them on the desk, waiting for Jessy to formally accept his offer. If she says yes, all her trouble evaporates.
Impressed with Sol’s no-nonsense approach, Jessy tries to dig deeper. Is he even human? Sol claims so, that he is merely a capitalist of the old guard, but the eerie way his eyes flash like orbs of molten gold when he blinks makes Jessy’s gut churn. She realizes only then that she cannot tell when this man is lying. She can’t trust him, yet just as well she cannot doubt his words. Sol’s eyes see and his hands count every dollar going in and out of his city, beautiful Toronto. He tends to the city, nurtures it the only way proven to work: capital. Every skyscraper sprung up like a mushroom, the new businesses and the old, Sol has a hand in all of it. He is Toronto, and it is for that very reason Tanver gives him such trouble. Sol claims that Tan is attempting to subvert and circumvent this well oiled machine of growth and success. He deals with a destructive power, one he doesn’t understand and which may well bring the city to ruin. She recognizes these words, echoed by Artyom’s derisive opinion of Tan, and after this all she can do is tell Sol everything.
Before they proceed with Jessy detailing her knowledge of Tan to Sol, there is one thing left to do. Sol asks that Jessy give him her wallet. Once this meeting has concluded, she’ll no longer need it. The champagne pink accessory, overflowing with the credit cards of other men, is handed over to Sol. He takes it in his large, calloused hand and places it down on the desk. It instantly catches fire as his fingers leave it, intense white flames engulfing the wallet. The two watch it burn in silence, the light cast reflecting in the nameless streets surrounding them so that they pulse with a hungry glow. Within a minute, only a small pile of ash and a charred mark on the desk is left of Jessy’s wallet. Now she is Sol’s.
Jessy tries, as best she can, to explain to Sol the ritual which they’re due to perform in a few weeks time. Sol’s informants had already gathered that Tanver was planning something, but they do not have direct insight into his research. He holds most of his flock in a vice grip, and they are dangerously loyal to him despite knowing so little. Sol apparently recognizes the ritual as Jessy explains it, or at least understands it well enough to know what the end result will be. Tan has been deceived. There is no great wisdom to gain from the being they are to call upon. The entity whispering in Tanver’s ear, spreading its influence among the worshippers, is no god. It is a mimicry of a god, some wretched demon which holds no love for mankind and is using their little cult for its own ends. It holds power, certainly, but its goal is to devour, not share. When the summoning is complete, it will wreak havoc not only on those involved, but on all of Toronto. Sol speaks about this entity masquerading as a god with utter disdain. It has seeped into the cracks of an otherwise pristine city, and its summoning threatens to undo so much of the work Sol has put in to keep his home and domain safe and functioning.
Of course, he has a solution. Sol opens one of the drawers behind his desk, and the otherwise silent room echoes with a metallic clatter. He places on the desk a simple cloth bag and pushes it toward Jessy, which she takes and opens. Within she finds a collection of large golden coins clanking gently together. They are inscribed with glyphs she can’t read and look terribly old, their edges and inscriptions smooth and worn off. These coins will be key to stopping the demon Tan calls ‘The Twins’ from entering the world. Jessy’s instructions are to place one coin at each of the ritual’s focus points, something he seems to assume she knows about, hidden out of sight if possible. They must not be moved once placed. Finally, as the true name of the being is spoken, Jessy must take the final golden coin and swallow it. That and that alone will keep her safe from what’s to follow. She asks what will happen, but Sol’s simple response is that neither of them will have to worry about Tan, his cult, or his false god again.
Over a glass of dark red wine, Jessy and Sol discuss her personal situation. Now that her cards have all combusted, she needs a way to support herself. Sol smiles and passes across the desk a sleek, matte piece of plastic. Sized to fit in her pocket, it bears no identifying marks. He explains that this will serve as her credit card, her identification, and her membership to any exclusive club or organization she might want to visit. Jessy swipes it up and puts it away without even a moment’s hesitation. She understands, of course, that Sol is in control of the card and what she can gain from it. Still, the prospect of having a bottomless bank account with no accountability is too exciting for Jessy to consider an alternative. She’s already burned her old life away, either way. Sol offers much better rewards than Tan. He doesn’t make promises based on the will of a false god, but deals exclusively with money, the only thing in the world she’s seen work true miracles. Jessy is safe from the police, Sol has given her an offer she can’t refuse, and she has no qualms betraying Tan. There is only one thing left in her life that Jessy has to address.
What does Sol know about Granger Fine Jewelry? More than he lets on, Jessy suspects. Jeremiah Redwood is a dangerous man without a doubt. Sol knows about him, and that he like Tan deals with the filthy underbelly of creation. What they do harms the world. The evil and the supernatural shouldn’t be romanticized or approached, it should be fought and sealed away. Toronto stands proud not because of these fools, but in spite of them. Jessy informs Sol that, once she is done with Tan, Jeremiah is next. She needs answers from him. This is great news to Sol, who thanks Jessy for her continued cooperation.
Jessy doesn’t remember leaving Sol’s office, nor the path she took to get back to Tan’s place. A day has passed, and it seems a good time to call up Carl. When she sweetly asks for help moving into that wonderful new place he bought for her, Carl eagerly drops his work at Jessy’s whim. She brings most of her things from Tan’s apartment up to the small townhouse in Brampton, where she delights in watching Carl unpack for her and organize her things. Jessy flirts with and teases Carl, all in good fun. He truly is the best, helping her out so much. A lot of laughter, a lot of smiles, and Jessy taking note of the little things he compliments her on and the pictures Carl shows her from his daughter’s Instagram. The man is begging to be toyed with.
With her days finally slowing down to a managable pace after so much has happened, Jessy decides to visit the only person in the world she can speak her mind openly to: Agatha. This poor old lady and the caretakers at her hospice are still convinced that Jessy is her granddaughter, and thanks to her Alzheimer’s Agatha won’t ever be able to reveal any of Jessy’s secrets. Her visit begins on a downer, as one of the workers explains that Agatha has been getting much worse recently. She doesn’t speak much or react to others speaking, and her physical health is deteriorating fast. Jessy deflects questions about family and Agatha’s eventual passing, content to simply sit down next to the woman in her room and begin to talk.
Agatha in her wheelchair is a sad sight. Her cold blue eyes are fixed on an indeterminate point in the overcast day outside the window, she’s hooked up to several machines which monitor and maintain her life, and she doesn’t speak outside the occasional groan or wheeze. Jessy quietly tells Agatha about herself, all the madness and clarity. She thinks that she’s safe now, thanks to meeting someone new. She still likes Tan, but feels there’s no other option for her than to listen to Sol. Once in a while Agatha’s eyes shift over to Jessy, bright but without understanding. As the one-sided conversation continues, Agatha gets more animated, asking confused questions in her feeble, hoarse voice about who she is and why she needs to let Jessy in.
It escalates quickly. Her bony hand reaches out and tries to hold on to Jessy’s arm. Agatha is confused and stressed out, waking up from her drug-induced haze to demand answers from Jessy about things she has no right to know. Why does she have the ring? Why does Jessy need to let her in? Who is she? Agatha convulses and falls out of her wheelchair, wheezing and babbling as alarms start to beep around them. Jessy jumps away and takes a step back, paralyzed and confused until the nurses come running to help Agatha. Things move too fast for any sense to be made of the situation, and Jessy is told that it’s very likely Agatha won’t survive the night. New drugs, bed bound, forced to sleep. Jessy waits in the room as hours tick by, knowing in her gut that this is not the end. Her grandmother is close. Time slows to a crawl, nothing to do but watch the geriatric woman’s possibly last moments alive.
|With so little time left and with Agatha apparently connected to her real grandmother in some way, Jessy takes the opportunity to get some answers. She takes off her ring, studies its lavish design, and leans close to the infirm old woman. Perhaps Jessy could put it on her. Agatha’s eyes open, or the eyes that once belonged to her, now golden brown and glaring at Jessy. It’s clear what she wants, she even reaches for it. She wants to come back, to be let in, to live. Not giving her what she wants, Jessy explains to her grandmother through Agatha that if she does not leave, she will destroy the ring. Something snaps in the old woman, and Angela who once was Agatha forcefully sits up and throws herself towards Jessy’s outstretched hand.3 An IV is ripped out, the breathing mask falls to the side along with everything else attached to the frail body. She drops to to the floor, and Jessy with her. Somehow the ring ends up in the elder’s hand, and on her finger.||
Act Under Pressure
|The lights go out with a zap. In the far distance, screams of agony as the tiny woman tangled in bed sheets stands up on wobbling legs and laughs. The machines which kept her alive beep rapidly as something large falls to the floor in the next room over. Jessy struggles to get up on her feet, flailing and trying to take the ring back before it’s too late. Angela catches Jessy’s hand in hers, the claw-like fingers digging into her wrist and bending her out of shape. As the distant scream intensifies and reality darkens, Jessy feels her hand melting under her grandmother’s will. All she can do is beg for her to stop.4 Angela cackles at Jessy’s vain hope for mercy, but does let go. Jessy collapses to the floor again, her hand intact after all, as Angela mocks her granddaughter’s embarrassing display. With a mad glint in her eyes, them and the ring the only truly vibrant lights in the otherwise dim room, she asks if Jessy would like to see her mother. She’s dead, yes, but nontheless Angela could take Jessy to her. Banging, screaming and crying for help from the rest of the hospice becomes unrecognizable background noise to Jessy. With an ecstatic grin, Angela steps forward to grab on to Jessy’s hair and pull her with to some unknown destination, but instead only rips off Jessy’s wig.||
|A moment to respond, a moment Jessy takes5. She catches Angela’s ring hand and pulls her featherweight body down onto the floor. Bones snap under Jessy’s grasp, she’s ruthless in prying open the screaming woman’s fingers. The ring feels as if on fire when Jessy gets a hold of it. She rips and tears, Angela’s skin is fused to the ring but there’s no greater thought than to cause this old hag pain. With a wet sound, the finger is flayed completely and blood gushes out of the gruesome wound as Jessy kicks Angela away and puts the drenched ring back on her own finger6.||
Engage In Combat
6 See Through The Illusion