The Lurk of #theHulls gets lost overindulging on their vice. Picking the Cutter, the player notes on the Cutter sheet the contacts Grace (an extortionist) and Mercy (a cold killer), which triggers this epic background pitch:
When the gates failed, and the known world was thrust into darkness, it could be argued that no archetypal legacy suffered more than that of the knightly orders. The secular military remained, the criminal underworld blossomed like never before, and the collective bodies of natural and supernatural knowledge became the keystones of sanity amid the chaos. The Paladins, however, were strong in sentiment, rooted in tradition, and completely lacking in common sense. The poor, shining twits sacrificed themselves faster than it took the spirit world to realise they’d even existed. In the millennia since, most of them have become no more than ancestral mascots for a certain grasping type of family, who enjoy styling themselves as “Sir So and So, of Such and Such’s line”, but whose knightly virtues fall slightly short of the common tax clerk’s.
One such individual in contemporary Doskvol was “Sir” Hubertus Myebrow, scion of the dwindling Order of the Weeping Rose. As you might expect, Myebrow was iron-grey of hair and full of moustache, however, his resemblance to the Paladins of yore ended there. He was a narrow-shouldered, bandy-legged, pot-bellied buffoon whose only achievements, by the old knightly measure, were to marry a woman far above his station and to subsequently sire three remarkable daughters. Being the token religious sort, he would shrilly proclaim that each daughter bear the name of a virtue he held nominally dear. The first born was Grace. Willowy, ethereal and highly intelligent, Grace learned how to use her looks and poise to command the attention of others from a very young age. She would grow to use this to thrive in a world of petty tyrants like her father. Next, there was Honour, who had the misfortune to have been born with a large frame, a dour expression and a temper that, while slow to burn, would strike white hot when it did. Naturally, her lot in life was to be the loyal dog to Grace’s scheming cat. Finally, there was Mercy, whose birth cost the life of the girls’ mother. Beautiful, brilliant and fragile, Mercy was actually the product of an unholy union between Lady Myebrow and a daemon, whose vicious attentions were brought upon by the secret dealings of Sir Hubertus with a supremely powerful occult society. Never one to accept blame when it could be avoided with bluster and cruelty, Myebrow chose to publicly blame the infant Mercy for her mother’s death. In private, he would routinely pretend to lock her in a cell within the family keep, using her madness as the excuse. In these “asylum” periods, isolated from her sisters and the wider world, Mercy was trained to become a pawn of her father’s nefarious benefactors. Sweet, mad Mercy became a daemonic assassin.
Years went by and the elder sisters received their educations too. Grace, ever the favourite, was taught the arts of statehood and intrigue by an esteemed, shrewd and indebted cousin of high birth. In the absence of a son, and because she was not Grace, Honour was reluctantly given the right to learn the science of the battlefield under the Order’s master at arms. She was just shy of her seventeenth birthday when she was sent to war, and her father never shed a tear. Her record in tournaments and mock melee had been astounding, and Myebrow saw little value in a daughter whose talents weren’t those of the stateroom, ballroom or bedchamber. Perhaps she could die gloriously in battle instead.
The war lasted a long time, but Honour lasted longer. When she finally returned home, she was even more heavily muscled, hideously scarred, and sported the giant claymore of a Skovlan chieftain. To this day no-one knows how she got it, but there are plenty of educated guesses. Upon arriving at the keep, she was shocked to learn of her father’s death at the hands of some supremely powerful occult society. What’s more, Grace said, the assassin was their twisted, hateful little sister Mercy. She had been in cahoots with the blaggards the whole time.
Honour’s temper kicked in. The first thing she did was to forego the name her father had given her. She’d adhered to its knightly implications for as long as she’d been aware of herself. Even in her darkest hour, in the icy north with the bloodwind howling and the beasts gnashing, she’d repeated her name like a mantra against the cold. She’d lived up to it the way she’d been taught that their ancestors would have, and it had kept her alive and whole. Now her father was gone, and along with him, dare she admit it, the burden of proving herself to him. She experienced the desire for vengeance for the first time, and she experienced elation as she was able to give into desire. She named herself after that other virtue called Justice.
Grace ably took over her father’s businesses and trebled his assets within five years. She became one of the scariest crime bosses in Doskvol, feared by nobles, peasants and scoundrels alike. Justice went on the warpath, and together they eventually tore the empire of their father’s shady enemies apart. At the heart of it, they found Mercy. Alone, confused and terrified, Mercy babbled in tongues only a Whisper could decipher. Justice insisted they bring her home for questioning before ending her life. A Whisper was hired, and eventually Mercy’s speech was restored and the truth discovered. Their father had made a deal with evil people, had got their mother raped and killed, and had condemned the product of that union, their baby sister, into becoming one of the Cabal’s tools. Grace, enamoured of her newfound (and hard won) power, still wanted to kill Mercy in the name of the family. Justice wanted to spare Mercy, and burn everything else down.
The subsequent war between Grace and Justice was bloody. The end result is that the Myebrow family and all its holdings are gone. Grace is alive, but is a pale reflection of what she once was, and now uses her opportunistic skills to survive as the consort and unofficial consiglieri of another prominent crime boss. Her memory is long however, and her hit-list is short. Mercy has disappeared into the shadows. Rumour has it that she has become a cold-blooded killer for hire, whose only social connection is the sister who remained loyal to her.
That sister, the hulking, scarred woman with the barbarian chieftain’s claymore, she has found work too. She’s a Cutter now, and she’s changed her name one last time. She now answers to the name Truth.