Object 196

The Holder of Penance

In any city, in any country, go to any prison or penitentiary you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit the prisoner who calls himself "The Holder of Penance". The worker's face will appear calm, but they will press a silent alarm under the desk. Several of the guards will come and seize you, claiming you have been accused of crimes spanning from jaywalking to murder. Do not protest these accusations, any argument or complaint will be answered with brutality.

You will be thrown into a cell in the deepest parts of the building and abandoned there. You will not be in there for long, but it will seem like ages. After an unmeasurable amount of time, a guard will unlock your door and tell you it's time for your trial. The guard will command you to follow him, and you would do well to obey. The path will twist and turn but you must never lose sight of the guard. If you become lost, the cells of the jail will be opened. The prisoners will inflict all kinds of horror upon you, but no matter how much you are hurt you will be healed fully the next day, only to repeat the process over again.

If you manage to keep up, you will be brought into a small room. The guard will instruct you to remove your clothes. Refusing will cause you to be judged guilty on the spot, and you will receive a punishment that only the damned souls in hell envy. Once you are prepared, the judge will place crisscrossing chains on your torso. They will be freezing cold, but you must show no sign of weakness. If you shiver, you shall remain frozen in time, but fully conscious, until the very Earth burns out.

You will be led to the front of the courtroom and presented to the judge. His demonic visage will terrify you, but it is highly advised that you keep your eyes on him. Looking away could be conceived as a sign of lying. He will inspect you, and he will only respond to the question "What did He do wrong?"

The judge will cease his inspection and begin to state the charges against you. He will list every wrongdoing you have ever committed in your life. He will speak of the most minor crimes, the people you have fought with, and what you have done in your pursuit of the Objects. You must remain silent while he speaks, for even now you are being judged.

The judge will finish his diatribe, and ask you for a closing argument. The only thing you can say that will defend yourself is, "I regret every wrong I have done." You must mean this. No matter what the reason was, no matter if the action was justified, you must feel truly sorry for it. If you have already met the Holder of the Downtrodden or possess the Mug of Apathy, all hope is lost.

The judge will then make his decision. If he finds you guilty, then you will join the audience of people that were present for your trial, forever hearing the misdeeds of others and feeling the pain that resulted from them. However, if the judge deems you innocent, he will step down from the podium, shake your hand, unlock your chains, and tell you exactly what went wrong with the Objects and this world. His explanation seems to be simple, yet is so complex that many stay in this courtroom for ages contemplating it. You must not do this, for this is exactly what the judge wants. The judge is, in fact, the Holder, and if you still remain in the court when the chains are needed again, he will break every one of your bones with his gavel and leave you to die. The way out is as easy as grasping the chains that now lie at your feet.

You will wake up inside of your own home knowing that, for the moment, you are safe. After all, you've been found innocent, right? The chains have wrapped themselves around your chest again. They are still cold, but you will not be bothered by them. There's no taking them off now, so you might as well learn to live with it.

The freezing chains you must wear are Object 196 of 2538, a reminder of sins formerly lost to time. When they become warm, danger is near. Pray they remain cold.