Object 279

The Holder of Foolishness

In any city, in any country, go to any circus and ask to meet the head clown. If your request is granted, go up to the head clown and ask him to introduce you to "The Holder of Foolishness". He will laugh, and ask you, "We're all a little foolish at times, aren't we?" Demand that he not mince work with you. He'll take you into a small purple tent, within which is a pasty man in a purple-and-red jester's uniform.

Thank the head clown and ask him to leave, but never let your eyes avert themselves from the jester's own, especially not if you want to keep your mind intact. No matter what happens when the head clown leaves and ties shut the tent flaps behind him; keep your eyes directly on the jester's. If you should fail, turn and run from the tent. If you should fail, turn and run from the tent, and pray that you never see another person's eyes again, for you shall return to this tent for the jester to wreak his vengeance on you for your mistake.

When the jester motions for you speak, ask him one and only one question if you ever want the silence to break: "What mistakes have they made?" He will give you a one-word answer, but you must call him on this lie. He will pull out and spread, face-up, a grotesque deck of cards, which you shall see only out of your peripheral vision. Pick any one card, but be warned: you will feel every act of viciousness, every act of rape, every act of horrendous pain depicted on the card you draw. But whatever happens, do not let your eyes leave his.

Before you go mad, maybe you'll have the good fortune to draw the ace of spades. He will scowl, and explain to you every opportunity to destroy Them that has been missed. When he has finished with the story, he will close his eyes and look down in defeat. Allow him to do so, but do not let your eyes leave him. He will lift two pendants, one with a crystal of the most utter black you've ever seen. If you are in possession of the White King's sword, sever his head and take both.

If you are not, or if he has mentioned the quality of it (in which case, it will appear on the table between you and him), you must choose. He will explain that the white pendant brings great luck, and the ability to tap into the very source of His power for your own needs. The black pendant, however, will slowly erode the nerves in your body, inching inward over decades until you lose use of your feet, then your hands, then the limbs, and eventually you stiffen into a human tree. Whichever one you choose, you will be allowed to leave the tent intact with everything you brought into the encounter.

If you take the white one, you will have a great help in finding the other Objects. Of course, only a fool would choose the black one. After all, it's Object 279 of 2538, and you'd better hurry up in finding the rest.