Object 313

The Holder of Piety

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Piety". Should the receptionist cross themselves chanting, leave immediately. Do not attempt to ask for the Holder again. He will be observing you carefully from then on, and should you ask again, he will not wait to demolish your being piece by piece. His knowledge of human weakness is astronomical, so do not test his patience.

He'll wait as long as it takes for you to make that mistake.

Should the receptionist give you a solemn nod then your luck has yet to run out. She will beckon you down the hallway to a simple wooden door. From there, she will wish you the best and return to the front. Keep in mind that this is your last chance to reconsider. However, if your wits are about you, proceed through the door.

As you enter the room, you should take a moment to be accustomed to the change in light. As your eyes adjust, do not look to the floor. The Holder is still waiting for you to drop your guard and what you will see will stun you. If at any time, you see the lights come up, shut your eyes tightly and shout, "Don't blind me! I seek the truth!" Pray that the lights die down again. Your life depends on it.

Once you begin making out the shapes of the room, a set of candles will be lit on the far end. The shapes you see gain form as you notice the remains of a tarnished chapel. All the pews are in disrepair, ashes litter the ground, and the interior is painted with blood. Again, don't look at the ground. It will not be much more pleasant in the light and the Holder is still waiting.

The one thing in the church that will not immediately destroy you is the man in a black cloak standing behind the altar. Most notable about his appearance is his gray yet still healthy hair. In appearance, he hadn't aged a day. But in truth, his appearance is deceptive in every way, and that includes his welcoming presence in the room. If your curiosity draws you to question why his hair covers the right side of his face, you will not last long.

Depending on his mood, he may or may not ask you to confess your sins and what troubles your conscience. He is earnest in his request and to decline his offer is much worse for you than the punishments invented in hell. Thus, take your time and tell him what troubles you. For the most part, he is an open-minded and helpful Holder for the time being, so take the time you have now to give him honest confessions. The last thing you want to be in his presence is a liar.

However, he may not ask you to confess a thing. This is most commonly his preferred form of Seeker: the ones beyond redemption. In either situation, he will ask you to come closer to give you his blessing. This is an obvious trap; the moment you set foot near him, you will be consumed by his madness. His being will envelop you in the fires of hell, disassembling you in a methodical manner of a physical and mental level until you beg for the joy of an oblivion that will never come for you. In fact, if you so desire, take a step back just in case.

Instead, ask him, "What do they believe?" This is the trigger that will reveal his true form. His welcome exterior will burst away in a mass of flames and fire. His face will be unveiled under his hair to reveal a bloody mass of charred flesh. The eye socket is empty. But most of all, in the flames you will see his burning loathing as he tells you of every loathsome act, every blasphemous declaration of holy action, and every violation of human nature in the name of faith. He will speak of every violation of human nature in the name of faith. He will speak of every despicable thing that faith had done to him. Through this, you must not look away from his empty eye. As you stare into it, it will feed you his memory and loathing. It will seethe you to the core, but do not look away. He does not accept the weak-of-heart. If his hatred does not reduce you to ashes, you may survive yet.

After he finishes, the flames will dissipate, leaving the church in an even greater state of disrepair. His appearance, however, has not changed. He walks step by step closer until his eye is staring directly into yours. A cold smile will appear on his face as he holds out a cross broken in half. Take up his offer and grip it tightly. Remember his last words well: "I'll be waiting."

Your vision will erupt into flames and your eyes will feel like they are being burned out from the inside. Clench them tightly until you hear the Holder bid you farewell. Be patient; depending on his mood, this can be anywhere from a minute to what feels like a week. When the time comes, open your eyes. You'll be in the nearest religious establishment to your home.

The broken cross is Object 313 of 2538. Serve your new lord well; he's always watching.