Object 319

The Holder of Altruism

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 Altruism". The worker will turn his gaze to you as if you are a savior, and he will bless himself as he rises from his seat.

Follow the worker into a pristine hallway. Take care not to look at these impeccably white walls, lest they erode, decay, and allow the beasts that they keep at bay to break free of their cages and enjoy a succulent feast consisting of your marrow. Instead, keep your eyes locked on the worker's back.

Your walk may feel as though it's taken eons, but do not stop. Eventually, the worker will turn and open a finally glowing white door. Follow him into the howling abyss without so much as a second thought or he will slam the door on you, leaving you to wander the endless white corridor until your body wastes into nothingness.

Your eyes will perceive the room to be shrouded in absolute darkness, but as they adjust you will notice a faint green light begging to emanate from a point far in the distance. You may leave the worker alone to die in this wasteland or you can give him a chance at survival by taking his hand and leading him to the light, though his limping will slow you and his crying may wear on your patience. As you journey, you may hear skittering and scratching but pay no heed to it. For now.

When you near the beacon, your surroundings will slowly change from black to the soft green glow of the light. Out of the corner of your eye, you may see the source of the noise that has been following you. Don't worry; you can stare at the nimble shadows to your heart's content. They're already advancing on you.

If you brought the worker with you, he will crumple to the floor and begin to weep. You can either run off and leave him to die, or you can use whatever weapon you brought with you and fight off this flood of horrific entities for the sake of a man you don't even know. If you should survive, grab the worker or let him stay in his pathetic state until more beasts come for him.

Should you survive, you may eventually reach the source of the light. This spinning orb is the key to finding what you came here in search of. The only way to advance is to grab the orb with both hands and to force it to stop its eternal spinning. Your spin will be flayed and your bones will be chipped, but you will be able to move on. The orb does not care who it maims, so feel free to throw the worker onto it.

Either way, when the orb has ceased its whirring the light that has guided you for so long will fade, leaving you alone in the skittering darkness. The ground beneath your feet may feel loose, as if it may give out any second and drop you into the abyss, but make sure that you do not lose your footing.

When the ground feels stable again and your world has stopped spinning, turn around. There, in a splintered wooden chair, will sit a man silhouetted by a single flickering candle. His side will be cut open, blood ushering out of the wound; his right arm will be singed, and his left leg will be broken in multiple places. He will cough blood as his gaze shifts from trying to nurse his wounds to you. Though he stares at you through bruised eyes, you can feel determination in his piercing gaze. He gives off the aura of a vicious animal at rest. He will respond to no questions until he asks his own: "What have you done for the defenseless?"

If you brought the worker with you, he will now step forward and tell the man every righteous or wicked thing you did for him. If you did so much as one cruel thing to this helpless man and if his wounds from the demons are worse than those that adorn you, the expression on the man across the room will change to a snarl. He will walk over to his chair, and put on a bizarre-looking mask. May whatever god you worship have mercy on your soul.

If you acted selflessly and valued a total stranger's safety over your own, the man will smile heartily and laugh a warming chuckle. He may even pat you on the back. When he tells you that, "You have done well," it is now safe to ask him your question: "How can I help them?"

His laughter and warmth will vanish in a blink, and his demeanor will become very somber. He will tell you how he ended up in his mangled form, what he attempted to do, and his ultimate goal. He will inform you of what you need to do to stop them from gathering, and what you will have to do if they should somehow do just that. You will not like what he has to say; it may make you want to claw your eyes from their sockets and clamp down on your tongue and grind your teeth until it's severed so that you either bleed out or choke. Do not take the coward's way out; face what is to come and save the defenseless from the tragic fate that will befall them if they are reunited.

When he is done giving you your instructions he will limp over to his chair and return to you with something in his hands. It will help you immeasurably in the days to come, but its assistance will come at a grave cost.

The oni mask is Object 319 of 2538. How you use this cursed mask is up to you. If you've faked your righteousness through this ordeal, we hope that its curse erodes you when you use its power for your wicked desires.