Object 457

The Holder of Vengeance

To find the Holder of Vengeance, you must go to a place filled with both hatred and desire, where people have viewed themselves as innocents being punished. Many places usually fit this description, even if they are not obvious at first glance: educational institutions, prisons, crypts, and halfway houses are the most common, but often even basements of ordinary houses may be used.

At dust, make sure you are in an underground part of the building, with artificially-lit halls. If you have found the right one, darkness should fall as the sun sinks below the horizon, even though it should have no effect on the area logically.

The area you are in shall become pitch black. Wherever you were before, you will now find yourself facing a wall. There will be a hole in the wall, vaguely illuminated and big enough to fit anything you want to bring with you in, but so small that everything but yourself must be left behind when leaving. Climb through and you will come to a corridor made of what appears to be polished, shining white marble. Touch nothing but the lit candle in a holder by your feet. Continue walking until you reach a room empty except for a man sitting at a table. From a distance, he resembles a skeleton, but as you get closer you notice he is humanoid, albeit faceless, dressed in a black robe made of leather. His skin is completely white and no traces of age are seen on him. His one distinctive feature is his long ginger beard.

You must not say a word lest you disturb him. All you may do is hold up your hand, either the right one in a greeting or the left in farewell. This is your last chance to leave.

At this point, he will arise and beckon you to follow him down another hall, much like the one you had taken to find him. At this point, you will realize that the "marble" is in fact human bone, skulls to be precise. As you continue walking, you will begin to hear the agonized screams of the people whose skulls you pass. Do not dwell on them, or you will be subjected to their torture. The man will lead you to the final room and wait. In here, your candle will go out. You will be left in all-consuming darkness. If you say nothing, you will have failed. If you say the wrong sentence, you will have failed. The price of failure is unknown, save for your name being written in the man's book. Instead, you must begin to list punishments.

As you speak, two glowing spots will appear each intense but neither blinding. Do not ponder them. You must speak of nothing but pure punishments for any wrongs, real or imaginary, done unto you. If you stop to breathe for one second, you have failed. If you repeat yourself, you have failed.

If you manage to recite 538 punishments, a hooded figure will appear in front of you, and ask a simple question: "What is the number?"

Raise your fist, indicating zero, then turn and run. The corridors will be shorter than you remember, but do not falter. Run out of the building and keep running. Do not slow down or enter any building until daylight. At dawn, look down and you will notice you are holding a mask with the same beard as that of your mysterious guide, but only in black.

The Mask of Vengeance is Object 457 of 2538. Wear it, and you will never feel the need to ponder your justification.