They must never come together. Ever. There are quite a few who seem, for diverse reasons, to desire this fundamental law undone. To do so would bring about the unspeakable.

I remember reading that in some old book once. Never really bought into it, but, in light of some of the stuff I've seen recently, I'm starting to believe, maybe, just a little. But, even if it is just all a pile of horseshit, then what I've been doing is fun as hell.

Prologue - Who Seeks the Seekers

I wouldn't call me a religious man... clawing my way over fiend and man alike, killing, stealing, shutting out all else to gather them... yeah, no, not a religious man at all. 'Course, then it happened. And by it, I mean, the kind of "it" that makes babies cry and birds stop chirping and even a Holder shits himself and slinks into an even deeper pit of hell.

Ya see, I was a goddamned badass before all of this, right? Holder of the Nibelung, thanks for the sword! Holder of Guilt, thanks for the, erm, steak, ya know? Tons of 'em, right? I mean, shit, prolly dozens, I never kept count. I did it for the fucking rush! I didn't give half a damn if reality would be plunged into an eternal waking nightmare when I was done or not. Catch my drift?

But, no, that couldn't just keep on happening, I had just gotten done getting these bitchin' castanets, right? I started wandering back home, and I think I was near a church or some bullshit. Not too sure, but outta nowhere, my heart fuckin' stops. I mean, dead stops, as in, I prolly had about fifteen seconds left of life. My head feels like it's gonna split, and these trumpets sound. Now, say whatcha want, but, fuck... those trumpets. Even thinking about them now makes me want to just smile and fall flat on my face and worship... something. They were too damned goodly. For about half a second, that is, before blood started gushing out of my ears. And nose. And eyes, and mouth, and everywhere else I had an opening. Yeah, not a fun experience.

Then it was there. I guess I should call it a him, 'cause of the fact that it had a man's voice, I dunno. It just hovered there, my eyes dripping with blood barely able to see it just fuckin' floating like some arrogant asshole in a beam of light with, I assume, trumpets of goodness blaring in the background, while I'm here fuckin' dying! A long moment passed and my senses, as well as my pulse, returned. I managed to cough up at least enough blood to fill a kitchen sink, I felt lightened. Then I got my first real look at this frickin'... it.

It was about twenty feet tall, and it looked like a grandfather clock and an ankh had a kid. Thing was just twenty solid feet of a cross-shaped whirl of gears, ranging in size from larger than a car, down to the size of an eyelash. None quite touching another one, but all spinning, varying speeds, and emitting this unearthly hum. Not bad unearthly though. Needless to say, I'm flat on my ass at this point, and all I can think to do is scream at it, and my hand grabs the balmung, or whatever you fuckers call it. Goddamned sharp sword is what I called it. I managed to stagger to my feet and keep screaming, asking this fucking thing what the hell it thinks it is, just almost killing me, then floating at me without doing shit!

Then it spoke to me. I heard its thoughts, really, or felt what it wanted me to feel, and saw... the things I saw there, I would gladly jump into one of those pits that you aren't s'posed to jump into, or say the wrong words at the wrong time to a Holder's face than see those sights again... but at the same time I thought I was gonna cream myself... It's like getting hit by a ton of razor-sharp bricks and getting a mouthful of fuckin' ambrosia at the same time. Fuckin' unnerving. I'm gettin' off-topic.

"You presume much, and you know little. The burdens you gather are but trinkets, and greater services have commandeered your loyalty." So, I'm sitting here shitting creamed bricks wondering what the fuck that meant and I finally say "FUCK YOU" and slash my sword out at this thing's torso. Or, erm, big gear, or, whatever. It was in the middle, and it was the biggest part. Next second, I'm lying flat on my ass, my hand is gone, like, from halfway through my forearm up, and this thing is not only unscratched, but is shining brighter than it was.

"Gabriel, sent by the Alpha, and the Omega. Be enlightened, human. The horrors you have faced before are to me as naught but ants to an armored soldier, wielding a hafted spear and leather boots." An' lookin' at this thing, I couldn't really disagree. I mean, even the fuckin' scariest Holder, even them I could push past it, could man it up and just get through. But this thing... No way, not a chance. We just stood there, then, for a while, and it didn't say anything else, but I began sorting through that it had said, and, well, yeah, when divine relation hits you, you don't ignore it. Dig?

So yeah, then and there, on the spot, I knew what was up, and after a few more "words" from it, which I'm gonna keep between me and that fuckin' thing, I understood my mission fully, and then this big-ass stupid grin just sorta crept over my face, right? It gave me my arm back, and a few other things too, really. I'd already been pretty quick and strong, but now, man... Anyways, lemme tell you about this mission... 'Cause it was a fuckin' bitchin mission! Only catch was I had to give up all the shit I'd gotten. No biggie though, they all went back to their Holder and everything's set up just fine to go again. Or something. Grandfather-clock-angel-thing was a bit less than specific on that point.

But man, this mission kicks ass. D'ya know what's even more horrifying than a Holder? More dangerous and, by far, more unpredictable? Man, it's you fuckin' Seekers! Dig it, man, that... it, gave me my very own sword, made out of its body (Handguard is a spinning gear and it sorta looks like an overlong katana. Shit is bitchin'.) and told me that the path to attempt to gather the Objects is both foolish and ultimately futile. He wasn't too clear as to what he meant by "futile", really, but I got what he meant by "foolish", and I liked it. Yeah, slicing all of you overzealous motherfuckers up in god's name, apparently whoever I kill with this sharp-ass sonuvabitch goes directly to him for judgment, just does it for me.

On an interesting side note, I've made it a point to just cruise all around the world and chill in all the local mental institutions. And halfway houses.

I Seek You

The following message was found on the sign-in book in St. Mere Abelle Institution for the criminally insane. Police records have a few spots blacked out and omit to mention that it is written in blood, and in a font too precise to be written by a human hand.

Took me about a month and a half before I finally managed to get a lucky drop-in on one of you elusive motherfuckers. Ballsy motherfucker, just strolled up to the goddamned desk and asked "Is the Holder of Illusion housed here?" Man, I swear my grim almost took my ears. I've been wanting to cut someone with this new bad boy for a while, but so far the only targets I've had have been rocks. Funny thing, apparently rocks don't go to heaven. What are the odds, ya know?

He took the paper, crumpled it, and turned to his left. At least this guy was the real deal. Had his head so far up his ass, he didn't even notice me. I followed his soon-to-be-grass-ass out into the gray, blasted outside. I didn't really know how a Holder would react to someone not "scripted in", as it were, and having never fought one before I had no desire to find out.

My sword, however, apparently felt like being a goddamned voyeur and held my ass a good thirty feet behind the guy, just close enough to keep a good deadly lock-on on him, but too far for him to notice my silent creeping. It's kinda boring when you aren't the one shouting random nonsense to the air around you and praying your ass off that you don't get eaten. Or whatever happens. I need to look into that more, too.

This section, about four paragraphs long, has been blacked out.

This pansy finally runs into a warehouse he'd been standing outside of and makes for the manager's office. Ya know, I am just now coming to appreciate just how goddamned fast ol' grandfather clock made me. I swear that guy was running through frozen molasses and was blind as a bat, 'cause I managed to get into that office before he did and even get the door shut behind me. It was ridiculous.

So about fifty frickin' years later when this slow-ass finally snails his way into the office, he goes to grope at the desk in the dark, right, like you're supposed to? Man, snapping on that light switch was the most fun thing I think I've ever done. Then it got a bit weird.

I mean yeah, the unspeakably-horrific-terror-that-cometh-whence-our-feeble-human-psyches-ought-not-even-fathom woke up, but by that time I'd already opened that guy from the base of his skull down his spine and through his heart. Goddamned sword is all hell kindsa sharp. Bone kinda felt like cutting through Jell-O pudding. "Poof" he was gone, then it's just me and a surprisingly, well, surprisingly-looking abomination-thing. And I'm just lookin' at him, trying' to figure out if I could cut him, and, if so, if I could get out afterwards.

I tested my theory.

It halfway worked.

So now I'm in an empty room, kinda stunned, ya know, whatever, when the first guy just sort of "poof" comes back and starts this transformation, turning into the exact duplicate of that Holder. On that note, I've sword off squid for the rest of my life. So, there I am, thinking I'm gonna have to just keep killing this Holder over and over again for a while, when my sword just starts bein' a douchebag again and has me ram it into the door handle and turn it. Sure enough, there's the sound of a lock being thrown, and, I scramble my ass out of there. I'm sitting in the front foyer of that St. Mere Whatever place again, apparently I hadn't moved, but Mr. Would-Be-Seeker is lying dead with the exact wounds I'd given him, and it's obvious no one knows what the hell happened.

I think my sword deserves a name.

I think I'll call it Goddamned Good Sword.

Another two lines of text here have been blacked out.

I Seek You, Gentleman Jack

The following was found on an unlabeled cassette tape, smeared with blood, which was in the men's room of a mental institution in northwestern Missouri.

They say he's been to the center of hell or some shit. Personally, I'd believe it. Ya don't go and make crap like up for no goddamn reason, ya know? I haven't really heard much, but most people that know anything about him call him "Jack Empty". 'Cause he's empty, he's got Jack inside! Get it? Man, that still makes me laugh. But no, him, this empty jackass, he's my white whale. Call me Ishmael, I guess, 'cause I wanna harpoon his ass good and send him on a one-way journey to the Big Guy.

Only problem is, I got no idea where he is. I mean, I've been staggering around the world for almost two years now, chopping up Seekers and Holders alike, watching 'em get replaced in front of my eyes, before getting the everloving crap out of there. But it's been aimless, ya know, just going where my feet happened to lead me. I guess it helps that I always seem to have enough money for bus fare, or plane tickets. But from what I hear, this cat is good at hiding. Ya know, hiding in places between places, or heading off to some yellow brick road or something. I dunno, really, sounds dumb to me, but hey, apparently this guy puts my old Object-grabbing record to shame.

I kinda wonder sometimes if the Big Guy would make a new personal torment for this guy. Ya know, 'cause from what I hear, he's... Well, he's not a good guy. Not even close. I've never seen him personally, and all the more shame for that, but apparently he's just too gray. Gray skin, gray clothes, gray personality, gray... fuckin' everything. I wanna see if I can get a splash of red to give him a bit of color. Ya know, the more Objects a Seeker has when I cut 'em up with this goddamned good sword here, the more ecstasy I'm in. I mean, one Object is a person taste of heaven for a few hours, but more than that... It's so good that being back here is about the same as going from here to an eternal pit of tortures that no human mind could conceive. Yeah, it's that good up there.

So, this Jack Ass, yeah, whatever he's called, he's my quarry, and what's funny is he prolly doesn't even know I exist! Or he does, and if he does, I really hope he's not scared. I hate chasing people. Especially people that are good at hiding. 'Course, with my luck, I'll finally get some lead on him, only to find out that he's long dead or some shit. That would just burn my ass.

But I've gotten a bit off-topic. You really aren't supposed to let people talk to you once you've started a journey to see a Holder. It's just not safe, ya know? I forgot what you even told the receptionist, or who you're after... and it really doesn't matter. I mean, yeah, you have a sword an' shit, but... hey, isn't that my old sword? Gal-mu... whatever? Goddamned sharp sword, that's what that is.

'Course a goddamned sharp sword ain't no match for my goddamned good sword. Tell the Big Guy I'll be waiting for my reward when ya see him, will you? Oh, and ask him to point me toward this Jack fellow.

There is the sound of sword on sword here, followed by a new voice's screams of pain, then the tape cuts to silence.

An Unwelcome Discovery

The following footage was recovered from a mental institute somewhere in northeast France. Its whereabouts have been kept a secret.

The footage depicts a tall, powerfully built figure stalking around the institute, wearing a black fedora, as well as a black T-shirt and black flared jeans. The picture is a little grainy; but after a couple of hours, someone enters the institute and speaks with the receptionist.

At this time, the man in black produces a sword, seemingly out of nowhere, and cuts the man down on the spot. He attempts to murder the receptionist as well, but seems unable. It is as if his sword cannot cut their skin. After a few moments of this, he seems to grow agitated and thrusts his blade in the air, parallel to the ground, at about waist height, before turning it 90 degrees, as if unlocking an invisible door.

It is at this point that he does indeed step through an unseen portal and is gone. About two minutes later, police arrive on the scene.

The receptionist that was attacked gave the police a full recounting of the story. Redundant parts have been omitted.

I didn't even notice him, really, until the man walked up to my desk and asked to see "the Holder of something or other". I had no idea what he was talking about, but before I could say anything, the guy wearing black came into my vision and cut the guy from shoulder to hip, and I watched him fall to the ground, blood going everywhere. I lost sight of the poor guy as he fell down, the desk obscuring my view, but the black-hatted murderer screamed out something about the man not having any "objects" or something. He seemed especially angry about that.

I won't ever forget his voice. It's like someone who's obsessed with finishing a job but can't see to find the tool they need. It was cold and bitter. After that, he turned to me and cut at my face. When his sword hit me, though, I didn't feel anything, and he hacked at me again and again, screaming "Why the fuck won't you cut you sack o' shit! I've cut down tons of Seekers and you can't hurt one fucking girl!"

At some point, I managed to stab him in his arm with my letter opener, but I swear the wound closed up as fast as I pulled the blade out. No blood, nothing. He didn't even seem to notice. He told me to quit my job and work somewhere else, for the good of my soul or something.

Finally, he used his sword like a key, on thin air mind you, and stepped through the "door" I guess he'd unlocked, and then he was gone.

So was the man's body, although I'm positive that no one touched it after the black-hatted man cut him down.

A letter was found by the police and confiscated. Written on it in blood and in a font too precise for human hand it reads "Asshole, I Seek You."

Some Holders Won't Submit

I finally fucked up. I mean, ya know, kinda bad. I've been at this for a while now. In fact, last time I checked, I haven't been aging, like, at all. But that's not what I'm really worried about.

It had, of course, been a long night. It seemed that it was also going to be another long and uneventful day. I had also, of course, been slightly drunk. It was as I was strolling around a nuthouse somewhere in the States, that I sorta began to notice, upon retrospect, that my emotions were getting kinda fucked up. Not in no sissy ass "cry my eyes out" way. It was weirder than that. I hadn't felt fear in a long ass time, and whenever I should feel fear (ya know, when some of the stronger Seekers or Holders managed to fight back) I instead felt rage. Rage and a kind of sadistic glee. It was fucked up, but I liked it.

But, as for my up-fuckery, some dipshit decides that, today of all days, he wants to see "The Holder of Submission". Now, understand, I don't know much about any Holders I didn't go to personally, but I'd heard that this Holder was a tough nut, ya dig? But whatever, I mean, I can't get scared, right? So, I manage to sneak down behind the two as they make their way through a goddamned maze, and, as always, they don't even come close to spotting me, even as I manage to squeeze through the door behind him and roll to absorb some of the shock of the fall, before scrambling to a pillar behind him and crouching low, not making a sound.

Now, that king dude up there on the throne. I guess he was the Holder, but damn. He looked like a beast. Very like a beast. I let the Seeker do the appropriate series of question-and-answer before instantly slipping from my hiding spot and taking off his head at the neck. His body and soul were both off to eternal judgment before it came close to hitting the floor. 'Course, now I gotta deal with this guy. And damn, yeah, he's a tough sonnuvabitch.

He was on me, cutting with his own sword before I even finished my cut through the would-be Seeker. I don't know how I managed to parry that first blow, to be honest. My arms both went numb from the force and I felt myself go down to one knee. Ya know what pissed me off the most though? That fucker was only using one hand! He wasn't even trying!

Now, I'm not slow by any means. I can run through the average person's field of vision and be out of it before their eye has time to register the fact that I'm there at all. Although, my fuckin' shoes aren't so hot-lookin' afterward. Yeah, by the time I've gone more than a few steps, I'm fuckin' barefoot. Pain in my ass, don't doubt it. Anyway, I'm not weak either. Ya know, this sword and ol' grandfather-ankh did a good tune-up on my body. As far as I knew, even Holders weren't too much to be worried about.

And this guy just totally bested my ass with one hand. That made me mad. And giddy. Which meant that I was scared. I flew into a frenzy then, slashing and stabbing a hundred times, and each one, he picked off with his sword at the last second, not so much as a cut on him for all my efforts. Then I felt a hot burn on my chest as his sword exploded out of my back. That was not a fun experience at all.

I woke up at a church of all places, and didn't have a scratch on me. The priest seemed kind of shocked to see me there, sprawled out on his office desk, when he walked in. But I didn't really notice him as I pushed past him and left. I was pissed. And that meant that I should be scared. I just kinda wish I could be.

I Love the Smell of Cinereal in the Morning

It's been a week since I got cut open by that Holder. I've found out that I can get into any church, of pretty much any faith, I guess, without so much of a question. They feed me and even let me sleep there for as long as I want. No questions asked. And I mean, it's like I own the goddamned place, priests always referring to me in respectful tones and asking if I can teach them anything.

I kinda doubt that those pious bastards would be interested in anything I have to say, though. So I really don't say anything other than "Food" or "Sleep". I figure the less I say around them, the better. Dig? I've sort of gotten used to the fat that my sword isn't there when I don't need it, and just sort of springs into my hands when I want it. It's a sweet gig, really, and I've pretty much gotten over the annoyance of getting gutted by that fucking Holder.

I really have a hard time staying on topic. I read some shit while I was perusing these old books some Jewish... synagogue? Is that the word? Had.

Legion. That's a badass-sounding name if ever I heard one. So, I managed to learn a bit more about this Legion fuck. I swear, as I was reading, the edges of my mouth were looking hungrily at my ears. Shit was that good.

Apparently this Legion fuck and some other fucker, two dumbfucks that I don't give half of a gnawed-on rat's ass about, mind you, used to be just regular fucktard Seekers. Right? They, also put my goddamned record to shame. I fucking swear, I poured sweat, blood, and tears out by the buckets to get my ten Objects, and people like fucking Asshole and Dumb & Dumber here are out getting 'em by the truckload. That brings my piss to a boil.

Have I mentioned that I suck at staying on-topic? Yeah, anyways, those two are actually linked to Asshole. Jack Empty. Just saying that name makes me kinda salivate a little. I bet he has so many damned Objects that the Big Guy will invent a new paradise for me killing him. I read some more, and apparently, this fucker had a kid. Poor kid, amirite? I don't know shit about him, but Jack, yeah, apparently he's alive and kickin'! I think I managed to pick up his scent, so to speak. I don't know why, but my gut's telling me that I'm close. 'Course my gut's so fucked up most of the time that "Close" is prolly in fucking New Zealand. Or some shit.

So, I've started walking. Just popping in and out of nut houses recently, just hoping to catch a glimpse of this elusive motherfucker. I read he also moves pretty quick. Quick enough to leave an afterimage. I need to try that some time.

One day I hope I might meet a man. He'll have gray hair, gray skin, and a gray suit. He'll be smiling a little too wide, just enough to make me thing something's wrong. Then I'll see the eyes; the cold, dead, hollow eyes, and I'll know he's damned.

Symphony of Hate and Rage

I fucking found him! Jack Empty, my quarry oh-so-elusive. I woulda pissed myself, really, if I was a normal person. They weren't lying about how that fucker moves. I mean, I can easily follow his movements, he doesn't move too fast for that, but he is still one quick sonuvabitch. However, I didn't want to rush headlong into something I had no idea about, so I sorta... trailed him. Bastard finally turned down an alley, and, well, I really couldn't resist.

I don't know how, but I lost sight of him... he just fuckin' vanished, I guess. I don't know, but I figured he couldn't have gotten away, so I head down this dark-ass alley. Yeah, not so smart, I know, but, hey, I saw my white whale, and goddamn it, I intended to do what needed done.

Then someone fucking flew out of the darkness at me. I didn't even have time to get a good swing with my goddamned good sword at it before it crashed into my ass and knocked me back a bit. After a moment, I figured out that the damned thing was a corpse. And a cut-ass-up one too.

"I felt you coming," he said. Now, I've heard my share of Holders speak before, but, holy fuck! This guy's voice could make a goddamned rock piss itself. In fact, only ol' grandfather clock was scarier than that. But that's on another level entirely, so it's really not worth mentioning. Then this sonuvabitch pulls out a sword. It was an old sword, scratched and dented worth shit, the kind of sword you see in a museum.

"I've known about you. I always know about the things They do. You pompous bastards with your good books and false hopes, the worst of -" Now, I didn't like this guy before. But no one, and I mean, motherfucking NO ONE calls me pompous! So, naturally, I cut his fucking head off. Or, rather, tried to. Guy's weaker than me, by a good amount, but, ya know, I've never really trained using a sword. I just cut things and they die. Not this motherfucker, no. He knew what he was doing. He managed to get the tip of his sword under mine and let it slide just off the mark, inches away from his damned neck. But, even so, I guess you could call it an even match. He couldn't really block any of my swings, 'cause, ya know, I'm stronger than fuck. But his damned prissy-ass little parries were doing the job. Anything he tried, I was more than quick enough to get my sword in the way in time. It went on for a good goddamned long time, and that fucker was taunting me nonstop, but, eventually, I fucked up.

His sword managed to run down the back of my blade and over my handguard... he got the back of my hand real good. Funny thing, that didn't hurt at all. But, I guess losing all the tendons in my hand, well, not so good in a sword fight. No blood or anything, and, well, as soon as his sword was out of my hand, my wound closed up. Like, as if it weren't there at all. Trippy, no? Anyways, my sword's on the ground and this Jackass is just glaring at me with those... eyes. Well, the next few seconds kinda sucked, 'cause, well, yeah, he put a good fifty or so holes in my body. But, like I said, well, none of 'em hurt or anything, and, well, he seemed kinda... confused... that he couldn't kill me, but was, rather, making quickly-healing swiss fucking cheese out of my body.

So, after a good bit, he yells something and stalks over to my sword, and reaches his sword over top of it. I could tell, ya know, he wanted to destroy it, but it was more than that, you should have seen the hate on his face, let me tell ya the guy's freaky enough smiling but this... He yells out something in some foreign language, like Latin or some fuck and drives his sword down. The instant his sword touched it, well, shit got outta hand. Ol' grandfather clock showed up, or something. I really couldn't make much out because there was that light. I mean, bright as fuck, but it felt good to me. And, then it was gone.

Fucknut was lying there on the ground, screaming like all hell. I stood up then, and got my sword. Now it was my turn, ya know. Only, I'm willing to bet that all it's gonna take me is one good hit with this baby to finish him off nice and good. I was just about to test that idea out, right, when he looks up at me. Well, let's just say that solved the mystery of what the light did. Just goddamn ash where his eyes should have been. Like, not a damned trace left of 'em, and I could see clear up to the other side of his head. That, well, gave me a moment's pause. Apparently, that's all this asshole needed.

I don't know how he did it and I don't know how the fuck he moved so fast. It was all over in an instant, but when he was done, he pushed me back to the ground, having clawed, or rather, plucked out my right eye. This fucker laughing all the while. Then, get this, he shoves my eye into his socket, rolls it around in his head, and the next thing I know it's all dead and gray just like his old eyes.

And then, well it fucking started to hurt. Bad. And, well, look, call me a chicken-puss, or whatever you want, but I fucking ran. I ran so fucking far away. But the time I stopped running, I think I was in another state.

An', well, now I know how to hunt the bastard. I'm quite sure I could find him again if I had to. Thing is, my eye still hurts. All the damned time. And my sword changed too. Kinda minor, I guess, but the hilt, well, the wrapping on it used to be white, but... well, it's gray now. Although, I did get this bitchin' eyepatch. And, well, I found this dojo, right, and I've started training.

See the Past, Be the Present, Seek the Future

"Jack Empty". That's all I've really been worried about the past two years. Fucker is hell kindsa scary, right? In case I ever forget that simple fact, all I need to do is put my hand to my right eye socket and feel the eyepatch there. Then, I get all pissed off and giddy. That's the surefire sign that I should be scared. All I've thought about for the past two years is his soulless punkass, and what I'm gonna do to him when I find him again. Oh, I'm gonna cut his ass 'til he bleeds. Which is gonna imply a lot of cutting, since that bastard don't have any blood.

Two years ago today, that fucker ripped out my goddamned eye, and every day the pain reminds me of how bad I lost. No more, though. Two years, I've been training at this dojo. Mizuchi-sensei, that's the guy that runs the place. He's old and Japanese, right, and all fuck kinds of good with a sword. I haven't told him much, dig? Just that this guy really whipped my ass using some kind of fancy, prissy-ass fighting style. He recognized some of the moves I was able to emulate from that empty asshole, and told me it was called Fencing. So, I offered to pay him a good chunk of cash (I seriously have no idea where this money comes from, there's just always enough in my wallet. It's bitchin'.) to teach me how to fight.

That was two years ago. In the time I wasn't at the dojo, I'd go to any nut house within walking distance, ya know, to see if any idiots tried to snag an Object, and in all this time, I've only had one. And he was a scrub Seeker, going after his first Object. Pissed me off. Anyways, ol' Mizuchi-sensei, right, he is one of the few people who's ever seen my sword and lived, dig? He seemed intrigued by it, but nevertheless started teaching me some old-ass style called "Iaido".

I've learned all I needed to from old man Mizuchi. He's a good man, and quite skilled at what he does, and I think I will miss him. But, ya know, I have unfinished business. And I haven't butchered a Seeker in a long, long time. I'm starting to get withdrawals, I think. Or some shit, I dunno, I just wanna kill the hell out of someone. So, I started walking.

I don't really know how I wound up where I did, but I think it used to be someplace called... Age Industries, or something. "Keeping us better" was a slogan I noticed a few times. Thing is, the place was all surreal. It looked blasted, like, a fucking war was fought in it, but that wasn't all I saw. I don't know if I was seeing the past, or the future, or if someone just spiked my coffee, but I saw, kind of see-through, and kind of slow-mo, people going nuts in there, killing each other with their bare hands and popping each other's heads like fucking watermelons. It was grisly, and it made me pissed. And giddy. I'm not sure what the place really looked like, 'cause all I saw were walls covered with blood and gore and... god knows what else.

I still don't know why I kept walking in there, but I found my way to a janitor's closet. Don't ask me why, I think my sword was being a douchebag again and dragging my ass where I didn't want to go, but anyways, I finally went into that closet. Inside, there was a corpse... well, that is to say, I saw a corpse. And I also saw a computer. I'm decently sure nothing was in here, but, well, I think my sword was letting me see the past... or something. It can be a real dick sometime.

Well, on that computer, there was like this... horror story, I guess you'd call it. Project 538, I'm gonna keep a note of that name. Then I got to the part about Jack. I almost cut the computer in half on the spot. Was there anything this asshole wasn't responsible for? I managed to not shred the computer and kept reading, finding all the research this guy had done. A few more names I intend to remember and look into later: Edo Edi Essum, Infectus, even that Legion bastard again. This is a lot to mull over, dig? But first things first, I'm gonna go after old Jack again. Only this time, I know what the hell I'm doing... and my goddamned good sword here has taught me a few more tricks of its own.

A Dangerous Mistake to Make

The following document was found printed seventy-seven times in a public library's printer, entirely in blood. The font doesn't match any of the fonts in the library's computers.

Started out like any other day. Cruisin', lookin' for whatever I happened to find, and even popped in and out of a nuthouse. Nothing. Whatevs, it's no biggie. So, I nip off to some bar and decide to head my happy ass inside and get sauced outta my skull. Hey, a bottomless wallet never hurts when you're wanting to get roaring drunk.

Just as I was shoving some idiot outta my way at the front of the line, the moron in front of me asks to see the Holder of Quintessence. Oh, what the hell, I finally think I get a day off and this asshole ruins it. What-the-fuck-ever. Bouncer does his part fine, staring this moron down like the moron he is. I need to remember to go compliment that bouncer later. Anyways, old ass-for-brains goes back to his house and, of course, doesn't even see me zip in before him. It's whatevs, I'm used to it by this point. The place looked fucked up as fuck though. I'm pretty sure the walls were made of blood vessels or some such shit. And this damn cat just sat on the table, which, by the way, had seventeen legs, none of which touched the ground, and stared at me, without blinking, with eyes about five times bigger than they should be. I was pissed off already, but that just pushed me over the line and into rage.

Anyways, when grandpa McMolasses-ass finally slows his in the house (I really need to learn to slow down my perception when I'm doin' this shit, but I'm afraid I'd lose my edge) he runs off to his bedroom, screams a few times, and I hear him sit down. Next was the fun part. I went in there and just stood behind him. He was sitting at what I think was a computer desk once, but now it was a nice big ice cube. For the entire hour, I just stood behind him, made sure he knew I was there, but he didn't dare look. Pretty much the most fun I've ever had.

That's when the knock came. So, I sauntered my happy ass off to the front door (That fucking cat was still there and was telling whoever was interested how much it hurt. I'm pretty sure it was shitting out its intestines.) and as soon as it opened, I started giggling and my hand was gripping my goddamned good sword so tight my fingers were totally white. Giddy and mad. Not a good sign.

To this day, I can't describe what that thing looked like. I can remember it more clearly than anything, 'cept ol' grandfather clock and mebbe Asshole. It came in, ignoring me, and walked straight into the other room. A scream and a gurgle later, and the Holder and I were alone. He apparently didn't like people who deviated from the script.

Then he came back out, dragging the unlucky would-be Seeker with him. That's when I realized that this fucking Holder stole my goddamned kill! No taste of heaven for me! That asshole! I was on him as soon as I realized it, about to cut him so good.

He didn't so much dodge, as he was simply nowhere near where I was swinging. It's like he knew what I was gonna do before I did, and reacted faster than I did. Bullshit. That went on for a little bit, before his ass-bitch started talking. I've never had words physically hurt, but these did. Fearlessness doesn't help when a fucker can shred your brain from the inside with nothing more than a few words. (If I can even call what it was saying "words").

I remember falling down after a good thirty minutes or so, then this fucker just ripped my skull right in two, and before it could even start healing, I'm decently sure it took out my brain. Bitch move.

I woke up at 2:00, lying under this douchbag's bed. Things didn't seem right... And then I knew. That fucking Holder did me, and not the Seeker. I didn't realize that could even happen! Been a while since then, and I gotta tell ya, nothing's ever made more sense to me in my life than things do now. I can tell ya what you're gonna say before you even do, just by the look on your face. I've predicted three accidental deaths so far today, and the thing is I don't even realize that I'm doing it. My fucking brain's turned into as big of an asshole as my sword, doing shit behind my back better than I should be able to.

Though, now, I figure, why not go and get a few more Objects? And kill any Seekers I find along the way...

Damn, life just makes so much sense sometimes.

What Good This Hunger

The following recording was taken at the Saint Louis police department as part of a routine procedure. The suspect in question was brought in with a blood alcohol level of .38. The file has been confiscated by government officials.

I'm just so fukkin' hungry, man...

A female's voice cuts in here, the officer who brought the suspect in.

Sir, you were arrested for entering a convenience store and eating the better part of their entire produce section. I find it incredibly hard to believe that there is any way you are still hungry. In fact, how you're still alive is well beyond me.

The suspect's voice begins once more.

Look, hon, I don't know how I'm this fucking hungry either. Took you fuckers a good while to get there too. But, damn, I'm tellin' ya, I don't know what that fucking Holder did to me.

Oh, and don't bother asking me what a Holder is. I don't feel like tellin' ya, 'cause you'd throw me into a psych ward and I'd start hella fast in there. Though, come to think of it, that might speed up the process a little, ya dig?

There is a pause here, then the sound of the suspect vomiting, followed by a loud belch.

Fuck, wouldja look at that? Shit ain't even digested a bit. I swear to god, that's like, whole bites of food... how long have I been here? 'Bout an hour, wouldtcha say? There's no way this shit shouldn't be mush by now... That don't make no sense, dig?

Shush, toots, I know you're gonna say something stupid and I'm not in the mood to hear it. I can tell by the look on your face. You're about to call in some more security to restrain me. You're beginning to feel uncomfortable. You are suddenly afraid of me. But, you can't seem to move. You haven't felt this scared since you were fourteen and your mother died. You were there, with her, when that lunatic shot her. Then you knew, you couldn't let that happen to other people, you had to keep people like that, like me, off the streets.

Now you're wondering how I know all of this. God, really, I couldn't tell ya myself. It's like I can hear your thoughts. No, that's not right. I can see them. I can smell them, taste them, and feel them. Fuck, I'm experiencing your thoughts in ways I didn't know I even could. I guess I've never really studied a person this close before. Hold god, how scared you are. But, you know, the worst is yet to come. I finally figured out how to make this hunger go away.

There is the sound of a chair scraping across the floor, the suspect standing up.

Please don't fight it, Amy. I'm gonna send you to be with your mom soon. She's waiting for you too. I've seen her before, when I kill a Seeker. She's there and happy. And you'll be with her soon. I can tell. I'm sorry, but this is going to hurt more than anything you've ever felt. Tell your mom you love her when you get there. She misses you.

After a few moments, loud crunching sounds commence and the arresting officer begins whimpering. After nearly a minute of this, the whimpering stops and loud slurping sounds begin.

Note: Officer Amy James was found in the St. Louis police department's interrogation room, her skull split open and her entire brain missing. Security reports that the suspect she had been interrogating never left the building, but has not been found. It is not known how he managed to escape the premises.

Filthy Angel

The following audio clip was found copied six times onto a CD, labeled "Asshole, I'm Waiting.", written in blood and in a font too precise for human hand.

So, there I was, minding my own fucking business, chillin' and, of course, slightly drunk. Then, outta nowhere, I feel this pressure on my back, right, and this fucker says something along the lines of "Howdy, shithead. The gun's called Ballista an' most o' the time the Boss calls me Filth. Don't move, by the by."

What the fuck did I do to this dipshit, kill his dog or something? Whatever, I was about half a second away from turning around and giving him a one-way ticket to god, when he decides he can't keep his trap shut. "I wouldn't try that if I were you. The Boss made this gun for ruining shits like you. It prolly won't be doin' much killin' but it will burrow through you real good. Drive ya crazy. Trust me, 'taint pleasant. And I'd rather not drive ya mad, boy; 'tis me opinion you're doin' the world a bloody service. But the Ol' Boss ain't to fond o' it." Then it sounded like he took a swig of something, and I smelled some pretty strong booze coming off him.

Whatever, I didn't really believe this old bum's nonsense, but I was bored outta my skull, so I decided to play along. I put on my best "yes sir, right away sir" but the lunatic rolls his eyes and fires his gun at a nearby trashcan and suddenly the thing is riddled to all hell with bullet holes.

"See, shithead? Come on, neither of us needs the other dead so let's just hit the local pub, have a talk."

As I was getting more smashed than I care to admit, this fucker tells me that Asshole sent him. You have no idea how close I came to killing him then and there, but what good would killing him do? Might as well play along and hope he leads me to Asshole again, right? This fucker tells me that Asshole wants me to stop killing Seekers, and to give up my goddamned good sword.

I told him to do something rude to himself with a metal rod. In hindsight, not the wisest of decisions, but, hey, I was sauced, alright? Get off my ass. This nasty-looking fucker don't even miss a beat, just goes right on, tellin' me that ol' Asshole is gonna send two more of his cronies after me, right? One of 'em, he says, is gonna be able to shatter my soul with a word. And the other one, well, when I told him I didn't think I could die, Filth just laughed.

"I wouldn't be worried about dying, shithead. If you meet Whitehall, dying will be the last thing on your mind. Can't die if you were never born, can you?"

I doubt ol' grandfather clock would let something like that happen to me, but anymore, since that Holder got me, I'm not too sure. Doesn't really matter, as far as I'm concerned. I turned back to this nasty-ass fucker and asked him why the hell he was working for Asshole. He told me that, if he had things his way, he'd be there to kick Asshole's corpse when I'm done with him.


"Good news, Greg. I think I've got a lead on this guy."

For two years, I'd been on this case. A real pisser. Several leads, and all dead ends. It started with a message found on an sign-in book in the St. Mere Abelle Institute for the criminally insane. Not your average message, that's for certain. Average messages usually aren't written in blood.

"You mean that?"

That's Greg for you. Dense as a bowl of porridge and a crate of bricks. This is why I'm the one behind the desk.

"I certainly do. The Black Slasher. You know who I mean?"

"The one who kills people in mental institutions?"


The Black Slasher. That's what we call him. Every week we've been getting reports from police all over the country. He stalks the reception areas of halfway houses and mental institutions, all over. And the worst part? Nobody knows where he'll strike next. That's the catch. He just seems to show up in any city, in any mental institution or halfway house he can get himself to. I swear, I've ground my teeth down to nubs trying to track him down. But I've finally got something to work with. Something I can sink my teeth into.

"What's the lead, now?"

"Anonymous tip. The confidant wants me to meet with him tonight."

This feels like it will be my trump card. My ace in the hole, if you will. Yesterday I'd been pouring over the evidence so far. Recordings, documents, recovered security footage, the documents written in blood, I might add. When I got a call. Guy's voice sounded strained, but he said he had valuable information on the Black Slasher.

"I'll come with you. Provide backup."

"Sorry, Greg. He wants me to meet him on my own."

Frankly, it left me suspicious. And rightfully so. I'd rather not end up like Amy James from the St. Louis PD. Poor girl's skull was split open, and that kill-happy thug somehow managed to escape. But I've told Greg and I've left records. If this is one of his tricks I won't be going down without a fight.

"Think you can trust this guy?"

"What choice do I have? I've been chasing my own tail trying to get to the bottom of this."

"Fine. You know what you're doing, Sir. I won't stop you."

So off I go. The location is a hotel on the other side of town, Sherwood Lodge, room 124. A room there doesn't come cheap, so it seems my client sure isn't strapped for cash.

"Hello. Officer Walton here."

"Yes. Come in."

Yep. That's his voice, alright. He's true to his word, it seems. In I go.


He's a suspicious-looking fellow, that's for certain. It's his smile. A little too wide for my comfort. And all gray. Gray hair, gray skin, gray suit. The creepiest part of this guy though, is his eyes. Cold, hollow, and dead as a shark. I'm starting to think I made the wrong choice coming here.

"Sit down, Lucas. I can tell you all you need to know."

"Now, hold on! I don't remember telling you my name!"

"That's unimportant, officer. I'll tell you my name, however, if it makes you feel at ease."

Damn! This has to be a trap! The vibes I'm getting off this guy are definitely unpleasant! Who is he!?

"My name is Jack Empty. Now sit down, Lucas. You can't escape, anyway."