Beyond The Holders
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Holder of the Syzygy
In any city, in any country, go to any warehouse or factory you can get yourself to. When you reach the receiving desk, ask to claim the shipment for someone called "The Holder of the Syzygy." The secretary will not believe you in the slightest, but be resolute and if necessary ask to speak to the foreman. He will arrive in time, and will also mock you, saying he's never heard of such a person. Be patient and he will eventually consult the records, the color draining from his face when he finds the name in his papers.
He will then lead you onto the floor of the factory, but he will demand that you wear eye protection. You should have the Eyes by now, and though this is not their true purpose, only they will suffice for this occasion. If you do not have the Eyes, you will be wasting your time and your life. Put on the Eyes before following him.
The foreman will lead you to the oldest and furthest section of the factory. There will be seemingly endless rows of boxes and crates here, but do not break stride and do not examine the labels and destinations on any of them. You will find them to be years, even decades old, with strange destinations and even stranger contents, but they are valueless in your quest. Instead, keep your eyes fixed on the foreman. He will be eager to lose you around the next row of musty cardboard pallets.
After what might seem like a day's worth of walking down never-ending aisles, the foreman will stop before a single, massive crate. It is wooden but does not appear to be made from individual planks, instead, it looks as though carved from a single massive piece of the darkest wood imaginable, almost black. Set into the box is a door.
If the crate emits a high pitched whine, a kind of buzzing noise, or seems to vibrate slightly, then you can breathe a quick sigh of relief that what is inside is still what you seek. But if the air by this box is filled with only silence, or any other sound, then what you seek within has been destroyed, and you may now search the crates nearby for some instrument to end your life, for you have no hope of leaving this modern labyrinth.
You will find the door unlocked; you need not even knock before entering. You will then be standing in complete darkness; only the Eyes will reveal the true nature of the space you are now standing in. You will find yourself standing near the center of a massive web of rings, all centered around a small dais with a reclining chair, not unlike a dentist's chair. The difference in function becomes terrifyingly apparent as you approach--the chair is surrounded by hundreds of scalpels, each on its own articulated arm, poised above the chair. Strapped in to the seat is a mannequin made of the same dark wood the crate was fabricated from. Where the face of the mannequin should be, however, is carved a divot like a bowl.
Use one of the scalpels to cut yourself and add a few drops of your blood to this bowl. Immediately, the mannequin's body will turn from wood into flesh, and its appearance will be yours. You should stand back as the scalpels descend, making a frenzy of cuts on your doppelganger's body. You will hear your own screams, the flesh that is sliced will be yours and not yours. At this moment, the rings will shift in the vast darkness around you, eventually ceasing in their alignment at some point. Some will remain frozen in the air above or below you, while many others will settle themselves in a neat row on the horizon. The number of marks on the mannequin-you's flesh is the number of Objects you have gathered; the rings show your progress the same way.
The mannequin-you will curse and plead for you to stop the pain or end its suffering, but you must coldly ask it, "When will they align?" The not-you will beg, plead, and grovel for mercy as the scalpels slowly start to descend, crying for you to stop it, but you must say nothing and must not look away. This time, the blades will make five hundred and thirty-eight slices, all but flaying the mannequin-you to ribbons. The rings will now all be aligned on the horizon, and a long light will land on the dais, showing you the way home.
Before you leave, take from the ruined chest of the mannequin-you a small leather-bound book. Then follow the light until you find yourself outside the factory once more.
The star atlas you now hold is Object 117 of 538. Now you have the knowledge of when they will align, though not the means to see them.
|Last modified on 2009-05-12 13:12:09Average Rating: 3.33 / 5 (3 votes)Viewed 20917 times|