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Happy 19th Birthday 4chan!




A Quest about spirits, sorcery, and salt. We only ever lead a single life.



The buzz of cicadas fills the air, drowning out your thoughts as you cut your way through a tangled net of brambles. With a sigh, you set down…



[Select one.]

>...your trusty machete, a gift from your recently-deceased grandfather. As his last surviving heir, you've come all the way out to the countryside to take stock of the estate and put your inheritance in order. (Old Blood)

>...the bluesteel blade your teacher gave you, blessed to keep an edge and carve through most lesser spectres. As far as first missions go, checking in on complaints from some village in the boonies is about as lame as it gets. (Suits and Ties)



[1/1]
>>
"Before you die, you must let go of any lingering regrets."

This is the first lesson which all schools of Purification teach. Whether you are a Sanctifier, Executioner, or Archivist, one must learn to accept their end, no matter the circumstances.

After all, the alternative is to become a Remnant–the lingering spirits of those fools who refuse to acknowledge death.

Welcome to Purifier Quest, where you lead our protagonist through a world where the supernatural is not so much hidden as it is carefully avoided. Curses, demons, and ghosts abound in the shadows of dark alleyways, the fork of a lonely crossroads, and the solitary countryside outskirts; a citizen caught unawares can soon expect to join the varied ranks of the paranormal conglomerate.

This Quest will be a little more free-form and session-based (shorter individual updates in the range of 300-500 words each, but more posts in exchange) in an attempt to give me some breathing room while I continue to work on my studies. Expect most updates to happen on Mon/Wed/Fri and Sat/Sun, from 12:00 - 24:00 EST. This schedule is subject to change.

Mercy on your soul.
>>
>>5412863
>>...your trusty machete, a gift from your recently-deceased grandfather. As his last surviving heir, you've come all the way out to the countryside to take stock of the estate and put your inheritance in order. (Old Blood)

Based ancestral implements.
>>
>>5412863
>...your trusty machete, a gift from your recently-deceased grandfather. As his last surviving heir, you've come all the way out to the countryside to take stock of the estate and put your inheritance in order. (Old Blood)
We don't need no edumication
>>
Since this is still just character creation, I'll try and speed things up a little. Votes are open for the next 5 minutes. Ties are decided by a 1d2.
>>5412866
Yes, Old Blood is the path of a heavy inheritance. Damn you, gramps.
>>
>>5412863
>...a baseball bat. [The Mission]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1EPegIzD2M
>>
>>5412876
Sorry, write-ins aren't allowed unless explicitly stated. If the schtick of a ghost-slaying baseball bat is up your alley, though, there's a pretty easy way for either protag to get one.
>>
>>5412880
Nah, its just that the thought of 'purifier' slaying spirits automatically puts one thing in my mind, sorry.
Old Blood is fine by me.
>>
>...your trusty machete.

Sweat continues to drip down your brow and into your eyes, even as you fruitlessly attempt to wipe it away.

A faint shimmer appears in the corner of your eye.

A lifetime of cautionary nursery rhymes, horror stories, and government warnings kicks your adrenaline into overdrive. Instantly, you're drenched in ice-cold terror at the thought of encountering a Remnant–but the training your grandfather beat into you forces you to stand your ground.

You whip around, yanking your machete out of the ground, both hands tightly wrapped around its hilt–

–only to realize it was just a summer mirage, a combination of 90-degree weather and the cloying humidity.

This heat is getting to you.

Somewhat embarrassed, you cough into a fist, sheathing your machete once again. On the bright side, no one was around to see that little freakout–because as far as you're aware, you're the only living soul around for the next three miles. Gramps had owned a pretty sizable territory, and an army of federal emissaries couldn't get him to give up an inch.

Unfortunately, that same stubbornness is also why you're struggling so much to begin with.



[Select one.]

>He died alone. No friends, no family–just passed in his sleep. You simply felt it when it happened, waking up in a cold sweat with goosebumps prickling your skin, halfway across the country. With your help, they found his body before the rot had a chance to set in. (Foreign Curses)

>Though he lived at the manor, his real home was the temple shrine. Back at your apartment in the city is a whole assortment of prayer beads and incense sticks, random gifts he'd mail to you. When they found him, he was sitting cross-legged at the shrine, posed in perfect prayer… And completely mummified. (Native Gods)
>>
>>5412912
>>He died alone. No friends, no family–just passed in his sleep. You simply felt it when it happened, waking up in a cold sweat with goosebumps prickling your skin, halfway across the country. With your help, they found his body before the rot had a chance to set in. (Foreign Curses)
>>
Locked and writing. Forgot to add the [X/X] denoting post end, my bad.
>>
Update in 10 minutes or less.
>>
>He died alone.

You gnaw at your lower lip for a moment. Depressing as it is to think about, the circumstances of his death really weren't all that unusual. As a rich foreigner and a bit of an eccentric with no social life that you knew of…

You vaguely regret not visiting him more often. Too late for that now.

With nothing else for it, you continue your hike through the overgrown trail, guided by nothing more than muscle memory and faint recollections of certain landmarks. A petrified stump, a patch of wild raspberries…

The further in you go, the more tightly packed the trees become. Rustling leaves shiver and sigh as a distant breeze blows through; after another half-hour of walking, scarcely any sunlight can pierce the dim veil here in the heart of the woods.

The first sign of your destination is the sound of water. Childhood memories of swimming in the nearby creek flash through your mind. Farther downstream, it feeds into a river; later, a lake, all of which belong to the property.

All of which belong to you, now.

It's only another few minutes before you catch your first sight of the place you once called home. A small clearing opens up to present a three-story manor, a grand affair of dark wood and hardy stone designed in a Western style, surrounded on all sides by a ring of truly enormous trees. To your knowledge, the majority of it was built with on-site materials at the urging of your grandfather; the design philosophy goes over your head, but after so long, you're finally able to appreciate the money and care that went into it all.

As you approach, soft grass brushes against the thick fabric of your clothes, an outfit meant to protect you against ticks and mosquitoes. You're suddenly thankful for the protection as a strange chill pervades the air, sending a tingle down your spine.

You feel naked and exposed.

Mildly discomfited, you pick up the pace, stepping over flat stones and past mossy boulders as you make the short trek uphill. The dark slate stairs are slippery with grit and dew, though they do nothing to stop you as you ascend, fumbling with the archaic, heavy keys meant to unlock the front door, a thick wood slab decorated with unfamiliar carvings.

You only feel safe once it slams shut behind you, closing with a satisfying click. A hidden tension bleeds from your shoulders as you suddenly sag, strangely tired for a reason you can't discern.

Chalking it up to nerves, you raise your head, looking around the empty lobby.

Time to see what's left of the place. A trip down memory lane.

[1/2]
>>
[Select three.]

>After all that, you've worked up a bit of an appetite. Head into the kitchen and take a well-earned rest.

>You have… vague memories of a shed out back. You're a bit wary of going outside again, but taking stock of everything is important, right?

>You were never allowed in the cellar downstairs. Now that you've got the keys to the place, though, there's nothing stopping a bit of curiosity.

>A spiraling staircase reaches up to the second floor, which contains nothing more than the various living quarters. Choose one of the following: Master Room, Your Bedroom, Guest Quarters (Can be taken multiple times.)

>The third floor is solely dedicated to your grandfather's library and study. It's where he spent most of his time. You'd like to see it again.



[2/2]
>>
>>5412991
>You were never allowed in the cellar downstairs. Now that you've got the keys to the place, though, there's nothing stopping a bit of curiosity.

>A spiraling staircase reaches up to the second floor, which contains nothing more than the various living quarters. Choose one of the following: Master Room

>The third floor is solely dedicated to your grandfather's library and study. It's where he spent most of his time. You'd like to see it again.

Captcha: SP8KY
spooky qst
>>
Closing votes in 15 min.
>>
>>5412995
Supporting
>>
Update might take a bit, apologies for putting the session on hold so soon. Also forgot to add the image like a dumbass.
I'll be back in a few hours.
>>
>>5412995
support!!!
>>
>Cellar.
>Master Room.
>Library.

It takes a little while for you to work up the energy to move again. The air within the house is cool, though a touch musty.

Something tells you not to open the windows, no matter how much you might be tempted to.

You shed your boots at the doorstep, wiping them on the appropriate mat and shelving them in a nearby cubby. The floorboards creak beneath your feet, though not to the point where you suspect loose nails–it's simply age affecting even the sturdiest construction.

While glancing around for something to do, you rest your hand atop a guard rail.

Specifically, the rail attached to the stairs leading to the basement cellar.

A sudden curiosity grabs you, tempered by an equivalent anxiety–your grandfather had always warned you against going down there.

Naturally, you had asked what was inside. His response was a harsh glare and a comment of "if you know what's best for you, you'll forget about that place, boy."

For a man who was otherwise kind - if reserved - the sudden change in demeanor had scared you, a child of six or so years.

But the man once known as Francois Aiwass was no longer here, and as the current master of the house, it was your responsibility to become familiar with it. At least, that's the excuse you're running with.

Your resolve appropriately firmed, you take the dozen or so steps necessary to come before the padlocked cellar door. A moment passes as you fumble with the key ring; several attempts later, you've successfully unlocked the cellar.

It glides open on oiled hinges, allowing you to poke your head in and look around.

Dark, and the light switch… is dead. You flip it a few times, frowning as it completely fails to react.

Well, it's not so dark that you can't see anything. The general lack of light - despite the fact that it's midday - means you've already got some night vision, too.

Unwilling to back off so soon, you grip your machete and cross the threshold… and are mildly underwhelmed, as absolutely nothing of note occurs.

The cellar is full of barrels. Row after row of iron-hooped casks, organized neatly in shelves and each labeled with nigh-incomprehensible handwriting. Idly, you knock a fist against one and are rewarded with a dull thud. Seems it's full.

The realization slowly sinks in, drawing a disappointed sigh from you.

"Is… Is that it? Is that seriously all that's here? Wine, or something?"

Great, now you're speaking to yourself.



[Select one.]

>Fuck it. Crack one open and take a sip. Knowing your grandfather, these should be some damn good vintages.

>There's no way that's it. Come on! All these years and it turns out he's just hiding an alcohol addiction? Yeah, right. Keep poking around.

>Write-in?



[1/1]
>>
>>5413445
>There's no way that's it. Come on! All these years and it turns out he's just hiding an alcohol addiction? Yeah, right. Keep poking around.
>>
>>5413485
You suuuuuuure you don't want to give it a sip? Just one? Alcoholism is fun, you know!
>>
>>5413485
Support, I am not entirely sure these would be standard vintages. Plus, getting drunk in a house in the middle of nowhere does not sound like a wise decision.
>>
>>5413445
>There's no way that's it. Come on! All these years and it turns out he's just hiding an alcohol addiction? Yeah, right. Keep poking around.

Maybe we can grab a class before we go to sleep or to go with our meal later.
>>
>Keep poking around.

You shake your head, disgruntled and just a little disappointed.

That can't be all there is to this place. There was an atmosphere and everything set up, damnit.

A small part of your rational mind questions whether or not you should really be complaining that there isn't some horrible mystery (and if there is, if you're better off not knowing about it). You pause to give the thought its due consideration, but the idea of possibly living on top of some abhorrent secret sends shivers down your spine.

Whatever's down here is your responsibility.

Scrounging together every bit of forensic experience you have - the grand culmination of several point-and-click games and a bit of Professor Layton - you proceed to gently take apart the cellar. Feeling your way through the dark, you painstakingly go over every last floorboard for hollow spots, push against each individual brick in the walls, and you even try to peer beneath the shelves, on the off chance they might be hiding something.

You are rewarded for your efforts with a thorough coating of dust and cobwebs and absolutely nothing else. You're going to need a long, long shower after all this is over–the sooner the better.

Thoroughly annoyed by your lack of any meaningful findings, in a minor fit of spite you decide to crack open one of the casks, just in case. Selecting a barrel at random, you take off the lid.

It comes away with a satisfying pop, revealing a pitch-black pool of shimmering oil.

Then, before your very eyes, it bubbles and rises up towards the center of the pool in utter defiance of any known physics, forming a sort of reverse-droplet. The liquid mass shifts, burbling gently as it forms a tiny tendril that then proceeds to… beckon at you.

You stare at the oil-thing blankly for a moment.



[Select one.]

>Seal the cask again and take the whole affair upstairs for further investigation. You'd like to keep every bit of your rightfully-earned inheritance, and you're sure your grandfather would think the same.

>Haha, nope. Call the authorities, right now. The sooner you do so, the less likely blame is to fall on you for whatever the fuck this is. Thanks, gramps, didn't know you were a fucking WARLOCK.

>Just keep watching. At a safe distance. With your machete in hand.

>DRINK THE OIL. (Why would you do this?)

>Write-in?



[1/1]
>>
Next update won't be for a little while, got another class to sit through after this lunch break.
>>
>>5414018
>>Seal the cask again and take the whole affair upstairs for further investigation. You'd like to keep every bit of your rightfully-earned inheritance, and you're sure your grandfather would think the same.
back in the cask with ya
>>
>>5414018
>Seal the cask again and take the whole affair upstairs for further investigation. You'd like to keep every bit of your rightfully-earned inheritance, and you're sure your grandfather would think the same.
>>
>>5414018
>Seal the cask again and take the whole affair upstairs for further investigation. You'd like to keep every bit of your rightfully-earned inheritance, and you're sure your grandfather would think the same.
>>
>>5414018
>Seal the cask again and take the whole affair upstairs for further investigation. You'd like to keep every bit of your rightfully-earned inheritance, and you're sure your grandfather would think the same.
>>
Man, that was brutal. Give me a bit to feel human again and I'll start writing. Thanks for playing.
>>
>Seal the cask.

Acting on instinct, you slam the lid back into the barrel, twisting slightly to make sure it sticks. A cyan glow briefly sparks into existence, then fades away, searing an afterimage into your retinas.

You suck in a breath as your brain finally catches up with your body. Upon realizing that you're still holding on to the cask, you let go as if scorched.

That… You have no idea what that was, exactly, but it's certainly nothing normal.

The authorities. Police. Purifiers, or Caretakers, or something. You should probably contact them.

…And you'll almost certainly lose the house if you do. Though it's been almost five full years since you left these woods for the city, a part of you still considers it home. The idea of just giving it all up…

Nervously, you gnaw on your lower lip, weighing your options. Well, now you know why Gramps never let you down here. Considering the sheer number of containers present, you wonder just what else he might have been hiding–not only down in the cellar, but everywhere else in the house, too.

You want to think the best of the old man. He's the one that took care of you all your life, after all. Your mother died during childbirth–you never cared to ask, but that's probably why your father was never present, either.

Back on track. You exhale and focus, clapping your hands together as you do so. What to do about the situation at hand?

You don't have enough information to confidently answer that. The goal, then, is to learn as much as you can.

Against your better judgement, you decide to take the cask with you. Sheathing your machete for now, you carefully lift the cask and set it onto your shoulder. It's heavy. Not for the first time, you find yourself thankful for the fact that you still keep in shape.

Climbing the stairs is a bit awkward and you're forced to leave the cellar door hanging ajar, but after a few minutes of struggling, you've successfully placed the cask in the center of the living room.

In hindsight, you probably should have left it down there in case the cellar itself was a necessary part of keeping the oil-blob thing sealed, but since it hasn't tried to break out yet… Eh, you'll probably be alright.

You stare at the rather unassuming barrel, wondering just what you've gotten yourself into.

While climbing the stairs to the second floor, you mentally review your plan of action. First order of business; crack into the Master Room and take it apart for notes on whatever the fuck this is. A journal or something. Then, examine his personal library.

After that… You have no clue.

[1/2]
>>
The door to the Master Room is an elegantly carved work of art that towers over you. Unfortunately, it's also horribly disfigured by the sizable trio of padlocks securing it from unauthorized entry. Thankfully, you enter with minimal fuss, stepping into a bedroom you can only describe as luxurious, though surprisingly disorganized.

Towers of books are stacked all over the place, a parchment skyline that could collapse at a moment's notice. A canopy bed is pushed up against one wall, with a wine-red rug dominating the center of the room. To your embarrassment, hanging on the wall is a framed crayon picture of you and your grandfather holding hands. That thing must be more than twenty years old…

You cough delicately before continuing to survey the room, ignoring the sudden pang of loss that strikes you.

Striding over to the window, you pull back the thick cloth curtains, allowing sunlight to enter the room–or at least, what little can filter through the densely packed forest canopy.



[Select one. This is an important vote.]

>Check underneath the rug.

>Check the bed.

>Check the books. There's a shelf, too.

>Check the drawing.



[2/2]
>>
>>5414884
For the sake of transparency, I'll tell you now that you're about to contract with an entity. also when i started this Quest I honestly planned for it to be an action romcom with a ghost waifu but it ended up becoming serious whoops
ghost waifu is still on the table though
>>
>>5414884
>Check the drawing.
We an artist, let's admire the delicate crayon strokes.
>>
>>5414887
When did you realize the story deviated from that plan? I ask because a line like this early on really sets a mood:
>lead our protagonist through a world where the supernatural is not so much hidden as it is carefully avoided. Curses, demons, and ghosts abound in the shadows of dark alleyways, the fork of a lonely crossroads, and the solitary countryside outskirts
>>
>>5414919
It was going to be a twist, you know? Like "ha ha, paranormal deathworld but the MC has a yandere ghost waifu and their silly antics as part of a nationally-funded exorcist organization," and then I got too stuck on setting the right atmosphere here:
>>5412986
--and it's kind of awkward to backtrack from that. So yeah, that's how my plans went from romcom to horror in about 500 words.

On that note, any comments on prose and the like so far? I know not much has happened, really, but I've been trying to break the habit of getting lazy with "show don't tell." I may also end up reusing some idioms and phrases on occasion, so my apologies for that--I only give these posts a quick once-over for egregious typos before I post since I get so anxious.
>>
>>5414884
>>Check the books. There's a shelf, too.
>>
>>5414884
>Check the drawing.
A really cool grandpa. I do hope he has a nice grave with protections.
This remains here.
>>
Fucked up studying all night and passed out at like 8 in the morning, only woke up an hour ago, whoops. Still alive, I'll be writing in a bit.
>>
>Check the drawing.

…Damnit. Honestly, you can't believe he kept that thing.

Hesitating slightly, you make your way before the crayon picture. There's no rhyme or rhythm to the colors you used; purple eyes, green skin… In a word, it's hamfisted. About the only things that match to reality is your blonde hair and the wrinkles on your grandfather's face.

You made it with love.

That vague feeling of nostalgia and regret mingling in the pit of your stomach intensifies in a sudden sharp burst. Anticipation and dread drive you to take the picture off the wall before you can stop yourself.

A safe behind the picture. How cliché.

Just how much was your grandfather hiding from you?

Your thoughts stray to the cellar and the cask in the living room. Gritting your teeth, you scrape your nails along the rim of the safe. They catch on a little latch–with some effort, you manage to pry it open, exposing a circular array of alien runes. In the center of the circle lies a tiny pinprick hole; confused, you move closer, attempting to peer into it.

A needle lances out and stabs you in the eye.

You stagger back with a strangled shout, reflexively clapping a hand over the injured site. Distracted as you are, you barely notice as the runic circle flashes a familiar cyan glow–the exact same tone as when you sealed the barrel.

Then, the cover of the safe melts away, and the searing pain in your eye disappears with it–wiping away your tears, you realize your vision is perfectly intact, perhaps even better than it was before.

"What the fuck…?"

Your voice is choked. A volatile mix of shock, anger, and terror closes up your throat. With a moment to catch your breath, you stomp forward, only hesitating slightly before further examining the safe's contents.

Within lies a glass vial roughly the same size as your thumb and filled with a blood-red liquid, accompanied by an engraved silver ring and a folded sheet of paper. Wary of touching anything else, you carefully extract the note. Opening it up reveals nothing more than a series of instructions.

"Pour the contents of the vial atop the ring. Slide the ring onto the index finger of your left hand, base of the knuckle. Twist clockwise."



[Select one.]

>Like hell you're doing that. Put everything back and call the cops, immediately. Now that you've actually gotten hurt, you're not willing to risk damage that might actually be permanent.

>...You've come this far already. Do as the note says.

>Though you'd like to trust your grandfather on this, you can't ignore the phantom pain in your eye. Put everything back and keep searching for clues. There's not enough information to do anything…



[1/1]
>>
>>5415769
Does the text on the note look like our grandfather's handwriting? If we can't tell, then find something that we know he wrote and compare the handwriting.
>>
>>5415769
>Though you'd like to trust your grandfather on this, you can't ignore the phantom pain in your eye. Put everything back and keep searching for clues. There's not enough information to do anything…
Plot hook. Paranoia seems to be a good thing despite the intentions of the passed grandfather. We already had to deal with a weird barrel oil creature beckoning us.

Also, do we have a phone on us with a connection, or is there a phone in this house? I ask because, being in the middle of nowhere, I do not think calling the police could work, including the wild terrain to reach the manor.

>A needle lances out and stabs you in the eye.
If we wore glasses, would we have been stabbed in the eye, or would we now have broken pieces of the glasses in our eye? Eh, the needle was probably magic, so a physical barrier would not have mattered.
>>
>>5415769
>Though you'd like to trust your grandfather on this, you can't ignore the phantom pain in your eye. Put everything back and keep searching for clues. There's not enough information to do anything…
>>
>>5415791
You've received enough letters from him that while you're far from being a qualified handwriting analyst, a quick cross-reference with your memories has you at least 80% confident that the note was penned by his hand.

>>5415793
>phone with a connection
Heh.
I mean, worst comes to worst, you can just leave, right~? What's stopping you~?
No permanent bodily harm will befall you, at least.
Anyways, while you'd be calling the police, normal cops wouldn't be sent to deal with this other than to help secure the perimeter. This kind of stuff is within the jurisdiction of Purifiers.
>>
Anyways, I should note that I don't believe in trap votes. Every vote so far has shaped the way you guys play the Quest... Which admittedly kinda feels like a Captain Obvious statement. An example of what I mean is that you've all passed up on several opportunities to meet new characters (which isn't necessarily a bad thing for you).
Don't feel too pressured to vote one way or another thinking that I'll kill you for stepping out of line. I like a little bit of fun! in my quests.
>>
>>5415805
Wait, we can just dip? Can we take the newly inherited wealth and do what most rich young men do, partying and such?
>This kind of stuff is within the jurisdiction of Purifiers.
Maybe not, then. I guess the Purifiers are like specialized government agents and may want to take any goodies left behind by dear grandpappy.
>>5415821
The house is not so devoid of activity. Interesting. Wonder if we can successfully avoid every character in this house.
>>
>>5415831
>avoid every character
Yeah, it's kind of amazing. Poor Mr. Fridge, his body will never be found.
>>
>>5415769
>...You've come this far already. Do as the note says.
Just do it, also I really hope we still have a Yandere ghostfu
>>
>>5415769
>Though you'd like to trust your grandfather on this, you can't ignore the phantom pain in your eye. Put everything back and keep searching for clues. There's not enough information to do anything…
>>
Thanks for your patience, and apologies for the delay. Was out all day, then I had to burn through some assignments at the last minute. I'll be extending this session an extra 2 hours past the normal closing time to try and make up for lost time and update again this Tuesday. Votes locked and writing now.
>>
>Keep searching for clues.

In an attempt to ground yourself, you close your eyes and take a deep breath before exhaling through your nose.

It doesn't do much to help, but every little bit counts, right?

You turn away from the safe and leave the room, stuffing the note into the back pocket of your trousers as you go.

Answers. You need answers. Unfortunately, the only person who could provide them is dead, and you're quite certain that getting the authorities involved would mean losing access to everything here.

You'll have to take care of things yourself.

Lost in thought, you ascend the steps to the 3rd floor library, a somber place that you admittedly have little memory of. At the very least, you know your grandfather's study is located somewhere on the same floor–though that, too, was barred to you.

Key word being was.

A grand set of mahogany double doors greets you at the top of the stairs. Partially set into the wall on either side are a pair of spherical lanterns–as you approach, they flicker to life, glowing with a soft blue light.

…You used to write that off as the result of fancy electronics, but your experiences during the past hour or have you on edge; the color does little to alleviate your concerns.

Paranoia isn't productive, though. With that in mind, you resolutely push past the doors, grunting a little at their surprising weight. You never went up here unaccompanied, so this is the first time you've actually had to do it yourself; your grandfather must've kept in better shape than he let on for him to do something like this so often.

You're greeted by row after row of tomes and scrolls, securely contained within their respective shelves and honeycomb cubbies. In stark contrast to the master room, things are quite orderly here. Save for an octagonal clearing in the center of the room, plain carpets cover the space between shelves.

Halfway through your cursory examination of the room, you feel an unfamiliar warmth in your pocket. Digging around, you extract the keyring and are mildly alarmed to see one of the smaller keys vibrating intensely. Nervously, you poke it–not quite hot to the touch, but quickly warming up.

Your alarm turns to outright shock as the key lifts itself into the air, straining mightily against the ring it's attached to. Though it fails to do much more than tug you slightly in a certain direction, you're disturbed enough to let it go where it wants, following along somewhat hesitantly.

The key smartly works its way through the corridors of shelves, eventually coming to a stop before a thick volume wrapped in black leather and embossed with threads of gold. Upon reaching its destination, the key immediately falls inert, allowing you to tilt your head and read the words embossed along the book's spine.

[1/2]
>>
"Treatise On the Lingering Soul, by Francois Aiwass. 1564."

You blink once, then twice, then a third time for good measure. 1564? As in, the 16th century?

…Something tells you this isn't just an ancestor that your grandfather coincidentally shares a name with. But then that would mean…

The tome slides out smoothly. Opening the cover, you see a warning stamped in dark red letters, written in an unfamiliar language. French, maybe…?

As if in response to your lack of understanding, the words bleed and morph before your very eyes, changing into legible English. You nearly drop the book in surprise, but manage to catch yourself (and the book).

By decree of Great Scribe Prelati of the Archivists, this volume is a Forbidden Article. Destroy on sight. Possession is a Class II offense. Reprint and distribution are punishable by Generational Extermination to the 3rd Degree.

Underneath, written in your grandfather's familiarly loopy handwriting, is a cheery note;

Get fucked, Prelati. Your mother is a hamster.



[Select one.]

>...Aren't Archivists a type of Purifier? You're, uh, pretty sure you shouldn't be touching something like this. Hold onto it for later and go find the study like you originally planned.

>Crack it open and read. This sounds pretty important.

>Write-in?



[2/2]
>>
>>5417018

>Crack it open and read. This sounds pretty important.

And then immediately start copying anything interesting that we can use later on. Only person who would know what we have is someone who also read the book and is also punishable.
>>
>>5417038
Ditto
>>
>>5417018

>...Aren't Archivists a type of Purifier? You're, uh, pretty sure you shouldn't be touching something like this. Hold onto it for later and go find the study like you originally planned.

Let's at least finish a tour of the house before diving headlong into magic. Plus, I think the study most likely has writing materials with which we can write.

>Something tells you this isn't just an ancestor that your grandfather coincidentally shares a name with. But then that would mean

Now either our grandfather has some attached greats that he did not tell us about, or he was a randy old goat in order to have our Mother?Father? Despite him being centuries old. Though grandfather being that old also implies his death was not strictly natural, unless it totally was. I wonder if we can use magic to bring his spirit to advise us.
>>
>>5417018
>>...Aren't Archivists a type of Purifier? You're, uh, pretty sure you shouldn't be touching something like this. Hold onto it for later and go find the study like you originally planned.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

Rolling tiebreaker.
>>
>Crack it open and read.

You let out a weak laugh, too tired by today's events to do much more. Though you're not sure what a "Class II offense" is punishable with, the comment about "Generational Extermination" doesn't fill you with high hopes.

If you're going to get screwed either way, may as well get something out of it, right?

With the tome tucked under your arm, you beeline for the clearing in the center of the room, plopping down on a plush armchair. Moving quickly, you open the book once more, flipping to the table of contents and scanning it for anything of note.

Reading the introduction is a given, of course. It's quite possibly your best chance at finding out more about your grandfather and the world he lived in.

The words are printed in the same foreign language as the warning, but you're already prepared when they begin to morph into modern English.

Fucking weird, to say the least. Gives you some awful eyestrain, too. You blink and shudder, then power through.

As Purifiers, it is our sacred duty to understand the nature of that which we aim to protect. I speak, of course, of the human soul. This era marks a change in the world of men; a sea of candles unafraid of lasting half as long if it means they can burn twice as bright. But make no mistake; this is as much a time of celebration and change as it is one of danger. Those of us at the frontlines of our perpetual war have seen firsthand the meaning of my words:

As men change, so too do Remnants.

As men evolve, so too do Remnants.

As men grow stronger, wiser, and greater, so too do Remnants become a tool of our own demise.

They are, after all, the product of our existence–the essence of Sin.

In this Treatise, I shall discuss my findings regarding the Remnant phenomenon and the conclusions it has led me to draw on the nature of the soul–to be precise, what alterations one can make to it, and if a soul can be made at all.

I am fully aware that these writings will result in my censure, if not execution. As the youngest ever Great Scribe, a celebrated once-in-a-millennium genius of unparalleled renown, I proudly and firmly declare that I do not care. In my eyes, these titles and honors are of lesser worth than the excrement of those who have bestowed them upon me, if only because it is they who honor these medals so. Our institution is a corrupt den of nepotism and schoolyard conflict, and I point to incompetents like Archivist Prelati as chief examples of this idiocy.

When this book is inevitably stolen and locked away in your vaults - deemed too heretical to exist, and too valuable to destroy - I will be there to reclaim it.

That is a promise.

In loving memory of my wife. In this life or another, may we meet once more.


[1/2]
>>
You lean back in your chair, eyes wide.

Well. It certainly has the same vitriol of your grandfather's tongue, if a bit less refined. Admittedly, a good chunk of that introduction went over your head, but you understand the broad strokes; your grandfather was a Purifier, and a damned good one.

How did he end up here, then? And… a wife? Well, it makes logical sense, but you've never once heard him talk about her. Or any of your family members, really, except for those few occasions you've bothered to ask.

A slight stinging sensation forces you to rub at your eyes, drawing a heavy sigh from you. It's a fascinating subject to be sure, but the font size is minisculeI, and the book itself is thick enough to be mistaken for a novelty doorstop. Despite your burning curiosity, you'll have to restrain things a little.



[Select up to three.]

[For each additional subject you select, there will be less individual information absorbed. ~150 words each for 3 subjects, ~200 words each for 2 subjects, and ~400 words for 1 subject.]

[Artificial Soul Creation and The Philosopher's Stone can both be taken freely if chosen alongside The Pure Vessel.]

>On the Nature of Remnants…1
>Determination of the Afterlife…83
>Overview on the Mechanism Behind Phantasmic Interference…146
>The Body and the Spirit…154
>Categorical Analysis of Sin…245
>Foundation of the Soul…275
>Duplication of the Soul…393
>Entrapment of the Soul…477
>Refinement of the Soul…532
>Artificial Soul Creation…857
>The Philosopher's Stone…857
>The Pure Vessel…857
>Criticism of Modern Archivism…1145
>Afterword



[2/2]
>>
>>5417682

>On the Nature of Remnants…1

Time to get more details on Remnants.
>>
>>5417682
>>On the Nature of Remnants…1
we still need to check the rest
>>
>>5417682
>>Determination of the Afterlife…83
>>
>>5417682
>Artificial Soul Creation and The Philosopher's Stone can both be taken freely if chosen alongside The Pure Vessel.]
We can save that for next time hopefully but for now let's master remnants.
>>
>>5417682
>>On the Nature of Remnants…1
>>
Phew, sorry for the radio silence yesterday. Fell sick with a cold and forgot to mention it. That's what I get for having such an awful sleeping schedule...
Thanks for voting. I'll write as soon as I'm done cooking.
>>
[Interlude: Greenhorn]

The village chief is old, but muscled–his tanned, leathery skin a near-perfect match for the knotted wood of his home's construction. Distracted as you are by the chameleon-like way he blends into the surroundings, you barely pay attention to his grumbling complaints–something about his son running off with a woman twice his age.

"--Absolutely ridiculous! Don'tcha agree?" His slightly-slurred words are punctuated by a noisy bang as he slams a bottle onto the table. Caught off guard, you fumble for a moment before nodding agreeably, surreptitiously taking your hand off the hilt of your sword. Thankfully, you managed to catch yourself in time; brandishing a weapon at the client's face would've been a terrible way to start off your first solo mission.

What was he talking about just now? Something about… the failures of this generation? Nothing you haven't heard before.

"Er–yes, quite, quite. It's such a shame, really. With the aging populace, people my age should be doing more for our elders–"

He snorts loudly, cutting you off with a wave of the hand. "Pah! That youthful arrogance! Sprouts like you never bother listening to our wisdom, so how can we trust you to pick up the weight? Why, I'll have you know that I spent fifteen years apprenticing under–"

[1/2]
>>
Desperately, you cut in, pushing your glasses up in an attempt to steer things back on course. "Terribly sorry, sir, but I'm afraid we don't have much time; you sent a letter to our agency regarding a Remnant, correct? In your message, it was stated to have already slain two others; has that number grown at all since then? The situation may have escalated if so…"

It had been quite a shock for the branch office to receive physical correspondence in this day and age, much less for such a critical event. Unfortunately, a recent storm had made short work of the village's incredibly basic network; under these conditions, an electronic alert simply wasn't possible.

Despite the government's attempts to shore up national defenses, resources were simply too scarce to cover every inch of the land.

He subsides somewhat at your words, thick mustache twitching. "...Aye. Four more. Damn thing killed the Kageyamas and their kid before escaping to the forest. The husband's mother lived with them, y'see. Fine girl…"

Six in total, then. Still some time before it enters the second stage–well within your capabilities.

You nod in response, careful to restrain any outward expression of relief. "Understood, sir. For the sake of everyone's safety, please inform them that they are to remain within their homes until otherwise informed. It shouldn't take long."

With that, you stand and push in your chair, thankful to leave and finally get on with business. Even with your training, wearing a suit in the summer heat makes you feel like a piece of overcooked meat.

Before you go, though, the old man leans forward, resting his elbows on the table. Despite his ruddy cheeks, a serious glint enters his eyes.

"Oi, kid. Watch out for that forest."

You tap your glasses, adjusting them slightly. "There's nothing to fear, sir. I've been trained–"

He holds up a hand. "I ain't talking about that Remnant of yours. S' your job to handle that, sure enough. But there's a house in those woods, and trust me when I tell you that'cha want to stay out of it."

…Hm.

You offer a stiff bow. "I'll make note of it, sir. Thank you."

He waves you off as you go, muttering under his breath. At this distance, though, your enhanced hearing can't possibly miss it.

"Demons're worse than ghosts, to be sure."

[Interlude: End]

---

[2/2]
>>
>On the Nature of Remnants

Well, it's obvious you should always start with the beginning, right? And… Truth be told, there's not much in the way of actual information on Remnants out there on the internet–most of it is restricted from civilian access. The advised course of action for anything supernatural is "run away and call the authorities."

Which is, uh, something that you've kind of failed to do so far.

Either way, considering the circumstances, you'd bet good money on your odds of encountering a Remnant sooner or later–a sentiment that feels vaguely defeatist…

You pinch the bridge of your nose and let out a sigh. Time to be productive.

Few people have the opportunity to study Remnants in any thorough manner. Fewer still have the ability to make sense of what they might encounter. Fortunately, I am one of those vanishing few who fall into both categories.

…Honestly, you don't remember gramps ever acting like this while you lived with him. Maybe the centuries mellowed him out…?

The common understanding of a Remnant is that there is nothing to understand at all; they are less than beasts, existences with no goal other than to mindlessly lash out.

The conservative belief is that they cannot feel, let alone
think, unless it is to learn how to better disembowel their prey, and even that rare spark of brutal intelligence is limited to only those Remnants of a higher rank.
We are taught that a Remnant is nothing more than a parasite attached to every living soul, one that can only be excised with rigorous maintenance of one's spiritual purity.

This is incorrect.

More exotic beliefs espouse the idea that Remnants are, in fact, twisted echoes of the discontent; that they are, in fact, entities in and of themselves, fragments of a shattered soul. They are mockeries of those who once lived.

This, too, is incorrect.

There surely exists a plethora of other ideas as to the nature of Remnants, but it is these two ideologies that have dominated discourse for the past few centuries–and while both are incorrect, they each approach the truth in their own way.


[1/3]
>>
Remnants are human souls, but magnified. "Remnant" is in and of itself a misnomer. What manner of spirit could possibly become stronger by reduction? No such wonder exists; such things express their power through metaphysical weight, and history is the natural accumulation of such strength. Desires, wants, prejudices, terrors, dreams and nightmares–that which makes up a life becomes amplified in a Remnant. The birth of these monsters lies in the dramatic disruption of this careful balance.

Not all souls are shaped the same, of course. Different experiences paint the canvas of our lives in a myriad of colors–yet there is still a careful balance.

A Remnant is not so much a lingering spirit as it is displaced. After death, souls are no longer constrained by mortal flesh. They disappear for a number of days - no more than a week - and are then returned to our plane of existence, swollen to grotesque proportions and manifesting in the form of a Remnant.

The intermediary is Sin–the oily, black substance that acts as their blood. Sin is what determines the type of Remnant (see page 245).


Your mind immediately jumps to the cask downstairs. A mild nausea rears its ugly head at the realization that quite possibly every single one of those barrels contains the remains of a Remnant.

Then, an earth-shattering crash blasts your eardrums, startling you into jumping a full foot into the air. Thrown into a sudden panic, you flail about with the book in hand, desperately wondering if there's any way for you to easily carry it–

[2/3]
>>
–and just as the thought glasses through your mind, it shrinks down to the size of your thumb. The corded blue ribbon that acted as a bookmark transforms into a small leather strap, easily connected to the keychain.

Well. That's convenient.

You take the stairs down two at a time. The cacophony hasn't let up in the slightest; machete in hand, you swiftly step over to a nearby window and peer outside.

What you see makes your blood run cold.

At the edge of the clearing surrounding the house, a multifaceted rainbow of fractal light sparks into being. Slamming against it is a twelve-foot tall monstrosity covered in a carapace of chitin, armed with limbs the size of tree trunks and surrounded by a foul black miasma. The barrier - which is really quite pretty to look at, but now is certainly not the time to be admiring it - appears to be holding up quite well for the time being.

What concerns you (more, because honestly speaking, there's a lot to be concerned about in your life right now) is the half-dead man currently lying pancaked across the front yard. Frozen to the floor, you watch on helplessly as he makes a vain attempt to stand, supporting himself with… a cane? You can't quite make out the details from here, but dear lord, legs are not meant to bend that way.

You're quickly contemplating the merits of staying indoors - discretion is the better part of valor, after all - when an odd cracking noise splits through the air.

Your heart immediately sinks. Years of media have taught you exactly what will happen next with such a convenient physical cue.

As if in slow-motion, dreading what you might see, you turn your gaze back to the barrier.

Mhm. That's–that's a big ol' fracture.



[Select one.]

>Fuck. Go out there and drag the man into the house; you can't just leave him to die. There should be time to get back inside before the barrier breaks, and knowing your grandfather, that's far from the only bit of security present.

>...There's still that ring in the Master Room, isn't there? You honestly have no idea what the fuck it might do, but ANYTHING is worth trying at this point.

>Frantically flip through the book for something useful. Now might not be the best time to start reading things, but goddamn, there's gotta be something, right?

>Write-in?



[3/3]
>>
>>5420192
>>...There's still that ring in the Master Room, isn't there? You honestly have no idea what the fuck it might do, but ANYTHING is worth trying at this point.
>>
>>5420192
>Fuck. Go out there and drag the man into the house; you can't just leave him to die. There should be time to get back inside before the barrier breaks, and knowing your grandfather, that's far from the only bit of security present.

There have been mentions of training for our character but are we well trained enough to take on the giant centipede with our machete? Also, who is this guy that decided to approach our manor in the middle of nowhere? He seems a bit off to me, a thief perhaps who heard about our gramps dying? Eh, dragging him in should not hurt too bad if we are quick enough, and he can't really go anywhere since his legs are messed up. We can't leave him to die.

What was gramps doing with a bunch of barrels filled with Sin? He is starting to remind me a bit of the Ancestor from Darkest Dungeon, though considering this world was described as a paranormal death world, mayhaps my words may not be far off.
>>
>>5420192
>Fuck. Go out there and drag the man into the house; you can't just leave him to die. There should be time to get back inside before the barrier breaks, and knowing your grandfather, that's far from the only bit of security present

He may be an old friend of gramps.

And then if there's time.

>Frantically flip through the book for something useful. Now might not be the best time to start reading things, but goddamn, there's gotta be something, right?

And perhaps if we establish the old guy isn't hostile perhaps he can make better use of the book for the time being.
>>
>>5420408
>Also, who is this guy that decided to approach our manor in the middle of nowhere?
It's the guy from the Interlude. You think the sword is a cane because he's too far away and it's getting dark out.
>There have been mentions of training for our character but are we well trained enough to take on the giant centipede with our machete?
You can certainly try!
>>
>>5420538
>guy from the Interlude
If he's a Fed, I don't think it's a good idea to make him aware of the book or anything in this mansion because gramps was up to some funky shit. I wonder if we can get him the yandere ghost waifu for shits and giggles.
>>
>>5420558
If you want to keep him out of the loop, be aware that bringing him indoors may complicate matters slightly, what with the cask of Sin you have sitting smack dab in the middle of the living room.
>>
>>5420192
>Fuck. Go out there and drag the man into the house; you can't just leave him to die. There should be time to get back inside before the barrier breaks, and knowing your grandfather, that's far from the only bit of security present.
>>
>>5420192
>>Fuck. Go out there and drag the man into the house; you can't just leave him to die. There should be time to get back inside before the barrier breaks, and knowing your grandfather, that's far from the only bit of security present.
>>
>You can't just leave him to die.

Every last one of your most base instincts screams at you for your decision, but adrenaline, a prayer, and a half-baked plan give you the strength necessary to fly down the stairs and out the door, nearly knocking over the barrel as you go.

"Get inside!"

Your shout draws the stranger's attention mid-step; he woozily jerks around, arms half-raised in an instinctive attempt to defend himself. The pivot proves to be more than his body can bear; with a groan, he topples over, just in time for you to slide in and catch him. Fuck, he's heavy!

As you wrap his arms around your neck, he attempts to speak, drawing in a shuddering breath. "My–my sword…"

This close, you can finally recognize his cane for what it really is; a sheathed katana, the iconic guard and wrapped hilt stained with fresh blood. The weapon takes a backseat as you focus on the rest of his injuries; you're no physician, but it doesn't take a degree to see he's in no shape to fight that monster.

Though you move to ignore the blade - there's more pressing issues right now - the stranger shakes his head, feebly reaching for it and nearly tumbling off your back as he does so.

"Fine! Fine! I'll grab it, just don't let go!" Swearing as you go, you snap out a leg, sweeping the blade up in a single fluid motion. In a moment of clarity, the stranger's pain-addled gaze sharpens; he extends an arm and snatches it out of the air, pinning it between the two of you before finally going limp.

As much as you'd like to give that scene the applause it deserves, you don't have time to waste; an ear-splitting roar rocks your world, accompanied by the sound of tinkling glass. You don't bother looking back as you haul ass towards the manor, scrambling to climb the slate stairs with a grown man on your back. It's the kind of workout your gramps used to give you; for once, you can look back on those memories with true appreciation.

[1/2]
>>
After what feels like centuries, you finally make it to the top of the stairs, sweating bullets and fully prepared to drop the man like a sack of bricks. A final burst of energy sees you staggering through the door and into the patio. You manage to keep it together long enough to lay him on the floor; while it's far from gentle, you're pretty sure you haven't aggravated his wounds any further.

A low hiss escapes you as you straighten up, joints popping into place. You barely remember a thing about first-aid, to be honest; most of what you know boils down to "if your CPR doesn't break a few ribs, you're not applying enough force." Not exactly something you can use, here…

"I'll, uh, go look for some bandages or something," you mutter. "Please don't die while I'm gone."

You pause briefly, then amend that request. "Please don't die in general, really."

To your surprise, the stranger actually responds, chuckling lightly. "I'll–try…! Just need some rest…"

His words are cut off by a sudden coughing fit, during which a little black pad slips out of his pocket and onto the ground. He doesn't seem to notice, choosing instead to simply lay back with his eyes closed. The only sign that he hasn't actually gone and died is the gentle rise and fall of his chest, interrupted every so often by a light shudder.

According to popular cinema, when someone's in critical condition, you're supposed to try and keep them awake. In this case, though, you're prepared to defer to the stranger's expert opinion.

After all, it isn't every day you meet a Purifier. You stare at the black pad, which has flipped open to proudly declare a silver badge and accompanying ID card.

Sei Choshi, Executioner Third Class.

Your peeking session comes to an impromptu end when a heavy thud slams into the house, sending clouds of dust spiraling downwards from the rafters, followed shortly thereafter by a pained scream that pierces your heart.

A glance outside reveals a stunning sight; wrapped around the Remnant's writhing form is a thorned chain at least half a foot thick, streaked through with bright blue diamond.

Your thoughts are interrupted by the disconcerting sound of dripping fluid. You turn, confused, only to feel a chill run down your spine at the sight of an overturned and wholly empty barrel.

…It must've gotten knocked over by that last attack. Today is just not your day.



[Select one.]

>You have no clue what that Sin is capable of. Immediately begin searching for it–the Remnant outside has been subdued for now.

>The situation is FUBAR. It's been FUBAR for a while now, but this is just the icing on the cake. Drag Mr. Shicho upstairs and lock yourself in the Master Room. That's safe enough, right?

>OH BOY, NOW WOULD BE A GREAT TIME TO LEARN JUST HOW BADLY THINGS HAVE GONE. Crack open the Aiwass tome and skim the appropriate pages for an idea of what the fuck is happening.

>Write-in?



[2/2]
>>
>>5421932
>The situation is FUBAR. It's been FUBAR for a while now, but this is just the icing on the cake. Drag Mr. Shicho upstairs and lock yourself in the Master Room. That's safe enough, right?
>>
>>5421932
>The situation is FUBAR. It's been FUBAR for a while now, but this is just the icing on the cake. Drag Mr. Shicho upstairs and lock yourself in the Master Room. That's safe enough, right?

Time to immediately put the ring on. Before heading off upstairs, we should glance around to see if there is any oily trail to get some sense of where the creature is heading. We also got to consider in the future how to get the man's blood out of the carpet. Fortunately, since Shicho has lost a lot of blood and is in pain with weirdly bent legs, he might not be lucid enough to recognize all the illegal crap we got in the house.

Man, we are an idiot. Why would we drag the barrel out of the basement in the first place after we saw it make a hand gesture to us? That sign tells you to keep the thing in the basement to rot and starve. The oil creature might be heading downstairs to free its brethren; hopefully, gramps was paranoid enough to consider such an escape and set up traps for remnants around the house.
>>
>>5421950
>Man, we are an idiot
Would you believe me if I told you the needle wasn't supposed to stab you in the eye? It was just a little blood test for identification purposes, meant to prick your thumb or something.
Couldn't resist a bit of eye-scream, though, so I had the MC trigger it by accident lol.
>>
>>5421932
>OH BOY, NOW WOULD BE A GREAT TIME TO LEARN JUST HOW BADLY THINGS HAVE GONE. Crack open the Aiwass tome and skim the appropriate pages for an idea of what the fuck is happening.

Heart of the cards I call upon you.
>>
>>5421932
>>OH BOY, NOW WOULD BE A GREAT TIME TO LEARN JUST HOW BADLY THINGS HAVE GONE. Crack open the Aiwass tome and skim the appropriate pages for an idea of what the fuck is happening.

I survived so far all thanks to the books at my local library
>>
Leaving votes for another 10 before locking.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5422058
Alright, 1 = FUBAR, 2 = Tome
>>
>>5422069
Aww heck yeah
>>
>>5422069
Woo!
>>
>>5422069
I hope we can beat remnants to death using the tome.
>>
File: ESAMozgus.png (844 KB, 1182x1444)
844 KB
844 KB PNG
>>5422406
I make no promises.



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