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In some cities, in some countries, a certain mental institution or halfway house will mysteriously draw you. Once you enter, do not talk to anyone, lest you find yourself under the influence of some other Object. Upon reaching the front desk, look for a brochure of a bar or a pub. If there are none, then you have failed. All your efforts up to this point has been for naught. If some can be found, take one and quietly leave.

Go to the bar and sit near the darkest corner. Place the brochure on the table and do not order a drink. Wait. Two men will walk into the bar, their appearances will vary for each Seeker. Both of them will sit at your table. Before any of them speaks, ask them "Which of you is the Holder of The Blank Canvas?" One of them will nod and the other will leave.

These were the instructions, and Brandon Kite the Seeker was quite unsure of the quest's authenticity. Still, the sixty-something bald old man before him smiled as his companion walked away. "Well then." The old man finally spoke. "Seeker, before we begin, let me warn you that there are no powers to gain, nor truths to find beyond this point." The old man stood up and began to walk away. "If you continue, nothing but a heavy burden awaits you." He continued. "Follow me if you remain steadfast in your quest."

Brandon stood up and left the bar with the old man. The geezer was limping and his eyes showed glimmers of terror and despair. They betrayed the horrors that he has experienced. "You were a Seeker. I can see it in your eyes." Brandon said as he hastened his steps to catch up. "Yes," came the old man's answer. "I was called Ferdinand Gonzalez."

"I assume you or the other young guy was this 'azrael_lv5' on the net?" Brandon queried as they turned into a dark alley. The old man kept silent. Both men walked towards a padlocked door, water stained and moss-encrusted. Ferdinand brought an old key out of his vest pocket, and Brandon immediately recognized it for what it was. "Wait... that is The..." Brandon gasped.

"Silence!" The old man interrupted him. "Before you step through this door, remember that I warned you. There is nothing but damnation beyond this door." Brandon nodded and entered. As the door closed behind Brandon, the old man sighed. "Why must the young be so foolish?" he said as he disappeared into the shadows.

Brandon was in a dark room. The only source of light was a small candle on the palm of a floating disembodied hand. The light flickered as the hand twitched, again and again. Breathing in hard and mustering his strength, he recalled the instructions posted on the nether regions of the Internet and asked the question.

"What must I protect?"

Whispers came from the direction of the disembodied hand. They pierced Brandon's mind and he felt as if they were probing him. They were judging him. They were the souls of the Seekers that have failed. If they judged him impure or corrupt, they would rip him apart and take his soul. As each whisper drew near, he saw fleeting images of their lives. Their accomplishments, their victories, and their ends.

Brandon knew what he had to do. He mustered up the courage and steeled his convictions. "They must never be joined. At least one must be kept away," he kept repeating to himself. Light suddenly erupted inside the room. A florescent bulb had switched on. It looked like a warehouse of some sort, with crates stacked up to the ceiling. In the far corner was a young girl. Her long brown hair was scattered around her face and shoulders as she shivered, clutching her legs. Brandon rushed beside her and carried her.

A whisper echoed in Brandon's mind. "Brandon." The voice called him, it was the voice of his father, a Seeker who failed. "She must never become one with the Others. Protect her. Run. For wherever you go, They will follow. Keep running. As long as she is with you, your mind will be strong, but They will come for her. You will have to run."

Crashing through the crates and running out the door, Brandon exited the alley into the light of the city's neon signs, still cradling the little girl in his arms. A low and steady moan came forth from the direction of the mental institution, 4 blocks away. It sent chills down his spine and affirmed his senses. They were coming for her, as she is The Blank Canvas.

She is Object 188 of 538. She will play a significant role in the dark days to come, but for now, she must be protected.

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