Any city, any country- some sullen stranger arrives there and throws herself in front of a passing train. A crowd gathers to gawp at the bloody body. One amongst the crowd gives a slight smirk, straining to hold back fits of infantile giggles. No longer able to contain its pride, it turns away and leaves the scene.
Some rail worker there is being interviewed by a local reporter. The worker claims that only moments before stepping from the platform, the apparently suicidal stranger had been demanding to see some 'Holder' of something or other. Of course, this particular detail will be omitted from any published articles.
Any Holder, any Object, any set of instructions may be in place to mislead you. Do not be fooled. Know that one roams here and there, making its own frivolously twisted amusement wherever it can. Whilst its deeds may seem to be cruel and treacherous, know that no real malice is meant. Know that The Holder of Mischief is only playing, having its fun with the eager Seekers.
Perhaps it would have you shout over to some befuddled zoo worker before entering the lions' den, bearing only words as your weapons. Perhaps it would first find entertainment in watching you climb the highest mountain in search of arcane herbs, which would turn out to be nothing more than common catnip. You would then enter the enclosure to see The Holder of Mischief viewing from a safe place, masking its glee with feigned shock as the beasts close in to maul you.
Its japery is varied and relentless. It could deliver instructions which send you scurrying into any hotel reception area for a brief and jarring conversation with staff, then up the internal stairwell and out through some opening high above the city street. Should this be the case, listen for the sound of shrill laughter from behind a darkened window as you plummet past. There would be no immense gust of wind, no passing hawk to snatch you from the air. You would not be caught and nor would any manhole suddenly open to admit you with a plunging splash. You would simply hit the ground and crumple.
On other occasions, the trickster likes to reminisce with its classic ploy; it would have you stroll into some ordinary mental institution and approach the front desk, behaving in such a way as to ensure that you are never allowed back out.
Perhaps it would prefer to have you do terrible deeds and be left to rot in a cell alone, forever awaiting the day that some supposed Holder comes by with its supposed key Object. You would begin to worry that you'd not expressed the necessary passion in appealing for the courtroom judge to open the magical gateway into your prison.
Perhaps it would be satisfied by your confinement, or perhaps it would visit at the dead of night to mock and jest through the bars of your cell, gloating over its victory, chiding your gullibility as you are forced to agree. It might try to trick you out of your few remaining comforts. It might leave its whispered laughter lingering to echo inside your empty mind, or lead any normal thought to strange places.
Alternatively, you may simply be met with some trifling task, potentially easy though extremely humiliating. Then, at its end, perhaps a primed grenade would be object number...
Any text penned by the Holder of Mischief may serve to lead you into great and blatant danger, holding only false hopes for protection. Any word spread forth from its deft tongue could have you wearily searching the earth for some non-existent gateway, investing your time and your mind in nothing of potential gain. You could even be lead to some other Seeker's place, or they could be lead to yours, all greed and paranoia fed by subtle whispers. Whenever the winds seem to speak, be ready.
Any special set of instructions may deliver you to one of its masterfully crafted funhouses, and perhaps, through it with both life and sanity intact. The Holder of Mischief would be greatly amused to see you struggle and sweat for some worthless trinket with no special properties, held by some hired help in a cheap costume. You might never come to know of such deceit. If ever you have succeeded against the odds in some especially cruel and deranged task, cradle your prized 'object'. Listen out for the sound of stifled laughter. It may be coming from around any corner or behind any closed door nearby. If you hear it and can be certain, ditch your worthless trinket and strive to keep a hold of your resolve.
Be aware that the trickster Holder is inclined to set up traps in vacant realms and trial chambers, where any Object has already been found and removed. What it will establish there will be similar to what had been before, seeming to fit with the previously known instructions for the place's trial, though with crucial parts switched around so as to require the opposite action. Following the known instructions for such a place would surely lead to your demise, as Mischief presides from some bygone Holder's throne, rubbing its empty hands together and chortling warmly.
Other remaining Holders will not tolerate its irksome presence in their own domains, though it will still frequent their gateway places to wreak its havoc.
Should you be rigorously following any set of instructions, only to be surprised by an intervention from some unmentioned security guard, run and survive to return at a later date.
Should you intend to seek out the Holder of Mischief, meaning to gain its true Object, you have simply to happen upon any of the false instructions which it spreads, and to play along. Draw it close, it will want to watch its plans unfurling. Draw it close and wrap it up in some other plan of your own making. Catch the Holder.
Should you succeed, it will find the situation to be utterly hilarious, applauding readily. Know that the Holder will have learned new techniques from you, and more terrible yet, you will have earned its eternal respect as a worthy adversary. Setting it free would be most unwise. That is, unless you should find yourself beginning to share in its sense of fun. Should you release it and allow the games to escalate, do be careful with your precious world.
You may opt to keep the Holder captive in the hopes that it can be put to use; it would be only too glad to let you win yourself the illusion of control. Better to play safe; know that the Seekers can be easily manipulated.
Whatever you do, be sure to gain the Object. Only the Holder knows where it is stowed and what form it has taken. State an offer of trade; the true Object for the Holder's freedom, or at least for the promise of its freedom. Do not to be lied to and sent away with some cursed Symbol or Token. The negotiation will test your wits and perception to their fullest or beyond. Patience will be tested also, keep calm and maintain focus. Begin to gain the upper hand, or appear to do so, and it may assume the form of a loved one, working to convince you that you've lost your mind whilst it begs for freedom. Show stoic resolve. Claim its true Object, do not be deceived. Be the deceiver or enforce fair play.
Old tales tell of a silver serpent with a special venom that would force the Holder's honest compliance by way of the purest pain.
Older tales tell of a monstrous wolf which roams in the darkness of some unknown glade. They say it may become vengeful and come hunting. Consider allowing yourself to be found, and using it to your own advantage.
Get yourself the true Object, that which is numbered [xxx] of [xxxx], or be given something else. Hope beyond hope that you have succeeded in your task. Either way, you should try to discover any special properties that the thing might have, and quickly. Be warned that such effects may place you in danger.
Obtain Objects, Seeker; act on your whim.
Bring them together or keep them apart, whichever specific mischief you prefer.
Credited to Anonymous