I remember when you were but a baby. It is a hazy vague memory. You were cradled in your mother's arms. I could feel her immense love for you, even though I couldn't understand a word she was saying. I remember much of your life, actually. I remember your every milestone: your first day of school; your first friend; your first date; your first crime; your first murder; your first Object...
Perhaps most relevant to me, though, was the day you returned to the home where you were raised. You asked the new owners if you could speak with the Holder of the Experience. You were so confident when they responded the way you were told they would. There was no doubt in your mind that you would clear my trial.
You walked to the doorway of your old room. For a moment, you felt a rush of nostalgia, seeing your room exactly as you left it... But you instantly became aware of the illusion. You knew you had long-since passed the point of no return, that the past is something you can never revisit.
You knew what you were doing. The one who you thought was your ally - that unnatural man - told you what would happen if you succumbed to the illusion. That damned man spelled out my entire trial for you! Because of him, you already knew what would happen if you didn't check under your bed and inside your closet, or what would happen if you inspected the books on your shelf and the papers on your desk. Not that you were complaining, of course; you knew in the back of your mind that, without his help, you would have failed long before taking this next step.
Though you were anxious, you managed to calm yourself enough to fall asleep in your old bed. At long last, we finally met. I remember clearly the question you asked: "Who am I to you?"
You don't remember my response, of course, but that's perfectly normal. I tried to tear your self-worth to shreds with insults, all justified with examples from your past and your future, but you managed to resist. For every flaw I exposed, you proved to yourself and to me that you have overcome such traits. When I showed you every mistake you have ever made, you acknowledged that the past cannot be changed and proved to me that those mistakes have only made you stronger. And when I dared to say that you have no potential - no future - you only vowed to prove me wrong.
In desperation, I tried to attack your mind directly, but you resisted that tactic as well. You struck me down with your entire being: Every person you ever bonded with, every promise you ever hope to fulfill, every emotion then running through your soul, everything you had ever learned, every goal you ever hope to achieve, and every joule of energy in your body. I felt everything that you are, everything you were, and everything you ever had potential to be.
Satisfied, you woke up. I don't know what happened to you afterward, but you probably found that you were sleeping in a rowboat with a single oar in a gentle stream. You probably wouldn't have remembered why you were sleeping. You wouldn't have remembered anything else, for that matter, except that the oar was an Object and that you had to bring all the Objects together.
I laughed as I sorted through your memories. You see, there was one thing that empty man did not tell you about my trial: You do not earn my Object by defeating me. You have to trade for it. In exchange for the oar, I took all the experiences of your past and future. The life you used to have - the life you would have had - belongs to me now; to you, it is nothing but a dream that you vaguely remember.
The rowboat oar was Object #1312 of 2538. Live life in the present, for that's all you have left.
Credited to Anonymous