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  So you’ve read all about the infamous rituals and seances designed to contact the spiritual realm. Perhaps you’ve even tried one or two of them, and perhaps you even had some success. Perhaps now, you wish to further your abilities and test your willpower against those on the other side. Well my friend, you’ve come to the right place.

  I could give the usual shtick about this being a bad idea, and for you not to do it because of all the horrible things that may ensue. But is that going to stop you? Is curiosity more important than safety? Only you can decide that.

  Some would even say that posting this information upon a public medium is negligence by proxy in the highest regard. There is a very good reason for it however. Humanity has a tendency to forget things. No one knows how the great pyramids of Giza were built, or how Stonehenge predates all known civilizations in the area it was found.

  To forget, is to commit the greatest of sins. To lose information vital to how things became what they are. Some are good, and some are bad, but all knowledge must be preserved for the good of our descendants. It is for this reason that I have chosen to reveal this information, in hopes that it may be catalogued and not forgotten.

  The following is a set of instructions on how to play the card game known as the Soothsayer’s Respite. First off, you will need to gather a few select items.

-Four candles of any size and color

-One Mirror of reasonable proportions

-One Knife sharp enough to easily slice through flesh

-Two decks of standard playing cards

-One metronome or other tone keeping instrument

-A bag of salt

-A lighter or box of matches

-A notepad and writing utensil

-Four human players. No more, no less. Each with a single item of great personal significance to act as a conduit.

  It is recommended that the playing area be furnished with a table and chairs for comfort and accessibility sake. Remove all items from the room which are not immediately essential to the game. The game must commence no earlier than midnight and conclude no later than 3am. If a game lasts longer than the allotted time, then you run the risk of allowing, anomalies.

  This game is a contest against an entity from beyond our world. From a place which many refer to as the Threshold. What entity it is which challenges you will vary between experiences. Some report angels and demons, aliens and ghosts as well as things all but undefinable by human standards. The entity is the dealer in this game, and all players must strive to defeat the dealer and win the game. Only one player will be able to win the game, but the others may assist.

  To prepare for the game, gather a table and chairs around in a small area of your choosing. There is no concrete rule on what particular area works best, but in general it is advised that you stay away from large cities, electronics of all kinds and large groups of people not involved with the game.

  It is also NOT recommended that you use a room in your own living space. Doing so could inadvertently allow in unwanted guests. It is ideal to select an abandoned location which is no longer in use. An old building or home will work exquisitely although this does further increase the chance of encountering a less friendly entity. A makeshift shack thrown together with old plywood also works fine. If none of the above works, then you can always just play in the woods as long as the wind is minimal.

  To prepare for the game, begin by placing the mirror on the table facing upwards towards the ceiling or sky. Each players chair should be seated in a square formation, 90 degrees each way around the table. If you’re really feeling fancy and want to add more immersion to your experience, then why not coordinate each chair to line up to each of the four geometric directions? A candle will be placed in front of each player and the flame must be maintained by the corresponding player at all times. Pour a ring of salt around the mirror, and for good measure add one around the table as well. The salt is not mandatory but it is a primitive rite of protection and so it is advised.

  Between the hours of midnight and 3AM, have all participants take their seat around the table. Each player is to bring along with them a personal item of great importance. This can be anything, but for simplicities sake try to keep it reasonably sized. An old family heirloom such as a pocket watch, a doll or photograph are some of the more common choices. Whatever the selection, it must hold emotional significance of some sort to the player. Cradle the item on your lap and remember the emotions associated with it.

  A word of warning before going any further. Stopping the game before it is completed is NOT a wise decision. It is easily done as you can simply walk away at any time, but in so doing, you leave the door open. Whatever it is that chooses to accept your challenge will be innately drawn to you because of the energy used to summon it. Stepping away from the game before it’s conclusion will all but guarantee it will pursue you. The only way to ensure it does not escape, is to win and lock the door behind you.

  Begin by lighting each of the four candles. This can be done in any order by any participant but take care to not damage the candle. The candle is representative of life, and the darkness around you representative of the universe which tries at every moment to extinguish that life. Safeguard the candle by whatever means necessary.

  Place the two decks of cards on the table and shuffle them well. Both decks must contain all cards from each suit, giving a grand total of 104 cards with 2 of every card. The use of the Joker card is optional, but not advised. Should you choose to include it, you must use only a single instance of it. This is a highly risky proposition, and the consequences of which shall be explained in due time. Shuffle the cards honestly, and have another player cut the deck.

  You are now prepared to commence the game, but before doing so, a few rules must be laid out.

  1. Do not attempt to cheat the game in any way shape or form. Things like peeking at another player’s cards or attempting to stack the deck will earn immediate disqualification and distribution of the gambler’s curse. More on that later.
  2. I mentioned this earlier, but again I must reiterate that once the game has begun, it must be seen all the way through.
  3. Do not look into the mirror. It is the window by which your ethereal dealer will view the game, and you. Whatever it is that is conjured on the other side will likely attempt to manipulate you. Sneak a quick glance if you must, but staring is not advised. It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself within what the mirror may show you, and you must not allow that. You’re better off ignoring the mirror altogether.
  4. If you lose a hand, you must abide by the rules. Whatever punishment is demanded of you must be carried out. If it isn’t, then it will not be just you on the line anymore. Your participation in this game is your bond, and you must follow through on your word. The spirits do not take kindly to those who break solemn oaths. The lowest circle of hell is reserved for the most treacherous of souls, but that particular fate will seem almost desirable to you compared to what true fate will befall you.
  5. Keep your candle lit, and the salt lines maintained at all times. Fracturing of the line could allow other rogue spirits to join the game, and you do not want that.
  6. This one isn’t so much a rule as it is a clarification. This game is not a sadist’s fantasy or Crowleyan demon séance. You will not be forced to murder your grandma or chop off your own genitalia or anything overtly grotesque like that. But you may be required to cause yourself pain, or put yourself in severely compromising situations. You won’t lose your soul simply by playing it either, but you may mark it.

  This game channels the energy of the living in order to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual. The metronome will be used to synchronize the vibrational energy of each player in order to allow them to resonate upon the same frequency. This merging allows the manifestation of a conduit, a beacon by which denizens of the other side are drawn to.

  Once the candles are lit, set the metronome to either 30 or 60 beats per minute. Have all players hold hands, secure their personal item on their lap and close their eyes. Take a minute to experience the darkness and take solace in the presence of the other players around you. Visualize their energy and take slow methodic deep breaths. Wait a minute or two to ensure all players are within the same mindset and designate one player to count backwards from ten. Once the counting player reaches one on the countdown, all players are to recite the following mantra in unison.

“Friends and fiends in pain and plight,

we beckon to thee arise this night,

a game of minds a test of souls,

a challenge irreverent the malebolge, (mal-uh-bolj)

our word is true our notions pure,

to glimpse what sights the dead endure,

play for keeps, play for win,

play for life, and pray for sin

Satus de ludum”

 

  The game has now officially begun and there is no turning back. Assuming you were able to establish a strong conduit, meet the given specifications and chant the words sincerely, then you may find that a fifth presence has now joined your table. More than likely you will not see your guest directly, but you may hear whispers in your ear, or shouts of pain in the distance. Ignore them, they are nothing but distractions. Their image will coalesce within the mirror, and it is important to not peer directly into it for too long.

  The game will last for thirteen rounds. Each round consists of a card being drawn by each player and the dealer. Before a player draws their card, they will verbally declare either “high” or “low”. The objective is to accurately guess whether the card you draw will be higher or lower than the card drawn by the dealer. If you guess correctly, then you are safe for the round. If you guess incorrectly then you are required to adhere to the correlating punishment of the round.

  A tie with the dealer, is a victory for the player, kind of. This outcome is a double-edged sword, as the player who ties will be required to carry out the punishment, but will NOT give up a strike.

  The draw order will be directed in a counter-clockwise pattern, with the youngest player at the table drawing first. Once they declare their prediction, they will check their card. Take care to not show any player the card you have drawn as this is considered a form of cheating. Other players also should refrain from attempting to peak at their counterparts’ cards.

  After all players have declared and drawn, the first player will draw a card for the dealer and place it face up on the mirror. Each player will then take note on whether they won or lost the round. The writing utensil and paper can be used to keep track of losses and wins.

  The cards are organized as you would expect. Ace is 1, 2-9 act as normal with jack being 11, queen being 12 and king being 13. As mentioned earlier, the joker card is optional. If included, there must only be a single instance of it. If a player draws the joker card at any time, they are automatically absolved from all punishment received previous. The joker beats all cards no matter what the situation. The player will also restore their 3 strikes.

 But, if the dealer draws the joker card, then all players lose the game and receive the gambler’s curse. Ultimate risk, ultimate reward. The choice to include the joker or not is up to you.

  The number drawn on any given losing hand will correlate to how many days are allotted to complete a particular punishment. For instance, if a player draws a 7 on a losing hand, then they have 7 days upon conclusion of the game to complete the punishment. Your word is your bond, and competing in the Soothsayer’s Respite is consent to adhering to punishments. If you do not follow through on your end of the deal, then trust that you will never be allowed to attain peace in your life. Some punishments can be performed while still in the game, but others simply cannot.

  Each player will begin the game with 3 strikes. Each time a round is lost, a strike is lost as well. When the third strike is lost, the player is eliminated from the game and will no longer draw. If all players are eliminated before round 13, then the dealer is victorious and all punishments must be carried out. This is the only stipulation for that outcome, and players will not become cursed or receive anything else of negative connotation so long as they complete their punishments within the given amount of time. Players must keep track of their strikes, and respectfully concede defeat once all strikes are used. If a player persists beyond their 3 strikes, then the gambler’s curse will ensue.

  The following will detail each of the 13 rounds, and the punishment associated with losing them.

Round 1: Stare into the mirror. I know I advised against this earlier, but now you have no choice. Stare into the mirror, and have another player time you for one minute. You will see only yourself of course, or will you? Is that really you in the mirror? Or something else?

Round 2: Prick finger. Take a knife and slit the end of a finger to draw blood. This act can be performed within the game itself, or after the game has concluded.

Round 3: Fornication. It’s as simple as that, well almost. The act cannot be performed with a spouse or partner of a mutual relationship. And yes, the act must involve reaching home plate. Kissing and fondling do not count, it must involve penetration. The act must culminate in climax for one or both participants otherwise it does not count. Again, this act can be performed within the confines of the game, but it might make things a tad awkward for the other participants.

Round 4: Denial of pleasure. Players must swear off a pleasure enjoyed by themselves for the allotted time. The card drawn will designate the amount of time, this time in weeks and not days. If a player draws a king on a losing hand, then the pleasure they give up will last for 13 weeks.

  The pleasure chosen must be one that the player actively enjoys. Swearing off video games, coffee, or eating meat are some of the more common ones, but yours can be anything so long as it doesn’t contradict any other punishment. If you lose round 3 and 4, then you can’t just swear off sex and expect that to work. Verbally declare the pleasure you will give up to the other players, and proceed to the next round.

Round 5: Give tithings. Loss of this round will require the player to sacrifice some of their earnings. Some say giving 500 dollars away is enough, but to be absolutely sure the player should take 10% of their bank account and squander it. The safest route is by simply burning it, but giving it away has also been reported to work by some. The choice is up to you.

Round 6: Hatred. Reveal something you absolutely detest about another person. This must be done directly to the person and it must be truthful.

Round 7: Open blasphemy. A player must verbally pronounce blasphemies against a religious deity. This must be heresy of an actual religion and not a meme religion. Cursing out Lord Cthulhu or telling the flying spaghetti monster to get fucked is not enough. Stick to the big four: Christianity/Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism.

Round 8: Draw Blood. Use a knife or other sharp instrument to cut your own flesh. The incision should be at least 3 inches in length and must draw blood. Salt must then be dumped on the wound afterwards.

Round 9: Draw blood from another. Repeat the same process from Round 8, but this time on another person of your choosing. This again is most easily done in the game itself.

Round 10: Kill and eat an animal. One of the more admittedly unfortunate rounds depending on your morals, but not as morbid as it may appear. The animal in question can be anything, so long as it is bigger than your thumbnail. If you go hunting or fishing regularly then this step should be easy for you. For those that don’t and are a bit squeamish, I have one piece of advice. Grasshoppers. Probably not the most pleasant snack you’ll ever have, but it will serve the purpose.

Round 11: Public humiliation. This one is definitely more difficult to define because of the vague terminology. Some people are mortified simply by accidently bumping into someone on the subway, where as others could care less about vomiting while on stage at the Grammy’s. The act should be performed in front of at least 20 strangers and can consist of pretty much anything. Maybe enroll in the local comedy club and intentionally bungle the gig, or run through Walmart in nothing but your underwear. On second thought though, that probably wouldn’t even register at Walmart, so maybe choose Safeway instead. Whatever you choose must be legitimately humiliating for you. My advice? Piss yourself at a local shopping mall (unless you’re in to that sort of thing in which case… eww). Humiliating? Absolutely, and that is exactly what you need.

Round 12: Break a treasured relationship. Probably the most unfortunate of rounds to lose. You must intentionally destroy a treasured relationship you have. Mother, father, friend, sibling any will work, but it must be authentic, hurtful to both parties and it must be lasting.

  Before we get to Round 13, there are a couple things we must address. Round 13 IS the final round, despite some claiming there to be more. This final round will be played only by the dealer and one other player. The player with the fewest losses will be allowed to proceed. If two or more players are tied, then the player who drew the highest card in round 12 will proceed. If by some ethereal miracle two players drew the same number card in round 12, then the two players will draw again until the stalemate is broken.

  Finally, we get to the much-anticipated pinnacle of the game: Round 13. This final round will be orchestrated differently then all previous ones. The player and dealer will go head to head in a contest of 7 draws. Whoever draws the higher card in each draw will win the hand. If a participant wins 4 draws, they are declared victorious. The player will draw first and lay their card face up.

  Another quick stipulation, the deck must NOT be reshuffled at any time during the game. All drawn cards are to be placed in a separate pile and not used for the remainder of the game. If all cards are spent before the game is decided, then all players lose and must adhere to their punishments. The gambler’s curse may or may not be given, but since this particular outcome is exceedingly rare, not many have reported upon it.

  If you manage to best the dealer with 4 victories, then congratulations! You have won the Soothsayer’s Respite and are entitled to your rewards. You are exempt from all forms of punishment inflicted within the game, and can now name your prize of which the dealer will provide. Winning will also absolve you of the gambler’s curse. These prizes include protection from the ethereal plane so long as you may live, as well as your choice of another benefit. You may choose one aspect from three in which to enhance. Physical, cognitive, or spiritual.

  Physical enhancement will make you strong, and all but immune from disease and sickness. You will show great improvement in physical events such as sporting and strength. You will live a full and healthy life, and likely die of old age.

  Cognitive enhancement will give you power of the mind. The ability to memorize and learn with unrivalled tenacity. Your mind will become strong, dominant to any and all who challenge it. Others will look to you as an intellectual powerhouse, and someone to be commended and aspired after.

  Spiritual will grant the ability to see between worlds, speak to the dead, and comprehend consciousness in ways others cannot. With practice, you may even find yourself capable of commanding lesser entities to do your bidding. Maybe use them to protect your loved ones from other malicious spirits and curses, or use them to harass your enemies and drive them mad.

  Choose only one of these gifts, and you shall receive it. For the dealer is bound to abide by the rules just as you are. But be warned, for you do not receive a gift without a curse. Physical strength will grant physical power, but your mind may grow feeble and memory may elude you. Cognitive strength will make you wise and intelligent, but you may find yourself growing secluded as others fail to keep up with your intellect. Spiritual strength will allow you to see, but you may not always enjoy the things you see and the truths you learn.

  Announce the gift you wish to receive verbally. There will be no immediate change in environment when you select your gift, but in time you will come to see your newfound abilities. It is possible to acquire more than one enhancement, but doing so requires playing and winning the game again.

  The other outcome, and by far the worst fate which can befall you, is the dealer winning round 13. Not only are you mandated to carry out all your punishments but another more unfortunate fate awaits you. It is known as the Entropy.

  Again, you will choose one of the three “gifts” from above, but this time the opposite effect will occur. Physical will make you sickly and prone to injury and an early grave. Cognitive will degrade your mind with a slew of mental illness and disease. Spiritual will act the same as above. You will see those on the other side, but now they will be drawn to you, and you will hold no dominion over them.

  In addition to the Entropy, the dealer entity will also enjoy the spoils of war. The reason this game is so enticing to those on the other side, is because if they win, they go free. They are trapped in a sort of purgatory world which many have come to refer to as the aforementioned Threshold. Some claim they know what these things are, but few have any sort of proof.

  Whatever they are, they are powerful. Able to enhance participants and alter the physical world. Some choose to cling to the losing participants of the game, while others vanish and are never seen again. More often than not though, a victorious dealer will come for the loser of round 13. Please, for the love of God, do not lose round 13. The last thing we need in this world is more malicious spirits running around.

  Choose your fate wisely, but none of the results can be construed as in any way pleasant. They are curses after all, and will treat you accordingly. And speaking of curses, we have one final aspect we must discuss.

  The gambler’s curse. This curse is unique, no tragedy will befall you and no wrathful souls will pursue you. To the untrained eye, nothing may appear any different. But it will eat at you.

  “How in the world did I lose? Why did I allow myself to cheat? Maybe I should try to play again.”

  The thoughts will conspire against you, subliminally driving you to seek risks and relent your curse in any way you can. You will give up everything in your pursuit. Friends and family will fade from existence but you won’t care. You have to make things right. You have to break the curse by any means necessary. You have to win the game, for only it will break the gambler’s curse.

  You have to tell people about it, get the word out in hopes that others will be willing to play with you and free you from your eternal torment. You have to lure them with the promises of abilities beyond their own which will entice them to play. You have to be free, you cannot stand it any longer.

  But fear not, for there are plenty of inquisitive minds seeking forbidden knowledge and enhanced abilities. You only need to know how to find them, and now you have. You need only to wait now, for they will come to you. So how about it then, does anyone want to play?