Modern Mythologies: The Holder Series

They must never come together. Never.

– The Holder of the End, Object 1 of 538

Now comes the time to tell you all of a Modern Mythology that I’ve known for even longer than I have known of the SCP Foundation. The Holders Series is an…older website. It had its heyday back in ’08 – ’09, and it’s forums are relatively dead nowadays. It’s nothing fancy like the SCP Foundation, and it’s not as involved as the Slender Man mythos, but it still exists today as a jewel of what the Internet can do. It has its flaws, but damn it, The Holders Series should be held up as the proto-Internet fable that it is. It deserves to be mentioned, even if it falls short where its younger brother excels.

The caveat of this website is that we are Seekers. Seekers know of these beings called Holders that hold Objects of untold power. They lay in wait “in any city, in any country, [in] any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to.” There you speak to the person at the front desk, say a pre-determined phrase, and set yourself down a path of abject horror.

Once you get to the end of the path (which usually requires yet another specific phrase to get through if a voice stops talking or a light shuts off), you must ask the Holder another specific question or die a horrible death. Then they will tell you a terrifying story that will have to do with their Object. If you fail then you will be subjected to an eternity of torture. If you win, then you will receive an Object.

The mythos gain another layer of complexity when the question of the Objects is considered. As the quote at the top of the page implores, the world will end if the Objects are brought together. However, as a Seeker, you are driven to bring them together and initiate the Holder of the Journey. The basic thrust of the lore is that you are driven to initiate the destruction of our reality. Where the SCP Foundation wiki brought about destructive actions to save the world, The Holder Series does not even play at those airs. You have fallen to a lust for power, and no one ever apologizes for it.

This is a story that, like the SCP Foundation, is open sourced. Anyone can sit down and write a Holders Series story. However, where that generally worked to SCP Foundation wiki’s success, The Holder Series flounders with that freedom. The writing is lackluster in many (if not most) entries. The beginnings are roughly the same, and where SCP Foundation uses that to lend credibility and a scientific feel, the writing of The Holder Series’ entries cannot seem to do the same. The repetition should reinforce that the Objects are toward a uniform purpose, that each Holder is as terrifying/powerful/deadly as the last, and that the mystery of the Holders is a magical reality on par with Lovecraftian cults. It fails. It fails oh so hard.

The reasons for that are varied, but I tend to put more blame on the forums themselves than anything else. SCP Foundation has an active community that votes on and edits new stories. The Holders Series, it seems, simply had a less writerly community than SCP enjoys.

Where the writing suffers, as does the lore. SCP Foundation has a set lore and the quality control lends itself to furthering that. The lore doesn’t turn around on or actively contradict itself. With the Holders Series, this happens far too often. There were 538 objects in the beginning. However, if you go to the series list, there are 547 entries. Then there are even more entries under the “Beyond the Holders” heading, with most of the subheadings being false starts and ultimately failed attempts to branch the mythology into an interesting direction. All of this, of course, and no description of what happens when the objects are actually brought together, or why a “Holder of Legion,” exists, or anything else that would actually helpful in understanding the lore.

All things considered, The Holders Series is an interesting way to blow some time on a weekend. However, the stilted style of the entries lends itself more to boring repetition than interesting authority. Then you add in the overall poor writing (you can only say “You will die an agonizing, torturous death for all of eternity” so many times before it begins to lose its luster),  and I find myself recommending the SCP Foundation Wiki with growing fervor. The Holders Series was an interesting experiment that came up with some fascinating results, but in the end, it fell victim to its own premise.

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