THE SECOND H.P. LOVECRAFT CHESS TOURNAMENT INTRODUCTION: The Journal of "Boris")
THE SECOND H.P. LOVECRAFT CHESS TOURNAMENT INTRODUCTION: The Journal of "Boris")
[This really is a chess blog, I promise!]
(Note From Editor: The following block of type is a transcription from a dutifully penned missal, crabbed down in a filthy little journal that must once have been intended to be a child's daybook and was misplaced long before it was found by the man who's writing now fills it. So singularly disturbing and unusual are the contents of this slapdash diary that conscience rather than horse-sense compells me to pass it along. It should also be disclosed that the journal was discovered by hunters in the burned ruins of an abandoned deep woods shack in the
southern hills of the upper Adirondak Mountains. The journal was protected by whatever confligration destroyed the rest of the shack by the collapse of the floor, which dropped the journal into a tiny cistern or root cellar below the building. The contents transcribed here are just as they appear in the original journal, edited only for clarity where portions of the text were destroyed by mildew damp and some singeing from the otherwise all-consuming blaze. Ed.)
There are things in this world so terrible that it is a man's duty, should he know aught of them, to bring knowledge of these hidden menaces to the awareness of the public at large. But there is a more dreadful kind of horror. Ofttimes the nature of true evil is so unspeakable that were it to be revealed to mankind, such damnable revelations would unhinge the political and economic structures of the entire earth and plunge civilization back into a new dark age- one born this time not of ignorance, but of terribly perfect Knowing. That knowing is merely the certainty that all order and meaning to the universe is but a mad sham, a thin (so terribly thin!) gauze stretched like a corpse's shroud over the mottled green shoulders of an empty and decaying reality. Underneath the veneer, cavorting between and beyond the laws we have created to make a vast clockwork of our world, an older and more insidious machinery exists. This is the Engine of Entropy. Like the machinery of our own world, this Engine has it's technicians, it's instructors and operators. They are analogous to our lawnmen, our doctors and clergy. And of course there are those caught in the middle, children of both worlds as it were. Those who are too perceptive, or
remote from the distractions and worries of daily modern life to ignore all the signs (and O, there are so very many) that things are not as they seem. Perhaps such a person has been caught up in circumstance, or somehow inherited a position of temporary interested to the powers and servants of those mighty Hands that have set the forces of Law and Entropy in motion, and so necessarily against one another. However it may be, it happens from time to time that a hapless innocent is caught in these maelstrom storms of conflicting powers. More rare still, one occassionally returns to the world of sanity and meaning with life and mind still possessing a fragment of normalcy. What is the survivor of such destroying intelligence to do? Is he to tell the world of man what he has seen, knowing that to reveal his bent on such matters will mark him a lunatic? Or that his words, even if believed, would throw the organized nations and religions of the world into unmitigated panic? Even worse still by far, that his feeble attempts to communicate this understanding might be intercepted by those very entropical forces that he would warn his fellows of, and such beings and powers as might be able to function within our sphere might come for him and silence his indiscressions forever, in some ghastly manner or another.
The dilemma is not one that most could endure for long. Such unmade decisions weigh heavily upon the spirit, and action is demanded. It is thus with great misgiving that I have decided at last to tell the story I have carried within me these many long weeks. It is the story of mortal beings, creatures of flesh, mind and spirit even as you or I. These were compelled to take up the mantle of mighty and terrible entities, to struggle with one another at lethal odds in an alternate plane of being. I was one of these. Gathered up in cloaks of night we were dragged together through vast distances of space and time, converging at last in pairs upon a field of tangenitally opposed quadrangles, where dreadful Beings lined up in ranks on either side and prepared to devour one-another. I state this as fact, I care little whether the reader believes me or no. In some truth I hope this dire missal is never read; I feel compelled by the strain of unrest within my skull to tell of these horrible things. What would compell another to review this account I dare not guess. At any rate these things happened, not only to myself but to the others as well.
We arrived in this place not in our bodies as we know them to be from day to day, but it did not matter. By proxy we borrowed the shapes of the Beings who possessed this arena, and with our wills we were able to move them in conformity with the (bizarre by earthly standards) laws of this unusual and disturbing place. These beings are by their very natures diametrically opposed to one another, and no two of them are able to occupy the same place at the same time, their awful powers perhaps cancelling each other out until the more passive being (the one not in motion) is destroyed or somehow consumed by the other. I know how ludicrous this sounds, even as I write of these things the
compulsion to rip up these notes is powerful. But the need to tell is stronger still. I suppose I must also explain (though I shudder to do so) that one of these Entities in particular is possessed of an importance so vast that if this Being is removed or devoured in the course of the manipulations of the forces on that court, the positions of the entire field are reset and the whole mess begins again. The horror in all this is that this mighty being, upon whose survival the entire persistance of this strange universe relies, somehow embodied the spirits of myself and the others who were brought from earth there with me. I mean by this that there was attached to each of us individually one of these key Beings of this nature, and the dissolution of this Entity from the field of opposites brought with it to us personally the most tangible impressions of pain, loss, and frustration. It was, in short, as if the "death" of this key Being was percieved as the death of ourselves, each to one.
Compelled by the laws of that place, by which each participant must cause one of the 16 Entities to move or face the eventual deintigration of their own key Being (i.e. "themself") we set about the task of trying to balance and sustain pressure of forces upon each other's key Being by using the relationships of the other Entities against one another. The result was, time and again, wholesale slaughter. These forces are truly incredible, their merest touch is annihilation in that place. The stress of balancing them, the awe and shock of watching them tear into each other's ranks over and over again, proved too much for me. Time and again I was subjected to the peculiar agony of having my key Entital Being forced to move into a place where It's destruction was inevitable. When at last the ordeal (which seemed to last for weeks) was over, I tried to busy myself, to forget the atrocities I had seen, even caused, and watched visited upon myself. But time and again I was haunted by some after image, some teasing vision of the position of the Beings from one contest of theirs or another. Sleep became difficult, eating and other appetites simply a bore. I began to shun friends and family alike, and fearful fancies took hold of me, until I was absolutely certain that all manner of terrible things were about to happen and were in truth already happening all around me. The Enemies were closing in. I tried changing my location and lifestyle over and over again; nothing worked. Now instead of hiding from my loved ones, I am shunned by them... a pariah, a madman. Because of the things I have seen, and can't keep the marks of the Knowing of them from my face, for all I guard myself not to speak of them or betray their existance. This journal is my last hope; if I can take some of the awful pressure away, share some of this burden, even if it is only to share it with this filthy little daybook I found in the corner of the hunting shack I now call my home. Maybe then I can clear my thoughts enough to plan something. Or at least figure out a way to stay warm and fed out here, all alone.
PostScript- I suppose it's silly to add a postscript to what is in essence a diary entry, but I wanted to give an example of the hypnotic power of the Entities' positions and thought this the clearest way to do so:
Perhaps now you can understand what it has been like for one who, like me, is haunted by this type of terrible puzzle. I shudder to think what may have become of the other contestants of these cthonic olympics!
(EDITORS NOTE: If you are still totally lost after reading all this you can check out http://blog.chess.com/TRC777/first-hp-lovecraft-chess-tournament-interlude-q-and-a-the-quotrealquot-hplchess-connection but it probably won't help. More to come soon...)