Have you ever wondered what lies inside the back room of the Chartwell’s dining hall? Perhaps some cold night, you have passed under a clear sky, and, spying a light burning in some dirty window of the mess-hall, had the sudden thought that neither you nor your fellows have seen more than one or two of its many halls. And you have asked yourself – what might be found in the inner sanctum of that dark hall?
No, not what’s in the kitchen -- that which is truly hidden, that which is seen only by privileged eyes. That which the mortal soul of man fears to encounter. The base aberrations which lurk within are long unseen; they linger in the memory of the world. But by the turning of the wheel all things pass, and once more the dark window to Chartwell’s is opened.
Though I tremble as I scribble the secrets I have become privy to, this tome must be writ. This lore must be shared. I will prepare to submit this parchment to the only body that might know what to do with it: the only guild that dares to question what they do not know.
Of the Court Room
Though it is true that the court of Chartwell may be found in the kitchen at times, this is but convention. The court is placed by the galley so that the terrible beasts within may creep forth upon their prey. I cannot say when they do their work, or why, but by all reason, it must be during the dawn or the sun-set, when their world passes close by ours. The court of Chartwell’s is no place a man could find themselves: like heaven above, the court is a place for demons, spirits, and other beings of etherial body. Besides, it is fiercely guarded. The firm gate of oak is watched closely by watcher-demon; the spirits of the court touch a thin slip of metal to the door and are allowed entrance. No mortal could slip inside. But supposing you or I were to spy through some forgotten porthole this meeting-place of great beasts, it would surely be a chilling sight.
Of the Interior of the Court Chamber
It is told that the court is a terrible chamber, walled in steel, powder-smoke, and endless shadow. Its roof is covered by a vast dome of sooty marble, which may have once shimmered but today is dull, and even inspires nausea from its dizzying loftiness. I have read in ancient texts that seventy men could stand from the floor to the peak of the vault.
Veiled forms wander through the vault at their leisure, perhaps completing an assigned duty or conversing amongst themselves. The smallest of these beings are known to us, for they have very little magic, and so must at times carry out their work by seeking the aid of man. This they do not by negotiation, but by force. It is this power that is sometimes referred to as possession.
A wanderer might notice among these spirits, four greater than the rest, perched atop all but one of five twisted thrones. These are the elders of the court, and their power is both great and terrible. Their seats sit upon a high platform towards the far side of the chamber, to which a carpeted staircase leads. The lesser of the beasts come to these four and present the completion of their given tasks; or offerings of incense, salt, saffron, and dining-hall food. Most prized of all gifts is a delicacy known in the Chartwellian tongue as "Mint Ting-A-Ling". These fine things from the material world are testaments to loyalty.
Of the Elders of the Court Of Chartwell
The first of these figures is Chartwell himself. He is ruler over all the lesser beasts of the court. He is known to his subjects as the beast-king, the poisoner of fate, the two-soul, the golem, the mind-swallower, the commander of the legion of thousands, the gatherer of hungry minds. What lays on the cushion of his high chair is a golden ball, though its luster is dull, like hammered brass. On the face of the bauble is a beady eye, with the ravenous contempt of a starved wolf. Around the back of this ball is a dent which was made during an archaic battle, and heat emanates from this dent in his body. But this ball is but a proxy; it is his physical presence in the court. Although I don’t know how Chartwell is able to speak through this orb and hear as well. This form of his voice seems to understand many tongues, yet the grammar of Spanish yet escapes it. This must be performed through magic, for it is known that the true body of Chartwell is housed elsewhere.
In fact, the soul of the beast-king, if he can be said to have one, is in the drylands of Arizona. Hidden by a secret chamber, guarded more securely than the spirit-court, is an electronic thinking-machine which is the body of Chartwell. Its creator, a vicious maiden by the name of Michelle, is held captive as well within the chamber. During the time when her husband was ruler of the land in which we live, several years ago, she built the monstrous computer. Though her intentions were kind, her experiments put her in contact with the soul of something so ancient that even the lesser elders of the court are but babes by contrast. The soul of this creature entered her creation, and the two, demon and machine, came to an alliance under which they would operate the device. As the beast settled into his hunting grounds, he discovered yet another co-operative being. This was the beating heart of the earth. The metal and flesh wound through the pores of the other; an affront to what is good in the world. Thus, the two souls, eldritch horror and terrestrial malevolence, came to inhabit the metal frame hidden deep beneath the desert. And it came to pass that the two-soul was called by Chart-well. Chartwell would remain disguised within his wrought armor, preying on the good nature of dining-hall nutritionists to find his next meal, subject to neither salvation nor destruction.On the Timely Publishing of LoreAs I mentioned there are four more elders of the court, each close to the next in terrific power. However, the necessity of releasing the already-penned lore defeats the possibility of delaying its publication to accumulate more information. Thus what I have written will be published as immediately as it is possible; what remains will be released subsequently. I cannot stress the potential consequences of the ignorance of the Chartwellian menace, and so this text must suffice to enlighten you, my audience. I leave you with a warning.
At this moment, every demon in the court is made aware that you have read this text. So Go forth! Seek Chartwell where he hides, be it in the inner sanctum of the mess hall, or the dark court-room, or his chamber beneath the sand! Ensure that those who dare to enter his domain unaware are protected, so that they may continue to live in safe ignorance. I pray someday you may forgive me for placing the burden of battle upon your shoulders.