The JorenMir Clock, assembled from pieces found in Portent, was not a real clock. It was designed to serve as a gate to the city of Abydos. Once the gate opened, the clock was replaced by a spiraling vortex of scintillating colors. It had a distinctive pull to it but could easily be avoided if desired. It lasted for five minutes at full strength and then faded over the course of three rounds, during which time anyone could still jump or move through. Use of portal feel could not determine what lay on the other side but nothing dangerous seemed to be there.
Abydos, though existing in a plane of pure chaos, seemed far more civilized than the Soup of Aalikimyy or the Swirl of Ordial, considering that it was considered by the pirrateene to be the birthplace of all chaos and thus all creation. A city constantly in the process of flux and change, it never remained the same from minute to minute, with walls shifting locations, people all of a sudden vanishing, replaced by others. An orc waiter might be an eladrin a few moments later, but still serving food as if nothing had happened, as if they had been there all along. Buildings changed. The time of day changed. And movement from place to place seemed to happen almost without thought.
The gate brought them into a house, on a landing of a balcony overlooking a grand living room. A few moments of walking, however, and they were out in the streets, not remembering ever passing through the open door out into the yard, or even thinking about it. The streets seemed straight and ordered enough, with little house with picket fences and yards, in which the elves grew flowers and other plants, some to eat, others to look. The chaos elves, the predominate race living in Abydos besides the pirrateene, had seemingly adapted itself to living in a nonlinear and non-spacial existence, where they were constantly in the middle of various tasks that would never be finished. Every day, things changed, beyond their control, as they liked it (they could control the chaos if seriously threatened, however, though it was somewhat antithetical to their way of life). They appeared as elves with constantly changing features, their expressions exaggerated for emotion, rarely speaking aloud. To outsiders, their language was pure nonsense. But the only way to truly understand them was to read the language in their expressions, much like drow sign language, except infinitely more intricate, shifting through different phases and times, rarely in a linear order. Thus, few of those not of their species could understand them and most of those who could lived in chaos all the time anyway.
Having walked through the streets for a few moments only, watching a large structure looming in the distance, they were suddenly inside of that structure, still led along by the mad mithril elf. The inside was constructed of white marble, with high banners and paintings constantly changing, the floor flowing like a liquid, shimmering in a cascade of colors. At the end of the hall stood a large door, carved in an array of languages, different symbols, appearing in a ring around the center, never staying the same long enough to read more than a few words.
The mad mithril elf said good-bye to them at this point, refusing to go farther into the city. On the other side of the door, stood a vast desert, going off in all directions. As soon as they passed through the door, it disappeared, leaving them in the dry desert under the beating sun. Creating water produced fields of flowers and plants sprouting all at once, and dying just as fast. At the center of the desert lay a small, familiar sandstone structure: a domed shaped structure, held up by four columns; under the dome, lay a small bench, and between the columns there was empty space, allowing for a panoramic view of the desert. But stepping under the structure found them actually looking at another large door.
On the other side, lay a whole solar system, of thirteen planets circling a sun, though much smaller than a real solar system would be. Most of the planets were barren save for the middle one, which was lush and full of trees. Over a large crater in the ground floated an immense structure, a floating mass of stone atop which rested rows and rows of ionic columns, thousands of them all in rows, running down for miles. Each of these columns had a single letter written on it, in the first language, the name of an individual or place or thing. The columns were made of shimmering crystal. The ground, however, was dark black and shimmering like obsidian.
Once they landed and had a chance to move around among the columns, a loud thud emanated from the center of the building. And then all the crystal columns lit up inside and people could be seen within, as if sleeping, nearly immaterial. People of all races, elven, human, though no demonic races. And then each of them, simultaneously, raised their voices in song, saying the word imprinted on their column. The result was not din or white noise or complete chaos but rather a beautiful synthesis of sound that made the hair on the back of their necks stand up and made them shake uncontrollably. From the chaos of ten thousand voices, beauty and symmetry were produced. For the pirrateene and these mithril elves, it is proof that there is, behind chaos, behind the universe itself, a force, something composing music, since all the people in the columns say are their names or objects of places.
At the center of the columns, were several mithril elves. A woman with long red hair sat on a chair made of shifting elements, changing from moment to moment, from fire to water to earth to dust to ice to sand. The other mithril elves sat on chairs around a table made of light. They were all lost in thought, it seemed, in deep meditation, though their eyes were all open, staring at each other. All of them were dressed in mithril armor, with the following hair colors: green (Moreanna), copper, white, and purple.
The leader, who called herself Orstrarl, then spoke to her.
"Welcome home, Elethenien Omberdawn. I am happy that you have come. I have been anxious to meet you for some time but I have been kept busy with other matters. I am sorry for this but I hope that I can repay my absence with my appearance now, though I do feel a little like a trap door spider. Ormus has told me a great deal about you, since he has had dealings with you often in recent years. Not all of what he has said is very flattering but I suppose he has his reasons. But I never judge anyone without meeting them first and looking into their eyes to see what they really believe. Ormus thinks that you should be dealt with in the harshest and most severe manner possible, that you are a threat, directly or indirectly, to everything that we are planning. What do you say to that?"
Elethenien, forgetting herself, immediately told her that people often confused her for Andorie and that her son's name was Caleithyan. Both of these bits of information made Orstrarl pause and reconsider things. Shortly afterwards, she announced that they would both have to be killed but promised that the issue would be discussed first. They were led away by the four mithril elves. They all flew back around the curvature of the planet, to a large clearing in the midst of the forest, decorated with some fruit trees and a hut with a few bunks. Any attempt to leave just wound them back to the clearing again.
After they waited for several days (the passing of time marked by the motion of the sun), a figure came towards them from the column building. It was a ball of mithril energy. It floated over them several times before landing in front of them. It was one of the mithril elves, the woman with long sea-green hair. She had two swords with her. She came to tell them of the decision that the Lady (Orstrarl) had made concerning them. Despite the inherent dangers, she had decided that both of them would be executed. The risk of attack and of Caleithyan was too great to allow them to remain in prison for any length of time. And setting them free would be even more foolhardy. That left only one other option: death. They were given a few minutes to get their thoughts together, to pray, to meditate, to prepare. And then they were to be taken to Orstrarl. They were to be Undone, a quick, painful, and frightening way to die but the only way to be sure. She requested that they follow her and remain quiet. It was to be an orderly ceremony.
She did not take them back to the columns, instead leading them through the starry expanse and to the door hovering in the air that first led them there. There was no desert on the other side. Instead, it was the long white hallway again, as she led them out of Abydos, down the shimmering streets, which were locked in darkness as they walked, like night. Once they were clear of the settlement, they slipped into the Soup. Moreanna drew a door in the air with her sword.
On the other side of the door was a small forest on a hill, with the sun shining down overhead, a solid place with straight lines, not smudges. She gave Caleithyan the other sword that she possessed. She told them that they must be more careful in the future since she would not be there to save them the next time. Elethenien asked why Moreanna helped them; her response was showing the palm of her hand on which the sign of Ashilana was present. She told them that she had to leave them, as she had important matters to attend to, but that the city of Verimiil lay within a few minutes walk, through the forest, down the road, following the rest of the traffic.