(Alternate words: Devil, Delta, Defiled, and Dalliance, all of which have been placed on the later-consideration list. Also “Drink Order”, which will be today’s trope-a-day.)
Summer breakfast parlor
With all respect to my illustrious cousin, the most frustrating aspect of the translocation problem is having an answer to it sitting closer to me than the liquor cabinet, which answer happens to be completely useless.
So far as understanding theory and practice are concerned, at least. Our House of a Thousand Doors is certainly the wonder of this or any other age, sprawling as it does across eight cities and two continents, has served us well as the foundation of the Claves fortune, and the view from here atop Tirias Mirénon is undoubtedly superior to that from anywhere save possibly the Starspike, for all that it requires a roaring fire for my comfort even in high summer.
And yet we can reproduce none of it.
The doors of the House were recovered from an archaeological expedition south of Inisvaen by my ancestor, Iallis Claves-ith-Claves, which we now know to have been an offshoot of the Precursor site at Iniscail. (Although they do not sit well with other known Precursor technologies, which raises further possibilities still – are they artifacts from those who came before the Precursors that the Precursors were investigating?) Discovering how they worked and that their function seemed interwoven with the traditions of our family, she built the House around them, deeming their discovery an inspiration from Dírasán, and bidding her successors to discover their workings and learn to fashion more.
Ten generations later, freshly appointed, and having carefully studied the journals left behind by all my predecessors as Discerner of the Doors, I can sum up our knowledge thus:
- We possess 327 instrumentalities capable of translocating one from place to place. (So, yes, our estate is misnamed, having only 325 actual doors – unless you count Uncle Severian’s observatory, which adds one on the occasions that it orbits within range. Thus, we now only have one spare, the remaining two having been destroyed in ill-considered experiments by my early predecessors.)
- We know how to make them work, how far you can remove them from each other’s presence before they stop working, how often they can work, and other minutiae of their operation.
- We don’t know how they work, either practically or theoretically, what powers them, how to duplicate them, or what they’re made of.
- We do, however, have a comprehensive list of all the scientific investigation methods of the last seven millennia that have completely failed to reveal anything useful about our family treasures.
So it stands.
Will I be the one to crack open this mystery? Well, I shall do my damnedest. The prospect of fame, major scientific prizes, and the trillions of esteyn that normally accompany revolutionary discoveries do have a certain appeal, after all, even beside the curiosity that has inflamed generations of Claves scions.
I cannot, however, claim to be confident of success.
– Alar Claves-ith-Estenv, personal journal
(Note: this is a from-the-deuterocanonical files. I’m still considering the consequences of introducing even this extremely limited form of translocation to the Eldraeverse, so it’s not established canon yet – and any expansion of it will definitely be in the form of a future discovery, not something that exists at the setting’s current “present time”.
But it is something that may well exist, and in any case, it is canon that many of the Houses possess or have possessed some sort of artifact like this as a “family heirloom” or two.)