The House's physical appearance in the Secondary Realms is described as a vast, varied House with many different architectural styles. Its physical location differs; Arthur saw it in a different place than Leaf
and Sylvie (and elderly woman who aided Leaf, who then showed Sylvie the House). Arthur, Leaf and Sylvie are the only mortals thus far to see the House. Arthur can see it presumably because he is the Heir of The Architect
. Sylvie requires special glasses given to Leaf by Dr. Scamandros. Leaf believes she can see the House and Denizens because her grandmother was a witch; however this has yet to be confirmed. The House has seven desmenses, The Lower House, Far Reaches, Border Sea, Great Maze, Middle House, Upper House, and the Incomparable Gardens. The Gardens are the uppermost part of the House.
The Architect created the House to record all that happened in the Secondary Realms, and never to interfere. Most Denizens believe that the House was created first, but this is only true of the Incomparable Gardens: the rest of the House was created after the Universe. After the architect left, She left behind the Original will to carry out this wish. The Original will forbids any Denizen to interfere in the Secondary Realms; including interference to end previous interference. The Law is not physically binding however, and can be broken. A Trustee can only enter the Secondary Realms on their "day", i.e. Mister Monday can only enter the Secondary Realms on a Monday. Furthermore, the superior denizens (Dawn, Noon, and Dusk) of each day can only enter the Secondary Realms on the hour of their name (meaning Noon can only enter during the hour from 12:00pm to 1:00pm).
House Time is the only “true” Time. Its time is constant, while time in the Secondary Realms is malleable, even able to flow backwards if a sufficient power, such as a Key to the Kingdom
makes it. Thus, a day may pass on Earth, while half of a year will pass in the House. This inconsistency in time allows Arthur to spend large amounts of time in the House, whilst earth time remains still. This happens because individuals can affect the flow of time, so that when Arthur leaves the House he can reappear at the exact time that he left.
Denizens are the original inhabitants of the House. Denizens are ranked within the House in an order of Precedence. It is often asked for by a superior Denizen when one is being reprimanded or punished. The current hierarchy of ranking is unknown.
Denizens are similar to humans in all aspects, with a few exceptions:
- The blood of a Denizen is blue and occasionally silver. However, there has been an unexplained exception. They have gold bones.
- Denizens are very resistant to change of any kind, and are often described as narrow minded or stupid.
- Denizens are naturally handsome. Additionally, if a Denizen’s House Precedence is high, he is more handsome and taller than Denizens of lower precedence.
- Denizens are nearly immortal:
- Denizens cannot die of old age, sickness, dehydration, or starvation while in the House, and will eventually heal from almost any injury, including being decapitated. If the body is destroyed, they can slowly grow a new one, or if it's intact, reconnect with the body. The ability to survive without food or drink while within the House, as well as not dying from old age, extends to Mortals and Piper's Children, however the resistance to injury does not.
- Denizens can only be killed by
- Fire, superheated steam, or other things hot enough
- Certain weapons (such as the Commissionaires’ Clubs, and various weapons of the Glorious Army of the Architect)
- A prolonged absence of their heads
- A festering bite or scratch from a Nithling, which dissolves them into Nothing
- A Key
- Drowning (though this does not completely kill them)
- Falling from at least 15 000 feet.
The Lower House
The Lower House was the domain of Mister Monday. Due to Monday's affliction with sloth, it was incredibly inefficient. After the events of Mister Monday, Dame Primus, as the Steward of Arthur, has attempted to make the Lower House manageable. However, the remaining Morrow Days have attempted to impede this effort by swamping the Lower House with paperwork.
The Lower House is guarded by the Corps of Inspectors, Metal Commissionaires, Denizen Commissionaire Sergeants and Midnight Visitors. They are under the control of the office of Monday's Dawn, Noon and Dusk, respectively.
Doorstop Hill, and on it the Front Door of the House, is located in the Lower House. The Front Door of the House is a means by which one may leave the House and enter a Secondary Realm, and vice versa. To enter it from the Secondary Realms, one must be able to see the House. It is a pair of wooden doors, with constantly shifting wrought-iron patterns; staring at it for too long can cause the viewer to be hypnotized until someone else is able to wrest them from the door’s effect. The Door is guarded by the Captain Keeper of the Door. However, the Captain Keeper disappeared ten thousand years ago, and the Lieutenant Keeper of the Door, an ally of Arthur, has guarded it ever since.
The Coal Cellar is a deep pit in the Lower House where Denizens that have been punished are sent to mine and shape coal for delivery to buyers within the House. The Old One is also imprisoned here. He is bound by two chains extending from a minute and hour hand on a clock face. At midnight each night, two clockwork figures appear and claw out his eyes. This is the punishment laid upon him by the Architect herself for his attempting to interfere in the Secondary Realms, which was directly forbidden by the Architect. His escape is impossible; according to Monday's Dusk, the Seven Keys combined could not free him. In Lady Friday, Dr. Scamandros mentions that something odd is happening in the Coal Cellar; however not with the Old One, but the collectors. The nature of what is happening is not stated. However, it is revealed in Superior Saturday that flowers have started growing around the Old One's clock face prison.
The Seven Dials is a set of seven grandfather clocks in a room accessible from Monday's Dayroom, the main office of the Lower House. The Seven Dials beat with the Heartbeat of Time. Using them, one can travel to the current time in any given Secondary Realm. Thus far, only Sneezer, Monday's butler, has operated them. When the Lower House was consumed by Nothing, Dr. Scamandros says that the Seven Dials would move themselves to safety but we do not know where they have moved to.
The Far Reaches was the domain of Grim Tuesday. Originally, the Far Reaches was a Grand Cavern, and in the Cavern was a steady spring of Nothing. Tuesday used the Nothing to craft items, such as commissionaires and not-horses, which he sold to other demesnes of the House. However, his avarice drove him to deepen and widen the spring, in an effort to get more Nothing. In time, the spring became a vast Pit, which eventually becomes the whole of his demesne, save his Treasure Pyramid and the train station where his personal train into the Pit docks. Grim Tuesday used indentured slaves from his own demesne, as well as ones from other Morrow Days sent to him as payment, to mine the useful amounts of Nothing. The Pit is extremely dangerous as it has been dug deep into the foundations of the House very close to breaching into the void of Nothing.
After Grim Tuesday was deposed, Dame Primus was also given Stewardship of the Second Key and the Far Reaches. She has since ordered the Pit filled in; as of now, it is .00002% filled in. The Far Reaches is known for its production of many things in the house. Due to the overthrow of Grim Tuesday and subsequent filling in of the Pit, production of the Far Reaches has declined. The production is being staightend out, but many items once produced by the Far Reaches are nearly impossible to get.
The Border Sea
The Border Sea was an ocean previously under the rule of Drowned Wednesday. After Wednesday transformed into a leviathan and submerging into the sea, the sea overflowed nine-tenths of all land in the demesne including Port Wednesday. A new port was partially prepared on Wednesday's Lookout before the event, called the Deluge. Any of the buildings that were submerged were transformed into ships, which currently sail the Border Sea along with Wednesday’s original fleet of 49 ships. The Deluge took a week to occur, therefore the Denizens had time to prepare. A unique aspect of the sea is that anything that is lost accidentally, not stolen, anywhere will end up in the Border Sea.
The Border Sea extends into any body of water in the Secondary Realms, and therefore can be reached from the Border Sea. The Line of Storms, a series of vicious lightning storms, guard the entrance into the sea; only an express invitation into the Sea will prevent the Line from killing people instantly.
Raised Rats live here and pilot their steamships. Pirates also live here. The most formidable of which was a mortal pirate who somehow passed the Line of Storms into the Border Sea, Elishar Feverfew. Feverfew was a trained House sorcerer, and was trained in several dark arts. He used Nothing very indiscriminately; he had been changed by this Nothing into something not quite human or Denizen.
However, at the end of Drowned Wednesday, Wednesday’s Dawn informed Arthur that much of the Sea had extended into the Void of Nothing, and since Wednesday used all of the Key’s power keeping her shape, had not reined it in. As Arthur does not wish to use the Keys unless absolutely necessary, he left this task to his Steward Dame Primus. As of Superior Saturday, the Sea has yet to be reined in.
The Great Maze
The Great Maze is a demesne that was ruled by Sir Thursday. It is composed of a great set of tiles, one million squares, one thousand by one thousand, each one mile long by one mile wide. At each sunset the tiles move to another location, allowing any attackers to be split and easily attacked by The Glorious Army of The Architect; a strategy known as Tectonic Strategy. There are several fixed tiles, such as the Citadel, Fort Transformation, and a few others. The Citadel is the main Headquarters of the Maze, where Thursday himself makes his residence. Fort Transformation is where new recruits spend a year of training before going on to serve the last 99 years of their tenure in one of the various factions in the Army.
Square 500/500 is the “master square” of the Maze. Square 500/500 is inferred as the middle of the maze; however this is not so. In a grid 1000 by 1000, the perfect middle would be in the middle of four squares. Square 500/500 would be one of these four squares, depending on whether the numbering is up to down or left to right, and whether the numbering starts on 0 or 1. All other squares’ ability to move depends on square 500/500’s ability to move. When, in Sir Thursday, a giant spike of Nothing is driven into the square, preventing it from moving, Tectonic Strategy fails until the Spike is destroyed.
At one end of the Maze is a mountain range. Within this range is a tunnel that connects to the Void of Nothing, by which controlled amounts of Nithlings are let through so that the Army may train. There are four gates within the tunnel, one gilded in gold, one in silver, one in bronze, and finally an Immaterial gate, the “Cleargate”. Each gate is operated by a single lever in the Border Fort, just above the tunnel. The gates are opened in various ways depending on the amount of Nithlings Sir Thursday wishes to be brought in. The Middle House
The Middle House is a giant, thrice terraced mountain, resulting in three large plateaux, previously under the control of Lady Friday. The plateaux are connected by the Grand Canal, a waterway that is able to repel anything with text on it, enabling it to move various documents within the demesne. The workers of the Canal wear clothes made of out of paper covered with writing so that they float if they fall in.
Each of the plateaux, or “shelves”, serve a different function. The bottom, and the largest, called the Flat, is where the Guild of Gilding and Illumination is located along with other locations such as Letterer's Lark. The next shelf, the Middle of the Middle, has the Guild of Illustration and Augmentation. Finally, the Top Shelf has the High Guild of Binding and Restoration. In between the Top Shelf and the crest, is a crack in the mountain leading to the eyrie of the Winged Servants of the Night, as well as the former prison of the Fifth Part of the Will.
On very crest of the mountain is Lady Friday’s Scriptorium, where, in Lady Friday, she leaves a replica of her Key, in hopes of killing Arthur, the Piper and Saturday. This trap, although it failed, opened onto the Void and managed to destroy the entire Scriptorium, and a good portion of the mountain top; however Arthur, using all of the four Keys under his control, managed to stop the void but there is still a massive crater on the crest.
The Upper House
The Upper House was ruled by Superior Saturday. It is in the Upper House where House Sorcerers are trained.
This demense is in perpetual rain, falling at the same steady pace permanently. This is due to the fact that the Sixth Part of the Will was broken up into type and dispersed into the water. The denizens working here have umbrellas to stop the water, although some are holey and let the water in. Higher denizens also collect water and let it drop in waterfalls on their inferiors. This enabled the Will to communicate with Arthur. The papers they work on stay dry despite the rain.
The Upper House controls most of the phone lines throughout the House. As a result, Superior Saturday tries to stop the phone connection to the Lower House, The Far Reaches, The Border Sea, the Great Maze and the Middle House, but is unable to do so because the wiring for the phone services fall underneath the Far Reaches and the phone operators are located in the Lower House.
The ceiling of the Upper House is actually the floor of the Incomparable Gardens, shrouded usually in clouds. Sunday constantly taunts Saturday by parting the clouds only for her eyes to see the realm Saturday desires and envies.
Saturday, for the past (almost) ten thousand years, has been building a tower with her private viewing chamber at the top while the other floors are slotted in below. The purpose of the tower is to reach and invade the Incomparable Gardens above and claim it for herself. However, within the Upper House are four large trees located at the four corners of the Upper House that are constantly growing at a rate faster than Saturday can build her tower. As these trees grow, the Incomparable Gardens move further upwards, irritating Saturday for the past ten millennia, with Saturday building her tower and the trees growing faster than Saturday can build. The tower is seventeen thousand feet high and the Denizens that work in the tower all have different coloured umbrellas which can be used to determine the floor upon which they are near-by. The basic building blocks of the tower are wrought iron cubes with a grille floor and no ceiling.
In order to stop the trees from growing, Saturday engineered the destruction of the Lower House and Far Reaches with the use of sorcerous drills that destroyed the dam wall of the Pit in the Far Reaches. The Nothing devoured the two demenses and cut off the trees' lowest roots and, therefore, stunted their growth.
The Incomparable Gardens
Almost nothing is known about Lord Sunday’s demesne, the Incomparable Gardens
. It is supposedly like nothing within the Secondary Realms, unmatched by its beauty, it is guarded by a variety of insect nithlings, mainly oversized worms and beetles. Dame Primus mentions that Denizens of this area of the House would be immediately noticeable in the Great Maze. The floor of the Incomparable Gardens
is the roof of the Upper House and is constantly rising from the four Drasil trees which support it and grow to raise it. The very branches of the tree attack anyone who comes near, and there are several beetle nithlings guarding the trunks on the tree. It has been revealed by the Sixth Part of the Will that the Incomparable Gardens
is the actual epicenter of the universe, and if it is destroyed, so too would the universe be destroyed.
Transportation & communication within the House
Wings are an everyday means of short distance travel within the demesnes of the House. They are often mentioned, and used most take on the classic angel-like appearance (i.e. white and feathered), wings can be different quality. The cheaper, paper-made wings are disposable, are often made for temporary use by high-level sorcerers. The user doesn't have much control over them, and they are usually one directional, and after their purpose is completed, they fall off and dissolve. The higher-quality wings can be taken on and off at will. These wings are controlled by a mental link with the wings. Some of the higher-quality wings have special properties, such as the ability to shed light, or invisibility in the Secondary Realms. Wings are banned in some areas of the House because of various air-borne hazards, such as The Pit in the Far Reaches, or Monday's Dayroom in the Lower House, or in The Great Maze.
The House does have a postage service but it appears to be notoriously poor. Letters take weeks, sometimes years, to reach their destination; most don't even get there at all. This is due mainly to the disorder in the Lower House and has apparently grew worse prior to Mister Monday's downfall, having all the letters and newspapers cut off completely in some of the House, according to Fred Gold. It is revealed in the fourth book, that if a Denizen does not accept the recruit posting form, he is then turned into a brown paper wrapped parcel, and transported through the postage system to the Great Maze.
Elevators are currently the only way to travel between the demesnes of the House, save Friday’s Mirror, which lets the user go to any reflective surface in existence so long as Friday has been there in person before. As the elevators fall under the authority of Superior Saturday, they are banned from the realms controlled by Arthur as of Lady Friday. The size of an elevator can vary greatly, it can be the size of a telephone booth or a football field. When the elevator is in motion, its path is marked by a beam of light. In the Border Sea, elevators can only travel to Port Wednesday as the rest of the realm is submerged. The elevators can be controlled by either the elevator's operator, Superior Saturday or (probably) Lord Sunday.
Weirdways are pathways that exploit the veins of Nothing within the House. One is able to go through the Nothing via a dark corridor with soft and jellylike walls, floor and ceiling. Weirdway entries are often disguised as innocuous items within a room, such as a painting or coin on the floor, and they cannot be moved.
According to Suzy Turquoise Blue, only the blood of a Trustee can close a weirdway.
Large plates that work as a sort of teleporting device throughout existence. Transfer plates are usually electrum; they occasionally are made of other things, such as fine china. Touching a transfer plate, intentionally or not, will automatically transfer you to the prescribed destination of the transfer plate. The plates can be controlled by Superior Saturday.
The Improbable Stair
The Improbable Stair is a stairway that can traverse all of creation. It was the Architect's personal transport by which She visited all of Her work. To enter the Stair, one must first have an item of power, such as a Key, or the Piper’s Pipes. Then, they must find something that looks like a staircase, such as a blade of grass bent three times, or a scratch on a wall. Then, the rider must believe that it is there, and it will be. There are several landings to the Stair, and once you arrive on one, you must quickly find your way back on the Stair, or be stuck there forever. There is also the risk that a Nithling may make its way onto the Stair. The entire use of the Stair is described as risky and dangerous; and these risks increase when the destination is near Nothing. Some Denizens cannot travel on the Stair (the reason for this is unknown), but Pipers Children are always accepted.
As of Superior Saturday, the Improbable Stair has been used four times:
- Arthur Penhaligon and Suzy used the Stair in Mister Monday to get from the Coal Cellar ( the Old One’s lair) to Monday’s Dayroom,.
- Sir Thursday uses the Stair in Sir Thursday to reach square 500/500 to destroy the giant spike of Nothing which was built by the Piper to freeze the squares in the Great Maze. Thursday travels the Stair taking Arthur, Suzy, Fred and 9 other Piper's children with him.
- The Piper uses the Stair in Lady Friday to get himself to a safe place when a trap disguised as the Fifth Key opens into the Void of Nothing.
- Arthur, Suzy, Fred, and the Fifth Part of the Will use the Stair near the end of Lady Friday in order to quickly get back to Monday's Dayroom.
Telephones are a means of communication within the House, and also to the Secondary Realms. The ring is inaudible to mortals, save Arthur and Leaf. House telephones are similar looking to an old fashioned earth telephone. Telephones require an operator to use; during Lady Friday, Superior Saturday attempts to prevent Arthur from using them; but as they fall under the authority of the Lower House, and their wiring the Far Reaches, she has limited success. The telephone operators are especially willing to connect Arthur, as he is often polite to them, and, most of all, says "please".
The Seven Trustees are as below. A character can apply for any on those postions....
Monday: he First Key can be separated into two Keys, taking the forms of the minute and hour hands of a clock. The Hour Hand is more powerful than the Minute Hand, but the Minute Hand is quicker and can be used more often. When combined, they make the First Key. It gives dominion over the Lower House
Tuesday: The Second Key takes the form of two large silver gauntlets, laced with gold, which were used by Grim Tuesday to form objects and creatures from Nothing. It gives dominion over the Far Reaches
Wednesday: The Third Key takes the form of a trident that is capable of increasing and decreasing its size. It was used by the Will to control the borders of the Border Sea that were spilling out into the secondary realms and in battle it was used to remove all the water in others bodies. The Third Key gives dominion over the Border Sea.
Thursday: The Fourth Key gives dominance over the Great Maze
Friday:. The Fifth Key takes the form of a bright silver mirror. Using it, one can travel to any reflective surface in existence, so long as the owner of the Fifth Key (formerly Lady Friday) has been there before by other means.
Saturday: The Sixth Key takes the form of a quill pen. The only use of it so far shown is writing extremely powerful spells that are capable of wiping out large numbers of the creatures of the Incomparable Gardens in a few seconds. Saturday is also seen combining the power of the Key with ordinary sorcery. The Sixth Key gives dominion over the Upper House and Saturday.
Sunday: The Seventh Key is held by Lord Sunday and gives dominion over the Incomparable Gardens and Sunday. Unlike the other Keys, this Key is paramount, retaining its full, sovereign power anywhere in the House or Secondary Realms. It has, as of yet, not been revealed what form the Key takes.