When the Phoenix underwent her most recent rebirth, emerging from her egg as a disciple of the Light, she determined that her newest life would be spent in service to humanity. In furtherance of that end, she created her Chancel in the Pacific at the very center of the Ring of Fire. There she plans her approaching assault on the Sable Gardens and the liberation of Eden, while her Powers prepare the way and gather allies and weapons.
For now at least, almost no pure humans dwell within the Chancel. The Phoenix chose to populate her Keep with the purest of human souls- those who might be worthy of Heaven if only they were permitted to enter it- but she would not permit her charges to remain static in an unchanging afterlife. Each of the souls who were drawn to her Chancel as it formed has been incarnated in a new, inhuman body. Some have the appearance of angels, with humanoid bodies and feathered wings, while others are powerful four-legged beasts with teeth made of polished marble. Regardless of their shape, however, all are spiritually immaculate, and all are in their own way, beautiful.
The Chancel itself is a cluster of tropical islands scattered around the central peak of Monothaia, a tremendous volcano. Monothaia is not merely a central architectural feature of the Chancel; she is also its Erus, and a temperamental viceroy. Her frequent raging eruptions destroy, sooner or later, anything that is built upon the islands, which forces the Chancel and its inhabitants to live in a state of continuous and dynamic change. Buildings and walls that are destroyed will be rebuilt, better than before, while Chancelfolk who are killed within the Keep will be reborn in a new shape in a year and a day. Nothing standing on the islands will last longer than two or three years, but wonders of woodcarving and stonework are still performed there.
The Islands are bounded, at least for the moment, by a ring of black stone walls that are strung from island to island along the perimeter. A series of gates and sluices allow water in and out, while various towers are used as lookout posts to watch over the five maelstroms that serves as gates leading in and out of the Chancel. These maelstroms form only when a gate is opened using the proper command spell (which is changed once a month), allowing the watchers to spot incoming boats with some ease.
Just as any man-made structure will be destroyed, the islands themselves sink and are replaced by new formations in a similar, although slower, rotation. The only locations that maintain any real continuity are those that have been carved into the rocky slopes of Monothaia herself or that stretch down into the firey caverns beneath the volcano. The lower half of the volcano has been carved and polished into the fortress known as the Obsidian Castle, which is the military and administrative heart of the Chancel. Here the Powers of the Phoenix carry out the rulership of the Chancel, and also keep various rooms and workplaces of their own, although some prefer to live on the islands and their shifting lodgings rather than the rumbling castle.
In the depths of Monothaia, below the fortress and even beneath the sea level, black stone steps lead down into the burning depths of the Chancel and its mystic Heart, where the Phoenix rests as she fights in the Spirit World. These stairs lead through chambers of molten lava, past various magical forges, and the galleries where the previous incarnations of the Phoenix are enshrined, and the Black Mirror Room, where polished obsidian mirrors show the onlooker everything they hate about themselves. At the deepest levels of the Chancel, the rock and fire fade away, to be replaced by pure heat and light, and the pure energy of potential. Here at this level are the chambers of summoning where various circles and glyphs have been laid out for the Powers who practice the art of High Summoning.
- Everything dies constantly.
- Everything is reborn quite quickly.
- Life takes the oddest shapes.
- Consistency is impossible.