The River Without End
The River Without End is celestial body surrounding the current iteration of the Clarkwoods Literary Universe. The River is unobservable by existing technology, but it can be “entered” via any river upon which The Strumpet’s Sister exists in a given moment.
The river is simultaneously a vast celestial body which is unobservable to the human eye, and every river that exists, has ever existed, or will ever exist. Every river in existence feeds into the River Without End, and is fed by it.
The waters of the river, in one form or another, are responsible for all forms of time travel (“doing the Unstuck”) in the universe—from their use as the primary ingredient in Ada Coffin’s potions to their mists forming the Veil of the World.
Each iteration of the universe ends when the River presses in on the universe until it is compressed into a single point of infinite density. A new iteration of the universe begins when the universe explodes outward against the River, expanding until it has reached some semblance of its former shape.
The River is thought by the The Sister’s Regulars to have some form of sentience. This is why, in their view, the River forces the universe to collapse each time a time traveler succeeds in changing the past: the River, the Sister’s Regulars believe, doesn’t appreciate human interference. It wants to flow according to its whims, and its whims only.
The River’s only consistent tourists are the Sister’s Regulars, who observe the body only from the windows of The Strumpet’s Sister or from the sloping alley out back—and only then through the lens of whichever earthly river the Sister is currently calling home. Those who choose to bathe in the River’s waters are a rarity, and rarely return to the same time and place from which they departed.