Note: The Jade Tea-Garden is only included in the continuum because it attracts an assortment of high-profile characters from other dimensions. Essentially this engineered loop in space-time acts as an omni-dimensional safe house, with certain preconditions that accord it the status of middle, or neutral ground.
Within Jade on a particular unnamed atoll there exists a small tea-garden, technically it is a "garden" in name only, since there is no substantial topiary in the traditional sense. There is however a small teahouse located in the center of an open courtyard. Inside the teahouse is what would be considered a common room, a small kitchen, a pantry and a lavatory. The details are not particularly important, there is in fact only one element that is of particular relevance to this entry. In the common room there is a large open fireplace (containing a fire the burns year round) that consists of a broad hearth, and mantle. On this mantle rests a most curious artifact, although somewhat unassuming in appearance it is in fact a 'magical' fixture of great power.
The item resting on a small jade stand appears to be nothing more than an intricate and highly detailed model of the tea-garden, its only remarkable characteristic being that it has apparently been constructed inside a large square bottle with a very narrow neck. The bottle is corked. The thick green glass that the bottle has been blown from is also fairly opaque and unrefined, making it hard to distinguish the finer details.
In actuality the bottle and the model inside of it represent an active link to a compressed space-time loop. The mechanics and the physics of the device are unique to Jade, it was created by what can only be described as a [[chrono-alchemist]]. In Jade such individuals are viewed as sorcerers, and have, though a combination of study and innate talent, gained control over time, and to a degree the elements. As for this particular artifact, it is unclear how it came to be at the tea-garden, or to what purpose, perhaps it was left on the mantle merely as a very advanced practical joke?
The device is activated by touch. Any direct physical contact with the bottle will result in instantaneous time travel to the other end of the loop, which is to say at a random point in time post the creation of the bottle, yet before the present. The other end of the loop is of course the model inside the bottle, which is not a model at all, but a historical version of the tea-garden. Naturally there are a few general rules that regulate the operation of the bottle that have been puzzled out over the years, they are as follows:
The bottle is impossible to move or destroy. Aside from the jade stand anything that touches the bottle is transported directly inside. The stand is affixed to the mantle, the fireplace that supports it is affixed to the ground, all three supportive elements are frozen in time and therefore impervious.
Once inside, there is only one way out. Visitors cannot escape the confines of the bottle, they can only find and touch the reciprocal bottle inside the bottle, which will then transport them back out to normal linear time.
When leaving the bottle time is adjusted in proportion to the duration of the visit. An hour spent inside, will result in an hour being lost upon return.
Sequential visits by different people from the same time, never overlap chronologically inside the bottle, unless they are physically touching as they enter.
Sequential visits by the same person always take place at a different random time inside the bottle.
Different people visiting from different times, can and do overlap chronologically inside the bottle, but even if they are touching as they leave they will still return to their respective timelines.
Only clothing and accouterments caught in your personal [[causality-well]] will travel with you into the bottle. Things that are left inside when you leave will almost certainly be lost forever.
There is no discernible pattern or relationship between origin time and destination time. Although it is rumored that Chrono-Alchemists are able to calculate and chart such things.
Outside the teahouse are the grounds, this is a medium sized area surrounded by a low yet sturdy wall. Inside the confines of the wall the earth is reinforced with heavy interlocking geometric tiles separated only by narrow channels of sparse short weeds and densely packed dark velvety moss. This area forms what can best be described as a courtyard. The courtyard is scattered with dozens of small square tables, each surrounded by a low number of compact yet sturdy chairs.
The tea-garden is always busy. Servers routinely patrol the grounds, new arrivals are served complimentary tea. Small sweet cakes and other local snack-like delicacies can be purchased for a few [[kell]].
Aside from this rather official capacity, the tea-garden attracts a diverse clientèle from other extra-dimensions. For whatever reason the tea-garden acts as a kind of hub for local activity, therefore it naturally draws Jade visitors. Once familiarized with the garden and the bottle, these visitors will inevitably return, if only for the specific use of the bottle, which acts ideally as both a hiding place for those who are pursued and as a highly secure meeting place for those who wish to exchange information in absolute secret.
Paradoxes and general notes:
Q: How does the bottle world remain stocked, solvent?
A: The bottle construct is only real/substantial to visitors, time-locals do not experience it.
Q: Why is there no bottle around the initial Jade tea-garden?
A: There is, but it is imperceptible/insubstantial to time-locals such as yourself.
Q: Can you leave messages from inside the past for people in the outside present?
A: Yes but delivery success is slim due to average time difference.
Q: Can I kill someone in the past, inside the bottle?
A: Causality is flexible inside the bottle, but not fluid, small changes only.