Death is a vast river, infinitely wide to either side. There is a strange quality of light in Death, usually a grey mist, which makes it harder to see further than a few feet; the light levels change, sometimes dramatically, in different precincts.
Death is separated into nine precincts, which are separated from each other by gates.
The First PrecinctEditThe First Precinct has knee-high water with a reasonable current. Behind it is the portal to life, and in front is the First Gate.
The First Gate is a waterfall. To pass it, a Free Magic spell must be used to create a path down through the water.
The Second PrecinctEdit
The Second Precinct has water of the same depth as before, but a stronger current. There are also dangerous sinkholes.
The Second GateEdit
The Second Gate is a whirlpool, which can be frozen using a Free Magic spell. When frozen, it can be walked down, leading to the Third Precinct. The Second Gate is extremely dangerous, and a Necromancer traversing Death has to stop well back from the edge of the Gate to be sure not to be pulled under.
The Third PrecinctEdit
The Third Precinct has warmer, ankle-deep water, making it more pleasant - the light is also of better quality. However, there are powerful waves which swamp and carry anyone they hit to the Gate at the other end of the precinct. These waves are held back by the spell which allows passage from the Second Precinct. A Necromancer going through the Third Precinct doesn't tarry long, unless a fool or untrained, this is the only precinct in which haste is required. Sprinting from one end to the other is the only way to pass through unharmed.(It is worth mentioning that the frozen waters of the second gate become the waves of the third precinct. Hence the typical delay of the waves after the spell is invoked.)
The third precinct is also notable for being one of two such precincts in which no bells can (presumably) be created, due to to its hazardous waves. Idrach specifically points this out in his journal, surmising that the spell to freeze the second gate could be used to gain the time necessary to craft a bell. But then rescinds his guesswork upon seeing the power of the waves firsthand as the spell to freeze them quickly wears off.
The Third GateEdit
The Third Gate is a wall of mist which must be parted with a Free Magic spell. Once past, the waves crash harmlessly past. It leads directly to the Fourth Precinct. The Necromancer going through this Gate needs to shout the spell as they run from the Second Gate, otherwise they'll be hit by the waves.
The Fourth PrecinctEdit
This Precinct is similar to the first, thought the current is stronger. There are no major dangers here, until you reach the Gate.
The Fourth GateEdit
The Fourth Gate is deceptive. It appears to be a waterfall of only a few feet; however, it is much higher and stronger than that, and leads into the dangerous Fifth Precinct. The passage through this Gate and the only way of crossing the Fifth Precinct is the Dark Bridge. A narrow path of darkness which carries over the Gate and the deep waters of the Fifth.
The Fifth PrecinctEditThe Fifth Precinct is extremely dangerous. The water is very deep and the current is incredibly strong. There is also a metamorphic effect, which distorts everything which enters the water. This is why the only way to cross it is using the dark bridge. This is also risky, as many Dead things trying to get to life use it, by knocking off Necromancers who create the bridge. Any Dead creature which enters the Fifth precinct for long will not retain it's shape from Life. Fifth Gate Resters and beyond are misshapen monsters, usually of great power.
The Fifth GateEdit
The Fifth Gate is a "waterclimb", where water flies upwards. A Free Magic spell is used to pass it. The spell makes the water lift up the spell caster and carry them up, before throwing them through into the Sixth Precinct. The waterclimb has a strange effect on those who view it as it makes no sense at all; water should go down.
The Sixth PrecinctEdit
The Sixth Precinct is a large, shallow pool. There is no current here, unless something falls through into the next Precinct. However, there are lots of Dead.
The Sixth GateEdit
The Sixth Gate is not fixed, it can be summoned anywhere, or appear anywhere. A circle of water ten feet wide dries up and sinks down through the river about 300 feet.
The Seventh PrecinctEdit
There is little information about this Precinct.
The Seventh GateEdit
The Seventh Gate is a line of red fire from horizon to horizon. The Free Magic spell creates an arch in the fire to allow passage.
The Eighth PrecinctEdit
The Eighth Precinct has patches of oily fire floating across the surface. They move independently, and can flare up out of nowhere. The flares are extremely dangerous, Lirael and the Dog both know to avoid the flares at all costs. Free Magic spells can repel them.
The Eighth GateEdit
The Eighth Gate is simply a wall of darkness. When stepped through all external stimulus is cut off; nothing can be seen, heard or felt. A Free Magic spell allows it to release you into the Ninth Precinct.
The Ninth PrecinctEditThe Ninth Precinct is totally different to the rest of Death. There is a sense of immensity, as there is none of the enclosing mist which is everywhere else in Death. The water is warm and ankle deep, similar to the Third Precinct.
The ninth precinct is the second of the two precincts in which no bells can be created. Whether this is due to the ninth gates nature, the low depth of the river in this area, or simply that no one has attempted to is at present, unknown.
The Ninth GateEdit
The Ninth Gate is the stars above the river of Death. There are so many stars that they completely fill the sky in a huge cloud. When seen, if it is that person's time to die, then they will rise up into it. Necromancers , like Hedge, do not dare to enter the Ninth Precinct for fear of the Final Gate (they spend most of their time preventing their final death); though when Hedge enters he keeps his eyes downcast at all times to avoid being captured.