Each gate leads to a buffer world where the terms of the Compact are less strict. A gate in the buffer world then leads to a destination world with "complete free choice existence. No law or restriction in frequency was in place" These worlds were linked to Athera by the Fellowship at the time the Compact was instituted, as part of mankind's grant of sanctuary.
The splinter worlds were used throughout history to support any humans who chose not to follow the Compact. Athera must maintain its high resonance to support Paravian survival, but not every human was suited to a life that preserved this resonance. Each world had a specific intended population (the author has stated that the world through the South Gate was where technology was permitted to develop).
Through the North Gate
Information about the worlds beyond the North Gate has not yet been provided.
Through the East Gate
Information about the worlds beyond the East Gate has not yet been provided.
Through the South Gate
The splinter world of Marak lies beyond the South Gate, and was the refuge of mankind who wished to partake in technological pursuits that held the potential to shift planetary resonance: Machines that could "level mountains" - clear-cut forests - develop weapons of mass destruction - change the day/night balance of the light on a world - all these (and many more) would apply. No description of the buffer world has been provided yet.
|Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Ships of Merior.|
Following the infamy at Alestron, Asandir tells the s'Brydion family, "Once, we sent men with inclinations such as yours to dwell in the splinter worlds through South Gate." The works of these men ultimately led to the creation of the Mistwraith. Because of the limited resources of the Fellowship at this point in the narrative, the s'Brydion family is not offered the choice of exile.
Through the West Gate
The splinter world beyond the West Gate is Dascen Elur, where Arithon and Lysaer grew up before the events in Curse of the Mistwraith. The buffer world is known as the Red Desert, (which is also the name of the desert crossed by the half-brothers), where they find the Five Centuries Fountain and the city of Mearth. The fact that the buffer world is a mineral desert and the splinter world is mostly ocean is an intentional dichotomy, according to the author.