Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Grand Basilica of Wisdom

This place of note is located near the heart of the ancient city of Luindel. It dates from the brief period of when Luindel was the capital of the now-crumbling Empire. The Grand Basilica is also the home church (or cathedral) of the Grand Patriarch of the Holy Church of God – one of the powerful monotheistic religions that span the regions the Empire of old has reached. Even though the Empire itself is in a state of flux (with several rulers vying for the throne) the Holy Church is very much alive and is quite influential across the lands that make up Sylvaeon.

The Grand Basilica has traded possession in history. When the invasion of the Jihadis came to Luindel during the troubled times after the War of the Immortals, the city was under seige for 3 years. Finally, the city fell and the fanatically devout Jihadis replaced the faith of the Holy Church with their own. Some of the architecture inside and outside of the Basilica of Wisdom bears the mark of this 300 year period. Crusaders eventually reconquered Luindel and most of the surrounding lands, driving the Jihadis back to the South. However, by this time, the Empire had weakened, so the Holy Church stepped in as the true binding force of much of society.

There are hundreds of shrines in the many nooks and corners of the Basilica of Wisdom. The various saints and events they are dedicated to, as well as the holy relics they contain, bring many pilgrims to visit each year. The catacombs beneath the Basilica also contain the tombs of many ancient saints and the Grand Patriarch, as well as some of the most famous Jihadis. It is rumored that great treasures that have not seen the light of day for thousands of years are waiting for the pious thief. It is also rumored that horrible creatures and spirit wards guard the tombs and treasures of the dead, so if anyone has tried to loot them, they have not returned to tell about it.

Many different faiths still thrive throughout Sylvaeon. Some of these are folk or tribal religions. The Asatru faith of the Volk of the Nordmen is one of these; which is shared by some of the Elves and Dwarves from the North. The Holy Church faces a possible Schism, because of the increase of corruption and events surrounding clerical backing of the various contenders for the Imperial throne, as well as other, more technical, theological matters. In order to stave off threats to the Holy Church and to increase harmony amongst the citizens of the Empire, the ancient Emperors called for an Ecumenical Council to be held at the Basilica every ten years – a practice that is still observed today.

Only faiths that are recognized lawfully by the Empire are allowed to join in the Ecumenical Council. The petitions of unrecognized groups to be recognized still come to the Emperor – or did- until recent events. This has caused some consternation among the Holy Church (which secretly and openly seeks to repress other faiths) and those groups which are vying to regain or ascend to prominence during the flux that has overtaken the Empire. Of disconcerting note to some is the boldness of the Chaos cultists, who have vowed to attend the soon upcoming 374th Ecumenical Council. Complete with pomp and ceremony and long-winded clerical speeches, the purpose of the Council is to iron out differences, promote harmony and to share religious insights, etc. among the various faiths of Sylvaeon. However, a dark cloud of political and religious intrigue seems to be hanging over it this time.

The Watch of Luindel is on the alert for any increased unrest regarding the Ecumenical Council, but the city Magistrate is reticent to call for the aid of Imperial Guard, because of his own political troubles. It is rumored that Crusaders and Holy Warriors of all types will show – but it is also equally rumored that dark forces are already at work behind the scenes. Even though it is supposed to represent the wonder and joy of holy understanding, the Grand Basilica has always been a focal point of religious and political intrigue as much as it has been of faith. There is much unknown history and an unknown future surrounding this magnificent structure.

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