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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
18.104.22.168. Basilica Vadisium Part One
An hour later, Airship Aurora enters the vicinity of the capital city of Valanis, the Holy City, Ascension. It’s the center of Vadis religion in Eternia where all worshippers are united in a single Truth, guided by leaders and teachers of the Right Way, and educated in Righteousness to spread Love throughout the world.
The leaders and high priests in Valanis put their efforts together to keep the teaching pure, single and unbiased, while the priests and missionaries spread the Word and good examples for all. Indeed, Vadis doesn’t work alone in this mission.
The Holy City Ascension has been there for more than a thousand years, magically preserved and well-defended. The only serious damage happened when Vordac and his forces attacked Ascension and occupied the city for three years before Sage the Fireheart and the Heroes of the Light took it back and rebuilt it.
Now, after much development, the city looks like a round-area cluster of tall, white towers from the sky. The buildings and towers there form an almost symmetrical formation, expressing the grandeur and perfection of the unquestionable and absolute authority of Vadis, the Way.
Robert can’t help feeling the greatness and holiness of this place as he look upon it from the deck of Airship Aurora, but then a thought comes into him.
In the Book of the Way, Vadis once said,
‘My dwelling is not in a palace in the sky. My true home is within loving hearts, helping hands and feet that tread the Right Way. And if there’s sin and evil around, it’s where I work.’
So Ascension is merely the place for his most zealous helpers, led by Xylen, the Holy Pope. Vadis just visits a lot, that’s all. Let’s hope that Vadis’ Way of Love and Sage’s heroism weren’t spoiled by greed, arrogance and hypocrisy, the ‘diseases’ often occur when a religion became too great, with the population exceeding any empire in the known world.
As the airship cruises on to the center of the city, Robert sees the Basilica Vadisium, the Great Cathedral where the Pope and the high priests live. The Basilica is not just one building; it’s a cluster of round-shaped large buildings, and towers so high they scrape the sky. All are reflectively shiny, pearl-white colored like all the buildings in Ascension, as though the city shines by itself and is showered by light from the heavens.
Without difficulty, the Aurora lands on the vast town square in front of the Basilica. A hundred thousand man can stand together in this town square, to attend the Great Mass every New Year and every Ascension Day*).
(* Ascension Day:
The truce between Vadis and Adair concluded their duties in Eternia. As Enia became one with Eternia, she naturally became the sole patron of this world. Vadis ascended to heaven and Adair descended to hell, becoming fully gods again.
On the day of his ascension, Vadis concluded his teachings and bade his followers to spread the Word of the Right Way throughout the world.
Adair, however, became corrupted by the extreme negativity and adapted a dual personality. He is still the Keeper of Time and the God of the Moon, but his other personality is the ultimate evil who called himself, Sodomos, Lord of the Underworld.
Robert, Eidos and Hernan disembark the airship and walk towards the main gate. Several cloaked monks along with some priests and priestesses wearing white-gold robes stand in line to greet them. All of them bow with solemn faces and hold the pendant of Holy Ankh, the sign of Vadis on their chests.
At the gate, two priests come forward and greet them. One of them is the short, chubby, bushy-bearded priest Robert is very familiar with, Father Andreas Marvellini. The other priest is slightly shorter than Andreas and is also chubby. His furry blue face and large, long rabbit ears, whiskers and two large teeth on the front of his mouth, hidden by a thick, white moustache prove that he is a morbit (also known as wererabbit or rabbit-man).
Andreas greets Robert most gladly.
‘Ah, my good lad! I’m so glad to see you again, aye!’
Robert answers, ‘It’s been a while, Father Andreas. How are Carol, Iris and Chris?’
‘Carolyn is out of danger now, thanks to Vadis and thanks to Algaban’s directions. But she still needs some rest. Chris and Iris are fine; they are waiting for you now.’
Both of them pause for a moment while still walking. The morbit priest, after greeting Hernan and Eidos feels that it’s time for him to talk to Robert.
‘I’m Father Bernides, an Advisor assigned in Arcadian Royal Court, and Counselor to the royal family. Nak, nak.’
‘Glad to meet your acquaintance, Father Bernides. Pardon me for saying this, but you seem very familiar to me. Did we meet somewhere before?’
‘Nak, nak. You’re right, my child. I also fought in Enia’s Sanctum. Only then I decided to go “low-profile” and did a great deal of work as a healer there. Of course, I cannot cloak myself entirely because my ears need to be up all the time.’
‘Well, what I noticed, father, was, not only you who went low-profile there. But some monks looked like they didn’t want to be recognized too. So, why was it so secret? ‘Twas actually the Pope’s order, right?’
‘You see, Robert, one of us must survive to return and report to the Pope. In spite of that, I was the sole survivor among my fellow brothers. Knowing that, our Holy Sister went into fasting for three days in a row, prayed on her knees without stopping with tears on her eyes.’
‘Well, that’s an example we ought to follow,’ says Robert. ‘But that doesn’t change the fact that the Vadisian monks never came forward to lead or guide the rest.’
‘Nak, nak. I smell skepticism in your tone, my child,’ says Bernides inquiringly, still smiling. ‘Nevertheless, I’m going to help you see the light.’
Robert continues his argument, ‘You can be sure that I worship Vadis all my life, father. It’s just in my character to be cautious. Even the holiest place on Eternia keeps demons to guard it.’ Rob points to the rooftops while saying that.
There are some winged-demon-like statues, half-kneeling on the rooftops, as though they are ready to strike anytime danger comes near. Father Bernides chuckles a bit, and explains,
‘Nak, nak. In case you didn’t know, those stone statues are called gargoyles. They were demons once, but they still have traces of humanity left in them. These half-demons were converted to the light side and are assigned to protect the holy places in stone statue form. The gargoyles feed on holy, positive aura surrounding this place, because that’s how they were converted – fill them up with holy aura, they become good, and if they are full of evil aura, they become evil again. Nak, nak.’
‘So, you must take care to maintain holiness and discipline in this place so the gargoyles won’t turn against you, right?’
‘Yes, that’s one of the reasons. But we never tell our students about that, because it will misguide them with wrong motivations. Besides, good things are truly good when done with a sincere heart. Nak, nak.’
Robert is thoughtful on hearing this.
He gave me a warning! I better not put too much logic in this matter so I become more and more skeptical. I better set my heart to Vadis and go along. But I still won’t let my guard down, you can be sure of that.
Neither Robert nor Bernides say a word when they enter the inner chambers of Basilica Vadisium, as absolute silence is demanded in the hallways.
Robert follows Andreas, Bernides, Eidos and Hernan quietly, taking a good look around him. The monks are going to and fro in the hallways, greeting their brothers and the guests including Robert by putting their right hands on their chests.
Andreas and Bernides nod and greet them with the same gesture, and Robert follows suit, out of respect for the hosts.