- There for but the grace of God, did they climb, and from that height did God cast them asunder.
The Basilica of Heaven is a temple constructed by the people of Babel which was originally intended to reach God. Existing close to the beginning of time, the temple became abandoned when the human population of Babel was converted into Umbrians. The temple is guarded by the Sphinx, who also protects Babel. It is filled with mysterious traps and mechanisms, many of which contain religious significance. Adam's first adventure took place within the confines of the Basilica.
The Conception from Azaphel Edit
Azaphel and his acolytes had planned to create a temple to God. Though his lineage was marked by God, he always worshiped him. This temple would serve as both house of worship and divine law. The temple was to face the west so that the rising sun would always shine through the altar of the temple filling its entirety with sunlight. It also needed to be placed high up to signify its importance, the most sensible option was to place it up on a mountain. So, in that spirit, they sought to build it on the highest mountain in the land, Mount Caelum. The topography of the mountain was perfect, down the southern end of the mountain ran the River Sacre and a few miles away was an un-excavated quarry. The foot of the mountain was lush with fruit bearing trees and various beasts that they could use for nourishment. It was definitely a paradise. Construction began immediately, a team of 40 people were brought in from the town to help. Some were laborers while others were farmers and women. The project was simple enough, taking 30 days to complete, calling it the Temple of the Sun. During this time, the workers had begun to create small houses of their own, at first just simple humble huts which then became full time homes. The people had settled under the imposing protection of the mountain, and when the temple was done, a flourishing town was in its infancy. (Chronicles Addendum)
From Temple to Basilica Edit
As the town grew, so did the temple. For years they lived in the town, Babel, and for years the Temple went through different phases of repair and upgrades. Originally the temple was a small circular dome with a hole above it to let the smoke from various offerings could escape to reach heaven. The altar was placed in the middle, a humble hole in the ground to place offerings as acolytes gathered around and prayed. Light streamed in from the eastern light hole as they gathered during missals. The temple was created from rough marble with granite foundations and fortified with wood and crude mortar. A few years later, as more people emigrated to the young town, and new techniques of building were taught, the temple changed. This time pillars of granite were erected inside and the facade was changed, though still circular in form. Light holes to the north and south were carved out. The temple was furnished with simple seating, various fine furs and flowers and a new altar was brought in. A two step granite altar took the place of the hole in the ground.
Years later, a new form of architecture was learned, more elaborate. The ability to forge fine minerals and soften rock like marble, were a valuable asset. A second floor was created. The first floor, which made up the majority of the original temple was widened and the pillars fortified with minerals in order to hold the second story. The outside was softened and so were the foundations, giving a shiny sheen to the temple. Gold was used as decor all throughout the interior, granite pillars coated in gold and light holes rimmed in the same mineral made the temple glow as bright as the sun. The altar too was coated in gold, and when offerings for God were burned, it roared angrily in the fire. More light holes were carved out of the stone in order to give the temple a more heavenly glow during the hours when the sun was up. It was important that the temple be kept up with current architectural trends since it was one of the towns most valuable asset, along with lush verdant forests around it and of course the mountain itself. A lot of time, funds and effort was spent on how to remodel the temple, now called the Church of the Holies.
Seven years passed with only a simple remodeling taking place. The second floor roof was opened up to the elements and a platform jutting out over the entrance was made. This platform housed the seats of government officials, a place where they could meet to discuss the city, and a place to announce important notices for the people of Babel. During this time, Azaphel established a council to help govern Babel, now fast becoming a city. The temple was still being used as a government chamber, however, as more and more people came into Babel, using a sacred temple for such effects were starting to get some attention. The more devout thought it unwise to talk about the businesses of men in the same place that one would talk about businesses of the divine. The Council decided that there be a complete rehashing of Babel, in order to better serve the needs and wants of its people, and so a Parliament building was in the works and the final phase of the church was to begin.
The Renaissance of Babel took several years, more funding was required, more people had to be brought in, the project was not only to build upon the old structures of Babel, but also to build up its populace and infrastructure. After twelve years, Babel was now renewed and the church was finished. A third and fourth floor was created. The first floor was not worked on, it was stable enough to bear the weight of the higher stories, however more pillars were built outside of the original temple to give it more presence. The second floor ceiling was heightened and enclosed. What once was the platform of the council, became a treasury for the churches valuables, it too was enclosed, this became the third story. The fourth floor now was to be where services to God would be held. Facing the west was the entrance to the nave of the church, further up is the circular choir and past that are golden gates guarding the Sunlight Altar. Windows were carved throughout the fourth floor sanctuary, keeping its weight low and allowing rough winds to blow through it making the entire structure more stable. The roof was curved and domed above the choir to make it more aerodynamic with multiple skylights on it to keep its weight minimal. Babels renaissance brought in different kinds of trade to the city and this was reflected in the churches decor. Rare incense burned constantly and its spicy scents filled every hall. Fine fabrics, exotic plants and flowers, and delicate fruits, all brought by the four winds adorned the church. Everyone noticed the splendor of this sanctuary and its people took pride in that. The church now bears the name The Basilica of Heaven. (Chronicles Addendum)
The Final Hours Edit
During the final days of the Basilicas completion, future council member Castitas arrives in Babel. She ushers a new age of prosperity for Babel, and of course the basilica has to change along with it. Though her arrival did little to change the overall architecture of the basilica, she did a lot to add flourishes to it. Her sculptural skills as well as her artistic savvy helped give Babel an air of refinement. During the several months it took to beautify Babel, a team was made specifically to enhance the glory of the basilica. The entrance to the Basilica, known as the Sanctuary was placed the Sphinx, to symbolize the promise God made with man. Behind her was Gabriel the Messenger angel holding an orb of light working in tandem with the seven guardians of the seven levels of heaven, only when they have been lit in the correct order will a path to the basilica open. Once inside the halls of the basilica, you are in the oldest part of Babel. The entry way holds the seven statues of the councilors of Babel, past that is the Amphitheater of the Muses where statues of the nine divine muses were placed. Above them, the second floor, was the Gallery. Here, valued paintings adorned the circular walls as well as motif to signify time and the seasons. Four statues of the four winds can be found here as well. On the third floor, a magnificent gate was placed depicting the birth of a prophet that signifies the beginning of Gods promise to man, there also lies a bust of a creature with snakes on her head, a metaphor for the devil, that tempted the first man and woman. This is magnified by the fact that a fountain of the first man and woman is directly above it, on the balcony of the fourth floor. The fourth floor houses more paintings, notably the creation of man, the creation of man and woman as well as the queen of heaven holding seven doves. There are also statues of angels placed around the choir and above them are symbols of the twelve guardians of the celestial firmament. The northern niche houses a small offering plate before the statue of the wind and the sun. Finally, in the altar room, a statue of Michael the Archangel is placed on the Sunlight Altar. The completion of these statues and paintings, all thanks to the artisans and sculptors, heralds the Golden Week for Babel. Though the Golden Week is a misnomer, for during the final day of celebration, the sabbath, a catastrophe was brought upon Babel, dooming its citizens but preserving the sanctity of the Basilica. (Chronicles Addendum)
The Dark Hours Edit
After the catastrophe of darkness, as the entire populace slowly turned into umbrians, the basilica served a different purpose. Instead of a place to praise God, it became a prison for Hope. When the councilors became corrupted, their souls were trapped forever in their effigies, in the entryway of the Basilica. A seal was placed upon them that only the drops of tainted waters would free them. The gifts of the muses were hidden away and scattered to the winds, thus sealing the original temple from the outside influences of the darkness. Was it God that placed the seal on the Basilica or was it some other force? (Chronicles Addendum)