The Winged Cathedral Building / Landmark in EDEN Undone | World Anvil

The Winged Cathedral

The Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star

The Winged Cathedral is the prime temple of worship in Roma Aeterna's underworld necropolis - the Vatikan - dedicated to Their Majesty the Lightbringer, Samael themselves.   While being the most important center stone of the Crimson Empire's faith, this is a place few have seen with their own eyes and lived to tell the tale.    The Winged Cathedral is the only place where Samal is worshipped as a person and godly figure. While their likeness is present in art, illustrations, word and song at every street corner of the empire, there are no temples dedicated to Them on the surface. As by Their decree, the living should not concern themselves with mourning Their departure, but instead, follow in Their footsteps and worship Them through the image, advice and example They left behind in their apostles - the 13 Archons. There are temples and shrines big and small all over the Crimson Empire, built in the Archon's names and image, where the empire's citizens can go about their daily business of making divinations, asking for advice or good luck, curse their enemies or make confessions to lighten their hearts from the burdens of guilt. There are festivals of ecstatic dance, excess and consumption to celebrate the life, sin and passion Samael has declared holy in Their 13 commandments. 
But The Lightbringer Themselves and their departure to seek out the Usurper and banish them for their crimes against all creation, that is a matter to be acknowledged, but not worshipped by the living - not until it is time to go on the Golden Crusade themselves at the end of their lives. And that's when you seek out the Winged Cathedral.   Of course the Winged Cathedral isn't empty. There is an armada of priests shuffling through the halls and gardens, the crypts and study rooms. It is a place of study and worship for those whom Samael has bestowed with the duty of interpreting Their words and wisdom for times to come - the Undead. It is inside it’s sacred walls, where the Book and all it’s apocryphal texts are kept; this is where Samael the Lightbringer placed it with their very hands before they left through the Gates to Hades. And They left it in the capable hands of the Black Triumvirate and their disciples, the Order of Nox.

Purpose / Function

While the Winged Cathedral isn’t exactly a place of worship in the usual sense - not for the living at least - it’s a place of power, built and anointed as such by Samael themselves. The Black Triumvirate rules the necropolis from here and listens into the void, waiting for Them to return, ready for Them to whisper back through the portal to Hades. It's also the treasure trove containing most of the so important primary and secondary relics, which's worship is a central element of Crimson faith. Next to many other important clerical treasures like the original Liber Unicus, it holds one of the most impressive prime relics of the Roman Church: the Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star.   In fact - it IS the Relic itself. Because the building was originally created from the remains of a Fallen Mala’ak.   While temple priests and acolytes in training from surface temples sometimes make a sacred pilgrimage to Vatican City to witness the power of the relics or touch them in hopes of a miracle, the Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star is a relic of a different nature, bestowing an unusual power upon the place that affects all of Roma Aeterna in a very unique way. It is said to be the star fragment that destroyed the previous civilization residing on the Palatine Hills before Samael set foot on them and built his eternal city on top of the ruins.    This fragment is all that’s left of the mala'ak Admael, one of Uriel’s disciples who attempted to protect the Usurper’s throne from Samael’s rebellion. Their Majesty the Lightbringer had to slay their former siblings, all eight of Uriel's flock and Uriel themselves, in pursuit of the enemy of all creation, but they took no joy in it. When Admael was slain, they fell from the heavens, breaking apart into nine pieces, scattering across the land, causing havoc by eradicating nine ancient cities from the face of the earth. These cities were actually cleansed from the common consciousness in the process, which is the reason why nobody knows the history of the settlements that preceded Roma Aeterna. This is how it is written in The Book.  

Sensory & Appearance

The Winged Cathedral is said to instantly make grown men crumble to their knees and cry when they set eyes on it; it’s bizarre beauty and angelic aura being a death vigil of time itself. It strikes you down with the heavy burden of realizing your own mortality, the insignificance of one man’s fate in the whole of history. And rumor has it, if you aren’t of the strongest of EGOs, you might as well succumb to its call right there, mourning the loss of time forever. If you can't get up again, can't take your eyes off the bizarre beauty of the exterior of the fallen angel, the tragedy of the Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star was too strong for your soul and EGO to bear, and you failed the test. It is said those who fail are doomed to stay put, mourning until their body dries out, only leaving a mummified, kneeling figure in tattered clothes. behind.

And in fact, the place in front of the cathedral is littered with mourning statues made of dried ashes. It is forbidden to touch them, as it is said to be a matter of respect to make your way around these monuments of pride and failure, acknowledging their recklessness, when you are on your own pilgrimage. Apparently, if you touch one, it crumbles to dust. And whoever fails to obey the law and causes the destruction of one of these statues is punished as if they had committed murder. The Ashfield in front of the Winged Cathedral is a mortified garden, a graveyard of ambition; a living, growing monument of the key motif, the very essence of the Morningstar's church: Always strive and follow your ambition, no matter the cost or prize. And honor those who live without fear and die without remorse.


The cathedral started out as a crater in the ruins of the civilization that once was in the exact place Roma Aeterna is build upon, today. After the Conception Maculata, reality lay in shambles. But Samael took it upon themselves to rebuild this place. First, they had to find it, of course. Through the re-creation of the world during the CoMa, the Lightbringer and their Archons where some of the few who would even know of Admael and their fate. In fact, the necropolis that got destroyed was lying deep underground now and when Samael went to find it, had to dig deep into the earth, to find the spot. So the cathedral literally started with a hole in the ground and some remains of a forgotten angel. The Morningstar decreed their Archons to start building a city in the hills while they themselves started looking for the other pieces of their fallen sibling. It is said when they were finished, the Archons had already build a new civilization on top of the grave.
  Samael went after all of the pieces of their former sibling, but it was the Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star that was found first and became the 'X that marks the spot'. So the whole cathedral was build in that exact spot.

It is said Samael took nine by nine years to collect all of the pieces of Admael and during this time, their followers were slowly building the Winged Cathedral in honor of Admael and Samael's amends. Fashioning the angel's remains into a place of worship was also Samael's way of giving them a proper burial. But it is also a place of melancholia, confession and sorrow. Roman culture has internalized the truth that sometimes blood needs to be shed to achieve victory, even if it is your kin's. And while victories should be celebrated, they are rarely without remorse.   The Lightbringer created a temple from the broken body of one of their adversaries - which honors the adversary as they took their own resources and hands to build something in their name. But slaying your family is still a sin that cannot simply be repaid with a simple gesture of respect. The Crimson belief in blood feuds and don't rarely fight bloody vendetta's over family matters. But in this case, Admael had no family left to avenge them, except Samael who was their murder at the same time. So Samael had to avenge their family member by taking some of the life of their murderer themselves. The Morningstar came to regularly make sacrifices of their own blood at the cathedral to repent for their crime, which lead to the forming of the Crimson Lake beneath the cathedral’s east wing. The Archons would follow in Samael's example and also pay tribute to Admael in the same way, and it is said that the subterranean lake, which became a portal to the Underworld, maybe the deepest and most stable Hell-Ladder known to man, is made up of the eternal blood of all the Archons and Samael combined. Crimson Lake is one of the best preserved Primary Relics in Roman religion.

The cathedral holds many other relics. In Roman faith, a temple is only a temple when it holds at least one relic of some sort. And the Winged Cathedral is the prime temple of the Crimson Faith - so one of its main purposes is sheltering relics. It was built from a relic itself, holds many primary relics that were placed there during and directly after its construction and over time, many more have been added. There is a holy vessel that holds Samael’s tears they shed each time they remembered their sibling and all the souls lost to the war deep within the cathedral walls.A list with the important ones can be found on the right-hand column of this article.
The material corpus of the remains of Admael have been built up, crafted together and ordained with literal tons of gold, ivory, blood marble and other fine materials to become the cathedral itself. It holds a vault of primary and secondary relics while being one of the most important relics itself. Further, halls of study for the sacred scriptura were added as well as a library holding other sacred texts, books and scrolls.


I will certainly never see it with my own eyes, but I am placing the words here, that a priest of Nox used to describe it to me:
“There’s a vast temple district underneath Roma Aeterna, shrouded in eternal darkness, lit by balesfires. The eerie light responds to the current Aether resonance most dominant which is mostly darkness, but changes with the seasons and rituals practiced. The air is dry and dusty, still fog is creeping through the ruins of a once monumental sacred structure of alien appeal. But in the center, there is a vast space, occupied by a structure as gigantic as ancient: Winding spires crawling up and down its colossal rib-cage like millipedes and maggots imagined by the most gifted and disturbed artists of all times. The centerpiece a mimicry of the bloated corpse of a building imitating human anatomy with geometric shapes, a mutilated torso carved out of the finest marble and basalt, volcanic stone of the finest blackness, ordained with red veins and crowned with a dome of the finest stained glass. Three spires stand tall and erect, punctuating the body from underneath like sharp blades, and from behind the architecture, imitating a collapsed and broken down body, a corona of six golden wings is buzzing with unbearable intensity, trying desperately to reach the sky that has collapsed on top of the cavern. The whole building has been constructed in the richest splendor, given only the finest and most expensive materials of dual quality have been used in quantities and amounts unfathomable to build this cathedral. Yet, everything is covered in millennia of dust and ashes, the cobwebs of time, and covered with a rusty patina of sorrow and decay. I think Their Majesty the Lightbringer imagined it exactly this way.”

Comprehensive List of Primary relics held in the Winged Cathedral in Vatican City:  
  • Samael’s Tears
  • Crimson Lake (Never-Drying Blood of Samael and the original Archons)
  • Ninth Fragment of the Winged Star (The Winged Cathedral)
  • 7 Bodies of the past Apostles
  Comprehensive List of secondary relics held in the Winged Cathedral in Vatican City:  
  • The Book - original texts as handed over by Samael themselves
  • Apocryphal Texts
  • Samael’s Desert Cloak
Founding Date
666 Day of Doom


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