Merinos Anima Cathedral

Today was the last day of the work doze, and is a gathering day for the Merinos Common Cult believers. I known that this was something that was bound to happen at some point, but I hadn't really prepared myself yet. I mean, I knew that Aneutral was probably believing in some kind of religion, everyone does, but I wasn't thinking I'd be expected to join in for a gathering.   Anyway, after a fair bit of insisting, I accepted to join Aneutral. I'll grant it to them cultists, the gathering was in a very beautiful cult place: the Merinos Anima cathedral. Located right at the junction between Featherton and Minastershire, the cult place is especially accessible for the birds of Merinos, who represent a large part of its believers.   Rigt in front of the building itself, a huge market place is set up, perhaps even more impressive than the Great Mart next to the river. The market stands, though in the open air, are built out of stone and wood, and seem to be owned by the Church. On top of that, the market place has several perches, and multiple floors, which makes it much easier for bird to shop without getting stomped on by careless humans. Come to think of it, it is astounding that even after thousands and thousands of years of coexisting in the Cylinder, humans still almost always build their stuff without caring about smaller species, don't you agree?   Anyway. The market place is beautiful, and colorful : trees, and flowers are just dense enough that they seem to cover the whole place without slowing down flight in there. As for the Cathedral, it is itself crazy. The entrance consists of a series of dug down trenches that look like a reverse pyramid, surrounded by very tall towers, that are themselves connected by thin arches. The structure does make the building a bit mystical. The sculptures around the arches and towers, and on the pyramid, are so thin, the place looks like some laced clothes! It feels both infinitely fragile, and completely unbreakable.   On the center of the structure is the Anima Hall in itself : more than a hundred meters long, a gigantic wooden replica of the Cylinder thrones at its center. According to Aneutral, the replica has so precise details that you can see the different neighborhoods of Merinos if you look correctly. Around the hall, several floors are covered with precise statues of birds and humans, describing mythological stories and the process of reincarnation. On each side, small altars are exposing precious jewels. I'm not exactly a professional cultplace critic, but I guess these are relics of some kind, either enchanted to have some potency, or not.   Aneutral led me to a perch inside the structure : a dozen meters above the ground, it was high enough to have a decent view on the whole ceremony without risking being stomped or flewn on, yet without being too close to the roof: today's a bit rainy, and apparently the sound of the rain close to the roof is so loud that it makes it hard to focus on the rituals.   I'll admit to you if you don't repeat it, book, but I didn't focus on the rituals. I payed particularly little attention to the whole speech thing, I was too focused on looking at the people. From what I gathered, the end of work doze is called "Thinrest". On that resting day, the material world is close to the spiritual one, and this is supposed to be affecting the souls : the livings can more easily reach out to the spiritual world, and the souls of the dead can sometimes influence the material world or whatever. I'll tell you, I've done more than my share of spirit world visits in my time, and have never felt any difference between the days, other than the seasonal cycle or you digestion cycle I mean. But then again, maybe the spirit world works differently here in Merinos, I can't really tell since I've been blocked as of lately. - I'll tell you more about that later, book, I promise ! -   Back to the ritual. At first there was some kind of important religious person, close to the center, who gave some speech on morals. Something about how we can only try to guess, and that the most important thing is to follow what our deepest mind dictates us, as it is closer to our soul, which is itself closer to the true morale. I thought it was worth it to think things through, to be on the lookout for logical fallacies, and to do your best not to contradict yourself, but their guess is as good as mine. After the speech, there was a ceremonial dance, accompanied with songs to put people in a trance to join the spirit world more easily. I'll admit that this was really beautiful : birds and humans were in complete communion, and were dancing with beautiful dyed silk ribbon, it felt like a rainbow fire was burning around the center of the hall. The important religious took one relic from its pedestal, and placed it on their cupped hands. The relic started producing a dark light, as it was activating. I can't really tell whether this was actual darkness, or a feeling of darkness that comes from the spirit world. What I could tell, was that almost immediately after, everyone's mind seemed to open up a bit. Since I'm blocked, I don't really know if the people did connect to the spirit world, or simply opened themselves up for mental manipulation or soul visiting, but it was most impressive.   In the end, this whole ritual thingy seemed more like a convenient way to visit a beautiful Anima Hall in the midst of a gathering, than an actual conversion. I guess I'll have to learn more about this whole Merinos Common Cult later.

Cover image: by Pouaseuille


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