Cathedral of the Bleeding Amethyst
The Cathedral of the Bleeding Amethyst is a unique Unexpector religious site located on the Sixward Spur of the Blue Silk River.
Insurgents aligned with the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies detonated satchel charges in the cathedral's upper sanctuary in 9,992 AR. The huge stained glass windows and marble floors were shattered in the blast, with many original pieces scattering into the surrounding waters washing down the river; for a full month after the event, vortices at the water's edge downstream had a noticeable shimmer from all the particles. Even so- in a turn of events that many in the faith consider miraculous - the support structure of the building remained sound. Renovations, including the installation of a memorial to the Servants of Ironies killed in the attack, were completed as of 9,999 AR.
The Cathedral of the Bleeding Amethyst consists of a lower, surface, and upper sanctuary. The lower sanctuary is dedicated to Zevtwill, God of Verbal Irony and is a popular destination for pilgrims faithful to that deity (see Tourism). This portion is an enclosed underground space that sits atop a mud spring and provides a bathing area decorated in white marble tiling, frescoes, and statuary that appear to weep the blessed mud. The surface sanctuary has the appearance of keep with high ceilings, four red-roofed towers, and machicolations all the way around. These structures are supported by carved marble pillars, forming stoa. An extended portico at ground level protects the entrance from rain and forms the innermost part of the wooden docks for the riverboats that provide daily access to the cathedral. This portion of the cathedral dates back to the Imperial Period and was actually used at various times as a stronghold by the ruling family in times of national unrest. The upper of two interior floors of the surface sanctuary forms a mezzanine overlooking a large statue of Selevati, Goddess of Dramatic Irony, with smaller shrines to Lyvianne, Goddess of Misfortune, Aquardion, Goddess of Situational Irony, and Veldrin Vance, God of Coincidence in the tower wings not taken up with stairwells. A barracks for up to four visiting clergy has been established in the remaining tower wing. The upper sanctuary consists of a five story tower clad almost entirely in violet-hued stained glass and capped with an abrupt point. Dark columns at each corner reach up to meet the deocrative black trusses that extend beyond the angles of the roof and curl upward to support large hanging lanterns; in prior times, the cathedral served a double purpose as a lighthouse. The interior floors are comprised of decoratively patterned of black and white marble rich in amethyst inclusions, inspiring one half of the cathedral's name. The first floor of upper sanctuary serves as a public gathering space, the ceiling open to create another mezzanine with additiona seating looking down over the central podium on which a statue of Cosmeon stands. The next two floors up constitute a rectory and administrative offices. The topmost floor is a large ritual sanctuary and auditorium, featuring its own raised seating areas and an ceiling entirely comprised of the same stained glass cladding that makes up the rest of the tower's exterior. All interior and exterior spaces of Cathedral of the Bleeding Amethyst are lit with ornate black iron lanterns hanging from hooks or set in sconces. Interior decorations include potted and carefully-trimmed miniature trees, furniture wrought in rich, red-hued wood, and carved reliefs depicting important moments in the Church history.
Until comparatively recent times, the Cathedral of the Bleeding Amethyst was nigh-on unassailable due to the strength of its construction and its position in the middle of a broad body of water. The greatest threat to the cathedral has always come in the form of infiltration, as reaching it with enough firepower to damage the structure from the outside has proven very difficult. Advances in dieseltech engine and aerostat technology may ultimately render these defenses moot, but for this to happen, the staunch Grand Army homeland defenses would have to be overcome.
The Cathedral of the Bleeding Crown was built on a shallow in the center of the Sixward Spur to take advantage of a unique geothermal feature there. Iron-rich mud nearly the color of blood bubbles up from a hotspring beneath the surface, and visitors to the region often bathed in this mud as ablutions in the name of the pre-Conquest spirit what would eventually become Zevtwill, God of Verbal Irony, in the Unexpector cosmology. When the cathedral was built over the top of the spring, a lower sanctuary was created and dedicated in the name of Zevtwill. This lower sanctuary features brilliant white marble walls and floor tiles, several bathing pools, and statues rigged up to weep rivulets of the spring's mud. The mud is said to be the "blood of Zevtwill" for its warmth and sanguine color and is still used in blessings to this day. In keeping with tradition relating to the Great Gadfly, the frightning and semi-demonic visual aesthetic of the lower sanctuary is presented in contrast with blessings for good health, companionship, and personal resolve delivered upon visitors by the attendant Servants of Ironies. This sanctuary is popular and a poorly-kept secret among pilgrims, but this, too, is in keeping with Zevtwill's doctrines.