Basilica of the North
Temporal centre of the Pantheon of the North, the Basilica of the North sits at the heart of the sacred city of Heilagur, and is a place of worship for all of the deities that are part of the Pantheon. Its shrines and central space are almost permanently thronged with pilgrims, many of whom have trekked from all across Turoza to stand in its hallowed halls.
Purpose / Function
The primary purpose of the Basilica of the North is to provide a central focus and capital for the worship of the Pantheon of the North's deities, not only in the north of Turoza, but also in the whole of Ulskandar. To represent its function as the central place of worship for all of the Pantheon’s constituent deities, the Basilica complex contains a shrine dedicated to each of the gods and goddesses that are members of it. At the very centre of the Basilica of the North sits the Grand Lector's throne, from which the ultimate earthly representative of Njördr and the Pantheon as a whole, the Grand Lector, conducts and presides over the most important rituals and acts of worship linked to the Pantheon. It is this throne that the monarchs to be of the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, and the Kingdom of Dazscor and Aramore, along with the lesser rulers of the Mountain Principalities come to gain the Grand Lector’s blessing over their coming rule.
The principal alterations that have been made to the Basilica of the North, are all focused on the shrine dedicated to Yggdrasil. The initial alterations made to the shrine originally happened in secret and were made by adherents dedicated solely to Yggdrasil, around the time that the goddess started to increase her own base of support, and move towards the creation of her own blood cult, in order to provide her with enough strength to overthrow, or dominate the Pantheon. Beneath the shrine, Yggdrasil’s cultists constructed an elaborate network of tunnels and subterranean rooms, the extent of which has never been fully mapped out, which operated as their headquarters and centre of their activities across the north of Turoza, as well as being the location of some of their largest and most heinous rituals. The network of tunnels is so expansive and complex that Yggdrasil’s cultists had to have maps of the space created so that they could find their way around. All examples of these maps that were discovered by the Pantheon of the North have been burned as ‘heretical documents’. These tunnels are known to have several exits beyond the confines of the Basilica of the North, but all those that were known about, or subsequently discovered have been sealed on the orders of Grand Lectors through the ages. After the discovery of the treachery of Yggdrasil, and subsequent driving into hiding of her and her followers, the shrine to Yggdrasil in the Basilica of the North has been altered to ensure that access is only granted to those with the specific permission of the Grand Lector. All of the windows have been covered from the outside with magically sealed metal panels, whilst the door to the shrine inside the central decagon has been fortified with multiple locks, so that it can only be opened from outside the shrine. Nowadays, the shrine of Yggdrasil within the Basilica of the North is only opened so that those who have been tried and convicted of heresy, related to Yggdrasil’s blood cult, can be thrown into the shrine to starve to death, either directly before her statue, or within the network of tunnels beyond, should those incarcerated know how to access them.
The Basilica of the North is constructed with a huge decagonal space at its core, with nine individual shrines to the Pantheon's constituent deities built as separate structures attached to and extending from the main structure. The whole structure is built from a concrete core that has been cladded with a fine, pinkish marble, sourced from the nearby Felsspitze Mountains which gives the whole structure a pleasing pinkish glow, particularly at dawn and dusk, that has led the locals to nickname the Basilica as the ‘Rose of Heilagur’. The central decagon of the Basilica is covered by an enormous concrete dome, decorated with a mix of rectangular coffering and coloured glass panels. These glass panels are coloured so that they cycle through all of the colours of the rainbow, moving clockwise around the dome of the central decagon. Right at the centre of the dome is an oculus that is closed to the elements by a large circular window, constructed out of clear glass. The spaces that lie in between each of the entrances to the separate shrines are filled with semi-decorative, semi-supportive columns, and there is a ring of decorative columns, capped by a silver dome, burnished to a mirror finish situated right at the centre of the decagon As this central colonnade, with its silver dome is situated directly beneath the central circular window of the decagon’s dome, it reflects the pure, white light all around the central area of the Basilica. Within the central colonnade is the ceremonial throne of the Grand Lector, which they occupy during important services and ceremonies. The main entrance to the Basilica, orientated to line up with the southern cardinal direction, has been constructed both inside and outside the structure to take the form of a monumental archway, that is decorated with all of the symbols of the Pantheon’s deities. The entrance portal to the Basilica is occupied by two huge wooden doors, reinforced with metal strips and studs, both of which contain two smaller doors that can be opened independently, and are the size of an average humanoid. At the tallest point of the dome, the Basilica’s decagon is 131ft/40m tall, and is 164ft/50m across the length of its floor at its widest point. Moving clockwise around the Basilica, the shrines that stem from the decagon are arranged as follows: Njördr (aligned with the northern cardinal direction), Freyd, Thorfor, Mímir, Bragi, entrance gate (aligned with the southern cardinal direction), Skaddi, Yggdrasil, Fenrisúlfr and Balder. Each of the shrines that adjoin the central decagon has been built in a rectangular shape, with a semi-circular end and pitched roof. The shrines have numerous large windows that have been constructed into the walls and the semi-circular end of the structure. These windows are made of stained glass, which depicts different myths associated with the deity they are dedicated to, along with depictions of the deity’s attributes and interests. At the back of each shrine, dominating the area of the semi-circular end of the room is a monumental statue of the deity the shrine is dedicated to, carved in the purest possible white marble from the Felsspitze Mountains. The shrines are approximately 66ft/20m at their tallest point, 98ft/30m at their longest point. Each of these shrines is separated from the main decagon of the Basilica by a large, double silver plated door, which can be locked from the outside of the shrine to secure the room beyond.