Sunday, July 11, 2010

Invisible Basilicas

Scattered across the Twelve Tiers, the Waterfronts, Low Esplanades and even amongst some of the Exurban Grotto-Districts of Devukarsha (and certain other City-States as well...) one can sometimes find one of the Invisible Basilicas, reliquaries and sanctuaries that have remained carefully hidden from prying eyes and raging mobs.  Where shrines and temples have been out in the open and vulnerable to the whims and vagaries of popular opinion and rabble-rousing demagogues, the Invisible Basilicas have quietly, unobtrusively operated in the background.  Some perform charity, others house reclusive Orders of monastics and other types of those Devoted to various Gods, philosophies or beliefs.  No two of the Invisible Basilcas are the same and they remain completely independent of one another even as they remain isolated and alone deep within the very midst of the City-States that they operate within.

The Threshold to an Invisible Basilica is soft and permeable, but indistinct; one does not always realize that they've crossed over into the domain of a particular Invisible Basilica until the outer Buttresses of the facade, often flanked by stupas, monoliths, guardian statuary, or other forms of religious or philosophical iconography comes into view.  Until then the entire structure has been completely invisible and out of synch with the rest of the world, possibly occupying some interstitial level in-between planar layers or some deliberately attuned resonant space unqiue to the specific configuration of the particular Invisible Basilica.  Perhaps the Umbrarch of Mishtang could better explain this matter if one were to seek him out for such enlightenment as only he can offer.

Many Traditionalists, including numerous sects of Eucharistic Pantheists and Hereditary Monotheists, driven underground during the January Revolution, fled to the sanctuary offered by the Invisible Basilicas.  There they preserved their unique theologies, cultures and communities during a particularly oppressive regime.  After the roving bands of Inquisitors and their miasmic clouds of unmaking had turned upon one another and the January Revolution was betrayed from within and demolished utterly by the following regime, many of those who had fled from the horrors of psychocidal persecution and were cut-off from any means of escape via the gates or the ships of foreign merchants chose to remain within the Invisible Basilicas, forming tight-knit communities that sought to forever avoid another terrifying repetition of the January Revolution.  The rest either returned to the City-States and sought to recover or re-claim their old territories and neighborhoods, others, often the majority, sought passage out past the Twelfth Beacon to found independent and militarized colonies that would stand as kibbutzes, citadels, bastions and fortified-bulwarks against anyone who took it upon themselves to attempt to persecute them ever again.

Over time a great number of the Orthodoxists who had remained locked away within the various Invisible Basilicas came to be distressed and alarmed at how their fellows were diverging from the true faiths, how their people's ideals and traditions were adapting, evolving and changing over the generations in ways that increasingly put those within the Invisible Basilicas at odds with those out in the separatist communities.

Something had to be done before things became intolerable and the true faiths were lost outside the Invisible Basilicas.

So the withdrawn sects began to indoctrinate robots that would preserve the old ways without any need or desire or capability for change.  These robots they left behind in the Invisible Basilicas as a permanent baseline and museum-like record of the root-level practices, teachings, doctrines and beliefs of their particular sects.  They themselves then went forth to re-join their fellow co-religionists and to revitalize their communities by restoring the true teachings and bringing heresy and error back in line with established doctrine.

Most of these missionary groups were murdered or driven off by the very groups that they sought to redeem, re-educate and restore to the Orthodox Ways.  A few were allowed to stay-on within proscribed ghettos or isolated compounds, some were absorbed into the new communities under the condition that they adapt to the new ways, and others returned to the City-States, disillusioned and grimly resolute in their convictions and determined to wait-out the heretics and the false prophets, to withdraw again into the Invisible Basilicas and to wait for the call that they are sure will one day come when their people will beg them to return and to take their rightful place as teachers, guides and leaders of the faithful.

It has not happened yet, but these people have faith, and for them, that is enough.

3 comments:

  1. Nice. So what about the robots--can there doctrine deviate over time, or does their programming not permit it?

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  2. Some of them have been corrupted by viruxes. A few were upgraded to full-order sentience in order that they might be able to transgress as anyone incapable of violating a precept ahs no moral authority in upholding said precept...and accordingly, some of those did in fact develop aberrant views, heresies or worse--they dropped-out and foundd new, competing sects.

    Some of the more moderate sects left a provision in-place so that as things developed, the robots would seed a new Invisible Basilica devoted to the splinter-group, once it acquired enough validity/coherence to support itself independently of the mother faith.

    Then there are the truly weird ones...but that's for another article, another day.

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  3. "by recounting our adventures there, and stating the facts as they existed we had outraged the religion of their fathers. We were blasphemers—lying heretics. Even those who still clung to us from personal love and loyalty I think did so in the face of the fact that at heart they questioned our veracity—it is very hard to accept a new religion for an old, no matter how alluring the promises of the new may be; but to reject the old as a tissue of falsehoods without being offered anything in its stead is indeed a most difficult thing to ask of any people.” (GM XVI)

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