Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Holdings of Lord Tomas (part2)

Upon the Holdings of Lord Tomas one will find two churches dedicated to the Celestial Orthodoxy.
Tomas is not a very religious man and generally only makes token gestures of faith. Despite that he is not very trusting of ancient Olrinian paganism or other Terrestrial faiths. Modern Tahlmyrian law permits no restriction of inoffensive religion but a great many folk still distrust terrestrial practitioners. A number of ancient and mostly disused Terrestrial shrines are present in the wastes near (and even within) the holdings of Lord Tomas. Use of such places would be discouraged by the Baron and his men not to mention the clerics at the church.

There is a church of the Celestial Orthodoxy in operation at the village of West DeAdrippa is subordinate to the Church in Ortossa. The church at West Adrippa is served by Parish Priest Father Olmanda and a number of Celestial brothers as the church serves as a learning annex to the monastery at Tormanto in addition to it's duties to the local parish.
The Church at West DeAdrippa maintains some significance outside the immediate family and holdings as it contains a mausoleum for a small number of entombed knights including the once famous 7th Baron Adrippa who served as a Paladin under the Grand Patriarch Vistandus II of the Celestial Orthodoxy. A great grandmother of Lord Tomas was very religious, becoming a cleric in her dotage and some considerable machinations on her part have served to maintain the importance of the church to this day; she is also responsible for the construction of the larger chapel in the manor castle itself.
Olmanda and the majority of the brothers have left to tend the spirits and bodies of the troops serving at the border with Jolumbria , leaving behind Brother Dollop as acting senior at the church with a pair of oblate brothers and a small number of novices. Some folks consider the friendship between Lord Tomas and Brother Dollop (of the local church) to be curious but they would be ignorant of Dollops military service in his youth and the times the baron and he campaigned together.
The parish church of West Adrippa is most obvious and fairly large for such a rural location. It's bell tower is the tallest point in the village and would be used as a lookout on times of need. The bells of the church ring at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon and sundown if the oblates can be motivated to keep track of the time.
There are a number of smaller support buildings very near or built alongside the church proper. These house the brothers, the novices, a pair of classrooms and a fair sized library for a village church (actually larger then that of the ranking Bishop). The Church was built over a number of years and each era can clearly be seen in the color, size and set of the stones of each section. There are at least five ways into the church and each is normally only open according to some obtuse schedule know to Father Olmanda, since his absence the doors generally remain open or closed until really needed.
Despite the chaos of architecture the Church itself is rather plainly decorated with but a single altar at the front. there are a small number of benched pews towards the front and rear of the main space but most of the parishioners must kneel and stand with no assistance. One decidedly curious feature of the altar is the presiding priest will stand facing the congregation instead of facing away form the congregation while delivering a sermon. There are a number of small stained glass windows in this church praising the lessons of the saints or warning the faithful of sin.
The knightly tombs may be entered from a portal on the inside of the church or through a small bulkhead that is usually locked form outside. The tombs are generally sealed except for certain holy days and may be used as the resting place for a knight for a year after his death but the remains are not kept there with those that are permanently entombed from years before. The tomb entrance to the private Tomb of the 7th baron is the most elaborate and well maintained.
The church is typically a fairly bus place for a parish church due to it's role as a learning annex of the faith but lately it's moderately quite outside of the thrice daily services. One would still only expect to see the place crowded on holy days .
There is a small infirmary at the church that usually tends to a variety of work related injuries or the occasional unfortunate illness. With most of the brothers absent only limited healing is possible within.
One building adjacent to the church maintained by the brothers serves as a small brewery. The beers brewed within are generally reserved for the clerics but are sometimes released on holy days if supplies are large enough to warrant such generosity.
A small entry hall off the west side of the church is used as a makeshift court every fortnight or so by the Baron or his Seneshal to settle minor disputes and keep check on working sof the estate. This is an old tradtion established many years before when the manorial keep was pretty small and the then reignign baron found it bothersome to have the place overcorwded by the residents of the village. It's now considered a friendly gesture by the baron to the commoners.

Pilgrims or very rarely those seeking sanctuary visit the church now and again and recieve lodging within the structure.

The Chapel at the manorial Castle is built in the mid ward facing to the east. It is a stone building standing some 30' high at roofs-peak with a small bell tower off center rising at most 15 feet above the roof of the chapel proper.
There are two entrances to the chapel the first is the rather obvious front doors; The double doors to the chapel are decorated in a painted carving of the procession of Saint Gallant on his life's quest, the paintwork is a little faded as of late and likely to be refreshed soon if the lady of the manor has her way.
The front doors open to reveal a larger foyer and cloak room illuminated by large windows with a massive transom letting illumination into the worship space beyond. The doors leading in from the foyer are decorated with carvings of two visions of paradise from the poem "The Seven Paradises of the Heavens Above", by DeGaunte. There are no pews for there are no pews for the worshippers but one will find a number of leaning bars tat allow one to kneel and rise with relative ease and comfort. The floor of the chapel space is a warm marble with cushioned kneeling bars at the front two rows. Perhaps a 100 could worship here at one time. There are a number of small altars within the chapel one each dedicated to all five of the third generation of saints and a main altar at the fore.
There is a garden beside the chapel with a path decorated with stepping stones bearing the slightly faded carvings of the quotes of Saint Bartholos on the Knightly Virtues. One may enter the Chapel through the bell tower if the two doors are unlocked by the bell keeper. The bell keeper, known as brother Mellot, maintains the bells ringing them on the hour during the day and tends to the chapel garden, being a halfling he is the only non-human to dwell on the grounds of the manorial castle. The room at he foot of the bell tower is a simple one with a small window lighting the chamber before one enter the chapel beyond. There are three short stories in the tower above this chamber each hosting a separate room: the living quarters of brother Mellot a warm sitting room with a tiny but well equipped kitchen and a small bed, above that a workshop and the bell pulls, one finds the three tower bells above that,(Note: despite the form of address Brother Mellot is not a cleric of the celestial faith but he has long been in service at the chapel bell tower)

The chapel is used for most needs of the Family of Lord Tomas , his wife may typically be found there for an hour or so each morning. The family only attends services at the village church on special occasions and specific holy days. The baron will send his scribe to the church library to fetch him a book now and again and may be seen fetching one himself on rare occasion. The village court mentioned above is held every fourteen days or so.

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