Dais of Faith
|Dais of Faith|
|Pronunciation||Dee-yas of Fay-th|
There exists a structure so holy in the Faith of Unionism that an entire Cathedral was constructed around it, and even re-built without moving the actual structure itself. In the largest cathedral in Regalia stands the Dais of Faith, a structure built out of the sarcophagus of Emperor Theomar the First. While any normal, such structure would garner little special attention aside from the most devout of Unionists, this particular tomb is venerated across all of Unionism because it is one of the few known ways to pray directly to the Spirit for blessings without going through the intermediary of the Emperor. The Tomb, which is adorned with statues, is known to move when spoken to during certain ritual ceremonies and has even been known to bestow holy blessings to the worthy and divine healing to the needy. The Dais of Faith as it had come to be known, opens only when Unionism is in peril, or when the Spirit believes that providence is needed for the faith to remain strong in light of adversaries, granting both blessings and holy artifacts to those willing to sacrifice their ways for Unionism.
The Dais of Faith is aptly named on account of it being the tomb of Theomar the First, the First Emperor and founder of the Regalian Empire and the Unionist Faith, who after being buried in this tomb adorned with statues, passed his divinity and touch with the Spirit into the very masonry and stone of the edifice. A few weeks since Theomar passed, the statues appeared to weep blood from the eyes and the palms, which caused some priests to bring offerings of blood from the palms. While sacrifices are extremely rare or even frowned upon in Unionism, interpreting the will of the Spirit through the words of the Emperor had always been the Unionist Church’s mission, and in the early years, they were willing to be somewhat more loose with what that interpretation meant. To them, the statues gave them a divine message from the Spirit, and they heeded it. From that moment, they witnessed the statues move. Though the Dais did not speak, it sent messages through the movement of the statues to be interpreted by the clergy.
Over the centuries, the Dais of Faith has both been active and inactive. The clergy have never been able to explain why for decades the Dais would not move, and in other times, the Dais would suddenly come to life and dispense holiness to not only the clergy but also the people. In times of great need, however, the Dais unlocked faithfully and has been known to grant great boons to the pious of Unionism. Many of the great Unionist artifacts and blessed items which have appeared over the ages were granted by the Dais of Faith, which has a “mouth-piece” from which it seemingly granted holy objects to those it deemed worthy when pleaded for a specific cause.
The Tending of the Dais
The Dais is operated by the clergy, though the term operation should only be taken in the most simple of interpretations. The Tomb itself is a sarcophagus of solid gold wrapped inside a stone and marble edifice that has since grayed and dulled over the centuries. The front facade remains untouched save for the well in front which was formed by the faithful in the first century after Cataclysm to allow for the Life Elixir passing, though no hands usually touch the Dais of Faith. Even the Reverends of the Synod do not actually touch the Dais out of holy respect; rather, they interpret the intentions and wills of the Spirit through reading the stances of the Statues and their actions. For example, the Statues might disappear altogether, which is the Spirit disavowing the person praying. The Reverends as such, interpret the meanings of the movements on the Dais, to give the faithful a better understanding of what the Spirit means because the Dais of Faith does not actually speak, only move. There are a number of stances, which are explained below. In its natural state, no statues are present. Each time the Dais moves, it makes a hollow knocking sound, after which the statues take positions. The Reverends know to watch the position of the statues for some moments after the knocking sounds, letting at least 20 seconds pass by to be sure the Spirit does not change its stance.
- All statues remain absent after knocking: The Spirit disavows from the subject. While this does not mean they are automatically a heretic, it means the Spirit does not believe the person has shown enough piety in life to be worthy of communion with his holy presence.
- All statues disappear after having been present and the fire goes out: The Spirit has ceased communion with the person, and they should be removed from the Dais.
- The Emerald and Ruby Saints only: If the outer statues appear while the middle is gone, it means the Spirit has embraced the person’s wishes and dispenses a blessing from the Mouth of the Dais down at the pool of Life Elixir. The faithful may then retrieve the item from the Mouth of the Dais by pushing the stones in the eyes, opening the mouth, and retrieving whatever Holy blessing was placed there by the Spirit.
- The Emerald Saint only: If the Emerald Saint appears, it means the Spirit demands tacit faith from the person but has chosen not to bless them. This figure appearing doesn’t mean the Spirit rejects them from the faith. It simply means that the Spirit has deemed their plight as lacking in need of divine blessings, and instructs them to live as a faithful Unionist.
- The Golden Saint only: If the middle statue only appears, the Spirit demands a greater dedication. This figure appearing means that the Spirit demands either a form of sacrifice from the person communing to the Dais or some form of promise. It should be noted here that to the Dais, souls and living beings are not sacrificed. Sacrifices are usually promises of dedication or something greatly prized to the person.
- The Ruby Saint only: If the righter Saint (the Ruby Saint) only appears, it means the Spirit demands a worldly mission. In such a case, this mission must be issued by the Reverends of Regalia, though this is often just guessing work since the Reverends do not truly know whether the mission they give to the person is satisfying to the Spirit. There have been cases where a person finished a mission, only for the Spirit to demand another because the Reverends didn’t get it right.
The Ritual of Deliberation
The ritual of Deliberation is the process through which the faithful can commune with the Dais of Faith for blessings of the Spirit. The Ritual of Deliberation follows stringent guidelines, which are described in detail here.
- Firstly, the Reverends and the Helerian Guard decide who is even allowed to enter the premise of the Dais. Only one person may enter at a time, as the Fires of Faith surround them when they do. The Reverends may deny or allow anyone access to the Dais as they please, and there are no repercussions for them denying entry to any.
- Secondly, the single person who enters the Dais must say a loud praise to the Spirit for all to hear in the cathedral. When they do so inside the Dais boundaries (marked by the blue Mage Stone on the ground), a Reverend will proclaim: “Est Kaisertum Hailigen,” after which the Fires of Faith surround the person. It is said that heretics are burned by the Fires of Faith, though this hasn’t happened in decades.
- Thirdly, the subject must stand on the golden floor section of the Dais, and from there, use the dagger that is present on the altar to slice their palm and allow blood to seep into the pool of Life Elixir below.
- Fourthly, the subject must speak in mutter (with chat modifier $) to the Dais of Faith, so no others can hear (even the Reverends), and continue to speak until they feel like they have said what needed to be said. Often, the faithful explain their problems, and what solutions they might receive from the Spirit, and how it would help them in the faith or further the faith’s missions. When they are complete with their request and statement, they must proclaim: “Est Folkertum Resentier.”
- Fifthly, when the speech part is complete, the Dais will usually respond, after which the Reverends loudly proclaim their interpretation. Usually, for each person entering, one Reverend is chosen to speak, in a rotating fashion. For example, if 3 Reverends are present, and 30 faithful are lined up, each Reverend does the interpretation work of 10 individuals unless the High Reverend denies any particular Reverend from being allowed to interpret the will of the Spirit. Only the person assigned to the faithful (before they enter the Fires of Faith) speaks during the process of interpretation, and everyone else in the room is expected to mutter or whisper in deference, making the whole process rather quiet.
- There is an unwritten response in the Dais's operation where the mouth of the Dais simply opens without further instructions. This action is often a gamble, as the Dais's blessings come through the mouth, but the mouth is large enough to allow weapons or even arms to be inserted. It is usually up to the faithful what they wish to insert into the Mouth.
- Nearly every holy weapon of Unionism that exists has come from the Dais of Faith and has served many Demon slayers in their holy missions to rid the world of heretical filth.
- The Dais of Faith does not seem to judge the inner beliefs of the person, but the outer expressions of faith. That is to say, the person may proclaim to be a great Unionist or even feel so on the inside, but the Spirit weighs such a person’s importance in the greater scheme of things, and may often decide that while they have faith, they lack actual value to the faith. This is why the Spirit’s words are sometimes misinterpreted.
- Speaking of misinterpretation, it’s sometimes entirely possible that the Reverends get the interpretation all wrong because ultimately the Dais does not speak, only move, and it does not move clearly even sometimes, or consistently. Most of the work involved with the Dais is mere guessing work.