Great Basilica Of Southaven

At the southernmost point of the city of Southaven where the coast arcs into a hook around the sheltered cove on which the docks sit the Great Basilica of Southaven and the buildings that service it are built. This is the spiritual, if not necessarily the political, heart of Southaven, and home to the Grand High Prelate and the entire Church of the Dioune.

The Basilica incorporates an enclosed walled compound around the actual basilica itself. The outbuildings back onto the walls of the compound, leaving an open plaza between them and the basilica proper. The plaza is filled with exotic, beautiful gardens, hidden gazebos and paths, and the buildings join to the basilica and to one another by means of ornate covered walkways. The basilica is built of a pale stone clad in marble, its enormous dome reaches up a full hundred and twenty feet and is a polished, scintillating white outside, and painted with amazing friezes on the underside. At the top of the dome an opening to the sky allows the eyes of the divh to stare down into the church. The building has a basic cruciform layout with its facade and entrance at it's eastern end, and a vestry, ready room and private chapel at the other compass points. The nave of the basilica is built up around the twin alters which merge artfully in a small bridge from which the prelates can address any assembly.

The out buildings around the compound are each a large monastic structure of the same white marble cladding and finely ornate decoration as the basilica proper. The eastern gatehouse is a small fort controlled by the Order of the Warriors of the Church with the structures flanking it belonging to the Fists of Koroth and the Hands of Aliel. The Orders of the Sanctuary and Living Heart occupy positions at the north and south of the basilica, and the Order of the Sixth Oracle has a modest structure at the south-western extent of the compound. The north-western section is a further walled compound where the Order of the Garden, the famed inner gardens themselves and the opulent suites of the Grand High Prelate are situated, all protected by the stout bastion that houses the those Koric Guard who are charged to protect the basilica. Somewhere under these buildings are the church vaults. The rear of the basilica compound is a broad public square with a number of gardens backing directly onto the Waterfront. This region is overlooked by an exceptionally ornate and decorative balcony that runs the length of the rear of the Order of the Garden's monastery. This is used to address the citizens during religious festivals or when an event of import, such as the crowning of a new prelate or the acclamation of a new sarith occurs. This area is called the outer garden and is a popular place for lovers, picnics and cutpurses.

The public are not allowed within the basilica compound, only churchmen are welcome, and since there are no religious services held in the churches of Southaven this is seldom a problem. Petitioners seeking wisdom or more terrestrial council from the priests are hosted in a large ready-room just inside the gates of the fortress that protects the basilica. They will glimpse the marvellous gardens and opulent buildings of the inner compound, and even the glorious facade of the great basilica itself, with its priceless sculptures and friezes, but will never be admitted further. Diplomats, dignitaries and noblemen are, of course, welcome, but are seldom invited to stay within the compound unless they are of such rank as to require the security of the basilica.