Updated: Nov 17, 2019
The evening meeting that Doctor Bangloss and Tetsu were going to attend was a regular meeting of the “Ishgard Preservist Society”. Preservists, honorable ladies and gentlemen, who aspired to preserve noble Hydaelyn traditions, were a political faction operating all across the realm of Hydaelyn. As a prominent member of the faction and vocal defender of conservative values, Bangloss was well-known within the circles of preservists and their supporters; he was in correspondence with many of them and received a lot of letters from his fans. After Doctor and Tetsu had arrived in Ishgard, Bangloss was given a warm welcome by the Ishgard Preservist Society; they organized a sumptuous banquet in honor of the illustrious doctor and arranged for a series of regular meetings, at which Bangloss assumed the role of the host. At those meetings, known as “Evenings with Dr. Bangloss”, Doctor had conversations with his guests and answered letters from his numerous fans and admirers. Tetsu’s role was to sit in a corner and record every word – God forbid if he skipped anything! – and Doctor was particularly insistent on the proper recording of applause, with all the details about their amplitude and duration.
That evening the crowd in the hall of the Ishgard Preservist Society was especially large and, as Tetsu noticed, of a particular kind: there were a lot of priests and religious people. They were strolling leisurely, greeting each other and crossing themselves, and one particular word Tetsu heard from all directions was “Monsignor”. “Has Monsignor arrived?” “No, not yet.” “Ah, Dear Doctor! You are already here!” People were bowing to Bangloss respectfully and in response, Doctor lavished contented smiles right and left. Soon, the crowd started to fill a large auditorium, and Tetsu took his sit at a small desk in the corner of the scene.
Finally, everyone has settled, and Bangloss – in his full Academic regalia – stalked to his chair at the center of the scene.
“My esteemed friends!” proclaimed Doctor, beaming with delight, “Today we have a special guest, who has kindly agreed to join us for the discussion of a very important topic: "Religion in the Life of Modern Society". Please, welcome ‘The Beacon of Crossianity of Ishgard University’, Dean of the Theological Faculty and Senior Priest of St. Phobos Church, Monsignor Jean-Pierre Lewdoux!”
“Ugh,” thought Tetsu, sweating and scribbling down the titles, “Yappari, it’s that priest.”
The auditorium burst with applause, and Tetsu hurried to indicate that the applause were “stormy and prolonged”. Following the applause, came the burly figure of Monsignor Lewdoux. Clad in a white robe, he floated onto the scene like a doleful iceberg.
“Please, Your Grace, have a sit,” fussed Bangloss, moving a chair closer.
“Thank you, thank you,” the voice of Monsignor sounded like a knell, “I absolutely agree, Dear Doctor, the topic of today’s discussion is very, very…” Monsignor nodded ruefully, “Extremely, I’d even say…” he slowly raised up his finger, “Yes… tremendously arch-important.”
“Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! I wouldn’t be able to phrase it better!”, exclaimed Bangloss, drowning the next round of applause. “Monsignor, ahem… so… what are your thoughts about the role of, ahem… religion in our troubled times and… ahem… the mission that the Church should, ahem… like, I’d say, a Torch of Faith—”
“YES!! YES, Bangloss! The Torch!” Suddenly, the eyes of Monsignor Lewdoux flared up with religious fervor and he jumped to his feet. “We must bring the Torch of Faith to those blasted heretics! We must—” and Monsignor started talking – hectically and confusedly – about heretics, apostates and schismatics, whom he and, apparently, everyone else ought to brought the Torch of Faith to. The audience was listening with intense attention, Bangloss was nodding knowingly, and Tetsu was trying his best to keep up with the delirious priest. Gradually, Monsignor’s agitation subsided, and he began to make more sense.
As Tetsu managed to figure out, His Grace was particularly concerned about the schism that happened in the Eastern regions of Hydaelyn, where Crossianity had changed to Croissanity. Both religions worshiped Jeez La Croix as The Son of God, who was believed to be resurrected after his death and ascend to the Heavens. There was, however, a major controversy about the circumstances of his death. Crossians believed Jeez La Croix was crucified, whereas Croissants were convinced he was beheaded with a huge bardiche. Correspondingly, the main symbols for the two religions were Cross and Crescent (Croissant). Another difference between the two Churches, which made Crossians and Croissants irreconcilable enemies, was the doctrines of Holy Trinity and Holy Quartinity. Crossians believed that Jeez La Croix was not only The Son of God, but also that very God himself – “The God-Father” – and, in addition, “The Holy Spirit”. Croissants, on the other hand, argued that he was not only The Son, The Father and The Holy Spirit, but also “The Virgin Mother of God”.
In all fairness, there was a moment, when the two militant Churches: The Crossian Church and The Church of Croissanity – tried to reconcile with each other and even called for an All-Hydaelyn Ecumenical Council. The Council, however, yielded a very unexpected result: instead of re-unification, the two Churches gave rise to a third religious faction, which proclaimed the Doctrine of Quintinity, crowning Jeez La Croix with another title: “The Radiant Grandfather”. Luckily, the faction of “quintinites” was small – so it was quickly eliminated by the enraged representatives of the two major Churches. The leader of quintinites was put to a ceremonial death: crucified, beheaded with a bardiche and burned at the stake. After that, the satisfied Crossian and Croissant delegations happily anathematized each other – and that was the end of the All-Hydaelyn Ecumenical Council.
Dripping with sweat, Tetsu wildly scribbled down the curses rained down upon the heads of Croissant heretics by Monsignor Lewdoux. The catboy couldn’t even wipe his brow: there wasn’t a single moment of respite. Finally, the eloquence of His Grace had run dry and he stopped for a second, raising his fists and trying to find a curse which he hadn’t used yet.
“Phew,” Tetsu quickly reached for his handkerchief – and, accidentally, brushed against the side curtain with his elbow, causing a cloud of dust to stir in the air. Being caught off guard, the catboy – “Oh, no!” – sneezed loudly.