|S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe|
People crowd Saint Peter's Basilica in tour groups and bus loads, some reverent, and some frantic. A sea of humanity moves through the grounds of the Vatican daily. The line to security is deeper than any airport line I've ever stood in. I had a mental list of what I wanted to see. After a couple weeks of travel I'd made it a short list. Three things really.
The Sistine Chapel
Because I'm a huge fan of Michelangelo.
It was number three on my list.
The view from the very top of Saint Peter's Basilica
Not from the inside, I mean up top.
It came in at number two.
I told Dear Hubby I wanted to see the statue of Kahtar.
It was first on my list.
Kahtar is a character who stormed into my head many years ago, demanding painstaking devotion to unearth his story. My immortal hero has walked the earth so long he doesn't even remember where he began, or why he can't end. Apparently memory is finite, he says, I don't know where I came from. Kahtar does remember when he was once called Longinus, and walked the earth as a Roman Centurion. It is a memory he longs to forget.
|Available for Order 11/10/2015|
Kahtar finds out why he's immortal in the next book, the one coming out this month, but I digress. From the time I first put Kahtar's story on the page, I wanted to see the statue of Longinus at Saint Peter's. In my mind's eye they were one and the same, my fictional character, and this ancient warrior. Now Bernini never carved a statue of my immortal hero. He carved a Saint for the Catholic church. Yet somehow it inspired me through years of writing, and hundreds of thousands of words, even though I'd never even seen it.
|Inside Saint Peter's Basilica|
Standing in the middle of the basilica with his mad scientist eyes glazed over from Ancient History Overload, Dear Hubby said, "Now what do you want to see in here?" That's what it had come down to at that point. He needed to hunt, conquer, and leave. The man was enduring. I understand enduring, that's how I do his fishing trips. I sympathized though, he'd been a trooper for two weeks, even when I spent hours taking pictures of ancient graffiti scrawled into the walls of the Colosseum.
"I want to see Bernini's statue of Longinus," I said, looking around. There are statues of 140 saints inside Saint Peter's. The church is massive. "He'll have a spear," I added, hoping that would narrow it down, certain this was going to take awhile and wondering if I could find a statue map online really quick.
"Kahtar's right there." Dear Hubby pointed. "I saw him as soon as we walked in." I fell in love with my husband all over again at that moment. The statue is gorgeous, larger than life like Kahtar himself. Somehow it looked exactly like I knew it would, perhaps bigger, like most everything at the Vatican.
Later we climbed the 448 feet to the top of the dome of the basilica. The first part of the climb takes place inside the dome where a catwalk allows you to gaze down into the church below. I could see Bernini's Longinus from there, my Kahtar. It's a strange thing, inspiration. It comes from where it comes. Fiction too is odd. You make something from nothing until it feels real. I couldn't help but wonder when Bernini carved that statue sixteen hundred years after Longinus lived, if he'd felt the same way.