Friday, November 6, 2015

My Immortal Hero--In Rome with Kahtar

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.

Longinus, Kahtar, Immortal, Immortality, S.R. Karfelt,
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.

Rome is an amazing city. It overwhelms you with the history of the ancient world. There is story attached to everything you see. You want to know it and preserve it in pictures. It would surely take a lifetime to begin to scratch the surface of it all. A couple weeks into the trip and Dear Hubby and I were both beginning to suffer from what I call Ancient History Overload, and while I devoured sites exclaiming, "Isn't it beautiful!" He began to respond with, "It's OLD, but interesting."

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.

Bernini's Statue of Longinus/My visual of Kahtar

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.

Rome from the top of Saint Peter's Basilica


  1. I love that you got to see Kahtar--that's seriously a trip well worth it :)

  2. Thanks for sharing a part of your Roman Holiday with us. Can't wait to follow in your footsteps.

  3. Give Kahtar my love, LaDonna, when you get there! *waves at Kelsey* It was!