Location and Building

The chantry is located in the Old City of Stockholm, on the northern end of Prästgatan (Priest Street). The narrow and winding street has not changed much since the middle ages. Despite its proximity to the bustling Västerlångatan and the Royal Palace, it is remarkably empty and silent. The surrounding buildings tower over it, making steps and voices echo in the silence. Most windows have ornamented cast-iron bars or closed shutters. Low, closed doors slightly below the street level lead into unseen courtyards. This is one of the oldest parts of Stockholm and one of the least changed.

The chantry lies at the northern end, where the street abruptly becomes an dead end. A small, unassuming green door is all that greets the eye from the outside. Inside, a dark and claustrophobic passage leads into a cobblestone courtyard. The chantry towers above and around it, apparently one or two stories higher than on the outside. The building is quite old, but has been renovated several times. However, the almost medieval air remains. Great official stone stairs leads up to the second floor, while various doors and passages lead off from the courtyard.

Inside, the feeling of age and claustrophobia is even stronger. Small barred windows send dust-filled beams of pale light into the shadows. The doorways are low and narrow, the walls either chalked white or covered with flaking paint hidden behind drapes or paintings. No two rooms are the same, corridors meet in odd angles, stairs lead up and down and the air is stale and smells slightly musty. There is no central heating, just big fireplaces in most rooms. Electricity has been drawn into most of the building by the School of Swedenborg, meaning great clunky switches and snaking wires badly painted over on the walls. Paintings, drapes, small sculptures in niches and cabinets with curios fill the walls everywhere, often to hide flaking paint and holes. On many doors occult symbols are painted in red letters as protection.

The chantry is divided into several parts. The bottom floor houses both a good number of the servants and other staff, and the areas belonging to the Guild of Bacchus. Along with the passage from the entrance a guard room is places, looking out into the street. The second floor is living quarters for the Guilds of Mercury and Vulcanus, the banquet hall, labs and workshops. The library is located on the third floor. The other parts of this and the next floors are unreachable, the doors are locked or walled up. The reason is that as the chantry lost much of its power, it couldn't afford the quintessence expenditures to keep the upper stories in true existence. However, a small tower with an observatory remains, looking out towards the Royal Palace and the Palace Church.

Important Places

The Banquet Hall is a large, rustic room on the second floor. Its rather dark, lighted by a row of narrow windows and a huge fireplace under a big sword. Its dominated by three long tables of dark and heavy wood. Each table is reserved for its guild, and each mage has his own place. Apprentices sit at the far ends, closest to the drafty doors. The Masters sit at the upper ends, closer to the windows and the fireplace, and at the ends themselves ornate chairs are placed for the Nämdemän. Along the walls hangs portraits of the great mages of the chantry: the Founders, Urban Hiärne, Swedenborg, Oscar Krook and Ernst Prahler, among others. It is used as a meeting place, especially in matters pertaining to the chantry as a whole without deeper magickal meaning.

The Ceremony Room is adjacent to the Banquet Hall, and is surrounded by smaller laboratories and storerooms kept by the Guild of Mercury. The walls and windows are all covered with heavy black drapes, damping sounds into soft murmurs and absorbing all light. The air is heavy, smelling of incense and candlewax. In the wooden floor, a simple but dominating pentagram has been laid in with great skill, although it is rather worn by now. This is the place where the Guild of Mercury conducts its ceremonies. Most of the time the room is empty, guarded and kept in order by the Laboratory Master.

The Library is reached through a narrow stairway leading up to a small door. Beside the entrance a bronze plaque proclaims the Protocols. The Library is crammed full of tall, rickety shelves filled with old and new books. The shelves are placed so close that its often hard to turn in the narrow passageways, and passing people is not possible without breaking social decorum. Since all windows are blocked by faded drapes or shelves, the only light comes from small lanterns which hang in iron hooks from the shelves (no electricity in any form is allowed in the Library). To make the place even more crammed, in places glass cabinets holding antiques, curios and rare books block the passages. The Librarian resides in an adjoining small room, crammed full of books and codices in various states of repair and cataloguing. He is also the only person who has the key to the Master Room, a part of the Library only Masters have access to. Rumours tell that there are even a locked chamber only mages with permission from both the Alderman, the Magister and the Forcemaster may see.

The Chapel is the domain of the White Brothers. Its fairly austere, with simple white-chalked walls, plain wooden benches and a single Celtic cross behind the altar. Its not very large, and on closer examination appears to be in need of repair. Its also one of the few really peaceful places in the chantry, mainly because its not often visited by anybody else than the White Brothers. Each Sunday they hold masses for the inhabitants of the chantry, but even then the Chapel is fairly empty.

The Computer Room is a room under some stairs, just behind the lavatories of the second floor. If the Library is crammed, this room is unbelievable. Screens, mainframes, peripherals and black boxes cover the walls and most of the floor, which is littered with snaking cables. This is the realm of Levi Haugen, who lies in a swivelling sofa connected to it all. Its also one of the few places in the chantry where there is a phone (another is the workshop of the Guild of Vulcanus, which uses a cannibalised phonebooth).

The Tower is reached through a narrow, windy and cold stairwell which has not been properly renovated for years. At the top is a small room dominated by a fine old brass telescope. The windows are unfortunately rather dirty, and the roof is no longer possible to open. Strewn around the room is surplus furniture and odds and ends which of some reason have appeared here. Ryger sometimes sleeps here, on a dirty mattress in a corner.

The cellars are truly medieval. Their ancient masonry is seeping with moisture and slowly crumbling. There is practically no light, and the echoes are strangely disturbing. Some parts are used to store food or equipment, but most is largely unused. Dark archways are filled with mouldy rubbish. In one part there are several quite serviceable prison-cells. Several secret tunnels lead away from the cellars. Once they connected the chantry to the Dominican convent in the south, an escape route to the harbour and into the cellars of the royal palace, but now most of the tunnels have decayed and are too unsafe for any use.

The Temple is located below most of the cellars. A black oaken door, flanked by two unsettling statues is the entrance. Inside, seven steps lead down to another door decorated by a religious carving, unfortunately quite hard to discern in the darkness. The Temple itself is a octagonal chamber with a domed ceiling held up by elaborately carved arches of blackened wood. The chamber is lit up by hundreds of votive candles placed in chandeliers on low benches along the walls. In the middle is a well filled with clear water, the centrum of power here. Archways in each wall lead to adjoining chambers. Three of these are used as sepulchres for the dead mages of the chantry. The others are used as storerooms for candles and the tools, books and talismans of the Forcemaster. Only he and his helpers are allowed down here.

Back to the Convivo Holmiensis Page

Anders Main Page

Anders Sandberg / nv91-asa@nada.kth.se