- "The basilica he fashioned to protect the sword using architectural knowledge discovered within "The Fire", may the mechanisms that masked this secret so well for five hundred years continue to hold, for the Eagle of Saint Denis must not be found by the wicked."
- ―Dom Poirier on the basilica's purpose.[src]
The Basilica of Saint-Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis) is an abbey church located in Saint-Denis, France. Considered the first Gothic church, the basilica provided an architectural model for cathedrals and abbeys of northern France, England and other countries.
Constructed in 475, the Basilica of Saint-Denis was situated upon the remains of a cemetery, with the intention of housing the relics of its patron saint. It also served as the burial site for Kings of France across many centuries, to which it was colloquially referred to as the "royal necropolis of France"; the remains of all but three French monarchs have been interred at the basilica.
In 1135, the building's layout was redesigned and expanded by the abbot Suger – an influential royal counselor and the foremost historian of his time – based on the knowledge he had received from the Apple of Eden located in the Saint-Denis Temple. Through this, the basilica was transformed into the first Gothic church, though Suger did not live to see the project completed. However, prior to his death, Suger hid a sword bearing his namesake inside the basilica, and devised various riddles around the topology of the town in order to protect it.
In 1793, anti-Royalist revolutionaries desecrated the basilica's royal necropolis under orders of the National Convention. They destroyed graves, unearthed valuables and tossed the bodies of the kings into the streets; citizens of the time were traumatized to see figures who had been considered divine violated to such a degree.
In August 1794, Arno Dorian entered the royal crypt beneath the basilica, in an effort to locate the Condorcet manuscript for the Marquis de Sade. However, as the manuscript and various other relics had been looted from the tomb, the ex-Assassin was forced to leave empty-handed. Later, upon the urging of a local boy named Léon, Arno returned to the basilica to find clues regarding the location of an artifact sought by tomb raiders in the employ of Napoleon Bonaparte.