Ante parked his car, and the two men stepped out in the fresh air. There was a light breeze coming in from the fjord adding to the freshness without being bothersome, and Bjorn felt quite invigorated as he stretched his legs and looked around.
"Let's go up to the church," Bjorn suggested, his gaze drawn to the little white building.
"Sure, why not?" Ante replied. "Let's start by taking a look at the village from up there."
"And the church too..."
"And the church, if that's what you want."
Then, as they walked down to the intersection with the road going up to the church, Ante asked if Bjorn was planning to take a look inside the church while up there, to which Bjorn replied that he would if it was all right with Ante.
"You are curious about it, aren't you?" Ante asked.
"Well, aren't you. I mean, there's some seriously occult stuff going on up there."
"You think so?"
"Maybe occult isn't the right word," Bjorn answered. "But there's definitely something going on. Something important for the village."
The men passed the big pile of snow that had shrunk quite a bit since Wednesday, despite having been added to with fresh snow piled onto it from yesterday's snowstorm.
"You're probably right about it being important," Ante agreed. "But I'm not sure if it is all that occult. I don't think they are hiding anything from us. My impression is that it is a happy go lucky kind of congregation, nothing sinister or ill intended. Just your average hallelujah sort of church."
"Except for all the talk of the Fifth Empire, that is," Bjorn added.
"Yeah... Except for that," Ante replied with a smile.
They climbed the steep hill to the top where the street took a sharp turn to the right, beyond which it continued in a straight line, following the top of the ridge. To the right of the church stood what appeared to be the vicarage, and right in front of the men, separated from the street by a spacious front yard, all gravel and rock, stood the church itself, with a wide open property going all the way down to the fish factory to the north.
The tall rock behind the church looked menacing and dangerous, the way it rose straight up from the ground, only a few yards away from the church.
"That is Jesus' two fingers pointing to the heavens," Ante explained, and Bjorn saw immediately what Ante was referring to. The rock had a nicely rounded peak with a slightly lower equally rounded peak next to it. And there was an indent between the two peaks going all the way down to the base of the rock.
"That's quite fitting, isn't it?" Bjorn commented. "This being a church and all."
"It certainly is. That's why they decided to build it here. The pastor who had it built, loved the symbolism of it."
The two men wandered into the church grounds to have a look around, first admiring the view of Lundby, before returning their attention to the church and the church yard.
"So, what is that?" Bjorn asked pointing to a column in the middle of the path.
"You mean the globe perched on top of it?"
"Isn't that an armillary sphere?" Ante asked rhetorically.
"You know... an armillary sphere. It symbolizes the heavens, I believe. Haven't you noticed how this place is full of these things?"
"In the casino, for instance."
"So this place and the casino, really are connected somehow."
"I guess they are. But that shouldn't be a big surprise. Jan was raving about the church and the empire in his closing speech."
"Well, I wasn't there, remember?"
"True. That's true."
Bjorn walked up to the globe to take a closer look at it. It was the size of a football and stood on a roughly hewn granite pillar, the height of a table.
"You know where I've seen this thing before?" Bjorn asked.
"In the Portuguese flag."
"And the Fifth Empire is an old Portuguese myth, isn't that so?"
"That's what they say."
"So this... this armillary sphere, as you call it, is not just a reference to the heavens. It is a reference to the empire, don't you think?"
"Well, I guess you might be right," Ante answered. Then noticing a man coming their way from over by the vicarage, he added, "I believe the true expert on this is over there, though. Why don't you ask him?"