An Echo of Life Remains
Winter Magnitude 2
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. The target remains must be present throughout, and close enough to touch.
This ritual is used upon a grave or a corpse. It will also work on the remains of a corpse, even if that corpse has been reduced to ashes, as long as the majority of the remains are still present.
At the conclusion of the ritual the ritualists become aware of a common name of the deceased being, and may learn other information such as an image of the deceased.
If more than two bodies are present in the remains, the answer is clouded.
This bitter divination spell is useful for determining who is buried in a grave without needing to desecrate it; for identifying remains claimed from a battlefield so they may be given appropriate posthumous honours; to confirm the demise of a hated enemy or criminal even if the remains are scattered or defaced; and to identify the victims of murder or exposure whose bodies might otherwise be unrecognisable.
As long as the remains are present, the ritual will work on them even if they are not conventionally dead. It is rare, but occasionally the ritual is used on an undead or inhabited corpse, assuming it can be restrained for the performance.
While the spell is useful, it is somewhat circumstantial. It is not a commonly mastered ritual, except by those who deal with unidentified corpses on a regular basis. Even Winter ritualists would rather perform the ritual spontaneously than admit that they are dealing with desecrated remains or murder victims often enough to entail them mastering the ritual.
The ritual does have a little synergy with Whispers through the Black Gate. On occasion, it has been used to discover the identity of a fresh corpse so that the more powerful necromantic ritual can be invoked to learn more about the circumstances of death; it has proved especially useful in questioning the spirit of recently deceased enemy soldiers, for example,
The most common element of this ritual is ash. It may be scattered over the target remains, mixed with fat or water to draw a rune on the ritualist or the target, or sometimes used to outline the eyes of the caster. Examination of the corpse may be accompanied with the use of the Sular rune, or meditation and evocation of the spirit of the dead with the Ophis rune. Most often the rune of ending is sketched on or above the remains.
The performance of this ritual is often muted, grim and understated; at the end of the day, the ritual involves the remains of a mortal being whose identity is in doubt and that should be a sobering experience.