Performing the ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a character, who must be present throughout. The target character must possess the magician skill and be willing to receive the arcane mark.
This ritual places an enduring magical mark on the target character which can be perceived only with magical detection. The mark created by this spell takes the form of the symbol for one of the current conclave orders, as chosen by the target. If a conclave order is dissolved, its associated arcane mark vanishes from every individual who possesses it.
An arcane mark can be detected by a detect magic spell cast on the character for that specific purpose (a detect magic spell cast for any other purpose does not reveal the mark). If the caster of the detect magic bears the same arcane mark as the target they discover that their marks are the same; otherwise they only discover that the target has an arcane mark.
A character can have only one arcane mark at a time - subsequent casting of the ritual replaces a previous mark. It is possible to perform this ritual with the intent of creating "no mark" to remove an existing arcane mark without replacing it.
The arcane mark is not restricted to any part of the target's body; it cannot be hidden from detection by covering it up.
The arcane mark remains until it is replaced; it may persist even through death.
This ritual can affect additional characters from the same coven. Each additional character increases the magnitude by 1. Additional characters must be present throughout, and all characters targeted by the ritual receive the same arcane mark.
This ritual is used when joining a Conclave order. The ritual was adapted in the first years of the Conclave by Urizen magicians building on existing formulaic rituals that allowed the caster to mark the target as a member of a specific magical group; by expanding the range of targets and clever use of hearth magics involving identity and the nature of being an Imperial citizen, a ritual that allowed any Imperial citizen to mark any magician with the mark of one of the defined magical orders was created.
A fascinating element of the ritual is that the purely political decisions of the Imperial Senate directly affect it. When a new order is formally created, or an existing order is destroyed, the marks change appropriately. There has been talk for some time among some members of the Unfettered Mind about an experiment to see what would happen if the Senate formally changed the symbol of an existing order - their assumption is that the symbol created with this ritual would change to match. So far, concerns that doing so might effectively dissolve the existing order have meant that they have been unable to get support for their experiment.
Other magicians have drawn parallels between this ritual and the testimony of a priest. The parallels appear superficial; the arcane mark is not visible to a priest using the ceremony of insight, or a mystic consuming Ravenwing Infusion; it is visible only to magical detections such as detect magic or to those employing Magpie Infusion. Even then, magical detection only allows the mark to be seen if the caster specifically uses the spell in that fashion, and when they do no other information is uncovered by their detection.
It is not uncommon for the order the target wishes to join to pay the mana crystal needed to perform the ritual, especially when someone is an established magician changing an order for some reason. Some grandmasters try to organise meetings where several candidates can have the ritual performed on them at the same time, cutting down the amount of mana required to bring a group of new members into their order and adding to the drama of the experience.
A mark has a wider context than just showing a person to be a member of an order; divination magic grounded in the lore of Day can be used to discover basic information about people who bear the same arcane mark as one of the contributors in the nearby vicinity. The civil service perform this ritual at the start of each summit as part of their task to provide the grandmaster of each order with a list of members of their order.
An unknown number of other versions of this ritual exist - some cults and secret societies use related rituals to create specific marks that are not compatible with the mark created by this ritual. In each case, these rituals create a single mark and are jealously guarded secrets.
A new character with the magician skill can join the order of their choice when they are created without needing access to the ritual; they are assumed to have been able to find the required mana crystal and someone to perform the ritual for them.
It is not possible to 'falsify' an arcane mark, whether one created by this ritual or a similar ritual. For example, if a secret order uses a variant of arcane mark to mark out their members, the only way to duplicate that mark is to through that specific formulaic ritual. It is possible for an Imperial citizen to spontaneously perform this ritual, however, as the ritual is part of Imperial lore.
It is important to note that this ritual does not create any sort of bond.
Performing the ritual
Many magicians prefer to perform this ritual in the Hall of Worlds; some magicians say it strengthens the bond between the target and the magical order. The target often makes a point of touching or associating themselves with a physical symbol of the order; it's common for Navarr to cut or trace a stylised version of the symbol onto the skin of the target, while many Urizen and Highborn prefer to receive the ritual from someone who is already a member of their preferred order, strengthening bonds of connection and loyalty. Lann is often evoked during the performance, as are the virtues of Loyalty, Pride and Ambition (and the associated paragons and exemplars).
A common thread in any casting is that the target recites a short catechism, or makes a short statement, about their belief in magic and why they choose to join this order. Some rituals involve recitation of the manifesto of the order, or an almost Hermetic series of questions and answers between the ritualists and the targets.