Carve the Crystal Guardian
Day Magnitude 20
Performing the Ritual
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
This ritual conjures a band of warriors drawn from the crystals of the mana site, and imbued with vital essence from the magic that gathers there. The warriors form a powerful military unit under the control of the character who controls the target mana site, and fight under that character's command during the coming season.
The target mana site produces no crystal mana during the coming season. At the end of the season, or if they are destroyed, the warriors return to the mana site and dissolve back into it, restoring its production to normal.
The military unit created consists of supernatural troops that can be assigned any of the tasks that a normal military unit can undertake. While they are effective at all these tasks, the warriors are especially well suited to fighting as part of a campaign army and receive a five rank bonus (equivalent to an additional 100 fighting force) when they do so.
This ritual can affect additional mana sites in the same territory. Each additional mana site increases the magnitude by 15. The character who controls each mana site must be present throughout the ritual, and each receives control of their own military unit.
The crystal warriors called forth by this ritual draw themselves together from light, raw mana and the minerals found at the mana site. They begin as rough crystal shapes but quickly become more complex until they eventually take humanoid form. Scholars who have studied the magic believe that they are imbued with the spirits of certain lesser creatures of the Realm of Day, and that is why their consciousness is so well suited to obeying orders and fighting alongside an organised army. They are usually accoutred with staves and mage armour or with pole-weapons with the appearance of medium armour. Regardless of the appearance, their armour or lack thereof does not seem to restrict their ability to fight or the ability to use their supernatural abilities. The majority of these crystal warriors are capable of performing a limited repertoire of battlefield spells, often related to the nature of the mana site from which they are formed. Observers have seen crystal warriors channelling mana to duplicate effects such as heal and repel to aid their allies, restore their own numbers, or harry their enemies. Careful interrogation of these warriors has suggested that their magical abilities are much closer to the innate abilities of eternals and heralds, or the functions of magical items, than to true spellcasting.
These supernatural warriors can speak, and appear to be intelligent although there is something ... distant about them, as if they are not entirely focused on the present or the conversation. They follow orders well, but tend to become confused by strong emotions and unruly celebrations, and do not seem to have individual names (although they clearly have individual identities). They maintain a slightly angular or jerky quality that harks back to their supernatural origins, and often appear to be composed of crystal or metal rather than flesh; they can be hurt and even disrupted by blows as easily as any other warrior, however. They can be healed by magic, but the chirurgeon and physick skills are often of limited use once they have taken sufficient damage to incapacitate them.
Magicians who have spent time in the courts of the eternals of Day have reported encountering very similar beings as guards and servants. The stargazer Lydia of Beacon's Hollow claimed in an address to the Imperial Conclave that these creatures were actually constructs similar in principle to the ushabti but animated by a more complex form of magic that gave them the appearance of being living creatures with personalities. She further theorised that this was why the destruction of the warriors had no effect on the mana site itself - that it simply tied up the energies of the location in the form of crystal constructs, and that the magic 'snapped back' when there was no more need to maintain the warriors' pseudo-personalities. Regardless, it is reasonably well-known that some Day eternals are prepared to offer materials or items that assist with the performance of this ritual, although they rarely do so lightly.
In Highguard this ritual is viewed with some suspicion; as with Conclave of Trees and Shadow there is concern that some of the crystal warriors are capable of remaining beyond the duration of the ritual, for their own reasons. The Freeborn express concerns also, that the crystal warriors are somehow enslaved by the one who controls them, because it is much less clear where the motivating spirit comes from than it is with the Conclave ritual. Regardless, the enchanters of Dawn, the Marcher landskeepers and the Urizen mages are all known to make good use of this spell. Many enchanters see it is a powerful way to reinforce their troops with well-disciplined, resplendent warriors; the landskeepers see it as drawing on the energy of their territories to support the household troops; and the Urizen, unsurprisingly, see it as a marvellous, if expensive, alternative to relying on mundane soldiers to fight their battles.
In the past, this ritual has been used to call up warriors to take part in a tourney or to test the mettle of soldiers or knights. The expense of performing the ritual means that this is a rare, magical activity that attracts warriors from all over when it is attempted, especially in Dawn. Like several other summoned creatures, the crystal warriors cannot pass through the Sentinel Gate at Anvil. As with creatures such as the husks conjured by Quickening Cold Meat, magicians theorise that this is because the gate cannot latch-on to the spirits of Day (or magical construction, depending on which theory one ascribes to) that empower them; when they try to travel through the gate their spiritless 'bodies' simply shatter into dull chunks of material and their now bodiless spirits flare, and are extinguished (or return to the Realm of Day).
(OOC Note: Under most circumstances, the crystal warriors summoned during Profound Decisions events will, unfortunately, have to remain primarily as a downtime or plot resource rather than something that can be used on the field. At player events, this might not be the case; but we cannot commit to phys-repping crystal warriors at short notice nor can they be used in uptime battles due to their inability to pass the portal.)
The ritual often involves a map of the mana site to be enchanted; in the case of the Urizen a map of the entire area may be studied, and that information woven into the invocation itself. Where possible the ritual is performed using crystals that come from the man site in question although this is not a requirement. Other common features include minerals from the target area; valuable crystals of gemstones; symbols of Loyalty; or weapons and armour (or implements and mage armour), especially enchanted version of those items.
As with many Day rituals, mirrors, light and careful invocations are common elements. The character who will control the summoned crystal warriors may be symbolically girded as a warrior or general, or crowned in some fashion, especially with a crystalline crown. The name of the eternal Zakalwe is often evoked during the performance of this ritual.