Chimes of Annulment
Day Magnitude 10
Performing the Ritual
This ritual will cause a Druj miasma pillar to be deactivated for one minute.
In the event that all nearby pillars are de-activated at the end of that minute, then the pillar will not re-activate.
Any caster who has mastered the ritual may choose to substitute weltsilver for crystal mana when contributing to it. Every 2 ingots of weltsilver spent counts as 1 crystal mana when contributing to the ritual.
The development of this ritual was overseen by Octavius of the Spire of the Auric Horizon, the Provost of the Halls of Knowledge during the Spring of 379YE; its creation was most likely prompted by a failed attempt to destroy the central miasma focus in Grey Charge during the Spring Equinox. It was added to the body of Imperial lore by declaration of the Imperial Conclave in 379YE.
The ritual focuses purifying the corrupt energies of one of the Druj fear miasma pillars or foci. The "Druj miasma” (as it is colloquially called), was encountered by the Imperial armies engaged in the liberation of Reikos towards the end of 378YE. The armies that entered the barbarian-conquered territory encountered the miasma as a nearly tangible spiritual presence that appeared to hang over the whole of Reikos.
The question of the precise construction of these miasma pillars is one that still remains to be answered – much of the work on creating this ritual was done through extrapolation from the experiences of the Imperial heroes when they attempted to weave spontaneous magic to destroy the pillars in Grey Charge. As near as can be established, the Druj use a combination of drugs or potions, herbs, torture, and terror tactics to create feelings of terror and despair. Using the so-called “miasma pillars” as focal points, the Druj appear to harness and amplify these feelings, reinforcing them over and over until they generate a spiritual “gyre” that propagates across the territory.
The Druj do not appear to have used conventional ritual magics to create this effect; rather, it bears more similarity to a massive consecration associated with the malign spiritual presence of fear or dread. Yet the existence of a magical method to deal with the aura (coupled with orc inability to use liao ceremonies) points to it being more than a purely spiritual effect.
There are several benefits to this ritual being in Imperial lore (it can be performed without an arcane projection for example), but the inclusion of this ritual in Imperial lore was still met with some criticism. Some magicians argued that there was little benefit in making this ritual a formulaic spell. An arcane projection is generally much more suited to producing specific magical counters for unique malign effects, whereas as a formulaic ritual, this effect will be utterly useless once the Druj miasma is defeated, so few magicians will benefit from it.
The garrulous and outspoken mage Lucien of the Halls of Knowledge (who was not involved in codifying the text) particularly has complained regularly that it is a massive waste of resources and thrones to "shave the cost in mana of an incredibly niche effect - hopefully it is actually part of a move to gain the support of Highborn magicians for a much more useful endeavour."
In practical terms, however, much of this opposition was countered by the discovery of more miasma pillars in Ossium, and reports that the Druj have also established the crushing atmosphere of oppressive dread over conquered Zenith. Still, while the ritual's utility has clearly been extended, its critics claim that all that has happened is the time when it will become obsolete has been extended until the Druj are defeated.
The ritual ideally uses a musical instrument, preferably a metal percussion instrument such as bells, cymbal or chime that is struck with a hammer. The rhythmic notes of a simple instrument are invaluable in helping ritualists focus past the fear evoked by the Druj miasma to weave the magic for this ritual. Instruments of weltsilver are especially suited to this ritual - each pure note resonates with the symbolic power of this valuable material.
Symbols associated with purification are especially appropriate. Pure water gently splashed on the target column, or open flames used to ring the device, both make suitable foci for the magic although care must be made not to set the item alight – it is not clear what effect a physical attack on one of the pillars might have.
As befits the concepts of purification used in the design of this ritual, the rune Cavul is especially well suited – but so is the Rune of Ending. Evocations of paragons and exemplars of Courage, or even potentially the name of the eternal Ylenrith, would also help in the performance of this ritual.
With regard to dramaturgy, the persona of the Bishop in particular has a strong resonance with the Chimes of Annulment. This would be especially true if the dramaturgist (or the character) were capable of performing the rite of consecration, or dedicated to the virtues of courage or possibly vigilance.
Finally, the astronomancy constellation of the Phoenix has a very strong connection to the magic of this ritual; not only does it have considerable application in rituals designed to counter or destroy other rituals, it is also efficacious when used to raise morale or counter fear and despair. For a similar reason, a Dawnish witch might evoke the power of the magical firebird which has an immediate connection to the symbology of purifying flame and rebirth. Indeed, one contributor to the design of the ritual from Astolat suggested that a working title for the ritual might be "Song of the Firebird" although the name did not stick.