Clear Lens of the Eternal River
Day Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. The ritual targets the nearby area.
This ritual requires a ring; a lens; a piece of glass or crystal; or a similar focus that is studied during the performance.
This ritual provides information about the historical context of the surrounding area. It answers the question "What is the historical significance of this place?"
As a Day magic ritual, the information provided is factual in nature. It usually takes the form of one or two sentences describing the key historical significance of the area. For example: "These woods were once inhabited by a group of bandits who operated from a nearby weltsilver mine until they were arrested by Varushkan militia. The wealth they looted has never been discovered" or "This area was the site of regular clashes between warriors of Wintermark and the Marches in pre-Imperial times. Many such warriors are buried here in mass graves."
Each contributor receives the same information.
Not every location reveals information to this ritual - either because there is no information or because there is so much information it overloads the magic. The divination function of the detect magic spell can be used to discover if there is information that can be revealed with this ritual.
On rare occasions, an area may be under the effect of a magical shroud or obscuring magic. If the shroud has a higher strength than the magnitude of the ritual, it reveals only whether there is information to be discerned, and the presence, realm, and magnitude of the shrouding effect.
The magnitude of this ritual may be increased to allow it to penetrate more powerful shrouds or obscuring effects.
This ritual is primarily intended to be used on quests, or during player events. As a consequence the definition of an area is left intentionally vague. At a main event, the entire quest area might be treated as a single location, while a player event might have different information for each room in a building. If it is relevant, the referee can indicate what counts as an "area" when the ritual is cast, or when detect magic is used to determine the presence of information.
When cast in Anvil, the ritual invariably reveals the same information "This place is the political heart of the Empire, and many significant events have occurred or started here." A detect magic spell may occasionally reveal if there is specific, additional information in a specific location.
Unlike Shadowed Glass of Sung, the ritualist stares through the ritual focus at their surroundings, rather than gazing into its depths. When cast by a single magician, they often use the focus to carefully examine the immediate area - looking at the terrain features, examining a handful of soil, pondering the movement of the wind. From the connections between these seemingly unconnected things, the magic helps build up a picture of the historical significance of the area. When this ritual is performed by a coven, the lens that serves as the focus for this ritual is often passed from ritualist to ritualist, and they take it in turns examining the focus. Each .
Rituals like this have been used since time-out-of-mind by groups such as the Suaq icewalkers, the Urizen torchbearers, Freeborn treasure hunters and Dawnish enchanters looking for regio. The information it provides is always factual, but it is not always relevant to the matter at hand - and interpreting its importance can sometimes prove to be quite challenging.
The ritual is popular in Urizen - indeed, the version currently in Imperial lore is the version developed in Spiral long before the formation of the Empire. The magic draws on the well-known Urizen hearth magic of eyes and lenses. It is also somewhat popular in Varushka, where a warden who can perform the ritual solo can quickly gather information that may point to the solution of a mystery. Wardens and volhov in particular are likely to perform the ritual by peering through a ring, or even a specially made loop, often crafted of weltsilver.
This ritual draws its name from the concept that time itself is a river, flowing from the past to the future with the position of the onlooker divining the present. There are even a few unsubstantiated reports that the ritual has occasionally provided information about significant future events that will take place in a location - although all evidence of such results is circumstantial.
In addition to the required focus, the ritual my include runestones, cards, or other divinatory tools. The focus item can be anything that one of the ritualists can look through. Common examples are actual lenses, discs of crystal or glass, polished pieces of tempest jade or ambergelt or even rings of metal. Freeborn magicians may use a piece of polished glass, but some prefer to use a naked flame through which they stare while the ritual is performed, seeing through the flickering fire the shadows of the past.
The focus is often washed in pure water, or boiled briefly in water or wine, to improve the clarity with which it sees. There are reports of special magic items, specifically ritual foci that can be used to make it easier for a single caster to perform the ritual (and, so the stories go, to empower certain other divinations such as Bright Lantern of Ophis). Unfortunately, the creation of such items is not common knowledge in the Empire although they are said to be common in part of the Principalities of Jarm.
Geometric blue and white designs painted around the eyes of the ritualists are another common element, reinforcing the connection to eyes and vision.
The rune Sular is often used with this ritual - it is much concerned with discovery than revelation. Scenes in which The Doctor uncovers or solves a mystery are another common element, as are totemic evocations of the virtues of Wisdom or Vigilance, Paragons_and_Exemplars such as Vardas the witch hunter, or references to wise animals or creatures such as sphinxes.