Distill the Serpent's Stone
Night Magnitude 70
Performing the Ritual
During this ritual the four ingots and four measures of special material, and the ring of ilium are combined to create an egg-sized mass of dark material known as a serpent's stone.
The material is stable and permanent once created. It can be used once to perform one of the following powerful effects:
- A magician can use the serpent's stone to temporarily boost a single Realm Lore skill by 5 effective ranks for purposes of performing a single ritual, provided they already possess at least one innate skill rank of that Lore. These additional ranks do not grant any additional mastered rituals, and a character's total effective rank can never be more than three times their innate skill (the number of ranks of the appropriate Realm Lore they have gained by spending experience points).
- It can be used to transform up to thirty ingots or measures of any one of the eight special materials into thirty ingots or measures of any one of the other materials (except ilium) permanently.
- It can be used to remove poisons. It will immediately purify a single character any venom they are suffering, and will cure any poison for which a cure exists, provided the patient is still alive.
- It can be used to remove curses of magnitude 70 or lower that involve poison, sickness or physical debilitation. For example, it will remove the Curse of Decrepitude or the Curse of Gangrenous Flesh.
When used for any of these purposes, the serpent's stone is consumed and used up.
This ritual is the current pinnacle of alchemical transformation. It seeks to create a perfected material, a substance of higher nature than the dross of the mundane world around it. To a degree it succeeds - the serpent's stone is able to purify almost any substance and remove almost all poisons as well as many curses. It hints at the possibility of true transformation, the ability to move beyond The Eight-spoked Wheel and The Retrograde Wheel to master the physical world. It even has the ability to greatly enhance ritual magic, offering raw power to any magician that can be channeled to create powerful effects.
Some alchemists refer to the serpent's stone as the azoth, a theoretical or legendary material that provokes unexpected and miraculous changes in materials and individuals. This exotic liquid may be entirely conceptual, but the Eternals Soghter and Murit are often associated with it, and some alchemists believe that this ritual is the first step towards uncovering the nature of this awesome substance. These alchemists believe that mastery of the azoth would allow an alchemist complete mastery of the material world.
This ritual is also ruinously expensive, and there are covens who have beggared themselves trying to discover the secret of the stone's transformative power..
This is an alchemical mystery, and almost always includes elements such as fire; beakers, bowls and other pieces of alchemical equipment; water and other liquids, including blood (some ritualists use a little blood from one each of a human, a changeling, a briar, a naga, a cambion, a draughir, and a merrow); charts and diagrams; and the other trappings of this ancient magical lore. The ritual requires the ritualists to combine eight ingots of special material and an ingot of ilium, and consequently a vessel such as a crucible or cauldron is often the central focus of the magic.
Many ritualists wear masks or veils when they perform this ritual - not least because there are occasionally noxious byproducts of the transformation. This ritual is often performed in private; the serpent's stone is powerful, and can be a highly coveted treasure.
The forces of the heavens are often referenced in alchemical rituals. If the theory that the stars represent in some way the tools of the Creator are true, then evoking the power of astronomancy seems entirely appropriate to the practice of enacting permanent transformation. The constellation of The Great Wyrm in particular is likely to be evoked. The names of the Eternals Murit and Soghter are sometimes used, especially in their aspects as the Azoth, a theoretical compound that provokes miraculous transformation.
The rune Xun which represents transformation is usually evoked with this magic, although it is common to include Wyr, Diras and even Zorech to show that this ritual is near the pinnacle of the study of Night magic; it is also a mystery, and the material it creates comes as much from secrets as the passion for alchemical mastery. Some alchemists also include Aesh for the power of the mind, or Cavul to represent the idea of purifying materials into higher forms.