Autumn Magnitude 4

Performing the Ritual

Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. It targets an opaque container no more than 8" in any dimension. The ritual can only be performed on a Friday or Saturday during an Empire event.


This ritual can only be cast on Friday and Saturday during an event. When the ritual is performed, the ritualists put any amount of unliving material inside an opaque container up to 8" by 8" by 8" maximum volume. After casting the container disappears, leaving the ritualists with a unique token in its place that represents ownership of the box and its contents.

On Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1 pm, representatives of the City of Gold and Lead will come to the Hall of Worlds and meet with the covens who have submitted boxes via the ritual. They will have used the peculiar temporal mechanics of the Autumn realm to seek offers for the contents of each box, and will present them to the magician who presents the appropriate token. There will often be some leeway for negotiation depending on the nature of the offer, and it is entirely possible that not everything in the box will be considered for trade, or an agreement reached for only part of the contents.

If an agreement can be reached, the heralds will return the box and the agreed on price for its contents. If an agreement cannot be reached, the box will be returned along with whatever the magicians had put in it. Obviously, the magicians will need to bring the token that marks them as the owner of the box. If they do not, the heralds will not deal with them.

In the event a box is not claimed for whatever reason (the token has been lost, or nobody arrives to bargain with the heralds), the heralds will claim the items sent and arrange for payment to be sent to the caster of the ritual later. (OOC Note: In this case, an appropriate payment will be added to the one of the caster's inventories and the box and any props will be put in lost property.)

The best things to trade using this ritual are game items such as materials or coins, ribboned items such as magic items (provided the physrep will fit in the box of course - it is impractical to fit a one-handed weapon or a suit of armour in an 8" square container), lammied items such as potions or other consumables, or items with cards such as herbs or artisan's oil. Examples of things that are usually ignored by the City of Gold and Lead are unribboned and unlammied food and drink, ribbons that have expired or that expire at the end of the current event, ribbons without appropriate phys-reps attached, unribboned props, and written items such as scrolls or notes that do not have a ribbon ID on them.

This ritual is sometimes used to arrange unique trades with the City of Gold and Lead, other Autumn eternals, or mortal magicians who have negotiated a deal with Ephisis or her heralds. In this case, there will usually be a token that can be placed in the box to indicate that the contents are part of a specific deal. For example, in the past there have been cases where including specific items and something marked with the Lann rune results in a pre-arranged exchange. These are invariably related to opportunities.


This ritual draws directly on the eternal Ephisis for its power. As with most such rituals, there is an agreement that certain behaviour will cause it to become nonfunctional. Following the Winter Solstice 385YE this assurance was confirmed to be that the Empire must continue to publicly auction as Imperial positions at least one mithril, one weirwood, one white granite, and one ilium Bourse seat each year. Should a calendar year pass (Spring through Winter) in which no seats of a certain material are auctioned publicly to any Imperial citizen, the ritual would either lose its power or the denizens of the City of Gold and Lead would be freed from their agreement to offer equitable trades. While it is certainly possible for the eternal to empower the ritual again should the assurance be broken, there is no guarantee that it would work the same way it did previously.

Box belonging to Jacob Cappelli, picture with permission
Despite the relatively small size, it's possible to fit a lot of valuables in an "Ephisis Box".


This ritual allows magicians to engage in measured trade with the Realm of Autumn, specifically with the eternal Ephisis and the denizens of the City of Gold and Lead. These denizens often act as brokers, finding potential buyers from their City, the other cities of their realm, or even mortals who use similar rituals to trade with them. They are known to be scrupulous in their commitment to fair trades - wherever possible, the goods offered are considered to have at least equal value to the goods that have been offered. Sometimes this assessment is unbalanced, most often because of complex economic factors of supply and demand. Some ritualists attempt to influence the counter-offers by including a scroll or letter with the submitted goods, but there is no guarantee that such documents will have any impact.

Common goods offered for past trades using this ritual have included examples of all the special materials known on the Mortal realm, as well as herbs, potions and other preparations (even liao on a few occasions), coins both Imperial and (occasionally) otherwise, magic items (especially talismans), and vis (most often warm ashes but occasionally other kinds as well).

More exotic items reported over the years have included unique substances; unfamiliar potions and narcotics; unique gemstones unknown in the mortal Realm; scrolls of unknown ritual magic; deeds of ownership, sometimes Imperial sometimes otherwise; a miraculous mechanical golden bird that whispered prophecies to its owner for seven years before slowly winding down; a copper-and-agate beetle with the ability to diagnose and treat illnesses; and a pair of rings that allowed instantaneous communication with no apparent limitation of distance.

One element that troubles some Imperial citizens is that the City of Gold and Lead seems unbothered by questions of legality. They are equally happy to deal in illegal goods, both accepting them via this ritual and potentially offering them in exchange. This is not a result of ignorance; indeed a herald might cheerfully point out that an item offered in trade is illegal or take steps to ensure that the trade does not attract undue attention. Questions of local legality simply do not seem to concern them in any way.

Some ritualists have bargained with Ephisis for larger containers in which to place goods. For example, the Marcher mage-smith Alan of Cotter's Barn was known to possess a weirwood case 6' long and 2' wide and deep with which he traded the fruits of his crafting with Ephisis. It is also possible to arrange special agreements with Ephisis or her factotums. The League apothecary Helena Jung von Holberg apparently possessed an oak-and-brass potion case, for example, that ensured that trades offered for potions would always involve herbs or other potions.

Magical box.jpg
Once the trade is made, the heralds of the Autumn Realm replace the offered contents with the agreed payment, as seen with this box belonging to Freeborn magician Iñez i Azul-Mar i Erigo.

As with Missive for Sadogua and similar eternal-themed rituals, 'Ephisis' Scale' uses a small amount of mana to open a conduit to the eternal in question, allowing a small amount of material to be transferred. The additional magnitudes reinforce or recognise the nature of an agreed pact - in this case that Ephisis or her factotums will consider an object or objects offered in trade and offer something of equal value in return. The Freeborn scholar Serval i Riqueza of the Unfettered Mind, who made a study of several of these rituals, posited that the additional magnitude served as a 'handling fee' for Ephisis, to ensure that the eternal always made a slight profit even when the suggested trade was not accepted.

Almost every other nation, foreign and barbarian alike, has access to some variation of this ritual; the City of Gold and Lead is very keen to facilitate trade with mortals. The nature of the agreement that maintains access to the ritual, and some of the details about how it is performed may vary (sometimes even between different factions within a nation), but the essential ritual seems to be common throughout the known world.

Prior to Summer 385YE, the ritual worked somewhat differently. Trades were arranged in an hour, but there was no capacity for negotiation; the contents of the box were merely "swapped" for other valuables and the ritualists had the choice to accept the offer in its totality or reject it. It is unlikely to be coincidence that the reassessment of the ritual took place as Imperial magicians performed a potent Autumn enchantment that covered the entire Empire. There was some discussion that the heralds of the City of Gold and Lead wanted to explore different ways to trade with Imperial citizens - and after what was presumably a successful experiment, permanently changed the way the ritual worked starting with the Winter Solstice. Indications from foreign nations such as Jarm, Faraden, and the Commonwealth suggest that their versions of this ritual have been altered in a similar fashion.

Lann box.jpg
This box, belonging to Richardo Glostari di Sarvos, is marked with the Rune of Bargains; the Rune of Conspiracy is often used for boxes employed in more dubious deals.

Common Elements

A box or sack, often of rare woods. fine silk or velvet, is the obvious focus used with this ritual, A coven or ritualist often has a specific container that they favour for use with this ritual, of the standard dimensions. The container is often inscribed with the rune Lann, or sometimes with the rune Queros when used to offer items that are either of dubious legality in the Empire - or even flat out illegal. Sigils representing Prosperity (apples and sheaves of wheat are common, piles of money are often considered a little gauche) or the tools and transportation methods of merchants - weights and scales, ships, wagons, and market stalls. Ink and parchment may be used to write down the exact contents of the box; it is common to draw attention to any special provenance or properties of the offered goods that might otherwise be overlooked.

A dramaturgical ritual commonly takes the form of a scene set in the Counting House, in which a Cup, Coin, or Ring is placed in a container and then becomes the focus of an intrigue, trade, or misunderstanding. Mummers and guisers both are known to favour a broad face full of mistaken identity and confusion where the container ends up in the wrong hands, or is mixed up with other containers; League magicians tend to favour more serious, intrigue-laden plots in which the container gains value due to the lengths rivals are prepared to go to to claim it.

A blood mage is likely to anoint the container with blood donated by a cambion or a respected merchant, with the cut often made at the thumb, the side of the eye, or very rarely the tongue itself. Winding patterns representing the idea of the container passing from hand to hand until it finds someone prepared to offer a fair trade resonate well with the ritual.

It used to be common practice for ritualists who mastered this ritual, and planned to engage in it often, to place a gong, bell or chime next to or on top of the container in which their trade goods were offered. The magic of the ritual caused the gong, bell or chime to ring when the transaction progressed to the next stage. Even with the changes to the way the ritual works, and the trade is made, some ritualists still incorporate such devices into their performance, sounding their gong (or what have you) to indicate the ritual is complete and the spirits of the City of Gold and Lead may lay claim to the enchanted box.