Garden of Teth-Anon
Day Magnitude 23
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a coven. At least three members of the coven must be present throughout.
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
Once per day, the coven may perform a ritual and draw on the power of this enchantment. Each contributor who is part of the coven who has not mastered the ritual being performed gains an additional rank of effective lore for purposes of that ritual, subject to the normal rules for effective skill.
While this ritual is in effect, members of the coven experience a powerful roleplaying effect: by meditating for a few moments with a ritual text or arcane projection they can simulate many different methods of performing that ritual, and explore ways to perform the magic more effectively or uncover potential obstacles to completing it. This can take a long time subjectively, but only a few minutes in real time. While meditating, they always find themselves in a beautiful garden although details vary between individuals.
The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event.
This ritual was presented for inclusion in Imperial lore during the Summer Solstice 379YE. It is based on the discovery of an old ritual text, itself a translation of a much older text created in ancient times by a vanished civilisation. The indications in the version of the text available to the Empire is that the ancient magicians who created the original ritual originated from somewhere on the same distant continent as the Sarcophan Delves - they might even have been the forerunners who built the city and vanished before the Bedelaar Huisbaas took up residence. Some notes from this version of the ritual, with reference to the original text are included below.
It is important to note that the enchantment only helps contributors. A magician must not only be part of the coven, but must be able to help perform the ritual that is being cast – which almost always means they must have some understanding of the ritual realm being employed.
The effectiveness of the ritual depends entirely on the abilities of the coven. A coven with a narrow focus on a small handful of rituals they have all mastered will find little use for it. It is much more useful when employed by a coven that seeks to perform a wide range of magical effects – whether they are rituals some of the coven have mastered, or improvisational works of magic created from whole cloth.
If there is a weakness to this ritual it is that a loose coven, or a coven that is very large, may find that the power of the enchantment has been drawn earlier in the day by a different part of the magical group.
A marginal note references the way the original ritual interacted with the use of an item called a “Covenstone of Unremembered Days” (which Teth Anon apparently possessed) to provide a significant increase to the power of a coven to perform precise, effective magic. Theoreticians suggest this is likely to be an ancient name for the item known in the Empire as the Syphon of Stars - a piece of ritual paraphernalia that has a similar effectiveness in helping a coven perform a ritual that some or all of the members have not mastered.
As a ritual focused around meditation, when the enchantment is placed the target magicians may engage in a guided meditation in which they mentally create the imaginary structures they will use to focus their minds. Another useful adjunct would be the inclusion of reflective surfaces to focus the mind – mirrors or bowls of water. A note in the margin of the original text referenced performing the ritual in a dedicated meditation space – especially one already enchanted with magic that aids meditation such as Solace of Chimes.
The original text apparently called on the names of forgotten, fictional deities; these references were removed in the version that has been codified here. For an Imperial magician, the evocation of runes such as Aesh or Irremais would be appropriate; Queros and Hirmok are also mentioned as having strong resonance with the ritual magic.
The precision the ritual provides makes it a good match for the astronomancy constellation of the Stork, while both the dramaturgic personae.of the Doctor and the Bishop have some resonance. Indeed, with dramaturgy, the Throne of the Library is called out as being very appropriate - indeed some magicians use the meditative power of this enchantment to explore great libraries rather than gardens.
I discovered the ritual text that ultimately gave rise to this work when browsing the shabby stalls at the Bazaar of Whispering Torches in Sarcophan. It had been cast casually into a pile of scrolls and books, mostly unsettling erotica, poor quality poetry, and political polemic against the Bedelaar Huisbaas.
The toothless shopkeeper obviously had no idea of the value of the book. I purchased a black herbal and a water-damaged collection of poems about monstrous creatures lurking in the tombs to conceal my interest. He haggled more over the herbal than the ritual book. The book itself was damaged – some of the pages were badly burned, three near the front had been torn out. There was enough writing remaining, however, to gain an understanding of the effect and the processes used. The translation took long enough, but the real difficulty was bridging the gap between the principles of the enchantment and anchoring it to the coven bond.
The book was warded with a simple Winter enchantment that protected it from time and the elements – a simple divination suggested it was much, much older than the Delves themselves and most likely pre-dating whatever civilisation had built the ruins. The construction of the book was quite ingenious – a single massive sheet of parchment had been folded and painstakingly sewn again and again, and bound between thin pieces of moonsilver.
From the original text, Teth Anon was a noble magician in the court of an ancient king. The text was full of references to his wealth and the power of his magic and the many divinations he performed on behalf of his master (I could find no information about this ancient king at all). He appeared to be quite an unpleasant fellow, in my opinion; he revelled in exposing the weaknesses of the king's political opponents and in wielding power over the weak in the name of his royal master.
The book took great lengths to explain the origin of the name – Teth Anon cultivated a garden of meditation through which he scattered polished mirrors composed of many metals. There were many diagrams and a great deal of esoteric theorising about the various lengths and positions of walls and plants. The inspiration he received during his many meditations helped him to perform powerful improvisational magical effects.He spoke often of the way time seemed to slow whenever he meditated here; how an afternoon could seem to stretch and stretch as he meditated. He theorised that by capturing this meditative state, by allowing ritualists to subjectively stretch each moment of spellcasting they could perform important calculations quickly and adjust their ritual performance as the magic was being woven. In this way, great precision could be achieved.Excert from ritual text notes