Last Breath Echoes
Winter Magnitude 20
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a character, who must be present throughout. The target character must be terminal.
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
This ritual targets a willing terminal character, who always dies at the end of the ritual.
The enchantment restores the target to a semblance of health for a short period of time. It has the following effects:
- The target is restored to full hits and regains all hero points and personal mana.
- They are no longer dying, and may use all their abilities as if they were still alive, with the exception of unstoppable and fortitude.
- The lingering effects of fatal poisons are removed when this ritual is completed; all other conditions must be dealt with as normal, either before or after the ritual is performed.
- They experience a powerful roleplaying effect; they are imminently aware of their coming demise, and that time is slipping away from them - if they want to achieve anything they must act now.
- When reduced to 0 hits; with 5 seconds of appropriate roleplaying; if the enchantment is removed; or after ten minutes in any event, the character dies permanently.
- When the ritual ends, the character is dead and their spirit cannot be contacted with either voice for the dead nor called back with Whispers through the Black Gate.
A character cannot ever be targeted by Last Breath Echoes more than once.
This enchantment cannot be made permanent with ilium.
Nothing can prevent the final demise of the character once this ritual is performed on them; they will be dead in at most ten minutes. In case of any conflict, this rule takes precedence; the ritual does not 'cure' the terminal state it simply allows a dead character a chance to go out 'with a bang'. A referee will be very strict with the duration of this ritual.
This ritual allows a mortally injured or dying character a few short minutes of activity before they are claimed by death. It has been used several times at key moments in the past. While the ritual is dangerous, those who have taken the opportunity it provides are remembered as some of the great heroes and heroines of the Empire.
When the heart of the Winterfolk champion Firlag Firblagshall burst shortly before a vital battle against the Jotun, his wife lead the coven who enacted Last Breath Echo on her beloved husband, not only allowing him to lead his troops in one final charge but ensuring his death in battle fighting valiantly against the enemy chieftain. When the League senator Riem d'Tassato was fatally poisoned by his ruined rival, he used the time granted by this ritual not to denounce his enemy, nor to seek revenge, but to make a keynote speech to the Imperial Senate, dying immediately after the successful outcome of the vote was announced. When the enchanter Rose de Javier was savagely beaten by the troll-mage of Weirwater, this ritual allowed her to recover for long enough to lead the Wind of Mundane Silence that sealed that monstrous beast forever within its own twisted castle-maze.
However ,serious questions exist around what happens to the spirit of the target character at the end of the ritual; necromancy cannot contact that spirit, and neither voice for the dead nor Whispers through the Black Gate appear to work on the dead person. To date, no past-life vision has involved a character who has reliably been known to have ritual performed on them - this is not taken as conclusive proof that this ritual damages the soul; as Clavicus of Sunspire pointed out, the sample sizes are too small to draw a definitive conclusion. Still, these circumstances have fuelled concern that the ritual permanently damages the soul in a profound way.
The ritual often takes the form of a funeral for the target. The importance of their last ten minutes is stressed, and symbols of passing time such as hourglasses are commonly used. The target is often anointed with water or oil, and often drinks a draught of fresh water or infused Marrowort. Their reflection may be caught for a moment in a mirror - the idea being that the reflection represents their death and is delayed for a short time. The runes Verys, Evrom, Yoorn or Lann might all be used, as might the character of The Bishop or the constellations of The Lock and The Door.