Ride the Noble Steed
Night Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets two characters who must be present throughout.
The next time the recipients of this ritual sleep, they experience vivid dreams of riding a horse. The two targets do not share a vision – each is distinct and separate.
When they wake, they each experience a roleplaying effect: you have experienced a vivid dream of riding a horse. You are unable to fully describe the feeling, but are left with a persistent sense of wonder that lasts until next time you sleep.
This ritual is not powerful enough to overcome curses which cause disturbed sleep such as Dreamscape of the Endless Hunt. In this case the target's dreams will include horse-like monsters and a sense of being chased, but will provide no roleplaying effect.
One common image in these dreams that is somewhat unexpected is the image of a horse with wings that flies. There is absolutely no evidence that such creatures have ever existed. While there are suits of horse barding in Highguard with decorative wings attached that protected the legs of the rider from attackers on the ground.
The winged horse itself, however, is a creation of legend and mythology - while horses were swift, they did not fly and it is unlikely one would ever be able to fly in the manner the pegasus is depicted. Rather, the pegasus is a heraldic symbol of speed, grace, and pride - even beyond the characteristics associated with horses normally.And yet… they have turned up in roughly one-in-twelve of the visions experienced as a result of this ritual.
This ritual was developed at the Halls of Knowledge in Zenith under the direction of Octavius of the Spire of the Auric Horizon, Provost of the Halls of Knowledge. The initial work was undertaken by his fellow Urizen, Ioseph of Phoenix Reach.
This ritual creates a visionary experience when the subjects sleep. It is almost impossible to be sure from whence the vision comes. The experience is certainly powerful, but it is difficult to say how the subjects know that what they are experiencing is a true thing. There are none alive who ever rode a horse, nor spoke to any who has. The modern Imperial understanding of what it meant to ride on the back of these noble beasts is shaped by tales and poems centuries old, laden with allegory and imagery of wind and fire.
Some theorists suggest that it is possible that the ritual taps into memories of people who actually lived – in a similar way to true liao or the peculiar meat drug of Sarcophan captures or reveals something that a member of an earlier generation has truly experienced.
More feasible, however, is that the ritual is shaped by the expectation of the recipient. The symbols and metaphors of horse riding are so prevalent in the Empire that the impression of riding with the wind across wide open plains is something that everyone can understand. The magic draws on this shared understanding and shapes a vision that is in turn shaped by the expectation of the recipient.
Experimentation indicated there are similarities between the dreams experienced; all include a sense of speed, and of exhilaration, and of wonder. Some details are very different however. One of the test subjects recounted a dream of flying through the night sky on a mighty wingèd steed. Another was able to describe the flowing, shimmering mane of their horse, and the trail of stars that flowed behind them as they ran over the plains of central Reikos. One Freeborn recipient spoke of riding a mighty warhorse in a battle against orcs, while a Highborn spoke of riding a swift steed beneath a night sky and the certain awareness that they were delivering an important message to... someone.
Some recipients experienced a different horse each time they received the ritual, and others spoke of riding the same creature each time. These experiences tend to support the supposition that the vision is not based on a specific memory of events that actually happened.
Even though the ritual affects two individuals, they each dream separately.
You should feel free to create details of your horse-riding dream using the information presented here as a starting point. A referee will not provide additional specific information about the dream beyond what is presented here.
Performing the Ritual
The ritual attunes two individuals so that they experience a powerful dream. The ritual ideally should include images of horses; recitation of poetry, and evocations of the loyal, swift spirit of the majestic beasts.
Ideally the ritual should be performed close to the point where the targets will retire for the night; in theory the more time passes between the ritual and the moment they sleep, the less powerful and vivid the vision will be.
The rune Feresh, the rune of Majesty , has a potent resonance; in theory the runes of Mystery and Revelation alike would also work well with this ritual. Surprisingly, astronomancers report that the Key resonates well with this ritual but the Stallion does not. Attempts to invoke the Stallion actually caused the ritual to fail completely. Dramaturgically, the Persona of the Witch worked well, and unsurprisingly the totemic magician finds horses, pegasus, and unicorns work well with the ritual.