Autumn Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets two characters. Each character must be present throughout.
The ritual requires a written contract that details the agreement between the two characters, and both must sign it during the ritual. One or more of the contributors must mark the contract with a drop of their own blood after it has been signed.
This effect is a curse. A target may be under more than one curse at a time.
During the rite the ritualists draw up a contract which acts to bind two individuals (and no more than two) into a deal or agreement. The targets must sign the contract willingly at the completion of the ritual.
Thereafter any of the contributors may use a pronouncement of doom to call a curse down upon one of the two parties. This is usually done on someone who breaks the contract, but the magic will work regardless.
Someone receiving the curse will permanently have the rune of Lann magically branded upon their flesh in a prominent position; most often this is one of the forearms or the cheek. A detect magic spell or similar effect will always detect the presence of this curse even if the rune is covered. Bright Lantern of Ophis or Wisdom of the Balanced Blade may determine additional details regarding the nature of the contract broken; the ritualists who delivered the curse; or the other party in the contract.
The ability to call the curse down lasts for one season. If the curse is activated on one or both of the targets, the mark and magical aura are permanent.
The duration of a contract may be extended by increasing the magnitude of the ritual by 1 for each additional season; this effects only how long the curse may be called down for, not the duration of the mark.
The target may choose where the brand appears (forearm or cheek or, with the approval of a referee, somewhere else). It may be phys-repped with make-up but a prosthetic or textured material such as collodion is ideal. Profound Decisions make-up department may be available to help phys-rep the result of this ritual, but it is especially ideal if the players who performed the ritual can help the target.arrange the brand.
This ritual seals a contract, witnessing it with Autumn ritual magic. The contributors then serve as agents of the contract, as it were, seeing that the agreement is kept by both sides and ceremonially cursing those who they believe have broken the contract. The ritualists usually keep hold of the ritually signed and sealed contract, although it is not necessary to call down the curse on one of the guilty parties.
The curse itself appears minor, but the mark it creates is almost impossible to remove. It will reappear elsewhere if the skin s excised or the limb lost, and while it is possible to use certain rituals to hide one's aura from divination, simply doing so may attract just as much attention. Any merchant or trader who learns that someone bears the mark of a broken Scrivener's Bloodseal is likely to think very carefully before entering into an agreement with them. Many scrivener's, and their counterparts in other lands, refuse to create contracts or witness agreements between people who have been marked in this way. All of this goes some way towards ensuring that targets take the contract very seriously; and select which ritualists will have the power to mark them in this way very carefully indeed. Mind you, if a ritualist or coven gets a reputation for abusing this ritual, the likelihood they will be trusted to perform it (or similar magic) again is very low. In some cases in the past, covens who abused this ritual were branded sorcerors, especially when the Imperial Conclave was dominated by Freeborn magicians or those of the Golden Pyramid order.
The Scrivener's Bloodmark is a ritual attributed to the Freeborn scrivener and magician Therasia i Aguelera i Guerra. The cambion is one of the earliest scriveners, and may even be the source of the legend that cambion blood is especially good for sealing contracts. A grand-daughter of the original Guerra, she did much to bind the early Freeborn together as they explored and expanded through their new home, and eventually became a powerful and well respected Hakima. Contracts marked with what seems to be her blood occasionally surface in archives or troves of documents, and some ritualists especially prize them as additional foci for this ritual.
The ritual is not practiced solely by the Freeborn. In Varushka and Wintermark it is referred to as Names Bound By Blood, and the parchment scroll is often replaced with a piece of deer hide on which the agreement to be observed is carefully painted. In The Marches it is called Two Bloody Thumbs - the contract is written, sealed and signed, then both parties ceremonially cut their thumbs and press them together to seal the agreement. Among the Navarr this ritual often involves adding the mark of Lann as a tattoo to the targets, especially when it is made to seal very important very important deals; in this case it is often called Binding Oath of Bloodied Thorns.
This ritual creates a magical agreement between individuals. The contract may be written as part of the performance, and some ritualists believe that doing so ensures it is kept short and sweet. Both target signs the contract, and then the contributors mark it with their blood. Some covens and solo ritualists keep a special knife or pin to hand specifically to draw blood for this ritual. Virgin quills and fresh parchment are used for the ritual, especially among the Imperial Orcs oathwrights who study this magic, for fear that previous words written on paper or by an implement might warp the agreement in some unforseen way. The contract is often read aloud, and accompanied by a verbal as well as written agreement. The ritual may evoke the rune Lann; in some parts of Wintermark especially the signatories sign the document with the Lann rune rather than their names, using ink mixed with their blood. The constellation of The Web may be evoked, and so might the Imperial virtues of Loyalty and Prosperity.
In rare cases, the ritualists may invoke the Lictors; doing so is not known to make the ritual any more potent, but those who have been marked with the curse that comes of breaking the agreement will find Lictors implacable opponents ... but nowhere near as implaccable as those few ritualists who have called on their names and then abused the power of the ritual to deliver an undeserved curse.