Skein of Years
Day Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. The ritual targets a single item or object which must be present throughout and must possess a ribbon or a Profound Decisions ID code.
When the ritual is complete, the ritualists receive a vision during which key events in the history of the target item are revealed.
The older the object, the more likely information is to be uncovered. Objects created in the last few years are extremely unlikely to reveal anything through the use of this ritual. The ritual provides visions that answer some or all of the following questions:
- How old is this item? This information reveals which broad historical period the item was created in.
- What information is there about significant events the item has been present at?
The ritual is likely to be equally effective on magic items as mundane items - provided that they have a ribbon of a Profound Decisions ID. The divination function of detect magic will indicate if there is information on an item that can be determined by Skein of Years.
If the item is shrouded or obscured by an effect of a higher magnitude, the ritual will identify the realm and magnitude of the shroud, and whether there is any information to be learned with Skein of Years, but nothing else.
|Before History||Before records of human habitation of the Bay of Catazar|
|Ancient||Earliest recorded habitation of the Bay until foundation of Terunael|
|Terunael||Foundation of Terunael to Fall of Terunael|
|Chaos||Fall of Terunael to arrival of the Highborn|
|Pre-Imperial||Arrival of Highborn to roughly 20BE|
|Foundation||Roughly 20BE until the start of Empress Richilde's reign|
|Consolidaton||Start of Empress Richilde's Reign until start of First Interregnum|
|Expansion||Start of First Interregnum until start of Emperor Nicovar's reign|
|Turmoil||Start of Emperor Nicovar's Reign until start of Second Interregnum|
|Renewal||Start of Second Interregnum until start of Empress Giselle's reign|
|Decline||Start of Empress Giselle's Reign until start of Empress Britta's reign|
|Resurgence||Start of Empress Britta's reign until present|
You may increase the magnitude of the ritual to penetrate shrouds or masks designed to conceal information.
This ritual is similar to Hand of the Maker, but where that ritual reveals information about a single specific incident (the creation of the item), the Skein could revel facts about anything that has happened during the item's existence. Potentially, it may reveal information about any object with a ribbon - even a large object such as a standing stone - detect magic will indicate if this is the case.
Rituals that attempt to divine facts about an item have been woven spontaneously in the Empire for centuries. This ritual is the result of a project overseen by the Provost of the Halls of Knowledge, Octavius, to codify and formalise those rituals. Much of the work on this ritual was performed by Tiberius Stormspire Cascade, whose experiments formed the basic pattern for the ritual design. It was added to Imperial lore by a declaration of the Imperial Conclave in Summer 378YE, and funded by a motion in the Imperial Senate.
The ritual casts the mind's eye backwards into the past, tracing the origin and movements of a specific object. The ritualists performing The Skein of Years receive visions of significant events during the history of the object – events at which the item was present, or involved in some pivotal way. The visions tend to come in chronological order – usually the oldest first, sometimes the newest - but occasionally a vision may 'jump' back and forth between events that take part some time apart but are connected by some thematic element. The vision moves between distinct sub-visions, with no more than the vaguest sense of context given to place each section relative to the others chronologically. The visions generally told a cohesive story of the item's history, but it was impossible to tell over what time period it took place.
The researchers widened the scope of that ritual as much as possible. The visions received by the ritualists are not symbolic – they are usually clear snapshots or pieces of factual information although they may be incomplete. For example, when studying a mask at the Armetto Theatre, Jessian d'Sarvos reported that only fleeting impressions of many of the dramaturgists who had worn the mask were received, with much more concrete impressions of the mask-maker who constructed it, and the famous performance by Chiara d'Holberg in her role as Gancio in “The Tailor of Holberg.”- considered by dramaturgic historians to be her finest performance.
Without doubt, the ritual does not perceive every single event that the item was involved in. Icewalker Gunnar theorised that this was why the ritual tended to be more effective on older items – that the older the item, the greater the number of events it had been involved in, meaning there was a greater chance of an event 'sticking' to the item.
Padme i Erigo, a scholar of the lores of both Night and Day, suggested that it would be possible to use Night magic to conceal the details of one or more events from the divinatory power of this ritual but as with most such workings, the presence of the obfuscatory enchantment would be impossible to conceal. She worked on formulating the method whereby the magic of the ritual might be focused to allow it to pierce such glamours, incorporating elements familiar to the adept from such rituals such as the Piercing Light of Revelation.
The Navarr Iona of the Yellow Wind steading, visiting the Halls, gave a short lecture suggesting that the ritual effect was also possible with the Realm of Night, but that it would produce intuitive, symbolic visions focusing on emotions and sensations rather than clear, factual visions. Her assertion that this might be more useful than the stark imagery of the Day Realm was noted but largely discounted.
The ritual was originally called “The Lens of Insight into the Weave” by Octavius, the Provost of the Halls of Knowledge. Unfortunately for the Provost, the crotchety magus Lucien of the Halls of Knowledge staunchly refused to accept this name, which he considered “too wordy, and not actually a good description.” Lucien, who had travelled extensively in Wintermark in his youth, where he was exposed to the concept of the skein. Working closely with several Suaq Icewalkers during the development of this ritual, he insisted on referring to is as the Skein of Years in correspondence, and the name stuck. Lucien was responsible for drawing together the various threads of research, and was not above abusing this opportunity to stamp his own name on Octavius' project, in a manner not uncommon in academic circles.
The typical method of performing the ritual was laid down by the Provost from personal experimentation – a combination of rune magic and astronomantic principles. The constellation of the Phoenix was constructed during the ritual, using a series of runestones and candles. Each rune used in the construction was invoked in turn by all participants, before being placed upon a mirror in the appropriate position. Each contributing ritualist brought a personal magical dimension to their invocation. After the constellation was constructed, the magic of the regio was invoked, and channelled into a lens while the crystals of mana that were to be used in the ritual were then added to the mirror, surrounding the constellation.
The core runes used during the performance were Ophis, Sular and Diras representing concepts of revelation, discovery and secrets. A more complex ritual pattern incorporated the constellation of the Web, sometimes with the addition of the Spider or the Key.
From a dramaturgical perspective, the clarity of the Doctor proved to be quite useful, especially when the theatrical performance incorporated a sequence where the item was studied as part of an investigation. This lead an unpredictable element to the scene, as the dramaturgist would often reveal details of the item that had nothing to do with the context of the play. The challenge of incorporating these details into the ongoing narrative was either “refreshing”or “an unacceptable imposition on the other performers.”
The Bishop was a much less disruptive persona with which to focus the magic of the ritual, allowing the character to explain the history of an object to another (lesser) character, or to the chorus, often as part of a bequeathal or a lecture illustrating a certain moral or ethical point.
Initial exploration used a lens to examine the target object, similar to that employed in Clear Lens of the Eternal River, but it quickly became apparent that while such an item may serve as an aid to concentration or focus, it was not required. Promising experiments by the Navarr Ioana of the Yellow Wind steading incorporated the chewing of certain roots to sharpen the mind and senses while handling the target object, while an adept of the music of the spheres studying at the Halls of Knowledge developed a simple tune that could be hummed or played on a song bowl (or, as one irreverent student demonstrated, a wine glass) to achieve a similar focus.