Tribute to the Thrice-Cursed Court
Winter Magnitude 4
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a crafted item that must be present throughout, which is placed in an opaque container.
This ritual targets a crafted item (almost invariably an item that has been made by an artisan). The item must be placed in an opaque container and disappears at the completion of the ritual.
At some point after the ritual has been completed, a number of phials of heart's blood will appear in the place of the crafted item. The number of vials gained depends on the quality and amount of magic remaining in the items sacrificed.
If the ritual is used to sacrifice an artefact, blood is received as if the item were a newly minted, standard version of its type (that is, one with a year remaining before it expires). The Thrice-cursed Court are not required to destroy any artefacts sent to them.
Vials of blood gained during this ritual are vis, and can be used in the performance of Winter magic in place of crystal mana. Each vial of blood can be used as part of a Winter ritual as if it were up to three crystals of mana. Once a vial is opened, all the blood is consumed in a single ritual but can be split between multiple casters if needed due to the limits of ritual lores.
The blood has no use in spellcasting, or in the rituals of other realms.
This ritual can affect additional crafted items. Every additional item increases the magnitude by 2. Additional items must be present throughout.
The eternals of The Thrice-cursed Court are known to despise things which are beautiful, strong or untainted. The most bitter and jealous of that twisted trio is the Hag Queen, but while it is her name that is most commonly invoked with this ritual, all three members of the Court participate equally in the ritual. Concerns have been expressed that this ritual in some way feeds to the power of these Winter eternals, but it seems that the court simply revels in the destruction of things that others have spent care and effort fashioning, feasting on the magic and the beauty of the item as a mortal might feast on the meat of an animal.
It is difficult to predict the amount of blood that will be recouped from this spell. It is clear that the more ingots or measures of special materials have gone into the item, the more mana is gained, The remaining power of the item is also a significant element - the more months of power left in the item, the better the return of mana. The vials of blood appear to retain their properties until they are consumed.
A little over a century ago the Freeborn scholar Serval i Riqueza of the Unfettered Mind received the support of the Imperial Conclave to pursue experiments with this ritual to see if he could work out how highly the Thrice-cursed valued the items they were sent. In his presentation a year later, he unveiled an rough equation that he said gave a broad idea of how much blood would be recovered. He cautioned that the equation was not precise, and that he had received a few anomalous results. He asked for more crystal mana to continue his experiments, and some money with which to buy enchanted items; he was turned down at that time, and no further official research has taken place. Serval himself disappeared shortly after, apparently while seeking an audience with the Thrice-cursed to inquire more directly about this ritual.
Some scholars caution against using items that are bonded to living people, although whether this is actually dangerous or just a result of the suspicion with which the Thrice-cursed are viewed is unclear. There is some tenuous evidence that those who send bonded items to the Court find it difficult to create new bonds , even though the item itself might be destroyed.
This ritual is intended to send magic items to the Thrice-cursed Court. It will send other items to these eternals, but this never results in vials of blood being returned to the casters, and the indication is that the Thrice-cursed are free to do with the item whatever they desire. In particular, if the ritual is used to send an artefact to the eternals they are not required to destroy it and may do with it as they wish. When an artefact is sent to the Court they provide heart's blood as if the item were a newly created magic item of the standard kind, providing no extra vis to take into account the additional power an artefact contains. There is some evidence, however, that the Court pay particular attention to those who send artefacts to them.
This ritual may be performed as an offering, but many magicians prefer to view it as a trade or exchange, invoking the Rune of Bargains and using mercantile language. The container of items to be exchanged is often placed within a triangle inscribed on the ground, or covered with a cloth marked with a triangle in the case of smaller containers. Sometimes the crafted item is scattered with a few drops of blood, or ritually purified of any connection to living people with fresh water (and sometimes the create bond spell).