Turns the Circle
Spring Magnitude 4
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. This ritual targets a single corpse or a single terminal character. The target must be present throughout.
At the completion of the ritual, a corpse immediately blooms with plant and fungal life that rapidly consume the remains; buds erupt from their flesh and mushrooms sprout out of their skin. Within one minute, the body is entirely gone, replaced instead with a mouldering heap of vegetation that is easily scattered; not even bones are left behind.
If the target is a terminal character, they die peacefully and painlessly when the ritual is completed, and their corpse is rapidly consumed as above.
This ritual can affect additional corpses or terminal characters. Each additional target increases the magnitude by 1. All targets must be present throughout the ritual.
Turns the Circle draws on natural power to speed the process of decomposition to supernatural levels. It is a well-known belief that corpses quickly break down in the Spring realm, feeding the plants and animals of the Realm and serving to nurture new life in the form of fungus and other spawn of rotting meat.
This ritual is not often mastered by Imperial citizens; most of the people who do so are either murderers, vates, or a small handful of magicians who dedicate themselves to either healing or hunting the undead. On the rare occasion that the ritual is needed it is usually a simple matter to spontaneously perform it.
One of the most common uses for the ritual is to respectfully remove a corpse before it can be puppeted by a vallorn, or used as the host for a spirit - in short, to prevent the creation of husks. On several occasions Navarr magicians have used the power of this ritual to speed the decomposition of the corpses in a funeral glade, to prevent them falling under the influence of a vallorn or falling into the hands of barbarians who would use them for sinister purposes.
The ritual also has some medical applications. It is also an expensive but generally foolproof way to deal with remains that are diseased or cursed in some fashion. While burning is a more mundane solution, there are some cases where even the brief exposure required to move bodies may spread a contagion, or where the smoke of burning corpses will cause some other unlooked for effect. Some individuals who are lingering in great pain, especially Navarr and some traditional Marchers request the use of the ritual to allow them to pass peacefully from life and enrich the soil in a natural way.
Despite all of this, the ritual has a negative reputation because the most common use is by murderers looking to dispose of a victim and prevent necromantic incantations being used to trace them. The rapid disposal of a corpse fortunately has no effect on more powerful magics such as Whispers through the Black Gate that do not require a body to function.
Common elements include things designed to prompt new life or speed decomposition, or which are associated with burial or funerals. For example, it is common to throw a handful of seeds onto the target in the hope they will quicken from the life-force released as the corpse is consumed. Likewise, handfuls of dirt may be thrown onto the body in a symbolic burial. When this ritual is performed on Marcher targets who are not on the soil of their homeland, a little soil taken from the fields of the Marches may be used. It is traditional in these cases to collect a little of the material that remains after the spell is complete and return it to the same field.
A number of ritualists weave the name of the fungal eternal Llofir into their performance, seeking to create a connection between their targets and that forces it wields as a primaeval exemplar of rot and decay.
Elements such as natural sunlight or fresh water may also be used, and on the rare occasion that the Highborn resort to this ritual it may be accompanied by the use of spices and unguents such as myrrh that are associated with death. The runes of beginning and ending are often evoked with this ritual, as is the constellation of The Drowned Man or The Oak.