Ward of the Black Waste
Winter Magnitude 14
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. The area to be enchanted with this ward must be clearly apparent to those within, and without, its bounds.
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
This ritual targets a building or well defined, walled area. It must be performed inside that location.
At the completion, the area is warded against Vallorn creatures. Such a creature approaching the boundary is always aware that the area is warded; if it enters it is immediately weakened for as long as they remain in the area. Even creatures that are larger-than-human-sized will be weakened by the power of the ward if they enter it.
When used inside a building, the ward protects the entire structure. Any openings in the structure - doors and windows especially - must be clearly marked with runes or symbols of warding. The building must be a reasonably permanent structure, preferably of wood or stone; the ritual will not work on a tent or other entirely similar structure.
For purposes of this ritual, a walled area must be composed of solid posts, preferably wooden. Posts should be placed at least three pace, and at most five paces, apart and protrude out of the ground at least three feet. The posts should be clearly visible, and ideally clearly marked as 'special' - carved or painted with runes for example.
As with anything you might be taking onto a battlefield, or that is likely to have people fighting around or near it, the phys-reps should be as safe as possible (no sharpened points, for example). Please do not tie rope between the posts; if it is not clear where the boundary is, you will need to use more posts.
The ward can be taken down by moving, removing or defacing the warding signs, but vallornspawn cannot do so themselves. Assuming it is not interfered with, the ward stays in place until the duration expires.
If undisturbed, the ward remains until the next sunrise.
This is a powerful ritual that keeps creatures spawned by a vallorn at bay. It is equally effective against corpses animated by vallorn growth and the chitinous creatures that cluster around and prosper in its heart. Cunning vallornspawn will often hesitate at the edge of an area and withdraw rather than enter it; more animalistic creatures will barrel forward regardless, but are greatly weakened by the ward.
The ward does not weaken the dangerous venom that infects the air around a vallorn. Vallorn plants will not grow inside the area of a Ward of the Black Waste, but the magic persists for such a short period of time that it is not very effective for clearing an area of vallorn influence.
The most common runes to use with this ritual are the Wintermark runes Yoorn and Kyrop and the common tower symbol associated with Vigilance. In Varushka these wards are often supplemented with staring humanoid faces or the heads of geese, while in Wintermark bird-heads are common on the top of any warding poles. In The Marches the warding symbols often include stylised figures of guardians, or straw poppets- sometimes with small daggers, needles or shields bound to their limbs.
When performing the ritual, the ritualists often walk the boundaries of the waded area, invoking protection. They often burn incense, or scatter ashes, and check that all the warding symbols are intact. Some ritualists place bowls of blood at each entry point. Fire is often used as well, especially when the ritual is performed at night.