Words of Ending
Winter Magnitude 4
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. The ritual affects a single item which must be present and able to be touched throughout.
This ritual permanently destroys the properties of a Magical Item, leaving the physical item itself unharmed. The item ceases to be magical and becomes a mundane item, and any bonds connected to it are immediately cut.
The target must be small enough to be considered an 'item' rather than a piece of scenery, and it has no effect on living creatures or enchantments. Generally, an object must be easily lifted by a single character to count as a target for this ritual.
This ritual can also be used to destroy the magic of an artefact. The magnitude of the ritual must equal or exceed the number of rings of ilium used to create the artefact. The magnitude of ritual required to destroy an artefact can be determined using the detect magic incantation if need be.
This ritual is most often employed to destroy artefacts, rather than the more common crafted items. In the past it has been used to permanently dispose of certain malignant items whose bonds could not be severed more traditionally, as well as to deal conclusively with items such as Volodny hearts.
The ritual lacks the power to affect buildings or magical structures; a recent effort by ritualists associated with the Freedom Heresy to destroy the Sentinel Gate at Anvil failed disastrously. It has been used successfully to unravel the magic that motivates constructs such as animated statues or ushabti. In the former case, the ritual is complicated by the need to keep the construct within close range for the entire performance of the ritual; in the latter the ritual is complicated more by the ease with which most ushabti simply fall apart if dealt any damage at all.
This ritual, as the name implies, tends to involve a chanted invocation of destruction. Some ritualists focus on the idea of a magical item as a living thing, drawing parallels with the inevitability of death. Trappings associated with a forge are often used, especially when the ritualists are Marchers or Winterfolk runesmiths or when the target is made of metal. An anvil and a hammer may be employed, either with a single symbolic blow shattering the enchantment at the end of the ritual's performance or with the ritual performed as part of an extended process of physically destroying the item.
The broad space under the canvas served the thane as his personal quarters, but also the army as its command tent. His hand immediately fumbled for his blade-grip, thinking that perhaps assassins had come for him, or spies come to steal the maps and orders.
As he stepped forwards and blinked, his eyes gaining a fraction more sight in the gloom, he saw something that frightened him far more. A hooded figure wrapped in dark silks stood over the spot where the Owl's Gaze was laid. Magic sparked and danced around the figure's fingers as it chanted spells of unmaking over the enchanted shield.
Eadric gathered his breath to bellow a challenge, only to have it knocked out of him; something slammed into his stomach, then hooked his legs and sent him tumbling to the well-trodden earth of the tent's floor. Even as he tried to twist aside, something else tapped his arm. Cold ice flared there and rushed through his limbs, leaving them leaden and unmoving.
“Curse your witchcraft,” he spat, lying there like a trussed animal.
Several more silk-swaddled figures loomed over him. He prepared for the end, but no blades descended. Instead, a whispered voice drifted down at him.
“Thane Eadric himself. You need not fear for your life, not yet. We are here for the Owl's Gaze alone.”
And that threat, more than any fear for his own safety, was what brought tears to the thane's eyes. “You cannot!” he said, cursing his cold-gripped limbs as he lay there helpless. “The Gaze is the heirloom of my hall, the undying symbol of our victory! Without it, my people... You, your tongue is Urizen. Traitors! How dare you do this?”
One of the figures muttered a fresh chant and then, just as the frost-chill began to creep back from his limbs, a wand darted down and bound him in the enchantment again.
“The Net of Heavens warns us that your skein must not prevail, my good thane. For the greater good, there is another thread in the tapestry that must be brought to greatness. And, Thane, your skein is so bound up with that shield that, without it, the wider world will see your weakness.”
Over by the Owl's Gaze, the spell-song ceased, and Eadric groaned in dismay as he felt his bond to the shield break.
“And so it is done. No more will the people of your hall see you stride through the thickest fighting, your shield still shining bright despite the worst of the foe's weapons. No more will you raise up your father's father's shield before battle to show the eternal strength of your line to your soldiers. No more will their spirits swell to know that, no matter how dark grows the night, the Owl's Gaze will see them through it.”The figures disappeared from sight as they swept from the tent like the midnight wind,