Winter Magnitude 2
Performing the Ritual
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
The farm earns an additional 18 rings at the Winter Solstice (event 1). The ritual ends at the start of spring.
This spell is intended to be cast at the Autumn Equinox (event 4), but may be cast earlier. However it should be noted that this ritual is an enchantment and is not cumulative with effects such as Gathering the Harvest.
If the owner of the resource does not attend the next event, then the additional production provided by the resource is still added to that character's inventory.
This ritual can affect additional farms in the same territory. Each additional farm increases the magnitude by 1. The character who controls each farm must be present throughout the ritual.
This spell is intended to be cast at the Autumn Equinox, to help a farm endure through the Winter months. It is very popular in Varushka and The Marches. While it can be cast earlier in the year, it provides its additional revenue only during the Winter Solstice; casting it earlier is rarely very effective, unless the farm owner is certain they will not be able to find someone to perform Blessing of New Spring on their lands.
A farm affected by the ritual will find that stores of grain will be free of rot or scavengers, and that dried or preserved foodstuffs will remain edible until Spring at least. Hardy plants that bring forth fruit in winter have their yield increased; the weaker plants are killed by this ritual, allowing stronger plants to flourish. Animals and farmers alike find they require less food, and crops remain healthy much longer than usual, often allowing for a second, smaller harvest at the very end of the agricultural year. The ritual discourages and in some cases kills small scavengers and predators, meaning that animals and stores are protected even during the harshest winter, and that there are often additional sources of meat on or around the farm. It also helps to ensure that surplus stocks are available for sale, by ensuring the farmers need less food themselves.
This is a very old ritual indeed, practiced in various forms throughout the world. It has one deeply unpleasant quality that is rarely spoken of; it preserves anything that can be eaten, regardless of whether civilised humans would wish to eat it. As a consequence, even corpses will not rot during the Winter season if they are stored on the farm. This can prove useful - in Wintermark and Varushka the ground is often frozen solid during winter months making burials difficult ... but it can also place blasphemous, unwholesome temptation to those who misjudge the amount of food they need to see them through the winter. Luckily, in the modern Empire, starvation is very rare, but in centuries past this ritual has been blamed for certain corrupt acts of cannibalism.
The ritual preserves food and animals, and also encourages the growth of hardy plants. Ritual performances sometimes include the evocation of the rune Bravash, but more often the rune Naeve is used (albeit in a negative or warding capacity). Symbols associated with health and Prosperity are also commonly evoked, such as shedding small amounts of blood or offering a cup or bowl of wine, ale, milk or mead to the targets.