Care and safety in circles
By Graf Dog, 1113
It ain’t right to say that a ritual circle is like a farm but it is helpful to think about it that way a bit.
Farms make food and they are probly one of the best places to go to get it. Ritual circles make powerful stuff and are the best places to get that. Farms are not all that dangerous unless you upset someone but ritual circles are a bit more tricky to stay safe in. Don’t ever believe a ritualist what says a ritual circle is perfectly safe because nobody can make that guarantee and when you get in a circle you are taking a risk. Usually the risk is worth it and a good ritualist will do everything they can to keep themself and their contributors safe.
Sometimes though they don’t think so hard about what else they are affecting and the results can be messed up patterns or curses or death. The first time I ever heard about rituals people talked about smoking boots at the same time and I have seen some disasters happen in rituals even ones caused by people who are normally confident and really smart and practiced in there.
I am writing this to try to explain how ritualists and contributors can try to stay a bit safer and do a bit less damage if things go wrong.
If you think again about farms like what I talked about at the start it will help some. Imagine you need some food and you go along to a farm. If you have the amount of money the farmer needs and he has the sort of food you want then it is a really easy swap of buying and selling. So maybe you go to a farm that has got an orchard and pay a gold for a load of apples. This is all great and fairly simple but what if actually you want some milk? Maybe the farmer ain’t got any milk but he needs your money anyway. Well maybe he will go off and swap some of his apples with a cow farmer and get some milk and bring it back to you. You probly won’t get as much milk as if you had gone to a milk kind of farmer in the first place but the milk farmer will be happy and the apple guy as well and also you. Everyone gets what they want even if it weren’t the best way to get it, right? Well what if you want some butter? Then you have to not just do the swapping but someone has to do the bit where they turn the milk to butter however that happens and if you ain’t doing it yourself it’s going to complicate things a bit more but it probly ain’t asking for too much really – you just ain’t going to get as much butter as you would of got apples.
All farms are different and specialise with different stuff and all ritual circles are different too and they have specialities as well. Ritual circles have a main flavour and sometimes a secondary flavour as well and they are better for going into to get the right sort of thing. Some things are opposites and a good ritualist should find out details of the circle they are going into and the things it is opposed to. It is not impossible to get the opposite thing out of the circle but it is harder and maybe so hard it is NEARLY impossible. There is also ways to ask for things that will work better than other ways too. If you went to a circle of milk you can get milk easily and butter without too much hassle and maybe beef as well but it’s going to get trickier when you start asking for carrots and if you ask for a pile of gold you’re being kind of dumb about it. Of course circles are aligned to the elements not to food and stuff but the principles are the same. You probly can summon an ancestral creature and put it in a person in a demonology circle if you are really good, but it’s probly going to be rubbish even if you do it really good and more likely things will just go really badly.
Circles ain’t just bits of ground on Erdreja’s egg that connect to the void they have got personality and sometimes the personality manifests so you might of seen the circle of Good last year full of children who were aspects of the circle itself. There are circle guardians too and they are powerful and often angry if they got a reason to be in front of you. If the circle is like a farm then you can think of the circle personality like the farmer and it can help you to understand about when things go wrong. All kinds of stuff can go bad in a circle. Maybe you get the timing wrong or maybe you ask for too much or maybe you are just really unclear and nobody can tell what you are after. So think about the farmer again. If you turn up to try and buy stuff in the middle of the night he might think you are trying to rob him and start firing arrows at you or something. If you are really confusing when you try to say what you want maybe he will sell you a pile of stuff just to make you go away and you find you get three apples instead of a barrel of them and some pears you didn’t even want. If you turn up and you are really threatening maybe he’ll give you everything he has got to make you leave and then set his dogs on you on your way out or something so you don’t actually get nothing except bruises and cuts and out of breath. You can’t really tell what is going to go wrong but if you are rubbish you can be pretty sure something will.
So sometimes being all cocky and arrogant can work in a circle and get you what you want cos it’s the right sort of circle. And sometimes making firm and strong demands can as well. But you need to know you are doing it and know what might happen. If you do a really cool ritual but it ain’t right for the circle then that can go wrong too. And sometimes what happens is that the power of the circle ain’t enough and some of the power is pulled out of the ritualists and their patterns get damaged. At a low level this can cause pain when the seal drops – people might get harmed or fatal wounds might appear on them. If it is worse than that then some of them might get aberrated patterns. Higher up the scale is Void Taint. Sometimes the circle will keep sending damage out to a ritualist but they will be fine apart from that and they can stay alive if enough healing is poured into them until it stops.
If you really really need some gold and the only thing you can think to do is visit a farmer then maybe if you are kind and careful you can convince him to give you a loan. If you make good friends with him and he is a bit flush like he just had a good win at the casino or something then maybe he will give you a bunch of money anyway and if you seem like the sort of person he would like to be friends with then it is more likely. All this stuff is like doing a good ritual and it ain’t impossible to get things you wouldn’t expect off a farmer and it ain’t impossible to get weird stuff out of a ritual circle despite its alignment or flavour but you gotta approach it the right way and as well as doing it the right way you can do some stuff to make it safer to try.
First of all and most importantest is to talk to the Watchers. Tell them your plan and listen to them if they say they would change anything cos it ain’t safe – you can specifically ask them about that side of stuff. Make it really clear what you want and you should also be really clear that if you can only get what you want by causing damage then you would rather not get it. You can say that the most important thing is for nobody to get hurt and that can include Erdreja herself. It is usually better to not get your magic thimble or whatever but still be healthy instead of dying or being so messed up you need a really good ritual to fix you back together. I don’t mean to just say that stuff to the watcher I mean make it dead clear. Put it in the paperwork and make sure it is part of your ritual too.
Try really hard to fit to the circle and show why what you are after is relevant to it and make the circle sympathetic to your wants. It is like if the farmer felt sorry for you or really impressed or whatever he is more likely to help you out and the circles are the same.
Look out for weird stuff in the circle. You can use some of the power that builds up in the circle to remove all the poisons and if something invades the circle you can use power to stop it. A ritualist in the circle can do anything even stuff like petrifying an imposter. Be careful though that you know what it is – if you tried to petrify a circle guardian or a part of the circle itself it ain’t going to go well for you.
Be careful of your timing. A really good ritualist can time things without a sand timer or signals from friends but it ain’t the safest way. Nobody minds if you bring a timer right into the circle and turn it over as a ritualist. It might not be as impressive but being safe is probly better than impressive and dead. To be safe it helps to have a timer and a back up and be sure to know what state they are in while you are ritualling. Remember that when the circle is sealed you can unseal it again safely in the first five minutes but after that it is dangerous until you reach ten minutes.
Now I explained about how you might get abberated or void tainted before and how that is part of the cost of the power to make what you are trying to. These things can happen and you get your good result or they can happen without you getting anything but they just about stop everyone from getting dead. Some people think that maybe they can decide to deliberately aberrate someone to use it as a payment for getting something better off the circle and this is a STUPID idea and I will explain about why.
A pattern what got abberated is broken. It don’t tick right it is a bit like a cog that is a bit bent and bumpy and stopping wheels from turning right. When your pattern isn’t spinning right it is hard to push power from the plane of life into it to heal you if you get hurt and you are not quite properly in line with the rest of Erdreja. Erdreja don’t want this at all and it is uncomfortable for her. When you are void tainted it is even worse. Void taint wrecks the pattern and it is hardly able to keep you fixed to this plane at all. The pattern does still spin but it is all out of line and it is like it is spikey. While it turns it hurts Erdreja. It takes a little bit of training to learn how to pull power hard enough and the right way to heal a pattern that is aberrated but to heal someone with void taint is REALLY hard and all the time you are walking around void tainted you are hurting the egg.
A void tainted person can’t use ritual magic at all and can feel pretty sick if they get close to rites or rituals. At least one person got rejected by transport circles while he was void tainted. When a void tainted person goes in a ritual circle the guardians know right away.
The healers guild has collected enough knowledge to be able to mend an aberrated pattern and put it right. This takes a lot of power but it can be done outside of a ritual circle these days. It ain’t generally true for the void tainted, nearly always it takes a ritual and a good one to fix void taint. Void tainted people are not good for the egg or for the circles and if you go into a ritual to mend a taint then you can be pretty much sure that a circle guardian will turn up to see what is going on and they can be pretty pissed off and angry about it all. In 1112 the guardians got some of us to make sure there were no void tainted people left over the winter because Erdreja hated the pain. If we had not managed to fix all the patterns from what we could tell the guardians were going to hunt them down and destroy them.
Using ritual circles well helps Erdreja. She learns from the rituals and keeping the power flowing around the egg is a good thing. But when you do it wrong and damage a pattern Erdreja feels that pain and feels the pattern’s wrongness while it tries to turn. If you want to try to aberrate a ritualist to pay for something shiny you are asking for trouble and the Watchers won’t support it and it’s really unlikely to work.
Some people think you can fix a void taint by throwing enough power into a pattern by getting loads of healers together like for un-doing an aberration or by sacrificing enough magical items that have power in them still. Nobody seems to know for sure if this is true and it is not easy to research about because the last thing we want is void tainted people hanging around to get experimented with and a void tainted person will most likely want to get fixed in a ritual circle because that is known to work. In 1112 Rath done a ritual that removed void taint off someone in a ritual circle and there was enough power left in the circle so that we could take some away and fix another void taint with it. The circle guardian guided us to do this and I performed the rite with Pillow helping to identify the broken parts of the pattern. The person who got her pattern put back together was really shaken up by it and couldn’t hardly talk for a while after.
Trust me void taint and abberation ain’t worth it if you can possibly avoid them and I hope this information can help keep people safe and help people not hurt the Egg. This stuff is completely true as far as I know in 1113 but do not forget that sometimes Existence changes stuff. Please talk to the Watchers about your rituals before you do them cos they will have the latest and most important information to help you.