‘The Winds of Change’ was the name commonly given to the ritual of limitation and protection that was placed into effect across the entirety of the Continent of Lairroth, however, many have also referred to this ritual as the ‘Ascendant Ward’. Yet what do we truly know about this ritual, or about how it effects our daily lives in Lairroth?
What is the nature of the ritual commonly known as The Winds of Change?
By all accounts, The Ascendant Ward is a ritual that was put into place by the Golden Dragon Thalomere. The Ascendant Ward, in its known primary purpose, draws upon powerful ambient energy within Lairroth to create a protective barrier which defends much of this land against magic that might be considered cataclysmic. Lairroth is a place where great and ancient energies collide and swell; where primordial powers rest. These energies are such that they can rise like a sudden and terrible tsunami, or be carefully drawn upon to power great rituals such as The Ascendant Ward, which is also commonly known as “The Winds of Change”. Another, more direct effect of this particular ritual is that it interferes with ‘greater’ power in strange ways. Lesser ritual magic is largely unaffected, but casting more world-altering magiks can have very strange and unpredictable results. In addition, the ability for Cyclic creatures to attain dangerous levels of personal power are extremely limited, the ability for beings of vast power (Greater Demon Lords, The Arch Lich Tal Sigor, True Dragons, The Ancient Vampire Lords of Calien, etc) to use their power is restricted to an utter crippling point, whilst certain creatures (e.g., Behemoths, Howlers, Golems, Drakes, any many other creatures) seem relatively unaffected. What we find interesting is that undead creatures that used to be cyclic are also constrained by The Winds of Change in dramatic ways, but these ways are very hard to define and are, as far as I can tell, irregular at best. It might be that a lich which used to be able to control vast and innumerable armies of lesser undead is now only able to control a small horde, while a Vampire Lord may (or may not) lose his talents with ritual magic. On the other hand, a Skeletal Knight may simply have had its own personal knowledge somehow altered or reduced, while its fighting power is left fully intact. The pattern of how The Winds of Change alters the undead has yet to be fully studied and quantified by any I have met, and honestly, I have not had such time as would be needed to study this matter in detail.
There are also a handful of theories that suggest that the afformentioned properties of The Winds of Change are mere side effects of a much greater ritual, as if our personal experience with The Winds of Change thus far is much like feeling the effect of a single drop of rain amidst a much larger storm. The Winds of Change were long prophesied, and many prophecies suggest that the purpose of The Winds of Change is much deeper and broader than merely limiting the personal power of creatures in Lairroth.
Why does The Ascendant Ward exist?
Lairroth has a history of serving as a gateway to demonic powers and dangerous forces. The Plagues. The Dark War. The Betrayal – these were all instances where entities from the Abyss attempted to gain a foothold of power in Cyrillia in hopes of consuming our world. But why, we must ask, did they attempt to do so in Lairroth? To put it in straight-forward terms, Lairroth is a land of vast natural power, and this power is greatly desired by those entities which are capable of manipulating it. The Circle has suggested, for instance, that the True Drake Lord which resides within the Empire of The Drake may have sent his servants to attain a portion of this power on his behalf. We cannot be certain, but this may have been the primary reason for the invasion. I was not there, nor were any of my order, but as far as we can tell it appears that Thalomere placed The Ascendant Ward upon Lairroth in order to protect its people from being destroyed. Of course, such assumptions do not account for the possibility that this ritual is not simply what it seems and might be part of something much greater.
Why hasn’t anyone attempted to destroy or bypass The Ascendant Ward?
I imagine, though I cannot verify, that they have. I have heard a rumor that a handful of individuals have been able to, through one manner or another, become Unbound by The Winds of Change. All members of The Circle, for instance, have been affected in a very unique way by the Ascendant Ward. Our power comes and goes. One moment we are as mighty as we have ever been, completely Unbound, and then next we can barely summon a spark of magic at all. Indeed, this lack of the reliability of The Circle’s power has put us in grave danger and even cost us our lives. Mighty undertakings and perilous adventures cannot be embraced with any degree of predictable risk when we cannot judge our capabilities from one moment to the next. However, some rumors do suggest that there are those who are truly Unbound. For instance, I have heard of a swordsman and assassin which resides on an island to the east of Calien. He may be such a one. Some say that mastery over a strange code of honor has given him this power, while others claim that it has something to do with powers which he gained from Rhoum, the city of King’s Port. As of yet, there is no real explanation for the way this swordsman supposedly remains unaffected. As it stands, if they exist at all, these Unbound individuals are extremely rare.
However, the factions who seem likely to attempt to fully remove The Ascendant Ward would be those servants of The Abyss who find their powers greatly reduced in Lairroth. Or perhaps an alliance of like-minded individuals who would be attempting to affect the outcome of certain prophecies which involve The Winds of Change. The dramatic majority of common people greatly desire for the protection of The Ascendant Ward to stay in place, as it has done much to keep them safe.
Written by Wizard Gideon of The Circle
Addendum, 213 PB – The Ascendant Ward collapsed in recent years, leaving nearly all of Lairroth exposed to the malicious dangers of great and terrible creatures. Some effects of the ‘Winds of Change Ritual’ manifest occasionally, and there are rare localized, small regions which still seems to be under the sway of the Ascendant Ward.