Ritual of Restoration
Through our will, let what was broken be mended.There are many things the elves have developed with regards to healing, especially with adapting magic to do such tasks. The Ritual of Restoration is an example of how elves have a grasp on magic which eludes many other practicioners across Erisdaire. Normally, one requires either divine or natural magic to truly heal the body. However, this ritual is able to be performed even with arcane magic as long as the proper steps are taken. Some of the necessary implements are not readily available outside elven lands, but the procedure does work independent of who does the work.
Through our will, let the living persist.
Through our will, let the sick become well.
We ask only this favor, and no more.
While it is possible for others to learn the means of performing the Ritual of Restoration, the people who use it in elven society are not often willing to teach others how to handle it. They are sometimes referred to as 'lifecrafters', responsible for helping the sick to recover. It has been theorized the method can be adapted by other peoples for their own usage, but as of yet only the 'elven method' has been successfully implemented. Even then, the only beings outside elves who have made it work perform it alongside elven lifecrafters in the Faeweald.
I recall a time when the Ritual was merely a theory to be explored, and the learned were dubious if were possible. Now it is accepted as a vital part of our kind's existence. It amuses me so many take it for granted. One of the bitter pleasures I have, at my age.There are always rumors about elves being immortal, having lives which cannot end short of disease or injuries. The existence of elves who have seen more centuries than humans have seen years supports this view, but it also does not account for how much elves rely on magic for this feat. In the distant past, elves learned to adapt magic as a tool independent of its source. According to elven scholars, the varieties all have similar roots. Divine magic springs from the relationship between people and their deity, requiring a true devotion in order to function properly. Natural magic flows from the world itself, guiding the development of life and having the limitation of only being able to do what is at the limits of such potential. Arcane magic is achieved by tapping into independent magical forces and using the power to defy what "should" be. But in all cases, there is a source of the power tapped to evoke an effect on the world and change things. This led the elves to develop some ritual magic which could be used independent of an individual's chosen focus on magic, through a variety of objects which act as a "focus" for the energies being conjured forth. The construction and shaping of these foci are what shape magic called forth in such a manner. Thus there are a number of rituals which the elves have developed over time, and the Ritual of Restoration is possibly their most important work.
Elven lifecrafters always had an interest in utilizing their powers for the good of others, and thus the discovery of ritual magic allowed them to focus their research. As they became more practiced at it, the potential applications expanded, and the Ritual of Restoration went from a theory to a method which could be relied upon. Depending on the focus and performance, the Ritual could cure maladies as easily as it could mend broken or torn flesh. Given a long enough preparation, it could also hold back the effects of time on the body - in theory, this could be done indefinitely. Such applications extend the already-long lifetimes of elves to a point where they need fear only disease or harm.
Of course, most elves are not entirely aware of this when they are younger, and are not explicitly told how the eldest among the elves continue to be alive. Use of the Ritual of Restoration for life-extension is a matter which must be pursued by an individual before it is spoken of as an option. While it can be applied to those who are not elves, the Ritual does appear to have lesser effects on them. The theories of this often speak of a "deficiency of vital energies", suggesting elves have more to work with by virtue of being elves. Further pursuits of this study are rare, and mildly discouraged as a waste of time and effort which can be put to other tasks.
Access & AvailabilityCrurently, it is still mostly elves who make use of the Ritual of Restoration. The unique qualities present in preparation and performance limit its effects to those who can properly be 'understood' by the lifecrafter long enough to attune a focus. Theoretically, the Ritual can be applied to other species, but attempts to do so have met with widely different results. Other attempts considered "misguided" were to use the Ritual to extend the life of beloved pets or other domesticated animals.
As such, it is largely accepted as a fact the Ritual simply cannot function on non-elven beings. While the Ritual has recently come to the attention of Imperial Arcanists, their efforts to understand it have mostly failed to yield anything beyond theories which do not work.
ComplexityThe use of the Ritual requires a number of components which are created specifically for it. First among those is the lifecrafter, an elf trained in the use of magic to alter living beings. These are not as common as can be expected, but it is vital the performer of the Ritual have proper understanding of what they're doing. Next, the Ritual requires a "focus" attuned to both the subject and lifecrafter. An improperly 'tuned' focus can cause the Ritual to fail in simple fashion, or in catastrophic fashion. Lastly, the ritual requires a prepared circle which sets the position for all involved. The circle is not necessarily an integral part, but the exact positioning of caster, subject, and focus are.
Without these three aspects, the Ritual is merely a set of invocations and evocations which do nothing (at best).
You should understand, the Ritual of Restoration is not something to be taken lightly. It takes time to properly learn how to handle, and patience to endure errors in the attunement process. Those who live shorter lives may not properly grasp the challenges, so we often tell them it only works on elves.The Ritual of Restoration is primarily used by elven lifecrafters to heal the sick and wounded, and is incredibly potent in this task. A lifecrafter needs to spend time with the subject of the Ritual to attune the focus properly. This time is spent ascertaining the extent of the problem, understanding the individual's unique qualities, and learning the particular paths required for attunement. Improper attunement does not render the Ritual useless, but it can have unintended effects on the subject. This is why lifecrafters often are treated as members of a household, so they can be close enough to adapt properly. It is possible to apply the Ritual on those unfamiliar to the lifecrafter performing it, but it is not recommended. However, a lifecrafter given at least a decade to study their subjects has a significantly higher rate of success than a randomly chosen individual. There are two applications of the Ritual which exceed normal circumstances: the extension of life, and treatment for the feyblight.
They may ask why. Give a reason if you have to, just don't make it the truth. In my experience, telling a dwarf they aren't prepared to be patient rarely goes well.
Over the years of the Ritual's use, it was discovered a focus attuned in a specific manner could restore a physical body to a more youthful state of vigor. Thus it began to see use more widely as a means for elves of advanced years to continue living in the fashion they were more accustomed to. The elven culture had always shown deference to elders, valuing the experience which had been gained over their lives as well as time spent in service of others. Thus the Ritual initially became applied to ensuring those who had not yet trained successors had more time to do so. This grew into a broader application to preserve the heads of noble houses so they could continue to guide their descendants, showing a continuity of vision simply impossible to maintain without the Ritual. Widespread use fell out of fashion after a couple millennia, as one of the more interesting limitations came to be recognized: strictly the body was rejuvenated, not the spirit or mind. As such, it was entirely possible for an elf to "live too long" and develop gaps in memory, or odd habits born of life experience. It became theorized there was, in fact, a limitation to how much time an elf should be allowed to live through use of the Ritual. However, it remains a decision in the joint hands of the lifecrafter and their subject on whether or not to terminate use of the Ritual.
Since the Ritual is useful for healing the body, it became adapted for use in treating Feyblight in earlier stages of the disease. The exact cause of feyblight is not understood, but the application of the Ritual has been demonstrated to slow progression considerably at first. Unfortunately, once feyblight progresses the slide into a state beyond the Ritual's help happens rapidly. There are a small group of lifecrafters devoted to the task of assisting those who contract feyblight, sequestering those patients in locations where many can be cared for and allowed a peaceful existence as long as possible. These locations are officially known as "Sanctuaries From the Fading", and are designed somewhat similar to noble estates capable of housing dozens of individual patients as well as the lifecrafters assigned there. These estates are considered 'off limits' to outsiders, largely because the ravages of feyblight can corrupt the mind through the pain. Thus they have been referred to as "Prisons of the Blighted" by those who are willing to be impolite.