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The Flame-Sealed Letter
Level 3 Thaumaturgy Ritual

by: Bjorn Townsend A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

Every once in a while a ritual is created, and every Tremere in the Tellurian wonders why he or she didn't think of it first. The Flame-Sealed Letter is one such ritual -- fairly simple, and exceedingly useful. With this ritual, a magus can insure that his or her written communications will remain reasonably secure -- if the Letter is stolen, it will burst into flames once it leaves a predetermined distance from its owner.

The story behind the Flame-Sealed Letter is an interesting one. It was invented in August of 1999, in the city of Bellingham in the American Pacific Northwest. The Tremere Regent, one Kesper Ravenswood-North, had been recently reassigned from London and charged with maintaining order in the city, establishing a new Chantry, and keeping a particularly close eye out for threats from far Cathay. Mystified at receiving this poor assignment -- as Bellingham was a minor city at that time, pleasant but lacking in truly worthwhile industry or culture -- since his record was so very sterling, Kesper arrived in the city with his wife, Elspeth, and set up shop, as it were. It took them only a few weeks to begin pulling the strings of the Toreador Prince Solomon, and Kesper decided to make the best of things as a big fish in a very small pond, quietly maintaining order in the city through the cipher of Prince Solomon.

Unfortunately, Solomon made a poor tool. He had a childish unwillingness to take good advice, and soon found himself shamed, in danger of having his Princeship taken away either by the Camarilla or suffering a revolt of the Kindred in his own city. His weak rulership and lack of consistent enforcement made the local Kindred contemptuous of authority, and as bands of anarchs hunted for Solomon, he along with the rest of the Primogen Council came to Kesper and actually begged him -- a Tremere! -- to assume rulership of the city.

Kesper was reluctant to expose himself and his 'family', reluctant to wield power so visibly, but if he did not do so, the city would fall quickly to the anarchs, or to the Sabbat, or the ravening Lupines. He required a means to enforce a very precise set of laws in the city governing territory, Elysium, proper hunting, and maintenance of the Masquerade, one that would leave no room for doubt or misinterpretation.

The simplest solution would be a detailed, written copy -- yet this in and of itself is a dire breach of the Masquerade, should it ever fall into the wrong hands. So Kesper created the Ritual of the Flame-Sealed Letter and cast it upon copies of the Seven Laws of the City that he wrote, and their detailed sub-paragraphs and footnotes. Thanks to the ritual, copies of the Laws could not fall into unauthorized hands, and Kesper was able to consolidate his rule of the city and enforce strict order within a week. No one could question his instructions, as his document left no room for doubt. Kesper's Laws, as well as this ritual, have become required reading for Tremere involved in the rule of cities throughout the world.

System: The Flame-Sealed Letter is a variation of standard Thaumaturgical warding, and magi who are familiar with those rituals will find this ritual similar (and, optionally, easier to learn).

To cast the Flame-Sealed Letter upon a sheet of paper, a magical sigil must be drawn in the casting thaumaturge's blood on the lower left-hand corner. The same sigil must be inscribed in the center of the paper in a mixture of ash and water. The ritual can be cast on up to five sheets of paper at a time, provided the sheets are stacked one on top of another -- the ink of the sigils will bleed through the sheets, marking each.

After the ritual has been cast, the sheet or sheets that have been warded in this manner will burst into flame if they leave a three-foot radius around the casting thaumaturge's body. However, if the thaumaturge should voluntarily give the warded paper to another individual, the paper will 'remember' this person as being authorized to hold it, until the paper is returned to the thaumaturge. If this person tries to give the paper to anyone other than the casting thaumaturge, the paper will burst into flame.

This ritual requires a standard Thaumaturgy role, difficulty 6 for one sheet of paper, 7 for two, and so on up to ten. With a botch, the paper will immediately burst into flames, and will have to be rewritten or reprinted.

MET: The same as above, requiring a static mental challenge bidding as many traits as there are sheets to be cast upon, up to 5.

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