What will Siobhan's symbol be able to do?

In Chapter 184 – Ritual Under Moonlight – Azalea Ellis, Siobhan began making her own symbol with the Guiding Light Ritual. I’m curious about what powers this symbol will grant.

She first learns this ritual in Chapter 156 – Nine-Light Filters – Azalea Ellis. There all that is said about what it does is:

Another allowed the caster to leave an invisible mark on something that they would be able to find forever after…

We learn more in Chapter 163 – Refinement of the Nine Heavens – Azalea Ellis. In particular we learn:

The process that would allow her to create these beacons wasn’t that difficult, as far as the magic went, but it had very specific ritualistic requirements that would extend over almost two months. It also required her to create a personalized symbol that wasn’t in use anywhere else and a self-descriptive chant to go along with said symbol. The text had mentioned something about being as dramatic as possible while remaining accurate, as specificity and uniqueness made the ritual more likely to “take.”

And, supposedly, if it worked well enough, one could further modify the beacon with additional functions, though the author hadn’t known more, as his own attempt hadn’t met that vague criteria.

And so the Raven Queen is challenged to being dramatic. I think nobody is surprised that she’ll deliver! Obviously this is not just going to be the “find things again” mark she’s planning on. It’s going to get out of hand.

As to the symbol, we learn this:

Sebastien designed a personalized symbol easily enough—a few angled lines that evoked both wings in flight and blades. It reminded her of the Raven Queen persona, all freedom and a hint of violence, and was also a reference to the blade of enlightenment, forever cutting through reality to the truth.

(I thought I remembered seeing a picture of this somewhere, but couldn’t find it.)

What kind of powers can it acquire? Chapter 186 – Symbolic Meaning – Azalea Ellis walks through the overall theory of magical glyphs. Including Siobhan realizing that she’s probably creating a new magic glyph. At some level, magic itself will understand her glyph as something, and (as transmogrification show), happily add uses out of symbolism and emotional connections.

Now to the chant that she uses. Thanks to a free writing potion, Siobhan’s unconscious wrote it. She finds it disturbing, and suspects that whatever is sealed in her head may have been involved. But uses it anyways.

Now what is this chant?

I am a changeling like the seasons,
A daughter of shadow and light,
Of Charybdis mists and raven’s flight,
And always I seek after mysteries.

Shadows of the past become shades of the present.
Old scars peel open like doors.
And a hungry sky watches
As I sing the dead to life.

As I ornament this veil with thorns,
I shall drink the sea to quench my thirst.
The taste of nothing on my tongue
Will be a knife as sharp as its wielder.

Mark me, scarred and tattered witness of days,
One who weaves the thread that still is woven.
Heed me, one who howls unheard.
I command you. Grant me eyes that see.

So what’s going to happen next? How is this symbol going to be tied to Siobhan, the thing in her head, and her cult? What symbolic meaning will magic attach to this? What spells will this allow? When someone casts a spell tied so directly to magic’s conception of Siobhan, does that have an impact of some sort?

I’d love to hear other people’s ideas about where this might go!


I’ve theorized she could hear and sea what happens around the symbol, and possibly even do limited spellcasting with the symbol as an origin point, as if it is her.

Most dramatically, manipulate shadow and create soundwaves to emulate her being present. But I was mostly working from that when I assumed she might need it to communicate with people, and now she can just walk into Lacer’s cottage whenever she wants and might even get the Red Guard off her back.

I will say though, now that we’ve experienced the Shadow Clone for lack of knowing what it actually is, I do wonder if her making various things that are her but aren’t her, like these symbols and the Raven Sleep Network might not be inviting will contestation with her sealed something.


Yes, that would fit with what she wanted. But remember that even a dead leaf can be used to any end that magic can find symbolism for.

To pick a simple example, here is Siobhan wanting to learn about shamanism. How will that connect to her symbol? The second paragraph really strongly speaks to the symbol being useful for shamanistic powers. And may even cross over into necromancy.

Remember how much Siobhan hates the idea of death? Myrddin hated it as well. Is Siobhan somehow going to be Myrddin’s ticket back to life? Even if the best that she can do is a half-life, maybe as a lich?

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I wonder which use of changeling was her intent when she wrote that.

Because in some cultures it’s a coocoo child, a child left in place of another to be raised by a different family

Or in some cultures it’s a shape shifter, normally a child of a witch if I remember my lore, they are born with natural magic that is just a part of who they are, their form of magic, which I believe only eecct their body, is like an extra sense. They change change some part of their body as easily as some people can wiggle their nose. They can learn other magics, but this part of them is as easy as breathing.

The idea of mist and shadows makes me think of being able to blend and hide, but with the ability to use light and water in the air to do it. She’s very literal.

I think that there will be an attack ability, but prob in a auto defense way. Her wings could become blades if needed, a. Hint of violence when needed if you will

And she’s been taught, and unconsciously relies on stuff working without her thinking about it to start, it gets triggered and then she can actively do something about it

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Interesting. To me changelings as shapeshifters is a concept from role-playing games. I realize that it is now copied in many books as an idea.

The historical folktale version is that changelings were left by supernatural beings in exchange for your child. And that is always what I assume until I’m reminded that others think of them differently. Now I’m wondering which one was meant.

But while I’m thinking, now I’m remembering The Stolen Child, a musical adaptation of a poem by Yeats. Which in turn is an adaptation of Irish myth.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Siobhan’s shadow was in some way a changeling in the historical folklore sense?

I was raised on Aesop’s fables instead of Grimms fairy tales (the Cinderella Disney moving being the first I learned of Grimms) and took a much bigger interest in things like Greek and Roman myths than the north west mythology and stuff. Fantasy, as I was taught with fairies and stuff just wasn’t interesting until I discovered versions, like in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson world, the cuter it is the more you should be very afraid of dying.

Changeling as a shapeshifter I believe is from Greek mythology, long before roleplaying games. Because I remember making some of my online personas changelings, and meaning shapeshifter.

It’s also Norse mythos as well, but I was never that into it

Greek mythology has shapechangers of various kinds. But no story that I’m aware of has anything that is recognizably a changeling.

Norse mythology is similar, except that it does have changelings. But they are really trolls. In that mythos shapechangers tend to be gods, like Loki, or powerful magic users, like the dwarf Andvari.

Are you thinking of shapechangers and changelings as the same somehow? Or is there a myth that you’re thinking of which I’m unaware of?

No, I know they are different, but as a child I was taught that changelings could change their form because they were coo coo’s children… For a lack of translation

I don’t think in English, and none of my childhood memories have sound so please forgive.

But I was taught that changelings could only do minor changes to their body, just enough to blend to their adopted family, hair color, skin tone, maybe eye shape…

They could look like a different person, not super drastic, the hint of true form was always there…

But they had to be able to blend in with the new family somehow.

A shape shifter, I was taught, was someone like Zeus who can quite dramatically turn into various other beings who’s form had nothing to do with their own, a bull, a swan, whatever.

Changelings actively shifting to look like the children they replace does fit the mythology, along with the presumed origins of it.

Basically, there’s a theory that changeling myths are just an earlier version of the modern vaccines-causing-autism myths. People would have babies that would seem "normal’ for the first year or so, but then sometime around ages 1.5-3 the kid’s brain is going to be developed enough and the environment is going to get complex enough that they start getting overstimulated, having skill regression issues, not talking when other kids might, seeming alien and unmanageable for some allistic parents, etc.

It all seems like an abrupt change for the parents, so they declare that their child has been replaced by one who looks just like them, but with things subtly off, or, in the modern case, claiming that some sort of malign entity has “done this” to a kid who just functions differently.

I’m curious. If you don’t mind, do you think in a different language? And if so, what?

Now I think I’m seeing a connection between the two notions of changelings. In the Celtic form, changelings are fae. And fae have the power of minor illusion - but all illusions can be seen through in some way. Therefore the changeling can make minor alterations to appearance to help them fit in. But can’t change what is really true.

I’ve heard the same origin story. And I find it really sad.

You see the best remedy for a changeling is to put the “changeling” on a place of significance for the fairies, such as a fairy hill, at a time in the hope that the fairies will take back their child and return yours. It usually didn’t work, but it was your best chance.

As a result, the classical presentation of autism was effectively a death sentence by exposure for the poor child. :frowning:

Still there is a connection with the fae, illusion, another world, and secrets. Which fits being a daughter of shadow and light, of Charybdis mists and ravens flight, who always seeks after mysteries. I’m sure that this is going to be somehow relevant at some point.

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I answered that in a verbal discussion post because, raven feathers, that is a loaded question and there was a better place to put it

I’ve been following some recent academic publications, and there was an interesting article on an Irish Celtic story where a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann was a foundling, but she accepted Christianity, which meant she lost her ability to turn invisible. The same article noted that the Tuatha Dé had their own god, even though people think of them as being worshiped as a celtic pantheon.

But, there’s a grim real-life issue with changelings: not only were children abused and murdered because the parents believed their children were stolen, but in one incident less than 150 years ago, an Irish woman died on the grounds that she failed to say three times that she was herself.

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My, how time flies! I hadn’t realized how many long stretches of time have been skipped.

In Chapter 194 – Damien’s Report – Azalea Ellis we have this passage:

Near the end of the year’s fifth month, at one-thirty in the morning with a full moon that hung low over the horizon, Sebastien completed the guiding light ritual. The symbol she had created was seared indelibly somewhere in the back of her mind, impossible to ever forget. She had a strange awareness of it that was ever-present but somehow not distracting at all.

Immediately, Sebastien used some of the remaining saltwater from the ritual and another of her glue-paper stencils to paint her symbol seven times over on the back of her thirteen-pointed star light coaster while whispering the now-familiar chant.

With each word and each pass over the sharp, winged symbol, more awareness grew in that new spot in the back of her mind reserved for the thing she had created. When she was finished, it had doubled to contain this second symbol, yet somehow still required the exact same amount of concentration. Which was to say, none.

But like the group proprioception spell or her improved philtre of darkness, when Sebastien focused on the light coaster, there was a distinct sense of her symbol’s location in the real world, in relation to her.

Sebastien closed her eyes, rotated the inner section to turn the light crystal on, and then hurled it into the Menagerie. Then, peeking occasionally to make sure she didn’t trip over anything, she used the awareness tucked away in the back of her mind to track it down once more.

She found it lying face down within some thick-leaved plants, turned off the light, and tucked it back into her pocket. She wasn’t yet sure exactly how she would use such an ability, but the spell itself was both fascinating to have attempted and gratifying to have succeeded at. If only she knew more about the additional functions that could be added to symbols that had “taken” strongly.

After that, almost a month passed…

So Siobhan has her symbol. And has had it for a while. But apparently hasn’t used it, or experimented with it that we’ve heard of.

I wonder when the symbol will start to be used for real…

There’s a big gap in the last book where she (and the Stags) avoid trouble completely.

But, there’s a lot of compressed timeline too. Early in the second book, for example, there’s spots in the story where everything is moving blisteringly fast; when I was sitting down and trying to outline my fanfiction, it was kinda tough to get everything I wanted done written, because over the course of two weeks there is: warehouse fight, first scrying attempt, second scrying attempt, Oliver telling S that the nightmare pack wants to meet, aberrant alarm, catastrophe collector goes to copper station, bounty goes up, s. dumps ennis’ clothing, and within in 16 days from the fight at the warehouse, there’s the big scrying attempt at the eagle tower.

It’s no wonder there’s a ton of pressure on Siobhan. Almost the entire book 2 happens in 2 months.

Yet another, more disturbing, possibility comes to mind.

In Chapter 179 – Pyrrhic Failures – Azalea Ellis we have the following description of what it’s like to be in Siobhan’s perception.

The illusion’s caster was breathing hard. He closed his eyes for a moment, letting the image fade. “When you’re in the darkness, you can feel it watching you. It’s huge, all-knowing.”

The man who was hugging himself nodded. “It’s like gazing into the night sky and suddenly realizing that each and every star is actually an eyeball. And as soon as you realize that, they all look at you. They can feel that you’ve discovered them.”

And Chapter 181 – Revenant – Azalea Ellis shows what happened to the one who the shadow got inside of.

The man choked on it but managed to calm his breathing. He spoke again with a weak, breathy voice. “The darkness was watching, knowing. But the creature … It was hungry. So empty, so cold, like it had never known the warmth of the sun or the touch of a mother. And it got inside me. I can’t feel it. It’s just…gone. But I fear that it took something from me. Except, except—” He let out a wet, ragged cough. “What did it take? What did it eat? What am I missing ?”

My guess is that both effects were caused by whatever is sealed in her mind. Whether it is an Aberrant, a demon from the Plane of Darkness, something from the mirror world, or something else doesn’t really matter. But can it also see through Siobhan’s symbol? And, seeing, can it project its power into the world?