The Ritual of Rejuvenation was an event that, prior to the death of Mah, occurred every five hundred years, the remaining Mahjarrat on Gielinor gathered in The North to take part in a mysterious ceremony in which one of their number was sacrificed to give power to the rest. This ceremony and the events leading up to it were known collectively as the Ritual.
Very little is actually known about the Ritual. What is known comes from a few casual mentions made by several Mahjarrat regarding the subject. The Zamorakian Mahjarrat known as General Khazard has confirmed that the Ritual takes place in an icy region in the far North when certain celestial bodies align in a particular way (known as syzygy), which Azzanadra has attested occurs once about every five hundred years.
|“||The fact that it's exactly every 500 years is an agreement between the Mahjarrat, rather than a biological necessity for them. It's possible that that agreement has changed over time, so in the earlier ages of the world some of the rituals happened closer together.||”|
— Mod John A
The fact that the timing of the ritual is due to an agreement leaves unanswered whether the syzygy is a requirement for the ritual being possible, or just a method of measuring time.
Before the Ritual
Before the Ritual itself begins, there is a series of secret alliances and clandestine deals made between various Mahjarrat in an effort to stack the odds unfairly in their favour, going to any length to avoid being sacrificed. A testament to the Mahjarrat's treacherous, deceitful, and back-stabbing nature, these "Ritual politics" seem to be as important as the events of the Ritual itself.
These alliances and deals can be avoided if the Mahjarrat can unanimously agree with a decision forwarded by another Mahjarrat. If this happens, no fighting occurs and the sacrifice goes on as planned. This was shown with Lamistard, as all of the Mahjarrat present during the 16th Ritual unanimously agreed to sacrifice him.
As the syzygy approaches, the Mahjarrat fight to determine a loser. Azzanadra has indicated that a portion of this fighting may take place at the ruined Zarosian fortress known as Ghorrock, not far from the Ritual site. Only one witness account of this stage exists, made by an unwary Fremennik explorer who happened to stumble upon the Ritual site at the time of syzygy. With no idea of what it was he was observing, his description refers to the skies "dripping with venom and fire" and the earth "twisting into grotesque forms with mouths that chewed at the roots of trees that bled."
Once a loser is decided, they are taken to the centre of the Ritual site, the location of an allegedly powerful stone, and sacrificed. Though the exact details remain unspecified, it is understood that the victim of the sacrifice is killed, releasing a vast amount of power which is absorbed by the other Mahjarrat. This is the secret to the Mahjarrat's incredibly long lives and immense power. Once rejuvenated, the newly absorbed power slowly diminishes over the five hundred year period until the next Ritual, when the Mahjarrat can restore it once again.
However, not all Mahjarrat gain the same amount of power from the sacrifice. It appears that the closer a Mahjarrat is to the centre of the Ritual site, the more power they absorb. This suggests that the battle preceding the Ritual serves not only to determine the sacrifice, but also to determine how much power each Mahjarrat will receive. The most powerful Mahjarrat manipulate the outcome of the battle beforehand in the "Ritual politics" stage, and in this way the same Mahjarrat gather the most power from the Ritual every time it comes around, much to the weaker Mahjarrat's resentment.
This historical event carries with it a logical conundrum; what will happen once all but one Mahjarrat have been sacrificed. However, due to statements by Enakhra and Zemouregal, Mahjarrat appear to reproduce sexually. Therefore, it is theoretically possible that the Mahjarrat race could exist indefinitely.
Consequently, some Mahjarrat have endeavoured to find a way around this unfair distribution of power. In the Tale of the Muspah quest, the player aids the Mahjarrat Jhallan in finding a resting place in the tunnels beneath the Ritual site in preparation for Gielinor's 18th Ritual. Expressing bitter sentiments towards the stronger, corrupt Mahjarrat such as Zemouregal who manipulate the results of the Ritual, he freezes himself in a block of ice in the hopes that he will be able to receive as much power as they will without having to take part in the battle. Unfortunately for Jhallan, his plan did not work, as Lucien forcefully dragged him from his icy prison and used him as the sacrifice for that ritual.
A Mahjarrat known as Lamistard attempted something similar for the 16th Ritual, but instead dug his own series of tunnels below the Ritual site. Unfortunately, he accidentally tunneled into the basement of Zemouregal's nearby stronghold. When Zemouregal discovered this, he captured him and held him prisoner until the time of the Ritual, when the rest of the Mahjarrat agreed to use him as the sacrifice.
There have currently been 19 Rituals. The following is a list of known rituals, including when they took place and who was sacrificed, based on an estimated timeline of Gielinor's history. Mathematically, if the Ritual takes place every 500 years exactly, the first would have taken place in the First Age, despite the fact that the Mahjarrat arrived in Gielinor in the Second Age. This suggests either that the rituals that happened in Freneskae are counted, rituals used to happen more frequently than every 500 years, or that the actual lengths of the Second and Third Ages are not as rounded as in most records. The 19th Ritual would be the first ritual to break this 500 year pattern, and the first to have a God and an Elder God sacrificed.
The Ritual Marker is the massive stone carving the marks the official location for where the Ritual will take place. It is here that the loser is sacrificed. According to Lucien in the Fremennik Saga Nadir, the stone is bound to the ritual site. This was later confirmed by Mod Osborne, who also hinted that the Daemonheim Ritual Marker might have come from Freneskae.