Ray thinks he has a fairly good idea of what the patrol routes are. It largely consists of one group of fliers patrolling the entire perimeter, some smaller circles patrolling each campsite, a group of earth ponies and unicorns that just sorta roam about in a relatively straight line throughout the camp, and the few watchtowers which don't seem to change guard at all. You also notice that anyone lucky enough to be in a tent or shelter is likely asleep or not moving, which could mean they'd make a good hidey hole so long as no alarms are blaring.Blinding Ray rolls perception.
Radiant Rose rolls deception.
Radiant on the other hoof gets a bad feeling about this as the unicorn smiles wickedly and canters up to her. "Of course, sister, you may observe and bask in the rites." He swishes his tail against you in a very pony-ish but extremely uncomfortable fashion, faintly pushing you forward towards where the other acolytes have gathered by the fire. "Come, sit, warm your bones, our Queen will ensure you are cared for."
You have a really bad feeling about this.
With no other option besides blowing your cover, you gather by the fire where the unicorns meet you with murmurs to each other and sinister looks. The rites begin when a unicorn (they're all unicorns) acolyte with a scar across an eye tosses a bundle of herbs and flowers into the fire. You have time to recognize drakewort, but the other multicolored flowers could be a lot of things. Smoke rises up from the flames, you hear the glow of magic, and for a second you think you see the form of a dragon rising from the smoke.
He speaks in draconic. "We offer earth and its life so that thou may consume. Taste of the land upon over which thee will soar." He throws some salts into the fire, conjuring a bright green flame. The winds picks up, and the smoke blows upon Rose... who coughs and sputters, but manages to avoid any severe side effects. Her eyes become watery and itchy, though.
Another acolyte steps forward, magically brandishing a dagger. The first acolyte speaks, "We offer blood of the magi1, so thine thirst may be quenched and the pact sealed."
They all raise a hoof. You feel compelled to do so as well, either by peer pressure or some other sinister influence. "We offer ourselves, our lives, and our magic to thine cause. May you return upon molten wings and thunderous zephyrs, to lay claim to the land that was once yours.
In the heart of the fire you can swear you see a face. Or a head, many heads, coals hissing at you as the wind picks up more. You feel nauseous, the heat getting to you, forcing a sweat that only freezes you in this cold temperature. You feel like passing out, like you've been drained of your magic, but you manage to fight through it and steel yourself to this suckstorm of terror.
"Hail the Dragon Queen!"
A few minutes later you find yourself still close to the fire, looking into the coals, wondering if you can still see anything. You don't think you can, but you still don't want to move. It's warm by the fire.