“Another long and unproductive day.” Akvior Yrbus thought to himself as he finished creating his last scroll of the evening. As he tied a ribbon around the scroll and closed it with a wax seal, he sat back in his chair and pondered as he looked at his stack of finished scrolls. His gaze then looked across the room to a dusty book on the shelf that he had kept for ages, but seldom used. Akvior then stood up, walked to the bookshelf and took the rather large book. He then returned to his table and set the book down. As he admired how tattered and worn the cover had become, a sense of fear came over him: The book in front of him contained a trove of lost knowledge regarding the arcane arts, but much of it was indecipherable or missing vital elements to make any sense of the spells contained within.
“No, I can’t. It’s too dangerous to meddle with this thing.” Akvior thought to himself. He sat in silence for several moments as he sipped a glass of wine and stared at the cover. His curiosity eventually got the best of him, and he pulled the large tome closer. As he opened the cover, flickering candles on the opposite side of the room danced as if they were hit with a gust of wind. The sense of fear that gripped Akvior turned to a sense of wonder and amazement; the writings, runic depictions, and drawings contained inside the book seemed as if they were moving and rearranging themselves begging to be read as he turned through the pages.
As he was inspecting the various pagan spells, recipes for potions and locations for long lost magical ingredients in the tome, a specific section drew his attention. The page contained several lines that were drawn out and haphazardly scattered, but as Akvior continued to watch them, the lines rearranged themselves into a depiction of a maze. He began to stare deeply at the maze, trying to find a path through it in his head. As he was doing this, he did not seem to notice everything around him fading and becoming darker. Shadow began to fill the room and turn everything darker and darker the farther he progressed through the maze in his head. A sense of accomplishment came over Akvior as he reached the center of the maze in his head, but that sense turned to terror as he looked up from the book and found himself sitting on the ground in a barren wasteland.
Akvior quickly closed the book and took it as he stood up to inspect his surroundings: Dead trees and grass, a cold wind blowing and a dark cloudy sky.
“By the Virtues, where am I?” Akvior thought to himself. He then looked down at the mysterious tome he had been reading. He opened it up to try and find the pages with the maze he had been staring at, but all the pages in the book were now blank. As he looked up from the book, a cloaked shadowy figure was standing in front of him. The figure raised a hand as if to point at the book. Akvior looked down at the book and then back at the figure as he reluctantly handed it to the apparition. As the shadowy figure took the book, everything around began to react violently: The wind began to howl, the clouds in the sky began to rotate as if a violent storm was approaching and several of the dead trees began to fall and lose their limbs. Suddenly, a bright flash of light overcame Akvior and knocked him backwards to the ground.
As he regained consciousness, Akvior found himself on the floor of his study with the book still on the table. He carefully stood up and walked over to a mirror across the room. To his surprise, his beard and hair had grown significantly longer as if he had been away for several weeks. As he was inspecting himself in the mirror, he saw a bright flash and suddenly the cloaked shadowy figure staring back at him from the other side.
An evil smirk came across Akvior’s face, as he knew what had to be done…