The Magus worked tirelessly into the night, preparing bundles of spells – carefully rolled, and preserved on ancient parchment from the early days of magic – for the journey that laid ahead of him. The morning mist stretched out to the Oak Hills off in the distance, and the moisture from the rain the night before painted everything with a gloomy tint. It was cold for an August morning – colder than Ravenhall was used to seeing – but this was not a normal year, and the Magus could sense the weather was threatening to deteriorate further. Magic was dying, you see, and the Magus was dying along with it.
He summoned a retinue to his home in Ravenhall, with the express purpose of accompanying him on his journey to the land of Umbra — the place on the Eastern continent where magic was born. They had all arrived the night before, and he received them in his great hall. His servants prepared a feast for them, offering them nothing but the finest food and drink Ravenhall had to offer. The estate seemed timeless in design — an ornate palace suited for a king, built with expertly carved stones, and lined with the finest tapestries, textiles, and artwork from around the world. The gardens were all tended with great care, and blossomed with flora the region would not normally support. It would have taken a hundred men, a hundred years to build this place by a means other than magic — but the Magus was unrivaled in his craft, and his influence could be seen in every piece of stone and every blade of grass on the property.
He looked over his scrolls one last time as the sun began to cut through the haze, placing them carefully into his travel chest. The Magus was old, and wizened, but not frail. His long grey hair was tied neatly back into a ponytail, and his robes were pristine. He still had much to do before they could depart, but he was determined not to waste his final days idling away. He cleared his throat, and made his way down to the great hall to break his fast. He would wait until his guests had risen to eat before leaving the hall again."Free rein,"
he told his fellow travelers, as they arrived, "of my home, as you see fit. I trust you will find my accommodations suit your needs. Simply ask your attendant for anything you may require during your stay here, and rest up — for the road ahead of us is long, and trying."
He did not tell them the purpose of their journey; or at least, not all together. Not like that.