“Greetings.” Said the man as he pulled himself from his throne and interposed himself between the party and the tome that begged for hands upon it’s pages and eyes upon it’s secrets.
He revealed himself to be Joachim, the man who had built this place to keep the book from the unworthy. He would be their final test before they would be allowed to read the tome.
The best way of gageing a persons magic is with a duel, and after giving them a choice between a duel to the first blow against him and a cooperative combat to his yield they chose to fight together.
The rules were explained, a minute given to prepare.
Nikola and Clara wreathed themselves in magical light that hardened like armor against potential blows.
Rune with his magic of shadow marked Joachim as prey.
And Joachim finished his spell to conjure forth beings of lava and those of ice to guard him against his foes.
Thus the fight began.
Nikola opened with a spell of silence that would prevent many spells that relied on the speaking of the caster to direct the magic. But instead Joachim countered the potent spell with his prepared magic which allowed him to cast his own spells but left his magical defenses down for Nikola’s allies to take advantage.
And so they did with Clara cloaking the mephits in a blanket of sleep that but two pulled from themselves. Those two were descended upon by Esme releasing her inner fire with a flurry of clicks that brought about the still waking elemental’s demise.
This left room for Rune to rush in, on the heal of the flames, and bury his sword into Joachim’s arm and the dark magic reached out to the wound and tore it deeper turning the clean cut ragged.
His faithful bird Ataka followed and brought it’s talons and beak against the remaining mephit of ice. The two duelled in air and Ataca lead the beast in merry chase.
Joachim bleeding and angered unleashed a torrent of magical beams into Rune’s flesh tearing holes through him that sprayed blood, the light to fast to be dodged and to strong to be stopped by armor.
Esme rushed across the field and poured powerful positive energy into Verun to staunch the bleeding and then backed off from the front line.
At Clara’s call to leave Rune brought his swords across his face in defense and dove away.
Nikola reached out with his Master’s Hex and brought it down upon Joachim’s mind; slowing it, ruining his concentration, and weakening his magical defense, just enough that Clara could bring down her spell of pure destruction.
Her spell of chaos and sound, started as a point in her hands but as it moved forward grew to shake the room and exploded with light and sound; rending Joachim’s flesh and shattering bone.
He fell to the ground with a gasped “I yield.” He drug himself to the black throne and performed healing magic upon himself though it was negatively aligned. Such a spell would have killed those in the party were they in his state.
And so he let them pass impressed with their magics and their taste for combat. He lay back as they walked to the book and began to read.