It is the end of a long and weary evening; you and your apprentice, Mantea, have spent the day researching recipes and producing potions. Unexpectedly, a courier arrives with a mysterious package. You question him, but he only shrugs and says that it was in his office with postage already paid this morning. After you send him off with the customary tip, you turn to find Mantea peering intently at the delivery.
“It's magical!” she says, gaze not leaving the object. “Are you going to open it?”
You take up the package and peel back the wrapping, exposing a box containing an oddly shaped wooden object covered in strange symbols and a sealed letter. You know that purple patronage — that's the symbol of your mystic mentor, the wizard Verwald! You waste no time cracking open the seal, and Mantea reads over your shoulder:
My dear old apprentice, whom I am now privileged to call my distinguished colleague,
I write to you with exciting news! After many years of travel and magical research, I have amassed a collection of treasures that I wish to bestow upon a worthy recipient. I invite you and your apprentice to come to my realm to take part in a series of challenges to test your intellect and cunning, with my treasures as reward. I know taking the time to visit my realm is a considerable imposition, so I have enclosed the following artifact as an enticement, as well as an invocation of my entreaty. You may also find the table below to be a useful reference.
Magister Magicae of Rock Springs
Mantea bounces in excitement as you fold the paper closed. “So Verwald was your mentor? What's he like?”
“He's quite eccentric,” you reply, “even for a wizard. But his passion for magical research is unparalleled. He is clever, mischievous, and kind-hearted, much like you. And he likes to challenge his students with riddles and conundrums.”
“I like him already,” says Mantea, smiling. “Is this one of his riddles?”
“Perhaps,” you say. You pick up the wooden object, peering at the symbols. You recognize their design as Verwald's private mage script, but you don't recall their correspondence. Perhaps there is more information in Verwald's letter...