When Valleen Waycrest asks Arthur Hyperion if he can show her around the student residence wing of the college after an evening study session, the other apprentices learn for the first time that she does not actually live at the college, and has been returning home to her families estate every day after classes end. She seems thrilled to simply sit and socialize in the students lounge, though some, such as the brooding halfling Marimas, are less than happy about her presence.
As the students go about their evening routines, they are interrupted by a sudden surge in arcane energy, charging the very air around them and causing their magically attuned senses to go wild. Without warning small portals begin to open all around the residences. Out of the portals come squadrons of miniature animated tin soldiers who proceed to attack without prejudice or reason. They have no choice but to work together to defeat the tin soldiers, however more portals continue to open and soon there is a rush of terrified younger students from the upstairs dormitories.
The young ones claim that Oscar, a quiet and unsuspecting class mate, stole a book from the Arcane Library and unwittingly released a powerful Mana Wraith that had been bound to the tome. Oscar was now trapped in his room, in some kind of trance, while the Mana Wraith used its reality altering powers of the Realm of Wonders to replicate an animate Oscars collection of Tin Soldiers. Though it was unable to detach itself fully from the book, it was opening portals to send Tin Soldiers throughout the students residence.
The apprentices first instinct was to get the young ones to safety and go for help, however they discovered that the Mana Wraiths magic had caused the doors to disappear, trapping all the students inside the residency.
Valleen, Rae’thu, Marimas, and Shariekk all rushed towards the upper floor to see what could be done to stop the Mana Wraith and rescue Oscar, while Dwahain, Hadrian, and Arthur stayed behind to protect the young ones from wave upon wave of Tin Soldiers.
Clearing their way through the hallways and liberating several more students that were trapped in their rooms, Marimas and Rae’thu are the first to find Oscar. The young boy is sitting cross legged on his bed, the heavy leather bound tome open on his lap. Tethered to it by a swirling translucent tail is the Mana Wraith. It eagerly attacks, seeking to drain the spirit energy from the apprentices to feed its own hunger. While the strange being from the Realm of Wonders seems to be more than a match for the students, they are able to distract it long enough for Rae’thu to sneak past and slam the book shut, trapping the Mana Wraith once more.
Oscar immediately snaps out of his trance, and seems to be only vaguely aware of what has happened. As the students attempt to discover if the threat has passed, they turn their backs on Oscar and the book for only a moment. That’s when they hear a hollow and sinister voice come from the book.
“Oscar… come play with me Oscar… we were having such fun together…”
Without thinking Oscar begins to open the book once more, however Rae’thu acts quickly, batting the book out of his hands and placing it under the leg of the bed to hold it shut. With the entrance to the students residence open once more, several students stay with Oscar while others run to find once of the instructors.
Mastermage Alonsus Wetherby arrives and quickly retrieves the book, sealing it with an incantation. He thanks the students for their heroic actions. Thanks to them, no one was seriously injured in would could have been a catastrophic disaster. He admits that the Mana Wraith’s powers were substantial enough that he and several other instructors were unable to break the spell sealing the students in.
With the crisis averted and the book secured, he sends everyone off to their rooms. It is not until the following mornign that the students discover that Oscar was on his last strike, and has been expelled from VASA for his transgressions.