In your youth, you were an apprentice to Gwynned Bal, Master of the Unseen Tower and Wizard King of Gan Loren, the Jewel of the Kartan Sea.
Your time at the famed university located in and around the tower was cut short when the call to the life of an adventurer grew too enticing. You have only been back briefly over the years, though each time Gwynned has offered you a place as instructor of your chosen school of magic.
Each time you have refused with regets, but your adventuring companions are settling into lives of leisure, leaving the road behind, starting families. You have a sense that change is in the air. One day you receive a surprise visit from a spectral servant bearing ill-tidings. Gwynned Bal, the greatest wizard in the world, is dead.
The servant bears no details, instead offering only an invitation to the reading of the archmage's will in a week's time, and the pattern for a teleport circle.
As you enter the Archmage's chamber, the stones orbiting two of your fellow wizards' heads drop to the plush carpet. The wizards in question blink in shock for a moment and bend to scoop up their Ioun stones. You waggle your fingers surreptitiously. Everyone comes to the same conclusion almost instantly. You have entered an anti-magic field. You follow one of the armored guardsmen to the door at the far end of the hallway. He swings the door open to reveal the wizened figure of Gwynned Bal, seated behind his desk, appearing quite alive, if more stooped and covered with liver spots than you remember. He waves you to a row of chairs set up in front of his desk.
And one over-sized cat-bed for the one of you who has wild-shaped into a panther for the occasion.
'Thank you for coming. Now, before you get upset, I am indeed dead. This is just a recording. How is there a magical projection into an anti-magic field you ask? I'm just that good. Okay, stop that. Stop poking the projection. I'm just a recording so I can't actually respond, but I assume by this point at least one of you has put their hand through my face, so quit it and let me get this show on the road.
In your travels, you've seen much of the world, even, some of you, other planes of existence. You made allies, and friends, and no use denying it, enemies. And alas, so have I. Of course, now that I'm dead, some of those enemies may seek out my works, my legacy, and attempt to undo what I have wrought in this world, tear it down, burn it all to bedrock and salt the ashes. In my youth, I wasn't exactly the nicest fellow. One doesn't get to the ripe old age of 1563, by popularity contest, you understand.
You're probably thinking I was murdered by one of those enemies I just mentioned. Sorry to disappoint. I got bored, and decided to finally let myself die of old age. See what the afterlife is like. If it sucks, I'll come back and warn you so you can work toward living forever, or Lichdom, or whatever blows your robes up.
But I've got a good feeling about dying. Seems like the thing to do, at this point in my life. However, with my death, a fair number of… things… may need attending to. Anyway, don't be sad I'm dead. When you're my age, dying is the last great adventure, the last unknown. Think of this, rather, as my going away party.
In honor of the occasion, I've written you each a little going away present, and I whittled up a few little baubles I had lying around into something you might find useful.'
Eight scrolls zoom from the surface of Gwynned Bal's desk at a wave of the projection's hand, darting to your waiting hands. You see that each scroll is held closed by a ring with a gemstone containing a rune the likes of which you have never seen before. The projection continues.
'Ridcully, Lyrrin, Thranduil, I know you've been wanting me to name one of you as Headmaster in my place, but honestly, none of you individually is a match for what awaits you. I don't mean that as an insult, merely as a truth that you should take to heart. Even the eight of you together may yet fall to the forces which will be arraying against you once news of my death spreads.
Thus I leave the title of Headmaster to you all collectively. There are eight of you, my best pupils in each school of magic. To you I leave the tower, and my status as ruler of Gan Loren. I hope you'll all stay on in some capacity, and that you don't all just try to kill each other so you can claim the title of Headmaster for yourself alone. I hope you'll respect my wishes enough not to slaugher each other in my city. In any event, though, I've no way to enforce that; what with being dead and all.
Those little baubles, in addition to a few other small tricks, act as control keys for the tower. Six of the eight control keys are required to operate many of the tower's functions. You can pick up the tower and move it, should that become necessary. You can also lower the true-invisibility field that cloacks the tower from prying eyes, and turn off the anti-teleportation matrix. Though, I… wouldn't recommend it, since quite a lot of my enemies wouldn't mind storming in to take a dump in my urn.
Further, the controls for the anti-magic zone are located in the arms of your chairs. On… Off… and so forth. At the end of this recording, my desk will transform into a table for meetings and such. Also, and this part really should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. At this point my ashes must be at least somewhat magical. Please don't try and use me for spell components.
Lastly, while it's not compulsory, someone will need to keep the school running. These things have a measure of inertia, and the new term will be fast approaching. So if you decide not to hold classes this year, you'll have about eight or nine hundred angry young wizards to deal with in a couple more weeks.'
The image disappears, and his hardwood desk hurtles forward, flipping endo over end and transmuting instantly into a black polished marble table, octagonal in shape, bearing runes of power along the outer edge.
For a long moment silence falls over the chamber, before you take your seats at the council table.