It is a dusty rune. That should have been their first clue that it was dangerous.
Magical Fiends: When a mage or wizard casts a spell and draws more energy than s/he needs Magical Fiends are drawn to that spot and they feed of the extra magic as long as they can. When someone's magic is being fed off of they can't cast spells as well and they feel weaker. The only way to remove a magicial fiend is for it to be drawn away by someone else's power or to go to the very spot you first cast the spell and kill them