10th of Mirtul
The earth genasi guard returns and escorts the group into a maze of tunnels. Shortly, they are presented once more to Thayana, who smiles and greets them warmly. She waves one acolyte off to fetch someone, and another to bring forth the Broth of Tongues.
The Fellowship partakes of the potion and Thayana does too, and they begin to converse as a man is brought into the candle-lit cavern. The man has dark skin of a rich coffee color, and long black hair. He bears an elegantly trimmed goatee and has ears that taper to a slender point. He wears rich clothing of silks in a style more typical of the fair and sunny South rather than the oft-frigid Sword Coast. Though his dress and manner are elegant, he is obviously somewhat unkempt and dirty, and looks rather haggard. Though a slightly disgusted look passes across his face when offered the Broth of Tongues, he nonetheless drinks some and joins the conversation.
He introduces himself as Howl Firebrand, a wizard living in Waterdeep. He too experienced Halaster’s Call several weeks ago and set about on his own to investigate. However, when surprised by a monster on the Dungeon Level of Undermountain, he reflexively tried to teleport away from danger, and his spell was scrambled by Halaster’s wards. He ended up near the Horntallow after wandering about in the maze-like for days, and begged for their help. They promised to put him in contact with surface travelers when they could.
The Fellowship tells Howl that their target lies deeper, and it may be a while until they return to the surface, but he agrees to come along anyway. Howl says that he’d rather continue on with the group even if they don’t make for the surface right away, as he has heard of their exploits from the earth genasi and has surmised that travel with them is relatively safer than not.
11th of Mirtul
The group, now with Howl and more information from Thayana, makes for the Chasm of the Mad Mage. They climb it once again, and the Fellowship decides to show Howl the Entry Well to help familiarize him with their normal routes. On the way, they run into Chukt’yuktuk again, in the same secret door room as last time. He’s happy to see them still alive and asks what he can do to help. Deejo purchases his Mask of Sweet Air, and the Fellowship together purchases a Heward’s Fortifying Bedroll for the spellcasters to make communal use of. Chuk wishes them well on their quest and hopes they live to see each other again.
The Fellowship shows Howl the Entry Well, then reverses course to pass through the Hall of Many Columns and the Hall of Shattered Mirrors, now empty of its mirrors. As they cross the rope bridge leading to the Corridor of Black Water, the bridge twists unexpectedly and Deejo is thrown off. However, she wildshapes into an owl in the nick of time and manages to pull up away from the floor of the chasm and land on the other side.
The party encounters trouble when crossing the Corridor of Black Water, though. 3 Dreads and a Flameskull ambush them and light the water on fire! The group defeats them all through HALO’s bold charge, Dolf’s holy turning, and Howl’s mystic power, though they proved to be worthy foes. The Fellowship moved on, and Howl used several prestidigitations to clean the oily water from everyone.
The Fellowship then crossed the rippling black curtain of darkness in front of the Hungry Face. HALO sprints down the corridor to deposit scrolls given to him by Dolf. The Hungry Face stops its scream after eating a Scroll of Remove Curse, and the rest of the group hurries to catch up.
HALO then discovers an alcove in the wall ahead that traces out a small passageway, complete with a secret door leading to the Librarium of the Dungeon Level. The Librarium has been obviously looted over time, and now only ruined and moldering books remain on the shelves that line the room. A single scrap of paper rests on the reading table that seems to be from a book discussing the history of Undermountain. It discusses the Seventimes, a period of Undermountain’s history when the Seven (Halaster’s most powerful Apprentices, excluding Shradin Mulophor, who arrived in 1148 DR) descended into Undermountain in search of the Mad Mage. The passage names the Seven – Arcturia, Jhesiyra Kestellharp, Murial the Misshapen, Nester, Marambra Nyghtsteel, Rantantar, and Trobriand the Metal Mage.
Shortly afterwards the group moves on and finds several dead adventurers who all bear a badge with a purple worm on it a chamber nearby that also bears a fist-sized glowing spot on a wall above an inscription reading “Find ye a nice day – without”. A side chamber off of this one contains a few dead grells, and the group is ambushed by two more when they return to the main chamber. The grells paralyze Howl, Cale, and Deejo within a few seconds, but HALO and Dolf place themselves in between them and fight back valiantly. Eventually the grells go down, and the other spellcasters are freed.
The Fellowship pauses to catch their breath as HALO moves about, finding a blue-green potion, a masterwork silver dagger, a Scroll of Rope Trick, and a Wand of Burning Hands, before tending to the unfortunate adventurers bodies. He lays them next to one another, retrieves their badges, and uses two flasks of oil to soak what remains of their bodies after using their ragged cloaks and tabards as shrouds. He says some words over them, too low for the rest of the group to hear, though Dolf knows what they likely are. Afterwards, he kneels and draws a tindertwig across the dungeon flagstones, and lights the corpses aflame.