One of the many patrons the party met in the Yawning Portal Inn was a bard named Ellithral the Golden. Ellithral was well known for his honeyed voice and repertoire of tales. Unknown to Durnan, Ellithral had been acting as the proxy of Errya Eltorchul. Errya asked her good friend Ellithral to quietly direct those of the Called who were relatively wealthy to a discreet rendezvous in the Hall of Many Pillars where they could purchase “one-of-a-kind, recently procured, up-to-date” maps of Undermountain. The party agreed to rendezvous with Errya down below and purchased one of her maps, which proved to be the genuine article.
Upon one of their return trips to the Inn to rest, the party was met by a new member, a sorcerer named Ataraxian. While the party already had a sorcerer among their ranks (the hermit, Dog) Ataraxian was much more the typical magic-user for whom Ellithral had been told to be on the lookout. For in fact, Errya belonged to an academy of mages that made their headquarters in Undermountain. Ellithral once again put the party in contact with Errya Eltorchul, only this time she looked upon them as potential allies, not simply customers. She led them north past a warded hallway, and through the territory previously held by the Sluggard Goblins. There they found the gathering of magic users known as Halaster’s Heirs.
Halaster’s Heirs, they discovered was led by two former apprentices of Halaster, the Mad Mage – Trobriand the Metal Mage, and Murial the Misshapen. Errya was only a mid-level apprentice of the academy herself, but she had been tasked with recruitment. At the moment forty wizards belonged to the college and studied the paths of the arcane. Membership granted certain benefits, including access to the college’s apothecary, library, and mentor-ship by a master wizard. To join the Heirs, Ataraxian had to complete an Induction Challenge, which he was allowed to undertake with the help of his companions. The Challenge consisted of three parts – The Trial of Knowledge, the Trial of Might, and the Trial of Wisdom.
In the Trial of Knowledge the party was asked to educate themselves on the City of Waterdeep above, by locating and accumulating a codex of some of the more trivial sites and businesses above. For example, the party had to location of sites as diverse and varied as the best place in Waterdeep to buy salt-pork, to the best location to buy antiques, to where the sewer system granted access to the dungeons below the city.
In the Trial of Might, the party was whisked to an arena where they had to defeat a menagerie of Muiral’s pets including a host of giant spiders and scorpions. They made quick work of the oversized vermin and were then magically teleported the location of the Trial of Wisdom.
During the Trial of Wisdom, the party emerged in a room with a single goblin, a lumbering Iron Golem, and a great sleeping dragon – each guarding a chest in an alcove behind them. Tenri tried exploring the room using stealth, and found that moving toward the dragon caused it to stir, moving toward the golem caused its eyes to come to life, but approaching the goblin in a non-hostile manner allowed him to speak with the creature and negotiate. The goblin agreed to give the party what was inside the chest he had been guarding, and when he turned to retrieve the item, the environment around them shimmered, and blinked out of existence, to be replaced by Trobriand and Muiral. The illusion was simply a test to determine if they were too over-confident to belong to their order, as many more arrogant mages would be swift to attack the greater creatures in hopes of more costly treasure.
Ataraxian was granted an invitation to join Halaster’s Heirs (as was Dog although he quickly declined). Ataraxian accepted, and was told the dues were simply to create a magic item of at least 100 gp value, once a month. He agreed to those terms, and was given access to the college, Muiral took him under his wing as a mentor, and was given a ward stone that would allow them to bypass the wards of the college (including an ability overcome the spell that made it a null-magic zone for its non-members).
The party was also granted a room which they could use at any time to rest and heal from their wounds. They were also given a liaison, a clockwork golem named Crunch, who could help them with minor tasks including research in the library.
Finally, Deville, the party’s acolyte to Loviatar – the Maiden of Pain – discovered that the Heirs’ had a spy among their midst. Yolanda Shamat, a priestess who also had some knowledge of arcane magic, had managed to infiltrate the Heirs as a student, but in fact she was under orders by the nearby Temple of Loviatar to spy on the wizards and more importantly uncover as much information about The Called as possible. Deville submitted to her authority as a higher ranked cleric, and made a pilgrimage to the Temple, which was only a short trip through the dungeon tunnels. There he was tested with his knowledge of the tenets of the Lady of Pain, a test which he only barely passed, since his studies at the monastery of Loviatar in the world above had been brief. But they didn’t kill him, and in fact High Whipmaster Hlethvagi Anteos demanded he join their ranks. He was ordered to add to the pain and poverty of those around him for 20 hours per tenday. But in exchange he was granted a blessing that would allow him to invoke a state of unholy suffering. In addition, he was ordered to learn more about the faith of Loviatar, and to do anything asked of him by Yolanda. Deville submitted eagerly to these requirements.