The group had just returned through the doorway in the hill, being chased by a horrific being.
"It's too dark. I can't see. Can someone provide a light?" asks Melkior.
Terra begins chanting, and a small globe of light appears close by. A brief moment later a fire elemental appears, glowing with an unearthly flame, bathing the entire corridor in light.
"What that?" asks Melkior, with a bit of trepidation.
"He's a fire elemental. I summoned him," replies Atlas.
"Oh. Fine," says Melkior, attempting to be unaffected but looking askance at the elemental.
Atlas sends the elemental ahead to scout and provide light. After a short distance, Melkior, Jade, and Terra recognize the area. A straight corridor with worked stone goes for a distance, where it them meets with unworked caverns that twist and wind. They eventually reach a ladder that goes for a distance upwards towards the hatch that they had entered into previously.
Atlas dismisses the elemental, as it would not be able to traverse the ladder without danger to others. Melkior goes up the ladder first, and the hatch easily opens for him, unlike the first time through from the other side where it was very difficult. He looks around briefly, and then assists Jade, Terra and lastly Atlas up through as well.
"Last time we were here, there was a black, viscous liquid with malignant intent. We should get out of here lest it return. The only question is, which way?"
"There is a fire 20 miles to the north, perhaps we should head in that direction?" says Atlas.
"What? How do you know that...never mind. It's not important. North is good, it should lead us out of the howling lands sooner than any other direction."
The group travels for a few hours, remaining on guard, and uneasy. The fierce winds are disrupted only by the large boulders and stones which cause an eerie howl as the wind wraps around them. They eventually get close to the source of fire according to Atlas, and Jade approaches alone to investigate.
What she sees is somewhat surprising. She sees a large bonfire with a small pile of wood nearby. There is a small bag on the ground, with something obviously inside. There are also four horses hobbled a short distance away.
Jade looks around, suspecting a trap, yet approaches the bag nonetheless she opens it up, and inside is a piece of parchment on it. She unrolls it, but is unable to read what is written upon it. She walks unceremoniously back to the group, and hands the parchment to Atlas.
"A gift for you. There is food and supplies in the saddlebags. Good luck," says Atlas, reading aloud. "That's all it says."
"Well, we have an unexpected patron. The question is who and why," says Melkior. "Though I suspect I might know both." Melkior muses to himself. The bonfire was smokeless and too far away to provide smoke in the first place, but was a beacon for Atlas. We were supposed to find something to help us according to Tim the wizard in the howling lands. However, Doreen also knew something of this, but how much is uncertain. The rune weapon that belongs to Jade is also a possible 'something' but would not have lead us to the bonfire.
As Melkior thinks to himself, the group travels mostly in silence northwards, back to civilization and out of the howling lands.