Neera (EE)
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You'll first meet Neera in the Bridge District, where she'll be protecting a fellow wild mage named Mereth from the Red Wizard Lanneth. Neera and Mereth will escape, and when you leave the district, you'll run into to Neera. She'll tell you that she's set up a Hidden Refuge for wild mages in the Wild Forest, and she'll invite you to meet her there.

When you arrive at the Wild Forest, you'll encounter Neera right away -- and she'll reveal that the wild mages have done such a good job of setting up traps and illusions to protect the Hidden Refuge that she can't actually enter it. So she'll ask you to help her out. It's at this point that you'll be able to add Neera to your party.

The Wild Forest is a small area filled with traps, illusions, and easy battles. More notable, though, is that magic will be random while you're there, and so you might, for example, cast Heal and end up silencing your entire party. So you're probably better off not casting anything at all. If you include Neera in your party, then she'll act as your tour guide, and you'll learn that she hates snakes.

In the northeastern part of the forest, you'll discover a destroyed bridge. If Neera is with you, then she'll inform you that the bridge's decrepit state is really an illusion, and that it can be crossed. Without Neera, you'll need to grab a Pile of Gravel from the nearby gravel pit and toss it onto the bridge to reveal the same thing. Dispelling the illusion on the bridge will earn every character in your party 20,000 xp and unlock the Hidden Refuge on your world map.

At the entrance to the Hidden Refuge, you'll meet Hayes and Telana, the other two wild mages in charge. Between them and Neera, you'll learn that it's a group of Red Wizards called the Order of Eight Staves who have been kidnapping and studying wild mages, and that Lanneth is one of their leaders.

Inside the refuge, when you talk to Telana, she'll ask you to convince a wild mage named Daxus Taralom to join them. However, before rushing off to complete this quest, you should talk to the other wild mages in the refuge and complete quests for them first. If you don't, then most of them will later die or disappear.

You'll find Daxus on the bottom level of Delosar's Inn in the Bridge District, where he'll be entertaining the other patrons by being "the famous Blue Elf from Athkatla." When you talk to Daxus, a Red Wizard and four mercenaries will show up, and they'll attempt to capture him. You'll have two ways to proceed:
  • If you give Daxus a Talisman of the Hearthfire (from Knocktor in the Hidden Refuge), then he'll teleport away, and each character in your party will earn 4000 xp. You'll then have to fight the Red Wizard party, which will earn you 18,000 xp.

  • If you don't give Daxus a talisman, then he'll stay with you, and you'll have to fight two Red Wizard battles -- the one inside the inn, plus another one when you leave the inn. Between the two, you'll earn 36,000 xp. Afterwards, Hayes will show up, and he'll escort Daxus to the refuge. But be warned: Daxus will die if you follow this path.
When you return to the Hidden Refuge, you'll discover that the Red Wizards attacked there as well. The refuge will be a smoking ruin, and it's possible that only Telana will be there. When you talk to Telana, she'll tell you how she was captured by the Red Wizards and taken to their enclave in Waukeen's Promenade, but then managed to escape. If you completed the quests for Mereth and Kirik in the refuge, then they'll be around as well, but everybody else will be gone.

Inside the Red Wizard Enclave in Waukeen's Promenade, you'll have to fight numerous Red Wizards, including Lanneth, but you'll be able to rescue all of the refuge's wild mages, assuming (for most of them) that you completed their side quest first. You'll also learn that it was Hayes who sold out the wild mages to the Red Wizards (for a measly 500 gp), and that the head of the Order of Eight Staves is someone named autharch Vicross.

When you return to the Hidden Refuge, each character in your party will earn 10,000 xp, and many of the surviving wild mages will give you a gift: Neera will give you a Mechanical Bird (which you'll be able to sell later in Amkethran), Telana will give you the Robe of Goodman Hayes, Reginald will give you The Brick +2, and King Gramm will name you his heir.

If you so choose, then you can also track down Hayes in Trademeet. You'll find him in Vyatri's Pub, drinking himself into oblivion. You can either let him live in misery, or you can kill him for 7000 xp. Hayes will drop the Bloodied Tunic of Hayes when he dies, but if you deliver it to Telana in the Hidden Refuge, she won't thank you for it. So you won't really get a reward either way.

Throne of Bhaal

During the Throne of Bhaal expansion pack, Neera will get visited by Jerome, a messenger bird from Telana. This will probably happen in the North Forest after you've completed Saradush. From Jerome's message, Neera will learn that Vicross, the leader of the Order of the Eight Staves, is camped nearby. Neera will consider this to be excellent news, and she'll ask you to help her ambush Vicross and put an end to the Order.

To set up the ambush, you'll need to travel to the Clearing on the world map. When you get there, Neera will inform you that she'll need to cast Nahal's Reckless Dweomer (a level 1 spell) and then rest for the ambush to work. When you do this, Vicross will show up with a dozen allies, putting some doubt into who's ambushing whom. After a short conversation, Vicross will disappear, but you'll still have to deal with her twelves allies: four Red Wizards, four Thayan Fighters, and four Thayan Knights.

This battle can be tough since you'll be outnumbered and unbuffed at the start. To even the odds, you can immediately rush to the edge of the Clearing and leave the area (or use your Pocket Plane ability to teleport to the Pocket Plane). You can then repeat the following sequence: heal up, return to the Clearing, kill one or two (or more) enemies, and then flee away again. Depending on the power of your party, you might need to flee a few times, but you should be able to win the battle and keep everyone in your party alive.

Note: Neera won't be able to cast any spells during this encounter.

Another Note: Even if the battle is easy for you, you might want to flee from the Clearing when there is only one enemy remaining. That's because when this battle ends, you'll immediately start another one, and so by fleeing you can heal up and re-buff and make the next battle easier.

You'll earn 96,000 xp for defeating the enemies, and you'll find a collection of +1 and +2 items on their corpses. When the last enemy falls, Vicross will suddenly reappear, and, seeing that her ambush didn't go as planned, she'll teleport away -- only she'll have a wild surge when she casts the spell, revealing that she's a wild mage as well, and she'll take your party with her when she leaves.

You'll end up in Dennaton's Coliseum in Priador. Vicross will teleport away again -- this time by herself -- leaving you to deal with a large contingent of yuan-ti gladiators. Luckily, the yuan-ti's opponents -- Feldrak Feldrak'i (fighter / thief), Lea Gosh'Aar (fighter / mage), and Siege of Dragonspear companion Voghiln the Vast (skald) -- will take your side, and so you'll have at least a little bit of help in the skirmish.

This might be another tough battle for you, especially since there isn't any way to flee this time. We had the most luck summoning creatures and casting Chaos to sow confusion and distract the yuan-ti. You can earn up to 116,000 xp for winning the battle. Nothing interesting will happen if you save your allies, and nobody will drop any equipment.

Afterwards, Dennaton will order you to move to the staging area, which is located through the gate to the southwest. Once there, you'll discover several shopkeepers:
You'll also meet the lich Szass Tam in the staging area. He'll want you to kill Vicross, and he'll offer to teleport you to her estate. If you decline and attack Szass, then he'll just teleport you back to the Clearing once you've done enough damage to him, and you'll fail Neera's quest. So don't do that. Instead, agree to his request, and then talk to him again when you're ready to go. Just be sure to go shopping first. You won't be able to return to the staging area after leaving.

Note: Dennaton's Coliseum is much larger than the small part of it you're allowed to visit. Apparently, at one point it was going to be a more substantial part of the quest.

When you arrive at Vicross's Estate, you'll learn that Vircoss can be found in the inner courtyard, but that she has a host of guards protecting her. If you head directly for Vicross, then she'll summon those guards to her, and you'll have a major fight on your hands. So for an easier time against her, you'll need to take out the guards first. See the Vicross's Estate page for information about how to do this without setting off the alarms.

When you confront Vicross, she won't seem to care about anything anymore, given that everybody now knows that she's a wild mage. No matter what you say to her, she and her three bodyguards will attack you. Vicross is a high level mage, but the battle against her shouldn't be too tough -- especially when compared to the other battles in this quest. You'll earn 54,000 xp for defeating Vicross and her bodyguards, and you'll find Full Plate Mail +2, a Robe of the Evil Archmagi, a Rod of Reversal, a Thayan Circlet, and more when you loot their corpses.

When you're ready to talk to Szass, you'll need to ring the Bell of Summoning, which can be found hanging from the gazebo in the estate's inner courtyard, near where you fought Vicross. This will summon Szass to you. However, instead of rewarding you, Szass will attack you. Szass is a lich, but liches should be old hat by now, and the fight shouldn't cause you too many problems. Once you've done enough damage to Szass, he'll surrender and offer to send you back to the Clearing. If you decline this largesse, then the fight will continue -- until you've done enough damage to him, and then he'll send you back to the Clearing anyway.

Back in the Clearing, Neera should talk to you, which will complete her quest and earn each character in your party 35,000 xp. You'll also mysteriously receive a Wand of Whips. But note: it's easy to break the end of the quest. If you don't see a movie featuring the Bell of Summoning when you return to the Clearing, then something went wrong and Neera won't talk to you. So be sure to save before summoning Szass, and then repeat the fight against him until the quest works as intended.