The party that had previously stayed in Adderwood met up with Onephrio and decided together to make their way to the Halls of the Black Spider. The party wished to avoid the ruined village they had discovered last time and so set out in a slightly different direction they hoped would lead them to their destination. Unfortunately, their way was blocked by a large number of orcs of the Purple Claw waiting in ambush. Howeverr Khurshid was able to spot the ambuscade in time and lead the party away.
That night they made camp near a hot spring. During Khurshid and Waq Awaqa’s watch, a group of large bushes was seen moving at the perimeter. The watchmen woke the rest of the party and they prepared for battle. This turned out to be a fatal decision. The creatures proved too powerful for the party, who lost two members – new friend Onephrio and long time companion The Pact is Sealed. Onephrio made his last stand amongst the camp fire they had set, only to find the creatures were resistant to fire. His last thought as he died was “I suppose men are more flammable than trees.”
The rest of the party escaped on their wagon and decided to push towards the dungeon despite exhaustion. Wickerbobbile acted as guide and wagon master. Luckily they went through the next day with only a herd of elk encountered. “Fucking majestic,” Khurshid noted. Outside the dungeon they found Father Thorne a wizard,Green Sonya a barbarian who is the reason that other Sonya’s need a descriptor, and Anex the Amazon. They had apparently come to explore the dungeon too and so they elected to do so together.
The combined party tried to remember what features of the dungeon they had encountered last time, which made some slow going. Their adventure was stopped when they encountered another flame skull in the large chapel that had previously been part of their running battle with the moonrakers. Most in the party attempted some skirmishing tactics, retreating into the hallway to avoid retaliation from the monster, but Red Sonya charged out to meet it. Unfortunately for those who weren’t Red Sonya, the clustered group in the hallway proved perfect for the flame skulls fireball spell, which blew Khurshid apart. Everyone else was injured except Sonya and Waq Awaqa, who had retreated down the hallway to watch their backs.
Father Thorne found that his magic was ineffective against the creature and thus retreated himself to make sure he did not meet Khurshid’s fate. Anex decided to rush the creature and attempted to grapple it. While she was not successful, the creature was thrown off balance and it’s powerful heat beams were unable to land. Annapurna’s use of her magical abilities to enhance her bow attacks finally managed to bring the creature down.
The party returned to the City State with what remained of Khurshid’s body. Annapurna, hoping to save him, rubbed the lamp they received from Salassim the Magician. Who should be inside but Salassim himself, changed into an Efreet! Salassim offered the use of his powers for three tasks, but admitted that saving Khurshid was outside of his ability. Waq Awaqa, who was Khurshid’s brother in religion, prepared his body for sea burial and dedication to Armadad Bog with the normal method of whipping and applying icthoid appendages to accompany the man into the afterlife. The rituals thus completed, he was rolled into the Estuary of the Roglaroon.