The Federation Lords returned to Azamaraen long enough to summon the guards and obtain their mounts. With Ronah joining them, they rode out of the city and into the midst of the spiders, meeting the enemy head-on. Thali and her graveknight, in the meantime, had fled.
The Federation Lords quickly turned the phase spiders aside, but the creatures appeared to have no end. As they fought back the enormous limbs that emerged from the ground, they were – one by one – captured by the spiders and drawn into the Ethereal Plane, where an endless army of the spiders gathered.
Once on the Ethereal Plane, the party was struck by an odd sight: a mind flayer beating back the spiders not far from where they stood. Yet the two groups were unable to aid each other, beset on all sides by the phase spiders that swarmed throughout the plane.
As the battle seemed to turn against them, Thali and her graveknight appeared, hazy on the Material Plane as the party watched from the Ethereal, and at her back were dozens of ghouls. They assaulted the enormous appendages and made short work of them.
Once the last appendage collapsed, so did the ground around them, revealing their source: a gargantuan, eight-legged beast with eyes the size of houses. Maimed, it attempted to flee – and Sortan followed, with Seven close on his heels.
Abandoned, poisoned, and with no way to return to the Material Plane, Draven was forced to take drastic measures he would not otherwise take around his companions: he summoned an ally, divine in nature. That ally, however, was a devil.
Meanwhile, Seven, Sortan, and the illithid struck the creature again and again, until at last it shuddered and collapsed, unable to ward off the terrible blows to its vulnerable body.
Sortan greeted their unlikely ally, and learned his name was Yahara-zin’skrelt. He was an exile from his people, on account of his predilection for the brains of his own kin, and he roamed the Darklands in search of suitable prey. He was drawn to Azamaraen when he heard rumor that his kin had overtaken the duergar city. By the time he arrived, the illithid had left – on their own accord, according to Yahara, and not at the hands of the Federation Lords. Yet his journey was not in vain, for he only recently found more illithid poking about at the walls.
Yahara offered to take Sortan and Seven back to the Material Plane, and they returned to ground level to retrieve Ronah. There, they witnessed Draven speaking with a devil, bargaining for a way to return. Disturbed, Sortan abandoned Draven to his own devices, and Yahara brought them back to the Material Plane, leaving Draven to make his own bargain.
Left again by his companions, Draven was given an offer by the devil: she would return him to the Material Plane, and he would grant her his seed. Draven accepted, and the devil fulfilled her end of the bargain: Draven reappeared on the Material Plane, as his companions looked on.
The spiders were beaten, but the danger was not over, and Sortan is now faced with Draven’s dread secret, of a fetchling oracle consorting with the servants of a dead and terrible god.