Following the narrow ledge into another cave with more skeletons I finally found the lair of Gravelord Nito - a giant, floating amalgamation of bones who summons even more skeletons. Fortunately his own area attacks take care of them, and it becomes a case of stamina management. He still gets me the first two times with surprise AoE but his soul is mine on the third go.
Breaking the bag of bones...
With all four lord souls now in my posession I return to Frampt at Firelink Shrine and ... find the sock puppet asleep!? Also seems that Ser Chubby's daughter has moved on and the girl from the pit I rescued before is Petrus' crush, a fellow cleric named Rhea. She also offers miracle magic but my low faith score makes them useless to me.
Since I have some time to kill I decide to see if I can track down Ser Chubby by bonfire hopping (teleporting). One of my first stops was that empty cave behind the hydra at Darkroot Basin where a golden crystal golem now resides, much like the one I needed to free Ser Chubby's daughter from. Indeed, killing it releases a woman - Princess Dusk of Oolacile. Who? What?
She claims to be a time traveler and before I can get more than that (well actually she's just hard to understand) a giant hand reaches through a whirling portal and drags me in! WTF just happened?