The Frosthamar, captained by the extremely mercenary Kargeld Odenkirk, is a well-found ship, strongly clinker built to withstand the rough Northern seas. A knarr, she is much like a viking longship, but with a deeper, fatter hull to carry cargo. Heavily laden with 24 tons of assorted weaponry and arrows (but as it later turns out, not one single mace), she makes slow progress northwards as the party acclimatise to life on board. There are no cabins and no toilets. The party sleep on deck like the sailors, and like the sailors learn to defecate over the side.
As the ship passes the end of the Watch Wall, a keen eyed member of the party spots a patrol vessel bearing down upon them. It looks like our party may be in trouble, as in addition to the four spearmen and one bright-armoured sword wielding officer who have stepped aboard the Frosthamer, eight crewmen have stayed behind, sheltered by the gunwhale, with bows at the ready.
Luckily Captain Sambryl, in command of the “Blade of St Martius”, while conscientious and dedicated, is not the sharpest sea-knife in the tool chest. Samra'el, using her circlet to appear like an officer of similar rank, easily persuades him that the Frosthamar has been charted for official business – transporting weapons to Castle Balentyne! (It's barely even a bluff – she just hasn't mentioned that when they reach Balentyne the weapons will be in the hands of a ravening horde of bugbears).
Putting a capstone on the bluff Sam asks Sambryl for an escort North, but the brave but not particularly bright captain has to stay to patrol these waters and make sure no weapon smugglers get past.
Sam mutters to Adelea that if they do get in a fight it might not be a bad thing if the crew gets whittled down a bit. “Well I might have to fetch my sword, and what if it falls down behind a crate?”
Heading onwards into the North, Fitch's keen eyes spot a head popping up out of the water one night in the dim light from the watch lantern and the stars. He quickly wakes the crew and our villains by making loud cowardly noises.
“Fish men? Good fish men, which means they're bad to us? What are those ones, Tritons?” is the surprisingly accurate question just before combat is joined. Our protagonists are a tad more vulnerable this time as, not wanting to plummet 50 fathoms deep quicker than you can say “swimming in armour is really hard” they have doffed their full plate and scale mail. Sleeping in armour is also quite difficult, and getting into it takes time.
A fraught and complex fight takes place. The tritons summon water elementals which repeatedly try to push the people on the boat into the water, meeting success with several crewmembers and Fitch. Once in the water the tritons, a couple mounted on dolphins, try to kill them with pointy things.
Creel botches a swing at an elemental and watches his mace slip out of his hand, bounce off and over the rail, and disappear into the depths.
Sam attempts to charm Nerianus. It doesn't work. However her next plan, to summon a dolphin, works spectacularly. The dolphin rescues Fitch who does a forward flip off the dolphin and leaps off the rail of the ship back onto the deck – “sorry I couldn't find your mace”
Kargeld (literally frothing at the mouth in the grip of his barbarian rage) and Grumblejack (drooling a little, as usual) compete to see how many elementals they can kill, while the party attempt to kill the leader of the tritons from range. This does not go well – Nerianus the triton oracle has cast sanctuary, making it difficult for the villains and the crew to bring themselves to attack him, and he is well-armoured, making it difficult for them to hit him when they do. Sam's dolphin does manage to land a hit though – “Get in there dolphin!”
Creel starts firing rays of flame, channeling the fiery power of his god through his pointing fingers. However he does mess up one casting and gives himself a nasty blister.
The battle swings to and fro, with the villains' plan to kill the enemy leader hampered by his ability to heal himself as fast as any damage can be inflicted. Eventually though, Sam casts “botch”, followed by another charm attempt. Nerianus botches the will save. With their leader, who had spent weeks telling them about his prophetic dream that a great evil would be passing this way and must be stopped, suddenly entirely changing his tune and shouting at them to stop attacking, two of the three remaining tritons make a last desultory attack and bugger off. The last, surrounded, dies in place. Only one member of the crew, who spent the vast majority of the fight signally failing to climb back into the boat, has been killed.
Sam invites Nerianus to board the boat to discuss their new alliance, and is very persuasive. She gives him a hand over the side and into the boat, whereupon Kargeld, screaming in rage, cuts him very nearly in two with one frenzied swing of his axe.
You can just make out, through the bubbles of blood, Nerianus's last, prophetic words:
“The shining sun has seen
the wickedness you hide in hearts. And thus it will be
the son who brings your doom.”