The boat sails ever onwards towards the frozen North. Odenkirk claims the boat is running low on water and says he intends to put in at Seal Isle. While there he intends to take a boat and go seal hunting in the richest fur seal hunting grounds in Talingarde. The party are free to take the other boat and do some hunting of their own.
On the first day Odenkirk claims 3 seals. The party catch precisely none. On the second day Kargeld does slightly worse, claiming a further two pelts. Each of these glossy furs is worth 50GP so this is turning into a fruitful stop for the captain. Impressively, the party manage to double their own haul on the second day, despite Sam being very emo about being in the boat at all and passive-aggressively reading a book.
On the third day they become the hunted rather than the hunters. This hunting ground is so rich because most hunters avoid it. A mated pair of bunyips hunt these waters. The first Kargeld knows about it is when they come up below his boat, rocking it and nearly capsizing it. The captain's skills are up to the challenge however, and he manages to steady the boat.
One of the bunyips roars, a supernaturally loud and horrifying noise. Sam, having recognised the bunyips from a brief glimpse as they bumped Odenkirk's boat, had just enough time to warn the party to cover their ears, however this gives very limited protection and Grumblejack, Fitch, and Adelea are all panicked, cowering in the bottom of the boat unable to act. Without enough rowers the boat drifts in confusion.
Over in captain Odenkirk's boat one of the sailors has been panicked into jumping into the freezing water. He tries to swim away but is soon overpowered and killed by a bunyip, with the blood in the water driving them into a frenzy. Odenkirk is within axe range through, and his axe, with some help from the short bows of his remaining men, kills the bunyip. In the other boat Sam has managed to be intimidating enough towards Adelea that she seems to be getting hold of herself again.
Another roar echoes across the icy bay and this time another sailor and Adelea both leap into the sea in panic. Sam is the only person on the party's boat who isn't cowering in the bottom or trying to flee through the freezing water.
Odenkirk gets his two sailors to beach their boat so they can get safely ashore, while Sam uses her last rope trick scroll to securely attach Adelea to the boat. Her powerful, terrified swimming starts slowly dragging it through the water while Fitch, Grumblejack, and now Creel rock uselessly in the gunwhales with their faces covered in tears and snotters.
After a surprising number of unsuccessful attempts the bunyip kils the fleeing sailor. It takes the corpses beneath the waves and swims off, now mateless. Soon enough the party calm down and Adelea is helped back into the boat.
With the Frosthamar now down to three crewmen plus Odenkirk our villains are now doing more of the less skilled sailoring tasks aboard. The boat continues northwards, with any further seal hunting abandoned.
A party of Yutak are encountered, and our villains choose to trade honestly and talk politely with them. The Yutak happily exchange 1500GP of walrus ivory and a rare and perfect eight foot narwhal horn worth 2000GP for the trident taken from Nerianus and a handful of assorted metal weapons. Both sides of the trade are pleased. The medicine man, as the best speaker of common, warns the party of “the laughing storm”, a capricious ice mephit known to haunt the seas ahead. He also tells a tale of the Lost Island of Taane-Thak or “She without Mercy”, an ice giant sorceress and her followers who were apparently trapped as ice statues generations ago by a wizard.
As they continue into the North they do indeed encounter Killiketz, the ice mephit. Perched on the mast he is impossible to spot in the storm but Fitch is able to locate him through the sound of his laughter, and Samra'el is able to shine her bullseye lantern on him. Another of the Frosthamar's crew falls to the ice elementals that accompany Killiketz before the mephit is driven away with bolts (of both the fire and crossbow variety), just before Fitch can reach it after climbing heroically up the icy rigging and using his rogueish reflexes to avoid a blast of icy breath. Is it possible that our villains were slightly slow to act to save the sailor, and perhaps even did futher damage to his dying body while moving to engage the last elemental? Surely not – Samra'el's condolences to Kargeld certainly seem sincere enough.
At the mouth of the mighty Taiga river Kargeld earns his pay, steering his ship unerringly through fields of floating, jagged ice with the two remaining crewmen and our villains scrambling to obey his barked commands. The ship moves South up the river through snowy pinewoods, passing through a great cleft in the mountains, and finally reaches Lake Tarik, the inland sea at the centre of the island. Nearby, in a wooded valley, there is a great camp of bugbears. Far more are here than would normally gather, as they are generally a rather fractious race. There are also polar bears wandering the camp, and the party sees the odd fur-clad cackling goblin amongst the bugbears, and even the occasional hill giant on the outskirts.
The Frosthamar glides towards the only landing, a rickety-looking pier. However, this is occupied by four bugbear warriors and they don't look friendly.