After successfully aiding the town with the orc assault, and earning the title "Giantslayer", the party enjoys a much rest. The halfling bard Ozymandias disappears into the night, as The Bleaching had begun to take hold. As Yuki is shunned by mysterious patron, her search for faith brings her closer to her god, and to the path of the Warpriest.
After a few days, Chief Defender Halgra summons the crew to the Ivory Hall, to discuss the counter-attack on Trunau's attackers. The Twisted Hearts are reportedly commanded by the hill giant Grenseldek, and Halgra believes that removing the metaphorical "head of the snake" will cause the rest of the combined clan to fall into disarray. The party is asked to head to Redlake Fort downriver via a patchwork ship. The courageous adventurers agree (eventually), and meet the dwarf Carrrol, who was tasked with assisting them on the journey.
Though the Keelboat was constructed from multiple ships, it is seaworthy (river-worthy?) and the crew is experienced. Early into the first day, however, one of the crew is lost overboard, and the tone on the ship noticeably darkens. The next afternoon, a trio of river drakes attack, and absconds with one of the ship's workhorses. The team tracks the alpha down and successfully recovers the old horse. The hits keep coming as a partially-drugged Girallon breaks out of the ship's armory, but is quickly brought down.
As the Keelboat begins its long treak up the River Esk, what should have been a routine stop at the way station for the Castle Firrine becomes yet another battle to the death. A small band of orcs were wrapping up a successful raid, and through Yuki soaking some significant damage, the party again kills all who oppose them. Calrianne Blix, the knight on duty offers both her thanks, and an old map of Redlake Fort.
The trip up river comes to a sudden halt as an unexpected "darn" blocked passage. A clutch of large merrow, aquatic cousins of giants, had set an unsuccessful ambush for upstream or downstream traffic. After a few seconds, the surviving merrow fled back into the murk, allowing the "Giantslayers" to efficiently destroy the makeshift barricade.
The revelry based on the success of the night's work was swiftly dashed during dinner, as partway through his meal Captain Raag falls unconscious to the floor. The majority of the crew also shows signs of sudden illness. A meal most foul indeed…