A few gold pieces and one Rusty Nail later, and the party was ready to head north. Because of their heroic and selfless actions at the Gilded Sentinel, Wilgold informed the group, a local merchant lord by the name of Darryl Belgretor offered them a free ride aboard his vessel, the Horizon’s Trident. Thankful for his generosity, the party boarded the ship and waved goodbye to the continent of Meridia, their home for at least the last several weeks.
With a few days to kick back and relax during the trip, the party spent some time socializing and resting as was appropriate for each of them. Although most of the crew was content to simply perform their duties in silence, two individuals in particular made an impression, Captain James Crow and the ship’s cook, Alinys Steelmantle.
Captain Crow was a jovial one-eyed man who treated his crew with respect. When asked, he told the group how he had lost his eye doing battle with a naga when he was only a deckhand. He explained that his Captain at the time had done most of the real fighting, and that Crow just sort of wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Alinys, a portly female dwarf, quickly grew fond of the Cleric. Her brother, she explained, had studied with Macail on Copper Island, when he had been traveling the world searching for his purpose. She had grown up on Jade island, located in the same small archipelago.
Tragically, the peace was not to last. On the second night of their journey, the ship was ambushed by a horde of undead. Although the divine radiance of the Paladin and Cleric made quick work of the lesser skeletons, their leader, a hideous Bonedrinker, proved more challenging. Although the undead were ultimately destroyed, it proved too little too late. The crew of the Trident, including Captain Crow and Alinys, were all slain.
Despite their lack of seafaring knowledge, the party quickly devised a means of guiding and steering the ship. Macail, the most knowledgeable of the adventurers about sea-based travel, took the helm while Larentia had her familiar fly high above and scout the surrounding area. This tactic proved highly successful, and the group made landfall very close to their ultimate destination. It was only the onset of a sudden storm that prevented them from guiding the ship all the way to Brightgrove.
With the ship damaged on the rocks, the party decided to travel through the Glittering forest they found themselves in. They made good time aided by the navigational skills of the Ranger, and were sidetracked only once. An undead Sphinx named Ujaset tested the party with a riddle before charging them to avenge his untimely death. When the minotaur zombie who had slain Ujaset was himself put the rest, the ghost was able to rest. Before fading away completely, he left the party with a second riddle, which they also solved successfully.