The good ship The Sated Lamia (no one’s bothered to paint over the old name yet), slipped away from the cove in the morning and back into the archipelago, searching for a clear path home. Most of the damage caused in the fighting had been minor in nature, so repairs had been simple, augmented by Mending spells to speed things up. The weather remained tropical but largely calm, with balmy days and evenings and only the occasional weather front sweeping across them.
As they emerged from the islands, their new navigator realised that they were slightly off-course – and new calculations sent them further west across the open seas to catch more favourable currents and winds. Most of the time was spent in debate about what to do when they got back to Sharn, and a certain degree of hysterical paranoia has definitely set in, fuelled by the increasing frequency with which other ships were seen in the distance or in the skies above. It was perhaps this paranoia that alerted them to a ship on what appeared to be an interception course.
Changing course made little difference, past proving that the ship was specifically aiming for them. Eager to actually do something after nearly a week of relative inactivity, the group swung into action. The druid Keil waited until the evening to shapeshift into the form of a large bird of prey and flew across the open waters to take a closer look. The crew of the other ship didn’t spot his approach, so he got a good look before any alarm was raised. At first sight, the mostly human crew looked normal, but there was a silence and lack of visible communication between them that seemed unnatural. In addition, a cloaked and hooded figure by the ship’s wheel seemed to be directing activities. Keil risked a closer look and was alarmed to see a profusion of tentacles within the hood’s opening. The figure itself detected him and Keil was lucky to get away before the Illithid captain could stun him with a mind blast.
As soon as he relayed this information to the rest of the group, a quick plan was cobbled together, relying on flight spells and fireballs to damage the approaching ship’s sails and crew. The plan seemed to go better than expected, and the enemy ship broke up in flames while they escaped. In the morning light, the body of one of the crew was found floating with some of the flotsam of the wreck, and so it was brought carefully on board for examination.
The human crew member seemed to have some sort of metallic tendrils protruding from the back of his neck, and on further investigation, Ruin noticed that they were still twitching slightly. A messy extraction from the body revealed a parasitic creature that seemed to be controlling the body, though its removal seemed to kill it. Frantic research by the wizard and druids reminded them of faint rumours of an obscure sect of mindflayers that worship something called The Thoon. A nearby island seemed to have something to do with the ship’s origins, but they decided to pass it by and concentrate on making their way home.
When they did get back to Sharn, they used a mix of disguises and subterfuge to all end up back at their inn. As far as they could tell, no one had remarked on their arrival, beyond the usual observation of people coming and going. Now they really did need to decide what to do next.