Zenobia: Dreamers of the Day

A Short Diversion II
Still saving Prefect Rufus

A continuing retcon game played March 14, 2015.

When we last left our band of intrepid adventurers, they were galloping after a group of pesky Persian cavalry that had seized Prefect Rufus…

Centurion Content Not Found: gnaus-julius-amminicurum, the archer Anaximander, the priestess Isis, Armenian cataphract Ishtup Mezizi, and the two rogues Ba’al Humbug and Bandee follow the Persians to a deserted farmhouse near the eastern bank of the Euphrates river. The Persians, no doubt concerned by the party’s uncanny display of martial skill in the last encounter, attempt to fortify the farmhouse against the party. However, the farmhouse is already occupied!

A group of refugees has taken up temporary shelter in the tower of the farmstead:Darvellius Maximus, a roman auxiliary centurion and sole survivor of a scouting party from Dura; Shylock, a roving Judaic coppersmith; Tactus, an ex-gladiator with a touch of PTSD; Lazarus, a traveling scholar from Antioch; and Theros our wary Greek traveler have all been brought together by fate and necessity. They contact the party, and their powers combined, they show the Persians what Roman steel can do. After a long and bloody fight, in which Anaximander is wounded, Ba’al Humbug and Bandee flee (and have not been seen since), and centurion Gnaeus is gravely wounded, the combined travelers find Rufus hiding behind some rubbish in a dark corner. He seems shaken and is acting suspicious. With some careful detective work the two centurions discover that “Rufus” is actually Gaius Martius, a minor officer from Dura. The real Rufus was sold to the Persians by the commander of the garrison at Dura and Gaius replaced him as an impersonator when the party arrived with their orders for Rufus.

At that moment Isis spots a large battalion of Persian heavy cavalry descending on the farm and Tactus takes the opportunity to kill the imposter Gaius. Given that he was their only lead on Rufus’ location, the party takes the death of the traitor rather stoically. Their attentions are diverted by the arrival of the Savaran captain Sasan Bishapur, who politely requests their surrender on behalf of his commander. The party does the prudent thing and lay down their arms.

They are taken into the presence of Kerdir a mowbed, or high priest in the Persian religion. Kerdir is on his way to Dura to assist the army in the siege of the fortress. He is mildly curious about this motley bunch of adventurers and is interested it know what reason he might have for keeping them alive. Fortunately for the party, Isis recognizes Kerdir. As a young man he trained in the scholarly and arcane arts of Egypt with her father. For the sake of their acquaintance, Kerdir releases them after a display of his formidable powers (he summons magic fire in his hand and uses it to turn a bowl of water to steam).

Lead by the centurion Gnaeus, the party decides to return to Palmyra and then travel to Edessa. They got a tip from one of the Persians that Rufus may have been taken to the court of Shapur, Shahanshah who is currently besieging the Roman-held city with his army. At Palmyra the party rests, shops, and fiddles away time. Gnaeus is able to requisition a guide to lead them across the desert and Mazizi decides that working for the Romans just doesn’t pay. He attempts to leave the party and get work as a caravan guard only to end up in the employ of the one guide who is leading the party through the desert.

After a speedy travel through the desert, the party comes to the upper Euphrates and learns that the Persians are thick as fleas in the area. Also, the Emperor Valerian has moved his army from Antioch toward Edessa for a confrontation with the invading Persian army. Arriving before the city, the party finds that the Persians have surrounded Edessa. Gnaeus adamantly urges them to attack the camp of Shapur and rescue Rufus, while Theros and Lazarus have had enough of the centurion’s fanatical devotion to his duty and leave to return to Antioch. Mazizi takes the opportunity to once again change employers and goes over to the Persian camp to take their gold as a mercenary.

While traveling west toward Antioch, Lazarus and Theros come upon the impressive sight of the Roman army marching toward battle at Edessa. Valerian has brought an army of 70,000 to relieve the city. Perhaps inspired by the unstoppable weight of the Roman legions (or maybe they had other motives) both Theros and Lazarus return to the party just in time to witness a most curious occurrence.

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Isis coquettishly distracts a patrol of Persian light cavalry and leads them right into an ambush. Having killed the patrol, the party, once again complete except for Mazizi dress themselves in the Persians’ clothing and ride toward the enemy camp. Will they be able to infiltrate the tent of Shapur, will the Persians do battle with the approaching Romans or will they retreat, more importantly…

Will the party finally be able to save Prefect Rufus?

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A Short Diversion
Saving Prefect Rufus

A ret-con game played June 14, 2014.

In early spring of AU 1013 (AD 260), the party finds itself in Antiochia following the army of the Emperor Valerian. Centurion Primus Pillus Gnaeus Julius Amminicurum is tasked with leading a rag-tag band of soldiers, thieves, and adventurers to the east to find Legion Prefect Marcus Antonius Rufus Severianus—a wealthy son of a venerable Roman Senator. Rufus’ four brothers were killed fighting Goths on the Danube frontier, and the Emperor believes that he should be returned home so that a great Roman house will not die out.

Assembled by the centurion, the team consists of Mazizi, a proud mercenary cataphract from Armenia; Anaximander, a Cappadocian axillary horse archer; Isis, a renegade priestess of Isis; and two familiar scallywags Bandee and Ba’al Humbug.

After tromping through Roman Syria to the town of Zeugma, proceeding south along the Euphrates, encountering desert raiders, and witnessing the victorious single combat of Mazizi over the captain of a party of Persian cavalry, the party enjoyed some much-needed rest in the desert city of Palmyra. Much wine was consumed, Bandee danced on the table, and Ba’a’ Humbug looted a few tombs.

Refreshed and with only a slight collective hangover, the party moved on to the frontier fortress of Dura on the Euphrates. There they found Prefect Rufus, but the young patrician twit had no intention of leaving his post and heading home. A Persian incursion was imminent but all was not as it seemed… As the first outriders of the great Persian army swarmed into view, Rufus tucked tail and fled the city. The party decided that the mission came before history, so Dura was left to its fate, and the party rode hell-for-leather after Prefect Rufus.
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Rufus, it would seem, had no intention of going home. He was last seen ridding north with a large party of Persian cavalry. The party gave battle with said Persians and emerged victorious, with not but a scratch and a few dead horses (there was some divine intervention).

Will our adventurers beat back the Persian Incursion? Will they arrive in time to join the Emperor Valerian as he marches toward a dusty little city called Edessa? Will they find out what dark secret their quarry is hiding? Most importantly, will they be succesful in Saving Prefect Rufus?

…And will the GM find a way to finish this interlude before it runs into the main quest line?

Stay tuned!

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Dreamers of the Day Log 1
Stolen Camels

The party is working as caravan guards for Simeon, a wealthy merchant from Antioch. Simeon and the party are traveling to Damascus when a band of raiders led by Sabata surprises them north of the city. Quick defenses and some diplomacy by the party result in Sabata sparing their lives, but taking the caravan’s camels and trade goods—a load of fine vintage wine from Antioch.
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Simeon is not impressed by the party’s failure to protect his goods and trade reputation, and once in Damascus he equips them to follow the raiders and bring back his camels and wine.

The party follows the raiders to the desert oasis city of Palmyra and track the culprits to the city palace. They are promptly captured by Sabata and questioned thoroughly before being sent to Cassius Longinus the counselor to Zenobia. He sees an opportunity to use the party for Palmyra’s purposes and convinces the queen to entrap them in a mission to gain back a treasure stolen by a rogue Roman official.

The party is sent on the trail of the official and follow him to the desert fortress-town of Dura Europos. There they find the fortress had been overrun by invading Persians who have killed the entire garrison with a strange gaseous device. A lone dying soldier reveals that they were betrayed by the Roman official, Maximus, who is working for the Roman Prefect, Flavius Macrianus. After warning the queen of the Persian attack, the party travels south and east to the shores of the Persian sea and along the coast to the desert region of Magan. There, outside the port of Muskat they stage an ambush, using the same strategy that Sabata used to steal Simeon’s camels. They succeed in killing Maximus and take the treasure from his saddle bags, a strange bronze disk that may be a map. However, their attack alerts the guards of the city and the party is forced to flee into the mountainous desert outside of Muskat…

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