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.

Legionaries_v_cataphracts.jpg

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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Scyldmund

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