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.
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…