Roma Arcana

Rescuing Marcus Curtius

Opening

It was early morning on August 12th, AUC 1011. Ignatius Servitus, Maximillius, and Lee stood in the quiet storefront with a clearly distraught woman. Her diminuitive stature was heaving as she sniffled. "You must help me!", she exclaimed. "Marcus' caravan has been attacked, and they are demanding a ransom we cannot afford to pay!"

She handed Ignatius a spear, with Gallic runes carved into the wooden handle. The tip was blunted slightly and a peice of paper was stuck on the spear. It read, "My caravan has been attacked, please bring 10,000 sectares to the place where the caravan was attacked or they will kill me!" It was signed "Marcus" and written in his hand. As they were discussing this, a quiet knock came at the door. The knock was from Biaculla, a local courtesan and fortune-teller. She offered her assistance and read the cards to determine his location.

"You will find him in the woods where clothes become skin and skin becomes clothes. Beware those who serve the trees."

Striking Out

The newly formed party struck off in search of the site of the attack. After about 1/2 a days journey, they arrived at 3 carts, overturned and broken. Several bodies lay out in the open, including one of the mules used to haul the carts. Gallic arrows and broken Gallic spears were littered all around. Everyone (Except Biaccula) had the feeling they were being watched, but a thorough visual inspection of the woods revealed no Gauls. Ignatius, as a carpenter, began inspecting the wreckage to see if they could construct a functional cart from the remains of the the destroyed ones while Lee (an expert, dual-wielding broadswordsman) kept a watch on the woods.

Suddenly, an arrow struck the cart next to Ignatius' head. Turning to face the woods, they saw 4 Gauls with bows and 3 with spears they had not noticed before. Biaccula exhausted herself casting "Wall of Wind" on the archer's position. The spearmen rushed the party. Maximillius revealed why he carries no weapons, he pulled his cloak onto his shoulders and morphed into a beast, charging the spearmen. Lee also charged them, while Ignatius drew a Pilum and hurled it at one of the spearmen, catching him in the leg.

One of the archers hit Lee in the leg, another grazed Ignatius. Maximillius reached one of the Gauls, and knocked him to the ground. He passed out under Max and Max began running towards the archers. Lee sank his broadsword into the skull of the Gaul he faced and also began charging the archers, who were making their way out of the wall of wind. Ignatius and Biaccula were locked in combat with the last spearman. Slowly wearing him down.

The archers, seeing Lee charging with broadswords held high, took aim and fired. The first missed completely, but the second hit his already injured leg, sticking deep into his calf and cutting his hamstring. Lee tried to catch himself, but fell down, his leg unable to bear his weight. Max had better luck, reaching an archer and clawing him. One archer broke his bowstring. He fled into the woods, undoubtably to warn his companions.

Ignatius thrust his gladius into his opponent, catching him in the gut. The Gaul collapsed in pain and quickly succumbed to his wounds. Biaccula, seeing the damage dealt by the archers to Lee, summoned the strength for one last spell. A fireball lept from her hand and struck one of the last two archers squarely in the chest. As the archer fell, so did Biaccula, exhausted by the strain of spellcasting. The force of the blow knocked him back through the wall of wind, extinguishing the fire, but not in time to save his life. Max charged the last bowman and struck at him, severing his right hand and ending the threat.

Ignatius dispatched all but one of the Gauls left alive, bandaged Lee's leg to prevent further bleeding, and assembled a rough cart from the wreckage. They loaded Lee, Biacculla (who needed to recover from her spell-casting), and the Gaul into the cart and rode about 30 minutes back to a waypost established for caravans headed into Burdigala.

Once they had arrived, they interrogated the Gaul. During the interrogation, they heard an ancient Gallic chant sound from all about them.  "Diverte doros logan" ("He turns his mouth to the grave."). Suddenly skin began to grow over his mouth! Frightened, the Gaul broke his bonds and took off running for the woods. They caught up with him quickly, however, he appeared to have died of exhaustion. They had managed, however to garner directions to the location where the captives were being held. Since it is nearly dusk, they decide to camp for the night.

The next morning, they followed the directions. During their expedition, they encountered a hail of nuts from the trees about, pelting them. The distraction caused Ignatius to be thrown off course and also allowed a skin-turner to pick up the parties trail. They approached the clearing and detected two more skin-turners patroling the area, as well as Marcus and another man from the caravan. Biacculla cast an illusion on herself that she was a tree and they approached the clearing using her as cover. They engaged the skin-turners and made short work of them, even though the third skin-turner ambushed them from behind. A quick inspection of the clearing located the goods taken from the caravan. They quickly untied the prisoners, grabbed the stuff, and rushed back to the cart.

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