August 52 BC, Alesia, Gaul
It was a hot and muggy summer morning in the year 52 BC and Gaius Julius Caesar's legions continued their siege of the Gallic town of Alesia. Caesar's Thirteenth Legion defended the southern fortifications of Alesia's total encirclement. The Thirteenth Legion was important for two distinct reasons. First, it consisted of some of the more eccentric units of Caesar's armies, such as Gallic scouts, barbarian mercenaries, and freed gladiators. Second, it was where the Twilight Legion placed it's newer recruits to gain experience in the combating the dark supernatural forces that perverted the ancient world. The Battle of Alesia was coming, and it was feared by many of Caesar's generals, and the great man himself, that the Gauls under Vercingetorix would consider using some kind of supernatural force to battle Rome.
Four members of the Thirteenth Legion were brought before Centurion Lucius Vorenus, a member of the Twilight Legion himself, to receive orders for an upcoming mission. Paulus was a Decanus, a unit leader and recent acolyte of the Cult of Mithras. Manicus was a tough and brutal triari, equipped with spear and shield as the last line of defense in combat. Aurelia was a Roman woman who had become a full priestess of Mithras and was carrying secret orders from her High Priestess. Xarax was a Parthian scout, horse thief, and member of the Thirteenth Legion's vaunted auxilia. Vorenus commanded the party to travel to Ateria, a village to the north-west, in order to see if the community was remaining loyal to Rome or if it was planning on aiding Vercingetorix's relief force that was gathering to the west. Accepting the mission, Paulus the Decanus turned to Aurelia to find the secret instructions from High Priestess Cassiopeia. It was a simple statement: "watch for the Lady of the Fang."
Going off of the High Priestess' vague document, Paulus led the party to the auxiliary encampment. In a previous encounter Paulus remembered a member of the horse scout team, Voccio, refer to the Lady of the Fang as a war cry. While the auxiliary seemed reluctant to hand Voccio over to the decanus, as their own leader was equal in rank to the Roman, one look from Manicus' crazed face sent the still drunk Voccio outside and into Paulus' presence. Voccio stated that the Lady of the Fang was a myth of the people surrounding Mount Rea, and that it was just a local superstition. Paulus said that the party could use any help, from any gods that existed, and so he commanded Voccio to accompany them as a scout to Ateria.
It took but a few hours to ride out to Ateria, and when the party arrived in the sleepy little walled village. Aurelia suggested they split up and investigate the people and their chief, so she and Xarax entered a nearby tavern to collect intelligence while Paulus and Manicus entered the town barracks. In the tavern the two members of the Thirteenth Legion made contact with Correus. A Gallic mercenary, Correus recognized Xarax and started up an immediate conversation with someone whom he considered his equal. Just as Xarax served the Thirteenth Legion against Gaul, Correus served as a member of the Roman auxiliary against the Parthians just a year before. When asked of his allegiance, Correus was back in the camp of the Gauls, and told Xarax that it would be wise to change sides as well, both due to coin and some other cryptic factors. Xarax pressed Correus further but the Gaul didn't wish to speak around Aurelia. Correus bought both members of the Twilight Legion a drink, and headed back into the village.
Paulus and Manicus found that there were several dozen wounded receiving aid and assistance in the village barracks. Some of the wounded wore neutral colors, possibly of auxiliaries serving Rome, while others were clearly embracing the colors of Vercingetorix's forces. The chief of Ateria, a man named Segovax, questioned the two Romans as to their plans for the town. When Paulus told the chief that they were simply scouting in order to determine the town's loyalty, Segovax reluctantly admitted that Ateria was on the side of Rome but still would serve as a place of solace for all wounded soldiers, no matter the side. Despite the comforting words of the chief, when Manicus and Paulus searched the rest of the town they became concerned that most of the men and women of fighting age were completely missing. Hundreds of souls were nowhere to be seen, and only the very young and the elderly kept the town's economy and farms moving forward. Interested in taking this information back to Centurion Vorenus, Paulus and Manicus reconvened with Aurelia and Xarax to share their findings. Xarax wanted to spend a little more time with Correus and he sought the Gaul before leaving. Interested in the reasons why Correus favored Gaul's chances in the upcoming battle, Xarax agreed to be led to an encampment in the forest to the north in order to see more clearly. Again splitting the party, Paulus grabbed their scout Voccio and took Aurelia and Manicus east to see if anything of the Lady of the Fang myth was rooted in truth.
Quotes:"You must've done something wrong to be stuck with us!" - Frank to Craig, feeling bad for his Decanus' new crew.
"I'm totally playing my character as Charles Bronson!" - Frank reminisces on the Dirty Dozen.
"I say we split the party up!" - Melinda just never learns.
Cast of Characters:
Paulus Treblanus Epolonius - Decanus, Seasoned
- Agility: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d8, Strength: d8, Vigor: d6
- Edges: Rank, Shield Wall, Command, Arcane Background: Cult of Mithras- Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Vow: Twilight Legion
- Skills: Fighting d8, Throwing d6, Knowledge: Battle d6, Intimidate d6, Faith d6, Survival d4, Stealth d6
- Powers: Smite, Healing
Manicus Atilus Damaticus- Roman Legionary, Seasoned
- Agility: d6, Smarts: d6, Spirit: d6, Strength: d8, Vigor: d10
- Edges: Brawny, Shield Wall, Berserk, Counterattack- Hindrances: Touched, Shirker, Death Wish
- Skills: Fighting d10, Throwing d8, Notice d4, Swimming d4, Climbing d6, Riding d4
Aurelia - Priestess of Mithras, Seasoned
- Agility: d8, Smarts: d8, Spirit: d10, Strength: d4, Vigor: d6
- Edges: Arcane Background: Cult of Mithras, Power Points, New Power- Hindrances: Small, Big Mouth, Loyal (Paulus)
- Skills: Fighting d6, Shooting d8, Healing d6, Persuasion d8, Riding d6, Faith d10, Language (Gallic) d4
- Powers: Healing, Fear, Stun
Xarax - Auxilia Horse Thief, Seasoned
- Agility: d10, Smarts: d8, Spirit: d4, Strength: d6, Vigor: d6
- Edges: Fleet-Footed, Marksman, Thief- Hindrances: Foreigner, Wanted, Delusional
- Skills: Climbing d6, Notice d6, Riding d8, Shooting d10, Stealth d8, Tracking d6, Lockpicking d6, Fighting d4