Malum Umbra (Shadows of Evil)
Impressed by how our Heroes handled themselves against the Cult of Arachne and foiling the plot to assassinate 12 young women. Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a retired Consul and patron of the arts invites the group to his Villa. Embarrassingly, he’s worn the same outfit as fashion-conscious Titus.
There, he reveals that he is part of a group of Romans who battle evil forces that threaten the empire in secret and would like our Heroes to join. And so they all became members of the Hidden Shield Society and were given their first mission.
It was a milk run. Travel to Alexandria, where they would take a barge to Meroe to collect a shipment of swords for the society. The Barge is already being sent to Meroe to negotiate for Ivory. The Empire is sending a Greek man, Strabo to negotiate along with his scribes and his translator: Teritaqas.
It’s apparent from the get go this will be far from a milk run, the first night, the party loses several guards to crocodiles, only to find them whole but dead on the barge the next morning. This pattern repeats as they lose people to carnivorous plants, giant snake like beings and raiders from the shore. it was an arduous journey to Meroe.
Once there Strabo reveals that he has a secondary mission as a member of the Custus Notitiae and needs the investigators to steal something called the Chuma Scrolls from a Parthian Trader in Meroe while he negotiates with the King of Kush for Ivory. The scrolls details the rites of a long forgotten fertility cult in Egypt.
While the party investigated the strange happenings on the barge. They discover there is an entity possessing various members of the group who traveled to Meroe and who is also after the Chuma Scrolls. They manage to trap the entity in a Roman Legionnaire and tie him up on the boat. At the same time they meet a talking Cat named Medu. Medu is from another world and seems lost in ours, he seeks the investigators help in getting home.
The pary retrieved the scrolls and left Meroe, pursued by a cult led by the possession entity, now possessing Centurion G;abrio’s second in command. they are pelted with spells and creatures and barely make it back alive, along with heavy losses including Strabo.
Once back in Alexandria, the party discovers that they cannot destroy the Chuma Scrolls and so decide to drop it in the ocean after encasing it in lead before returning to Herculaneum.