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Chapter 1: Journey to Egypt
Mark Atilius was in a really good mood when he finally stretched his legs on the bed. Local merchants almost fought for those small figurines he had brought from his last adventure, he sold them fast and for quite good money. For once he didn’t choose the cheapest tavern, as he usually did, but a good decent inn with a clean bed. And now, lying on the bed giving some rest to his legs, he recalled times, times of when he started as a caravan driver, then became an adventurer. And though since that time he had to make ends meet by buying some small things in one place and selling them in the other, there were days when he didn’t even have a piece of bread for dinner, he has never regretted his choice. Adventures and travels became everything to him.
Lost in memories, he didn't notice that he fell asleep. A strange sound woke him up and a dark shadow outside the window disappeared in thin air as fast as it had appeared. He felt tingles down his spine - his room was on the third floor! Despite all of this, the ex-caravan driver got up and looked outside. There was no one. He turned back around to the bed, and was about to get a good night sleep, when suddenly a small piece of parchment near the door attracted his attention. It wasn't here before. A message! And a ciphered one!
V nz fher lbh’ir urneq gur arjf: bhe Rzcrebe frg sevraqfuvc jvgu gur Rtlcgvnaf! V vaivgr lbh gb wbva zr ba zl geniry gurer!
C.F. Gnyx gb gur zrffratre, ur’yy gryy lbh nyy gur qrgnvyf!
Decipher the message.
The correct answer is:
I am sure you've heared the news: our Emperor set friendship with the Egyptians! I invite you to join me on my travel there!
P.S. Talk to the messenger, he'll tell you (all) the details!
Chapter 2: The attack
The "messenger" arrived the next morning, when Mark Atilius was having breakfast. It was Tiberius, his old mate and Lucius’s main assistant.
– Tiberius, gods damn you - grumbled Mark. - I had guessed that Lucius isn’t crazy enough to invent this trick with the ciphered message. Instead of sleeping in a good bed – quite a rare occasion to me – I spent half the night deciphering it. How's Lucius?
– Hah, don't even try to hide the fact that you’ve liked it. I know you, Mark! – laughed Tiberius Aternius. – Lucius is full of energy and optimism. Of course he wasn't that pleased when he had to leave his position of the Chief Imperial Architect, but he figured that the situation has its advantages. Now he has time to go on far travels and study ancient architecture. I also resigned and help him with that.
- Who builds new towns then? - Mark looked surprised.
- No one, - Aternius suddenly became sad. - The empire has other things to worry about. They have to resist the constant Huns raids and forge friendship with the Egyptians, new towns haven't been founded for several years already.
- Where is Lucius now?
- Closer than you think! Only an hour ride from here - smiled Aternius. - This is a frontier town, so we settled our camp really close to it. We still have some things to prepare and then we will go directly to Egypt. The pyramids!
- Well, then what we're waiting for? Let's go immediately! - only now Mark realized, how he had missed his good old friend. And he couldn't even dream about the journey to this new and exciting place, not on his own, as he used to, but in a good company.
However, their good mood immediately vanished, when they saw the next visitor. It was Lucius’s errand boy - now a young soldier – and he was as white as death.
– Master Aternius, master Mark! We got attacked! – he spluttered – Master Lucius got captured!
– How?! By whom? - Mark and Aternius screamed with horror.
– I don't know, it all happened so unexpectedly, - replied the soldier. – we don't even know what they look like. Only the number of troops.
– Please, calm down! Sometimes indirect evidence can tell us more than you think. How many troops were there and how much resources did they steal?
– According to our calculations there were 78 infantry troops and 24 horsemen. And they stole 4860 resources in total.
– This already tells us a lot – replied Mark. – Now we at least know to which tribe that army belonged!
What tribe raided the camp and which types of troops took part in this attack? (The troops used full carry capacity, and there are only 2 types of troops here).
The correct answer is:
Huns - 78 Bowman 24 Marksman
Chapter 3: The belt
Since early morning Mark went out of his mind with worry, waiting for news from the scouts sent around the town. To his disappointment, they didn't bring any news. It seemed as if the Huns just disappeared into thin air after the attack, and the hope to see his friend alive lowered minute by minute. Searching for a small group of riders on a boundless plain land was just a bit easier than looking for a needle in a haystack.
The main aim of this ambush also remained a mystery. Ransom? Then why hiding? Some old grudge? But Lucius was one of those rare people who - despite his high position in the Empire - didn't have any known enemies. What is the good of an old architect worth to a nomadic tribe?
A sudden sound distracted Mark from his uneasy thoughts.
– Ahem… As I can see, master caravan driver, that old mine did really have the second exit, since you're standing here safe and sound, and not buried deep under the earth? – Mark immediately recognized the old gypsy who he had met once and remembered his near escape from the mountain mine. But before he decided what to do with the old fraud, she continued:
– I offer you a deal: you help me, and I tell you who attacked the architect’s camp and how you can find them.
Mark didn't hesitate a moment.
– What do I need to do?
– There is a small piece of old rug, which I would like to keep as a good memory. – the old woman cracked a sly smile. – An old waist belt with a clasp made of a river stone, nothing precious at all. It's kept in one of the three chests which belong to some cranky alchemist, who lives nearby. I recently helped him when he got lost in the forest, and for this he promised to give one true answer on one out of the 4 questions I ask. And if I guess correctly in which chest he keeps this waist belt, he'll give it to me. You help me get this belt, and in return I'll tell you the way to the camp, where the Huns keep your friend!
- I still don't believe a single word of you, old witch. - sighed Mark. - But it seems I have no other option to save my friend than grasp at this straw.
What 4 questions should the witch ask the alchemist to know for sure in which chest the waist belt is? (The alchemist can only say yes or no and will give 1 true answer and 3 false ones).
The correct answer is:
Is belt on first chest?
Is belt on first or second chest?
Is belt on first or third chest?
Is belt on second or third chest?
Chapter 4: The heritage
It was a miracle but the old huckstress didn't lie and soon the Roman squad, led by Mark and Tiberius, did find a small Huns camp down in the valley. Unfortunately, there were a lot more than expected, and the chances in battle were almost even.
- We need a Roman, which you captured three days ago! - Mark shouted to the nomads. - Please, give him back to us and we won't attack! Otherwise no one will get out alive from this place. We both don’t want that, do we?
To his surprise the Huns sent a negotiator.
- The Roman is in our camp now, you're right. Maybe you'll defeat us, maybe not, - he replied. - One thing is for sure, the moment you attack us your friend will die. But… we can make a deal.
- What deal? - Mark asked.
- My diseased father, - the leader of this tribe – left me and my 2 younger brothers 17 beautiful horses of a rare breed, and told us that we should share the herd so that 1/2 will go to the oldest son, 1/3 to the next in line and 1/9 to my youngest brother. We can't disobey his will, but we also don't want to kill the horses. Tell us how we can solve it and we'll give you your Roman back.
How the 3 sons can share 17 horses so that each of them will get what they should have? (You need to share exactly 17 horses without killing them, and without waiting for the foals to be born).
The correct answer is:
The eldest son should get 9 horses, the second should get 6 and the youngest should get 2 horses.
The easiest way to solve it is to add 18th horse to the herd. Then we calculate 1/ 2 = 9 horses to one brother, 1/3 = 6 horses to another brother and 1/9 = 2 horses to the third. 9+6+2 = 17. Trick is, that 1/ 2 + 1/3 + 1/9 ≠ 1, it’s actually less than 100% therefore each of the brothers will get a bit more than their share).
Chapter 5: The caravans
Lucius Tarquinius Lepidus, Mark Atilius and Tiberius Aternius were all sitting next to the fireplace drinking good wine and talking about their adventures. It was a miracle no one got hurt, and the group of Huns were satisfied with Marks answer and released Lucius.
- Where do we go? - Mark asked Lucius. - You haven't changed your mind about Egypt, have you?
– No way! As long as I am alive, I wouldn't have any doubts about that. - replied ex-architect. – Memphis, Karnak, Giza – I want to visit them all! But first of all, of course, Giza and the great pyramids! However, after all that’s just happened, I am not in the mood to travel alone anymore – he added. – There are lots of Egyptians everywhere since the borders are open. One of those 5 caravan drivers surely goes to the right place. But how can we find out which one of them travels to Giza and when? I started learning their language only a month ago and they don't talk Latin. Can you find out which one we need to travel with?
This is what Mark found about the 5 caravan drivers.
There are 5 caravan drivers standing next to each other near the marketplace.
- The man in a green tunic is Ahmed, he leaves at 05:00.
- The man in the middle owns 12 camels.
- Mustafa leaves at 05:45.
- Omar owns 15 camels, and he stands to the left of the caravan driver in a green tunic.
- Just right of the man in a blue tunic is the one who goes to Memphis.
- Karim leads the caravan to Thebes.
- Next to the man in a black tunic is a caravan driver who owns 14 camels.
- The caravan to Karnak leaves at 06:00.
- At 05:20 a caravan driven by Youssef leaves, and he is standing just on the right of the man that goes to Memphis.
- A caravan with 16 camels heads to Alexandria.
- Next to the driver who leaves at 05:20, is a man that owns 13 camels.
- The man standing on one of the edges wears a red tunic.
- The driver with 12 camels leaves at 05:30.
- The men in red and black tunics are standing next to each other.
- The caravan to Alexandria leaves town at 05:00.
Who is wearing a yellow tunic? Which of the caravans goes to Giza ?
This task will require 2 days to solve, so announcing the winners will be on Monday.
The correct answer is:
Omar wears yellow tunic. Youssef goes to Giza at 5:20