Drax was a mercenary commander originally hired by the Sphrantzai to fight against Avtokrator Thorisin Gavras. He switched sides after Gavras successfully captured Videssos the City with the help of an internal coup, and was the commander of forces Gavras sent to put down the revolt of Baanes Onomagoulos. Marcus Scaurus warned the Avtokrator not to put too much trust in Drax, but this warning went unheeded until Drax revolted.
Drax renounced the Avtokrator's authority and established a Namdalener state in the Westlands. He was quickly joined by more forces sailing from the Duchy. Thorisin Gavras sent an army under the command of Mertikes Zigabenos to defeat the rebels, but their Namdalener contingent revolted under the command of Soteric, betraying Utprand and the other loyalists and causing the defeat at the battle on the Sangarios River.
Zigabenos was captured by the Namdaleni, who forced him into the position of pretender Avtokrator, giving an aura of legitimacy to Drax's rule as "protector of the realm." He used the seal of the Avtokrator as well as his own green seal with the device of two dice in a winecup. The Roman forces were able to extricate themselves from the field relatively intact, and retreated into the rugged hill country of the southeastern Westlands. There, with the help of local noble Sittas Zonaras, Marcus Scaurus and his senior centurion Gaius Philippus organized a campaign of guerrilla resistance against the Namdalener occupiers. The townsmen in the lowlands acceded to Drax's rule in part because his taxes were lower than the Empire's, but many of the peasants and large magnates despised him.
The Yezda Defeat Drax; AftermathEdit
Scaurus expected Drax to bring his full force to bear on the legionaries and their irregulars, but instead Drax moved his main forces westward. It later became clear that this was because the Yezda were bringing pressure to bear on the Namdaleni from the west, and soon an envoy arrived in Scaurus' camp from Yavlak, a Yezda chieftain on the central plateau. The rider brought word that Drax had been defeated and captured, along with most of his senior officers as well as Mertikes Zigabenos. Scaurus quickly moved his troops to Garsavra to stop the Yezda from flooding the coastal plain, and ransomed the important captives from Yavlak. To stop disorder from breaking out in Garsavra, Scaurus gave the appearance of blinding the captives, but it was really a show, with pieces of raw meat placed in front of the captives' eyes at the last moment.
He brought them back to Videssos the city under guard, but before he could reach the coast Helvis, his lover, betrayed him, murdered a Roman sentry, and freed the captives. They escaped and were taken on by a Namdalener corsair ship, returning to the Duchy. Scaurus returned in disgrace to the capital.