For almost three hundred years the Council of Schönbrunn has been sharing information and pooling resources to combat their common enemies. Usually this has meant that heroes are dispatched to deal with problems that are caused by the Diosian Lodge, the Torkan Caliphates, barbarous incursions in the eastern frontiers of Partum, or some warlord in the Wenigzustand. Loosely led by influences from the Church within each of the participating countries (primarily Geldenreich, Lusatia, Fanolania, and Slothjemia) the Council has for the most part limited themselves to small-scale actions.
This all changed when the Herzgraf of Slothjemia, the foremost representative of the goblinoid realm on the Council of Schönbrunn, made a proposal to solve at least three problems that had been festering among the member states. One of the issues was of course the seemingly rising power of the Diosian Lodge in the Wenigzustand (an alarming development for everyone) as it seems they have taken an interest in meddling with a number of the small, almost lawless states therein. Another issue was the growing hostility of the Council towards the Fallen Knights in Lotharingia, long an influence counter to the teachings of the Church and a scourge to the faithful in a number of countries. The third issue was a border dispute between Geldenreich and Slothjemia that had been fermenting for almost six decades. By drawing together all of these seemingly disconnected issues, and including a fourth for good measure (the orcs of Oublier) to entice the Fanolanians into joining the scheme, an idea was hatched by which everyone could see some progress on these problems in just one year.
The catch of course was that the countries involved with the Council of Schönbrunn would have to commit to doing more than spending a few thousand gold and recruiting a handful of heroes. Armies would be raised, troops hauled about the continent, and concessions made for the greater good. It seemed like a terribly good notion to all involved, so they set up an alliance and hammered out the details. At a meeting in Maelonbourg (hence the name, Maelonbourg Alliance) the Council began the task of actually operating as a true alliance. Slothjemia provided what it had the most of, and that was sheer military power. Geldenreich provided the land concession and for the first part of the scheme committed both copious amounts of gold and a small army. Fanolania was the least convinced that this was all a terrific idea, but they did send their most famous (or infamous) heroes and their entourage to do the bulk of the sneaky work and one-on-one combat against the Ash King. Lusatia was off the hook for the first part, but in the second they had committed to doing as much or more than the rest.
This entire idea had been dubbed by the Council as “Operation Ettin” due to its’ two-headed nature. Part one was to take down the Ash King. Part two was to move against Lotharingia by way of subduing the orcs of Oublier. In this way all of the member states got something they wanted; Slothjemia gained more lands from the areas previously contested with Geldenreich as well as any lands taken from the Ash King. Geldenreich gained a much calmer and secure southern border in exchange for greater influence in the Wenigzustand to their north. Fanolania would see the orcs of Oublier finally subdued and would be in place to share a border with the noisome Fallen Knights. Lusatia would be allowed to flex it’s own muscles in knocking down the Fallen Knights (a long held grudge finally coming to a close) and all involved gained new lands and could establish more peaceful conditions in which to promote trade and commerce.
There are still some things to be settled, of course. The Ash King hasn’t yet been ousted or even confronted. After that the second portion of Operation Ettin has yet to even begin, and how it will end is anyone’s guess. Fanolania has shown a remarkable hesitance to get involved with anything for an extraordinarily long time (elves, am I right?) so they may not readily embrace absorbing new lands. So much has yet to be done. Such is life in these exciting times.