There is no denying that the Fallen Knights of Lotharingia had their collective asses handed to them when they attempted to bully their way into Limbourg to punish the Archduke of Maelonbourg and the Wenigzustand for meddling in this long-abused and neglected realm. Close to thirty-thousand soldiers representing all four of the Lodges marched into the heart of Limbourg to be met with the unfettered fury of the Troublemakers and their ragtag army of conscripted militia, volunteer adventurers, and hardened foreign mercenaries. If this encounter doesn’t forever tarnish the reputation of Lotharingia as a mighty military power nothing will.
Right off the bat the Maelonbourgers and their allies made good use of the ruins of Käsestadt. The rubble of the walls made for excellent hiding places for archers and crossbowmen. The cavalry massed in the city’s central square, ready to race through any of the gates should the enemy get close to breeching the defenses. The untrained militia teamed up with the mercenaries who patiently walked them through the basics of combat and everyone was made aware of who to listen to when the fighting actually started. There were also more than enough spellcasters of every conceivable type and they collaborated with each other to produce the most devastating magicks against the Lotharingians. In addition to this there were far more rogues and ruffians in the ranks of the Maelonbourgers than the Lotharingians would have counted on. Traps were laid everywhere on the approach to Käsestadt and a massive ambush was prepared along the road for good measure.
For their part the Lotharingians had a number of distinct disadvantages in this escapade. Like everyone else that had ever tried to operate or function in Limbourg the Fallen Knights knew full well that the forests of the land were inhospitable to a ridiculous degree. Trying to march even a portion of their forces through the wilderness was to their knowledge a guaranteed disaster. What they did not know was that the wilderness was for the most part tamed thanks to the endeavors of the Troublemakers and the Archdruid Haciathra (alas, she perished while doing this necessary work a mere two days before the fighting began). Had the Lotharingians moved via the woods and tried to flank Käsestadt they may have had a different outcome.
This leads us to the greatest disadvantage suffered by Lotharingia; their arrogance. Nobody had managed to stand against them before this time (the glaring exception being that rascal Kardigazz Drak, but one cannot place the devil in the same category as mortal men) and there hadn’t been anyone in Limbourg that had ever offered up any sort of real resistance on the open field of battle for a couple of hundred years. Whenever Lotharingia had encountered a staunchly defended fortification it almost always went around it to pillage the countryside and then withdraw. This was not that sort of expedition. The Marshal of the Cursed Iron, Karsten Ganzfried von Dusselburg, was going along just to make sure that this upstart Archduke learned his lesson. As it happens the Marshal and his senior staff rode right into the ambush prepared by a couple of shadow elven Archer Lords and a bloodthirsty band of dark elves that had brought along a drider for good measure. The entire group of Fallen Knights was wiped out.
This sudden lack of upper management was felt almost immediately among the ranks of the Lotharingian army and they never recovered their ability to react to whatever the Troublemakers threw at them. A gnome hiding in some shrubberies made a dragon sound and lo and behold there appeared an actual gold dragon in the skies overhead. The weather wasn’t cooperating either, and even though the Lotharingians were buoyed by the presence of the Furies overhead in the storm they were tired from having marched all night. The Maelonbourgers also seemed to have recruited a storm giant that took enormous pleasure from hurling lightning bolts down into the Lotharingian formations. Massive spear began descending upon them from the northern and southern woods along the road, and from the city itself great boulders were being flung with deadly accuracy. Nothing was going right and nobody seemed to know exactly what to do to compensate for the swiftly altering battle plans they were being confronted with.
By the time the Lotharingians were encountering “normal” missile fire such as arrows and bolts any competent leader would have realized they were in way over their heads. The storm giant managed to dispatch one of the Furies, and the gold dragon dispatched a second. Somehow somebody in the Troublemaker’s camp figured out a way to make their military commander, a paladin that goes by the nickname of “Tubby”, magically fly and almost immediately he was engaged in aerial combat with the sole remaining Fury. As it too was dispatched the Maelonbourgers and their friends began swarming over the ruined walls and smashed headlong into the bewildered and outmatched Fallen Knights. Well-rested and spoiling for a fight, the Troublemakers tore into the Lotharingians like famished hounds into a butcher shop. Struck from both the front and the rear by almost equal numbers, all seemed lost.
That is when the Lusatian cavalry arrived and hit both the northern and southern flanks at the same time and with the sort of ferocious violence normally reserved for one’s brother-in-law. In what must surely have been a record for casualties inflicted in less than half an hour, only 33 Lotharingians were found alive. The rest had been killed by spellcraft, dragon breath, missile fire, melee attacks from infantry and cavalry, or were devoured by the lizard folk that served in the mercenaries. Even the wounded were set upon and stabbed to death by the rampaging Maelonbourgers, Limbourgers, and anyone else that had a score to settle.
The balance of power in the Wenigzustand is well and truly shifting now. There has never been this much hope for light and virtue in this fetid and spoiled region. But might this merely awaken far more devious and sinister powers that up until now had been resting comfortably behind the swords and shields of the Fallen Knights?
Spoiler Alert: Oh you better effen believe it does, butta.