Back to the Business at Hand

The ashes had hardly cooled from the funeral pyre of Grand Marshal Verrat when the marshals of the four lodges of the Fallen Knights began to conspire with their generals and underlings to determine the futures of their respective houses. None of them had appreciated or welcomed the imposition of Lord Verrat’s appointment over them, but none had been foolish enough to challenge the will of the Green King. Things had now changed dramatically. The Green King had been vanquished, his damnable undead green dragon had been destroyed, and now Lord Verrat had been similarly dispatched. The lodges could finally get back to life as they wanted it to be.

The Marshal of the Cursed Iron Lodge was Wilhelm Florian von Dusselburg, a distinguished middle-aged man who had the regal bearing of a professional soldier. His family had ruled over the city of Dusselburg for generations and as it was the largest city in Lotharingia it made the Cursed Iron the most prominent and powerful of the lodges. They had also suffered the most losses under the brief reign of the Green King and his lackey Lord Verrat. It would take a considerable amount of time to rebuild the Iron Lodge to its former glory, but Marshal von Dusselburg had no intention of dawdling. The more time that passed without his lodge gaining recruits was time that those recruits could be snatched up by the other three lodges.

The Marshal of the Shadow Doom Lodge was Phillipp Kirchner. He was not of noble birth because the Shadow Doom tended to be comprised of the outcasts and criminals of Lotharingia. Due to their lower caste status and questionable backgrounds, they were not as well-utilized by the Green King and Lord Verrat. But the Shadow Doom were nonetheless angered by the tyranny of the Green King mostly because of this slight. In the old days the Shadow Doom Lodge held pride of place as scouts and assassins. Marshal Kirchner was keen to get his lodge members back in the thick of things as the designated ruffians.

The Marshal of the Knighthawk Lodge was Claus von Mansterburg-Felderkamp. A member of the ruling family of the city of Mansterburg, Claus was a horseman through and through. Impatient by nature he was going to waste nary a moment in finding more recruits and horses for them to ride. The Knighthawk Lodge was clearly more devoted to the cavalrymen of Lotharingia and this made them both the wealthiest and the most difficult to outfit of all of the lodges. They had taken a great many losses in the battles that Lord Verrat and the Green King had insisted upon and now Marshal von Mansterburg-Felderkamp was looking to avoid being pushed into another fool’s crusade. It was high time for the Knighthawks to look out for themselves.

The Marshal of the Bloodborne Lodge was Ernst “Drago” Rickenbacker. Elevated from the lowest ranks of the Bloodborne Lodge and widely respected as a fierce warrior in his own right, Marshal Rickenbacker was glad to finally be free of the last vestiges of the Green King’s short but disastrous reign. The Bloodborne Lodge had been recruiting already trying to get a jump start on the other lodges, but they had the added threat of the red dragons in the mountains of Lotharingia to deal with as well. The Green King had never once approached the dragons and included them in his schemes and now the terrible lizards were grousing about having been left out of the potential loot any battles might have offered. Marshal Rickenbacker had the dubious honor of trying to soothe their wounded pride and he was eager to turn them loose on Lotharingia’s enemies.

The one thing that all four marshals had in common beyond their own unfettered ambition was that they had a full two years of guaranteed peace between themselves and their obnoxious neighbors in the Archduchy of Maelonbourg. Twice in the previous year the rag-tag undisciplined militia of this upstart backwater third-rate collection of states had managed to defeat the Fallen Knights and none of them had taken it well. There wasn’t a respect for the Maelonbourgers, that would have been suggesting that the Fallen Knights could see themselves as equals to their neighbors. Nor was it fear exactly, although that might have been closer to how they felt simply because of the many unknowns that the Maelonbourgers seemed to bring to their fights that the Lotharingians had no experience with. Whatever it was it would be a relief to have two years of not having to worry about it. The Fallen Knights were going to have to do something they had never needed to do before. They were going to have to rebuild.