You are on page 1of 44

Sonnefurt In Flames

Part One: Origins of War The night was quiet in the Sonnefurt Docks. Only the water lapping against the jetties, the faint shouting of crews staying out late preparing for the next mornings voyage along the Soll and the buzz of the few taverns still open could be heard. Many types of ship were moored in the harbour, military, trade, personal and all were bobbing slightly on the calm waters, protected from the raging torrents by the great Dwarf built harbour, shielding them from the harsh realities that lay outside this sleepy town. However, the peace was shattered by a large explosion, as a ship tore into flames, shards of wood splintering through the air and the shockwaves sending the water pouring over the sides of the docks. There was immediate commotion. Revellers came out to see what the noise had been. Dock wardens were alerting the towns fire brigade. Shouts could be heard coming from those nearest trying to stop the fire spreading onto their own precious vessels. When eventually the panic had subsided and the damage could be assessed it became obvious the ship had been sabotaged. However, the ship was not one regularly stationed in Sonnefurt, instead it was a ship from the nearby Kroppenleben, belonging specifically to the Kroppenleben- Hirn Shipping Company, a private enterprise which allowed Kroppenleben to easily trade with the nearby Dwarf stronghold via the smaller Khazid Grentaz during the Spring and Winter months, when the mountain passes were too difficult to traverse. Sonnefurt and Kroppenleben competed fiercely for the valuable trade Karak Hirn provided for Southern Wissenland, and were often in dispute over the use of Sonnefurts port for Kroppenleben ships, a permission granted by the Courts of Nuln to prevent Sonnefurt from taking a monopoly of river transport of Dwarfen goods. Thus, considering all the tension, this was seen as an act of deliberate industrial sabotage, a reason good enough for war. ************** The next morning Max Bachor, a humble farmer from Thalfang went to inspect his crops as the sun rose over the Black Mountains, blissfully unaware of the events in Sonnefurt the night before. He crossed the glistening River Aschen, swollen due to the Spring thawing of the ice in the hills. He was glad the swell was picking up, it made the land more fertile, and he hoped that this year would be the year he would be the year he could earn enough to be able to leave the military for at least a year and start his family properly. As he tended to his land, he heard a low rumble in the distance. The other farmers around him noticed it too and began to slow in their work, looking towards the source of the noise. As the morning progressed the sound got louder and louder, and became accompanied by a dust cloud noticeable behind the hills to the East. By mid afternoon, the source of the noise was evident. In the distance a large column of armed men could clearly be seen, and scouts were reporting that they bore the insignia of nearby Kroppenleben. Max thought nothing of this development, continuing his days labour, considering it just military movements, perhaps across the mountains against some incursion that lay in wait there for the

citizens of Kroppenleben. Thalfang, and in fact the entire Barony had not seen any upset for a very long time, perhaps longer than Max could remember, certainly longer than the Baroness had been in power. As a rule, Max, and Thalfangers in general were wary of any strangers in their land, but these Northerners didnt bother him this day, after all they were fellow Wissenlanders; there were plenty greater threats to Sonnefurt than other Wissenlanders. This attitude soon changed when the bells in the Church of Sigmar started frantically ringing, signifying the calling of the towns militia. Confused, but not one to disobey direct orders, Max abandoned his plough and ran as fast as he could to the town centre. There, the town crier, a portly man, was red in the face from his incessant shouting: Militia and residents of Thalfang, arm yourselves! Kroppenleben marches to war with Sonnefurt! Fight for your homes, your families and the Baroness! Sonnefurt needs you! Max quickly changed into his uniform. Unlike the irregulars, he formed the small detachment of Sonnefurt regular troops. He found his halberd and kissed his wife goodbye. Whats happening darling? Is it Orcs? Beasts? Im scared! Its Wissenlanders dear, bloody Wissenlanders! Part 2: The Battle of Thalfang On the other side of the river, the Kroppenleben artillery lined up. Row upon row of cannons and mortars loomed over the obviously doomed town. Clearly, this army was out for the prize of Sonnefurt, and Thalfang was an inconvenience, being the on the edge of the River Soll and Aschen, proving an obstacle for a column of men this big. The roar of the cannons made the ground shudder beneath Maxs feet. Then, seconds later, the world around him seemed to collapse. The cannonballs and mortar shells hit the surrounding buildings and shattered into lethal fragments of masonry and wood that splintered in all directions. Max threw himself to the ground as shrapnel tore over his head, shredding the unfortunate man beside him, leaving his crisp, unused uniform torn and red, distinct against the traditional white and grey. Max ran for cover, people were screaming and trying to get out of the town. It felt counter intuitive to be running the other way, but it was his duty. Even though the town would surely fall before reinforcements could arrive, they had to halt the advancing column long enough for the refugees to flee into the countryside. The only entry point into the town was the Aschen Bridge, and this would prove difficult for too many of the Kroppenleben men to negotiate at once, for it was a narrow bridge, perhaps six men wide. Max hoped this would make the fight a little fairer. As the artillery began to subside, with only a few pieces still firing on the now devastated town, Max knew the assault was coming. Sure enough, horns were sounding and the Kroppenleben men, only distinct from the Thalfang militia by their green trimmings as opposed to the Sonnefurt red, bore down upon the bridge with great tenacity and roaring cheers.

Their impact was brutal, and the combat was particularly fierce. The Thalfangers were known for being a hard people, and they were defending their own, against foreigners, their natural enemy. Blood was quickly flowing on the bridge, staining the gleaming cobbles and new hue of scarlet, but it was useless, the Kroppenleben forces could continue to send wave after wave at the bridge, whilst the militia could only hope their losses would not be too severe. Max fought with little consideration for who he was fighting, he dehumanised them, they were not men of the Empire, or even Wissenland, they were a threat to his livelihood, to his family and to his beloved Barony. His halberd fell and rose, cleaving men as they joined the fray, bloody spraying on his previously unused and meticulously clean uniform as he managed to decapitate an unfortunate solider. He had never been called upon to fight before, and only had his basic training but the situation he was in drove him to fight as good as the best trained soldiers. However, there was little he or his comrades could do. ********* Soon, it was decided that the militia had to fall back, there was no chance they could hold off any longer, and most of the townspeople had left, and were well on their way to Ostrach and then Sonnefurt. With a heavy heart the retreat was sounded, and the men began to break away. Evidently taking pity on their fellow Wissenlanders, the attackers slowed their advance, consolidating themselves and allowing their enemies time to leave the confines of the town, pursued only by the token inaccurate cannonball to make sure they continued fleeing. In just under half an hour, Thalfang had fallen. Over two hundred of its residents and militia had died in the battle and bombardment, but only fifty Kroppenleben troops had fallen to the blades of the valiant militia. The town was quickly sacked and the houses of the once peaceful citizens had become temporary barracks for the men of Kroppenleben. The army was to rest in Thalfang for the night, for they were sure they would see repercussions the next day when they marched on Ostrach. Baron von Kalb caught up with the column later that evening, impressed with the diligence with which his men had one the first decisive battle of the campaign. Thalfang was the second largest town of the Barony, and had fallen so quickly. He knew not to be so confident however, he had had the element of surprise, and the full might of his army against an ill equipped militia force. As he took up office in Mayor Funks townhouse, the most luxurious in all of Thalfang, he was met by his aide and organiser of this campaign, Leopold Steinbecker. My liege, may I congratulate you on your decisive victory this afternoon. If Thalfang was this easy, then we shall roll through this Barony with great ease. The Baroness will fall and all this land will be yours. Think how rich you will be my lord! Think of the power you will have! Nuln will have to respect you! Thankyou Leopold, but it is not that easy. Sonnefurt has many allies further North and in the city, we cannot forget that. Remember too, our cause for war is tenuous at best, and wait until they find out that we sabotaged our own ship. I need you to send word to Kreutzhofen, I am sure they will be happy to aid me in riding Sonnefurt of the Baroness, perhaps we can exchange some of their former land for their aid?

An excellent plan my liege! I shall arrange for our fastest rider at once. In the meantime get some rest, tomorrow will be another easy victory for you, your excellence, and you want to be at your best when we waltz into Ostrach! Part Three: The March on Ostrach News quickly reached Sonnefurt of the devastating surprise attack on Thalfang. The refugees had made their way overnight to the safety of the town walls. Ostrach had been bypassed for it was certain it would be the next target. As a predominantly military town, it was a high value target for the Kroppenleben army, a perfect place to locate their barracks, far from the River Soll and attack from their and the resources to replenish their army during the inevitable siege of Sonnefurt. The Baroness and the Council of Sonnefurt had quickly rallied as many troops as could be spared for the defence of the town, hoping to dent the attacking army significantly so the siege would not be able to last as long. Militias were drawn up, drafting as many men from the outlying settlements as possible, and they would be accompanied by a significant portion of Sonnefurts professional soldiers. Max, like many of his other comrades that night had been put up in one of Ostrachs many taverns, now turned into billets for the soldiers who were pouring into the town overnight. Being a veteran of the Battle of Thalfang he was allowed to rest, but the bustle in the town made it impossible to sleep. Defences were being dug, artillery was being moved in and the men were taking advantage of the hospitality and seemingly endless supply of liquor on Ostrachs famous Alcholics Avenue, evidently making the most of what they thought would be their last night on Earth. Max however would not join in with the revelry. He worried for his wife and what the next day would bring for him. ********** As predicted, with sunrise came the Kroppenleben troops. Still at full strength they vastly outnumbered the hurriedly assembled Sonnefurt army, but this time, the fight was drastically less one sided. Max saw the rows of armed men lined up in the fields before Ostrach. Their blades glinting in the early morning light, just like the spring dew that flickered on the grass before them. The flags, bearing the Rose and Briars of the von Heisenberg family, fluttered in the low breeze. It was eerily quiet, the tension and expectation of the conflict unnerved Max, at least the day before he had been thrown in with no questions. After the surprise at Thalfang the vengeful Sonnefurters were quick to seize the advantage to attack. As soon as the Kroppenleben soldiers were in range the artillery opened fire. The shrapnel could be seen tearing through the enemy ranks, and Max was instantly reminded of the horror he had witnessed in his town, just meters away from the market he sold his wares at every week. However, he felt no remorse for these men, just like he hadnt the day before. They could easily have been to him the foulest creatures in the world. The enemy troops were quickly in range of the renowned Ostrach militia marksmen, a group of crack crossbowmen whose bolts whistled through the fields and felled the oncoming army. Meanwhile,

the infantry held their ground. With little advantage of the terrain, as Ostrach was almost completely flat, and the unexpected artillery bombardment, the Kroppenleben army had not yet brought their artillery to bear down on the towns defenders, much to Maxs relief. Furthermore, the proximity of their troops to the Ostrach defensive lines meant that it would be suicide to even attempt such a ploy. This did not stop them from bringing their handgunners to the fore. The loud explosions could be heard on the other flank, presumably with the pellets ripping their way through the men as they stood their ground defiantly. The order had not yet been given to engage, the numbers needed thinning to make it a fair fight. Finally, the horns sounded from a building nearby and the roar of the men rose up from the ranks and they ran towards their opponents. The crunch of battle was horrific and men fell almost instantly. The confusion was incredible, the two sides were almost indistinguishable, and collateral casualties were inevitable. Max tried so hard to see through the mess of white and grey for that glint of green at which to strike. The blood made it difficult for the Sonnefurt troops, as it tainted the enemy uniforms with the same crimson their uniforms were marked with. This was not how they were meant to fight. The intense combat seemed locked in a stalemate, the defenders were being pushed backwa rds into the town but were still holding out despite all the odds. The mess of buildings made it easier to bottleneck the Kroppenleben soldiers and work their numbers against them, but their numbers were always a factor. Clearly, Baron von Kalb was holding some men in reserve but they overwhelming the small numbers of defenders. This however was set to change when a cry rang out from the farmhouse being used as a watchtower on the edge of town: Cavalry! Coming from the South! Part Four: Ostrach Falls Two days ago Eduard had been living a peaceful life in Sonnefurt, the peace had now been shattered. He was a simple carpenters apprentice, living and working in the Dockyards district of the sleepy riverside town. He worked diligently for little pay and lived in a townhouse with his, and three others, families. He didnt mind though, he enjoyed his work, enjoyed the freedom he had from a lenient master and loved being by the river, where he could indulge in his favourite hobby of fishing from time to time. He had been asleep when the Kroppenleben ship had exploded, but the next day it had been the talk of the Dockyards. Conspiracy theories had arisen, and fingers were pointed at the harbour masters for letting such an atrocity happen. There was talk of Solland insurrectionists, a framed sabotage an a deliberate attack on Kroppenleben. Opinion was divided and debates were heated. Eduard didnt attach significance to the event until the news reached him the next day of the fall of Thalfang, not fifty miles from Sonnefurt, to the army of Baron von Kalb. Over the course of that day there was a noticeable tension in Sonnefurt, the refugees were sent to the Dockyards to find shelter in the slums and everyone he spoke to was fearful that the situation would get worse.

However, some he talked to openly embraced the attack and the victory of Baron von Kalb. Dockers were not known for their liking of the Upper Classes, particularly not the Baroness and her followers, as she had not yet turned her attentions to a long promised renovation of the Dockyards, clearing out the slums and reinvigorating business along the Soll. The air was filled with talk of insurrection; the Dockyards would soon be in turmoil. ********* The cavalry raced across the fields towards the flanks of the Ostrach defenders. They were clearly mercenaries hired by Baron von Kalb to give him the distinct advantage against the defenders. Max wondered how he would have had enough time to hire so many mercenaries before launching his lightening attack, but the thought quickly left his mind as he saw the huge body of men and horses tearing towards his position. The men were clearly not Wissenlanders, and maybe not even men of the Empire. Some were decked in many resplendent colours, family heraldries from countries far beyond the borders, and some were in gleaming suits of expensive armour, spoils of many campaigns on behalf of many such rich lords as the Baron. As they hit, men were sent flying. The defenders were caught from both sides, the wave upon wave of infantry that were now being sent to win the battle more decisively coming from the East and the nights ploughing through the ranks to the South. The situation looked very bleak to Max. He aimed his halberd at the legs of the horses, felling several, but the Knights atop them continued to fight, clearly trained swordsmen, with the militia posing little opposition to their skill in the fray. The Northern flank was faring much better than Maxs side, despite suffering heavy losses from the shooting of the Kroppenleben marksmen. Sadly, the foresight of the defenders generals had overlooked the exposure of the Southern flank, and it was the Northern flank that held the best trained troops, compared to Max and the militia in the South. It was thus no surprise that the militia soon broke, only to be pursued by Knights, who then broke off to aid the combat to the North of the town. The towns defence was now in shambles. The Kroppenleben troops were so confident in their victory that the taverns were raided and sacked before the enemy had routed completely. The town itself had been spared any significant damage, but bodies lay in its streets, from both sides. A few hardy residents put up resistance, shooting the rejoicing enemies from the windows before being dragged into the streets and rounded up as prisoners, or worse, executed. Once again Max found himself fleeing a battlefield, mourning the loss of so many comrades. Those who had fought the day before as well were now few in number. Two days ago many had been Maxs neighbours, his shopkeepers, now they lay dead on the streets of Ostrach and Thalfang. Losses had been great in Ostrach, those who were lucky to escape were on their way to Sonnefurt, hopefully to gain a small amount of respite behind the Dwarfen walls with the full might of the Sonnefurt army to give them a break from the fighting. As the dishevelled band of men reached the city, the residents feared the worst. The Barony was being devastated, Sonnefurt was in flames.

Part Five: Insurrection This is unacceptable! thundered Mayor Funk, slamming his chubby fist on the heavy oak Council table, causing several goblets of wine to shake worryingly. The South Soll Coalition Military has been totally overrun, my dear Thalfang and now Ostrach have fallen into the hands of that lecherous von Kalb and Sonnefurt sends one mere regiment to our aid in this dire time? Sonnefurt needs to march out and gain vengeance for the hurt to our honour that has happened these last two days! I concur! started Mayor Vogt, these enemies are clearly forcing their Solland tendencies upon our honourable Barony of Wissenland, desecrating our peace and harmony through a tenuous cause for war! Sonnefurt needs to strike them by surprise like they struck us! Marshall Eichhorn, until then uncharacteristically quiet, plainly stated, That would be suicide. Can you fools not see past your lost pride and see that our enemy has prepared for this campaign long in advance. He has picked the Spring months, meaning his campaign can last for the best part of this year and has chosen specifically the week of Von Heisenberg Day, meaning our dear Baroness is not present, and is visiting her family in the North. We need to bide our time, there is no hope we can outfight such a large and well prepared enemy. No doubt news will reach all of Wissenland in the next few days, and the Baroness will be able to gather reinforcements from Messen and Heisenberg. Until then we have to take cover behind our walls and hope for aid. This is not the way I would like it to be, but for the future of Sonnefurt, it is our only choice. ******* Men of the Sonnefurt Dockyards, freedom is on our doorstep! Can you not feel the chance to break our chains, to beat our meagre lives of subsistence and fight for a better life, for us and our families? Baron von Kalb offers us this chance. Sonnefurt stands no chance against his might! The Baroness has deserted her supposedly beloved Barony for Northern climes, she is no better than the Countess herself, her own cousin. She does not care for this town like we do brothers! If we fight against the oppressive forces of the Nulnurt aristocracy in this town, and manage to hand it over to the Baron, we can negotiate our freedom from the yolks of poverty! Together we can throw off this oppression like the great Hans Hettinger! The Dockers cannot be put down! Whos with me?! Men roared in answer to the speakers rousing chant. In the crowd was Eduard, but he was not cheering. The crowd that had formed began to divide quickly, the supporters seemingly heading in the direction of the Upper River Side, the rich district in Sonnefurt, those who disagreed remained behind, anxious of the consequences. As the band of men left behind the speaker, chants started to rise and the anger could clearly be felt. Sonnefurt itself was now in a state of chaos, it would be easy for the Kroppenleben forces to take now for sure. ******** Max and his comrades woke up the next morning to screams and shouts coming from outside their billet. They had been stationed overnight in the Von Heisenberg theatre, the huge number of

military and refugee personnel filling the barracks in the Military District, leaving the militias to be stationed in public buildings all around the city. His sergeant ran in, offering an answer to their questions about the commotion outside. The citizens are revolting! To arms! There seemed to be no rest for the wicked, Max was quickly back in his uniform and on the streets. The sight outside was one of absolute chaos. Men had erected barricades in the streets, buildings were on fire and civilians were being dragged out into the streets from their homes, some were being humiliated, some were being tortured and some were being killed. The men perpetuating the violence were dirty and disorganised; clearly lynch mobs set out to attack this upper class district. Max had no idea of the politics behind the chaos, and had no reason to ask. These men posed a real threat to the future of the Barony, more so than the army surely making its way to the gates of Sonnefurt. The militia formed up behind a barricade, along with several other regiments now pouring into the district. They had been ordered to stand their ground, the commanders hoping the sight of military presence would strike fear into the rebels. It was one thing spilling the blood of fellow Wissenlanders, but everyone wanted to avoid the deaths of fellow Sonnefurters. ******** That same morning, Eduard had made his way to the Upper River Side, but not with an intent of causing chaos, but as part of the counter-revolutionary forces. He had armed himself with his grandfathers old pistol and an axe from his workplace, rudimentary weapons, but enough to pose a threat to the rebels. He was backed up by a crowd of like minded men, who disagreed with the insurrection due to the threat it posed to the safety of Sonnefurt. Although Eduard had sympathised with the goal of a better future, he did not believe Baron von Kalb to be the answer, hed rather die impoverished than enslaved to a distant ruler. When the counter-revolutionaries arrived the next morning near the Von Heisenberg theatre they saw the devastation their fellow Dockers had caused. They also saw the formidable sight of the amassed military, unmoving despite the chaos in front of them, a standoff had occurred. Quickly the rogue forces had stopped their brutal displays of anger and had taken note of the armed men that opposed them. They turned from their barbaric actions to face their opposition. Battle lines were forming. A chant then rose amongst their ranks and Eduard watched in horror as they tore down on the ranked infantry. Part Six: Blood on the Streets Max watched as the towns riflemen shot into the oncoming horde of rebels, the bullets ripping through the disorganised rabble. When the smoke cleared those who had not fallen foul of the hail of lead we almost upon the lined ranks. Max readied himself as the brutish mob crashed into the barricade and leapt onto the soldiers.

One Docker leapt straight at Max, a crude meat cleaver his only weapon. Max hit him in the stomach with the bottom of his halberd, knocking the wind clean out of his opponent. He did not want to finish the man, being only a simple, angry peasant but more and more men were charging at him, he had no choice. With one swing and a sickening crunch, the blade of the halberd became lodged in the mans skull. Max and the soldiers kept a tight formation, but were being pushed back by the sheer ferocity and mobility of these lightly armed and angry men. However, another round of shouts was heard from a side street, and more townsfolk could be seen piling into the mob, but there were not joining them, but attacking them. ******** Eduard felt the thrill of the charge, his heart was racing, his ears ringing and his blood boiling. He and his comrades had completely taken the insurgents by surprise, and were upon them in seconds. The ensuing fight was absolute chaos, a free for all of no holds barred bloody hand to hand combat. Eduard loosed a shot into an oncoming man bearing a large axe, piercing his chest, staining his dirty overalls with the scarlet blood. Almost immediately he flipped it round in his hand, turning it into a crude bludgeon, and clubbing another man square in theback of his head, knocking him to the ground with a noticeable crack. His levelled his axe into the chest of another man, before he was tackled to the ground, leaving the axe in his victims dying body. On the floor he scrapped with his attacker, a young dock worker who had nothing but a crude carving knife. They rolled on the now blood soaked cobbles, grappling in a frenzy of punches. Eduard was careful to avoid his opponents savage attacks with the crude blade, but it was close. Fortunately he managed to land a well aimed right hook in the cheeks of the worker, giving him enough time to reach out for a blacksmiths hammer on the ground beside, which he used to follow his blow with a crippling smash in his temple. ********* Max watched the frenzy that ensued from the attack of the other citizens, it was a bloodbath with no rules. Men were jumping on others, clawing at their eyes, their mouths, using whatever they could to inflict pain and destruction. Evidently tensions were running high, the fear of losing their livelihoods in this invasion had truly divided the population in how to react. His sergeant had given the orders to stay behind the barricades, he could not help the slaughter that was turning the once beautiful and elegant plaza into a scene of hell itself. Fortunately, he had not had to kill many citizens, for the sudden attack had turned their attentions, he was painfully aware of how many fellow Wissenlanders he had killed this week. ********* Eduard looked up from the chaos to see a figure clad in red robes and a suit of armour striding into the melee, hammer in hand, and bearing the signs of Sigmar. He was untouched by the brawl, no one daring to openly attack a priest of their almighty god. Eduard eventually recognised that this was no ordinary priest, this was Father Josef Schmidt, Abbot of the Sanctuary of Sigmar.

He stopped directly in the middle of the plaza, and his voice echoed around the streets, everyone stopping the insane carnage to listen to the priest. My good citizens! Why do you fight so? For the first time in centuries, blood has been spilled on our streets, and for what cause? Too many people have died at the hands our common enemy for further men to die at the hands of our own common citizens! It is little surprise that Sonnefurt is now seen as weak when we fight amongst ourselves! So weak in fact that not only does Baron von Kalb and his army descend upon our town with great haste, but the entire fleet of Kreutzhofen bears down on our docks in cooperation! The mention of the hated town of Kreutzhofen brought some shouts of disdain, but also murmurs of worry and panic, for it was Kreutzhofen who had subjugated Sonnefurt all those centuries ago. Yes! Kreutzhofen my friends! It is true. The only time I want to see fighting on these streets is in the direst of times. If we have to evoke the spirit Hans Hettinger and perform the second Defence of the Dockyards, so be it! I will be at the forefront with you! But that is the only time it is just and holy to spill blood on these flagstones again! ********* The crowd cheered. Many had fallen needlessly, but the insurrection had been calmed. However, Sonnefurt was in a dire situation. The Kroppenleben forces had spread out through the lands, racing for Sonnefurt and cutting off its supply lines. Their divisions were heading for the Sonnefurt itself at the banks of the River Sonne, and were aiming to stretch to the banks of the Soll in the other direction. From behind, the fleets of Kreutzhofen were blockading the docks of both Sonnefurt and Ertingen so that it was impossible to pass supplies, messages or people through. In the meantime, Von Kalb had established himself within the Baronesss mountain villa, sampling her fine wines and settling in for what he hoped would be a short siege, but from the tenacity and stoicism shown by the people of the Barony, knew in his mind might take significantly longer. Part Seven: A Call for Aid Klaus entered huge oak doors into the great hall of the Sonnefurt Council, a hive of activity due to the amassing siege force bearing down upon the city. He watched as the men buzzed around in a chaotic fashion, bustling with papers and eventually finding their seats. With a bang of the gavel the meeting was in session. Lord Herwin Augustus, as chairman of this meeting, hushed his colleagues on the Council and the surrounding attendants and newer members. This meeting is called as Sonnefurt is now at absolute crisis point, and with the absence of our fair Baroness, we are the sole ruling body. Up until now our meetings have been haphazard and disorganised but Baron von Kalb has given us a brief moment of respite which we must seize to regain our wits and plan our course of action. Let us hear your thoughts on this matter. Aldred Guttman started up, accompanied by the audible sighs of many of the people in the room, expecting a long and monotonous speech.

As you may well know, I have had the great pleasure of working as the chairman of the HirnSonnefurt Banking Corporation, and as such have brilliant links with the Dwarfs of the hold. Over the years we have gained their respect as valuable business partners and it should be clear to them that a loss to our business would take, according to my calculations, based on net loss already, multiplied by the length of Baron von Kalbs campaign, factoring in the loss of the workforce and increased pay of the military.... Quickly, Miengot Elzacher stepped in, much to the relief of the Council. What I think my colleague is trying to say is that the Dwarfs of Karak Hirn would have to search out new trade partners within Wissenland whilst we recover from a war that may well annihilate us. There is no guarantee that Baron Von Kalb will keep up our trade links either. Due to their inherent dislike of change, it may be that they would be willing to send a small force to stop Von Kalb in his tracks. Thankyou Herr Elzacher, Aldred remarked snidely, that is indeed what I was trying to say, I often forget many of you do not share my intellect or level of mathematical knowledge. But yes, we need to alert Karak Hirn in search of a favour. Jusk Stromsson, the grizzled leader of the Dwarfs of Sonnefurt, added to the conversation. Aye, despite is muddled way of sayin it, Guttman is right. Em ighlanders owe yous for all yer business these years. And anyways, if they dont owe yous, youd think theyd look out fer their own kin, some of us ave clans back up them mountains, they wont ave forgotten us! So all in favour of sending a message to King Duraksson of Karak Hirn? Lord Augustus asked There was a resounding murmur of agreement around the table. Then it is decided. Klaus, can we trust you with the task? Of course mlord! Anything for Sonnefurt!, Klaus responded from his dark corner. Methinks it moight be best if ye send im with some of my lads as an escort Mr Augustus, em highlanders are a bit funny about you umgi bein in their domains unattended. Plus, it moight convince em more if we lowlanders are askin fer their elp too. If you can pledge some men, feel free. Otherwise that matter is settled. Despite all his anxiety about the mission in front of him, Klaus quickly exited the room, excited to be on an official mission, and further excited that Lord Augustus had chosen him first. From all the clerks who worked for the Council, he had been picked first, his career was looking up. Maybe he would be able to pursue his dream of working in the courts as a lawyer as the Lords protg when this mess was over. However, he had a mission to attend to. He had to rendez-vous with his escort and find a way to pass the Kroppenleben troops undetected as they spread through the lands. T he longer he lingered, the stronger Kroppenleben forces and their stranglehold on Sonnefurt would become. *********

Albert had been in the same meeting room, timidly waiting in another corner, hoping not to be assigned any tasks by the Council. He was a humble civil servant, a quiet reserved man who liked his job as it meant being out of the way of the public. Now, there was a distinct chance he would be thrown right into the midst of a important mission to muster support. It wasnt that he didnt love his hometown, but he was thinking right at that moment he would much rather see it captured than have to face travel and formal audiences with nearby allies. The Council were slowly assigning messengers to spread out to sympathetic causes within Wissenland. They knew of course this was fairly pointless, as it was an internal political matter, and many nobles and leaders in the area preferred Baron von Kalb for his pro-Solland and anti-Nuln tendencies, whilst Sonnefurt stood as a bastion of Wissenlanders and Nulners in the countryside. When it came to who to send to Nuln, only Albert and one other, significantly younger, man were left. The issue of support from Nuln is of utmost importance if we wish to stop a takeover by Kroppenleben, Lord Augustus continued as Albert tuned in again, his thoughts previously distracted by his wild imaginings of what might possibly go wrong if they sent him. As such, from the two of you, I think it best if you represent our interests Herr Frank. He looked confidently towards Albert, and in turn Alberts heart sank. Can we trust you seek audience with the Countess on behalf of the Baroness and Sonnefurt. We need her to see the misconduct of Kroppenleben and their clear staging of an excuse to launch an evidently planned war upon us. We need justice to be enacted for their illegal behaviour, and a force to be sent to put them in their place. Are you up to the task? Albert gulped loudly, his mouth dry with angst. He managed to squeak a reply of Yes out, not wanting to disappoint and let down his fellow townspeople. He had never been further than Ertingen in his life, and this journey was going to prove to be his greatest adventure. ********* Marshal Eichhorn then entered the Council chambers, having been organising the siege defence forces for the vast part of the day. I have managed to secure the limited aid of the Soll River Patrol through my old contacts. Whilst they are not under orders to attack the Kreutzhofen ships which blockade our harbour, my contacts have secured warrants to search the ships tonight, looking for any smuggled objects. This will provide the perfect cover for the Council to travel to Ertingen where we will be safe, and for the messengers to use the waterways to speed their journeys. We will have to move fast though, for the warrants are tenuous. We have no time to waste. Part Eight: Under the Veil of Night Matilda grew anxious. That night had been designated the night of co-ordinated guerrilla efforts to hamper the Kroppenleben troops in their siege of Sonnefurt. The enemy had neglected her small village of Bezeinhof and the neighbouring village of Martinskorf, seeing their population as no threat and believing their subjugation would immediately follow after the decisive blows to their patron

towns of Ostrach and Thalfang respectively. However, Matilda knew this was a decision they would live to regret. Sepp Sydow, the elder of Martinskorf had visited their Elder, Frau Gaffwiger, to gather as many able bodies they could spare for the effort. The villages were only small and could not spare many, but Matilda had leapt at the chance to be involved. Her elder brother had been killed in the defence of Ostrach, having, as many sons of Bezeinhof were forced to do, join the Sonnefurt garrison several years before to earn money to support his impoverished family. Her father was too old to fight, but she wanted her family to be represented in the struggle, and the loss of her brother to have been for nothing. The group was assembling on the fringes of Ostrach as the dusk drew closer. They were to launch a lightening raid on the town, killing the guards and burning the stores. They were vastly outnumbered should the small garrison force wake, and as such it had been deemed a suicide mission. ******** Meanwhile, in the Sonnefurt harbour, the Soll River Patrol had stormed the Kreutzhofen ships, demanding to see their papers and check their holds for stolen goods from Sonnefurt. The crews of the ships were compelled to agree, completely shocked by the intervention of an official body in the conflict, but were as of yet unperturbed by their motivations. Klaus and his four Dwarf escorts had been put on a small vessel towards the River Sonne. The dwarfs were distinctly weary of the water, not trusting the small wooden vessel, despite having been accustomed to human workmans skills over the years. What made them even more nervous about their mode of transport were the presence of three ponies and a stallion. Even though Lowland Dwarfs were often seen riding ponies around the Barony like their human neighbours rode horses, evidently these three had other ideas. Klaus sensed their anxiety. Well what did you expect? Its not like youre known for being particularly fast walkers... Watch it umgi! replied the one who seemed to be their leader, particularly from his longer, whiter beard, if were seen enterin old irn on em, well never live it down, we may as well die our air orange and go find some trolls! Klaus used his believed innate ability as a lawyers clerk to reach a compromise he deemed suitable. Ok then, the steedsll go when we get too close, but speed is of the essence, we have a town to save, and my career on the line! ******** On the other side of the harbour, Albert waited along with the other members of the Council, and some important members of the Sonnefurt aristocracy. Smuggling was present in Sonnefurt and normally kept well under control, but this night, as dusk fell, several smugglers had been mysteriously commissioned by Marius Blech to conduct the safe passage of the precious cargos out of the towns waters.

Albert was put on a ship with several nobles who preferred to return to their Winter homes in Nuln, their plans for a warm spring and summer in the South of the Province dashed by the war. He spoke little, but just thought about his journey and how he would construct a convincing argument to the Courts of Nuln in order to win their support. He was not a born orator, he had deliberately become a civil servant to avoid having to speak aloud and in public, but now he was being asked to in front of the most important people in the land for the most important cause. The Council were also being loaded onto a small ship that would carry them across to Ertingen. It was believed that there they would be untouchable, but would be able to fly messenger pigeons the short way across the water to continue guiding the people of Sonnefurt. It was believed that the Kreutzhofen ships would not risk violent action against Sonnefurt without having been attacked first. If Sonnefurt should fall, they would be safe for a short while, being the far side of the river, where they could attempt to organise a last ditch counter attack. ********* Frank waited by the banks of the River Martin in one of several small rowing boats which were bobbing up and down with the waves. He didnt know if it was this motion making his sick of his fear stemming from the attack he was set to launch on the Martin Bridge with his fellow village guerrillas. They had rowed downstream from Martinskorf with the intention of destroying the Martin Bridge, a large Dwarf bridge which spanned the mouth of the River Martin and linked Ostrach and Thalfang and ultimately linked Sonnefurt to Kroppenleben. The sabotage of this bridge would make it difficult for reinforcements and supplies to enter by land, forcing them to use the River Soll, which was now heavily patrolled by the Sonnefurt division Soll River Patrol who were working unofficially in the favour of Marshall Eichhorn, making this task infinitely more difficult. The raid would not be easy, the enemy knew the importance of the bridge all too well, and had stationed a small regiment to defend it. Sepp Sydow had prepared the stealth attack and had somehow acquired several barrels of explosives. Frank was to accompany Sepp and row under the bridge as quietly as possible and detonate the explosives, whilst the rest were to draw attention to the bridge, luring the regiment into the path of the explosion, sending a message to the rest of the Kroppenleben troops. Frank was on edge, he knew he had the riskiest job, but knew the importance of his role. He was no longer just a woodsman, even clad in his simple, grubby clothes, rather than a gleaming uniform, he was as much of a soldier as any man who the Kroppenleben forces had already killed that week. Part Nine: A Night Ablaze As night fell Matilda and her fellow guerrillas moved into Ostrach, cloaked by the inky blackness of this cold spring night. They spread out rapidly, bows at the ready. They could not afford to alert anyone to their presence just yet. Matilda reached for an arrow from her quiver, losing it silently into an unaware guards neck, killing him with only a slight gurgle. Despite being a girl, she had had to be a keen marksman, hunting for her family, and defending them from the creatures who inhabited the woodlands, creatures much more terrifying than mere Kroppenleben soldiers.

Her target was a barn at the far end of the town. She and two others made their way around the town, using the cover of bushes to hide them from the patrols, whilst felling anyone who might give them away and who was foolish enough to be alone. When at the barn, it was decided Matilda would lead. She snuck up to the edge of the barn, noting the sole guard who stood at its entrance. She found her old hunting knife, a gift from her brother when he left to join the military, and it glinted in the moonlight as the clouds that had cloaked them so far began to part. The guard noticed the glimmer from the corner of his eye, and as Matilda raced at him, he managed to cry out. Intruders!!! Matilda swore. She had let down the raid, wanting to use her brothers knife for vengeance when she could have killed him with a quick shot of her bow. Bells were ringing and men were clambering to get to their positions. Evidently, they thought the attack was far greater than the raid it really was. Matilda quickly set about torching the barn, hoping to escape as quickly as possible. She noted that smoke was billowing all around the town; the others had rushed to complete their objectives. The Kroppenleben garrison was in chaos. ******** At that very same time, Frank was rowing underneath the Martin Bridge, and was priming the barrels. He was to wait for Sepps signal before he lit the fuse, giving the men above enough time to retreat from the explosion. He heard in the distance the shouts of many men. The distraction forces had launched a raid at the camp a short distance from the bridge, and were now running towards the bridge, being chased by the soldiers just as planned. Wait fer it lad, wait fer it... Sepp reassured. Frank obeyed and waited. He knew the barrels were perfectly in place, he had checked several times in his nervousness. His hands were sweaty and clammy, and he feared he would dampen the fuses if he touched them. His brow was damn, and his heart was racing. It all hung on him. The shouts got louder and louder and the definite sound of sword fighting could be heard. Shortly enough, he could hear it above him, they had made it to the bridge. Frank my boy! Now! Not one to disobey Sepp, despite his anxiety Frank lit the fuse and began to row away quickly from the bridge. The fuse could be seen glowing in the darkness, and as the clouds began to part, bathing the scene in moonlight, the men could still be seen on the bridge, engaged in bloody hand to hand combat. Theyre not movin, theyre gonna get emselves killed! Sepp exclaimed.

The men were so engrossed in their conflict with their hated enemies that they were not moving fast enough off the bridge, hoping to cut down their foes traditionally and settle their grudges. Moooove! Move you bastards!! Sepp shouted at the top of his booming voice from the boat. ********** A huge explosion tore through the night. The flames lit the town like daylight. The force of it blew Matilda from the barn and threw her into the cobbled street, leaving her limp and battered with the wind entirely knocked out of her. Before she had torched the barn, she had neglected to check its contents. Here they were storing the gunpowder that would fuel the handguns, cannons, mortars and siege bombs that would be used to level Sonnefurt. The enormous explosion could be heard for miles, tearing into the peace of the night. Matilda had dealt a crippling blow to the Kroppenleben siege effort, but lay barely conscious on the floor. The other raiders had managed to flee the scene, but had presumed Matilda dead from the force of the explosion. Ostrach was in flames, they had done their job and were fleeing to the Martinswald and the relative safety of Bezeinhof. Matilda however, was left and incredibly vulnerable. *********** Frank heard a loud explosion and his heart sank, believing that when he opened his eyes he would see all his comrades dead. He was therefore surprised when he saw the bridge was still intact and the men were still locked in mortal combat upon it, and further surprised when he saw a huge column of black smoke billowing out of Ostrach a few miles to the West. The Bezeinhof raid mustve struck gold mlad! chuckled Sepp. The grin was however quickly wiped off his face as another explosion ripped through the night. Frank was stunned. His fear of only a moment ago had been realised. His brief moment of relief shattered. The men were only just clearing the bridge when the barrels launched the masonry high into the sky, along with the bodies of many men. Too many men. Sepp cursed loudly. It had all gone wrong. A large wave rocked the boat profusely as the pair still looked on in amazement and disbelief. Tears began to form in Franks eyes and he began to sob violently. Its not your fault mboy, we couldnt help them... ************ Matilda slowly regained consciousness and began to open her eyes. She saw the smoke and the panic in the town and remembered she was in Ostrach. Suddenly, a boot slammed into her vision. She turned her head to see who it belonged to, and saw the unmistakable uniform of a Kroppenleben soldier, marked clearly by the green feather in his cap.

Well, well, what do we have here then? he chuckled with a sly grin. Part Ten: Homecoming Max watched from his post on the Sonnefurt battlements as the forces of Kroppenleben established their camps in the fields surrounding the town. He had gladly welcomed his few days of respite from the intense combat, but could now tell it would be coming again. The air was filled with tension. People talked of the abandonment of Sonnefurt, for the Council had mysteriously disappeared the night before, only to send messages from Ertingen that morning. Max found it hard not to relate it to rats fleeing a sinking ship. Everyone sensed that there was a distinct possibility Sonnefurt would fall. The only good news came from the chatter that the explosion that was heard the night before had been a resistance movement in Ostrach that had deliberately targeted the gunpowder supplies of their enemies. Sure enough, Max could still see a small plume of black smoke rising from the town to the East and had been able to hear the occasional smaller, follow-up explosions carried on the wind. The Kroppenleben army still seemed to be enormous, a vast horde of men decked in the livery of Wissenland but also many irregular troops, both clearly from Kroppenleben with their green markings but many with their own heraldry, clearly mercenaries drawn to Baron von Kalb due to the spoils he could offer from the rich and bountiful Barony and the trade routes he sought to secure. Construction could be heard throughout the morning as the men toiled to make ladders and other siege equipment. The lack of gunpowder meant it would be difficult to muster a long artillery bombardment to break the Dwarf built defences and they would need more traditional ways to enter the city. Thus it would be a good few days before they were ready to launch their assault, enough time, Max hoped, for reinforcements to arrive. ********** Victor awoke to a lot of commotion outside the window of his townhouse. He was a fairly wealthy, middle class citizen of Ertingen and lived in the centre, near the grand plaza of the town hall. Crowds were assembling here and looking towards the town gates. Victor spied Mayor Heim bedecked in his finest livery and also noticed he was accompanied by many other important figures within the Barony, the Marshall, several nobles and the Mayors of the surrounding towns. He quickly got dressed and rushed outside to see what all the fuss was about. The Council of Sonnefurt have established themselves in our town hall, a friendly passerby told him, and the Baroness is on the outskirts of the town. Shes back, and shes brought soldiers! ********** The armed men walked into Bezeinhof early that morning. The villagers stopped their work when they noticed they were dragging a girl with them in chains. Their jaws dropped when they noticed it was Matilda. She was cut a bruised and had clearly been tortured. Her comrades from the night before had thought she was dead, now they realised she had suffered a worse fate at the hands of the enemy soldiers. This woman, started the lead soldier, was involved on an insubordinate raid on Ostrach last night, along with what I can only assume were many other residents of this village. Baron von Kalb was

gracious enough to leave you villagers alone, in the hope you would obey in return for peace, but you were brazen enough to attack his men. He wants retribution, and he will get it. He signalled to the men to drag Matilda forwards. He grabbed her by the throat and shouted in her face. Denounce your fellow raiders! Denounce them or I will kill you here and now! In front of your friends and family! Matildas mother let out a muffled yelp at this threat. No. Matilda uttered quietly. What was that?! Defiance?! the leader slapped her round the face. Do you not fear your death?! Matilda spat at the floor before his feet. The soldier pulled a pistol from his belt and levelled it at her forehead. Do you wish to change your answer? One last chance! Matilda said nothing, staring down her tormentor, never blinking, pure defiance glinting in her eyes. He cocked the pistol. Bang! Matildas body slumped to the floor, the blood from her skull pouring into the earth, running far with the mornings dew. Her mother ran to her body, clutching her tight and whimpering. Her father comforted his wife, tears welling up in his eyes. They had lost their only two children to this conflict. If theres another attack, all of you will endure the same fate! ********* The armed column that entered Ertingen was by no means large, but was a significant number of men. They were troops from Meissen and Heisenberg, towns far to the North from which the Von Heisenberg family had come generations before and still had strong links with. The Baroness had been spending her annual visit in Heisenberg for Von Heisenberg day when the conflict had erupted, and had been travelling with the column almost continuously, collecting token gestures of troops in support from the towns to accompany her. Gustav had been with the Baroness for the entire journey, comprising her personal guard. He had risen through the ranks of the Sonnefurt military, originally hailing from Ostrach, until he had been promoted due to his valour to the ranks of the Zweihanders that protected the Baroness day and night. When he had learned of the treacherous attack and the fall of his homeland, he had been itching to return, and now he was entering Ertingen, he finally had. The soldiers provided by Meissen and Heisenberg were well trained men, but were not numerous. The towns had decided to pledge resources which wouldnt damage their own military numbers, supplying mainly artillery and sharpshooters, who would be kept out of the fray and could be sent

back in one piece. This is not to say there were no infantry men, the half pike regiments that were sent were dressed resplendently in their uniforms, marked with black and red markings along with the traditional Wissenland colours. Gustav was happy to have these men at his side, and at least they would provide some reinforcement for his homeland. The time for Sonnefurts liberation was nearing. ********* Frank and Sepp waited till the clear of morning to see the damage caused by their mistimed sabotage the night before. They claimed it was for the light of day, but it was clear they wished not to return to Martinskorf without any other survivors. The bridge was utterly decimated. Huge pieces of Dwarf masonry lay in the river, and had displaced a lot of the water. Bodies were washing down the Soll, a grizzly surprise for the fishermen downstream, far away from the conflict of this Barony. The two men had run over explanations in their heads for the entire night. Frank blamed his sweaty palms, but that would have served to delay the explosion. Sepp blamed his rousing of the men beforehand, making them eager for Kroppenleben blood. They both tried to blame the faults of the barrels and their mysterious origins, but could not blame anyone but themselves however hard they tried. Fortunately, the attack received no retribution, for it was largely attributed to the same group from Bezeinhof, but the sentiments of the village were equally solemn and vengeful. Sepp thought it best to say they died fighting, but were overwhelmed, a lie which held a lot of truth, but kept him and Frank out of blame. He thought that this village, suffering such significant loss, would still need him as a strong leader. However, he did decide that resistance efforts were not the best option any more. Both raids had been a success, but at a huge cost. ********** Victor listened attentively as the Baroness gave her homecoming speech to the townsfolk of Ertingen. My beloved citizens, our Barony is in dire times. Let me first let you know that I would never abandon Sonnefurt, it is my home and the legacy of my family. I have been entrusted to lead you through the good times and the bad, and that is my only purpose. Fortunately for me, in my absence I have a great Council I can call upon! As you can see, I have brought men I hope can turn the tide of this terrible situation. The Marshall tells me word has been sent to all the surrounding towns hoping for pledges of support, and messengers are as we speak on their way to the greater powers of Nuln and Karak Hirn, pleading for intervention to save us. One can only hope they succeed in their journeys, for Sonnefurt needs all the help it can get right now. I need every man to take up arms for their homes and families. We will not be beaten! A rousing cry went up from the assembled troops and citizens. Victor felt incredibly passionate, seeing the Baroness return had restored his faith. As an Uppsoller for all his life, having been born in the small town of Strazen, he had passed off this trouble as a Sotsoller problem, and that they would be the ones who would solve it. Now he realised they were all in this together, that everyone had

their part to play in Sonnefurts darkest hour. Despite being a wealthy merchant, he bore this in mind and signed up to join the Ertingen Irregulars, part of the Dieten Hills Township Militia. He was equipped with simple leather armour and a halberd, and began a rudimentary training programme. Victor was going to war.

Part Eleven: Urgent Messages Klaus and his escort voyaged upstream in their small vessel for a short distance, well out of Sonnefurt and towards the mountains to which they headed. The spring thawing of the mountain snow meant that they had to disembark earlier than they had thought, the strong currents making it difficult to pass further up the River Sonne. They managed to disembark beyond Scharmbeck, careful to remain undetected for Scharmbeck was Kreutzhofen territory, being caught here would spell disaster for the attempted relief effort. Grudgingly the Dwarfs mounted their ponies whilst Klaus rode his stallion. Although he could easily have beaten them to the hold, he took pride in telling them what this would do for his fledgling career, and thus in return what he could do for them should they come into trouble. No offence mlad, but yer umgi careers arent really worth anythin. One of the Dwarfs grumbled, A real job is manual, we dont need no one tellin us what the law says, wes all know it, n stick to it. Its not ard, you break it, ye get punished. No if yed shut up for a minute sos we can focus on our trek, me beard keeps gettin caught in me stirrups Klaus promptly kept his mouth shut for the rest of the journey, not wanting to upset the people set to protect him. As they advanced further into the mountains it became clear they were entering the realm of the Dwarfs. Brilliantly crafted statues lined the passes, with well built and strong defences overlooking key choke points. Little did the party know, they were being watched. ********** Once well out of the Sonnefurt docks, it was safe for Albert and the nobles to emerge from the hold of the ship. The ship was cruising quickly down the River Soll, passing the countryside rapidly. Fortunately there was a good wind, and the sail was full. Albert remarked at how busy the river was, huge amounts of traffic filling it from bank to bank. It was evident the Kreutzhofen blockade had no effect on the lives of any other river based merchant, hence the lack of objection. It would still take a couple of days to cruise this river but the weather was good and the boat was luxurious, befitting its crew. The passengers attempted to make small talk with Albert, probably out of boredom, and Albert found this difficult. He much preferred to look out upon the lands, land he had never voyaged out in before. He had no comprehension of how far Wissenland stretched for, or what Nuln would be like. He was a simple country fellow; he knew what he liked and didnt like to be taken out of his comfort zone.

He did not that the rest of Wissenland was terribly peaceful in comparison to his homeland. Over the last few days, with all the chaos in the offices of the Council he had imagined everyone was at war, that there was a huge incursion of beasts. He forgot that it was just his small Barony that was having any trouble. Most of the land was quite content to let Kroppenleben and Sonnefurt have their dispute, it was nothing to do with them. He knew the other messengers would be unsuccessful or even turned away. How he wished he was one of them, no responsibility whatsoever, but he was given the most important task. With no other aid Nuln was the only other ally besides Karak Hirn Sonnefurt could try and rely on. It was all down to him and Klaus. ********* Out of nowhere a band of Dwarf rangers appeared from the rocks before Klaus and his Dwarf escorts. They emerged laughing, having caught the three Dwarfs sat on their ponies. They began to mock the Dwarfs in Khazalid, their sergeant leading the verbal assault. Look ere lads, these boys are riding umgi ponies, they must be Lowlanders. All that town air and human fraternising has lost them their way. Look at their clothes, all baggy and poncy. How could you do this to yourselves boys? And now you dare to bring your tainted ways back up into the land of the real Dwarfs? One of the Dwarfs bucked up, but having only learnt Khazalid from his parents, was fairly rusty. We, errrr, are here, ummmm, on official business errm, of Sonnefurt. We, hmmm, wish to speak errrr, with the King. We can speak the umgi language if yous want pal? the sergeant retorted, seems yous ave lost touch with yer roots! The band chuckled amongst themselves. Klaus was very glad they were now speaking the Imperial tongue, for he had no idea what had been going on, but now wished to show his negation talents off. My good men, we are on official business of the Baroness of Sonnefurt, we seek an urgent audience with the King. If you would be so kind as to lead us to him, I would be eternally grateful and in your debt. He showed them a seal bearing the rose and briars of the Von Heisenberg family. Do yer now, well methinks es quite busy bein King and that, but might be able fit ye in mlord the sergeant mocked Klaus well spoken Nulnurt dialect. That would be most excellent, thanking you kindly. Klaus felt rather proud of himself once again, he felt that he was definitely sent on this mission due to his evident talent and personal skills. He had managed to get an audience with the King of Karak Hirn and had an escort there. The rangers marched the messengers through the mountain passes all through the night. Klaus hoped the next morning he would be able to speak to the King, and maybe he could personally turn the tide.

Part Twelve: Shattered Hopes The next morning Albert arrived at the port of Nuln. The steady wind had kept up through the night, and the swollen river had helped with strong downstream currents. It was almost as if Lacothea herself had been with the ship on its voyage, and was on Sonnefurts side, willing it to gain the support it deserved. Albert was blown away by the city of Nuln. It was enormous. People filled everywhere Albert looked. It was hectic, noisy, smoky, and smelly. Alberts senses were assaulted violently as he left the ship. He was to be accompanied by a noble who had links at the Court of Nuln and could manage to get an appointment fixed for Albert to plead Sonnefurts case against Kroppenleben. The man lead Albert through the streets, for it was almost certain Albert would have become lost without him. Albert was amazed by how different Nuln was to anything he had seen before. In Sonnefurt he felt safe and in a friendly environment, it was clean, flagstonned and organised. It was busy, but not chaotic, and he felt like he could fit in. Already in Nuln he felt violated. People pushed and shoved and shouted. They were rude, obnoxious and selfish. As they left the docks and entered the University district however, Albert suddenly felt much more at ease. It was quieter, more serene and beautiful and full of polite people who greeted him and his guide. He could imagine living and working here, not in the noisy city but in this peaceful enclave amidst the bedlam. Soon he reached the Palace. His companion had a few words and managed to secure him a meeting with the Countess and her advisors in a couple of hours. This was Alberts time to shine, he desperately needed to come out of his shell. *********** As Albert was seeking an audience with the Countess, Klaus was making his case known before the King of Karak Hirn. The King had been busy with other business, but wanted to know whether the conflict below would cause him any grief. Klaus obviously turned on his charm and oratory skill to present his case. Your Highness. I have been sent to you on behalf Baroness von Heisenberg to seek your aid in a matter of war. Soldiers from Kroppenleben threaten to utterly destroy and take over our lands. Baron von Kalb seeks to take all of our trade with you under his own wing. Surely you do not want this to happen? The Hirn-Sonnefurt Banking Corporation and the many other trade partners have had long established relationships. Why change this now? Would you not rather deal with people you know you can trust, instead of changing the leadership? We need your military aid to put this right. If you could pledge some soldiers to turn the tide in our war, we would be eternally grateful to your hold and people and our long established trade links could continue to proper and flourish. Klaus finished his speech, pleased with himself, and sat and waited for the Kings reply. This took longer than he expected, as the King mumbled to several advisors, and carefully considered his answer, which took him a while to formulate in his long unused Imperial tongue.

You mention that Baron von Kalb of Kroppenleben wishes to take over yer trade with us do ye not? We find this arrangement acceptable. We deal with too many of you umgi as it is, and a simplification would be greatly appreciated, the less I have to deal with yer politics, the better. Besides, the Baroness ye represented is too young to know ow to truly deal with us Dwarfs, and she is a female, she does not ave the beard for it. Im afraid I wont be gettin involved, yell ave to sort yer problems out yerself. With that the King stood and left, his bodyguard leaving with him, leaving Klaus and his party stood gobsmacked in the great hall of the hold. Klaus was particularly stunned, not believing he could have failed, especially with such an impeccable speech. All his hopes from the night before had been dashed in an instant. ********** Meanwhile, word had reached Baron von Kalb of the return of the Baroness to Ertingen, along with the reinforcements she had brought with her. He had also learned of the smuggling of the Council to safety and of the messengers out of the docks. He began to curse loudly at Leopold. How could this happen?! How could we let them slip past us?! We had the noose tightening around their necks! Now they could be gaining support from anyone! The River Patrol is on their side, it is only a matter of time before Nuln are too! And what about Karak Hirn?! We were so close! Damn these Sonnefurters He threw his empty goblet at the portrait of Max von Heisenberg above the fireplace in the large dining room. Leopold softly calmed his inflamed master. But my liege, he cooed, there is no one left to help them! They lost a lot of friends in the Solland Effort by staying neutral; they can count on no support from the local area. Only the local division of the River Patrol are set to help Marshall, and they act against direct orders, I have alerted the correct authorities as to their betrayal of trust in their neutrality in politics. Nuln will be reluctant to help, the Countess is reluctant to help her cousin due to her jealousy, it will take a lot to convince her otherwise, and this will buy us time. The Dwarfs were also easy to manipulate, I convinced them of the ease if you were to assume control of Sonnefurts trade, and a sowed seeds of doubt in the leadership of the Baroness for many years. There is no need to worry my lord, no need at all. Very well Leopold, as always you have planned meticulously. I still dislike that Ertingen is gaining strength however, perhaps we need to knock them down a peg. Ill get right on it my liege. Leopold cooed slyly. Part Thirteen: Rules of Engagement Victor woke up again to commotion, but this time it was much more sinister. The ships in the harbour had begun a bombardment of Ertingen. Fortunately for Victor, he had few minutes to rush his family to his cellar before the cannons turned on his district.

As they did the noise was horrific. The balls of iron crashed all around, sending shrapnel in every direction. Victor donned his armour and grabbed his halberd, he was expecting an invasion, and the bells were calling for the militia to assemble. He weaved his way around the town, dodging collapsing buildings and flying cobblestones, burning buildings and fleeing townspeople. It was carnage. People lay dead in the street, torn apart by the whirling debris. Time seemed to slow as Victor darted everywhere, nowhere was safe, there was no cover from such an attack. Shrapnel scraped his leg, and he swore as he saw his blood trickle down his leg, but thought himself lucky considering the other outcomes. To his surprise, the bombardment continued, but beg an to slow. This wasnt a preliminary attack to signal an invasion, it was planned to throw the town into disorder and disrepair, to maim the townsfolk and drive down moral and to attempt to deplete or damage the reinforcements. The fire slowed to a reasonable rate, but continued for most of the day, an occasional blast to keep the people on their toes. In a way, the attack had been successful. The town hall was ablaze, the place that held most of the Council and many troops. Many townspeople were lying dead in the streets, and many had and were fleeing to the safety of Strazen, fearing another ferocious attack in the near future. Victor helped in any way he could. Fortunately his family had been saved, but the window he had looked out of that morning had become a large cannon ball hole, with a similar one of the other side of the room. He had been lucky, many others had not. He helped bury the bodies, mostly of civilians, and put out the fires. The enemy had gone too far this time. *********** Klaus and his band had left the hold disappointed and had been shown to a point where the River Sonne became traversable by boat as it emerged out of the mountains by the rangers. From his view, Klaus could see smoke rising from the distance, to what he believed to be Sonnefurt. He knew he had failed. He couldnt win over the King of Karak Hirn and now Sonnefurt was in flames. *********** Captain Strotmann stood on the prow of his ship, followed by several others from the River Patrol, all brimming with armed men and re-entered Sonnefurt for the second time in two days. This time, however, he had a legitimate cause, rather than the tenuous warrants he had secured to aid his old friend Marshall Eichhorn. This time, he had been ordered to force the Kreutzhofen fleet to stand down. Their bombardment of Ertingen had killed many innocent bystanders without fair warning, and was unprovoked due to the nature of the conflict being between Sonnefurt and Kroppenleben. The ships cut through the amassed fleet in the harbour, and the Captain headed for the flagship, hoping to talk to the Admiral of the Kreutzhofen fleet. He and his support boarded the ships, bearing an official declaration of the breach of the rules of engagement and the violation of the use of the River Soll. By decree of the Countess and Wissenburg, and orders of the Soll River Patrol, you are hereby ordered to stand down immediately, or risk punishment! You shall end youre blockade of Sonnefurt

and return to Kreutzhofen. Any reformation of this fleet for use against Sonnefurt and its protectorate towns will be seen as an illegal usage of this neutral waterway. What authority do you act on Captain Strotmann? the Admiral retorted, do you think we were born yesterday? We know you work for Sonnefurt, your stunt the other day was in their interests. Who says we should believe you? The men on the ship began to draw their weapons, the River Patrolmen reached for theirs too. The atmosphere was tense, it was becoming a standoff. The silence was broken as a cabin boy shouted. Boss, I think you need to look at this! In the distance, dozens more ships bearing the insignia of the River Patrol were heading into the docks of Sonnefurt. Alright men, stand down! We best be out of here! *********** Klaus had quickly made it down the mountain on the rapids streaming from the melting snow. On bis descent he had seen many ships entering the Sonnefurt harbour from downriver and thought that maybe help had been on its way. He had felt slightly relieved; he had not failed the town entirely, perhaps Sonnefurt would be saved after all- he could only hope. As the band had reached just south of Scharmbeck they had noticed a crowd of soldiers waiting on the banks of the river, wearing the livery of Kroppenleben. Simultaneously they swore as they realised their fate. Part Fourteen: Treachery and Greed The Council sat around in the broken and battered town hall of Ertingen. Although the Baroness was now entitled to assume total control of the situation, she was happy to delegate to her Council, for she found the harsh realities of war hard to deal with, and preferred the Marshall to assume command on her behalf. She still however attended the meeting, and Gustav was selected to stand guard within the meeting room with several other guards. The debris inside the hall had been cleared to some extent, and a table had been found in a nearby merchants house that served to replace the destroyed official table. Marshall Eichhorn began the meeting, sitting this time as its chair. As you well know, the Kreutzhofen fleet has been banished from our waters on orders of Wissenburg and the River Patrol, this was not even my doing. Captain Strotmann assures me that the Patrol are here to stay to make sure the free conduct of our war can happen without illegal impediment or citizen slaughter. Their intervention also gives me faith that we may well soon be

hearing from Nuln, the misconduct of the Kroppenleben-Kreutzhofen alliance has been noted by the authorities, it is only a matter of time. But we still avent eard from Karak irn yet grumbled Jusk Stromsson, it shouldnt ave taken this long, we shouldve eard the great orn blowin if they was comin to war. ********* Open the gates! Max was on gate duty with his militia regiment, and had seen a lone cart dragged by a single pony heading towards the town. When it had reached the gate, it was searched by a guard, hoping it was not explosives, and was quickly admitted through. Max struggled to see the carts contents through the inquisitive crowd that began to form. The cover was removed and a gasp rose amongst the assembled onlookers. It was four bodies, racked with crossbow bolts, one human and three Dwarfs. The human wore the seal of the Baroness. ********** The messenger whispered in the ear of the Marshall, passing on an urgent message. In answer to the earlier question of Karak Hirns support, I have just had reports that it seems highly unlikely. The bodies of the four messengers were reportedly pulled out of the River Sonne by Kroppenleben forces today, riddled with Dwarf made crossbow bolts. It seems that either our messengers fell foul to a patrol who believed them bandits, or that they managed to upset the Dwarfs. Either way, it looks like we cannot count on the support of our mountain allies. Whispers and groans of disappointment echoed around the table. Prince Imre Lank, stood up, for the first time offering his thoughts on the conflict. Being from the Border Princes, Gustav struggled to understand entirely what he was saying. I thinks that asa the Dwarf no want to helps us, we haves to takes the matter into our own. I has many contacts in this land here froms the old country, mercenaries who will fights for a cost. Maybes we cans convince them? Herr Elzacher interrupted the Prince. A fair point, this land teams with mercenaries, but it seems they have all been taken under the Kroppenleben wing, Baron von Kalb has used his wealth to pay all the available mercenaries, hoping to pay them back with the spoils he earns from us. Besides, we have no money to afford mercenaries, we are financially stretched as it is. Not entirely true, my dear Miengot. Herr Guttmann interjected, as human company executive of the Hirn-Sonnefurt Banking Corporation, I am sure I can secure us the funds. The Dwarfs have refused to help us, and may even have killed our messengers, I think we are fully justified in legally seize their assets stored here to finance a mercenary contingent.

This was the first time anything Herr Guttmann had said had been greeted with joy by the Council. It was quickly decided that a messenger would be sent to the nearest mercenary captain, one working for Kroppenleben who was stationed outside of Ostrach, hoping to turn his allegiance with the promise of large amounts of Dwarf gold. ********** Alonso sat in his tent smoking, pondering on how he would spend the riches he was currently earning for sitting doing nothing. Baron von Kalb had hired him and his mercenary company before the conflict had started, promising the spoils of Sonnefurt and perhaps some land in the southern Barony, somewhere he could spend time when not in his home country. However, he had yet to actually fight in the conflict. Instead he and his boys had been filling in the lines, and they were growing restless. Alonso had become a mercenary not for the money, but the fighting and the glory, and this was being denied. He did not object to the princely sum he was being paid for his lack of work, but hoped he would be put to best use soon. One of his guards ran into his tent, out of breath. A messenger from the other side wishes to speak with you, says he has an interesting proposition. Bring hima to me, I ama so bored it mighta provide at least leetle a bit of entertainment. *********** Johann had been chosen to send to the message to the notorious mercenary captain Alonso Capitore. He had a reputation of being a grizzled veteran of many campaigns, all over the Old World. He was a Tilean but spent much of his time in the Empire, and had made a name for himself in Southern Wissenland as an expert general, and his band for being ruthless and efficient killers. As such, Johann was more than a little nervous about meeting him. When he was ushered into the tent, he saw the man before him. His face was covered in scars and wounds. He wore an eye patch over his right eye and had a scraggy black beard. He was a terrifying sight to behold, but when he spoke his gentle Tilean accent was juxtaposed with his rugged appearance. I heara you have a proposition fora me? Howa can I helpa you? Johann stuttered, and finally managed to get his pre-prepared speech out. Senore Capitore, I have been sent on behalf of the Baroness and Council of Sonnefurt to ask for your aid. They recognise that you have been employed to fight against us by Baron von Kalb of Kroppenleben but are prepared to double his payment to all of your men should you turn against him and act in our favour. Furthermore, should your actions turn the tide of this war, and Baron von Kalb should lose, we will aim to recover your already agreed payment from him, allowing you to earn three times your rate if you should side with us. Thatsa very interesteeng offer youa make my friend. My mena grow bored of hisa treatment of us. I willa consider your offer, and willa discuss it with my men.

Johann issued his great thanks and headed back to his boat. Perhaps these men would be in terested. ********* Alonso watched as the timid messenger left his tent, considering his handsome offer. He knew conflict would come soon and he would get his chance for glory, but for which side? If he stayed with Kroppenleben he may well be victorious, but would be involved in a long, monotonous siege, with only one decisive battle after months of waiting. If he joined Sonnefurt, he could turn their campaign around, be recognised by them as a great hero, and fight in many battles against his employers. Plus, he could earn a tidy fee doing it. He began to ponder his treachery.... Part Fifteen: A Beginning to an End The bells tolled in Sonnefurt, panic ran through the streets and men scrambled to their positions. The first assault of the Kroppenleben troops on Sonnefurt itself had finally begun. Max witnessed as the military district turned into a scene of frantic dashing, as men barked orders, armed themselves and headed to the walls. Maxs regiment was positioned at the front, seeing as the South Soll Coalition Halberdier Corps were now veterans of this campaign. As he climbed the stairs behind the walls, he saw ranks of men firing into the oncoming troops as they attempted to scale the walls. The noise was horrific, the cannons and muskets fired, clouding the battlements in thick smoke, making Max choke. Fortunately for the defenders, the supply lines of the Kroppenleben troops were still in turmoil, meaning the assault was accompanied only by limited artillery, which was not being effectively used to conserve gunpowder. As such, the enemy were using hastily constructed battering rams, siege towers and ladders to assault the walls. The force was mainly infantry in nature, wave upon wave of expendable soldiers thrown against the battlements, hoping to break the defences of the riverside town. However, they had little hope and they knew it. The artillery of Sonnefurt was bolstered by that of Meissen and Heisenberg and was quickly destroying the towers that came towards the walls. The ranks of men, Max included, were easily fending off the ladders, pushing their men to the ground below. The attack was shortly over as the Kroppenleben troops retreated to their camp. Max knew that this was only a reconnaissance mission, too few troops had really been involved for a proper siege. Baron von Kalb wished to wait out the Sonnefurt surrender and coerce them into submission. They knew he could launch attacks like this almost daily if he wanted to, keeping them on edge. Kroppenleben were determined to bring down Sonnefurt, and would not stop at anything to do so. ********* All the while Sonnefurt had been holding off Kroppenleben, Albert had been in and out of the Nuln Palace. Meetings had been adjourned early or just plain cancelled and rescheduled. In total, Albert had only had to actually speak with a varying board of Councillors for an hour, and the Countess was only present for fifteen minutes or so over three days. Albert had realised that Nuln was stalling. They considered themselves separate from the affairs of Wissenland, being a separate state, but the fact their Countess ruled both, meant they were obliged to be involved.

The Countess clear disdain for Sonnefurt was evident from her blas attitude towards Albert, her jealousy of her cousin getting the better of her even in the face of true danger. Albert was becoming increasingly annoyed with the Countess and the Councillors, seeing that as he had been made to go far out of his comforts, they could at least have the common decency to hold a proper meeting. Finally, a few days later, a proper meeting was scheduled with the Countess and her Council, no excuses could be found, and she had exhausted all possible ploys to avoid the audience. Albert now had to deliver his argument. His mouth was dry but he was not going to let this chance pass up; he just wanted to go home. My noble Countess and esteemed Councillors, you are already well aware from our other brief meetings of the plight that ails Sonnefurt at the hands of the Baron of Kroppenleben, and even the Baron of Kreutzhofen too. We have reason to believe that this attack was entirely unjustified, motivated by Baron von Kalbs jealousy and greed. We have never provoked Kroppenleben and yet we are engaged in a war for our very survival. We feel Nuln needs to lend aid to provide stability to our region, Baron von Kalb is known to harbour Solland tendencies and wishes to hold a monopoly over the trade of much of the South of Wissenland, former Solland territory. Surely this poses enough of a threat to Wissenburg, yourself my dear Countess and even perhaps Nuln itself should a separatist war ensue? Albert felt rotten to his stomach; he was sweating profusely and growing pale. The Council dismissed Albert and he was forced to wait outside, time ticking and the lump in his throat swelling, he wanted so desperately to know if he had managed to succeed. Soon, Albert was ushered back into the Great Hall and a Councillor spoke on their behalf after some hushed mumblings. The Council has agreed that as the dispute between Sonnefurt and Kroppenleben is of internal Wissenland politics and poses no immediate threat to Nuln, that Nuln will not send intervention to the conflict. The Countess, on behalf of Wissenburg and Wissenland has also decreed that the dispute should be settled by the two nobles themselves, whether it through war or diplomacy, as Baron von Kalb had proven his loyalty to Wissenland on many occasions, and cannot be suspected of any sedition. Sonnefurt will have to find its own way out of the conflict and settle with Kroppenleben independently. Albert was dismayed. He had failed his town. He had always doubted whether he would gain their support, but in the back of his mind had always believed that someone would come to save Sonnefurt. He began to leave the palace dishevelled and downtrodden, making his solemn return to Sonnefurt, pondering whether he would be able to work for the Council of Baron von Kalb after his victory when he hear hurried footsteps behind him. An old man was rushing up to him, nearly out of bre ath. I heard you plead your case to the Council, and thought their verdict was wrong. I fought for you, Sigmar would never let this atrocious war happen, but they wouldnt listen. This is why I pledge you my aid. I have a certain amount of sway with the Nuln Volunteer army and am sure I can arrange for a small division to accompany you to Sonnefurt under the able command of my son Alexander, for I have business to attend to here in Nuln. I have many valuable assets to protect in your Barony,

including the Soll Shipping Company which had been reporting trouble proceeding with its normal ventures due to the conflict. Alexander will wait for you at the docks before sunrise tomorrow and the army will sail to Sonnefurt. Astounded, Albert could only mumble a reply. Thankyou, but might I ask, who are you? I am Marschall Hans von Plauten of Nuln, and I am delighted to be of service! Part Sixteen: Preparations Word is an armed Kreutzhofen supply train is moving from Scharmbeck towards Sonnefurt. We have been chosen to hold the ford against them. Should they reach the Kroppenleben army, they will resupply them with enough gunpowder to bring their full artillery to bear on our walls. This cannot happen. We have been assigned by the Baroness personally for this. We cannot fail! Gustav and his regiment uttered a resounding cheer and headed towards the Ertingen dock, where boats were waiting to take them to the ford. The Baronesses Guard were known as elite defensive troops, but could not be expected to hold out by themselves. They were to be supported by the Meissen and Heisenberg infantry. It was hoped this would be enough to stop the armed column in its tracks. ******** As the elite troops were being moved out of Ertingen, so was Victor the Ertingen Irregulars, getting ready to join with the rest of the Dieten Hills Township Militia in Strazen. From here they were scheduled to launch a decisive raid on Ostrach, apparently with the support of a turncoat mercenary captain. If the attack was successful, they were to hold their ground and take back Ostrach, giving Sonnefurt another flank with which to work from in their attack on the besieging forces. The column marched around the Dieten Hills, heading to Victors old hometown. Over the past few days training had been stepped up, but he did not feel the least bit confident, particularly when there were rumours that the mercenary captain was not definite at all, and that they may be performing this raid alone. ********** When the militia captains came to recruit men from the docks to fight in the upcoming push out of Sonnefurt, Eduard jumped at the chance. He had been put to work since the fighting in the streets back in his mentors carpentry workshop, they had been building everything, shields, pavises, defences and much more equipment, the workload never letting up. Eduard wanted to fight however; he was not content with just being part of the war effort. He had acquired a taste for blood and was willing to spill it again in the name of his homeland. ********** Max too was readying himself for further combat. He was seen as a great veteran by his comrades, having been involved in every battle of the conflict. The South Soll Coalition troops had been

replenished steadily, recruiting from the refugees and hurriedly training them for the upcoming climactic battle. In the siege several men had been killed by the small arms fire of the enemy. Amongst the dead was Maxs sergeant. He saw his Captain come up to him as he was lined up with his regiment for inspection in the towns parade ground and thought nothing of it. Maximilian Bachor. The Captain started, stunning Max a little. Yes Sir! he barked back, standing up as straight as possible. Your actions have been noted over the past few weeks and you have been recommended to me by several of your contemporaries for promotion in the light of the death of Sergeant Ritterkast. Will you do this Barony the honour of leading the South Soll Coalition Halberdier Corps on the field of battle? Yes Sir! Maxs heart was full of mixed emotions. He was incredibly proud of the honour bestowed upon him, but he thought of his desire to leave the military, a desire shattered by this blasted conflict. He only had a year left till he earned enough money to leave, but not, with promotion, leaving would let too many people down. ********* Albert had followed the Marschalls instructions and met his son Alexander at the docks. Thankyou for your kind agreement to help out in Sonnefurt, we are in your debt. Dont get your hopes up country boy, Alexander retorted, sneering at Albert, I am only doing this for my father, I need him so I can advance through the ranks of the real army of Nuln, not leading this over-zealous, interfering army. Ive already served down south against the Sollanders and now my father sends me again while he swans around in the city, not helping me out at all. Ah well, best get on with it, climb aboard. Although Albert despised this area of the city a few days before, now it was a beacon of hope. Soldiers were checking their weapons and boarding the small fleet and men rolled artillery pieces up onto the decks. The crew scurried around the ships, making last minute checks and reading the sails; speed was going to be of the essence. Soon Albert was once again cruising upon the River Soll but this time without apprehension. He had won a valuable ally for Sonnefurt in Nuln and had a determined and well trained army coming to the towns aid. He may have failed in winning over the Council but had ultimately succeeded. He hoped this meant he could now get back to his original quiet life once again. Part Seventeen: The Battle of the Sonnefurt. Gustav lined up in the glittering ranks of the Von Heisenberg guard, their meticulously polished armour glinting in the sunlight. They looked spectacular, finely polished, bedecked with colourful feathers and the best cut and sash uniforms of all the military, a crimson colour marking their loyalty

to the Von Heisenbergs. The Rose and Briars fluttered in the breeze and filled Gustav with pride. He kissed his large sword. It had felled many foul creatures before in the defence of the Baroness, and now it would take the lives of one of the Von Heisenberg families greatest historical rivals, the Kreutzhofen armies. Around him were the infantry of Meissen and Heisenberg, equally resplendent, the spending power of the northern towns evident in comparison with the militias of Sonnefurt. He trusted they would support him and the guard, but doubted their use. The ford was not wide and the Zweihanders were valiant opponents, but still, he liked the knowledge that backup was there. The supply train came into sight along the opposite road. There were many more troops than Gustav had expected, maybe they knew who they were facing. These were Kreutzhofens best troops, seeing as they did not have to commit large numbers, and were decked in their fine livery too, something Gustav knew would not stay fine for long. The Von Heisenberg guard held their ground, they did not advance to meet their foes. Gustav just watched patiently as the enemy army brought their cannons to the fore along with their musketeers, unflinching. He was under strict orders to hold the Sonnefurt, the regiment would not move from it. Kreutzhofen opened fire onto the massed ranks of Sonnefurt, Meissen and Heisenberg. The screams of the dying men could be heard all around as they were torn apart by various types of lead. Cannonballs flew into his regiments ranks, a sickening crunch being made as the huge balls collided with the heavily armoured men. Yet, there was little more than a muffled groan from the dying men. They had undergone such hard training and seen such horrendous violence that they could remain calm, knowing they were dying for Sonnefurt and the Baroness. They stood perfectly in their ranks, stern, unmoving, a sheer wall of iron bodies accompanied by iron will. The Meissen and Heisenberg troops did not fare as well from the onslaught. They quickly retreated to the banks of the river, out of the firing range of the Kreutzhofen army. Once the smoke had cleared, this encouraged the Kreutzhofen soldiers to charge to take advantage. Gustav just smiled, they were coming to him. He hauled his mighty longsword into the air with ease, as did his entire regiment, staring down the oncoming soldiers. As contact was made, they brought them down , felling swathes of the foolish men. Gustav revelled in the thrill of combat. He swung his sword in beautiful arcs, maiming his opponents, severing arms, legs and heads. The uniforms of his opponents were stained with their blood, as were the uniforms of the guard, but the crimson colour made it seem like they were unharmed. The unrelenting massacre performed by Gustavs regiment forced the Kreutzhofen soldiers to take stock, and the centre of their army began to retreat. Again, the regiment just remained as instructed on the ford. Then, from the rearguard of the Kreutzhofen army came forth their half-pike regiment, slowly advancing towards the ford. Their spear tips glinted in the sunlight and they appeared like a wall of death, a phalanx bristling with impenetrable points. They took up their positions facing the Von Heisenberg guard in a standoff, neither regiment moving.

Gustavs sergeant however, seeing that this was the Kreutzhofen generals last ditch attempt to ward off the Sonnefurt forces, decided to break from orders and advance. A cry went up. For the Baroness!! Gustav rushed at the wall of pike tips, putting his faith in Sigmar his sergeant had got the right idea. The regiment smashed into the pikes, their longswords easily batting aside and splintering the flimsy poles of the spears, leaving their opponents vulnerable to attack. Gustav once again scythed through swathes of the pikemen, watching as their spirit broke from the relentless onslaught of the Von Heisenberg Guard. Quickly, they routed, to be pursued by the Meissen and Heisenberg soldiers, now permitted to act by their generals due to the certainty of few casualties. Gustav surveyed the battlefield as the battle came to a close. It had been a victory, but at a price. Many good men lay dead on the ground, shattered bodies from the artillery. Few had succumbed to the close quarters combat, their heavy, expensive armour deflecting most blows, and for this Gustav was grateful to the Baroness herself for paying, it had saved his life on many occasions. As the ford began to disappear, the bodies were washed up in the oncoming tide. The waters ran re d with the blood of all those who had fallen that day on both sides and the bodies began to float down the river, the closest most of the Kreutzhofen soldiers would get to Sonnefurt. The war was not over yet for Gustav, as word was sent that battle had commenced in Ostrach, if they were to be victorious, the two forces could swing in a pincer movement on the besieging force, cutting them off and beating them back. Quickly the regiment began to march for Sonnefurt. Part Eighteen: The Second Battle of Ostrach As dawn broke over Strazen, Victor clambered aboard the small landing ships with the rest of his regiment. It was cold but he was still sweating with nerves. He had never been in combat before, had never even thought about it before the events of the last few weeks. Now was his chance to make history, to deal a decisive blow to the Kroppenleben war effort by liberating Ostrach from their hands and then marching on Sonnefurt. Everyone was incredibly nervous, not just Victor, even the veterans. Rumours were rife that the messenger to Nuln had failed to win over the Council and it would just be them against a massed army determined to cling onto any Sonnefurt land. They were only a band of a few hundred poorly trained militia, they needed allies. As the boats set off towards Ostrach, Victor prayed to Sigmar to deliver him in the coming battle, and prayed help would come. ******** Just a few miles up the River Soll Albert and the Nuln Volunteers were closing on Ostrach. Albert had had to endure the complaints of Alexander for the entire journey, and was now wondering just how useful the contingent would be. The men themselves though, from what he had heard, we determined and zealous and would still be an asset in this fight.

Alexander gave a speech as they neared the landing point, seeing the ships from Strazen in the distance. Right men, my father has tasked me once again to sort out the troubles of some bloody Wissenland peasants just so he can keep churning out money from his assets here. I know its not Nulns problem, and he doesnt believe in me enough to lead enough of you to make this easy but we still have to fight. Well do our best and maybe the Nuln Volunteers will become respected for their heroism, then maybe well, and Ill get the glory we deserve! A cheer rose from the men, albeit one that was mainly out of habit and mild agreement with what had been said, but was mostly confused. Still, the men rushed to their positions, anxious to actually be helping out. *************** Ostrach was not located on the river but the Kroppenleben soldiers were waiting for Victor and his comrades at the banks. The landing craft neared the beach and Victor dismounted. He was instantly plunged into the cold water, coming up to his waist and shocking his system, making the adrenaline flow. The Kroppenleben army answered with volleys of gunfire and crossbow bolts, cutting through the regiments as they dismounted. The man in front of Victor, a middle aged farmer from Strazen was cut down by several bolts and his body floated lifelessly in the water, turning it red with his blood. Victor kept on marching forward as ordered, his mind clouded by the adrenaline but terrified at the same time. Men were falling all around him but he had to press on, he had to help take Ostrach, even if unsupported it was going to be a difficult task. The irregulars managed to fight their way to the Kroppenleben lines, making contact with the massed troops. Victor was not at the front of the mass, but pushed with the others, attempting to get his share of the bloodshed and kill anyone he could. However they were getting nowhere, in fact they were being pushed back. ************ Alonso looked as the battle unfurled from his vantage point in Ostrach. The attackers were pitifully outnumbered and helpless. He watched and thought back to Sonnefurts offer. If he could turn the tide of their battle, maybe he would win the glory he so sought, and could line his coinpurse three times over at the same time. He descended the stairs in the tavern he and his men had now taken over and made an announcement to his men. Saddlea upa boys! Wea going to geta us some glory! ***********

Albert too saw the battle from his ship as the Nuln Volunteers ships pulled up to the beach. They disembarked onto the beach with a rousing cry, raising their muskets and half-pikes and bringing them to bear on the Kroppenleben soldiers. Albert had completed his mission, he just hoped it would be enough to turn the tide. *********** Blackshirts! Were saved! someone shouted in the midst of the mayhem of the battle. I thought Nuln had spurned us! About bloody time though! With renewed vigour the men launched themselves back upon the Kroppenleben soldiers . Victor was now stepping up to the front. He was terrified but kept hacking at any enemy he could see, hoping to do some damage. He could tell the Nuln troops had set upon the Kroppenleben soldiers as they started to falter. Many were being cut down by their precisely engineered and perfectly trained handguns whilst the pikemen formed a column of steel that advanced bit by bit through the enemy ranks. The battle was turning in Sonnefurts favour. The Kroppenleben troops were being pushed off the beach towards Ostrach, they were now making ground. Just then, he heard a horn in the background and a cry of men. The ground started to rumble with hooves as cavalry tore towards the fray. Victor knew they were the mercenaries of Baron von Kalb, but did not know if they would they aid or slaughter the Sonnefurt forces. *********** Charge! Alonso roused his troops and their horns sounded. The Kroppenleben troops thought nothing of it, believing they were there to help against the Sonnefurt and Nuln invasion force, and were very grateful. Thus it came as a huge surprise when the cavalry crashed into their rear ranks with a thundering crunch. Alonsos lance shattered as it made impact into the bodies of two men, skewering them through their stomachs. He dropped it and quickly reached for his sword, severing heads and limbs from atop his heavy steed. His men followed likewise. All were veterans of many campaigns and knew how to handle themselves in a battle. They cut through the ranks of the Kroppenleben soldiers, throwing them into complete disarray, not wanting to turn their backs on either force. ************* Victor was so relieved when the cavalry thundered into his enemies. Their faces had been priceless and now he and the irregulars were taking full advantage of the bedlam to massacre their hated foes. Suddenly their moral broke and they turned to flee, but were stuck between both of the oncoming forces. The slaughter was horrific, the Sonnefurt troops wanting to avenge their fallen comrades in

this conflict. Almost every man was killed and chased down, many attempted to flee to the Martin Bridge, but were caught out by its destruction and mowed down by the mercenary horsemen. Ostrach was back in Sonnefurt hands and a crippling blow had been dealt to Kroppenleben forces. The generals still had ideas for Victor and the Ertingen Irregulars and their newfound allies. They were to advance on Sonnefurt. Baron von Kalb had decided to throw a last ditch attack on Sonnefurt, hoping it would fall whilst its forces were divided around the Barony, but now the forces were set to reunite before the town in the climactic battle that would decide Sonnefurts fate. Part Nineteen: The Battle of Sonnefurt Baron von Kalb donned his ancestral armour and readied himself for battle. His ancient Dwarf forged armaments glowed unnaturally as he smirked knowing their enchanted power. He would be almost invulnerable, and soon he would be the ruler of Sonnefurt. Nevertheless, his advisor Leopold scuttled around anxiously. But my liege, Sonnefurt is still strong, and our reserves our weak now the Kreutzhofen supplies failed to reach us. We need to wait, choke the town more and more until it buckles to our prowess. Should we advance the two armies at the ford and Ostrach will close on our positions, we cannot afford to fight a battle on three fronts! Calm yourself Leopold. We have saved our ammunition for such an assault, we have enough men and gunpowder to bring Sonnefurt to its knees. If we launch a lightening assault on the town we will have captured it in a few short hours, and their reinforcements will have to besiege us in the town without any true equipment, it is a sure victory. Besides, with their forces split, those left to guard the town are just mere peasants and militia men! The Baron just chuckled to himself and readied his personal guard, before calling the order to attack. ********** Sonnefurt had been expecting this last ditch effort for a long while, and all available men were positioned on the battlements of the town, ready to repel the besiegers once again. This time they knew it would be a much harder fight; the enemy had had time to regroup. Max barked orders at his regiment, assuming the task of leadership with relative ease. He and his veteran unit had been classed with protecting the front wall, guarding the gate itself from the onslaught of Kroppenleben troops. For this task, he had also been assigned many hundreds of willing volunteers from within the town, those who has answered the call of the Sonnefurt Irregulars and many who had pledged to fight without previous allegiances. There were men and Dwarfs, women and even young boys, native Sonnefurters and foreigners and they were all equipped with whatever they could find. This was the last attempt to save Sonnefurt and everyone had thrown their weight behind the effort. As the horns sounded below, the Kroppenleben troops began their assault. ***********

Eduard too was on the front wall, assigned to aid Sergeant Max Bachor and the militia. He recognised many of the soldiers from the brutal street fighting of the insurrection many days ago and was honoured to fight alongside such valiant and brave veterans. His admiration was cut short however as the cannons of the enemy opened fire, and Sonnefurt answered back. The noise was horrific, Eduard felt as if his eardrums would burst. Many of the oncoming cannon balls crashed noisily into the great walls of the town, making little damage on the mighty Dwarfen stonework. However there were those that crashed into the battlements, sending shards of white masonry through the massed militia. One cannon ball even smashed directly into the men only a few yards from Eduard, throwing them from the walls and Eduard to the floor hoping to avoid the shrapnel. The artillery continued their exchanges, but the rate of the Kroppenleben artillery began to slow, Eduard though at first it was perhaps due to the lack of ammunition, but as the smoke cleared further, he saw rows upon rows of men pushing huge siege towers which were nearing rapidly onto the walls of the town. The fighting was about to get brutal. ********** As they marched towards the town, Victor and the victorious forces in Ostrach had heard the sound of war travelling from Sonnefurt. They knew the siege had begun. If they were not fast the town would fall, the vastly superior troops of Nuln, Meissen and Heisenberg were scattered across the Barony. Victor only hoped they would be there in time. ********** Alonso had also heard the noise of battle erupting in Sonnefurt. After his treachery the day before he had hoped he would have won glory and recognition amongst the Sonnefurt armies. However, glory had been snatched by the Nuln soldiers, and Alonso was bitter. In search of his much desired glory, he spurred his men on, they would reach Sonnefurt before the black-shirted meddlers and prove themselves worthy of Sonnefurts praise and gold. ********** The siege towers were soon upon the walls, and as their wooden doors crashed open, the defenders were mobbed by the Kroppenleben soldiers. Max strove to keep his lines straight, hoping to push the attackers off the narrow walls and to their deaths below. He continued to fight too, finding it hard to concentrate on the dual tasks of commanding and keeping alive. He hacked as best as he could, but was soon swamped by men. They began to trample him and he was swallowed up on the floor, beaten and injured whilst men overran him. *********** Eduard saw the Halberdier corps being overrun, and rallied several comrades to help their position. The group were rag tag to say the least, but they fought with tenacity the Kroppenleben soldiers had not expected. Eduard launched himself into their ranks, his pistol levelling one man whilst his axe swung wildling, finding the exposed flesh of his enemies. His allies fought likewise, using their crude implements to inflict horrific wounds on the attackers. There were no rules for the militia, they

fought for survival, not in a disciplined manner, and this system bested the regimented, drilled nature of the Kroppenleben troops. This was brutal siege fighting, they were trained for fixed battles, they could not handle the ferocity shown. Soon their numbers had thinned enough for the militia to push them back enough to uncover the fallen Halberdiers. Eduard noticed a sergeant lying barely conscious on the ground, beginning to stir. However, a Kroppenleben solider noticed this too, and went for the attack, eager to earn the glory of killing an enemy officer. *********** Max opened his eyes to see an enemy soldier raising his halberd above him. His reactions were slow and blurred but he still scrambled for any weapon that could save his life. Suddenly, before he knew it, the soldier fell dead, a crude carpenters axe protruding from the back of his skull. A young man ran up behind the fallen soldier, wrenching the blood-soaked axe out of the brutal wound. He put out his arm to help Max up and he took it, righting himself and finding his halberd on the floor. Thankyou he managed to utter, What is your name? Eduard Stein sir. the boy replied. Then together they turned on the remaining troops, who despite being driven from Maxs small section, were crawling all over the rest of the wall, and more were arriving every minute as the towers crashed all around. ********** Baron von Kalb marched with his regiment under the protection of a crudely constructed pavises which deflected for the most part the crude weapons of his foolish foes. He marched towards the gate with the enormous battering ram and was edging ever closer. He wanted to be the first man to step inside Sonnefurt, and it would not be long until he could. ********** For the Baroness! Gustav and his regiment, accompanied by the northern reinforcements made contact with the besieging force. They had had only a short distance to march and it was of the strictest necessity they made it to the town, for the Baroness was there, and needed their aid. He cleaved his way through many soldiers, hoping to draw attention to the attack and turn it away from the assault on the walls. The Kroppenleben army needed to be divided for it to be conquered. The grizzled determination of the Von Heisenberg Guard was once again showing as they scythed their way into the flank of the army, leaving the Meissen and Heisenberg soldiers to mop up the remnants. However, the guard were quickly overwhelmed and found themselves entire encircled by the enemy soldiers.

Gustav just laughed to himself. This was how the guard were meant to be, surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned but never bested. *********** Once again Alonso lead the charge into his former employers ranks. On the hills behind the many army many artillery pieces and missile troops had been deployed. Alonso sought to earn his glory but utterly decimating these unprepared soldiers in the name of Sonnefurt, and putting an end to the continued bombardment of the walls. His soldiers easily cut through the unarmed crewmen, who screamed and fled in all directions, only to be cut down by the massed cavalry, trampled beneath their hooves, or falling victim to their well honed blades and lances. It was the missile troopers who provided more of a problem, as they turned their weapons on their mounted adversaries. The bolts bounced off the heavy armour of the Knights, but many of the bullets penetrated and punched through the metal, knocking many a mercenary from his horse. Alonso was lucky not to fall foul of the blackpowder weaponry, and made it to their lines. From there on it was not a fair fight, these men were not fighters at all. Nevertheless, Alonso had achieved his goal and had quickly murdered many hundreds of men, earning him at least some glory. He then turned his attention towards the main battle. *********** Victor and the Nuln Volunteers finally made it into the fray, but it seemed like they were quite late. Siege towers in their dozens had made their way to the walls and the fighting was bitter. They had to attempt to liberate the right flank of the city and push their way to defend the gate. The Nuln troops quickly set about establishing positions for their gunners to fire, whilst their phalanxes of half-pikes advanced on the enemy. General von Plauten somehow assumed command, and had instructed the Ertingen Irregulars to support the pike blocks, protecting their flanks as they marched further and further into the ranks of the enemy. Victor was slowly edging towards Sonnefurt. He hoped this would soon be over. This was his second time in battle but he was still as terrified, if not more so than the day before. There was much more at stake here than yesterday, it was the entire future of his Barony. ************ Baron von Kalb watched as the last blow of the battering ram burst open the gates of Sonnefurt with a huge crunch. He pushed past his men and set on the cobbles he had desired for so long. Hismen then poured in around him, filling the streets of the town and turning it into a battleground. Sonnefurt soldiers came to meet the breach and launched themselves at the Baron and his guard. The Baron just chuckled slyly as their feeble blows glanced off his runic armour and his enchanted blade cut through their tender flesh, making a slight hissing noise and leaving the smell of charred flesh as he felled multiple opponents.

************* Max and Eduard, having fought of the majority of the attackers above the gate, now found themselves rushing to meet the incursion below their feet. Baron von Kalb walked in their town, it looked disastrous. They watched as he fought his way to the market district, the centre of their town, and prayed that this was not happening, they needed a miracle.

Part Twenty: Battle Royale Victor just watched as hundreds upon hundreds of men poured into the town, he thought it was certain it would be lost. Nevertheless, the Ertingen Irregulars and Nuln volunteers made their way through those troops not seizing the opportunity to march through the gates. The numbers of opponents were rapidly depleting and the phalanxes made easy work of the remaining soldiers, quickly advancing towards the gates themselves. Maybe, just maybe, Victor thought, they could trap them inside the town and cut them off. *********** Max and Eduard were involved in bloody hand to hand street fighting. Of course, Eduard excelled at this style of combat, having no experience of any other kind. Now Max has lost his regiment, he quickly had to learn from Eduard. His found himself fighting as an individual but surrounded by allies. He swung his halberd around in a way never permitted to him by his training and the standard proximity of his regiment. This way he was free to use it as he saw fit, skewering, slashing, crunching, he never knew his weapon had so many uses. He saw Eduard who had now perfected his wielding of the pistol and axe combination, turning into a whirlwind of death and taken by frenzy, cutting down Kroppenleben troops left, right and centre. The enemy soldiers were at a disadvantage in the city. The wily defenders had channelled them down roads they were unfamiliar with; leading them to the Market Square whey they could be surrounded and cut off. All the while, the Sonnefurt defenders ranks were actually swelling, as people came out of their hiding in their townhouses to shoot at or attack the incoming soldiers. The whole town was in arms now, no one was able to hide from this war any more, it had come to their doorstep. ************* Gustav regiment may have been surrounded, but they were not static. They too had benefitted from the fall of the gates as men had rushed to take the town, leaving the guard to wreak havoc in their lines. They were quickly making their way towards the gate, and finally the Miessen and Heisenberg troops were beginning to catch up. On the outside of the town at least, the battle was going in Sonnefurts way.

************* Baron von Kalb had fought his way to the Market Square, and saw this as a fit place to fend off the attackers whilst his reinforcements continued to swamp the town and take it once and for all. His guards started to rank up properly along with the regiments who had also made it to the square. He figured this would not be hard, Sonnefurt was now on its last legs, they were having to thrown simple peasants who were not fit for fighting onto the impeccably trained Kroppenleben military. He believe after an intense but short few hours, Sonnefurt would eventually have to surrender. ************* Victor and his comrades had made it to the gates, along with what seemed to be the armies of the Meissen and Heisenberg, the pincer movements had worked. They all stood defiantly in front of the gates, fending off those who attempted to get into the town. These attackers bounced off the massed might of the great northern allies, who now, for the first time in the conflict, outnumbered their Kroppenleben enemies. When the mercenary cavalry crashed into the enemy rear, it was almost entirely over for the invasion force, few were left and were fleeing, only to be run down by the foreign Knights. Now they could turn their attention onto the battle inside the walls. ************** Max and Eduard were now fighting for the survival of the town against the Kroppenleben soldiers who had taken up defensive positions in the market. They were immovable. Their training was shining through against the untrained militia of Sonnefurt, who seemed to make no headway against the enemy ranks. In the middle of it all could be seen Baron von Kalb and his guard, utterly decimating anything that was thrown at them. The Sonnefurt armies needed better trained men to finally take him down. ************** Alonso rode rapidly down Market Street, heading towards the conflict in the Market Square. The Sonnefurt militias parted to let the speeding horsemen through, allowing them to crash into the immovable ranks with unbelievable speed. This was the glory Alonso had been seeking, a chance to actually change the flow of a battle. The Kroppenleben ranks were moved back by the force of impact as a hole was punched in their lines. The Knights then retreated down another main road to turn back on them, repeatedly punching large dents into their formations. The Sonnefurt militias were quick to exploit this and overwhelmed the weakened lines, filling the gaps and making ground. ************** Baron von Kalb was outraged as he saw Alonso, a man once under his generous payroll slaughter his men as they neared their objective. Despite this his renewed attack, his men seemed to be holding well as his generals barked orders to keep them in line. He could not afford to lose now.

************** Gustav and all the reinforcements reached the Market Square a short while after the cavalry. They quickly set upon their foes, their confidence heightened by realising the enemy was on his last legs, he was now outnumbered, surrounded and fighting like a cornered mongrel, fiercely but almost pathetically, the inevitability of his defeat not yet sinking in. ************** Baron von Kalb suddenly noticed the shift in the course of this battle, he saw he was outnumbered and surrounded, but he would not give up. It was at that moment when he saw Sonnefurts Marshall, Marshall Eichhorn amongst the ranks of the Sonnefurt defenders, and quickly ordered his men towards him. If he was going down, he would take his sworn enemy down with him, without him the Baroness would be vulnerable for him to attack again. ************** Max could only watch as the Baron launched his last ditch effort to cripple Sonnefurt, by picking combat with the esteemed Marshall. Their swordfight drew the attention of almost everyone, even the Kroppenleben troops stopped and began to surrender, knowing their Baron had gone mad with his desire win Sonnefurt. Both men were equipped with magical armaments and their blows were deflected by each others armour and their swords clashed in showers of sparks. The Baron however, was merely an aristocrat backed up by enchanted items, the Marshall was in fact a military man for all his life, and a vastly superior swordsman. The Baron began to tire but the sixty year old Marshall still fought with the vitality of a twenty year old. ************* Baron von Kalb looked up as his opponent as his collapsed to his knees. He had failed. Quickly men descended on him to take him away. Kroppenleben had been defeated; Sonnefurt remained under the Baroness control. The Baron just pondered what his fate would be in their hands. Epilogue: And here ended the campaign of Baron von Kalb of Kroppenleben in the Barony of Sonnefurt. It had lasted only a mere twenty days and nights but had cost many thousands of lives, and had left the Barony devastated to an extent unseen since the Goblin raids of the Dark Year. Their economy is still currently attempting to repair itself to its former properity and the reconstruction is nearing completion. But what of the men and women of Sonnefurt who so changed the course of the Barons campaign, and what became of the Baron himself? Sonnefurt sought for the imprisonment of Baron von Kalb in Wissenburg, as Nuln had deemed the affair only a territorial dispute in Wissenland, whereas the Council of Sonnefurt pushed for charges of illegal conduct of war and war crimes at the Courts of Wissenburg. Lord Augustus tried and worked diligently to have Von Kalb punished, but the Countess refused to attend the Court hearings

and refused to help Sonnefurt in their quest for justice. As such, the Baron was allowed to retain his position in Kroppenleben. Fortunately, Marschall von Plauten aided Sonnefurt on the Council of Nuln, and convinced the Countess to revoke the sharing of the monopoly of the trade with Karak Hirn via the River Soll between both Kroppenleben and Sonnefurt, granting Sonnefurt the entire monopoly, severely crippling the Kroppenleben economy. This trade more than paid for the damage done in the war as was considered reparations. The loss of the business caused dissent amongst the Kroppenleben citizens for their Barons actions and the cost of his fruitless war. The Marschall also pledged his eternal aid to the town, and the Soll Shipping Company set up a large office in the Market District, the presence of such a large headquarters means that the Nuln Volunteers are always on standby to protect Sonnefurt from future attack Albert was chosen to head up the division of the Company and became rich beyond his wildest dreams. His frequent business in Nuln meant he now made the journey he had dreaded several times a year, and was able to buy a town house in the university district to enjoy when on trips there. The granting of the monopoly to Sonnefurt saw business boom. The quickly repaid the Dwarfs of Karak Hirn for the seized assets, earning their trust back and paying them large amounts of interest. The Dwarfs seemed happy that business was only going through one town, and a town that was closer to them too, but were otherwise indifferent about the change of hands. With the increase in shipping Eduard was put back to work in his mentors carpentry workshop, becoming a skill boat builder. He quickly surpassed the level of a mere apprentice and established his own workshop in the Dockyards, employing his own apprentices and taking time for himself to enjoy his favourite pursuit of fishing on the now peaceful river. Victor too enjoyed the increased prosperity the reparations brought to Sonnefurt, returning to his business as a clothes merchant. However, his taste for the military saw him join the Dieten Townships Militia Halberdier Corps on a part time basis. He figured that as a veteran of the conflict he should stand to be called up again. However, the peace meant that he would not be needed for a long time. Gustav remained in the military full time, and was promoted for his valiant actions at both the battle of the Sonnefurt and the siege of Sonnefurt. He was allowed to carry the standard of the Baroness and became one of her most trusted guards. He know guards her at even the most personal of times, accompanying her around Wissenland on her ventures. Max, on the other hand, decided he had had enough of the armed forces and resigned his position as sergeant. His near death experience had shaken him to his core and he did not wish to put his life on the line whilst trying to start a family. Later that year he had a baby boy and settled down to his farming and rebuilding his beloved Thalfang. His severance pay and pay for his continuous service throughout the conflict being more than enough to allow him to start a family. He named his boy Eduard in honour of the man that had saved him when he thought himself dead atop the battlements of Sonnefurt.

The resistance members were honoured at the suggestion of Sepp Sydow with the rebuilding of the Martin Bridge, becoming a memorial to those who were lost fighting Sonnefurts cause. Sepp and Frank kept the actual events of the attack on the bridge a secret, hoping their fallen comrades would only be remembered for their valiant sacrifice. Today, Sonnefurt still stands a proud fortress of conservative, pro-Wissenland sentiments, now with a booming economy and incredibly strong links to Nuln. It is a key power in the South of the province, and anyone who considers challenging its prowess remembers Baron von Kalbs failed campaign. Sonnefurt may have been in flames, but it rose from the ashes like a phoenix to establish itself as the jewel of Southern Wissenland. However its trade monopolies and favour of Nuln have earned it many enemies, particularly amongst Solland supporters. Just like her emblem, the Baroness is truly a rose amongst the briars.