Following the capture of Niederdam, and the exclusion of the Dwarves from aiding the Imperial war effort, the Drazkharovs sensed the waning of the Alptraum’s hold over the Empire. Count Viktor moved his armies west along the Easting Road into Schinderland. The Imperial court dispatched Prince Karl to intercept him, the hopes of the Alptraum dynasty resting on his success.
The two armies met across the Neuland Plain, overshadowed by what would later be remembered as the Great Storm of Schinderland. Torrential rain and howling gales battered the low lying hills, the exposed landscape whipped by a maelstrom of unnatural ferocity. Through the tempest the Imperial armies marched with grim resolve.
The imperial artillery trains foundered in the mud as the downpour continued, whinnying horses sinking into the quagmire as they strained against the stranded limbers. Viktor’s winged fiends descended out of the thunder-wracked skies, untouched and unhindered by the supernatural storm, sweeping shadows backlit in some nightmarish vision against the crackling lightning overhead.
Fear seized the Imperial army as the monsters began to harry Prince Karl’s lines. Out of the tempest the dreaded Black Knights of The Grimholt were seen to glide effortlessly over the cloying mud-churned fields, borne above the ground upon eerily graceful phantom steeds.
The artillery was unable to act. The Household Cavalry were becoming ever-more swamped in the mud with each step, even as the undead riders were bearing down on them. Panicking, the Imperial troops scattered in the face of the gnashing horrors that emerged through the miasma of the pouring rain. Karl bellowed orders for his men to hold fast, but his voice was a single quiet note drowned amid the thundering overture of the storm raging across all of Schinderland. The Household cavalry, seeing the army’s discipline disintegrating around them, turned and fled, carrying a furious Prince Karl from the field.
The road to Sigmarheim lay open. Viktor had the capital in his sights. The soldiers of the Imperial army would no longer be fighting simply for the Imperial cause or for oaths of fealty – if the Drazkharovs could not be stopped then the homes and families of every loyal man would be easy prey for the rebel armies.