“I, by the grace of the good Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, named Lambert, first of my name, of the noble Deston house of Dawning, by the Queen’s right, Duke of Duge and Lord of Fransen Fort, do by rights both man and divine declare just war against the so-called Duke Ross, of the twisted house of Trawik over my house’s bloodright to his keeps and towns, farms and rivers, wheat and swords.Letter from Duke Lambert of Duge, saved in the Imperial Library
Sue for peace within the week, come to Fransen and bend the knee to my good will and I will in mercy pronounce you Lord of Alben, and erase any and all wrongdoing that your blood has caused mine. Refuse me however, and we shall meet in the open fields where God shall decide our fate.”
Duke Ross refused the ultimatum presented by Duke Lambert, he quickly raised his forces and set up a makeshift front with the Duchy of Duge. On the 27th November scouts reported Duke Lambert’s forces crossing the border and entering the area of Alben. The fort was well guarded and prepared for a few months of siege. Duke Lambert came with 520 men to lay siege to Alben. Duke Ross seeing this resolved to crush his armies between the fort and the open fields on the other side.
While riding to outflank his armies, Duke Ross’ men were ambushed in the forested area of Alben. Their left and right flanks were constantly harassed by Dugonian skirmishers, archers, and riders. Seeing that they could not afford to push through the woods, Duke Ross commanded his men to dig trenches and set up camp within the deepest part of the forest, he planned to become a thorn in his side, one that would not go away until pulled out. And he knew that the forest would prove an excellent defensive position.
Duke Lambert, having gotten word of the tactics deployed by Duke Ross, lifted the siege of Alben and came to encircle the forest, which then came to be known as Ross Forest. On the 31st they attacked twice, and twice they were repelled.
Knowing that he could not afford to push on, leaving the enemy force behind his lines, Duke Lambert resolved to deal with this insolent Duke as soon as possible. In his assaults, Lambert lost around 43 men. On the very 1st December, Duke Lambert ordered a partition of his forces, strategically placed in exits around the forest. No one was to go in or out. Duke Ross, knowing that the enemy would try to starve them out, had brought enough provisions to last a week and by then, his vassal levies would arrive to lift the siege. And that plan would have worked if Duke Lambert intended on starving them out.
“A storm gathered that day. I saw the Duke and he spoke to us. He spoke about sacrifice and the meaning of duty and justice. It all seemed strange to me, hearing him talk as though he was about to justify some future action. And I was right.Account of one Fredrik, archer in the 2nd Solmen Garrison, archer by trade
At around midday, he had us archers line and cover every inch of that forest in our range zone. At the sound of a horn, we were to tip our arrows and set them alight. There had been no rain in days, and the heavens raged as though a storm was coming… It came. We were the storm.”
Then began the horn. Its sound started on the eastern side of the woods and spread to the west within minutes. The archers, let loose their flaming arrows into the forest at the first sign of the signal. Before long, screams echoed from beyond the first line of trees. At first, they were screams of terror and panic, as the Labonians realized what the Dugonian tactic was. Torch-holders lit parts of the tree line ablaze, denying anyone exit or entry. Almost 400 Labonian men now panicked within Ross Forest, seemingly doomed to be burned alive. Come nightfall, the screams of horror that turned to screams of agony, slowly faded into silence. With only the crackling of wood being heard. A good third, maybe even two, of the forest now glowed a devilish yellow-red hue. Out of nowhere, the first Deston snow fell on that day, marking the coming of winter.
On the 3rd December, after the snows had halted the fire, all the survivors were taken captive, some burnt, some freezing. Duke Ross fell to the flames and his son, Rothchild, assumed his title, at the age of seven. Seeing as he wasn’t fit to rule or lead the Labonians to victory, the Nobles of Labon came together and sued for peace on the 10th December, after the surrender of Alben Fort.
Duke Lambert came to be known as, Lambert, first of his name, of the noble house of Dawning, “Winter’s flame”, Duke of Both Duge and Labon, de facto Grand Duke of Landwind. The noble house of Duke Ross was imprisoned in his dungeons, with Rothchild, taken as a ward, to be prepared for rule in the Fort of Alben. Only minor resistance was encountered and was easily quelled, due to Grand Duke Lambert’s expertise in statecraft. The war ended on 17th December. The Dugonians lost around 50 men, while the Labonians lost close to 210. A significant loss for the Kingdom and Empire.