First off, this is a highly narrative recount of a recent battle I had with a friend, so if it belongs in the fiction section my apologies. Despite my [empire] brillant bit of psychological outfoxing by setting up some sweet new terrain and then setting up on the opposite side of the board (after he had positioned his saurus cav. directly across from it), we ended up with a two point difference with regard to VPs for units killed/fleeing. The game tipper was that he [lizardmen] owned an uncontested quarter and so won by 102VPs. A fun game; I hope you enjoy the writeup, which is written from the point of view of Helen, a hero on the empire side (who is from Tilia).

Dear Maxamillian,
I hope that your efforts to follow along with additional troops are soon successful, as I fear that they will be needed in the days to come. For the first time in two weeks we have crossed swords with the strange creatures of this foul continent. Sixteen days found our enemy to be the rain, rot, and endless vegetation of this place. The monkeys that are the market-place marvels of our Tilean home are abundant here. They cling to their lofty homes and fling excrement at us as we pass. Charming, I assure you.

More worrisome are the natives of this land. I am sorry to tell you that as of yet there is no sign of the nude warrior-women whom you were so eager to take up “diplomatic relations” with. Instead, the lesser dragon-kin that fill the waters and swamps of this place seem to have grown sentient, or else are not long descended from their ancient cousins as we thought. They stand on two legs, though our scouts have seen them sun swiftly on all four when they are not burdened with the trappings of battle.

We had been losing men steadily for five days, victims of scarlet diseases and poisoned darts shot from the smaller of these beasts. The men turn blue and gag, foaming and thrashing about until their bones snap and death releases them from their torment. It is a terrible sight and a constant drain on the men’s morale. I decided to make a stand at the first cleared are we came to. Our engineers built a marvelous gun platform in the shadow of an abandoned pyramid, and we made much commotion over registering our guns from its heights, knowing full well that their scouts watched our every move.

When dawn and battle came we were ready. They had moved into position in the dark, as had we, and when their animal bellows and copper horns shattered the morning we were not where they expected. Their cavalry, if you can call such an unnatural sight such, had taken shelter by the rotting pyramid, directly across from our engineer's elaborate firing platform. That put their most dangerous asset nearly a thousand yards from our position by a fallen jungle-tree as large as a hill from the North Country.

Our enemy joined the battle anyway, and their skirmishers came in fast, the jungle-vegetation playing hell with our rifle-fire. They closed to within a few dozen yards and began to unleash their terrible darts. The worst was knowing that the little one were no more than a distraction, for we could hear the synchronized war-bellows of the great lizard warriors coming up behind them, hear the enraged sounds of their cavalry crashing towards us. The engineers were in a frenzy, but the moisture got the better of them as often as not, and doubling the load in an effort to compensate for the overly moist powder had disastrous consequences. Remember Tabalmin? We scored some good success, and ran a successful counter-charge by the mercenaries to clear their scouts, but even with their numbers whittled by our shot and ball the battle turned foul. The press of close combat and the animal screams of their dying mixed with our own more pitiful lamentations and cries of panic as the men began to break. By the time the battle faded our forces were scattered but our foe was also driven off. It took me two days to round up the survivors and find a river that meant escape. For now we are back with Captain Ferdinand, trying to impart the lessons of our loss on his Order of Battle. I hear there are mountains within this green hell, and I prey that his Order will take us there, to what must be cooler heights.

A few lessons from our battle that I wanted to pass to you in case we do not meet again in this world (allow me a moment of mellow-drama, a woman’s prerogative!). These things are cruel fighters, uncaring for the slaughter of their own. They fight hard and retreat seldom. It is far from the goblin-battles we have seen in the past! Their scouts are armed with primitive blowpipes and feathered javelins, but their poison is toxic, and a mere scratch can kill. More importantly, it takes inordinate amounts of shot to bring them down, for they are quick, small, and hold to no close order. The only good news on their front is their lack of courage. They held no better than a common Reikslander, which compared to their cousins is saying something. Their warriors are scaled with skin like chain and mail, and their weapons, while primitive, are damn effective. They die as easily as an orc, which is to say, not at all, but they are slower than the little ones; I outran two, though I do not recommend the exercise. Their cavalry ride the Cold Ones of the Dark Elves, could this be where those dark-skinned immortals find those terrifying beasts? They are as dangerous as the legends say, and as difficult to bring down as a Knight of Bretonnia. Beware you do not ignore them for the danger of the swarming knits at your feet!

Despite my earlier fears, I know that we will be together again soon. I look forward to seeing you, and trust that you will have brought me many clean shirts!

Until we meet again,