Second Battle of the Rothswood
The Second Battle of the Rothswood was the first and only major battle between the Greyspine Coalition, led by House Ruthern, and their allies against the Kingdom of Courland and their allies during the Greyspine Rebellion. The battle was located around the manor of House Tosali, and lasted overnight with a decisive victory for the Coalition, ultimately leading to the reformation of the Kingdom of Haense, and the Holy Orenian Empire.
The murder of Joren Ruthern and his retinue in the court of King Joseph had forced House Ruthern into rebellion against the Crown. Soon after the declaration of rebellion, many Haeseni refugees who had fled to Mardon following Haense's defeat in the Great Northern War returned, and swore to fight for Ruthern and the rebellion. Harren of Metterden had been appointed leader of this new Haeseni-Ruthern coalition, and he was quick to hire the Dunamis mercenary company given their renown and infamy. The mountain pass through Metterden had been destroyed, leaving the defense of the North to the de facto governor of the North, Archduke Francis Kovachev. Despite his isolation, he was able to gather over 7,000 men for his army, while Harren's host numbered just above 5,000 men. Francis' army was composed of men-at-arms, skirmishers, and militiamen from the countryside, while a majority of Harren's army was Haeseni militiamen, with a few reinforcements from the Kingdom of Lotharingia and the Holy Knights of the Black Sepulchre. Despite this, Harren marched north from Metterden, aiming to reclaim the old capital of St. Karlsburg for a reformed Kingdom of Haense. Francis marched south to meet him, and the two met in the Rothswood at the center of the Haeseni valley.
Early on the morning of the 7th, Harren deployed his army across the snowy field to the south of the Rothswood. The army was divided into three sections, the left was held by the mercenary Dunamis company and the Lotharingians, while the center and the right was largely made of Ruthern levymen and Haeseni militia. The Courlanders had 2,000 more men than their enemy, and so were slow to deploy. Chroniclers note that each man was given a full meal and a warm wash before the battle on orders of Archduke Francis. The Archduke was noted to be particularly overconfident, owing to his superior advantage of numbers and the forest that he held. Harren's strategy required Courland to attack, while Francis intended to wait for the Coalition army to succumb to hunger and the cold.
Knowing this, Harren ordered his archers to fire upon the Courlander line, in hopes of baiting a charge. Unbeknownst to him, one arrow had struck Francis and he was immediately evacuated from the battle, leaving only minor lieutenants to command. Without a strong leader, the Courlanders on the left flank charged, assumedly comforted by their numbers. The mercenaries of Dunamis counter-charged, and quickly turned the melee into a rout for the Courlanders. Seeing this, Harren ordered the entire line to consolidate and push the left. The entire Courlander army turned and charged, and the fight quickly devolved into a melee among the trees. The heavy snow of the Haeseni valley slowed the heavily armored Courlander men-at-arms, while the lightly armored Coalition soldiers were able to move with agility and speed. This provided a significant advantage to Harren, whose army slaughtered a great amount of the Courlander host in the first charge alone.
The remaining Courlanders retreated into the Tosali manor at the center of the forest, hoping to seek shelter and more solid ground for fighting in armor. Harren ordered a bombardment of the manor with Alchemist's Fire, which quickly burned through any man that was caught outside. Once the fire had dissipated, a final charge was ordered, the costliest one for the Coalition. Ultimately, the Coalition had the numbers to its advantage and was able to sweep up any final pockets of resistance.
The Coalition victory in the Rothswood avenged the Great Northern War and broke the status quo of the time. King Joseph was pressured by unhappy nobles in Aleksandria to end the war, and conceded the former territories of the Kingdom of Haense. Soon after, King Stephen was elected as King of Hanseti and Ruska by the Duma of Haense, and the Kingdom was fully restored. The battle marked the beginning of the end of the Courlander hegemony that had formed in the aftermath of the Coalition War. Soon after, the Kingdom of Courland would fall and the sixth iteration of the Holy Orenian Empire would rise.