Again I'd like to thank Tom Harrison, Erik Mona, and many authors of the Living Greyhawk community for the inspiration for my articles on Dimre.
Now a full-fledged theocracy, Dimre under the direction of Canon Sagmered went about strengthening itself internally and externally. The first order of business being the reorganizing of the Militias. Since it's founding as an Earldom Dimre has prided itself on its militias. The militias, situated in a chaotic land full of bandits, were initially formed to protect the silver mines in the Rift Canyon. As the then province grew and villages turned into towns and a few small cities, protection of the populace became an issue. With a large percentage of the growing population being followers of Pholtus, many of the troops that were recruited into the militias were used to a lifestyle of laws and order. Many of the visiting dignitaries from Rel Mord would often remark how orderly and disciplined the Militias were.
With Dimre changing from being a province of a vast kingdom to an independent theocracy, there was some culling of the officer core. Fortunately, those officers stripped of their rank, and commissions were not the field commanders. A new code of ethics was introduced, and those that felt they could not adhere to the new standers could leave without incident. The regime change did not affect the rank and file much, which was vital in keeping out the bandits and later in its war against Iuz.
As it became apparent that Nyrond had no intention of retaliating, Canon Sagmered shifted his focus to the kingdom's western borders and stopping the hemorrhaging of territory to the Free Lords of the Bandit Kingdoms. Over the past fifty years, the province had lost nearly two-thirds of its land to these lords. However, the Free Lords seemed far less interested in Dimre after gaining the silver mines in the Rift Canyon. While the bandits were no longer interested in acquiring and holding territory, they were raiding into Dimre with alarming frequency. Canon Sagmered's first action was to deploy the church's clerics of the True Path with the troops.
While Dimre had been a destination for all Pholtus worshipers that had been excommunicated from the main church in the Theocracy of the Pale, it had also been a destination for excommunicated priests. The Alabaster halls of Masak, the main temple of the True Path in Falsheit, was full of priests. Many of these priests were assigned to mundane tasks throughout the theocracy, and most settlements had a local cleric. Many of these clerics were now attached to the militia, bolstering them with their divine magic.
With this added firepower at their disposal, the militias pushed back against the bandit raiders, smashing them when they dared to enter their lands. Canon Sagmered did not try to regain the lost territory, most notably of the unwanted attention it would bring. Instead, Sagmered started a building project erecting one hundred fortresses. These ranged from small stone watchtowers to small castles. These new forts dotted the theocracy's western border.
The most significant deterrent for bandits was the new practice of burning alive all bandits caught venturing into Dimre. These unfortunate souls were taken to the border, where all but one would be bound within large wooded cages. These cages were then set ablaze, and the one bandit selected at random to watch was later released to go back to tell the tale.
Adding to the defenders of Dimre, Canon Sagmered formed the order of the Templars of Dimre, a holy order of knights whose sole purpose was the protection of the Kingdom from all foes. These Templars were given free rein over the kingdom having to answer only to the priest of the theocracy. The Templars of Dimre quickly became an elite order, with their members being heavily vetted by their Order and the priests of the theocracy. To become a member, one first had to find a sponsor among the clergy, then they would have to undergo the "Trials of the Order." If they were able to pass the trials, then they would be sworn in as a Templar.
Because of Canon Sagmered's commitment to a robust military force infused with priests the True Path, the raiding eventually stopped. The last foray of any note into Dimre not only found themselves repulsed out of the kingdom, but the fleeing bandits have tracked back to their lord's fortress. Where it was sacked and raised to the ground, and all the captives burned alive.
583 CY, The Iuz Invasion
When the forces of Iuz invaded the Bandit Kingdoms, many of the Free Lords were unprepared. Even those lords that fielded sizable bandit armies found their undisciplined men lacked the proper training to repel such an enemy. That is until they came to the Theocracy of Dimre.
For its entire existence, the small nation had lived with the threat of invasion. There was the Free Lords, who quickly learned the futility of raiding their lands. However, there was still the constant threat of either Nyrond or the Theocracy of the Pale invading to conquer them. The threat from the Pale was far more severe than that of Nurond, as the Theocracy of the Pale loathes Dimre. It is a heretical state in their eyes and should be wiped off the face of Oerth. The Pale regularly sends their own templars to Dimre to stir up trouble and dissension. However, none of them have ever succeeded or returned from such a mission. It is now merely a tool used for getting rid of those they see as troublesome within their own orders.
Should the Theocracy of the Pale ever consider invading, it would most likely force Nyrond's hand. Nyrond would invade to deny them as much territory as possible. Nyrond has never officially recognized Dimre as a kingdom and still considers it a breakaway province. Thus, much effort and expense are put into maintaining a well-trained and sizable militia in Dimre.
The first battle between Iuzian forces and those of the Theocracy of Dimre was a complete route of the Iuzians. The horde was not at full strength as it was spread out with many of their ranks pillaging the countryside. Many believed that the undisciplined horde that attacked had grown sloppy and accustomed to easy victories in the Bandit Kingdoms. The militia of Dimre was well prepared, having been informed of what to expect by the stream of refugees flooding in ahead of the horde. After the victory, Dimre did not pursue the horde giving it time to reorganize.
Three more engagements followed two minor, and one massive battle. The two smaller engagements were probing attacks as the horde tried to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the Dimrean forces. Both attacks were thoroughly smashed, giving the Iuzian generals little information. The horde leader knew that the time was now or never as Iuz had personally taken an interest in what was happening with his armies and this small nation in the corner of the Bandit Kingdoms. Wishing to keep his head intact, the general drove the horde forward with a straightforward goal; kill the Dimrean army mustering around Fort Edge.
The Battle of Schloss Hill, 585 CY
Before the battle of Schloss Hill, the refugees flooding into Dimre ahead of the Iuzians were collected into camps. Then the Dimreans went through separating out the known bandits and warriors and sent them to Fort Arnsten. These men and women were pressed into loose skirmisher units lead by a Dimre militiaman. Those that refused to comply with these demands were placed into cage wagons and taken away. Those that complied were given a one-week crash course in tactics then shipped out to the Dimre militias.
These new skirmishers, along with the bulk of Dimre's militia, was currently stationed at Fort Edge where the last of the Rift Barrens melted away into the rocky plains of Dimre. From this vantage point, atop Schloss Hill, they could see for leagues in every direction. The system of roads leading to and from Fort Edge allowed for the militia's rapid deployment to other locations in the theocracy. Fortunately, they did not have to chase down the Iuzians as the horde was coming straight at them for a pitched battle. Despite their earlier defeats the evil humanoids and demons of the horde still felt confident that they could win through their advantage in numbers and ferocity.
As the horde came into view, the wagons of the washed-out bandits from the training at Fort Arnsten were driven out and placed in a line awaiting the horde, then they were set ablaze. The scene was shocking to the horde, but only slightly as something new they had not seen before. The horde simply began bypassing the wagons that had become funeral pyres. After the burning wagons were surrounded by the advancing horde, a ritual magic spell activated, and the wagons erupted in massive explosions. When the smoke cleared, left behind were colossal fire elementals. These elementals then began mindlessly tearing through the ranks of the horde. This paused the horde within range of the Dimre priests who began unleashing a barrage of offensive magic upon the evil humanoids and demons.
Eventually, the elementals were all destroyed, and the horde came on in a fervor. The Dimre forces remained in their defensive embankments waiting for the onslaught, which crashed against the first line of defenses and quickly overcame them. The militiamen had anticipated this and withdrew to a second line of defenses, and then a third. With each withdrawal, the defensive perimeter around Fort Edge grew tighter and more easily defended. At the third line of defense, the enemy was checked and had been whittled down enough that the mounted Templars of Dimre were finally released from their positions on the far side of Schloss Hill to slam into the flanks of the horde. The templars charged through with lances leveled, to reform and prepare for another pass. The Templars took heavy losses doing this and managed only two passes before withdrawing back to Fort Edge.
After the first three engagements against Iuzian forces, the theocracy knew what to expect and knew that the horde's true might was the summoned demons fighting alongside the evil humanoids. To counter this, the priests had prepared spells of banishment to try and send the more powerful demons back to the Abyss. Knowing that they would not have enough spells to deal with all the demons, so the priests formed squads of elite archers. These archers were equipped with blessed and magically imbued bows and arrows to ensure that they could damage the demons. These squads were then given orders to rove the lines and target and take out the demons and to leave the evil humanoids for the infantry. Many of the archers used in this tactic were drawn from the bandits trained at Fort Arnsten.
At the start of the battle, Dimre had been outnumbered nearly ten to one, but by the time the horde had made it to the third line of defense, they had destroyed almost half of them. With nearly all of their demonic support gone, the horde broke ranks and began fleeing. Unlike in previous engagements, the Dimre forces gave chase. This time, under the Guidance of High Canon Szek Winuid, who took part in the battle, they harassed the forces into the Rift Barrens, destroying nearly the entire horde.
Victory and Aftermath
The victory at the Battle of Schloss Hill was decisive but costly. The forces of Dimre had lost a quarter of their militia killed and another quarter wounded. Fortunately, not long after the battle, the Crook of Rao was used in the ceremony called the "Striking of the Crook," resulting in the "Flight of Fiends," which banished most of the demons from the Flanaess. With their demons gone, Iuz did not have the manpower to attempt another assault on such a small and insignificant part of the Bandit Kingdoms. Begrudgingly the Great Old One sued for peace, which was accepted and a nonaggression pact signed.
As part of the treaty's stipulations, Iuz was allowed a representative diplomat to stay in Dimre. Emissary Quarzknot was given an Embassy in Krostenburg along with a barracks for his small detachment of Iuzian troops. Many Dimrean citizens were upset with this, but the unease quickly died down as it became apparent the Iuzians, while in their lands, were forced to comply with their laws. After a handful of Quarzknots detachment were burned alive for breaking those laws.
With four victories under their belts, and the bandit kingdoms under Iuz's dominion, a small but steady flow of refugees, and those interested in defying Iuz, came to bolster the kingdom. Krostenburg has grown in size and is now larger than Falscheit. Krostenburg, the trade city of Dimre, is now a diverse place with people from Nyrond, Urnst, the Bandit kingdoms, Furyondy, and even the Theocracy of the Pale being found there. From this influx of people, the militia, and the priesthood, have replenished their loses from the Battle of Schloss Hill. Proving once again that Dimre is favored in war.