Fornia contrived the entire war so as to come into single combat with the bearer of a Great Weapon. Fornia was hoping that a clash with Blackwand or Iceflame would destroy a Morganti greatsword in his possession, revealing whatever it concealed. Fornia had arranged for the greatsword to be stolen from Baritt's mansion shortly after Baritt's death. Morrolan hired Vladimir Taltos to track the item, which the Jhereg did with help from Daymar.
Morrolan, knowing that he was being manipulated, and having a vague idea that the Great Weapon Pathfinder might be involved but unaware of Fornia's true plan, decided to trigger Fornia's plan regardless. He accused Fornia of stooping to theft, and obviously Fornia declared war in response. Morrolan then raised an army and prepared to attack the Count's army, planning to hand Fornia a military defeat to curb any expansionist ambitions. He hired a competent general, divided his forces into several different brigades and began a march into Fornia's territory.
Morrolan's general, Sethra Lavode, employed a series of feints and retreats in an effort to goad Fornia's forces into attacking, since she prefers the strategic offensive but the tactical defensive. Vladimir, having been drawn in to the conflict when Fornia sent some of his bladesmen to assault Vlad in his home, enlisted in Morrolan's army and served as a saboteur (which, by the way, is remarkably similar to the story of a Jhereg helping a Dragon during the building of the Empire, complete with Eastern mercenaries on Fornia's side).
Once Vlad joined up, however, he developed some level of friendship with his messmates in the Cropper Company; Virt e'Terics, Napper, and Aelburr, and ended up contributing to the actual millitary confrontations. The most important job which Vlad effected, however, was not as an infantryman; he navigated around enemy lines at night to steal all of the divisional colors of Fornia's army, and another night to burn the wagons containing Fornia's army's provisions.
After several days of marching through mud, changing directions, occupying and then abandoning positions, and building earthworks as defensive bulwarks, the day of the final battle arrived. Cropper Company occupied a key hill, and they were enveloped in a sorcerous fog and attacked repeatedly.
Both Fornia and Morrolan employed many different types of units.
Vlad finally left his unit and approached Fornia's command post, where the Dragonlord waited on a hill overlooking the battle, surrounded by his elite guards and sorcerers. Ori, who met him before, attempted to kill Vlad but Spellbreaker prevented this. Vlad managed to prevent further attacks upon him by the simple expedient of stalling, bluffing, and eventually, claiming to surrender. After that, Fornia verbally sparred with Vlad, while the Easterner tried furiously to figure out what Fornia was up to.
Fornia became distracted by the raging battle around him, but seemed to be calmly waiting for Morrolan to finish cutting his way through the Easterner cavalry with Blackwand. At Vlad's request, Daymar broke in through Fornia's teleport blocks and mind-probed Fornia, learning Fornia's plans with the Morganti greatsword, and that Ori was poised to teleport Fornia away from the battle as soon as the swords clashed.
Vlad killed Ori, then three of Fornia's elite guard. Napper, who had joined with Vlad and Daymar, was killed in single combat by Fornia, who pierced him with the Morganti greatsword.
As Morrolan brushed aside the last of the resistance, Fornia drew up to face him. Vlad, however, flashed in and chopped off Fornia's hands. Vlad then clutched the Morganti greatsword and flung it towards Morrolan. He later learned that Sethra the Younger had picked up the sword, claiming it as a battlefield spoil.
With Fornia dead, he was unable to commit his reserves. Morrolan's forces began mopping up, and Fornia's remaining officers agreed to a general surrender shortly after.
With Fornia's death, a key threat to Morrolan's power, both militarily, sorcerously, and geographically, was permanently removed.
For reasons of his own, Vlad did not inform Morrolan what Fornia had intended to do. Some years later, Sethra the Younger and Aliera fought a duel in Vlad's apartment after Sethra the Younger offered to trade the Morganti greatsword for the Sword of Kieron the Conqueror. Morrolan arrived, Blackwand clashed with the Morganti greatsword, and Pathfinder was finally revealed. Aliera claimed Pathfinder from the unconscious Sethra the Younger, leaving the Sword of Kieron for her in its place. Sethra the Youngers's opinion of the exchange, when she woke up and learned of it, is not recorded.