The Materazzi are supposedly a Badass Army that has conquered much of the known world and hasn't known defeat for twenty years, but what we see of them in action unanimously shows them as staggeringly incompetent. Their leadership care more about not being "insulted" by being placed in the rear instead of the front than they do about actually winning the battle, to the point that just organizing a simple battle without dissolving the entire empire is shown as an incredibly hard thing to do. They don't have any archers whatsoever. When the enemy archers shoot their horses their response is to just let the vulnerable horses stand in the rain of arrows instead of actually doing anything about it. Their scouts fail to bring any useful information to their commander whatsoever, which wouldn't have been a problem if the commander had just put his tent upon the giant hill overlooking the battle. Said hill gives the protagonists a perfect view of everything that's going on, but the Materazzi commander completely ignores this obvious asset in his battle plan.
Jerkass Woobie: Kleist's parents gave him to the Redeemers when he was very little, and life with them wasn't much easier than in the Sanctuary.