Further battles continue to rage at The Eyrie, with the remnants of Sulcofuron's brood not letting up their attacks on the fortified town. Whilst the defenders of The Eyrie continue to successfully hold the area and secure one of the outlying buildings, the fierce resistance from troops operating out of nearby Corundum leaves them somewhat pinned down within their walls. Whilst the Freibodener sorcery from the governor and his surgeon, the Merisusi strength of arms from Ingvar and the unlikely Mill'enese presence of Lord Orlan De Lioncourt are still apparently working well, rumours from the area indicate large numbers of myrmidon bodies have been returned to the Azure Collective and very few of their warriors are still standing...
Lam Trong Quan's 2nd Vexilla venture out to secure the outlying buildings around The Eyrie, starting with Soaring High Dojo. Operating out of Corundum, much of the remainder of Sulcofuron's brood come out to contest their attempt; from the shoulder-high pile of myrmidon corpses that they leave around the dojo, it seems that the force led by Catalyna and Lithon Taril of Sulcofuron's brood have some success, although the defenders seem to have caught up with them in the end and the pile of red dracoscion corpses is also quite impressive. Vadim Gan-Khal-Tas provides what early warning he can from the walls, but it is not enough to prevent the loss of the entire First Talon and most of the Nightblack Solitaries, and disruption back at the walls when most of the defenders are out dealing with the disturbance at the dojo.
However, Ingvar, Alexis Van Der Waal, Edward Hanfling, and Jha-Meith do an excellent job of clearing the interlopers from the area, backed up by Steam, Lam Trong Quan and Din Len Quan intercepting survivors, Arata Michi finishing them off with his own personal ballista, and Lord Orlan De Lioncourt, Luna, Caliginous and Vadim Gan-Khal-Tas holding the line against an opportunistic or possibly diversionary secondary attack.
The blood-matted Tritoni hunter doesn't have much life left in him when he reaches you, and what is left leaks out on the ground whilst he is delivering his message; but his very appearance gives most of the relevant information. Marco and Taleria's force, Cockatrice: Mask of Terror, has been defeated.
Well, that doesn't mean they can get the rest of The Eyrie secured so easily. A frontal assault is now off the cards; if Marco couldn't do it with two trebuchets and goodness knows what other siege equipment, you aren't going to do it with spears. But this has been your colony for a long time now, and despite the vantage point of the fortified walls, the hills offer plenty of cover and secret ways for the wily.
And your troops are among the best Maya has to offer, even if they are a little limited in their wall-assaulting capabilities. The Dragon's Own Rabisu, The Dragon's Own Basilisks and The Dragon's Own Exarchs are all heavily armoured and mostly expert with their spears, and even the less skilled Turon's (3) Third, Lambent Guard (1) Primus, Lambent Guard (7) Septimus and The Dragon's Own Reavers are all of Sulcofuron's potent blood.
You disperse around the area, and watch for opportunities to strike. It looks like some of the other dracoscions have come out to actually do some patrolling, but Catalyna's main force makes swift work of the 1st Talon. Although their swift spears leave many bleeding wounds, Catalyna's swift hands ensure none of her troops are lost in this altercation. The 'human' with them causes some concern, though; they are not quite what they seem, as the body swiftly dissipates on execution. Presumably this now means the rebel forces will be getting a warning.
However, Lithon Taril has spotted an awkward expeditionary force venturing out to the Soaring High Dojo, seemingly the scraps and spares that were too awkward to fit in decent units.
Excellent. Time to teach them a lesson.
Catalyna leads the main bulk of the force ready to descend on the dojo, whilst Lithon Taril peels off the Turon's (3) Third for targets of opportunity that might present themselves. The few troops that have been sent to secure the dojo are easily vanquished, and Catalyna's forces dig in for a serious battle. As expected, a serious force soon descends upon them, Lam Trong Quan and Din Len Quan leading a considerable number of myrmidons. Myrmidons are precisely the wrong troops to bring to this fight. The dracoscion spears go straight through their carapaces and the chist clubs of the warriors make little impression on the steel armour of the dracoscions. For a moment it looks like Catalyna's side might drive them off entirely.
Eventually, however, the real bulk of the troops arrives. The two-handed swords of the dracoscions of the 3rd and 4th Talon, the sorcery of Edward Hanfling and Alexis Van De Waal, the unstoppable Merisusi bulk of Ingvar and the constant, undefeatable presence of the eidolon Jha-Meith crash into your hastily prepared defences. You make them pay for every inch, but eventually they find the impromptu field hospital and it is time to run, much hindered by the sorcerous powers being thrown around.
Catalyna leads the few survivors out of a window to avoid the young black dragon Steam blockading the exits, and they do not look back, even when one of them is taken down by ballista fire.
Meanwhile, Lithon Taril was convinced that the troops leaving the walls must be all of the defenders. Bringing Turon's (3) Third close in to the settlement, they spot several tempting supply dumps, and head over to cause a bit of chaos and do a little light looting. Unfortunately, last season's plucky defenders the Nightblack Hastati Praecedo are still there, as is Vadim Gan-Khal-Tas and that 'human' from earlier. Lithon Taril's raiding party manage to create a little havoc and make off with a few items, but a good half-dozen of them fall to the Nightblack spears.
Meeting up to compare notes, you decide it wasn't an complete waste to come out here, despite the awful cost at the dojo. You made them pay for every drop of dracoscion blood; a satisfying pile of thirty-two dead myrmidons, nineteen of their dracoscions, two mokosh and a Free Islander pistoller are left dead in your wake. It's just a pity only nine of your troops are making it back with you.
Vadim Gan-Khal-Tas keeps a lookout from Vallum as the 2nd Vexillia head off to inform the Soaring High Dojo of its new ownership, alone now Dark Form has gone to check on Aqua Imperturbatus, Tsavorite and Caerleon. There are occasional flashes of red scales here and there amongst the hills, but despite the offers of amnesty some of the Red Brood's civilians have also gone to ground, and there is nothing that can be confirmed as a definite threat.
Most of the troops are still deployed along the walls, but they are alert and ready for the signal. The First Talon head out to scout the hills where the most suspicious movements have been sighted; Caliginous, a long-haired human who arrived with Steam, heads out with them.
There is a small disturbance out at the dojo, a little while later, but perhaps it is just that the owners are less easily pacified than expected? Lam Trong Quan and Din Len Quan take the myrmidons out to investigate, anyway, the rest of the troops remaining within the walls for the moment.
On the way to the dojo, they run into Caliginous again, who is sprinting back to the walls with news. The entire First Talon were set upon by spear-wielding dracoscions, converging from hidden places in the hills, and slaughtered to a man. Hearing this, Lam Trong Quan orders Caliginous to return to the walls and bring out the rest of the patrol, and the expeditionary force redouble their pace.
It is not fast enough. By the time the myrmidons reach the dojo, it is suspiciously quiet. A couple of warriors go forwards to kick in the doors, but before they can quite get there, the dojo suddenly disgorges dozens of spear-wielding red dracoscions, transfixing the unfortunate myrmidons with their spears. The red dracoscions are heavily armoured, and the tough carapaces of the warriors are practically useless against the skillfully wielded spear-points. Whilst Lam Trong Quan wades in and evens the odds a little, knocking dracoscions flying left, right and centre, the myrmidon warriors are certainly losing this fight.
Fortunately, before they get to the stage where they need to run and cut their losses, the 3rd and 4th Talons arrive, along with the rest of the patrolling army. Edward Hanfling, Ingvar, Alexis Van Der Waal and Jha-Meith storm the building, backed up by the excellent swordsmanship of the 3rd and 4th Talons who also fling the opposing dracoscions around like so many ragdolls. Meanwhile, Steam, Luna and Lord Orlan De Lioncourt organise the remaining myrmidons to block the exits, while Arata Michi sets up his ballista on the hillside to cover the area against determined escapees or unexpected reinforcements.
The enemy are incredibly tough and tenacious, especially The Dragon's Own Rabisu, The Dragon's Own Basilisks and The Dragon's Own Exarchs in their heavy armour, backed up by Lambent Guard (1) Primus, Lambent Guard (7) Septimus and The Dragon's Own Reavers, ten of Sulcofuron's dracoscions in each unit. The constant door to door ambushes, and the surprising amount of punishment that the enemy can take, cause the assault to be slow and painful; Jha-Meith is discorporated and returns to the fight several times, whilst the less fortunate mortal dracoscions cause the assault to slow further still when it becomes apparent they need ferrying back out to Arata's position for surgery to avoid massive casualties.
Finally, Ingvar crashes through a door to find one of the two officers spotted with these troops, Catalyna, operating a surgery in one of the rooms. She sprints out of another door in the confusion, as yet more fresh armoured troops pour in to defend her, despite both Alexis and Edward knocking her off her feet on the way. But the remaining fighters now appear to be fighting a rearguard action, and the half dozen remaining organise themselves into a hard, fast escape attempt through a first floor window. Skewering a last couple of myrmidons, they nimbly evade Steam's attempts to corral them and keep running; a couple of direct hits with the ballista take down one, but soon they are over the next hill and no longer worth chasing.
Of the original force sent to claim the dojo, only one is found alive, having shut himself in a supply cupboard.
The place is a charnel house, and one question remains - where are the Nightblack Hastati Praecedo? Vadim Gan-Khal-Tas eventually arrives with the answer. Whilst the excitement at the dojo was going on ten even more subtle dracoscions of the Turon's (3) Third, led by Lithon Taril, had conducted an audacious assault on Lam Trong Quan's supply train. Fortunately, Vadim had been sensible enough to keep back the Nightblack Hastati Praecedo when he got the message to send all troops to the dojo, and over half of the assaulting dracoscions were dead; but some did make a complete mess of the supply train and some might even have got away with some of the equipment.
Clearing the corpses out of the dojo is a dispiriting job. The myrmidons wouldn't have been bothered by it, but after the last bleeding warrior has collapsed from his wounds, there are precisely three of them left, and unsurprisingly they are mostly concerned with their own dead. Fifty-six red dracoscion corpses; six more back at the walls; to nine of your dracoscions, both the mokosh troopers sent to the dojo, the Free Islands pistoleer, ten of the First Talon lost somewhere out in the field, and thirty-two dead myrmidons.
Whilst the dojo is indisputably yours, it seems like neither side has really won this battle.