Lam Trong Quan, Ingvar and Hoenheim finally flush the remaining dracoscions left by Sulcofuron out of the fortress at Corundum. Whilst they fail to bring any siege weapons other than a repeating ballista and a couple of mantlets, this proves quite enough to slaughter the siege engineers operating the trebuchet and arbalest on Corundum's walls; then Ingvar simply climbs the walls and retrieves the trebuchet personally. Knowing they are defeated, the Lambent Flame perish in one last suicidal charge, although that coward Marco escapes through some tunnels to lick his wounds elsewhere.
Squad 21 head out towards Corundum. (You find their bodies later, stacked like cordwood in an empty house.) When they do not report in, you gather the 4th Vexilla and head in force to discover their fate. (Didn't you clear the red vermin out of Corundum last season?)
Turris Pugnaculum Sulcofuron, the great fortress, looms across the endless fields of sprouting grain. As you draw near enough to make out shapes on the battlements, the rocks begin to fall; they have a trebuchet on the walls, and an arbalest beside it just waiting to start up.
You look at your troops; tough and dedicated dracoscions, all, but not up to much bombardment. You look at yourselves; a heavily armoured mokosh, a seriously hardy dracoscion, and a dragon. Then you take the two mantlets from 3rd Talon, arrange them to cover the repeating ballista from 5th Talon, and proceed into firing range alone.
The Dragon's Own Marines, who are operating that trebuchet and arbalest, are somewhat taken aback by this development - after all, the three of you are also a smaller target, even with the siege equipment, than your troops would present. Lam Trong Quan uses the precious moments that their aim is off to do a few ranging shots, Hoenheim ably assisting in keeping the machine reloaded, Ingvar holding the mantlets steady against the occasional near miss from the trebuchet and the more accurate fire of the arbalest.
Then you are in the moment, picking off The Dragon's Own Marines one by one. They show admirable discipline; the last one dies firing the last bolt from the arbalest. A little later, some of the other soldiers emerge to see why the siege weapons have ceased firing, and Lam Trong Quan puts a few bolts into them, too.
There is still, alas, a fortress. Your ballista isn't so good against the thick, unyielding stone walls.
Now that the immediate danger has gone, you call your troops back in and begin considering your options. Hoenheim ventures right up to the great gates of the fortress, and attempts to burn them down, but they are only slightly singed by his best efforts. Lam Trong Quan starts organising the soldiers into encircling camps, ready to settle in for a siege. Ingvar, meanwhile, eyes the walls in a speculative fashion.
Returning to the mantlet and repeating ballista station, this time with 3rd Talon nervously manning their own mantlets, Lam Trong Quan and Hoenheim stand ready to cover any assault from the towers - as Ingvar heads for the junction between the sheer curtain wall and a tower section, and begins to climb.
There are a few heart-stopping moments when his clawed grip fails and he skids a few feet down the unforgiving stone surface, but finally Ingvar heaves himself over the battlements; a number of the defenders had made an attempt to return to the abandoned siege weapons and defend them from this unconventional assault, and two had shown up with a determined expression and a cooking vessel full of something unpleasant, but the repeating ballista made short work of anyone who showed their face.
Meanwhile, the Nightblack Hastati Praecedo stand ready at the base of the wall. They catch and secure the ropes that Ingvar throws down, and shortly he is tying the siege equipment to the makeshift lowering arrangement and taking the strain on the upper ropes, gradually paying them out as the Nightblacks pull on the lower ropes, keeping the valuable weaponry from smashing against the stone fortress or picking up too much speed on the way down.
One last desperate assault from the towers is attempted when the enemy soldiers realise what is going on; whilst a few fall to the repeating ballista's deadly bolts, they soon get too close to Ingvar, who is forced to abandon his preparations for lowering the arbalest; he leaps from the high wall, abseiling down the ropes already attached to the second siege engine and jumping down the last section to avoid crushing any of the waiting soldiers below.
There is a roar of pure frustration and rage from inside the fortress; Marco has been informed of the trebuchet's loss.
Shortly thereafter, while you are still setting up the trebuchet and checking it for damage, the great gates of the fortress open and a tide of red dracoscions issue forth. The Dragon's Own Sorcerors, The Dragon's Own Lammasu, The Dragon's Own Yeomen, The Dragon's Own Basilisks and The Dragon's Own Infernai, the remnants of Sulcofuron's proud army, pour out bristling with spears and swords and shields.
They are driven not only by their desire for revenge on those who have taken the colony from them, but also terror of the red-scaled bulk of Marco, standing in the gates themselves bellowing with rage and singing the armour of the last few out of the fortress. Hoenheim and Lam Trong Quan attempt to put a few bolts into him, but there are just so many better targets. Lam Trong Quan continues to blast a swathe of destruction through the enemy ranks with the repeating ballista while Hoenheim draws himself up and answers Marco with much more impressive draconic fire of his own, blasted across the onrushing army, taking out the few that threaten to break through the lines.
It is over surprisingly quickly. (Were there more of them than you? Just about, but they had no good support, especially once they abandoned their fortress.) The ground is stained as scarlet as the scales of the destroyed brood; a few of yours could not be saved, three from the Nightblack Hastati Praecedo, three from the 6th Talon, one from the 3rd. Marco has retreated back inside the fortress and locked the doors up tight.
You finish setting up the trebuchet and fire one ranging shot towards the gates; before you can reload, the gates are swinging open again. The dracoscion that greets you from behind them is not red, but black; it is the last resident of Corundum, having been forced into service for Marco and his army, who is very glad to see your liberating forces.
Of Marco himself, there is no sign. Plenty of dragon-sized secret passages extend out of the fortress; by the time you have investigated a few, he must be long gone.
The empty shell of Corundum is a deeply unsettling place. After a cursory search to recover the equipment belonging to the fifty-three enemy dracoscions and ensure that no more of them are obviously hiding in the nooks and crannies of the extensive settlement, and remedying the sad fate of the bodies of Squad 21 along with your other dead, you head back to the much more hospitable Eyrie.
Lam Trong Quan, Ingvar and Hoenheim finally flush the remaining dracoscions left by Sulcofuron out of the fortress at Corundum. They do not bring any means to knock down the walls, but they do not need them; Ingvar's latest exploit is to climb the walls of the fortress and single-handedly defeat every last dracoscion inside, before opening the gates from inside by the simple expedient of smashing the young dragon Marco straight through them with one mighty blow of his axe!
Eight troops from the Black Brood show up and die miserably. A little while later, Lam Trong Quan, Ingvar and Hoenheim show up with forty troops at your fortress, whereupon they personally shoot all of your siege engineers dead with a repeating ballista while under fire. Ingvar climbs the walls to retrieve your trebuchet, and your troops fail to stop him; at which point you order your entire army, who are all spearmen and swordsmen useless on the walls and not trained to load the arbalest, out of the fortress in a last-ditch attempt to wreck the trebuchet or otherwise deny the enemy entry.
After spending a few moments watching them get slaughtered, you turn tail and escape through one of the many routes Sulcofuron installed for just this purpose. Not one of them dares to follow after failing you so miserably.