Warning: My Little Fortress ahead.
Canyontalon has had an unfortunate history with ambushes in its 9 years of existence. Of the 122 griffons who have moved to or hatched within its walls, 17 have been slain by the sneaking devils that are the locals. Very rarely does a year go by that a civilian isn't caught unaware by half a dozen twisted sociopathic ponies, or a soldier is struck down by the dagger of a badger pony berserker.
Many hard lessons have been learned, and now when a civilian leaves the walls for any reason, no less than a full squad of the first and second companies escort then. Twenty griffons covered in full steel armor, half with swords, half with bows, stand watch as the frightened woodcutters and masons work hurriedly to do their work before yet another ambush arrives to claim them.
This time, something went wrong. A hole was discovered in the internal roofing over the courtyard. The malign, cackling discordant pegasi could swoop inside without so much as a pause, so the masons were scrambled to repair the mistake. Then the zebra caravan arrived. History has taught Major Alexei Rykov that when caravans arrive, the discordant ponies soon follow, and he immediately ordered thirty soldiers to cover the caravan's approach and to guard the courtyard.
With the soldiers busy protecting the caravan, nobody noticed when Lana went outside. During the initial construction of the roof, the block stocks had been moved outside to speed construction. No one moved them back inside. While she was busying herself filling the last of the holes in the roof, they came. She never heard the silent swoops as the pegasi descended upon her. Maces swung and whips tore through the air, and in moments Lana was dead. A careless oversight that cost yet another life.
The soldiers rushed to the scene, but they were too late. Private Akulina, one of the greenest of second company, was the first to the fight. Her bow incapacitated the first discordant pony brave enough to face her, but she was quickly overwhelmed by those that remained. Captain Ivan Bortsov arrived to find her broken body beneath the snickering mace ponies. Blood covered the ground and her face where a mace had shattered her beak and skull, and something changed within the captain at that moment.
It took a week for all of the discordant pony body parts to be hauled to the refuse dump.
Four months later, more of the cursed discordant ponies darkened Canyontalon's lands. To this day, no one knows why Captain Bortsov was so far away from the fortress entrance. Far to the northeast, he stood over the remains of a zebra caravan that had been destroyed years ago by another ambush, long since picked over for anything of use. Perhaps he was meditating over the scene, trying to understand his foe. Perhaps he knew they would return, and when they did, he would be waiting.
A dozen monstrous pony parodies leaped from hiding, grasping swords or maces with their teeth or magical horns. Two even had the temerity to attack him without a weapon in their jaws. In a moment he was filled with righteous wrath and hatred for these ghastly mockeries of civilized beings, and he raised his sword and shield.
The battle was brief and decisive. His sword flashed again and again, gutting a unicorn, tearing the wing from a pegasus, and shattering the hooves of an earth pony. Their weapons sought him, but none could get past his guard. He ducked and rolled aside, and even when he was tossed to the ground their swords and maces could not touch him. When his blade removed the head of a unicorn foolish enough to face him still, they saw the folly of their actions, and true to their cowardly nature they turn and fled like foals. He gave chase, removing a tail and hoof of another pony, but most escaped. He let them go. They would return and tell the others that to attack Canyontalon meant death.
Captain Bortsov calmly strode back to the entrance of Canyontalon, leaving the corpses to rot in the sun. They did not deserve the dignity of being disposed of. More would come to join them in death, as they always did.
But they would now know that he would be there waiting for them.
I've had pretty bad luck with the ambushes, and my stupidity keeps costing lives. I thought for sure I was going to lose the captain in that attack, which consisted of two ambushes. I watched in disbelief as he tore apart several of the discordant ponies and convinced the rest to leave post haste. I was grinning by this point, extremely proud of my little griffon soldier for showing these evil ponies for once they couldn't just waltz in here like they owned the place.
Even better, a griffon chick hatched moments later. Having them actually hatch is a pretty rare event compared to dwarves giving birth, since you have to forbid the eggs and hope they get incubated properly. I feel a little warmth inside every time one hatches. It was almost like he was born to replace poor Lana. I have a few more incubating now, hopefully there will be a new Akulina soon.
...okay, that was way, way too long, I should probably get back to work.