Even Gods Must Fall: Book VI of the Northern Crusade
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“Trumpeter! Now!” he bellowed.
A series of three long blasts washed across the battlefield. The Dwarves parted ranks, catching the Goblins off guard. Confused, they stared curiously as a dark brown cloud emerged from the acrid haze. The ground began to tremble. Dwarves reloaded and prepared to fire without their enemy realizing. All eyes were fixed on the mass of warriors barreling towards the trenches. Brug waited until he guessed the Minotaurs were almost directly behind his musketeers and ordered a final volley. Goblins were harvested like wheat.
Krek bellowed and dashed past the already reloading Dwarves. His army followed at his heels. They leapt into the trenches with savage fury, hacking and crushing all who stood in the way. Krek reveled in the task, knowing it was revenge for old wrongs. A pair of large Goblins rose up in front of him. Each brandished heavy war bars. Krek raised his own, a favorite weapon since his time as a young bull.
The Minotaur king attacked the Goblin on his right, almost ignoring the other as he brought his weapon down with both hands. The Goblin tried unsuccessfully to duck away but was caught on top of the head. A sickening crunch announced his shattered skull. Blood and bone flew apart. Krek came out of the swing and readied to wheel on the second. The war bar slammed into the back of his thigh first, dropping him to a knee. Waves of pain rippled through him. The Goblin reared back for a killing blow.
Krek was faster. He reached out and grabbed the Goblin by the throat, crushing the wind from him. Ragged claws tore at Krek’s forearm. The king drew the dagger from the Goblin’s own belt and plunged it into his enemy’s groin. Screaming, the Goblin let go. Krek pushed his attack, stabbing the Goblin over and over until he hung dead in his grasp. He discarded the corpse and rose. Fresh pain lanced up his leg. Not feeling any broken bones, he turned his attention to the battle raging around him.
Ironfoot tossed a small log on the fire. “Another two days. That’s what Anienam says. Two days and this will be decided one way or the other.”
“Doesn’t seem so long now, does it?” Nothol asked as he stared deeply into the licking tongues of red and orange. “We could almost make a vacation out of it.”
“Don’t you dare look at me, Nothol Coll. One more rub and I’ll blacken your eye,” Dorl snapped from his spot beside Rekka.
Nothol grinned sheepishly and held up his hands. “Fair enough. I was just trying to lighten the mood. Besides, you’re getting cranky in your old age.”
Dorl made to stand but Rekka’s lightning-quick reflexes clamped a hand on his shoulder and forced him back down. Despite her actions, the twinkle in her eye suggested she was beginning to appreciate the subtle barbs between the longtime friends.
Dorl wagged a finger at Nothol. “Just wait. You just wait.”
“Your girlfriend seems to agree,” Nothol laughed.
Ironfoot laughed so hard he spit a mouthful of water out. Even Groge enjoyed a laugh. Dorl could only fume harmlessly as the much-needed humor spread around the tiny camp. They’d been missing their greatest military asset, Boen, and struggling with a way to compensate for his loss. Many turned to Groge in the hopes the Giant youth would find his inner warrior and lead them into battle. Dorl was as frustrated as the others but had an outlet, even if it was the naturally taciturn Rekka Jel.