Blood, it has a peculiar smell, and an even more peculiar taste, like ashes and rusty coins. The smell of it intrudes into your dreams. It lingers there, and your dreams have an unpleasant tinge to them.
A lone figure slumps against a stone, his fingers are caked in dried blood and grime, some his own, the rest formerly belonging to the corpses of the goblins around him. It is a scene of cold carnage, shattered skulls, mangled limbs and crushed rib cages. It is the sort of death that comes at the end of a hammer. Arrows pierce deep and kill quickly, swords separate flesh and bone, and blood loss kills in minutes. This is a slow and brutal sort of death. The goblin with the shattered shoulder and collapsed chest lingered for an hour. He was only able to drag agonizing slow breaths. They grew shorter and farther apart until the creature died a wretched death.
The hammer rose and fell, like the arm of a steam hammer, but it was flesh and blood that drove it, relentlessly over and over. The goblins had screamed their war cries, their death rattles, but the men of the mountains had fought in near silence. They grunted as hammers hit targets, or when a goblin managed to score a wound against them. Almost no words were spoken.
Tyrus stirs, pain creeping back into his body as he wakes. His hands are sore from his grip on the hammer,his arms and legs ache like dull coals. The waterskin is dry, save for the arrow protruding from it. Three others found flesh but were little more than scar makers. A fourth had found deeper purchase. Tyrus moved a bit, and felt pain down his side. Pain was good, mortal wounds didn't hurt. That's at least what the older warriors had said in years past. He cut the shaft of the arrow, the healers back at the temple would have to deal with the rest of it. Ba'Hrus's hammer was not far from him. The haft was shattered, the splintered wood was dark with blood.
Ba'Hrus stared at the ceiling of their temporary shelter turned killing ground. His eyes were cold and sightless. His spirit was gone again to the Earth from which it sprung. Tyrus knelt next to his slain brother in arms. He wanted to shed tears for brave Ba'Hrus and his jokes and boasting in the Great Hall, and for Koila who hadn't admitted her feelings for him. There was no outlet for his anger, for his grief. He closed Ba'Hrus's eyes and stood. The goblins were on the move again, and in great number.
If he did not move, bringing the message to the elders, then there would be many deaths. The goblins would lose, but the cost to the men of the mountain would be high. But he looked back at the still form of his brother. The men of the mountain do not leave their dead behind. Tyrus knew he couldn't carry or drag Ba'Hrus back to the temple in time. Or possibly at all, given his own condition.
The wind rose, whistling through the rocks, the breath of the gods of the mountains...