Gortha swung her great-sword at the back of the fleeing, bat-eared creature. The huge, five-inch-wide blade sliced easily into the nape of the goblin’s neck, cleaving the thing’s head from its shoulders. The twitching body kept running for a few more feet before it tumbled lifelessly to the yellowed grass.
Around her, muscular men and women wearing various animal hides tore into the ranks of the escaping raiders, tearing through them with double-bladed axes, spiked clubs, war-hammers, and large boulders.
The goblins fell, not one by one but in waves as the bloodthirsty barbarians took out their seething rage on them.
“Gortha!”A familiar voice pierced through the blanket of cries of pain and roars of anger. The barbarian woman turned sharply toward the sound, swinging her massive sword up to rest the blade on her shoulder. A young male trotted up to the bloodied fighter.
“Hail, Jorgren Swiftblade,” she acknowledged. “What news from the chief?”
“The whelps are fleeing back to Lurkwood, and the chief is leading the rout.”
“They are getting bolder,” Gortha growled. “We’ll get trolls coming out of the Evermoors soon if we don’t cut down these raids.” Her companion nodded grimly.
Shouts rang out over the din of battle, and normally the pair of experienced fighters wouldn’t have given the sound a second thought. But the urgent tone caught their attention. Gortha and Jorgren turned toward the noise, bringing their gore-covered weapons to bear.
Jorgren lifted his club into a two-handed grip. The weapon was meticulously cared for, its wood polished so it gleamed where blood did not conceal it and the dozen or so iron spikes embedded into the head whetted to a needle-like sharpness.
Fifteen or so of their tribesmen were running from the west across the River Surbin to join them. The men and women were pointing to the cluster of large hills in the distance behind them.
“Movement in the Griffon’s Nest!” Gortha heard faintly. A bubbling snarl rose in the back of her throat, and it was echoed by the growl from Jorgren.
“I would wager five crowns they had something to do with the raids,” her companion said quietly. Gortha looked over at him sharply and made a negative motion with her head, her thick, blood-soaked braid brushing the middle of her back with the motion.
“That is not a wager I am willing to make. The Griffons are cruel and without honor, but they would not send such creatures at us.”
“The chief sends for your blade, Gortha Goblinreaver. We are to parlay with the Griffon Tribe, but be ready for battle,” said one of the tribesmen. The sword-wielding barbarian knelt down and wiped her blade off on the ragged tunic of a fallen goblin.
Jorgren knelt beside her and murmured grimly so only she could hear, “This is going to be a bloodbath, I am certain.” Gortha nodded, looking to the west where she could see her tribe and the other moving toward each other and hoped that her friend was wrong.