The two dwarves stood under the crisp sun of early Winter. Reg watched as Udib slowly paced back and forth across the grass, stopping every so often and tapping his feet impatiently as was his habit. "Tired of bridge duty already, Captain?" Udib stopped his pacing and grinned, "Ah lad, ye know we all take our turns. Keepin' the thieves out an' all'at. It's not so bad out in the cool this time 'o year." Reg nodded and turned back to watching the hills across the drawbridge. Dwarves occasionally passed through, hauling rocks or poking through the skeletons scattered outside the fortress gates, picking out whatever was still useful. One or two claimed they just liked being outside.
Reg was always "the new guy" - the youngest and last to join the squad. His mates liked to tease him about it, but he knew it was all in fun. Nonetheless he had the bad luck, if you could call it, to have been off duty or just plain elsewhere when the fort had needed defending. Udib, his Captain, already had 36 kills to his name, not even counting the war beasts he had put to their final rest. It wasn't that Reg was particularly anxious for combat. No, more that he wanted to prove to himself - and his mates - that he was just as capable. He hoped inside that he was, but he felt that until a dwarf gets his first kill in the heat of battle, there was always doubt.
Udib paused in his pacing and said, "'ere. Domas's been off "be right back, gettin' me a drink" for a bit now. Not that anythin's gonna happen, but he's on duty like we are and be damned if he's off drinkin' while we're out here. Keep yer eyes open an' I'll come draggin' him back shortly." Reg grinned and nodded. Udib had started the walk back towards the fort entrance proper when Reg saw Lorbam, one of the stonemasons, come running back towards the bridge. Reg only had to hear the word "SIEGE!" to know that it was about to hit the sand.
Udib heard the yell too, but by the time Lorbam had made it close enough to sound the alarm, the goblins were already over the hill headed towards the bridge. Somehow they had managed to sneak up almost to the entrance without being spotted. A squad of goblin pikemen, their leader in heavy armor, was as good as inside the fortress already. As Lorbam passed him, Udib grabbed his shoulder and said, "You sound the alarm, boy, we'll hold it up as we can 'till the lads get here!" The anxious mason nodded and ran on.
Udib gripped his hammer and turned back to the bridge to see Reg already headed across, straight for the group of pikemen at the other side. He whispered to himself, "Oh, bloody hell, Reg." Then he started running.
When Reg heard Lorbam's warning, he tightened the straps on his helm, shrugged his shield at hand and cocked his hammer over his shoulder - he was ready. Until he actually saw them. Evil looking creatures, snaggletoothed, skinny, eyes glinting from under their crude helms. It put him to pause for a moment, but he shook himself, took a deep breath and said to himself, "This is it Reg. You're ready." and he charged.
Udib saw Reg charge into the first goblin with his shield, knocking him back senseless. His hammer went up. His hammer came down. And now there was one goblin less. But one less of a dozen still left Reg outnumbered. Udib charged into the fray but the goblins had already closed in around Reg. He crushed a goblin's skull into pulp, turned and took on the next one. The crunch of ribs shuddered its way up his arm. He put his foot against the remains and wrenched his hammer loose. He turned into the next attack and he saw Reg.
Reg wasn't seeing goblins. He wasn't hearing the crunch of bones and armor. He didn't feel the juddering impact as he deflected the thrusts of pikes with his shield. He saw only hazy shapes outlined in shining silver. White noise was in his ears. Everything moved in slow motion. His actions were part of one continuous, fluid motion, as if choreographed.
His hammer swung towards a vague shape, passed through the ruins it left behind and moved on to impact the next. His shield moved of its own accord, blocking an attack here, then swinging around and ruining the face of the goblin next to him. He ducked under an attack and shattered legs. He dodged and with a back-swing punched a goblin's heart out through its spine. One came inside his hammer; his hand reached out for its helm and thrust its head against his armored knee. He shifted to the left and yanked at the pike as it came under his right arm, brought his elbow against the back of the goblin's head and snapped its neck.
When his vision cleared, he was surrounded by the crushed and pulped remains of seven or eight goblins. He stood panting for a moment and saw Udib and Domas with their hammers, Ducim and Rith with their axes, finishing off the remains of the scattered pike squad. Udib walked towards him with a slight frown on his face, said "All right, lad?" Reg nodded, "All right, Captain." Udib chuckled. "All right then, Reg."
Reg nodded his head back towards the hills and said, "Captain? There'll be more. Let's go guard the bridge." Udib shook his head and chuckled again, "Good idea, lad. Oi! Back to the bridge, lads! None get through and none get away, eh!"
They jogged back and joined the rest of the squad inside the wall to repel the rest of the oncoming siege. Reg was ready.