Chapter 44: Wolves

Garðar rode into the camp with a cloud of dust behind him. He did not even wait for his bison to stop before he jumped from the saddle and ran towards Ulf’s yurt. His elation was plain to see as he shouted the same phrase again and again. “The mountain! The mountain!”

Before he had reached the yurt, Ulf walked out to face him. Garðarr took in a few frantic gasps of air and then panted, “Bodies by the gates, the mountain is falling!”

A slow smile spread across Ulf’s face. “How many bodies?”
“Hundreds. They don’t have enough time to bury them, so they’re digging pits.” Ulf reached down to the bison horn which hung from his belt and blew three strong

bellows on it. At the sound every single goblin in the camp walked out of their yurts towards Ulf. Some had anxious expressions, but most were excited. This was it. The day had finally arrived.

“Garðarr, tell Ótama.”

Garðarr nodded and ran towards Systa’s yurt. Without bothering to call inside he threw open the curtain door and ran inside. Ótama winced as the sunlight hit her face and shouted at Garðarr to close the curtain. Systa was still fast asleep next to her.

“Garðarr, didn’t you hear me? Close it! Systa’s going to get cold.”

“What is it?” Systa groaned and opened her eyes. Her face was still too pale to be healthy. Garðarr knelt down in front of her, took her hands in his and smiled until the expression spread to her face.

“The mountain?”
Garðarr nodded. “Bodies, everywhere!”
Systa tried to stand up, but a sharp stab of pain in her side quickly put her back down on

the bed.
“What are you doing?” Ótama barked. “You’re staying here.”
“But I want to see…the attack!”
“Well, now you get to know what it feels like to be left behind” Ótama snapped as she

stood up and re-wrapped her own veil around her waist and shoulders. Several new daggers were hidden beneath it. The excitement on Garðarr’s face was contagious. “Let’s go.”

Before she left, she leaned down to hug Systa goodbye. “Don’t worry. I’ll kill some for you,” she smiled.

Once outside they pushed and shoved their way through the crowd of bison and goblins. The air was thick with anticipation.

“Move aside!” Garðarr shouted as he pushed through the crowd towards his own bison. The goblins still on the ground were quick to move out of his way once he was on the enormous beast. Side by side with Ótama they made their way over to Ulf, who was already seated on Bál. The dragon horse was even more excited than the goblins. This many riders could only mean one thing: fresh tender meat.

Ulf smiled at them proudly. “Garðarr, block all the sewers. Ótama, you’re with me.”

“Agrokū, I would like to block the sewers,” Ótama interrupted quickly. Ulf nodded in agreement and looked back at the crowd of goblins in front of him. For all the times that he had imagined this moment, now that it had arrived, the many words he thought he would say faded away. There was no need. None of them would run from this fight. Rather, they were desperate for it. This would be a fight where for once the dwarfs would be the ones to run in fear.

Without a word he led the charge out of the camp towards the mountain. The sound as hundreds of hooves ground the grass into the mud, pounded the air.

At the head of her warriors, Ótama laughed and smiled at Garðarr. “Run little men,” she whispered, “the wolves are coming.”