When the dawn comes, the madness is spent, the goblins' frenzied euphoria giving way to their customary mindless, gibbering good humour.

Morning drizzle washes the excess blood away, tiny shoots of green springing up where it soaks into the fertile earth.

The King lies exhausted, dangerously pale, his heartbeat slow and unsteady. The wounds on his arms are healed without trace of scarring. And the blade and the bowl lie abandoned beside him, where he let them fall when he had no more left to give.

Soon it will be spring.