The Great Cycle
The wind whips the snow around, stinging the eyes of the three dwarven companions. Their packs heavy on their backs as they make their way up the mountainside. Norvin, the youngest and least bearded of the three, drops atop a rock protruding from the snow, beneath a great pine.
"Why do we have to do this?" He asks, surprisingly breathless.
The other two dwarves look at each other, knowingly stroking their great beards. Neither seems in the least bit winded.
"I mean, why do we have to climb this dreadful mountain in the wee hours of the morn to spy on the Stink-breaths? We know exactly what they're gonna do. They've been doing it for..." Norvin trails off, uncertainty in his voice.
The older, grayer dwarf, Bhakru, looks down at Norvin resting on his rock. "Son, all we know is the Great Cycle. Do you have any memories of before?"
Norvin looks at his elder and shakes his head. Bhakru continues, "We need to break the Great Cycle and we need figure out how. If you've got better ideas, speak up!"
The third dwarf, Trogh, is a portly middle-aged dwarf. "And don't call them Stink-breaths. They're goblins. If we wanna break the Great Cycle, we need to at least stop childish name calling."
"Well, their breath does stink!" Norvin retorted, annoyance creeping into his eyes. "Last week, one of 'em jumped on top of me and I could smell it. Smelled like rotten arse. Then he tore a chunk outta me throat." He unconsciously rubs his neck, even though nothing is there. "Swear I can still feel it."
Trogh pulls Norvin to his feet. "You know that's not how it works."
The trio starts hiking again, nearing the next ridge. Before the sun breaks the horizon, they crest the ridge. There, they can see the goblin hovels clearly. Twigs and skins and mud and stones all hastily thrown together, barely looking like they'd stand up to a stiff breeze. Even in the pre-dawn hours, the goblin camp was awake. Dozens of goblins scrambling about grabbing weapons, tearing apart a recent kill, blood and filth covering the entire camp.
"So, what're we looking for?" Norvin asked, eyeing the goblin feast with disgust.
"I dunno." Bhakru said. "Anything that might help us gain the advantage. Anything that might be causing the Great Cycle. Hell, anything shiny."