Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


In the solitude of the passageway you look more carefully at the high arch and confirm your suspicion that you are standing before something truly ancient. Worn and faded by time unrecorded the archway is etched with long lines of text, flowing about its edges as a vine might tangle itself about a mighty tree. Most of the inscriptions are beyond reading, their fine carving lost to the wear of the ages, but one area survives and you recognise the text as the Elder Tongue, although the lettering is of a type unfamiliar to you.
Carefully you brush away layers of dust and grime that cover the stonework and read slowly the inscription as it winds its way up the archway;

:ephad mar u narm se'we oera'dim: ne'esal durim u bariathim duel'eth
dehr... a' et mar'shuil phenath u glaash durilem ahn enkath:

For a short time you consider what the words mean. In the common languages of Men the inscription translates as
"Here can walk no Hordim. Within these walls resides the... and it will not suffer them to pass."
It appears to be a warning to the Hordim and you take a small measure of comfort from that, but it must have been written many centuries before the coming of Men into the world. You wonder at how the arch was discovered, and why those who bricked it shut thought it necessary to do so. All in all it is a mystery to you, and one that becomes more compelling as you inspect the arch further.
Following the edges of the arch you can see no further legible script, however carved deeply into the keystone at its highest reach is a small glyph, a number in the Elder Tongue representing 555. You smile as you recognise it for amongst your people it is known also as a marker of a point of no return, and a powerful warning for any who see it to go no further.
In the half-light of the passageway you press at the stone door and find it immovable. A closer look at its more recent construction shows no lock or any identifiable hinges. If it truly was meant to be moved you can see no evidence of it, yet there is something about the arch that holds your attention.
If the builders of Stoneholme had wished none to enter they would have simply filled in the archway. The existence of a door seems inconsistent with that aim and it gives you enough reason to spend a small amount of time trying to find a way in.
In the shadows you step back and consider the entire archway. There are no locks or handles, and it has been your experience that such doors always have a less obvious method for entry. A quick check shows no secret latches of any type, and in the absence of any straightforward answer you scratch at your chin and consider if it would indeed be better to simply move on. But then you look again to the keystone and the number inscribed upon it.
Thinking back to your days at the Temple you try and remember the Haer'al for 555 and it comes to you slowly, a mix of old memories both indistinct and random, but you do remember.


In the gloom you whisper the words, and stumble at their long forgotten pronunciation. At the third attempt however, they sound clearly in the corridor and as you watch become a twisting focus of energy that whips at the ground before you, sending small tendrils of swirling dust and grit spiralling around the archway. To your surprise the utterance of the number has started something, and you have no idea what it might be.
As you watch the arch itself begins to change, the wear and damage of untold millennia falling away from it as its stone finds a new strength. Before your eyes the brickwork of the Dwarvendim becomes faint and then dissolves away, leaving in its wake the threshold to a long, dark stairway. Carefully you move closer, feeling a residue of power radiating from the walls and arch as you approach. About you the air is alive with energy and as you peer into the staircase you begin to notice something far more potent.

:enlin u tellra mar voemaak viis hoewck nuulmargen:

From somewhere far below a rushing wind blows out of the archway, warm and heavy with the smell of ash. As you search the dark stairwell for a hint as to what might be below you begin to sense the low resonance of a sound something like a heartbeat, drumming at the stone and sending faint vibrations of power ebbing through the air about you. There is no way to know what it is that resides below but you can sense that it holds an enormous energy at its command, and that it is constrained only by the solid rock of the mountain itself.
In the vague half-memories of your youth you recognise something about this power but the wisps of image and emotion they conjure are too vague to bring to any clarity. The archway is open however, and you must now make a choice.

If you wish to take these stairs and see where they may lead turn to section 555. If you can see no reason to do so and wish to keep to the passage southwards turn to section 156.

This book, and its associated books and other documents in the Chronicles of Arborell series are the intellectual property of the author, Wayne F Densley, and all rights are reserved by him. Windhammer is best viewed at 1024 x 768 resolution. Any questions regarding the Chronicles of Arborell can be answered by emailing the author at densleyw@shoal.net.au
Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved