Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


The risk of trouble in the south is too great. Guardsmen like those you have just encountered are common throughout Kalborea, and you have little doubt that the closer you travel to Das Frontiere, the more likely it will be that you will fall foul of them. It will be better to err on the side of caution and take your chances with the less certain dangers of the West Road.
Turning Pallenten westwards you urge her forward and the great horse quickens her gait. From a canter to a gallop in the length of a few strides it is not long before the leagues are again disappearing behind you. Ahead lay the dangers of Stoneholme and the ancient Tellandra, but the village of Melem's Fork is your next stop and at your current speed you should be there by mid-afternoon.
As you ride further to the west the road joins with another from the south-east. At this intersection you take the time to rest and water Pallenten. Unlike most roads this juncture is not signposted. It does however, have a water-trough and a serviceable well, one that you make good use of watering Pallenten and refilling your water bottles. As you go about these necessary tasks you feel the wind freshen. It has a cool edge, and in the bright afternoon sun it blusters across the surrounding grasslands with a hint of impending rain. There can be little doubt that a storm is building, and in this part of the world they should not be weathered in the open.
When you are done you remount and continue on your way. For some time the road remains straight and flat, but as you begin to climb onto higher ground the way becomes uneven and the road surface heavily rutted. Recent rains have loosened the ground which makes it treacherous underfoot, however Pallenten takes the changed conditions in her stride and gallops on towards the village.
Although you are focused on your horse's progress a shadow falling onto the fields to your right instinctively turns your attention upwards. Above you, at the very edge of your sight, you can just make out a number of large birds circling against the deep blue of the afternoon sky. On its own this would seem innocent enough but a feeling of being watched has been with you for some time. These birds do nothing to lessen your growing sense of unease. As you watch them you consider that only the future will show if these unwanted companions are a threat to the completion of your quest.
:e' ka u mar theloth du'a ahda a' pheth ahn et'es pyra:

With one eye on these unwelcome sentinels you ride swiftly for Melem's Fork, Pallenten a dark arrow moving effortlessly along the uneven roadway. It is an isolated stretch of road, one that you have travelled often, and one that holds many memories for you. One in particular looms large in your mind, and inevitably confronts you on this darkening afternoon as a large signpost, and a well tended cobbled pathway that disappears southwards into a small area of woodland. You have no time to waste, but you cannot continue of your journey without coming to a halt before the name that rests upon the weathered signage. The signpost and path are well-known to you, and even with the imminent reality of your quest before you the memories of this place bring you to a stop.
Some half a league to the south stands the Truvo Farm, one of the few successful farming enterprises that can be found in this region of the frontier, and foundation of the only happy childhood memories you possess. At the age of four you had been indentured as a child labourer to the Truvo family, and rather than a life of hard work had found yourself brought into a world of care and ease that had been unknown to you. In this place you had remained until taken five years later to the Temple of the Suns in Das Frontiere. Within the boundaries of Truvo Farm you had found comfort and education, and strangely very little work. Why you were taken from the familiarity of the Farm to the discipline of the Temple you cannot say, but in an eventful life the strongest memories you hold close came from the attention and care given by the Truvos. As you sit upon your horse those same memories come flooding back.
For a moment you consider whether there is time to ride down to the farm, but you know it is a reunion that must be left for easier circumstances. Looking to the north you see a rushing wall of cloud, towering in great white buttresses but founded upon a dark veil of shadowed mist and rain. Even your horse feels the sudden change in the air, and the strengthening urgency in the winds that swirl through the trees about you. The stormfront is moving purposefully towards you and the first rumblings of thunder can be heard, muffled by distance but a sure sign of the weather to come. If it is to continue in your direction you must reach Melem's Fork before it hits. Reluctantly you turn Pallenten to the main road once again and urge her forward.
Onwards Pallenten gallops, without sign of fatigue or falter she pounds away at the leagues. Grassy fields pass you by, interspersed with isolated copses of trees and exposed piles of large boulders. Every so often you see a small farmhouse nestled inside a group of trees, a shelter needed in these places as ferocious winds can hit the plains here without warning. Very little of your fellow humankind can be seen though, and the remainder of your journey to Melem's Fork passes quickly and without incident.
As you had hoped you reach your destination by mid afternoon. Pulling Pallenten to a halt atop a slight rise you look down towards the small farming community. It is in a state of complete chaos. Smoke billows freely from a number of buildings and men and women are running about frantically between them. At the far edge of the village you can see a group of creatures moving to the south-west. It is a Hordim raiding party making off with its plunder.

Do you wish to help the villagers? If you do turn to section 116. If you would rather avoid any confrontation with the Horde at this time turn to section 258.

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