Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


Pallenten does not let you down. Her powerful strides quickly distance you from the guards as she races across the low hills into the north-west. None of the soldiers have any chance to mount a horse, and the one soldier who could reach for a long bow proved unable to draw a shot before yourself and Pallenten were well out of range. You again thank Providence that the Prefect had the foresight to give you such a horse. Cutting across the grassy hills is an unforeseen diversion from your route but it may prove beneficial nonetheless. It will only be a matter of a few hours and you will reach the west road to Melem's Fork. The small farming community will be a good place to tend and water Pallenten, as well as get a decent meal for yourself.
As Pallenten surges through the long grasses you begin to see familiar landmarks for this part of Kalborea is well known to you. In your youth you lived at the Truvo Farm, and of all the memories of your childhood your stay there is the least painful. The Truvos are Kalborean, but they had taken you in when you were very young, and although you had been allocated to the farm as an indentured servant they had accepted you as one of their own. As one child in a very large family you had found a life very different from before and they had been good years, ones you still remember fondly. The time spent with the Truvos had only been cut short by your entrance into the Temple at Das Frontiere. Of all those that had helped you in your youth it was to the Truvos that you owed the most.
Bringing Pallenten to a halt you consider whether there is time to visit with them. If you are right their farm should lie only a few leagues to the north, but you know you have no time to spent on such a diversion. Their hospitality would draw you in, and you know it would be difficult to leave. Better, you decide, to leave a reunion until your quest is over. Then you will no doubt have some tales to tell. Reluctantly you urge Pallenten on and return to your journey.

As you expect it only takes two hours to reach the west road. The rolling countryside is cut frequently by small streams and some marshy ground, but the way ahead is straightforward. To your surprise you cross the road a lot closer to Melem's Fork than you expect. After the uncertain footing of the countryside the road is a welcome sight though not so the approaching weather. Looking to the sky you see dark masses of cloud building ominously into a huge storm front. Already away to the west a grey curtain of rain is falling, advancing slowly with the cloudbank as it moves in your direction. As you watch the cloud's inexorable march towards you, you wonder what else Fate might wish to lay before you to hinder your journey to Stoneholme. With luck though, you should be able to reach the village before it hits.
Turning Pallenten to the west you urge her forward and the great horse quickens her gait. You estimate that at her current rate of travel you should reach Melem's Fork by mid afternoon. As you ride further to the west the road becomes uneven and heavily rutted. Recent rain has left the dirt track soft and easily damaged, but Pallenten takes the changed conditions in her stride and does not falter as she pounds away the leagues towards the village.
With the great horse set on her course you use the opportunity to survey the horizon for possible trouble. All about is clear, but on high you notice something unsettling. Above you, at the very edge of your sight, there are a number of large birds circling. This seems innocent enough and under other circumstances would be unremarkable, however these birds have been with you for some time now, always directly overhead and always high enough that you cannot identify exactly what they are. A feeling of being watched has been with you for most of your journey and these birds do nothing to lessen your sense of unease.
The countryside is pleasant enough though, small farms are scattered about the grasslands, and every so often you pass an isolated stand of trees about which congregate groups of Sempaca and Talga sheep. All seems very peaceful but you smile ruefully knowing full well that here on the frontier it can all change so quickly. With nothing much to do except think about the unusual nature of your quest you ride onwards, keeping a watchful eye on both the road ahead and the gathering weather above. Although the sky is darkening with the approach of the storm, the remainder of the journey to Melem's Fork passes quickly and thankfully without incident.
It is only an hour further on that you find yourself within sight of the village. Trotting over a small rise you look down upon a scene of devastation. Flame and smoke billows freely from burning houses and men and women are running frantically between them. You can see a number of bodies lying in the main road. At the western end of the village there is a large group of creatures running into the nearby brush. It is a Horde raiding party making off with their ill-gotten plunder.

Do you wish to help the villagers fight off the Hordim? If you do turn to section 116. If you would rather avoid a fight 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