Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


Leaving Melem's Fork behind you head west towards the ancient Ring of Stones. The road is well marked and easy to follow, even in the dark of night, but the way proves to be ill-maintained and you find that you must spend valuable time as Pallenten avoids areas of standing water and deep wagon ruts. Soon after dusk the sky clears markedly and about an hour after sunset the moons of Arborell rise in the east. Beneath this silvered light the way ahead becomes much clearer and you are able to make faster progress. After the rain the air is cool and crisp, the moonlight providing an ethereal quality to the now enclosing forest that lines the sides of the road. In this light you go swiftly but quietly, heartened by the natural beauty that surrounds you.
Pallenten gallops effortlessly, power still in her strides as she covers the remaining leagues to the Ring of Stones. The fresh, cool feel of the night air so soon after rain works as an invigorating tonic to your fatigue. The journey of the day has been made much easier with the help of your steed, but it has been a long day all the same. You can feel the heavy hand of fatigue beginning to take hold and are thankful that the keen chill of the night keeps you alert.
As you travel further along the deserted road you find the countryside varying within a patchwork of forest and open grassland. The woodland is scattered but thick and swathed in shadows, its understory enveloped in a darkness that even the bright moonlight cannot penetrate. The open grasslands make a welcome counter to the trees, though each copse or stand radiates a brooding disquiet as you pass. Even Pallenten senses the danger lurking hidden within the shadows and increases her pace, passing quickly beyond the forest, and then out onto the open plains and the Ring of Stones beyond. It is not until late however, that you reach the ancient monument.

:e' ka u mar theloth du'a ahda a' pheth ahn et'es pyra:

Only once before have you seen the Stones, and that had been many years before, in a time when you were a novice at the Temple of the Suns. Then you had seen the monoliths in the bright light of day, and they had been impressive enough to burn a deep memory into the mind of a young, and somewhat arrogant, Dwarvendim student. In the half-light of the moon they prove an awesome spectacle. Each stone towers higher than a man can throw a small pebble, and each is as wide as a two wagon roadway. Twenty-five of these stones stand in a huge circle, centered around a single small marble plinth. Even from a distance you can see the stones glistening in the moonlight, each a constellation of brightly reflected shards of light.
As you ride down towards the monument you cannot help but ponder the many questions raised by its existence. Indeed you remember your tutor raising the same questions that now overtake your thoughts as you move Pallenten closer. Here on this isolated plain, unseen and unappreciated by most Men, stands one of the greatest mysteries of Arborell. These massive stones had been set in place by an unknown race of creatures long before any written histories of Man or Hordim existed. Since their discovery the Dwarvendim had tried unsuccessfully to find either the technical or magical power necessary to build such a monument, but somehow, in a time long forgotten it had been done. It was a great achievement and an even greater mystery.
As you enter the circle of stones you cannot help but be awed by their size and by the great skill that would have been required to place them so precisely. It is as you are taking in the extraordinary power of the monoliths that you notice a number of small, furtive shadows moving quickly at your left. A few of Pallenten's strides later a set of similar dark shapes appear to your right, using the gloom created by the stones to remain unrecognised. The hairs at the back of your neck stand on end as you realise you have ridden into serious trouble. Carefully you draw Than'durion, then slowly turn Pallenten and try to exit the monoliths. In the space of a few heartbeats this awesome monument has become a very dangerous place.
Out of the moonlight and shadows you are immediately confronted by two small, almost laughably small, figures dressed in armour and armed with long stabbing spears. They stand with their spears readied for action, blocking your only exit from the Stones. Even with the bad light you recognise that they are Morg, but you are surprised more by the bravado they show at openly attacking you. Almost immediately however, you discover the reason for that courage. From beyond the shadows another twenty of the creatures rush forward and immediately you are surrounded. The Hordim are so short that you are forced to quickly dismount and protect Pallenten's legs from attack, and it is then that the creatures make their move.
As your feet touch ground all of the Morg rush forward and begin stabbing at yourself and Pallenten. With the first stroke of your sword you are able to cut down three of the hideous assailants but this only changes the method of their assault. Momentarily stung by the fall of their comrades the rest retreat a few steps and begin a cautious circling movement, striking out intermittently at your defences. These small creatures will give you a tough battle.

Copyright WF Densley 2001 All rights reserved The Morg have a combined combat rating of 23 and an endurance of 32. Pallenten is caught in this melee and will aid your fight. Your own combat rating should be increased by 5 temporarily to account for this help. If you survive the fight turn to section 125. If the Morg prove too strong then it will be here, at the Ring of Stones that your quest will end. In another life Providence may grant you better luck.

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