Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved


The cry for help is too urgent to ignore. Pulling Pallenten to the left you make for the source of the noise and find it lying in a strange circular depression in the ground. But for the plea for help you could have easily ridden right past and not noticed anything at all. Dismounting quickly from Pallenten you rush to the side of a man staked firmly to the ground by his arms and legs. Judging by his appearance he must have been tied down here for at least two days, at the mercy of both the weather, and the predatory animal life that is known to inhabit this area.
Quickly you cut his bonds and help him into a sitting position. Looking about you see that a small pack lies a few metres from the wooden stakes that held him. Inside are a few days worth of rations and water.
"It'd be just like those ingrates to leave my food behind." The man grabs the pack from your grasp and rummages through it. "Just their style, leave a man dyin' on the plains and leave his food where he can smell it! Well I'll have the last laugh, you wait an see."
With the chance to get a better view you realise that the man is old and wiry thin, a straggling red beard making him look somewhat more unstable than you hope he really is.
"Who are you?", you ask carefully. Until you are sure this man has not turned mad from his exposure to the elements, you decide to stand back a small way. Your hand lightly grasps the pommel of your sword and the wretch before you takes full notice of your weapon.
"Me? Why, I's Jonath, comrade in banditry to the greatest of 'em all, Feln Carnoth." For a moment he seems almost triumphant, but then his shoulders slump and his demeanour changes. "Well, at least I was until we had a little fallin' out and I ended up here, staked out like a hide drying in the sun, waitin' for the crows to pick me eyeballs out. Shows ya doesn't it, ya just can't trust some people."
For a moment he contemplates his surroundings and then looks you straight in the eye.
"You're a stone-eater aint ya. What the hell you doing in these parts anyway. Don't ya know that the law'l have ya if they gets their grimy hands on ya?"
For a second you think about boxing this bandit's ears. It's not the first time you've been called a stone-eater and the term has always left you feeling somewhat aggressive, but this haggard excuse for a bandit is half delirious from the sun and wind. You'll let him off this time.
"Don't you worry about why I'm here," you reply, "I just want to know where your friends might be. I would like to avoid them if I can."
Jonath laughs, "Don't worry 'bout them, by now they'll be in Das Frontiere living the high life and laughin' about what they've done to old Jonath, but I'll tell ya one thing for free. You don't fool me, that sword 'n horse ain't the property of no stone-eater, an' that collar ain't for show neither. I'll bet ya a horse for an apple that you're on some mission for our glorious Lords 'n Masters eh?"
He takes a small piece of dried meat from his pack and starts to eat it. His mouth is full but it doesn't stop him talking. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me. Hell, I'd be dead meat if you hadn't happen'd along when ya did." Then his demeanour changes, his voice carries a hint of real concern. "The other thing I'll tell ya for free is that you'd better think twice about makin' for them mountains. I seen the way you've been lookin' o'er that way and I tell ya it's crawlin' with critters, an' they don't like nobody snoopin' about. If I was you I'd stay clear away and go back home."
For a short time you talk further with the old bandit. He seems to know nothing of the war to the north, nor does he have any idea of what dangers might lie between here and the mountains. He does seem certain though that the mountains are infested with "critters" and are a place better left alone. After you assure yourself that the old man has enough food to get him to the nearest settlement you bid him farewell and remount Pallenten. The last thing you see of him is his red beard waving in the wind as he turns to begin what will be a long journey on foot to the east. You think ruefully that you would not want to make an enemy of such a tough old man, and that Feln Carnoth better be a light sleeper.
Again you turn Pallenten to the west and strike out across the plains. The conversation with Jonath leaves you full of questions, however you know the answers will lie somewhere ahead and there is still a long way to go. With the wind starting to grow in strength you turn Pallenten to the south-west and find the plains beginning to rise and fall in a series of gentle hills. As you crest one of these rises you pull Pallenten to a dead stop. By some awkward quirk of fate you find before you a small fortified village, deserted and in ruins. You have come face to face with the legendary village of Kal Murda.

Turn to section 263.

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 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved