Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


The storm is now an impenetrable wall of black, no more than five minutes from where you stand. The old cattle shed is as good a shelter as you will find in these parts so you quickly dismount from Pallenten and carefully lead her into the building. The shed is divided into two areas, one a cattle pen, the other a room for the accommodation of a cowherd. It is not big but it sits under what appears to be the strongest part of the roof. Here you will wait out the storm.
With Pallenten by your side you watch the approach of the weather front. Skidding low over the flat terrain the great mass of moisture-laden cloud rushes towards you. So deep is its gloom that you cannot tell where the cloud ends and the ground begins, all you can do is wait for it to hit. You do not have to wait long.
Standing there in the old cow shed you feel the walls shudder as the first squall line hits, ferocious gale-force winds slam into the exposed shed, its timbers groaning under the stress. Hard on the heels of the wind comes the first rain followed by an icy blast of sleet and then hail. Pallenten shifts about beside you, anxiety evident even for the great horse. Under the power of the storm the shed grinds and moans, the rattling hammer of the hail rising to a deafening crescendo. Just when you think the storm has reached its peak, one arcing flash then a barrage of lightning blasts tear the sky. The storm is overhead and the lightning is followed instantly by thunder claps so loud that your teeth vibrate with each booming roll.

Unable to move from where you have tethered Pallenten you wait for the maelstrom to pass. Although the storm is an immense vortex of noise and power, it is the rain that causes you the greatest discomfort. With a solid roof overhead you are spared the volleys of hail and sleet that hammer at the ground. The wind ensures that you cannot escape the rain. Swept along by gale force winds, the rain and sleet smashes up against the walls of the cow shed, turning instantly into a fine, icily cold mist that finds its way through the many cracks and holes of the shelter. Within minutes you are soaked to the bone, standing shivering in the cold. In the end you must content yourself with watching the power of the storm play itself out.
You can see it all through a small window in the southern wall of the cowherd's room. Lightning and thunder, the flurries of rain and hail, it makes a hypnotising display that keeps you enthralled for some time. One particularly large arc of lightning illuminates the whole area surrounding the shed. As it dies you see something black and still lying in the grass about twenty metres from the entrance to your shelter. Thinking you might have be seeing things you wipe your eyes and forehead and look again. In the gloom of the storm you can see nothing, and the next flash of light shows nothing except the grasses of the plain. It could just have been your imagination. Perhaps a trick of the eye?
The storm lasts for an hour. As it starts to taper off you can see the clouds beginning to lift as it makes way slowly to the south. Within fifteen minutes you can see patches of blue returning to the sky and a distinct lessening in the wind. The storm has moved on and so must you. Pulling Pallenten out into the cool air, you give her a rub down and consider what lies to the west. The grasslands are covered in large pools of water, most of which will quickly dissipate into the ground or flow off into the marshes. You should be able to travel without any trouble. After remounting Pallenten you turn her westwards and continue on your journey.

Turn to section 291.

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