Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


With the grasslands open before you, you secure your equipment and push Pallenten onwards. As the Faerron recedes at your right shoulder you turn the huge horse towards the rising summit of the Devkraager Tor and take the time to consider your next move. Of most concern is the approaching night. In the gathering dusk you will need to find a safe camp, preferably one that will provide an easy route to the foothills on the following morning. If your memory serves you correctly there is a farmstead roughly a half hour's ride ahead. It has proven a safe and secluded place to spend the night in the past, but you will need to find it before it gets too dark.
Swiftly you ride into the face of the setting suns, the red horizon sharply edged with the looming grey silhouettes of the Krodestaag mountains. Beneath Pallenten's thundering hooves the plains give way inexorably to areas of scattered woodland, stands of Beech and Deodar rising from soils much thicker and more fertile than the grasslands you have previously crossed. Within these woods you weave a crooked path, keeping a rough westerly course as you search for the farmstead. For some time all you discover is the desolate remains of other farms and fields, overgrown from nature's slow reclamation of these abandoned lands.
With the last glimmers of daylight fading in the west you reach a series of low, crumbling stone walls that once served to fence a collection of paddocks and grazing fields. At the centre of this tracery of old stone you find the farmstead you are looking for. Made almost completely of sandstone blocks, and roofed in heavy slate tiles, it is an imposing and solid structure, but one that has lain abandoned for many years. It will however, serve as a safe camp for the night and one that is certainly needed in this part of Kalborea.
Overhead the sky is beginning to cloud once more. The few stars that have awakened to the demise of the day are quickly obscured by a high overcast, one that brings upon its heals strong winds and a chilling air. Buffeted by this rising bluster you can feel in its cool touch the expectation of more rain to come. Carefully you search the horizon for an approaching storm but find most of your view obscured by the crowding trees. It is good, you think, that you have found such a sturdy shelter.
Leading Pallenten through the front courtyard, you turn her towards a wide porch area and then into the house proper. Within its stone walls you discover quickly that the farmhouse has been recently used by other travellers, and the evidence of their occupancy remains as a large fire pit dug into the centre of the main living area. It has been roughly gouged into the dirt floor and edged with a shallow wall of stones. Within the ash-filled pit you can see charred Sempaca bones and a number of items of burnt clothing and scorched food leftovers. From these remains you can estimate that the pit was used only in the past few days.
Not willing to remain within the larger living area you find a small bedroom at the back of the house and lead Pallenten inside. The door is broken but you jam it shut, effectively locking you both in. The smaller room will be easier to warm and there is less chance that you will be noticed in the dark hours to come. With luck the night will pass without incident.
Outside the shadows of dusk close in, the rising strength of the northerly bluster whipping at the nearby trees. In the gloom of the evening you settle Pallenten and organise yourself for your stay.

Do you wish to light a fire here? If so turn to section 319. If you would rather not risk an open flame turn to section 354.

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