Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved


It is an urgent truth that you must make haste southward, but in your mind a suspicion is forming, one that will need to be confirmed. Quietly you ready your sword and take a tight grip on Pallenten's reins. In the gloom of the forest you stand for a moment and consider how wise it is to follow these creatures, but you need to confirm what has done such damage to the trees. If it is indeed Hordim then how you continue with your quest will be determined by what you find. With Pallenten close you make your way deeper into the undergrowth, following the tracks as they make their way to the west.
Around you the forest grows close and silent. Above the rustle of the wind you can hear nothing. There are no bird sounds, nor sign of animal or insect. The woodland has fallen quiet, as if a great fear has come to rest here and all things living have gone into hiding until it passes. Except for the wind there is no sound but your own footfalls, and the sharper beat of Pallenten's hooves as you follow your quarry into the trees.
Some three hundred metres further into the forest you come across another clearing. This clearing is larger than the one you rested in, and it is vandalised with the same strange markings upon all the trees at its edge. Within the shadows you wait, searching for any sign of danger. The eerie silence is total, and there seems to be nothing moving. Apart from the bellows-like breathing of Pallenten at your side you appear to be alone. With no apparent danger at hand you move out into the open, leaving Pallenten within the trees. There is nothing much to see, but on the grass at its centre you make an appalling discovery. Under a blanket of flies you pull apart a hastily made bark covering. It reveals a mound of ash and rotting, half-cooked carcasses; the remains you think of many different kinds of forest animals and birds, and at least one hapless soldier. Something has stopped here and taken the time to kill and eat everything that could be found in the area.
In the warmth of the morning the cooking mound is a stinking mess; at least three days old, and surrounded by a circular boundary of flattened and bare earth. Looking about you make sure you are still alone, then kneel and make a closer examination of the circle. It appears that a huge number of creatures sat here, tightly packed as they consumed their feast. It is between the ash-mound and the circle of bare earth that you discover something else as well. Embedded in the ground you find a small, broken hunting knife. Made of pure black crystal it is ornately carved, with a razor-sharp edge and a tightly woven handle of knotted hair. The blade however, is broken along most of its length and is unusable, but it tells you all you need to know. Its small size, and the four-toed impressions that you see all over the clearing leave no doubt in your mind that these creatures are indeed Hordim, and more specifically they are Morg.
How the Hordim could have made it into the lands of Men you cannot say. It is probable however, that the siege at Maenum has drawn the Rangers of the Watch closer to the great fortress, and this has left some of the mountain trails of the Great Rift open for the Hordim to cross southwards. But you know the reason does not matter, the fact that they are here is all that does. Before they are located and destroyed they will cause a lot of damage.
Standing, you call Pallenten to you and consider what you should do. The mound is a few days old, and there is a chance that the Morg have moved on, but you know little of them and cannot be sure. All of the tracks lead off to the west, once again disappearing into the forest, and you can see the terrain changes quickly, the ground rising into a series of wooded hills and hard earth. To follow the Morg any further will be difficult.

To continue to follow the Hordim will require the skills of a Huntmaster. If you have the Huntmastery skill and wish to follow the Morg turn to section 417. If you do not have this skill, or you can see no benefit in continuing westwards, turn to section 467.

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