Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved


The storm is too close to take the chance that you may be caught in the open. The pile of large boulders does not appear to be the best shelter to weather a storm such as the one approaching, but they are all that you can reach in time. With large droplets of painfully cold rain slapping against your face you turn Pallenten to the left and ride hard for the stones. When you are closer you make a surprising discovery. At some time in the past a number of the smaller boulders have been moved and placed in a roughly horse-shoe mound. From a distance the boulder pile looks like a random jumble of stones, but up close it has obviously been formed as a shelter of last resort by what would have to have been a very strong traveller indeed. As you dismount from Pallenten you can see that a table-sized piece of stone has been laid across a few of these large stones to provide a simple roof. The arrangement of the stones forms a small protected alcove within the pile. Although it is not much it will be enough to give you cover from the worst of the storm.
Quickly you draw Pallenten into the stones and set to work. Within the few minutes that are left to you before the storm hits, you set about sealing as much of the rudimentary shelter as you can. With a scrap of abandoned iron you find within the outcrop you start cutting pieces of heavy turf out of the ground and then ram them into the larger spaces between the stones. You have no time for care, the sods of earth hammered with your gloved fist into any small space that might provide an access for wind or rain. When you are done you pull Pallenten beneath the stone shelf and wonder at how many times you have found yourself in this position; alone and awaiting the relentless power of a Treachersa to fall upon you. About you the storm rises like a wave, its energy a tingling anticipation in the air that is almost unbearable. After getting as much of Pallenten under the shelter as you can, you crawl in under her belly and await the deluge that is to come. You do not have to wait long.
In the course of a few short minutes the black wall of cloud covers the sky, the horizon disappearing in a heavy mist of rushing cloud and rain. Then the downpour begins. First as rain, and then sleet and hail, the storm hammers away at the earth, flattening the grasslands and laying down great piles of half-frozen slush about the boulders. Huddled under the rocky shelf you are safe from the full power of the gale force winds that howl about the stone pile, and the fist-sized pieces of hail that slam into the stones above, but these monoliths cannot protect you from the rain. Carried by the wind and spun into flurries of mist by the unmoving boulders, it finds its way into every part of your shelter, soaking you to the skin. Cold and miserable you can do nothing but wait as the storm rages about you. In the brilliant cacophony of lightning and thunder you crouch, thankful that you are not out in the storm, exposed to its full lethal power.

For what seems like hours the storm thunders down upon the defenceless grasslands. Caught in your barely adequate shelter you stand soaked to the skin, Pallenten no less affected by the cold icy tempest that rages about you. It is a release of power within which you can nothing except watch as it assails the grasslands. All about you the ground turns to pools of wind-blown water, barraged by hail stones and quivering under the relentless push of the gales. Upon the heavy stone that protects you there is a tremoring vibration as each thunderclap drums out across the plain, and in the sky above the clouds ride as black as night in a stampede of roiling vapours to the south. It is an overpowering crash of sky against earth, and as you crouch beneath Pallenten you wish only that it will end.
But then, as quickly as it fell upon you, it does indeed come to an end. With little warning the storm moves on southwards, taking with it frequent flashes of lightning and deafening drum rolls of thunder. In the quiet that follows the storm's passing it takes a few moments to extricate yourself from the shelter. Standing stiffly in the chilled air, you coax Pallenten out from under the rock shelf and try and shake some movement into stiff, sore limbs. Looking about, you see that the storm has lasted long enough that it is now almost dark, the thin red glow of an approaching dusk prominent to the west.

Do you wish to stay here at the boulder outcrop for the night? If so, turn to section 288. If you would rather try and find better shelter further to the south-west, then you should turn to section 307.

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