Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


The dark shape lies to the left of your intended path and gently you turn Pallenten towards it. From a distance it appears as a large pile of torn rags, but as you approach you find reason to slow your mount and place your hand firmly upon the hilt of your sword. In the bright light of day the wind-blown pieces of cloth focus quickly into the remains of a Hordim, and as you gain a better view of the creature you can see that it did not die easily. Carefully you scan the surrounding plain, and when you are sure that you are indeed alone you dismount and move quickly towards the body.
As soon as you are standing over the Hordim it is easy to recognise it as a Hresh warrior, and what remains of the creature's broken body tells you everything of its fate. Some twenty metres to the south you can also see a cleared area and the smoking embers of a small fire-pit. At first glance it would appear that the Hresh had camped in the clearing and at some time in the previous night had been taken by one of the many predators that stalk the plains. Although there is not much remaining of the warrior there are deep cuts across its back and shoulders that could only have been made by the long talons of a Kreel, and as you look at the body you do not envy the Hordim's fate.
A closer look however, uncovers a far more complex turn of events to the Hordim's end. Tentatively you roll the Hresh onto its back and find a broken arrow shaft protruding from the centre of its chest. On the ground beneath it is the torn feather of an arrow flet, black in colour and edged in a golden yellow. Looking about the campsite you find both the bootprints of the Hresh and a number of smaller prints made by Men. It is clear that the Hordim had first been killed by Rangers of the Watch, the body then left to be scavenged by a passing Kreel. For a moment you consider the torn remains of the warrior and think that this is a lonely enough end for anyone.

:dehr delve hendu thay'eth u nemes; surgis:

But there is more to this tableau than just a dead Hresh. Searching the body you find nothing of value except a long braided string composed of a sequence of spaced knots. Held within a leather pouch you know it to be a message of some type, coded in its knots to tell a story for anyone knowing the key that can unlock it. At some time this creature's masters had sent it on a mission into the south, taking this message to other Hordim that have no doubt already found a hiding place within the lands of Men. Looking about the plain you wonder as to the messenger's destination and hope that it too was not making for Stoneholme. All the evidence you can see certainly indicates it was going in the right direction.
And then there is the matter of the Rangers of the Watch. These Soldiers of Kalborea guard all the high mountain passes that cross the Rift Mountains to the north, keeping at bay any Hordim that might try to make their way south. You have no doubt that once this Hresh had been detected by the Rangers that they would not have stopped until the Hordim was dead. Such Rangers however, also have little regard for Dwarvendim and as you check the plain once again you know you cannot allow yourself to come under their notice. They have proven themselves professional and relentless guardians of the frontier but to those they owe no allegiance they have also proven themselves vindictive and cruel.
With no sign of anyone else in sight you take the message pouch and place it in your pack. (This item has very little weight and does not count towards your overall carry load. Record it within the artifacts found section of your character sheet.) For a moment you consider if you should bury the Hresh but you have no time to do it. Instead you smother the remains of the campfire with some dirt and remount Pallenten.

With nothing more that can be done here you leave the Hresh and ride southwards. Turn to section 374.

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