Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved


Before the Hresh have a chance to raise the alarm you make a run for the entrance to Stoneholme. Quickly you ascend the stairway, urgent shouts from the clearing telling you that the Hresh have spotted your flight. Without turning to see if the Hordim are in pursuit you race for the huge arching entranceway, your boots pounding against the hard stone as you go. Behind you there comes the harsh clatter of the Hordim as they make the stairs, but for a few moments you are out of their sight and it is an opportunity that you cannot let pass.
Quickly you turn from the entrance and instead make for the stone balustrade that edges the platform at your left. With the sound of the Hresh about to make the top of the stairs you throw yourself over the side of the balustrade and drop back down onto the grassy clearing at its base. You land heavily against the spongy turf but you cannot wait to see what the Hresh might do. At the run you follow the edge of the platform and find a place to hide. Against the sheer stone wall a huge tree root has found a purchase in an exposed join, forcing the stone blocks apart and opening a small triangular nook that will suit your purpose well. Without hesitation you bound onto the root and then push your way into the fracture's shadows. Crouched within the tight embrace of the stone you wait, your fate turning on whether any of the Hordim have seen you.
Above you the entrance erupts in a melee of activity and noise. From within your hiding place you can hear the Hordim searching the platform, their deep guttural voices a mix of shouted command and disciplined reply, the clank of armour and sword a rhythmic and menacing backdrop to the search. Almost immediately shadows are drawn across the grass ahead of you as two of the Hresh lean over the balustrade above to search the wide clearing at the forest's edge. Carefully you push yourself deeper into the crevice and wait as they conduct an earnest survey of the open ground. As you hold your breath and consider what might happen if you are discovered, you have a chance to listen to the warriors and are struck immediately by the nature of their language.
It is true that there are few Men who understand the different dialects spoken by the Hordim, but as you hold to the thin hope that you will not be discovered you listen to the urgent conversation above and recognise that many of the words are familiar to you. One in particular gives you hope that you are about to be overlooked. As the long shadows of the Hordim point towards the forest you hear one say "arborim", which you know to mean trees in the Elder Tongue. Quickly the warriors leave the balustrade, their menacing shadows pulling back from the open ground ahead of you.

Almost immediately a group of Hresh move onto the clearing, making their way purposefully for the trees before disappearing into the understory. Your skin goes cold as you realise that at any moment one of the Hordim might turn and see you, but they are focused on the surrounding forest, and as you try and find a deeper shadow to withdraw into you watch as they beat the undergrowth, their desire to find you evident in the energy they expend in their attempt to discover some sign of your passing. For a good half hour the entrance to Stoneholme is a hive of activity, yet somehow you go unnoticed and soon the commotion fades, the coming and going of the Hordim lost to the quieter sounds of the forest.
When all is once again quiet you move carefully to extricate yourself from the cleft in the stone. Stiff and sore from the confines of your hiding place you tentatively peer out into the clearing and then search the edges of the forest for any sign of the Hresh. At all sides the way seems clear so with no more time to waste you pull yourself out of the fracture, over the huge tree root and onto the soft ground of the clearing. For a moment you wait, sure that a call will arise but none comes and carefully you make your way along the side of the platform.
Some twenty metres from your hiding place you find a series of breaks in the stone wall that provide an easy climb back onto the platform above. You do not wish to try your luck on the stairs again, and it seems prudent to ensure that the way into Stoneholme is open before you make any further attempt at entering. Carefully you find the foot and handholds you need to climb, and soon you are peering over the lip of the platform at the dark entranceway. The platform is indeed clear, all sign of the Hordim gone. Still, you wait a few moments before pulling yourself onto the hard stone and finally stand. At your left shoulder an immense statue of a Dwarvendim Warrior searches the forest, its arm raised in greeting to the eastern horizon. If you are to save the descendants of all who built these great monuments, you think, it is best that you tarry no longer here. Without any further hesitation you make for the entrance.

The Imperial Entrance to Stoneholme awaits. Turn to section 83.

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