Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


Upon the high stairway you make your way, leaving behind the rough natural caverns below and rising slowly into the familiar structures of Dwarvendim-made stonework. Quickly the stairway changes, turning from a tight spiralling well into a long slanting incline that works its way directly northwards. Within the stairway you struggle against the endless stairs, resting when you can, taking food if you have it. It is a long ascent; a gruelling climb upon steps worn and aged by the passage of countless Men and Hordim through the years, but one that ultimately ends within the confines of a small torchlit room.
Throwing your pack to one side you place your weapon beside you and slump against the nearest wall. For a time you rest against its smooth stone, recovering your breath and wondering what must confront you next. The stairway is a gloom-filled pit from which you can barely discern the distant sounds of the beast, working its fury against the mountain far below. If you are lucky, you think, your quest will be over well before the creature can find its way into the world of Men. As you listen for any further signs of danger you look around the room and consider what must be your next move.
The chamber is square and smooth-walled, and completely bare except for a small archway that provides an exit in its eastern wall. The exit however, is covered by what seems to be a heavy piece of fabric and as you push tentatively against it you realise that it is more than mere cloth. Slowly you place your hand against the moving fabric and discover that if you push hard enough your fingers pass right through it. It is a curious and disconcerting sensation but one that you will have to endure further if you are to find your way out of this room.
Grabbing up your pack and equipment you move towards the archway and try to force a path through. In a constricting embrace the fabric resists, fighting your attempts to leave the room, but as you struggle harder you find yourself able to push a way through, somehow passing beyond its fibrous barrier into what proves to be a wide chamber beyond. When you are through the archway you come to a halt and wait as your eyes adjust to the gloom. With some relief you recognise that you have indeed returned to the halls of Stoneholme.
As your vision adjusts you look about the hall and quickly discover that it is a large natural cavern, one that has been cunningly sculpted as a huge rectangular space supported at each corner by an immense Dwarvendim warrior. High overhead the roof arches into an ornate vault upon which a rich tracery of leaf and vine has been carved, intertwined within the natural roughness of the stone. For a short time you admire the artifice of your ancestors but the sounds of movement from one of the passages brings you quickly back to the dangers of your quest.
From your knowledge of Stoneholme you know that you have found the Great Hall, once the meeting place of Kings and the true heart of the Fortress. It was here that Morgen the Younger held the business of his court and ultimately where the treachery of his allies was uncovered. If you are right the Deep Vault should lie very close indeed.
In the shadows you see that you have entered the Hall upon its western edge, close to the colossal feet of one of the Dwarvendim warriors. The hall extends before you for more than two hundred metres and is at least half as wide, illuminated by a dim yellowed glow that permeates the natural rock overhead. Within this halflight you identify a number of other exits standing silent in the darkness.
At your left shoulder is a wide archway, the threshold to a set of stairs that lead upwards into the stone of the mountain. From this dark opening you can hear the distant sounds of movement and the unmistakable voices of Hordim approaching. They are still some distance away but there is no good reason to take these stairs. If you are right about where you are the Deep Vault should lie somewhere below this hall, not above it.
In the low light you see another door in the northern wall at your left and next to it a deep alcove set into the stone. In the southern wall there is also two other doors and in the distance one further exit cut into the eastern wall ahead. Carefully you adjust your pack upon your shoulders and place your hand against the fabric covered opening to the archway behind you. To your bewilderment the archway is gone, nothing but the rough stone of the wall greeting your fingertips as you run them along the hard rock. Curious as to what has happened you push against the stone, then search the wall for any evidence that an opening existed. You can find nothing, but as you ponder this mystery sounds come from the near stairway that tell you the Hordim are getting closer. It is time to move on.

If you wish to try the nearest door in the northern wall turn to section 48. If you think it better to try the near door in the southern wall turn to section 31. If the second door in the southern wall is more promising turn to section 189. If however, you would like to investigate the alcove carved into the northern wall first turn to section 239. If none of these options seem best and you would rather take the door in the far eastern wall turn to section 161.

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