Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


For only a moment you wonder whether the protective sphere that keeps you safe from the power of the Shan'duil will also be an effective defence against the Dreyadim. It is a hope that proves short-lived. At a howling rush the Hresh charges, swinging its scimitar in a wild frenzy, pushing through the energy of the sphere and shouldering you hard in the chest. Caught by surprise you fall backwards, the Hresh upon you in an instant, its scimitar raised high, ready to deal a lethal blow.
Without thinking you kick out with your legs, smashing into the creature's knees and toppling him backwards onto the smooth stone of the bridge. In the passing of a heartbeat you regain your feet and stand your ground, the Hresh already on its own feet, the scimitar waving in wide arcs as it runs for you once again.
In its mindless rage the spectral Hordim acts instinctively, using all the strength of its semi-corporeal form in a series of blows that crash against your blade, forcing you backwards as it strikes. Placed on the back foot by the ferocity of the attack you know that it is only a matter of time before the Dreyadim will find an opportunity to strike a deadly blow, and you cannot allow that to happen. As the ghostly Hordim raises its scimitar to strike at you once more you thrust outwards with your weapon, passing its keen edge directly through the Hresh's chest. In a spasm of pain mixed with surprise its form begins to collapse and then dissolves away, the Dreyadim screaming its anguish and frustration as it dissipates into nothingness.
For a moment you catch your breath and wonder at what else might lay before you, but there is precious little time left to you to ponder it. Before you have a chance to regain your energy you sheathe your weapon and make a run for the end of the bridge. About you the dark forms of the Dreyadim spiral around the span, swirling in great clouds of malevolence but unwilling to confront you again. Without waiting to see what they might do you make for the far side of the chasm and soon find yourself standing before the shrine, and the enormous white tree.
Your knowledge of Lore tells you that this is a Taal, a shrine built in supplication to the Silvan Tree but for a purpose that is unknown to Men. Standing upon its intricately decorated platform the Tree rises at least forty metres over your head and apart from its pure white form seems to be a perfect reproduction of a living tree, down to the texture of its bark and the fragile form of the twigs that rest at the end of its enormous branches. In the blue glow of the cavern it radiates an aura just as intense, drawing power from the vast flowing river of light at your back.
Looking up you wonder at who must have carved the Tree, but as you watch you begin to see it moving as if caught in an unfelt breeze. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the tree sways to and fro, its branches stressing and bending to a wind that you cannot feel. In the immensity of the cavern it glistens like a jewel and you cannot help but stare at its perfection, watching it sway to the power of the Shan'duil and pulse with a blue fire that entwines itself through its branches. Truly, you think, you have found here one of the wonders of this world.
As you stand transfixed by the Tree the sphere of protection dissolves around you and suddenly the power of the River bursts back into your consciousness. In a tremendous crash of noise and prickling energy you realise the danger that can still take you if you remain within the cavern too long. To escape the pounding thunder you move quickly around to the other side of the Tree and find behind its platform an area of rock wall that has collapsed outwards, covering the ground at the rear of the Taal with debris and smashed stone.
It takes only a quick survey of the area to see that at some time in the past somebody has dug a tunnel into the cavern, a rough hole of cut stone that leads out of the domain of the Shan'duil. For all the wonder of this place you know you cannot stay, and without looking back you take to the tunnel and disappear into its darkness.

Turn to section 551.

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