Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


You know enough of the nature of the River of Life to understand the danger you are in. The Shan'duil is the concentrated life-force of the world, sentient and concerned only with the balance of the seasons and the good order of all Existence. But this giver of life can be a deadly companion when encountered face to face. If you are to survive the encounter you must find a way out of this cavern quickly.
At the run you take to the bridge, keeping low against its balustrades as a measure of protection from the insistent gaze of the Shan'duil. All about you the thundering echo of the River's flow tremors the air, sending pulsing vibrations through the stone beneath your feet, but within this melee of overwhelming noise you do not stop. Quickly you cover the distance across the bridge, the vast flow of the Shan'duil a glaring blue illumination that bathes the cavern with its azure touch. Ahead the Tree stands washed in the River's power however you do not stop to wonder at the immensity of its form. Instead you rush in behind the statue's platform and find a sanctuary within the shadows of the Tree.
Breathing heavily you try and recover from the exertion of the run but it is difficult, the power of the Shan'duil has had its effect and it has left you fatigued, your limbs leaden, your shoulders strangely numb. At least in the shadows of the Tree you seem to have found the one place where the River's proximity provides no danger, and as you rest you cannot help but notice the immensity of the shrine you have sought shelter behind.
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.
For a time you stand in awe of the Tree but you know you must find another way out of the cavern. Even as you ponder the marvel reaching up over your head you can feel a subtle but noticeable dissipation of your energy. Your sanctuary behind the Taal is not as safe as you might have hoped. With nowhere else to go you look to the stone walls behind you and find a small outcrop of rock, behind which hides a gaping hole where its surface has collapsed outwards. Camouflaged by mounds of smashed rock the hole is the entrance to a rough passageway.
It takes only a quick survey of the debris 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.

Your unprotected run across the bridge has left a lasting impression upon your endurance level. Take 3 points from your maximum endurance and record this on your character sheet. For the remainder of this quest the touch of the Shan'duil will restrict your maximum endurance to this lower level. When you have done this 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