Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


The Sand Lurker is a beast that enjoys an easy meal and you are determined to disappoint it. Struggling against the grasp its tentacles have upon you, you pull your weapon free and slash out, cutting cleanly through two of its limbs. Pieces of the monster hit the wall of the passage, spraying a thick liquid across the rough stone. Immediately the rock begins to dissolve, hissing and steaming as it runs like half melted tallow down onto the debris covered floor. In a spasm of unexpected pain the Lurker draws back its free tentacles and hauls itself out of its desiccated lair. In the narrow confines of the passage its bulk fills the space before you, and in those few moments of hesitation you get a good look at what it is that confronts you.
In the half-light the beast shimmers, its skin a pulsating bag covered with a fetid ooze that reeks of rotting flesh. Before it writhes a multitude of sinuous tentacles, searching the area within its reach, feeling for whatever caused it such pain. Immediately you realise the creature is blind but in the narrow passage its limbs thrash and search, reaching out for you.
It is then that the Lurker attacks again. From within the tangle of limbs another pair of tentacles lunge towards you. One passes your left shoulder but the other is aimed directly at your chest. With another cut the tentacle collapses onto the floor and the Lurker shudders, spraying acid-like fluids about the passageway. Writhing in pain the beast's anger grows, and for a moment you are sure it is about to attack again but instead it falters, now unsure in its resolve.
There is a truth in Arborell that no predator chases a meal to its own destruction. All those creatures that inhabit the world and who feed off others measure the benefit of a meal against the losses sustained in acquiring it. The Lurker is no different and with the loss of its third tentacle it hesitates once again. It is an advantage that you decide to press.
Stepping in amongst the remaining limbs you hack wildly, trying to cause as much damage as possible. The Sand Lurker shudders with each cut, unwillingly to press the fight but you know you cannot kill it for its vital organs reside out of reach. Instead you decide to force it back into its hole.
Steadily you advance, swinging your blade in wide arcs, sending small pieces of the beast spinning off against the passage walls. In this melee of arcing steel and thrashing limbs you stand too close for the beast to grab at you and in the end you prevail. Caught by the confines of its own domain the Lurker withdraws back into its hole, content to lick its wounds and wait for a less combative meal. At least for this battle it is you who wins the day.
In a shuddering slump of sand and clouding dust the Sand Lurker disappears back beneath the ground. For a moment you stand against the wall of the passage and try and recover your breath but you know you cannot spend time resting here. Before the monster decides once again to try its luck you run past the Lurker's lair and hurry up the passageway. Quickly you leave the beast far behind and find yourself at an intersection with another passage that curves upwards and westwards. From the noises of shattering stone emanating from its dark shadows you can tell that this is the left passage you chose not to follow before. Both passages must come together here and there seems little point in returning back along either of them. In the half-light you take a deep breath and follow the new passage into the west.

Turn to section 569.

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