Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


You do not cover more than twenty metres before you begin to feel the full effects of the Shan'duil. As the River rushes below, you begin to see writhing tendrils of energy spreading over the balusters of the bridge, deep blue and alive with power. Within the thunderous echoes of the River's flow you feel your legs beginning to weaken, your breath laboured as you try and cover the distance to the other side of the chasm. It is an exhausting race but it is one that you win, just.
Upon the bridge you are exposed to the full power of the River. Struggling against the debilitating touch of its swirling energy you forge on, dropping to one knee, staggering as you fight for the sanctuary you hope can be found upon the other side. By the time you reach the bridge's end you are on your hands and knees, crawling painfully for the shrine. With barely enough energy to drag yourself out of harm's way you make it in behind the shrine's stepped platform and collapse onto the ground. For a moment you cannot move.
With leaden limbs and shallow breath you lie still, unable to do anything but recover from the grasp of the Shan'duil. It was your strength that saved you but Providence has smiled on you as well. In the shadows of the shrine the Shan'duil's power proves to have no effect, its ability to draw down your energy lost behind the massive stone platform. As you lay upon the broken floor you stare up at the Tree that spreads its bare limbs above you and attempt to regain your strength.
Although detailed knowledge of such things has long passed from your memory you do remember 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 appears as a perfect reproduction of a living tree, accurate in detail 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.
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.
Mesmerised by its ancient beauty you lay still until you have the strength to rise. Stiff from the effects of the River you look about the rear of the platform and find 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 hewn 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