Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


The climb is a gruelling test but it is one that your strength and natural agility does overcome. Upon the stone you make use of the deep carved images as hand and footholds, negotiating a path first to the uppermost reach of the slab and then down its other side. It is a climb though, that brings with it mysteries of its own.
At first you find the slab to be warm to the touch, a not unsurprising warmth that could only be generated by the vast volumes of energy the monolith is somehow absorbing. As you ascend this changes subtly. The higher you climb the cooler the stone becomes. At its upper edges it proves cold enough that you have to cover your hands with loose cloth, but in doing so a new sound grows about you, one that proves both very personal, and insistent.
As an undertone to the rushing flow of the energy stream you begin to hear voices, a strange whispering of tangled conversations, rising and falling within the pounding flow of the stream. At first you cannot separate the differing languages or themes but as you ascend higher one voice stands out, and as you focus upon it you identify that it is speaking in Dwarvendim, although of an older dialect.
Quickly you realise that the voice is that of Morgen Orncryst the Younger, the very StoneKing who presided over the demise of the Dwarvendim, and who brought ruin and slavery to them all. As you climb you find yourself captivated but it is a sorry tale, and one that becomes all the clearer as you find your way to the top of the stone.
In a fractured set of speeches, conversations and anecdotes the spiral into despair of the last StoneKing is all too evident. You listen as he is told of the encroaching armies of Kalborea and of the need to pay the Faeyen for the weapons and provisions they have provided. In his despair you overhear the last speech he gave to the Army of Stone before the great Battle of Menion'Barac, and the reports of their bloody defeat at the hands of the Kalborean Army. Above all there comes the undertones and rumouring of betrayal, of the duplicity of the Faeyen and their ultimate surrender to save themselves and hand the Dwarvendim into servitude.
It is a story that finds its way to you in rumouring whispers but it is at its end that you hear of the Dragon Windhammer. Amongst the shouts and cries of a great tumult you sense the rising dread of a population as the news is spread that their King has found a violent end within the halls of Stoneholme. And from their cries there can be no doubt as to the assassin. Above it all is carried one word - gael'qirion - Dragon.
For a time you rest upon the upper surface of the stone monolith before making your descent upon the other side. The voices recede quickly and soon are lost to the pounding rush of the stream, but the gravity and desperation of the voices leaves you sick to your stomach. One thing you cannot doubt anymore however, is the existence of the Dragon Windhammer. Somewhere ahead of you the monster waits in its dark demesne and you can only wonder if it knows your coming.
Once upon the other side the exit stands open and beckoning. Without looking back you make for the threshold and find that it is the entrance to another wide staircase, one that descends even further into the mountain. With only a small hesitation you take to the stairs and begin your descent.
Again you find yourself on a long decline, the stairway a straight arrow aimed directly at the root of the mountain. In construction it is the same as that which you have passed through before but unlike the previous stairs there is no silvered reflections to give you light. Instead the stairway is bathed in a blue glow unlike anything you have seen before, and it ebbs and flows up the steps like a heartbeat pounding in the earth itself.
Upon the seemingly endless stairs you make your way, watching always for any sign that danger is near. Beyond all thoughts of your quest however, lay the resonating energy of what resides below. Each minute upon the stairs comes with a growing sensation of power, of an unfettered energy that crackles in the air and sends pulsing vibrations racing through the stone around you. Upon every footfall you feel its insistent force, and with every step the blue light increases.
Another hour passes as you take the stairs but like the first great staircase they find an end as well. What you discover upon a further threshold leaves you speechless.

Turn to section 526.

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 2008 All Rights Reserved