Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


After the azure grandeur of the Shan'duil the confined roughness of the tunnel comes as a welcome relief, and the further you find your way along its narrow delving the more the power and clamour of the River recedes. Carefully you feel your way, finding the rough-hewn passage an easy negotiation as you follow its unorganised ascent back into the stone of the mountain.
Very quickly you lose all sense of direction but in the gloom you are sure that the tunnel is finding its way upwards, veering in all directions as it follows a path along a vein of quartz. Curiously the quartz itself has a subtle luminosity and by its dull gleam you see that the builder of this hole in the earth was after gold, and he had gone to some lengths to find it.
Every few hundred metres you discover the tunnel opens into a small chamber, a hastily cut room in which the owner must have kept his quarters as he delved deeper into the mountain. Within each of these spaces you find the meagre remnants of his occupation, and a curious journal scrawled upon the walls, scratched into the rock in no apparent order it is an ongoing memoir of his descent into the roots of the Devkraager Tor. Only a few minutes reading tells you everything you need to know.
The miner was a man, a Dwarvendim by the name of Madimus. Without occupation or purpose after the fall of the Stone Kingdoms he had set to the task of finding a way into the Deep Vault himself with the goal of taking the Tellandra by stealth from the clutches of Windhammer. Driven by grief he had begun a dangerous descent through the halls of Stoneholme and had ultimately found his way deep in the mountain, but in doing so had happened upon an old tunnel system within which he had become hopelessly lost.
It was within a large cavern below Stoneholme that he had stumbled upon the quartz vein and the gold that came as its glittering companion. Lost to the metal's allure he sought instead to find its source and, a supply of the rare metal in hand, bargain with the Dragon for the return of the Pillar of Stonewood. It was a plan that could never have succeeded but as you read his journal you see the signs of someone lost to desperation and delusion. Quickly his writings begin to ramble and soon there is nothing in his words that can tell you any more. Wrapped in a delusion the Dwarvendim had delved far beyond the reaches of the gold and had ultimately found his way to the Shan'duil itself. His last comprehensible words report him finding a "River of Light" and then nothing more. For a short time you ponder the futility of his story but in this place you know that his efforts have not altogether been in vain.
By a quirk of Fate your fellow Dwarvendim has become the instrument of your salvation, giving you the only way out of the cavern of the Shan'duil. In some measure if you are successful in restoring the Tellandra it will be to the efforts of Madimus that it will have been made possible, and ultimately that was his intent from the beginning. As you work your way further up the tunnel you are not unaware of how Providence may have had a hand in your good fortune.
As you make your way along the tunnel the rough passage begins to level out and soon you find yourself negotiating a natural fracture in the stone across which slabs of rock have been placed to form a solid but uneven flooring. On this footing you are forced to move much slower, and it takes time to find the end of Madimus' delving. It is within a wide cavern that the tunnel finds its end and even in the gloom you can see that you have a number of ways forward open to you.
From the tunnel the quartz vein opens out into a large natural cavern. Ahead, across a flat area of open ground more than one hundred metres in breadth you can see three exits. One at your left hand reaches into darkness, another smaller passage at your right hand is lost to its own depths and directly before you is a larger gaping exit. All are cold and dark and none more inviting than the others.
In the shadows you consider what lies before you, and find as your eyes adjust to the gloom that there is more to ponder here than just the exits. At the left side of the chamber there opens a deep hole from which issues a rank and billowing fume. At all sides the ground is strewn with boulders and smashed stone and above all else you can sense a deep brooding malevolence that hangs like a mist in the air. If you weren't so far underground you might think that you had just stumbled into the lair of some primordial beast. Suddenly chilled by a gust of cold air you move forward and then come to a halt. Before you can go any further you must choose which of these exits you should take.

If you wish to take the left exit turn to section 598. If your choice will be the large exit directly ahead turn to section 524. If it is the smaller passage to the right that you wish to take turn to section 571.

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