Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


Any hope is better than none, and as you consider your options you are sure that no salvation can be found in the cavern behind you. In the time it takes to inhale one deep breathe your decision is made. Without looking back you walk into the swirling mists. Whatever may lie beyond them can be no worse a fate than dying here in the dark alone.
In a heartbeat the world around you dissolves away as the magic of the portal takes hold. In that instant you feel yourself disincorporated, somehow changing into nothing more than another vapour moving swiftly within the larger disc of roiling mists. It is a sensation short-lived, for as you begin to sense that you have changed the world reforms back around you, hard stone and cool air striking your face as you tumble from the other side of the ring.
Caught by surprise you make an attempt at steadying yourself but the transformation in the portal lingers as a numbing weakness that does not pass quickly. Without control of your limbs you tumble from the stone platform's upper level, collapsing onto a shelf of rock. Confused and disoriented you recognise only that you are face up on the stone, staring at a field of blue sky.
For a moment you can do little more than wait as the strange numbness recedes, but by the time it allows you to rise you already recognise where the portal has sent you. In a wide arc there is nothing before you but a vista of mountains, jagged peaks in shades of grey lined around a horizon of deep blue sky. It is the late afternoon and the suns of Arborell are reaching for their nightly rest, but the air is crisp and chilled and in the bright light of day you know that Providence has not been kind.
For whatever purpose the ring has sent you deep into the mountains of the far west. This place is known within the nations of Men as Araheal and for many reasons is well-known to the Dwarvendim, but there can be no salvation for you here. As you stand you can see the stone platform about you rests upon a shoulder of hard granite, the peak of Mount Araheal wind-swept and edged with snow reaching up at your right hand. It is a point in the western mountains from which any traveller must endure weeks of hardship to return to the civilised world. Turning you see the portal standing quiet, its hard black form finely outlined against the deep blue, its mists gone. You have no knowledge of how to reactivate it and you know that there is no easy way to return to the realms of Men. In this moment you realise that it is here that you are going to die.
Carefully you feel at the metal collar around you neck and accept that your quest is over. You are now weeks from Stoneholme and Maenum will surely fall before you can return. If the Tak Lovar is to be believed the metal collar will do its gruesome work within the next few days, and for that reason you sit back upon the steps and decide to enjoy the setting suns. In this lifetime your quest is over. Perhaps in another Providence will prove kinder.

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