Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2008 All Rights Reserved


There is every chance that the Western Trail you seek can be found by following this north-western path. Turning Pallenten onto its rough track you take her on a winding negotiation of low-lying swamps and wide fields of dammed water. In this part of the Faerron you see much evidence of the farms and fields once worked by the hapless Kalboreans who chose this region as their home. Long dykes and inundated water channels all attest to the lengths most went to try and keep the rising waters at bay, but it was all to prove futile, and as you follow the path into the north the marshland that they fought against spreads out before you.
The Faerron is a vast wetland, and in its expansion it took not only farmsteads and buildings but small towns, roadways, inns and taverns and all the infrastructure of modern life that once supported them. As you take Pallenten along the edges of the ruins that rise out of the waters as stark monuments of what had once been, you can see also that other travellers are still making use of the marshes, but for different reasons. All along the trail you can see sign of the passing of men both on foot and on horseback. Every so often there is also evidence of discarded items, torn cloth and broken equipment, thrown to the shoulders of the trail and left as litter to be swallowed up by the ever changing marshes.
You have no doubt that most of what you see is the refuse of bandits and others who use the wetlands as sanctuary from pursuit; but you can also be sure that the Kalborea Army has been here as well, and it is a possibility that keeps you alert as you make your way northwards.

It is with some relief you find what you are looking for no more than a league further along the trail. Beyond a series of weathered dykes and enclosed ponds you find the Western Trail. Although not as large as the Bandit's Row that cuts a path from north to south through the centre of the Faerron, the Western Trail is a clear and relatively direct route from the lower fringes of the marshes out towards its western edge. After struggling out onto the raised roadway you check first for any sign of danger, and then turn Pallenten westwards.
After the claustrophobic confines of the narrow paths you have been following the Western Trail is an open road, although ruined by the action of weather and neglect. Upon its rough surface Pallenten gallops forward, winding her way about the many bushes and trees that have found a purchase upon its hard surface. Within the space of an hour you find the Trail veering into the south, and by the early shadows of evening you can see the open plains ahead, peering through hedgerows of dome-bushes that line the edges of the old roadway.
Glad to be finally seeing an end to this unwanted detour you urge Pallenten on, sending her racing again for the open grasslands. Sure that you are now safe from any pursuit you begin to think about finding the best path to the foothills of the Devkraager Tor, but your thoughts are cut short by a sudden movement at the corner of your eye.
From the left side of the old road a dark shape charges out of the shadows. Holding a long piece of timber the figure throws it into the path of Pallenten, forcing her to a halt before grabbing at your cloak and hauling you back over the horse's hind-quarters. Your assailant is prodigiously strong and in a tumble of flailing limbs and scattering equipment you fall heavily to the ground.
Immediately the man is upon you, locking a firm hold around your neck as he reaches for a long dagger at his belt. In that moment you recognise the Ranger, and cannot help but smile as you realise the futility of your detour. The Ranger knew that he could not follow you, so instead chose the most likely place that you would exit the marshes and then simply waited. You respect the man's determination but if you do not act quickly this soldier of Kalborea will kill you, and you have no intention of allowing that to happen.
The Ranger is strong, however you are no weakling. In the struggle that follows you place a foot against the Ranger's chest and heave him off, toppling him into the dome-bushes. It takes a moment for the man to get his footing and in that pause you find your own feet and draw your sword, urging the Kalborean to come meet his fate.

The Ranger is a formidable opponent but not one that is beyond your strength or skill. The Ranger has a Combat Value of 18 and an endurance of 16. His duty is clear and he will not stop until either he, or yourself, are dead. If you win this combat then the way is open to return to the plains beyond. If this is your fate turn to section 341. If however, it is the Ranger that prevails it will be here that your quest ends. It will then be to another life that you must look for better luck.

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