Windhammer, Copyright Wayne Densley 2001 - 2007 All Rights Reserved


A Pit! Desperately you grasp for a handhold that will keep you from the dark abyss but it is to no avail. Thrust forward by your weight against the door you fall outwards, the strap of your pack caught on your foot as you tumble into the darkness. In that fleeting instant you see a shadow of yourself, thrown against the far wall of a vast circular well more than forty metres wide and lined with huge mortared stones. Into this prodigious space you fall, and it is a drop that no man should survive. But maybe this is not your time to die.
It is only a few seconds before you hit a thin veil of sticky fibres. At high speed you crash through them, then strike a second denser web which turns you end over end as you fall. Slowed by the grasping threads you hit a third thicker web before coming to rest upon a dense mat of accumulated webbing, refuse and centuries of dust. In the darkness you lay spread-eagled against the matted fibres and wonder as to why Fate should spare you from such a deadly fall. Quickly you raise upon one knee and check yourself for injury. Surprisingly you find a bad graze across your shoulder as your only injury. Without a doubt you have been lucky. Where you have landed however, is a question that will bear discovery, but there can be no doubt as to the purpose of the pit.
The air is thick with the heavy mustiness of rotting garbage, and it is a smell that is unmistakeable. Whatever its original purpose, this dark enclosed well had once been used as a refuse pit, a disposal point for all the waste and detritus generated by the ancient inhabitants of Stoneholme. All about you rests piles of discarded rubbish, dessicated and dusted from years of lying undisturbed upon the vast network of webs and fibres that you now also find yourself upon. It is a situation that can bode no good.
It is then that your pack hits you. From high above the full weight of your equipment and sword crash through the upper veils, spinning through the air as they arrow straight for your head. With only a split-second to react you lunge away from the falling equipment but you are not fast enough, the edge of the pack striking you in the side before coming to rest within the accumulated grime and food-scraps that surround you.
More relieved than angry you grab for the pack and feel the pain of a long cut in your side as you pull your equipment towards you. (Take one point from your endurance level before continuing.) Carefully you test the strength of where you have landed, however it is clear that you are in deep trouble. Quickly you pull one of the remaining torches from your pack and light it. What its dim illumination unveils confirms all your worst fears.
Around you is the undulating surface of a huge Arachnari nest. Across the wide expanse of the pit extends a tangled platform of web and detritus, possibly centuries old, and covered with the accumulated waste and filth of whoever may have been using the pit as a refuse dump. At all sides you can see large chunks of the walls that have been torn out, and into the solid stone burrows have been dug that can only be the homes of the large spider-like creatures known to inhabit such hidden domains. Carefully you turn about and survey the extent of the nest you have fallen into. It is huge, the holes numbering in their hundreds. In the flickering light of your torch you draw your sword and hope that the Arachnari have moved on. You are unfortunately not that lucky.
In the absolute quiet of the vast pit the sputtering of your torch stands out as much of a beacon as the light it throws. Within the dancing shadows you begin to see movement, the first tentative signs of a great behemoth struggling to wakefulness. Slowly you see a single creature emerging, pulling itself from its burrow, alerted to a meal that has been a long time in the coming. And for this monster it had been a long time indeed.
For centuries the Arachnari Queen had lain crouched in its hole, feeding on the remnants of garbage thrown from high above. When that food had ceased falling it had fed on its own children until now only it remained. In the quiet dark it nursed a hunger that lived as a constant driving agony in its gut and it could not ignore the smell of blood so close. Something juicy had fallen into its domain and it was not about to let it escape.
In a flurry of dust and falling stone the monstrous Arachnari disgorges itself from its burrow, a huge black armoured spider more than five metres in length, glistening like liquid glass in the reflected light of your torch. With the emergence of the beast you back up, trying to keep your footing as the enormous weight of the moving Arachnari undulates the web. In the darkness you search for some avenue of escape, but there is little enough time, and few options available.
About you the walls are a fractured maze of old spider holes and torn stonework. It is an unstable surface, however it is one you can climb if you think you are quick enough. Below the web you can see nothing except a long drop into a wide cavern. There is within the dark abyss the reflected ripple of a deep lake, and a possible way out if you choose to jump. With drawn sword you may also stand and fight; and there is always, if you have them, the more dangerous combination of Nahla bread and beer as an option. As the Arachnari Queen advances, you must decide what you should do.

If you wish to fight the Arachnari turn to section 446. If you would rather try and climb out of the nest before the Arachnari can take you, turn to section 443. If you believe that your only option is to jump into the waters below turn to section 473. If none of these choices are acceptable, and you have Nahla bread and beer in your possession, turn to section 458.

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