Arduous Tasks, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Arduous Tasks
Author: Charles Matthias
Publication date: March 23, 1998 (on TSA-List)

Date: Easter Thursday, 706 CR
Location: northeastern Metamor Valley


On his first day on the logging team, Michael is pushed to his limits under the watchful eye of Chief Tathom.


Michael leaves on Thursday with Lindsey to meet Chief Tathom. Tathom sends Lindsey away as he takes Michael into the foothills to chop down a foot-wide oak tree. Tathom sits in his cart and urges him to keep chopping, giving occasional advice, while Michael gets more and more fatigued. Shortly after noon, Michael finally chops it down, and Tathom allows him a short lunch break, before telling him to chop off the branches. Tired of swinging the axe, Michael opts to use his teeth, to Tathom's chagrin.

By the end of the day, Michael's whole body is sore. There have been a few more incidents, such as loading the tree into the cart, that have also been arduous. After he collapses into bed, Tathom visits him, and promises that it will be much easier from now on, and he won't have to use the axe again. Having welcomed him into the Timber Crews, he leaves to get Coe, and Michael feels himself drifting asleep.


Main Characters:

  • Michael: A newly-hired timber worker, and a beaver morph. He wears a mail shirt over an undershirt, and carries a short blade on his belt. He doesn't carry an axe, as he expected to use his teeth instead.
  • Tathom: Chief of the timber crews, a bull morph. He prefers being called Chief by new recruits. He expects his crewmen to be strong and tough. He puts on a hard front at work, but he has a gentler side as well.


  • Lindsey: A massively-built timber worker, who sees Michael off for his first day.


  • Tallis: A friend of Michael's. Tallim had told him in Admissions and Applications to look at his problems as opportunities.
  • Charles Matthias: A fellow rodent morph. Michael now understands why he enjoys gnawing so much.
  • Coe: The Keep medic. Tathom tells Michael that Coe will check on him.

Points of Interest

  • The place where Michael works is at the foothills to the immediate northeast of the Keep, at the edge of the woods.
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