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


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 to work while he takes Michael into the foothills to chop down a small oak tree. Tathom sits in his cart and gives occasional advice, urging him to keep chopping, even as Michael gets more and more tired. Shortly after noon, Michael finally chops it down, and Tathom gives him a short break for lunch, before asking him to chop off the branches. Exhausted from swinging the axe, Michael instead opts to use his teeth.

There is more work to be done, and more accidents with getting the tree on the cart. By the end of the day, Michael's whole body is sore, and he collapses into bed. Tathom visits him, and gently tells him that Coe will check on him, and it will be much easier from now on, and he won't have to use the axe again.


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.
  • 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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