Civil Engineering

By: David Ihnen

SERIESCivil Engineering
UNIVERSEMetamor Keep
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This story is Copyright by David Ihnen. Please do not distribute without permission.

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Previous Story: Metamor Keep - Arla takes Skylos on a Picnic
Next Story: Metamor Keep - Civil Engineering - Part 2

Skylos smoothed out the dirt before him once again. He looked over
the book propped open beside him, then quickly sketched out a structure
before him. Sam pointed to the center of the drawing.

"See, it isn't symetrical here. This member here will be pulled instead
of pushed. When the winds come along, the pins could snap and it would
swing free."

The morphic dog nodded, and wiped the sand smooth again. He drew once
again, a bit different. Sam nodded agreeably.

"That's pretty good. How thick would you make the secondary support

Skylos judged the distances drawn before him. "About a foot thick." he

"Would that handle a fully loaded wagon?"

"One or two, yeah. But not too many. A whole caravan might break it."

"That's not good, Skylos." said Sam, gesturing with his staff. "Where do
you think it would break first?"

Skylos rubbed his temples, glancing up at the older dalmation morph.
"In the middle?"

Sam tsked. "You're guessing again. Its been a long day. Just think
it through and we'll go find something to eat."

Skylos frowned and studied the diagram in front of him. He pointed to a
couple of joints along the top edge of the truss structure. "Either here,
or here."

Sam thumped Skylos on the shoulder. "well done, my lad. Come, lets
get some food and be done with this thinking!"

After Skylos tucked the book into his backpack, they trotted off with the
goal of finding somewhere to eat. The Keep brought them to the Deaf Mule.

"Wanna eat here Sam?" asked Skylos, peering behind him expectantly.
Sam was nowhere to be seen. He spun about in confusion.

The dalmation morph was already entering the inn, nose raised to the
smell of fresh stew. He called out, "Same me some stew in there boys!
I'm hungry!"

Skylos laughed and chased after. Sam was elbowing his way between a
couple of very large and hungry looking wolf-types, waving his wooden
bowl above his head.

"Lay off ya brutes! Let a dog get some food!" he hollered above the din.
Skylos got his own bowl and joined the melee about the stewpot, getting
a scoop of the thick dish. He settled down next to his friend who was
already halfway through his first bowl.

"Good as usual?" he asked, digging into his own.

Sam grunted with his mouth full. He was getting a good bit of the stew
all over his muzzle as he wolfed it down. Skylos grinned and ate his
at a somewhat more leisurely pace. Sam of course got seconds. By the
time Skylos the hound morph was done, Sam was cleaning the last of his
stew out of his fur.

"I'll tellya Sky," he sighed, leaning back against the wall. "I sure
wish we could get cookin like that on the trail!"

The hound smiled. "Suez isn't that bad! You couldn't do better."

Sam grumbled, "Yeah, but its not the same."

A group of writers was occupying the rest of the table, arguing
vociferously about the structure of poems, as far as the canines
could determine. Skylos fetched a pitcher of ale and the two friends
drank deeply. Tomorrow they would be on the road. Ale was too heavy
to carry with them.

"Drink deep, my friend!" toasted Sam, "For tomorrow we'll be lutin food!"

The dalmation winked and tossed down his ale. Seated next to Skylos
was a shy little mouse morph, about four feet tall to the canine's six.
He had come in with the writers and kept glancing at the noisy canines
nervously but with a degree of intrest.

"Hey mouse!" greeted Skylos. There was some ale froth on his muzzle.

"Um, hi." said the mouse, blushing in the ears, and looking down at
the table.

Skylos took the mouses paw and shook it. "I'm Skylos! That mutt there
is Sam."

The mouse looked at Sam, then Skylos. He looked like he wanted to run.
"I'm Sertofinus." he said.

Skylos stumbled over the name. "Sert... Sertolimus?"

"no, Sertofinus." the mouse said with a bit more strength.

Skylos grinned. "Serto it is!" Whadaya do?"

Sertofinus frowned, whiskers quivering nervously. "Do?"

Sam nodded as he poured some more ale. "We're builders. We build
things! What do you do?"

Serto spoke softly, "I'm a scribe. I write things."

Sam nodded. "well spoken!" He buried is muzzle in his ale. Skylos
snuffled the mouse.

"Hey, want some Ale?" he offered.

Sertofinus nodded. "okay."

Soon Sertofinus told them all about his songs. The man had always
wanted to be a songwriter. He was a Keep native, born and raised here.
He was trying to be part of the writers guild, to write poems and songs.
He didn't think they were very good, because none of the bards would
sing them. With some urging and a good amount of ale, they got him to
teach him one of his marching songs. They were all pretty drunk and
were having alot of fun. They couldn't get the words right, so they
made up their own, much to Sertofinus' dismay. They drank until none
of them had any money left. They staggered out the door, two canines
and a little mouse, singing a modified edition of the mouse's marching
song amidst his loud protests.

Sam and Skylos sang,

We are builders!
We are strong!
We are horny!
Our dicks are long!

The mouse squeaked in protest. "NO NO!! That's not id ad all!"

They sang on oblivious,

So we'll March!
And we'll Dig!
'Till by the bitches,
We shall live!

The mouse squeaked and protested as they stumbled along. The keep
delivered them quite shortly at Skylos' chamber.

"wouldncha know id." he mumbled, peering at his door. "When yer havin
the most fun you get here the quickest."

He opened the door, dragging his friends with him. "cummon, friends!
My bed is enough for all!"

Sam and Serto collapsed on the bed, giggling, and soon snoring.
Skylos rummaged amongst haphazard piles of stuff and showed up with a
mostly empty water skin. He looked at his snoring friends.

He grinned, and shrugged. "hayokay, ifn ya can't beatm, join'm!"
He took a drink of the water and spit it out. "Blech! its gone bad!"
He threw it over his shoulder, where it landed amongst his clutter.
He fell across Sam and Serto, forming a dog and mouse pile. He was
asleep almost before he hit the bed.

* * *

Skylos woke as Serto extracted himself from the pile.

He smiled and offered his paw to the mouse, who was desperately trying
to extricate his pants, which had managed to come off during the night.
He pulled the pants free, rolling Sam over to do so. The dalmation
morph started to snore loudly.

Serto's whiskers twitched nervously. "Um, nice to meet you, um,
Skylos." he murmured, wringing his paws, "Thanks for the bed."

Skylos stretched luxuriatingly while the mouse spoke. He leaned against
the stone wall of his small room and grinned at the mouse, toeing the
sleeping Sam.

"No problem Serto. You make a warm bedpartner." he chuckled easily.

The mouse's ears turned an even brighter shade of pink. "Yeah, um,
I'll see you around, okay?"

Skylos waved at the mouse silently as the rodent hurried out the door,
the sound of small paws pattering away at a run outside. He yawned
mightilly and kicked at Sam, rolling the dalmation off the bed.

"Wake up, sleepymutt! Its almost sunrise!" he barked, pulling off his
clothes and shaking them out.

He opened the shutters and stepped out onto his balcony. The sky was
bright and rosy over the peaks to the east. He could see some movement
along the east wall. Probably some guards. He stretched out, grinning as he felt the
blood start flowing through his body. Ignoring the discomfort from
a few too many ales the night before, he bounced back into the room.
Sam was leaning against the bed, squinting against the morning light.

The dalmation morph slowly stood and shook his head at the hound, wandering stiffly over to the
chamber pot. "Put some clothes on stupid. We got work to do!"

Skylos whapped Sam's tail playfully, making it hard for the canine to
relieve himself.

"Knock it off!" grumbled Sam, turning his head away so Skylos wouldn't
see his smile.

Skylos laughed and dug through a pile of miscellaneous possessions
in the corner. He came up with a brush and a slightly worn chew-stick.
He put them into his backpack as if they were the most important things
in the world. He slung the pack on easily, and grinned at Sam as he
fastened on his loincloth and boots.

"Lets get the paws on the dirt, mutt!" He barked, and trotted out
the door.

Sam followed a few seconds later. "Mutt! Slow up there youngster,
and I'll showya what a mutt YOU are!"

* * *

As the first beams of the morning sun hit the spires of Metamor Keep,
Skylos and Sam joined a raggedy group of various residents. There were
three horse morphs, two simians, four beavers, and a grumpy looking
badger. Sam barked at them as they milled around.

"Hey, pay attention!"

They stopped talking and more or less watched him.

"Good, now listen up! We're goin to the west this trip!"

About this point suez showed up, a disreputable looking feline sort.
He smelled heavily of fish.

"Hey suez, you go to sleep on dinner?" called one of the simians,
holding his nose. The other chortled.

"SHUTTUP! barked Sam. Suez, you better take a bath or we'll make you
walk downwind ALL the way. Then you have to smell Hoss's stinky ass!"

One of the horses grumbled, "my ass is not stinky!"

"Our Job..." started Sam. He glared at one of the beavers who was
talking to one of his mates. The beaver shut up.

"Our Job is to build a bridge over the Drake canyon to the west."

Grumbling arose from the group. "Not again!" Muttered one of the horses.

Sam glared at the horse. "It seems the old one got washed away in the
spring thaw. Lets to it RIGHT this time, okay? After that we've gotta
put up two of them dang signal towers BEFORE we get to come back home
for a week. So keep lively and make it quick, and we won't be gone
for that long. I know you don't like this any more than I do, so if
you slow us up I'm gonna hold you PESONALLY responsible! Over to the
supply house and draw provisions, I want to see you outside the gates
in an hour! DISMISSED!!"

A diminutive mouse morph plugged at Sam's cloak. "Pardon me sir?" he

Sam looked down. "Hey, Serto! Have a good nights sleep?"

The mouse blushed, and stammered. "um, y-y-y-yes sir. I'm
here... Hassan's orders..."

"well, out with it Mr. Mouse!" he grumped, shifting hurriedly.

Sertofinus blurted, "I'm supposed to go with you."

Sam looked scheptical, while Skylos tried to make the mouse uncomfortable
by eying him while pawing under his traditional loincloth.

"Why?" Sam snapped.

Sertofinus blushed, noticing Skylos, and looked up at the dalmation.
"Um, I'm a scribe... I'm supposed to write down what you do."

Sam snorted. "Just what we need, more dead weight. Well, go get
yourself a pack and food, you're gonna need it. We meet outside the
gates in less than an hour."

* * *

About an hour after sunrise the group of builders started down the road.
They all wore heavy packs but moved along quickly enough. The song they
sang kept the pace. Its refrain could be heard as they marched away.

Though the road it be long,
mountains we must climb,
the lutins shall fall,
we'll give it our all,
and return to our Keep sublime!

--- End Part 1 Civil Engineering ---

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