Arla takes Skylos on a Picnic

By: David Ihnen

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

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The noontime sunshine illuminated almost all of the courtyard. About half of the ground was freshly paved, the rest of the space consisting of leveled dirt, piles of unlayed stone, and tools of the paver's trade. This all in sharp constrast to the polished pink of the archways that led into the large house around them. Two loincloth-clad humanoid canines, a hound and a dalmation, knelt near the center, industriously working.

The hound morph handed fist sized stones one at a time to the other canid human who knelt nearby laying them into an area of wet mortar. They were slowly paving their way across the half completed courtyard.

"You remember I toldja ya have to help somebody else this noontime?" mentioned the dalmation, "I promised you out. The great Skylos requested in person. She'll be here soon." Sam winked.

"She?" Skylos paused, "We haven't had lunch yet, Sam." protested the hound, resuming the tossing of the fist-sized stones to him as the dalmation moved further away.

"I understand that lunch will be provided." Sam smirked to himself, working in silence for a little while. He ran out of stones and peered around. "Skylos? Hello?"

The hound was staring across the courtyard. Sam's gaze followed the hound's, falling on another canine morph. This one was obviously female, by the modest bust enhanced by the brightly colored, sleeveless tunic she wore above a knee length skirt. Her white muzzle was framed with black fur under her erect ears, the tips flopping over. She wore a medium sized pack on her back, her thumbs hooked under the strap as she surveyed the pair. After a long moment she strode forward, her mid height boots showing her black furred legs.

"Ah, your taskmaster is here." Sam grinned.

Skylos looked over at him sharply. "Huh?"

"You are Arla's for the afternoon, a special favor." explained Sam, "So be a good doggie."

Skylos blinked. "Okay." he aquiesced. He scrambled to his feet and bowed to Arla as she approached, taking her paw and licking it. "You look beautiful today!" he exclaimed, hurriedly adjusting his rumpled loincloth.

Arla shifted uncomfortably as she set the pack down. "Carry this." she ordered briefly, "and follow me." Hardly waiting for the pack to settle around the hound's shoulders, she turned and walked away.


Skylos trotted along with Arla, unsure of what to say. He had never seen her in a skirt of any kind before. She had a most enticing scent about her that made his heart beat fast. Her strides led them down a path he knew would bring them to the river, switching back twice as it descended a steep portion of the bank. The pack Arla had tasked him with weighed at his shoulders.

"Put it there." she said, indicating a grassy area underneath a willow tree. Its roots reached into a small brook that tumbled into the river a few yards away. Skylos set the pack against the tree, flexing his shoulders against the stiffness of carrying it. He looked over to see Arla standing with her hands on her hips, looking at him with an odd expression on her face. Skylos tilted his head, returning a puzzled look. He could feel his long ear brush his shoulder. He shifted on his feet and smiled.

"Hi." he said simply.

Arla didn't say anything, turning and looking over the river, her arms crossed under her breasts. Skylos walked over beside her, inhaling her spicy scent.

Skylos tilted his head to look over at her, admiring the curve of her body. "You look very nice today."

Arla grimaced uncomfortably, her ears flickin back as she stared out over the water. Skylos followed her gaze. A couple of otters were playing in the river, splashing each other and ducking beneath the water. On the far side, several children played on a small beach, ripples spreading across the serene surface from their energetic splashing. Skylos looked back at Arla, but she still stared over the water, frowning. He walked a few steps away and sat on a convenient boulder.

"I don't know about you, but my feet are tired." he said, pulling at his boots, sighing in relief as he massaged his feet.

Arla moved, balancing on each paw in turn to remove her own boots. She walked towards the water.

"Come here, you." she said gruffly, wading into the shallows. Skylos moved down beside her, sighing as his paws sloshed into the cool water.

"Feels good." he said, standing beside her shin-deep in the gently lapping river water. He kicked with one paw, sending a shower of drops across the surface.

"Yes." she agreed, turning to face him, her eyes seeking his. Skylos turned, meeting her gaze.

"Well, what do you want me to do?" he asked.

"Kiss me." responded Arla immediately.

Skylos's ears flicked back in surprize. "Ki..." he started. His words were eclipsed by Arla's muzzle, pressed to his, her tongue lapping into it.

He lost himself for long moments in her kiss, panting gently after they broke apart. He knew her scent would fill his dreams now, her body was so close to his. Arla spoke softly, her breath whispering into his ear.

"And that's not because I owe you anything."

They stood for a long moment before Arla turned and sloshed back up to the tree.

"Hungry?" she asked, smiling at him over her shoulder as she tugged the pack open, removing a loaf of bread, a small cheese, and a heavy, stoppered wineskin.

Skylos's stomach growled at the sight. "I sure am!" he grinned, adding his own wet pawprints to the rocks as he scrambled to join her. She layed out a feast on the roots of the tree, even a small cake included for desert. The skin contained sweet mead. They shared the food with only satisfied grunts for some time, polishing of the cake and mead off and laying contendly on the moss. Arla moved her paw to lay across Skylos's.

"You know." she said softly, "Ever since I kicked your butt the first time I haven't been able to go long without thinking of you."

Skylos burped brieftly. "I think of you all the time myself."

"What does that mean?" she mused.

"Maybe its puppy love." suggested Skylos, winking.

Arla thumped his chest with the back of her paw gently. "Silly." she said, "I don't love."

Skylos blinked, a leaf falling from the willow above them, the branches shaken by a passing bird. It drifted down and came to rest on his chest. He picked it out of his fur and showed it to Arla.

"Fall is coming." he said thoughtfully.

Arla took the leaf from him. It was yellowed around the edges, some insect bites out of the middle. She sniffed it. It smelled like nothing but a leaf and a little of Skylos. She let it fall. It tangled in the fur of her leg.

"Why don't you love?" asked Skylos.

"You love people and then they get killed." she said, brushing the leaf from her fur with a paw.

Skylos tilted his head. "I love lots of things. Building, my friends, good mead...."

He tried to squeee a few more drops of mead from the skin futilely.

Arla rolled to her side, looking at the hound. Skylos rolled to face her, the movements bringing them very close together, noses almost touching.

Skylos's eyes shifted away from hers. "You know I should get back to work."

"You don't want to do that." she said quietly.

"What do you want to do?" he asked.

Arla moved against him subtly, her body just brushing his. "I want..." she paused.

"Keep that up and it won't matter." he winked.

Arla smiled, her muzzle opened to let her tongue slip free. "I want there to be no words."

Skylos raised a pawfinger to her muzzle in a hushing sign. They lay for long minutes there, nose to nose, looking into each other's eyes, breathing each other's breath. Skylos inched closer to her, feeling her flushed warmth so close to his own. His tongue flicked out, touching her nosepad, the guesture returned almost immediately.

The gentle slosh of a paddle on the river caused them to start, peering down the slope. A canoe slipped along the shore, three dingos grinning from inside.

"Ho, Skylos!" called the one in the back, "Don't let us stop you!"

"Beat it, you spotty mutts!" snapped Arla, ears back aggressively.

"Yeah, we don't need you here!" added Skylos, shaking his head.

The dingos splashed water up at them with their paddles. The dogs shielded their uzzles from the water. Skylos barked at them.

"Hey, beat it guys! We're having a picnic here!" he shouted.

Arla whispered in his ear, "Lets duck them."

Skylos laughed and jumped up, running into the spray with Arla at his side, They splashed into the river and grabbed the ends of the canoe, flipping it and the dingos over into the river. Skylos and Arla laughed as the dingos splashed about, climbing back out of the river.

"Shows them." she grinned, brushing her paws off on her thighs. "Come on, lets run to dry off."

The border collie shifted to a full canine form, shedding her clothes and shaking her fur out as she did so. Skylos dropped his loincloth, quickly shifting to chase after her flagging tail. They ran through the grass along the river, the world a rush of smells and greenery, gulping air in joyous excersize. They lost themselves playing in the forest, chasing a fox, then a rabbit until other activities interrupted.

The sun was low in the sky when they returned to the picnic site, tongues lolled and coats dusty. They sat under the tree, stretching and panting as they shifted back to morphic form. Skylos smiled as Arla took on more human curves, openly looking at her. She noticed him staring and growled, snatching up her tunic and pulling it on over her head.

"Hey, watch it mutt!" she snapped habitually her tail waging anyway as she pulled on her skirt.

Skylos laughed, strapping on his loincloth and loading the pack with the soiled wrappings of lunch and the skin they had brought.

"I know a great inn in the town." said Skylos, "They serve a wonderful beef stew."

Arla started up the trail as Skylos shrugged the pack into place. "Don't go thinking you're special or nothin" she said, "I eat with the long scouts. If I didn't show up they would know tha something is up."

"Something IS up!" protested Skylos as he trotted to catch up, the pack jostling on his shoulders.

"Not for them there isn't." she said firmly, "And your friends better not tell anybody either - or I'll beat them worse than I did you!"

Skylos laughed, "All the builders know you were with me today by now! And they'll be asking me for details."

Arla stopped short, turning and blocking the trail.

"You will tell them Nothing." she stated, growling with teeth bared.

Skylos held up his paws, backing up a few steps. "I won't say a word, I promise!"

Arla growled, "You better not!" she snapped, turning abruptly and trotting down the trail again.

Skylos chuckled to himself as his own wagging tail followed hers. He hadn't felt so good in ages.


I dunno. Something doesn't seem quite right.

Email dispatched to chris to beta-read.

Recieved reply. He agrees somethign is wrong with Arla's behavior in here.

Replied with explaination of Arla dual-personality issue, woman/emotions vs man/protector, uncomfortable vs. comfortable.

Encourage me to write more with a donation!
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