Early Morning Pressures

by Michael Bard

Rythel had made sure to get up damn early, even before the first watch was over. If the moon hadn't been near full, he'd have needed a damn lantern to find his way, although, his nose would probably have been enough.

And yet, even now, as the sun rose above the mountains, its rich golden light shining down in glorious radiance across the awakening buildings of Metamor; the scattered Latrine Towers wobbling above the streets; the reconstruction just starting to wake back to life as the damage from Winter Assault continued to be repaired, Rythel was stuck in line.

So much for getting up early.

As his tail wagged and he shuffled uneasily from paw to paw, he had to admit that getting up so early had helped a bit. There were only two in front of him, plus whoever was up in the tower. Already there were ten behind him. He had to look at them to identify them — the rich warm omnipresent odour of the half full wagon underneath was the only thing he could smell around the tower. It was like being blind!

Rythel just hoped the Dung-Monger was late — he could already see another fifteen people making their way into line and hear the distant *clopclop* as horses ambled in place as they were harnessed to the wagon under the next tower over. He hoped—

His ears flicked as the dribble of waste liquid inside the tower faded to a couple of drops and then ended. There were some sounds from within the tower, and the door creaked open. An eight year old girl started climbing down the ladder. "Next!" she cheerfully called out, as she walked past the growing line, waving at them, a huge grin on her face.

Rythel had to concentrate to keep from clawing her eyes out.

Hurry up— hurry up—

He wasn't the only one hopping from paw to paw.

The Duke really needed to build more of these things. Or, Rythel needed to move into the keep proper. But then, there was a line up for that. And— and with the damn municipal ordinance keeping the public areas clean, and the— over enthusiastic enforcement—

Rythel turned away as a squad of Metamor Watch tromped by dragging a white rat with some kind of handmark on his face up towards the keep. "But I just couldn't hold it!" the mouse screamed to the uncaring guards.

Come on— come on—

The tower creaked alarmingly and Rythel spun back around and stared. You'd think the watch, he almost spat on the street, would actually guard the lines against people budding in. And yes, it had happened. A freaking elephant morph. Wasn't there a subsection about those above a certain weight being restricted to the stone towers? It was odd that there hadn't been much argument when the elephant had shoved his way to the front, but then he had a heavy axe, a desperate feral gleam in his eyes, and probably outweighed the entire line, now well over thirty long.

Rythel couldn't really blame the two in front of him, but—

Eli, let them only need Number One!

With growing horror, Rythel watched the elephant slowly climb the groaning ladder, and then force himself through the doorway. He had a bad feeling about this. A very bad feeling—

The door didn't fully close, and Rythel could see the entire tower wobbling. There was an ear piercing *thump* from the tower, the sound of the elephant sitting down. And then the rain of Number Two started, as the tower began wobbling more and more. Grunts echoed from inside, punctuated by the falling *splatplattersplutch* of globs of— of— fertilizer from the elephant.

Rythel turned to start walking briskly away from the pending disaster.

"I can't take it anymore!" somebody behind him screamed, and Rythel stared at a growing damp spot in the trousers as the odour of embarrassment managed to sneak by the omnipresent manure. The poor victim's ears were beat red. He turned and fled.

Rythel joined him, holding his member, trying to keep his need in.

Behind him wood popped and creaked and groaned. Something snapped, a long tearing sound that seemed to take much longer than it had to. More wood shattered.

"It's coming down!" somebody screamed.

The long line broke and turned to flee, looking like a long wave shattering as it crashed onto rocks.

Rythel started to run, not noticing the growing stain in his trousers.

A sound trumpeted from the top of the tower as waste continued to rain down, now missing the wagon and splutching on the road. One of the primary supports had surrendered in a shower of shards and splinters.

Rythel hadn't run nearly far enough when the trumpeting elephant splatted into the wagon, spraying day old waste all over the fleeing crowd.

Including Rythel.

That was when he swore he'd move out into the country and start a farm. Lutins couldn't be as bad as this!

"Early Morning Pressures", copyright Michael Bard