Eternal Summer: Chapter 5: Determined

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  Every day was a slow build up of materials being gathered.  Much to the chagrin of the birds, trees were being cut down and milled into lumber by a partnership between Beaver Town and Friendship Town.  But every part of the tree was being used, to an astonishing degree by the former humans who dwelled within the towns.  The bark, leaves, and pine needles were stripped and boiled.  This resulted in pulling out any bit of sap or oil, to be collected for sealing the hull of the ship.  The trees were being selectively felled, so that only the weaker ones would be taken down.  This also led to the forest being safer, as there were fewer widow maker trees around.  The ones just barely standing, and would fall in an instant with the wind blowing the wrong way. 

The crafty animals had gone into full production with their paper mill.    Sawdust was being collected, mixed with water, and dried on special racks by designed by the weasels.  They were very proud of their achievement, and the paper had an immediate use by the ship builders.  A chance discovery had occurred as well when the groundhogs found a cave where there were strange rocks inside.  After a few careful exploratory digs had occurred, Cobalt was able to determine that it was metallic ore, most likely iron.  By human standards, the yield was extremely low.  Yield referred to the amount of harvestable material that could be obtained.  Processing ore was yet another conundrum to be figured out, which Grand Bear became instrumental in the process.  Under the careful supervision of the elder bear, a bear sized smelter was built, and being operated to produce metal.  Tiny ingots of metal were being created, and stacked when cooled on the cabin’s front porch.  The slag metal, or the by products were converted into useable metal, primarily that being nails.    

Trying to keep track of the various projects, their red panda friend kept meticulous records.  Every bit of material produced was documented, tracked, and inventoried.  After what seemed like an eternity to a certain hedgehog, Drew proclaimed that requisite number of each material had been gathered.  Construction of the ship could begin, which meant that the adapted plans were brought out to be displayed prominently.  It was an observant squirrel that pointed to the dimensions, noticing the numbers did not seem to add up correctly.  This resulted in half a day recalculating, and double checking.  Every former human in the forest worked out the numbers forward and backward, and confirmed that the squirrel was right.  The ship dimensions were off, and it was not 55 feet long.  The ship would be 30 feet long, which still represented a huge build ahead of them.  But this also meant that they had produced more materials than they might need, so construction began in earnest under a warm sun.

With the help of the larger animals, the hull began to take shape.  The interior frame of the hull was a series of beams.  Those that ran parallel with the hull were known as longitudinal frame beams.  The vertical beams were known as transverse frame beams.  After the cross braces were connected, the various sections of the ship frame hull were locked into place.  The stern/rear of the ship was fairly flat, but sloped upwards at an angle.  Holes were kept open for now, since this would be where the rudder would go.  The rudder was the part of the ship, which could steer it port/left, or starboard/right.  The bow/front of the ship was also angled upwards and out, with more of a smooth transition.  This shape would allow the ship to slice through the water, and allow for more speed to be obtained than with a rectangular barge style hull. 

Cobalt was overseeing the daily activities, but was also working with the various birds of the forest.  The hunt was on for fabric for sails.  After an extensive search of the former human settlements of the area, they lucked upon the remnants of a fumigation tent that had been twisted around and through several trees.  The efforts to free the materials took quite a while, but were ultimately successful.  Unfortunately to get it free, they had to tear the fabric into long strips.  This was not a challenge, as Tess Waffle Cat knew how to sew.  After gathering the female animals, the former human woman began holding daily sewing classes.  There was much giggling, and chatter about the various activities.  It was true, the cardinals really did know all the best gossip.  There was much discussion of the elk father trying to keep the young bucks away from his daughters, and how they were circumventing his efforts.   The fabric strips were being dropped off near the cottage of the bobcats, and was being processed in regular fashion.  The vast quantity of fabrics gathered was equally impressive, but it resulted in many questions by the seamstresses. 

So, one day, the curious female bobcat stopped by the general store / shipwright’s office.  When she arrived, an agitated hedgehog was pestering his red panda friend.  “Mr. Drew, when will the ship be done?  Pudgy has to go to Manilla!”  Drew laughed while hugging the hedgehog, “Pudgy it is like I said yesterday.  First, we gather the materials, then we build the ship, then we supply the ship, then we train the crew, and then you go to Manilla.  We are at build the ship … I need to check; I think they are starting to clad the ship with the outer hull today.  Hey, we need ore for the anchor, can you go help the ground hogs at their mine today?”  The dejected critter scampered off while wiggling his nose.  He was busy fuming, so did not notice Tess standing there, which allowed the bobcat to pass by.  “I see Pudgy is in an ornery mood today,” Tess said with a giggle.  The former human man nodded, and swished his red and white striped tail as he turned around to face her.  “Yeah, it’s like that every day.  I don’t get upset with him … just try to be as patient as I can.  The dreams are getting worse, and it has been resulting in him not being able to sleep.”  Tess frowned and twitched her short whiskers at the end of his nose, “that’s no good.  How’s Argente holding up?”  Drew sighed, “as well as she can, given all that is going on.”

The two former humans watched as more fabric dropped down outside the Waffle Cottage from a series of flying woodpeckers.  Tess sighed, “why do we need so much fabric anyway?”  Drew nodded, “the Niagara has 11 sails.  Plus: we will need to have backups, in case of a storm or three.”  Tess blinked, and turned her head quickly to look at the red panda.  “11 sails … my goodness … this ship is going to be huge!”  Drew nodded, “just wait till we get to the masts.  Which is going to be a huge problem, since the ship will become too tall to navigate the river channel.  We will have to float the partially completed ship to Port Otter, then continue assembly there.”  Pope Waffle Cat padded by, and kissed his wife on her fuzzy cheek.  “Which will only amplify how agitated Pudgy will get … Port Otter …I like the names for the places around here.  Who lives there, why otters of course?”  The trio laughed, and watched as the various areas were busy with animals working on their projects.  Pope chuckled, “the best part about this project is that no one is bored.  There is always a project to do, and on the off chance you do get bored, we can rotate tasks.”

Tess giggled and nodded, while Drew grinned and checked his ledger of material.  “How goes hull construction Pope?”  The male bobcat nodded, “we have the entire bottom clad with planks.  Trying to get those cut angles right are a pain in the butt.  Boy I miss having fingers …hey … I saw Pudgy stomping by looking mad as I was heading over here.  Let me guess, asking when the ship will be ready?”  The red panda nodded, and the male bobcat sighed.  Tess sighed also, “Pope, Drew says he has not been sleeping.  Those dreams are apparently getting much worse as time passes.”  The red panda nodded, “Cobalt told me about the time when the Kaiser came to the forest.  Pudgy’s dreams got so bad, that no one could sleep.  Once he was off and away in his little plane, everyone collapsed and slept for almost three days.”  The female bobcat nodded, “I can see that.  After the ship is built, and Pudgy sails away, I see many boring days in the forest.” 

Meanwhile Pudgy was busy helping a pair of foul-mouthed groundhogs dig out the iron bearing rocks.  They were not mean, and were in fact very silly, but their language would make an 80’s comics blush.  Of course, the little hedgehog was learning all sorts of new words, and was feeling better than he did earlier.  The “mine” was the result of a fracking company needing a place to dump rock and dirt from deep within the earth.  The former human housing plan had requested free fill, so that they could fill up a sink hole in the area.  While nature, owls, and demon wolves had other ideas: the confluence of events resulted in a boon to the animals of the forest.  Neat piles of rocks were retrieved from within the deep cave, and loaded into wooden carts.  Grandpa Bear would stop by every couple of hours to dump the rock into a much larger wagon, to take back to the smelter nearby to the bear cabin.

“Pudgy, so what the bleep did Panda Drew say about the bleeping ship?”  The little hedgehog wiggled his nose, and was busy moving rocks out to stack in a pile.  “They were still building the hull … Pudgy wonder what taking so long?”  An older groundhog backed out from the hole, and was covered in muddy clay.  As he wiped his nose with the back of his paw, “Pudgy, everyone is working as bleeping fast as they can.  You need to chill the bleep out, and let everyone do their bleeping jobs.  Now help us move the bleeping rocks to the bleeping carts.”  Pudgy wiggled, nodded, and wiggled his nose.  “The dreams are so much worse now, Pudgy can’t sleep anymore.”  The two brown furry groundhogs nodded, with the younger one hoisting a rock into the wooden cart.  “Bleeeep…that was a bleeping heavy one.  Pudgy, what is happening now?”  The little hedgehog was lifting and tossing the small stones into the cart, when he began to speak.  “The fox that looks like Argente, but is not Argente, is pleading for me to come.  Mt. Apo is sinking beneath the ocean waves each day, and if Pudgy doesn’t get there, it will be too late.”

The older groundhog rubbed his back with his paws, “my bleeping back … ok son, no more digging for me today.  Pudgy, what is at Mt. Apo?”  The little hedgehog wiggled his nose, “Pudgy keeps seeing a big rock at the top.  It looks like the ley line node that we have in our forest.  With one exception, it is much bigger. “ The two groundhogs nodded, and waved as an elderly grey bear was approaching with an empty wooden cart being pulled behind him.  As Grandpa Bear approached, he grinned at the trio of smaller animals.  “Hello everyone, I see another fruitful load of ore to process.”  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “bleep yeah Grandpa Bear.”  The bear looked at the groundhogs, “what did we discuss about teaching Pudgy new words?”  The two groundhogs wiggled their noses and began to laugh.  The father groundhog nodded, “do not bleeping teach Pudgy new bleeping words.  We bleeping heard you the first bleeping time.”  Grandpa bear looked annoyed, “yes … but …saying bleep or bleeping instead of the actual word does not make it any better.  Look what he is saying now?”  After a couple moments of silence, all gathered began to laugh hysterically.       

The elderly bear unhooked the cart from his harness, and soon had connected the partially full cart of rocks.  “Pudgy, would you like to come to the smelter with me?”  The little hedgehog nodded, and bounced up into the cart, sitting on the loose rocks.  As the groundhogs pulled up the wooden sides of the cart, they waved as the bear departed.  Pudgy waved too, watching his mining friends head back to their den.  Around the pine trees, they headed up the hill to follow a path travelled often by the deer.  With trees missing in places, it was becoming very easy to maneuver through the forest.  They were able to connect back to the bear road, and in a couple of minutes had made it to the bear bridge.  As they crossed, the water seemed to be moving slowly.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, watching the water’s movement as they crossed the bridge, and began to pass the cabin.  This was the first time Pudgy had been there during a smelting run. 

Grandpa Bear and his son had built what looked like a stone and clay covered chimney furnace.  It was semi round, and tall enough to keep the fire inside and exterior animals “safe.”  Safe was in quotations, because the end product was liquid metal, which was extremely dangerous until cooled.  The large brown bear was busy building a fire, which was roaring over the chimney stack’s opening.  “Hey pops, here with another load?”  The elderly bear nodded, “and Pudgy too.  I thought we should show him how we use the smelter.”  The smelter was a safe distance away from the bears’ cabin, and was close enough to the stream if they needed water quickly.  As the cart was moved into position, Mr. Bear lowered the side of the cart and helped Pudgy exit.  As they little hedgehog looked at the smelter furnace, he could feel intense heat.  The two bears looked sternly at him, “do not approach that smelter … it is dangerous.”  Pudgy nodded, and watched intently as the Bears positioned themselves nearby the furnace.  They hit the rocks with hammers, shattering and breaking into smaller pieces.  Tossing them into a big cup made from clay, the rocks began to glow and seemed to drip. 

As the hours passed, Mr. Bear got out a long set of metal clamps, with wooden handles.  He clasped the clay cup, and began to gingerly move it out of the furnace.  There was a long sand packed tray nearby to the smelter, which the bear tilted the cup to pour out a red orange colored molten metal.  Every bit of material was poured out.  Grandpa Bear nodded and grinned as he saw the metal spread out into the anchor shape.  They had collected enough metal ore, thank goodness.  Pudgy wiggled his nose, watching the metal cool.  “Is that the anchor?”  The little critter asked, with both bears nodding.  The clay cup was set on a couple of much larger stones to cool.  The fire was still going strong, so Grandpa Bear placed a couple of fish from a nearby empty cart on top of the stack to cook. 

Pudgy cautiously approached the tray where the anchor was cooling, and wiggled his nose. “This means Pudgy can leave soon,” he said while bouncing.  Mr. Bear shook his head, “not yet Pudgy.  Did you start cooking yet?”  The little critter turned around and looked confused.  “No, why?”  Grandpa Bear pointed to the fish, “I asked Cobalt how far away this Manilla is?  It will take you 84 days to get there, and 84 days to get back.  That is 168 days’ worth of food, just for travel.  That does not account for how long you will need while at the Philippines.”  The brown bear nodded, “I think at least a week, if not more.  But before Pudgy starts preparing rations, we need to start making barrels.”  The elderly bear nodded, poking at the fish with a claw, “you’re right.  That must be why Cobalt did not mention it yet to Pudgy.  Say, where is our eagle friend?”  Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy unsure, he keeps going on patrol every day.  Pudgy hopes he is ok.”  While the bears watched the fish sizzle on the smelter chimney, the hedgehog pondered. 

Far away from the cooling anchor, at the confluence of the Allegheny and Friendship Rivers lay Otter Town.  The locks had been dismantled, and the pier was built alongside the left side of the river.  Cobalt was standing on a log pier sticking up out of the water, watching the otters build the deck.  Sargent Miller was standing beside him, and the two watched as the river had risen even further than the last time the eagle had arrived.  It was now even with the river that came from Friendship town.  “The river came up … what …another six feet since we started this project?”  Miller asked the eagle, who nodded and chirped.  “Yes, if not a little more.  I see the General send more troops to help with the build?”  Miller nodded, “yes, another twenty showed up yesterday.  Otter Braun sent word that all the fish that swam up river, are now overpopulating the reservoir lake at the Great Holt.  They are starting to move north once more, since it is so crowded.  Cobalt …how goes the ship?” 

The eagle nodded, “the interior hull frame is done.  They were starting to clad the exterior when I left this morning.  I think in a couple days, we will be ready to move the Niagara out to the docks here.  Then we can install the masts, sail rigging, and the various other parts of the ship.”  The former human Army Corp of Engineer looked at the eagle, “two years ago if you had told me that I would be an otter and helping animals build a sailing ship … I would have laughed you out of the room.  But now …”  The bald eagle nodded, “I was helping Pudgy build crazy things to get him off on far away adventures and back.  So, this is par for the course for me, and I think this is the start of a much larger adventure.  We will hope not, and prepare for the worst.  Once the Niagara is built and sailed, we need to prepare for the probability of more river rise.  We will need to build flood control measures, perhaps another lock and dam if it gets much worse.” 

The two former humans nodded, and watched as the sun started to set in the distance western skies.  The sun no longer set in the south west, which was yet more proof that the planet had tilted.  The animals returned to their homes, and fell asleep quickly from a busy day of ship building.  The hours quickly passed, and soon the sun rose once more.  The ship continued its build, with the remaining sides of the hull being clad in milled lumber.  The exterior was coated in the natural wood sealing chemicals that they had refined.  The interior was coated as well, before the interior deck boards were installed.  After a few days to dry, Mr. Bear and his father helped to carefully move the ship’s hull out into the river water.  It started to float, and after many tense minutes, there was no water inside the hull.  A collective cheer erupted and echoed throughout the forest.  It was decided to attach the rudder, and lock it into place.  While one might assume that the little hedgehog would have been inside the ship, it was empty and being held into place by the two bears. 

The ship indeed was 30 feet long, but due to the revised specs, the ship was now only six feet wide.  It was easy to hold into place, while everyone waited for Pudgy to arrive with his steam ship.  It was a short time later, when the little steam ship sailed past with a silver fox riding on the deck and began to turn around behind the Niagara.  After maneuvering the steam ship around, Argente hopped out carefully into the now empty ship hull.  Ropes were tied to the prow of the ship, and the steam ship moved out in front.  Once the knots were secure, the silver fox carefully backed up inside the empty hull to the center of the vessel.  It began to sink down, and with the added weight, the bears watched nervously for leaks.  There continued to be none, so they let go of the hull, and gently pushed it out into the water.  “OK Pudgy, take it to Otter Town!”  Mr. Bear called out, and watched as the little hedgehog waved and engaged the throttle. 

As the two ships floated through Friendship Town’s River, the animals lined up on each side.  Bunnies were sitting on top of Beth White Tiger, cheering excitedly.  Argente giggled and waved as the various animals watched nervously, hoping beyond hope that the ship would not sink.  Drew walked beside the river, “Argente!  Do you see any leaks?”  The silver fox shook her head no, “no, the interior is dry!  And I have plenty of room inside of here!”  The red panda chuckled, “for now … we still need to work on the interior of that hull.”  The female fox stuck her tongue out at him, and wiggled her ears.  With the animals still watching, they started to walk beside the ship on each side of the river.  Pudgy kept the throttle at one half, keeping the tow lines taught.  After a couple of minutes, the animals of the forest watched as the seemingly endless ship disappeared into a thicket of trees.  

Argente called out, “Pudgy … how is everything up there?”  The little hedgehog scampered back to the stern of the steam ship, “ALL GOOD ARGENTE!”  The critter scampered back to the wheel house, and carefully steered the ship.  The silver fox would occasionally have to stand up, and reach out of the Niagara’s hull to push the hull from the narrow shoreline.  In the months of gathering, the groundhogs had done an exceptional job digging out the various twists and bends in the river that led to Otter Town.  Navigating the river channel was nerve wracking for both hedgehog and silver fox, until they saw the outlines of the Otters’ building efforts in the distance.  The hedgehog tooted his steam whistle, causing many curious faces appearing out of the river water.  As the aquatic animals saw what Pudgy’s ship was towing behind it, they excitedly started to cheer. 

Sargent Miller turned around from his spot on the pier, and saw the little steam ship begin to appear.  As he caught sight of the completed a hull, it brought a tear to his eye.  “Oh my god …the hull is done … old glory will fly once again.”  The various otters were swimming along the hull, and waving at Argente who was waving back.  Once the stern had cleared the river channel, Miller called out orders.  “OK, EVERYONE, LISTEN UP!  WE NEED TO GUIDE THAT TO THE PIER!”   Around ten exited otters moved into position on each side of the hull, while the steam ship pulled the hull towards the pier.  It was a careful orchestration of efforts, with the steam ship providing forward momentum, and the otters with side ways motions.  Slowly but surely, the ship’s hull was moved into position, and the otters began to quickly tie ropes around the various connection points on the ship to the pier.    Pudgy released his tow ropes, and then moved his steam ship to the pier as well.

The otters had based their pier off a 55-foot ship, and now there was a 30-foot hull.  This meant that there was plenty of room for Pudgy’s steam ship.  As the little hedgehog tied up his steam ship, and put the throttle to neutral, he hopped quickly off of his ship to scamper along the dock.  Bouncing and hugging every otter he met along the way, the little hedgehog quickly scampered into the empty hull.  He hugged Argente, and bounced almost six inches from the ground. “OH BOY, PUDGY CAN GO TO MANILLA NOW!”    The silver fox hugged him back, and giggled, “not yet Pudgy.  We still have so much to do, before we can leave for the Philippines.”  The little hedgehog looked up at his fox friend, and then scampered up and down the ship several times, before returning to hug her.  Plus, many otters hopped in the hull as well, causing it to sink further into the water.  There were still no leaks, which made everyone very much relieved.   

In the days that followed, Pudgy was very much involved with hauling materials using his steam ship.  Back and forth, up and down Friendship River, every day from sunrise to sunset.  The ship’s interior was outfitted, with open sleeping quarters, and many places for storage.  One section was left open, with walls built in such a way to protect the interior compartments of the ship.  Two tall masts were installed, secured, braced, and outfitted block and tackle pulleys.  As the ropes were strung, excited animals began to hoist the white sails into position.  All watched in wonderment as the wind caught, and inflated the fabric.  The ship started to pull forward, testing the ropes securing the ship to the docks.  Once secured, the sails were carefully rolled and folded, before being secured on the various sail arms of the masts.  Iron chain had been fashioned, and the anchor was connected to the winch at the bow of the ship below deck.  The crank to turn the winch was located on the deck of the ship, and would require the strength of two to three animals to move.  The ships’ wheel was secured into place, and the rigging connected underneath the deck to the rudder controls. 

Animals from far and wide came to visit, seeing the sailing ship being built quickly at this point.  Eagles never seen before were circling the skies, as well as owls in the trees.  After weeks had passed, the building was finally over, and the ship was ready.  However, Cobalt Eagle arrived at Pudgy’s home one morning and said he needed to stay home.  The little hedgehog started to protest, until he saw one hundred empty barrels sitting in front of his underground home.  They were about as tall as he was, six inches.  It was time to cook the rations.  From sunrise to sunset, the barrels were loaded with hard tack biscuits baked in the hedgehog’s wood stove oven.  Pickled vegetables, salt preserved meat, sugary delights, and all manner of foods rounded out the supplies.  The field mice, and several squirrels were helping Pudgy cook and pack.  As the barrels were filled, they were secured shut and moved into position along the Dragon dock. 

After weeks of cooking, the barrels of supplies were loaded onto the barge that Pudgy could connect to his steam ship.  The supplies were hauled to the almost completed sailing vessel.  The otters helped to carefully offload the barrels, and position them on the ship’s deck.  Chipmunks were helping to move the barrels into place, securing them below deck.  There were an equal number of barrels full of water being loaded as well.  After what seemed like yet another eternity to the hedgehog, the ship was fully loaded with supplies.  The animals of the forest all began to head towards Otter Town, to gather for a huge meeting.  Everyone was in attendance: even the bears and elks, who had to swim partially up the river to make it to the river confluence.  While all moved into position around the ship, everyone marveled at the fruit of their efforts.  After over six months’ worth of work, the sailing vessel was ready to depart. 

Cobalt stood on a deck pier and waved at all the animals in attendance.  He spoke with a clear tone, “some of you may have questions if this could have been done?  Could the animals of the forest build a sailing ship?  The answer is YES!  United, our kind can do anything the humans could, if not better!”  A thunderous cheer boomed as the river confluence was filled the sound of a hundred animals of all shapes and sizes called out at once.  As all quieted down, the eagle spoke once more, “there is two things left to do.  Pudgy, come up here please.”  The little hedgehog scampered up to his eagle friend, wearing his mining helmet and adventuring backpack.  The eagle chirped happily, and hugged his hedgehog friend.  The hedgehog noticed he was hugged for a much longer time than normal, and he looked up as the eagle’s eyes teared up a bit. 

General Otter Braun grinned as he sat on the dock, looking at the marvelous ship.  “Cobalt, get on with it, we have a schedule to keep!”  The eagle chirped and let go of his hedgehog friend, “you are right General.  All ships need a name, and while we based this on the USS Brig Niagara, that is a human ship.  This is a ship built by animals, so it is only right that we pick the name.  I asked everyone Pudgy, and since all had a hand in the building of the ship, all had a vote on the name of the ship.  One and all, the ship henceforth shall be called the … DETERMINED!”  A small bunny excitedly hopped up to the stern of the ship, and pulled off a sheet showing in gold paint, ornate letters displaying the name of the ship for all to see.  On the rear mast of the ship, a tattered flag of the United States was blowing in the breeze.   There was another thunderous cheer from the animals.  Cobalt motioned to the gang plank with his wing, “Captain Pudgy … you may take possession of the Determined.” 

As the excited hedgehog started to bounce towards the plank, he stopped and started to hug everyone in attendance.  There were many hugs, much crying, and well wishes spoken.  In time, the little hedgehog scampered up the plank, and to the deck of the ship.  As the hedgehog peeked over the deck railing, Cobalt called out once again.  “When I call your name, please say your goodbyes and board the Determined.  Argente Silver fox … Bobby Bunny … Mr. and Mrs. Field Mouse …”  As the eagle announced the members of the crew, they hugged their friends and families, before scampering up the gang plank.  Mr. Bunnies two male sons had decided to join him on the adventure, as well as pastor Blue jay, Angeliki Raven, 4 squirrels, and 4 chipmunks as well. 

General Otter Braun called out, “Private Pawl … Sargent Miller … you are ordered to board the Determined to represent our Holt.”  The two river otters nodded and saluted, before scampering up the gang plank as well.  The crew was 19 animals strong, with space for more if need be.  As the gangplank was pulled up, and secured into place on the deck of the ship, Pudgy took his position at the ship’s great wheel at the stern of the ship.  Cobalt called out, “untie the lines!  Otters, help move the ship out to the river channel.”  The otter General nodded, “you heard the eagle! Double time!”  A thunderous roar of well wishes were filling the air, as the animals cheered.  The ship started to slowly drift out into the river channel, guided by a dozen river otters.   

The animals selected for the crew had been given as best a training as they could regarding how the ship would operate.  However, it was based on remembered information, and what little materials they had access to.  Pudgy knew how to operate the rudder, and steered the ship to flow with the current.  As Otter Town started to slowly drift away, the little hedgehog weas excited beyond words.  A day he thought would never arrive, had seemingly snuck up on him from out of nowhere.  Argente had settled into an empty section of the deck, big enough for her and the otters to sleep.  With the fox in position, she called out, “Pudgy!  I think it’s time to raise the sails?”  The little critter nodded, “hoist the sails!”  The animals bumped into one another, not yet having their water legs yet, and started to raise the 11 sails that formed the primary propulsion method of the ship.  With Pudgy at the wheel, and the otters pushing, the ship entered the Allegheny River.  The river otters waved at Pawl and Miller, shouting well wishes, as they broke away to sim back to Otter Town.    

The sails were unfurled, hoisted, and secured into place.  As a steady wind blew, the various fabrics caught the wind, and redirected it to the main sails which pulled the ship forward.  Up the river they sailed, being followed above by Cobalt and several eagles who were crying out well wishes.  The eagles would follow for as long as they could, keeping track of the ship as it progressed up the Allegheny, and to Ohio River.  Through the lands that once were called Pennsylvania, to the lands of Ohio, to reach the sea of Kentucky the ship would head.  Once they reached that point, the birds could follow no further and would have to turn back.  What the condition of the lands of the west were, no one knew?  Only the hedgehog knew where they were heading.  He had spoken many times of the El Paso Fjord, with a river passage all the way to the Pacific Ocean.  They would follow the hedgehog’s dreams, as well as pray to the great spirit Unetlanvhi.  Cobalt cried out, “Godspeed to you … valiant crew of the Determined … good voyage!”

By Cobalt

Cobalt is a normal guy that goes to work. Pudgy is his hedgehog friend who lives in a hobbit style home nearby, and goes on epic adventures. All Pudgy stories are copyrighted to Cobalt. Doomcock, Harvey Cthulhu, and Xanadoom is copyrighted to Overlord DVD.

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