Sunday, November 20, 2011

Twenty-third Excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

The center tower was leaning dangerously towards one of the banks
Early the following day, Sir Kay rode in with his three inspectors, and all were pleased again. The one who last time was drawing sketches of the wooden works was this time drawing the silo and the clay channel to the water. The accountant was frowning over the numbers while the third was admiring the capstone.
“Do you need me to finish off the other towers in this district, Sir Kay?”
Sir Kay looked keenly at the third inspector, who shook his head slightly. “No Gwilym,” replied Kay. “We have a more important job for you down in Londinium. The river gate known as Billynsgate has fallen into disrepair and is in danger of falling into the water. It needs to be rebuilt using the same stones but with a better foundation. You are the man for the job. This time you must remember that money is far less important than scope. The tower must look the same. And Gwilym, the urn containing the ashes of Belinus must be kept safe and returned to the center of the tower. The tower must be finished exactly a year from yesterday. So worry less about money than scope and schedule. And build it to your usual level of quality.”
“Sounds like very skillful work, keeping track of the old stones and putting them all back in the same places. Working next to a river and over a stream. Living in an expensive city.”
Sir Kay smiled and added, “Since money is less important on this job and the work is difficult, we have agreed to double your usual pay.”
Gwilym nodded and accepted his commission. Sir Kay handed him a royal charter and Gwilym read it over with care. Added to the usual wording was a detailed drawing of the tower: an arch crossing the stream from two strong towers on each bank and a slender but tall tower in the center. The center tower was leaning dangerously towards one of the banks.

(Next time, look for an excerpt from Chapter 3: Londinium)

To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

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