Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fortieth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

He turned around and saw Bleddyn was holding tight to his arm. His boys huddled between a pair of tree trunks with Grainne. He hugged them, assured himself that they were all unharmed and tried to pull them towards town and safety.
Grainne looked at him and with a wry smile said, “We are much safer here. Let’s wait until the knight is further into the woods before we leave.”
“That knight is dangerous. He could come back at any time and we are standing here in the open like a group of frightened partridges.”
“Are you so sure we are in the open, Gwilym? Why don’t you step back and see for yourself?”
Incredulous at her calm, Gwilym released his children’s hands and walked back two steps, watching his family smiling at him. In the near distance he still heard Palomides’ horse, crashing through the undergrowth.  One more step back and his family disappeared, replaced by the huge trunk of the old oak he had run around before he was grabbed by Bleddyn. A step forward and they re-appeared, standing in between two smaller oaks. Blood rushed to his head and chills trickled down his spine as the magic became apparent.
He heard a snort and jumped back to the side of his children as the knight crashed back into the clearing and stood looking in their direction. Then he blundered off into another part of the woods. They huddled together until the sounds of the knight lessened as he moved deeper into the forest.
“What happened?” asked Gwilym of his sons.
“We were playing with Tegid and then Miss Grainne came,” replied Bleddyn.  “She told Tegid to go back to town and took us into the woods. She said we were in danger. I didn’t believe her at first but then I remembered what she did for your leg and for Ma and then I saw the knight coming, so we ran. The knight was right behind us as we ran into the forest and then Miss Grainne pulled us here and said some words and the knight ran past us. I was surprised like you, Da, when I saw the spell."
“Thank you Grainne! I prayed you would hear me. How did you know to come?”
“I was on my way to visit you, as I had promised in Londinium. As I neared the village I received your sending and came to protect your children.”
“My sending?” inquired Gwilym.
“I saw the vision you sent me of your children playing on the beach and the knight coming to threaten them. I ran to the beach and brought your children to the safety of the oak grove.”
Gwilym’s brow furrowed as he took in these facts. He had somehow communicated a vision to Grainne who had cast a protection spell in this forest and saved his children. He had seen magic surrounding Grainne and it made him uncomfortable while thrilling him inside.While grateful for the benefits, he struggled to reconcile it with his religious beliefs.
“Why does that knight pursue you, Gwilym?” she asked.
“He has followed me for many years. I have a book that he wants for his own evil purposes. It may have to do with the prophesy I told you about this spring. He chased me out of many cities in the east: Damascus, Tyre, Cairo and Jerusalem. I have watched the way he treats men and boys who are in his power. He likes to cause pain. I thought I had lost him when I left Jerusalem eleven years ago, but he has found me here. Tarrant is mixed up with him and I know that man does not wish me well.”
Eventually the sounds of the knight faded away as he blundered off into the thickest part of the forest. Grainne waved her arms about with a purpose and Gwilym felt the breeze blowing through the woods again. He hadn’t noticed until then that the protection spell had kept even the wind from their hiding place.
“We must run before he returns!” whispered Gwilym.
"That knight will be lost for a week in those woods. I have taken care of that,” said Grainne.

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

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