Sunday, August 5, 2012

Forty-first excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

Re-entering Huish, Gwilym apologized to every resident he saw for bringing this disaster upon them. He joined the townsfolk at the body of the old man and heard the story. Palomides had heard nothing from the townsfolk where Gwilym was so he had held the man’s daughter at sword-point, threatening to kill her if the man didn’t reveal the secret. After the old man had told him that Gwilym’s family was at the beach, the knight had cut off the man’s head and galloped to the beach.
Gwilym saw the look of distrust returning to the townsfolk’s faces when they talked with him. It was the same look he had seen many times when entering a new place and he accepted with sorrow that this town was no longer home for him. He told the townsfolk he was leaving and that they needn’t worry about betraying him.
“Tell anyone who asks that I have gone to Londinium,” he said as he brought his family to his house to pack up. Grainne gave him the box of river jade from Merlin. “This is for your next tower,” she said.
The boys hugged her. Gwilym shook her hand and then pulled her into a hug. “I can never thank you enough for my children’s safety. I was helpless and you did for them what I could not, even if I had been there.”
Grainne winked at Gwilym and said, “I’ll see you at Beltane,” and walked off towards Avalon.
The next morning, as they packed the last of their belongings in the cart, Father Drew arrived to say his farewells. “I have been moved to Glastonbury, Gwilym. I start there next month. If you need any information from here, use me as a go-between.”
“Is it a promotion, father?”
“It is more than that, Gwilym. I have been granted my wish to serve under some of the older priests who follow the original British church: the men who are rumored to resist the influence of Rome over Christianity. Perhaps I can find out more about this Gospel of Joseph for you there.”
“God be with you, Father.”
“And you too, son.” The priest took his leave.
Just then, Fred stepped up with his belongings on his back
“Fred!” exclaimed Gwilym. “I’m not going off to a job site. I’m leaving for parts unknown, with three children and no job. You can’t come with me.”
“Of course I’m comin’ with you. We still have towers to build. I still have words to learn. You still don’t know how to handle a horse. Shove over and give me t’reins.”
“But Fred, what about Heilin? I thought you two were getting serious.”
“Oh we’re serious all right. But a married man needs work and I believe I’ll find it easier with tha than here in Huish. I’ve said my goodbyes and I can visit when I have money for a wedding. So, which way do we ride?”
Gwilym looked shocked but happy. “We take the road to Londinium. At least until we are out of town.”
They took the road south and then east toward Calleva. At those cross-roads, Fred steered the cart north toward Corinium at Gwilym’s instructions. “We must travel to Caerleon to ask of Sir Kay where our next project will be.”
Fred’s eyes grew wide with this prospect.

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

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