Sunday, December 9, 2012

Forty-ninth excerpt of 'Twelve Towers'

Bleddyn was spending half his days with his father, learning project management, but would often beg off to assist the master carpenter in learning that trade. Gwilym wandered over one day to see him at work. He saw Bleddyn watching the carpenter in fascination as he explained a particular aspect then demonstrated it to the boy. Bleddyn then took out his tools and replicated the work the carpenter had taught him. The carpenter admired the job Bleddyn had done and complimented him. Bleddyn blushed in pride and continued the task with obvious joy.
Gwilym was filled with conflicting emotions. While his son was good at managing projects and had shown his intelligence at solving project problems, he had never seen him this engaged in the work Gwilym had given him. The boy had a passion for carpentry. Gwilym remembered his own fascination with architecture and his promise to himself that he would build great palaces or churches one day. He was happy that the boy had found his passion but was sad that it would be spent with someone else. The boy was growing up and must one day leave him. He was surprised to find his cheeks wet.

When the team had dug the foundation hole, Arthfael visited the site. Gwilym welcomed him, and asked about his son.
“He died yesterday. It was a horrible death. I should have listened to the mayor and put him out of his misery but my wife fears for my immortal soul.” The king was weeping. Gwilym placed his hand on the man’s shoulder.
“Thank you for bringing him back to me, Gwilym. And for letting his mother say her farewells to him. I believe she would have died if you had brought back a dead body.”
When Arthfael had composed himself, Gwilym showed him the project plan that had been developed. The king admired the drawings and the Work Breakdown Structure, seemed puzzled by the Network Diagram but understood the calendar. But his next words sunk Gwilym’s spirits. “You have to make the tower bigger.”
“Why, my lord?”
“I have been studying the latest ideas in castle protection. They say that a tower should project beyond the walls allowing archers to fire along the walls and protect them from attacking troops. Therefore the tower must be bigger.”
Gwilym thought for a little. “King Arthur only gave me enough money and time to make the tower this size. You can provide the extra money and people so that we can build the tower bigger. Or I could project the tower out by moving it further out and building the walls a little longer to reach it. That won’t take any extra time and we should have enough stone for the walls.”
“Show me your plan for moving the tower.”
Gwilym drew a careful sketch of the castle with the existing tower projecting two feet beyond the walls. The king was satisfied.
On telling the men to dig the foundation walls an extra two feet there was some grumbling until Gwilym told him what the king had originally asked for. “Thank God we found out now, rather than later.”

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

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