Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sixty-sixth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

After dinner, Gwilym handed Bleddyn some silver and gave the boys a series of errands to run that would keep them busy. “I’ll see you back here for supper,” he said as he left, armed with rope, torches and a long dagger. “Where are you going, Da?” asked Jac.

“I have to talk with that man who owns the villa we visited this morning,” he replied on his way out.
The mound looked much as he’d left it. He lit a torch and stuck the unlit end in the ground at his feet. He found the rope again and pulled the piece of sod out of the ground.  No light emanated from the hole. 

Thrusting his torch inside, he saw a rough-hewn tunnel, about 3 feet tall, leading into the hill. He looked around one last time, and then crawled in. The tunnel was cut out of dirt and rock, and looked unsafe. But he was too curious to stop exploring. Was this the source of the golden torc I saw earlier this week?

After crawling for about 60 feet, the tunnel opened up into a wide space. The last few feet of the tunnel walls were made up of large rocks. He was happy to enter this open area and stretch his limbs.

The room was about ten foot square, lined with rocks and with wide wooden planks holding up the ceiling. Placed against the far wall was a long bronze couch. Next to that, a large bronze urn, about three feet tall, with some design running around the top edge. Along the wall next to him was a bronze wagon, about five feet long, with a flat wooden top. There was another tunnel opening in the far wall next to the couch.

The ceiling was a few inches over his head but, as he looked closer, he noted that this was not the original ceiling of the room. Planks had been roughly sawn away to remove the original ceiling, which lay only a foot above the top of the couch. Another ceiling about two feet above this had also been sawn away. Between each ceiling was a layer of large rocks. Gwilym entered the room and examined the objects.

There was a series of lions running around the edge of the urn. The couch was heavy and had intricate Celtic designs carved into the back. He sat down on it. Gwilym started at a slight scrape from the other entrance to this room. A man came into the light of Gwilym’s torch. Tarrant was pointing a crossbow right at him. Gwilym’s eyes went immediately to the torch he had wedged into the wheels of the wagon. With the light out, Tarrant would lose his advantage with the crossbow, and he could take him in the dark. But Tarrant saw the look and moved next to the torch.

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

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