Saturday, December 28, 2013

Seventy-sixth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

          Gwilym left to supervise the men as they ramped the stone into the cart, Gwilym saw that the design on this rune was of a stable. He kept glancing at the pavilion but Grainne never appeared. Soon the crew was ready to depart so he called his boys to him, said goodbye to Madoc and Brice and the family followed the cart back to the job site.
         It took the rest of that day to bring the capstone to the site and hoist it into place. The natural placement was with the rune pointing back towards Huish. While doing so, Gwilym thought about how all the other runes pointed directly at the next tower he was to build. He constructed a map in his head of Britain and the towers he had built since the first one. Huish, then north by northeast to Airmyn, south by southeast to Londinium, northwest to Caernarfon, east to Salthouse and southwest to Huish. The lines between each tower created a star! Not just any star but a pentagram. At least the star had a point facing north. That supposedly represented a good spell, not an evil one.

         How interesting! He hadn’t noticed it before. This was a serious spell they were casting. He must talk more with Grainne to find out what was happening. Grainne. Have I blown it? He missed her even more now. The ache in his arms and chest spread to his belly and his cheek. Why only my right cheek? Because that was the cheek she had stroked yesterday after they had made love.
         Why was she so angry with me? Because I presumed I had a right to share her bed? Probably. That was obnoxious of me. She likes to call the shots during the love-making sessions. And they weren’t love-making sessions, they were a ritual part of a spell. She cared nothing for me. Even yesterday’s session, when she had moved so languidly afterwards and had been in so much evident pleasure was just a casual fling for her. Much the way I made love casually before I married. And those women had loved me too. Had they felt like this?
         One of the crew woke him out of his reverie. “Do you need us any more, Gwilym?”
         He shook his head and realized that they needed their final payment. Gwilym walked around the job-site, happy with the way everything looked. These Angles like to keep things tidy. He lined them all up and gave out the last of their silver, thanking each member of the crew for their time. He missed having Fred with him at this ritual. In two days they would go back to Huish to see him. Or would they? There was a price on his head and a lot of people looking for him now. Should he risk his son’s lives for a glimpse of Fred’s child?

         Tomorrow was Beltane. Merlin would appear and give him more river jade. Grainne and he would make love on the capstone. And the next day they would go…where? Wherever Sir Kay ordered them. Kay was involved in the enchantment, deciding where the towers would go or being told by Merlin. And a representative of the Druids checked to see if the rune was placed correctly. That would be Mostyn with whom he’d chatted last year. What was Mostyn doing? Tracing the drawing on the rune? That could have been done before it was placed. Unless he hadn’t seen them before. Making sure they were ‘sanctified’? What did that mean? Was he looking for remnants of his and Grainne’s lovemaking? Disgusting! But stranger things had happened. Gwilym determined to watch the enchantment closer this time. When did the mists appear? They seemed to be growing stronger. He shook his head as he neared the tavern and readied himself to face the scrutiny of his sons, especially Bleddyn.
To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

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