Sunday, February 23, 2014

Eightieth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

          When the sun’s early rays woke him and he flexed his sore back from lying on the rune all night, he was happy to find that Grainne’s face was still snuggled in the crook of his arm. His heart swelled with love at finding this woman still with him. Did this signal a change in our relationship?
         They made love again, long and languorous, and Gwilym noticed that for the first time, Grainne let herself go. This time was wonderful because it felt like there was real love being expressed on both sides for the first time. It reminded him of more the comfort he had found in Kaitlyn’s body than the excitement he had found in Fatima’s.
         They lay together, kissing, not speaking, caressing, stroking until they heard someone walking up the stairs of the tower. They rose and dressed. They heard Jac’s voice below them. “Da, will you come to break fast with us?”
         Gwilym looked at Grainne with a question. She nodded and they both went down and walked together toward the tavern. He greeted his Dad with the usual morning kiss and hug, and then held out his hand to Grainne. “Good morning Miss Grainne. Did you sleep well?”
         “No I did not, Jac.” He looked shocked. “Your father and I have been up talking most of the night, and I have decided to join you boys on your travels to the next tower. It is near my home so I’ll let you escort me there. Then, while your Da is building the next tower, you can play with Madoc and Brice. Will that be fun?”
         Jac’s eyes widened at this and he looked at his father. Gwilym was staring in disbelief at Grainne who looked with a placid expression at Jac. Gwilym was first to break the silence. “That’s wonderful, Grainne. I’m looking forward to the travels. And where is this next tower?”
         “I should let Sir Kay tell you. He will arrive by dinner. Now, I’m famished, Jac. What will they serve us in the tavern?”
         “Eggs and turnip mash. But you can sometimes ask the man to cook eggs the way you like it.”
         “And what is your favorite way?” she asked.
         “I like it fried soft so I can mix it with my turnips. I don’t like the taste of turnips. Llawen likes his boiled hard. Bleddyn likes to scramble his when he fries it.”
         “What does your father like?”
         “Oh, he’s nice. He will take it any way we like it so that we get turns getting it made our way. But he puts hot spices on his eggs, not salt.”
         “Is that so?” she asked, looking at Gwilym with new eyes. “And does he spice a lot of food?”
         “Aye. Sometimes too much for me but other people like it. Father Drew liked it a lot. Are you going to marry my Da?” He stopped and looked stricken at his father.
         Grainne reached out and held Gwilym’s hand with one of hers and patted Jac on the head with the other. “Perhaps so. But he hasn’t asked me yet so I’ll wait until then.”
         “Sorry, Da,” whispered Jac to his father as they entered the tavern.

         After Sir Kay and his three men had inspected the tower and were satisfied, he told Gwilym of his new assignment while handing him the new charter. “The steeple of the Abbey of Glastonbury has become damaged and must be rebuilt. We also would like to make it taller and add a capstone to the top. Go there now. We are finishing the King’s new castle nearby in Camelot. You can come to us for regular reports and get a monthly budget allowance. We cannot give you all the gold up front since we are preparing for a major war with the Saxons this year or next.”
         The next morning, both families packed up. Grainne drove Gwilym in the first cart. Bleddyn drove the second cart with his four brothers inside.
         None of them were prepared for the ordeal that faced them in their travels to Glastonbury.

         “That was better; it looks like the threat worked.”
         “Was that the threat or was it genuine? And is she breeding again?” asked Merlin.
         “Yes, the man is potent and her timing is perfect. All those lovers she’s had, yet only Gwilym can quicken her with children.”
         “What will you do with her oldest? He is too old for Avalon.”
         “Foster him out,” replied Viviane
         “She’ll refuse.”
         “What about letting her leave? She seems to like this Gwilym.”
         “That will never work, there are too many differences.”
         “Either way, the boy cannot return to live in Avalon.”
         “Have you given up on her, Viviane? Who will follow you?”

         “Someone loyal.”
To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

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