Sunday, February 9, 2014

Seventy-ninth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

          This time, when he removed the last wedge, leaving the tower supported by the river jade, he did it without looking at his last few hammer blows. He did it by feel, watching the capstone behind him for Grainne’s appearance. First he saw her fingers grip the stone’s edge. Then he saw her feet swinging up, then her legs and the rest of her body as she flipped herself through the air, landing nimbly on her feet. It was a dangerous move but accomplished with the perfection of one of the King’s acrobats. Her arrival coincided with the last tap of his hammer. There was no magic involved. Just perfect timing and an athletic leap.
He welcomed her with a warm hug. She was wearing the same clothes as this afternoon. A slight breeze pressed the loose cloth against her body, revealing the curves beneath. “I’m glad to see you, Grainne.”
          She gave him a wry smile and glanced up at the quarter moon. “Gwilym. If I promise you we’ll talk after the lovemaking is over, will you not ask me any questions until then?”
          He took her chin in his hand and looked deep into her eyes. Then he slipped his hand around her neck, luxuriating in the thick hair. He bent and kissed her softly, then harder and deeper, slipping his tongue between her lips and meeting hers. His other hand dropped to her full breasts and caressed them through the cloth of her dress. She reached up and pushed her hands under his shirt, running her fingers over his chest and squeezing the muscles of his shoulders. He parted from her long enough to remove his shirt and then took her back in his arms.
          She loosened the drawstring on his pants and peeled them over his hips and off. She grasped his shaft in one hand, marveling that her fingers couldn’t meet around it. “By the Goddess, Gwilym, you are a man! Make love to me hard, now. I want to feel this for the rest of the year.”
          She led him to the rune and coaxed him into lying down. Then she stripped off her dress and stood above him, straddling his hips. He marveled at her rounded perfection, her muscular calves and thighs, her tight belly that belied the two babies she’d hosted. Her large, firm breasts with their small, pink nipples. She lowered herself further and further down onto him, guiding him deep within her. Then she raised herself with exquisite slowness, him bemoaning the loss of her warmth with every inch of extra exposed flesh. When he was almost completely out of her, she lowered herself again, warming his body and making him shudder in ecstasy.
          She repeated this pattern again and again, each time increasing the pace a little, each time lowering herself more and more onto him until her pelvis was grinding against his. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she stayed there, quivering with the thrill of her climax.
          Gwilym gave her time to recover, and then her rolled her over onto her back in the center of the rune. He mounted her and made love to her hard and strong, each stroke eliciting a small moan of pleasure. He sensed her coming orgasm and timed his own to coincide. A groan emerged from deep in his chest.
          He opened his eyes to see when the fog arrived. Not here yet. But as he pulled out of her and their mingled juices touched the rune, the fog appeared around the top of the tower. It was the thick fog of a spring morning that obscured their view of the village.
          He reached for their discarded garments and used them to make pillows for their heads. “I’d like to marry you, Grainne. What do you need to know about me to make you feel comfortable that it’s the right thing to do?”
          “I need to know that you won’t try to foster your religion on me or my sons. I’d like to know what you think of the Goddess.
          “I am still questioning all that myself. I’ve no plans to push my religion on anyone since I don’t know what I believe yet. I’ve seen the magic that Celts can perform. I have also seen miracles that Christians perform. I believe both preach respect for others and the Druids emphasize respect for natural things. These are all good virtues. Was Jesus the Son of God? So far, I believe it.”
          Her face darkened at this but he didn’t pause to allow her to argue.
          “Is God a father or is she the great goddess? I think it is what you feel comfortable imagining. I picture a large, fierce, white-haired, bearded old man. You may picture a woman.”
          “A dark woman,” added Grainne. “What do you think about the afterlife? Do good people go to ‘heaven’ and bad people to ‘hell’ or are we reincarnated into different bodies?” she asked.
          Gwilym shook his head. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “The priests of both of our religions differ there but they agree on the only thing that matters. What we do in this life determines the quality of the life that follows. Therefore, let’s each do the right thing here on earth and we should end up in whatever we consider heaven. Perhaps they’re both right. Christians will end up in the presence of the Father and Celts will end up in the body of a righteous person of the future. That way, they both feel that their religion was correct and the other wrong.”
          They talked on, long into the night. As Grainne learned of Gwilym’s own search for religion and he learned of her doubts about her own, her attitude towards him seemed to lighten. They made love twice more, Gwilym falling asleep soon after the last time, her lying snug in his arms.
To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

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