Myrddin untied the cloth from the couple’s hands and gave Catrin a goblet filled with wine-colored liquid. She lifted the vessel to Marcellus’s lips and proclaimed, “With this sacred cup, I confer kingship of the Cantiaci to you. Drink this to acknowledge your marriage as a mortal king to the sacred goddess of these lands. The goddess will legitimize your rule and break the curse that looms over our kingdom.”
Anticipating another bitter drink, Marcellus moaned with pleasure as the honey-flavored wine tantalized his palate and warmed his throat. He eagerly drank the liquid as Catrin held the vessel steady for him.
Priestesses ladled more of the alcoholic drink from a brass cauldron and filled flagons with the aromatic liquid. The celebrants held out their horned cups for the priestesses to fill, but King Amren drank from a skull cup.
The effects of the drink relaxed Marcellus and eased the throbbing pain in his hand. Another unanticipated effect was the swelling hardness in his loins. He asked Catrin for another.
Scantily-dressed priestesses began dancing around him, their hips bumping against his. Slightly disoriented, he couldn’t comprehend why animal-headed women were cutting his tunic away with knives and peeling the pieces off his chest like cabbage leaves. He dreaded that once they removed his braccae, everyone would discover the truthfulness of his testis. Would his manhood meet their expectations as their new king?
Marcellus’s thoughts then mired on how he could tell his father he had been crowned as the king of the Cantiaci and had married one of the native Britons. And hence, there was no need for Rome to invade Britannia. Marcellus could only imagine his father shouting, You idiot! Mark Antony declared himself as Bacchus and Cleopatra his Isis. I’ll grant you the blessing of removing your head.
The crackling and brilliance of the nearby towering fire jolted Marcellus back to the reality that he had been stripped of all clothing. Goosebumps erupted all over his skin in the chill of the setting sun. Yet fortune smiled on him as priestesses began layering his shoulders and hips with warm animal pelts, which they tied together.
Myrddin gestured for Marcellus to kneel. The wild Druid waved the serpentine staff over his head and blathered incomprehensible words. A bare-breasted priestess, placing a crown of antlers on Marcellus’s head, inadvertently poked one of the tips into his eye. Cursing beneath his breath, he could barely discern through watery eyes the sword Myrddin had extended to him.
Not sure what to do, Marcellus scanned the people until he found Catrin standing next to the king. She silently connected with him.
Thrust the sword into the ground until it is embedded in the earth’s womb.
Marcellus staggered to his feet and gripped the sword hilt with both hands. With all his might, he thrust the blade into the loamy dirt.
Jubilant cries broke out. Flames from a large fire shot to the heavens.
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