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William H. Russeth
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When a meteorite plunges deep into the heart of Celtica, the blinding flash turns night into day and the impact flattens miles of countryside. A great sword is forged from the sky stone that is prophesized to shape the destinies of future generations. Warrior chiefs and scheming Druids vie for ownership of the wondrous blade, cutting a trail of blood and murder across the Celtic World.
It falls on Eoan, a mere boy on the edge of manhood, to embark on a quest, against insurmountable odds, to retrieve the sword and rescue his love, Roisin, from the sacrificial fires of Belenus. Pitted against Cimbri mercenaries and ruthless warlords, he races against time to save her. Beguiled by Roisinâ€™s mesmeric beauty, he is not even sure that she loves him in return. He only knows the path of the sword runs through the destiny of his heart.
The background murmur of the crowd grew silent. Wascla entered the room. The warrior strutted with the authority of a young rooster, naked except for his plaid cape and the belted scabbard that held his sword. He wore the belt high around his chest with the sword on his right side. His legs, arms and torso were covered with blue tattoos of serpents and he had caked his hair white with a lime wash. If he had been drunk before, he did not show it now. Brynâ€™s hopes sank. His eyes moved down the figure of the lean and well-muscled prince. His penis and testicles were large and relaxed. They swayed flaccidly as he paraded into the center of the room. Finally, he caught sight of her amidst a group of young women. Dismayed, he saw they were enjoying Wasclaâ€™s exhibition. He felt his own equipment shrink with gnawing, persistent fear and he was glad to be wearing his braca. Bryn felt clammy and sick as beads of cold sweat dripped down his forehead.
The sensation of someone tugging at his shirt brought him back. Cei had returned with the potion and his father was removing his shirt to rub the potion into his body. Everyone winced at the pungent odor released when Cei opened the vial. "Ugh, what is this foul smelling concoction?â€ Bryn asked.
"How would I know? Maighread makes it, not I. She would never reveal the secret of one of her potions to a man, although, I have gathered the herb borage for her to make it. Also, I have seen her mix in a little horse urine and flax oil. Unfortunately it smells a lot better than it tastes.â€
"Ugh,â€ Bryn protested. "I am not going to drink this vile potion.â€
"Well, suit yourself, but if you want a chance in this contest, I would urge you to drink it.â€
Athair, Eoan, and Cei moved in closer. Athair pulled Brynâ€™s arms back. Eoan tipped his head and Cei poured the remainder of the mixture down his throat. Bryn quivered and thrashed like a fish out of water, making disgusting sounds and gagging convulsively.
The shock of the foul brew slowly dissipated and Bryn finally stood erect, without aid.
Oddly enough, he had become calmer and more self-assured. The potion on his body gave a pleasant burning sensation and helped distract his mind from fear. His senses seemed more acute. He heard the individual conversations of people sitting in the crowd and saw details of people standing in the shadows. Even more amazing, he was not ill. He had been certain the potion would have him retching on the floor in front of the crowd; instead, it settled his stomach. Best of all, he was calmer and more at ease.
Seeing that Wascla had returned, Mogh started pushing the crowd back while Ogar marked off a large circular area on the floor with a thick white rope. Ogar was to judge the match.
Bryn watched as Wascla turned his back and began a series of ceremonial motions. Though he felt better with the potion, his confidence was fading. He just hoped it would end quickly and his wounds would not be too deep. To make things worse, he was feeling foolish, because he had gotten into this trouble over his beloved Alicia, who seemed more interested in his opponent, and was not at his side.
Finished with the potion, Athair wiped the excess oil off his hands and turned to Eoan to receive the sword he had retrieved from the wagon. Bryn took the sword in his hands and looked at his father.
The authorâ€™s fascination with the ancient world and mythology started as far back as he can remember. In his youth he feasted on the stories of Jason, Achilles, Odysseus, Beowulf, Sigurd, Arthur, and Chulainn, to mention but a few. As he grew up, his interest spread to the real stories like; Xenophone, Leonidas, Alexander, and Hannibal, which he often found more extraordinary than mythology. If it was an ancient tale, he loved it.
After earning Liberal Arts degrees in Painting, History, and Journalism, he embarked on a thirty year career in marketing management for a Fortune 500 company. Now he spends his time bringing the mythology and fantasies of his youth to life.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 381
Paper Weight (lb): 15.8
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