The Dragon's Arranged Mate(6)

By: Serena Rose


Behind her stood all of the members of King Angus’s clan, wearing their traditional tartan finery. I admired them for their clan pride; while I was proud of my Celtic roots, and the bloodline of the dragon that flowed through me, these men and women exhibited a level of pride and tradition I had never before experienced. My heart warmed at the idea of my heirs carrying both my blood and the blood of these people.

My heart thudded in my chest, awaiting the approach of my soon-to-be bride. I kept myself from once again adjusting my clothing or running a hand through my thick, blond hair that was so frequently falling in front of my eyes. I had inherited my hair from my mother, and it was just as unruly as it had ever been. I forced myself to stop fidgeting. A King doesn’t fidget, I told myself. A King commands. A dragon roars.

Then, a sound of music filled the hall. In keeping with her Scottish roots, a group of musicians dressed in the plaid of Anabelle’s clan entered first, then spread into a circle around the priest and myself. Then came her ladies-in-waiting, with garlands of flowers in their hair and bouquets in their arms. They joined the circle, standing in front of the musicians. Then, finally, came the sounds of the instruments signaling the entrance of the King and his daughter.

My heart nearly stopped, she was so beautiful. The silk gown she wore must have taken a year or more to make. Meters and meters of silk the color of pure white were involved, for the full skirt that trailed far behind Anabelle as she made her way down the aisle formed by the parting of our two tribes. The top of her gown just skimmed her shoulders, and the silk was caught in billowing, full sleeves. From here I could see the fine work she’d done, embroidering the tight bodice with silver thread. Her long, dark red hair was loose and flowing in curls down her back. A wreath of heather crowned her head, to be replaced by the crown that would be hers after the coronation ceremony the following day.

Her father, dressed in his clan finery, walked her up to where I stood in the center of the circle. He placed my hand in hers and patted me firmly on the back. Then we were left there, hand-in-hand, my bride and I.

The priest recited a traditional wedding blessing, then presented us with the cloth to perform the handfast. Our hands were still clasped from when Angus had given her to me; her hand was cool and smooth in my own, which in comparison felt hot and rough. The priest bound the strip of cloth around our hands, binding us together in symbol and in spirit.

We then recited a pledge in Gaelic, offering each other our minds and hearts. This was a bit more sentimental than royal marriages usually ran, especially in Celtic circles, but it was important for me not only to give Anabelle what she desired, but also to show respect to the traditions of her clan. Sometimes even a wedding can make a political statement, after all.

Anabelle looked at me, her cheeks colored. In Gaelic, she said: “I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine, from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night and into your eyes that I smile each morning; I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine, nor shall a grievous word be spoken about us, for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance. Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life and into the next.”

She ended it with, “Thabharfainn fuil mo chroí duit”. I’d give you the blood of my heart.

I repeated the vows, only I ended mine with, “You are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone. I give you my body, that we two might be one. I give you my spirit, `till our life shall be done.”

And with that, it was finished. We were united.





CHAPTER TWO





The rest of that evening was a blur of toasting, music, dancing, toasting, feasting, toasting and laughter. And more toasting. If anyone could out-drink a Celt, it was a Scot. And it seemed as though Angus’s clan specialized in imbibing amounts of alcohol that would render most men unconscious, or worse.

To me, the night couldn’t end soon enough. Every time I glanced at my new bride, the dragon roared within me. I felt a burning in my loins that wasn’t fire, at least not the kind of fire that singed the flesh. Now that she was mine, body and soul, it was even more difficult to keep my hands away from her. I imagined plunging my hands into all of that red hair and tipping her head back, allowing me access to her lush, full mouth. I wanted to plunge my tongue into her mouth and brush the tip against those full lips until she quivered and begged for more.

I realized I had a throbbing erection, which I was glad was covered by the table at which we sat. I tried to force my thoughts elsewhere so as to keep myself from spilling seed right there, like a young man in his sleep. I had to control myself. But for how much longer? As the night wore on, I could see Anabelle struggling to conceal her fatigue; it had been a long day, to be sure, and I knew that she had been awoken early in order to prepare and perform various rituals specific to her clan. It was already well past midnight, and the festivities didn’t look to be winding down any time soon.

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