Act II

Alban. Early morning in the beginning of winter. A wood outside the tent of Deirdre and Naisi. Lavarcham comes in muffled in a cloak.

Lavarcham (calling). Deirdre.… Deirdre…

Deirdre (coming from tent). My welcome, Lavarcham.… Whose curagh is rowing from Ulster? I saw the oars through the tops of the trees, and I thought it was you were coming towards us.

Lavarcham. I came in the shower was before dawn.

Deirdre. And who is coming?

Lavarcham (mournfully). Let you not be startled or taking it bad, Deirdre. It’s Fergus bringing messages of peace from Conchubor to take Naisi and his brother back to Emain.

Sitting down.

Deirdre (lightly). Naisi and his brothers are well pleased with this place; and what would take them back to Conchubor in Ulster?

Lavarcham. Their like would go any place where they’d see death standing. (With more agitation.) I’m in dread Conchubor wants to have yourself and to kill Naisi, and that that’ll be the ruin of the Sons of Usna. I’m silly, maybe, to be dreading the like, but those have a great love for yourself have a right to be in dread always.

Deirdre (more anxiously). Emain should be no safe place for myself and Naisi. And isn’t it a hard thing they’ll leave us no peace, Lavarcham, and we so quiet in the woods?

Lavarcham (impressively). It’s a hard thing, surely; but let you take my word and swear Naisi, by the earth, and the sun over it, and the four quarters of the moon, he’ll not go back to Emain—for good faith or bad faith—the time Conchubor’s keeping the high throne of Ireland.…It’s that would save you, surely.

Deirdre (without hope). There’s little power in oaths to stop what’s coming, and little power in what I’d do, Lavarcham, to change the story of Conchubor and Naisi and the things old men foretold.

Lavarcham (aggressively). Was there little power in what you did the night you dressed in your finery and ran Naisi off along with you, in spite of Conchubor and the big nobles did dread the blackness of your luck? It was power enough you had that night to bring distress and anguish; and now I’m pointing you a way to save Naisi, you’ll not stir stick or straw to aid me.

Deirdre (a little haughtily). Let you not raise your voice against me, Lavarcham, if you have will itself to guard Naisi.

Lavarcham (breaking out in anger). Naisi is it? I didn’t care if the crows were stripping his thigh-bones at the dawn of day. It’s to stop your own despair and wailing, and you waking up in a cold bed, without the man you have your heart on, I am raging now. (Starting up with temper.) Yet there is more men than Naisi in it; and maybe I was a big fool thinking his dangers, and this day, would fill you up with dread.

Deirdre (sharply). Let you end; such talking is a fool’s only, when it’s well you know if a thing harmed Naisi it isn’t I would live after him. (With distress.) It’s well you know it’s this day I’m dreading seven years, and I fine nights watching the heifers walking to the haggard with long shadows on the grass; (with emotion) or the time I’ve been stretched in the sunshine, when I’ve heard Ainnle and Ardan stepping lightly, and they saying: Was there ever the like of Deirdre for a happy and sleepy queen?

Lavarcham (not fully pacified). And yet you’ll go, and welcome is it, if Naisi chooses?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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