Last week Deirdre discovered the significance of black, red, and white when she had a vivid dream…
When Lebharcham arrived in the morning, for the day’s lessons, I drew her into a corner of the room and, not without a tremor of fear, revealed everything – well, almost everything.
“Dear tutor,” I begged, “Please help me understand. I don’t know what this means. I’m sure we are linked in some way. Some mysterious way I can’t explain. Please help me find out.” I kept it at that. Even Lebharcham might split on me if she knows I won’t marry the king.
I could see Lebharcham’s inner struggle. She has always loved me, and, although she won’t say so, I think she disapproves of the king’s wish to marry me. But then, what authority am I begging her to defy. For a moment I felt a prick of conscience, but it rapidly faded. She doesn’t have anything to do with my not marrying the king. I’m going to escape even if I don’t meet this young man.
Finally her expression softened, and I could see her love for me had won out. “Deirdre, my dear,” she replied, “I have never approved of your betrothal, as I think you know. Yes, I know who this young man is. I will tell you his name.”
My face flushed red as I gazed at her in excitement.
“He is called Naoise, the son of Usnach, nephew to the king. Now that is all, Deirdre. I will get into trouble as it is.”
But it was enough. I flung my arms around her, “Thank you, Lebharcham. Now I can find out what this all means.”
One step at a time. So I settled quietly to my reading practice, to allay any fears in Lebharcham’s mind.
“Deirdre, you must be careful.”
I jumped and looked up. Lebharcham looked at me so sternly that I quivered slightly.
“I would warn you, child.”
“About what?” I asked her.
“You are right, there is something mysterious behind your dream. You must watch your coming days carefully.”
I put the book down, “Do you mean that my connection with this young man is dangerous, or that my dream in general is dangerous because it is a dream?”
“Maybe both. Deirdre, be careful!”
Surprised at this cautious tone from a poet, I only nodded and turned back to my book.
Later that night I began to lay my plans. First, I want to see the king, to see if it’s actually worth all the upset of breaking my betrothal. Marrying a man I have never met fills me with a cold dread, but then not marrying him will make him very angry. King Conchobar is very powerful, and there isn’t anywhere else I could run to. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. And then I’ll find this young man, and begin to put the puzzle together.
In three days time there’s a festival. That would be the perfect time to slip out and reconnoitre.