“Yes,” he returned, “the speech of Emer has roused me a little from my torpor. I have been thinking that possibly we were wrong in disregarding the message brought by the women of the Sidhe. They surely have power to break this spell, and doubtless would have done so had you not fled from them so inconsiderately.”
“I was thinking the same when Emer was coming here with me,” observed Laeg. “Her speech roused me a little too.”
Cuchullain was silent awhile and then said reflectively:
“Do you think we could find Liban again?”
“There would be no difficulty about that,” Laeg replied drily.
“Then,” said Cuchullain with sudden energy, “let us go once more to the rock of the visions.”
Our souls give battle when the host
Of lurid lives that lurk in Air,
And Ocean’s regions nethermost,
Come forth from every loathsome lair:
For then are cloudland battles fought
With spears of lightning, swords of flame,
No quarter given, none besought,
Till to the darkness whence they came
The Sons of Night are hurled again.
Yet while the reddened skies resound
The wizard souls of evil men
Within the demon ranks are found,
While pure and strong the heroes go
To join the strife, and reck no odds,
For they who face the wizard foe
Clasp hands heroic with the gods.
What is the love of shadowy lips
That know not what they seek or press,
From whom the lure for ever slips
And fails their phantom tenderness?
The mystery and light of eyes
That near to mine grow dim and cold;
They move afar in ancient skies
Mid flame and mystic darkness rolled.
Oh, hero, as thy heart o’erflows
In tender yielding unto me,
A vast desire awakes and grows
Unto forgetfulness of thee.
V. The Mantle of Mannanan
Again Liban stood before them, and her eyes were full of reproach.
“You doubt the truth of my message,” she said. “Come, then, to the Plain of Fire, and you shall see the one who sent me.”
“I doubt you not,” said Cuchullain quietly; “but it is not fitting that I should go when the message is brought by a woman, for such is the warning I have had in vision from Lu Lamfada. Laeg shall go with you, and if he brings back the same message, then I shall do the bidding of the Sidhe, and wage war against the evil enchanters, even as when a lad I vanquished the brook of wizards at Dun-mic-Nectan.”
“Where did Liban take you this time, Laeg? Have you brought back a message from the Sidhe?”