The sounds of an impending battle rang across the plain. The two armies were positioning themselves. Edgar led Gloucester away from the battlefield to a field to the side of it.
‘Here father,’ he said. ‘Use the shadow of this tree as a resting place. Pray that the right side wins. If I ever return to you it will be with good news.’
‘Grace go with you, sir,’ Gloucester called as Edgar returned to the battlefield. He leant back against the tree. He heard the start of the battle – the shouting, the trumpets – he smelt the dust that rose – as the two sides fought desperately for supremacy, and then footsteps running towards him.
It was Edgar. ‘Let’s go, old man,’ he shouted, grabbing Gloucester and wrenching him to his feet. ‘Give me your hand. ‘Come on, let’s go! King Lear has lost and he and his daughter have been taken. Give me your hand. Come on!’
The old man was resisting, digging his heels in. ‘No further, sir,’ he said. ‘This is as good a place as any to die.’
‘What! Dejected again?’ Edgar tugged harder. ‘Men have to endure their deaths just as they have to endure their births. Being prepared is everything. Come on!’
‘And that’s also true,’ said Gloucester, allowing Edgar to lead him away.
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