On the Avunthian border.
Roomunwath, Yougundharayan, Alurca, soldiers.
The dawn with rose and crimson crowned the hills,
There was no sign of Vuthsa’s promised wheels.
Another noon approaches.
Two days only
Vasuntha’s here. Yet is Udayan swift
With the stroke he in a secret sloth prepares.
We learned that though too late. A secret rashness,
A boy’s wild venture with his life for stake
And a kingdom! Dangerously dawns this reign.
See, see, a horseman over Avunthie’s edge
Rides to us. He quests forward with his eyes.
Whoe’er he be, he has travelled far. His beast
Labours and stumbles on.
This is no horseman,
It is a woman rides though swift and armed.
She has seen us and dismounts.
A woman rides!
My mind misgives me. is’t some evil chance?
Comes she a broken messenger of grief?
She runs as if pursued.
She’s young and fair.
Art thou king Vuthsa’s captain?
I am he.
Gather thy force; for Vuthsa drives here fast,
But hostile armies surge behind his wheels.
Fast, fast, into the woods your succour bring.
Lest over his wearied coursers and spent quiver
Numbers and speed prevail.
But who art thou and where shall be my surely
That thou art no Avunthian sent to lure
Our force into an ambush?
This is surely
Yougundharayan of the prudent brain.
Thy question I reply; the rest resolve
But swiftly, lest Fate mock thy wary thoughts.
My name is Bundhumathie and my father
Sourashtra held; but I, his daughter, taken
Served in Avunthie Vasavadutta. Knowest thou
Young Vicurna’s bay
I rode, who guards his sister’s ravisher
Against the angry rescuers. Will these riddles,
Wisest of statesmen, solve thy caution doubt?
Thy tale is strange; but thou at least art true.
Thou art not prudent only!
Roomunwath’s camp already is astir.