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In the country near Dunsinane, Malcolm’s Scottish allies waited for the approach of the English force he had assembled.

“The English power is near, led by Malcolm, his uncle Siward and the good Macduff,” said Lord Menteith. “They burn for revenge. Their dear causes are summoning them to war so loudly it would stir the dead.”

“We shall meet them near Birnam Wood, that’s the way they are coming” said Lord Angus.

“Does anyone know if Donalbain is with his brother?” asked Lord Caithness.

“For certain, sir, he is not,” said Lord Lennox. “I’ve a list of all the gentry. There is Siward’s son and many untested youths, getting their first taste of this man’s world.”

“What’s the tyrant up to?” asked Menteith.

“He has fortified Dunsinane,” said Caithness. “Some say he’s mad. Others, with fewer reasons to hate him, say he’s in a valiant fury. But for sure, he’s lost control of himself and the confidence of many of his forces.”

“Yes,” said Angus, “now he feels his secret murders are sticking to his hands. Constant revolts are the result of his treachery. Those he commands move only in command, not in love or respect. His kingship hangs loose upon him, like a giant’s robe on a dwarfish thief.”

“Who can blame his pestered senses for recoiling when everything within him actually condemns itself for being there?” asked Menteith.

They considered this and for a moment they almost pitied Macbeth for his torment.

“Well, let’s march on to give our obedience to those who truly deserve it,” said Caithness. “Let’s meet Malcolm, the man with the medicine to cure our country’s ailments. If need be, let him have every last drop of our blood.”

“Or as much as is needed to water the flower of kingship and drown the weeds! March onwards to Birnam!” said Lennox.