Scene Thirteen:

Follow the Swallow

 

 

 As Before, MELKARTH, General END'AAN and other OFFICERS and SOLDIER are in front of the TREE. Its fragrance fills the Space.

 OFFICER 2:

We must have chased that old woman a thousand paces, sir, yet we couldn't catch her. At one point she slipped on a stone and went down, and we were about to grab her, when she -- (Pause, MELKARTH motions for him to continue:) She changed into a swallow, sir, and flew away.

 MELKARTH:

 So the Goddess is in the Garden again too, correct?

 END'AAN

 It appears so, sir.

 MELKARTH

 Changed into a swallow and flew away. Wish I could do that.  (To SOLDIER 1) Anything else?

 SOLDIER 1:

No, except that was no old woman, sir. The day old women run like that, old men are in for it.

MELKARTH:

Thanks for the tip, soldier. So what is she, then? A goddess? A demon? Some highly conscious and powerful bird being? End'aan, you two keep working on this. Let us, ah, reassign all talkative troops, shall we, and please let me have a report every four hours.

Exeunt commanders. SOLDIERS take their posts as LIGHTS go rapidly up to noon, then dusk, then evening. ISIS enters, looks at the TREE, then heads to the Sea and wades in. She does not speak. Her voice is OFF:

ISIS:

Joyless. Imagine this: a Neter, who is immortal, wants to end her life. Good luck with that enterprise. A Neter who's taken human form could still drown her physical body. That would kill the body's pain, along with everything else but the Khu. If I drown, what beach people would notice some scrawny old sack on the rocks? Would I be eaten by gulls and river fish? Would any of the other Neters know? Ra's boat is below now. Who else would see?

 She wades further out. KHU images of NEPHTHYS and MA'AT appear.

 

Weep No More

 

NEPHTHYS and MA'AT (Sing):

 

Weep no more, weep no more, weep no more, Lady Isis,

Weep no more, weep no more, weep no more.

 

ISIS splashes back up. The KHUs vanish. Silence. ISIS speaks, her voice no longer internal.

MA'AT:

May I ask a question?

ISIS:

Do it.

MA'AT:

You have just found Osiris. What are you doing there in the water?

ISIS:

He's inside a tree.

MA'AT:

He's alive.

ISIS:

Thank you for coming. (She dives again.)

 

NEPHTHYS and MA'AT (Sing, as Before):

 

Weep no more.

The peerless Lord Osiris is not dead,

Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor.

Between this life and nothingness he lies,

With yet the light of passion in his eyes,

His limbs yet firm,

His heart, a sphere of fire

Burns for the moment when he touches you

 

 

ISIS surfaces, wades toward the shore, then runs to the TREE and embraces it. SOLDIERS notice her, and pursue. She exits, then the SWALLOW KHU appears, circling overhead. LIGHTS Out. KHU vanishes. The MUSIC as END'AAN enters is punctuated by SOUNDS of saws cutting and thick ropes pulling. END'AAN watches his men cut down the TREE, place it on sledges and begin hauling it away. MUSIC settles into the rhythm of a work song.

END'AAN:

Slow and steady. This will take some days. Anything new?

SOLDIER 3:

That swallow just keeps circling up there for hours at a time, sir. Swallows don't circle. They swoop.

END'AAN:

Well, maybe it is some magic swallow. What does she want?

OFFICER 2:

We know a few things, sir.

END'AAN:

Yes?

OFFICER 2:

No one evers sees the Swallow up there and the Old Woman down here at the same time. And they both showed up just after the Box arrived.

END'AAN:

(To all SOLDIERS present:) You are, are you not, able to be silent and tell no one what you have just seen until you tell it to the king?

SOLDIER 3:

We haven't heard a thing, Sir. We have no idea what all the commotion is about.

OFFICER 2:

What commotion?

SOLDIER 2:

There hasn't been any commotion that I've heard of, Sir.

OFFICER 2:

 Good. That's what we like to hear. We need men who have curiosity, but not much of it.

SOLDIER 1:

  What we don't know is just enough for the Army, Sir, You can count on us.

END'AAN:

Good. Now since you haven't seen anything, and you have nothing to say, you also don't know that whenever that Swallow vanishes, soon after that, behind us on the road, a Woman keeps appearing. You don't know that either, right? (SOLDIERS nod.) Soldiers, about face!

 SOLDIERS:

 Oh, my. That isn't fair.

 

What isn't Fair? What Did They See? Find out in

Our Men Need Focus, Lady: How Isis and the Army Crossed the Desert

 

Or jump ahead to hear What the Harpist Said,

 

or go to Neter News: Bringing the Tree Home!

 

Or go all the way to Byblos, and find out why the Queen wants No More Secrets!

 

Or you can Choose from other Scenes

 

Or go to Stories of Thoth and Ma'at or the Playbill 

 

Copyright 2002 Dan Furst

 

 

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