Scene Eighteen:

In the Fire Now

 

ISIS is at work, as before, preparing a fire on the floor of the great hall, near the Pillar and the baby MINAR's cradle. MUSIC: He is Born melody. ANUBIS KHU is still "remote", above the side of the Space opposite ISIS.

ANUBIS:

Isis knew she'd find the way to tell the truth to Astarte, and she resolved to give back something that might balance the Queen's kindness toward her. She mixed the leaves and flowers and tinctures and oils. She decided that if the moment of truth was about to arrive, when she'd reveal herself and the secret of the Tree, she had to begin her treatment for the baby prince Minar at once. It would take a few days. She needed time to make the essences that could make a human body invulnerable to any harm from outside itself. At night, when the palace was asleep, she made the fire and held Minar in it, singeing out of him all fear, all corruptibility, every trace of mortality. This went on until Isis had only one more night's work to go. When this night was over, Minar would be completely protected from any harm that might come from outside his own energy field.

The fire is ready. ISIS holds MINAR into the smoke, singing to him softly. ASTARTE enters, screams, races across the room. ISIS pulls the boy out of the fire and holds him toward ASTARTE, who snatches him away.
ASTARTE: What?? . . . Hathor, what are you doing?
ISIS: I . . . can explain, my lady. . . . See, he is all right.
ASTARTE:

Are you trying to cook my son?

ISIS: My lady, each night, I burn a blend of herbs that can protect Minar from all harm. He is safe. You see?
Enter MELKARTH, with SOLDIERS.
MELKARTH: The watch heard screams.

ASTARTE: We are safe. (To SOLDIERS:) Please wait outside. (Exeunt. To MELKARTH.) Your timing, as usual, is . . . celestial. I've just interrupted Hathor here as she was giving Minar the Smoke of Immortality. She was just about to tell us a little more about herself . . . and about Him (Gestures to Pillar).

ISIS:

My lady Astarte, Goddess of Love in the country of Fire --

ASTARTE:

You've got my easiest secret.

ISIS: You've heard the stories of King Osiris--
ASTARTE: Yes?

MELKARTH:

At last. The other sandal falls.

ASTARTE: Did you ever meet Osiris?
MELKARTH: I've never had that pleasure. Please go on, Hathor?
ISIS: Your majesties know the story of how the King was . . .
MELKARTH: Yes, sealed into a box and thrown into the River, but his body was never -- oho. That's it! Oh, no. Then this means you are . . .
ALL THREE: Isis. (Long pause.)
MELKARTH: Why didn't you tell -- A message! (SOLDIER enters.) Bring the Master of the Royal Engineers. (SOLDIER exits. To ISIS:) How did we not smell the truth at once? This crop of babies could only come from (deep inhalation) Osiris and Isis here at the same time. With your permission, Lady: may we free your King's body from the tree, and keep the wood? Our people so love this tree.
ISIS: Of course.

MELKARTH:

  (To ASTARTE:) He has brought such abundance, such juice. (To OSIRIS and ISIS:) My Lord and Lady, thank you for the pulse from your country of Water. You have blessed us.

 ISIS bows and goes toward Pillar.

MELKARTH:

(To ASTARTE, aside.) Will you be content with a man who's only a lion for part of the night?

ASTARTE:

(Aside with him:) I live in gratitude. Occasional rest is healthy. It's time the children heard less noise in the hour of the owl.

They behave themselves, going back toward ISIS. ASTARTE escorts ISIS to exit. CITIZENS enter and gather. MUSIC: When the Goddess of Love begins. THOTH KHU appears, talks inaudibly with ANUBIS KHU. MELKARTH stays at the PILLAR as ENGINEERS enter.

ANUBIS:

As soon as the King ordered the box . . .

THOTH:

. . . to be taken out and made ready to move, the Royal Engineers knew where to brace and how to cut.

ANUBIS: It's time for someone . . .
THOTH: To get out of the box.

GRAPHIC 3D SCHEMATICs of the PILLAR, with the BOX inside it, appear. ENGINEERS draw curtain in front of Pillar, as before. Work sounds continue.

 

Want to go on to the end of Act Two? And see Osiris get Outside the Box?

 

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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