Scene Two:

Set Throws a Skin. Conflict Begins.

 

OSIRIS is seated with ISIS and NEPHTHYS flanking his throne, as in the last scene. The rumbling SFX contrinue through the next speech, climaxing as SET's red KHU image first appears in the distance, then sweeps very rapidly to life size, in the Upper Space.

OSIRIS:

 

We have these new maps (Removes SCROLLS from case.) from places farther away on the river than our people have ever gone before. They tell of marvelous things, plants of great virtue, wonderful animals--

SET:

Yeah! Like this one!

SET KHU vanishes in a bolt of red light. The skin and horns of a gazelle drop into the Space, to the floor in front of Osiris. The animal is so freshly killed that blood can be seen on the skin. SET enters, bow in left hand. His quiver and knife hang by his side. ENSEMBLE gasps and recoils

SET:

In honor of the King! It's a gazelle, to make your mind even faster.

OSIRIS:

Always the artist of disgust.

SET:

Hey! At least it's not a snake.

 OSIRIS:

Disarm!

SET bristles, but complies. OSIRIS gestures at the skin. It vanishes.

SET:

Hold it. That meat is mine. I took her with one shot. You never said not to bring here what I take in my land.

OSIRIS:

Then I tell you now. There will be within this city only such dying as still naturally. You are to bring no dead thing here. On the plain where you belong, you have space enough.

SET:

Less and less of it, now that your people plant and build everywhere. Little lines of cotton thread, now that you've shown them how to use that, with little sticks in the ground, everywhere. My horses can't see them until it's too late. They rear up and want to throw me. Your people run everywhere. I almost hit one of them yesterday who looked like a baboon.

OSIRIS:

Then before you shoot, learn to see the difference between a baboon and my people at least as well as a baboon does.

SET:

Cute. Clever. Let your people learn that when the sky and the wind go red, and the earth trembles, Set is near, the hunt is on, let no one run too fast or leap too high.

OSIRIS:

Our people are free. They know no fear.

SET:

They're about to learn.

OSIRIS:

They go where they choose. You do not control them. They know how life works: live in the green places where you have water, move carefully where the earth is hard and dull and red as dry blood, for you are on the killing ground. There is room enough for you. If you harm a one of my people --

SET:

Yes? What?

OSIRIS:

We will make you slide. Play with you. Want your horses careening in mud? We can do that.

SET:

Nothing can contain me.

OSIRIS:

We'll see.

SET:

No matter how much spinach you grow in your little soilets, no matter how much more water comes--

OSIRIS:

More water? (To CELEBRANTS:) Is this true? How wonderful!

SET:

Don't mock me.

OSIRIS:

Don't threaten us. Otherwise -- amuse yourself as you can. Blow yourself up as much as you want if it makes you feel scarier, but we have no fear of you. Is there anything more you'd like to say before you leave us in peace?

MUSIC: "We Are All Free" melody starts under SET's next speech, fades as he finishes.

SET:

Only this. There are people who do not like boundaries and limits and the world laid out in squares. We want to ride free, move like the storm and take what is there. Some of them are even in this good-looking group here. If any of you might crave a thrill and don't get sweaty-handed at the scent of a little excitement, we may get to play together before long. Think about it. (To OSIRIS) You too, King. (To NEPHTHYS) Come.

NEPHTHYS:

I will talk with my sister.

SET:

More tasty little secrets. Enjoy yourself. (Exit SET. OFF:) Have a saucer of milk for me. (Flash of RED LIGHT.)

ISIS:

Charming as always.

OSIRIS:

Yet he is brief. He does not waste words. Thoth and I should express ourselves so quickly.

THOTH:

(OFF:) I agree.

OSIRIS:

Friends, you already know it's the birth season in Coptos, now that nine moons have turned since Min was there.

WOMAN:

When is he coming here?

OSIRIS:

Soon enough for you and every other lady with a baby in mind. But your lucky husband here certainly looks eager enough.

WOMAN:

Oh, he is!

OSIRIS:

Then why wait for Min?

WOMAN:

We don't! (LAUGHTER)

OSIRIS: Good for you. Today we get to tell you that Queen Isis is going to assist the women of Coptos with their births and their new children. In a few days we'll have a feast to cheer us in her absence.

OSIRIS exits exits to "The Lord of Love" MUSIC. ISIS and NEPHTHYS move away from the throne. ENSEMBLE actors use the King's exit to seat the CELEBRANTS around the scene that follows. Orange and amber LIGHTS come up on ISIS and NEPHTHYS.

 

What's troubling the Lady Nephthys, and what surprising cure will Isis offer her?

To find out now, go to the Next Scene.

 

Or you can Choose from other Scenes

 

For Background, go to Stories of Thoth and Ma'at

 

Or glance at the Playbill 

 

Copyright 2002 Dan Furst

 

 

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