Scene Three:

The Eternal Triangle, for the First Time --

And a Surprising Offer from the Queen

 

ISIS and NEPHTHYS as before in the throne room of the Palace, speaking aside as ENSEMBLE continues to exit from the preceding scene, and CELEBRANTS sit. As LIGHTS go down on CELEBRANT area and up on the Goddesses, NEPHTHYS slumps suddenly, and ISIS catches her

 ISIS:

Again?

NEPHTHYS:

Again. His dick is like a knife. (Pause.) I can bear this.

ISIS:

Oh, Nephti. (Embraces her. NEPHTHYS sobs.) Stay with us.

NEPHTHYS:

I can't. I have to go back.

ISIS:

He can't harm you here.

NEPHTHYS:

He can't harm me anywhere. We're immortal, remember? It doesn't help even if I make myself up to look like you, so I'm more beautiful. Today, as I was walking here, the people in the square thought I was Isis. They came to shade me and fan me, offered me melon and water, asked me to touch their foreheads and hold their little ones. Every day, everywhere I go as I try to be Isis, I bless the water, I hug the sad ones, I play with the babies. I am washed and lifted in the day in so much love, and then I remember how the night will be. Either Set is not there, he is out riding and killing on the plain, or he is at home. Today as I hold this beautiful child in my arms, inside my breast my heart feels like it is red dust, and it's blowing away every time I breathe out. And almost every day I see you and Osiris so full, so radiant with your love. (ISIS embraces her.) But Ise . . .

ISIS:

Yes, Nephti?

NEPHTHYS:

How to tell you? Before, I always smiled when I saw the Lord Osiris, and I sang his praises. Now, when I see his beauty, and hear the touch of his voice, I feel -- my heart soars, my body flames, my tears run like doves!

ISIS:

I've seen. I wish that he could love you too.

NEPHTHYS:

No.

ISIS:

You are free, if you feel unworthy to love Osiris, to love any of these.

NEPHTHYS:

Stop it! I am a Neter. (Pause.) To love Osiris? Are you offering me your husband?

ISIS:

Yes. Of course. To love, not to own.

NEPHTHYS:

You play with me. (ISIS shakes her head.) This feels like a cataract. There is a chill in it. And these men? They are virile, and some of them do turn the head, and anything is more charming than Set. Ise, I am a Neter.

ISIS:

(To CELEBRANTS:) We're not asking any of you handsome men to put yourselves in danger. Are we going to allow you to challenge Set for my sister? (NEPHTHYS laughs.) Not today. It is too early in history for anyone to kill himself for love. You wouldn't last a birdbreath against Set. But if there are any gentlemen here who will escort my sister home--

NEPHTHYS:

Ise --

ISIS:

You see, there are so many. (NEPHTHYS laughs, shrugs, resigns.)

WOMEN:

Are only men allowed to join this dance?

ISIS and NEPHTHYS:

No! (Simultaneous)

MUSIC: The "It is He!" melody begins during ISIS' speech, continues through the dance.

ISIS:

Please remember the rules, sirs. You may not touch the Goddess unless she touches you. You may not ask her for any secrets, but you may bargain for them. What will you trade for what she knows?

ISIS exits and NEPHTHYS leads CELEBRANTS in a processional dance. As NEPHTHYS reaches the door of the house she shares with Set, she turns to her escorts.

NEPHTHYS:

Please wait. (She enters the house, then soon returns to the open Space.) He's left for the red land. I will stay here tonight. Thank you all. I will see you again soon. (Pulls some copper discs from her gown.) Hold on to these. Isis will tell you what to do with them. Please return now to your loved ones here. I bless you all.

CITIZEN: Divine lady, before you go -- may I bargain for a secret?
NEPHTHYS: Yes?
CITIZEN: If I give you my devotion and build a temple to you, will you tell me what women want?
NEPHTHYS: No secret in that. This one doesn't count, or cost you anything. Women want the truth -- but they will settle for control. Good luck.

Escorts return to their seats. NEPHTHYS enters her house, then moves to a window from which she can see OSIRIS on the other side of the Space. "It is He!" MUSIC fades as MA'AT KHU appears.

What will Osiris know about his wife's idea, and when will he know it?

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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