Scene Four:

Should We Tell the Grain Secret?

If We Don't, When Will Set Use It Against Us?

 

MA'AT KHU appears above OSIRIS' throne. As she speaks, lights come up on the King's terrace. With OSIRIS are TH0TH, his Prime Minister, and THEMES, his Chief of Staff. On the other side of the Space NEPHTHYS appears later in the speech, gazing at OSIRIS.

MA'AT:

 

Thank you, sirs, for honoring her. After this, weeks went by. Osiris busied himself with his studies. For a while Nephthys avoided all the places where the King went, so she wouldn't feel so deep it hurts the ache of her longing for him. She studied her craft of hidden things by day, but at night when she was alone again, the aching came more fiery, and would not yield to sleep.

THOTH:

Routine business with explorer reports and officials, then the ceremony honoring the most compassionate fishermen, then the main lesson of the day: how to use flax for weaving and medicinal oil. The book on the uses of the plants is nearly complete. The Grain Secret is the only lesson left.

NEPHTHYS moves to her bedchamber table, where she uncovers and peers into a large crystal ball by candle light. Crystals and an incense burner are also on the table.

OSIRIS:

We need to get the new plants here faster, so they won't just wither on the way and lose their juice. Either we build another laboratory far up the river, or we get the plants down here faster so we can study them fresh.

THEMES:

Our best runners are bringing them in relays, my lord. . . We could bring them faster if . . . (Pause. OSIRIS nods.) we could have men ride horses.

OSIRIS:

It makes sense. For moving through the Red Land, the Set Express. Isn't there a way to move things faster on the river?

THOTH:

A wind machine to move boats is what we need.

OSIRIS:

Powered with?

THOTH:

This still eludes me.

OSIRIS:

I will consider what you say, Themes. Runners are fast enough for now. Good night.

THEMES:

Sleep well, my lord. (Exits.)

THOTH:

It's time for me to finish the book.

OSIRIS:

Please, tomorrow. I want to rest, and think on it still more.

THOTH:

Tomorrow, then. Lucid dreams. (Begins to leave.)

 OSIRIS:

No, wait. If I can't trust even you, I'm in fear. Stay.

THOTH:

Is the Grain Secret so horrible that if one human being finds out, all of life will vanish?

OSIRIS:

Not immediately.

THOTH makes a soft, high-pitched cry, the closest thing to a whistle he can produce.

OSIRIS:

Imagine using the plants in such a way that when you take the juice from them into your body, at first you feel lightheaded and ready to laugh, and as you take more you feel your head reel and your heart surge, your blood bounces with this music and you swoop to do whatever your desire says. Your body takes. You crave the taste of meat. You shout at your friends. You knock things over to get to a woman. There are so many ills in it. Those are some of the things that we can look forward to when humans get the Grain Secret.

THOTH:

I cannot yet imagine.

 OSIRIS:

This is why I favor waiting on the Grain Secret. Would you like to lead the Explorer team that leaves tomorrow?

THOTH:

Yes, of course. You don't need me here?

OSIRIS:

I need you everywhere. But you have to fly sometime.

THOTH nods and exits with a bow. As his white KHU appears in the Upper Space and flies away, OSIRIS turns to his table, and begins writing. Suddenly there is a bright image in NEPHTHYS' crystal ball. She recoils, and washes the ball with incense. The image vanishes. NEPHTHYS looks into the ball again.

OSIRIS:

(VO, as he writes:) So far only the physical bodies of the humans are not yet prone to sickness and decay, as the emotional body, the mind and spirit are still pure and free of pain.

The image appears again in NEPHTHYS' crystal ball. This time the image is clearly that of OSIRIS.

NEPHTHYS:

Oh, my lord, I keep no image of you here, so the burning for you will not get worse, and now, this!

OSIRIS:

(VO) How long before they find the deadly secrets, or Set tells them? (To CELEBRANTS, aloud:) That is the whole dilemma.

If you'd like to continue:
You can vote on The Grain Secret at The People's Choice
Or see what Nephthys will do In the Flowers with Osiris
Or you can Choose from other Scenes
For Background, go to Stories of Thoth and Ma'at

 Or look at the Playbill 

 

Copyright 2002 Dan Furst

 

 

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