The Stories of Thoth and Ma'at:

 

Neter News Sports: Doom in Dunqul

 

 As lights come up on the Space, THOTH, MA'AT and ANUBIS are seated at a desk in what resembles a TV news room. Neter News Sports title and logo appear on video screen behind them. On this screen, and on others positioned on other walls, conventional 2D video footage is projected as this scene continues. LIGHTS change to sand-orange.

THOTH:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Doom in Dunqul, the long-awaited showdown between the reigning champion (SET VIDEO appears): Set, the Red Land Slasher, and his challenger, the Hero from Hierakon, the untested mystery competitor, Horus, Royal Prince of Egypt (HORUS video in).

MA'AT:

For the first time, a fight is being brought to you just because the rules of this density require it. Human beings have gone beyond the routine unpleasantness of a lover's quarrel, or catching the melon thief, or settling a small score. You're arming and organizing yourselves now, so you're ready for a high-stakes fight. A spectacular combataclysm. A rock banger and sand scorcher so hot that it can only be held here, well away from the cities, the oases and the royal vineyards, out here in the Flats of Fire. As you can see, downtown Dunqul is not likely to replace Abydos or Giza, or even your own cow shed, as the tourist destination of your dreams.

 AERIAL MAP of the Upper Nile appears, zooming in to a detail map of Dunqul and to the fight arena, the "Frying Pan".

ANUBIS:

And we're even farther from the River than Dunqul: six days by caravan from the town itself, four days to the nearest whiff of the Black Land. Never before in Egypt's history has any public event been staged so far up the river, above the first cataract at Abu, and actually closer to the second, here at Buhen. From where we sit, we look down with some uneasiness (Other NETERS agree:) on this: the Frying Pan, the sea level sand flat that sits at the foot of these hills and gets so much reflected heat from them that this may be the hottest place on Earth.

In what follows, ISIS and other NETERS appear on video screens as they speak, their voices audible OFF.

ISIS:

(VIDEO:) How could Horus possibly agree to fight in such a place?

THOTH:

Asked many people, some of them afraid that the Prince had inherited some of his father's inattentiveness about scenarios that could prove fatal.

NEPHTHYS:

(VIDEO:) It's too dry here. And much too hot. And it's ugly.

THOTH:

You could find more breeze inside a brick, and more excitement at night in the smallest one-bottle tent in Selima. Why fight in the Frying Pan?

HORUS:

(VIDEO, with ANUBIS:) Sure, we both need water. But I can get up into the cool air when I need to, and I can fly to the nearest oasis faster than Set can run or ride there. We have to do it here. To settle this completely, I have to beat Set in his own desert. If I can take him here, I can hold him anywhere.

ANUBIS:

(VIDEO:) Any predictions?

HORUS: (VIDEO:)

No, except I'm in for it now. I've got a terrifying experience just in front of me. I'm up against the Neter who invented death, the ultimate artist of agony and poet of pain. I'll be lucky to come out of this with both wings. I only want to say how grateful I am to be here, and, most of all, to you people (To CELEBRANTS:) cheer up! If you think I'm about to die, then you are in for it too. If you feel fear, see this: fear is Set's gift to you. It's the cheapest poison he's got. The more of it you swallow and keep in you, the stronger he becomes. The more love you feel, the stronger I get. I ask you to love, to love one another, to love those whom you don't know yet, to love even the one you avoid the most. We will see today if Love does prevail. I know you can do it. Will you?

ANUBIS:

(On VIDEO with HORUS:) So, champ, if you like to hate, it's already too late.

HORUS:

(VIDEO:) Yes, but if you lift us in love--

SET:

(VIDEO:) Yeah, when push comes to shove, then you'll glide like a dove and we'll see you above and blah ba baaah. The more of this I hear, the more sure I am that when you talk so much in rhyme, you have too much idle time. When this is all over, if Horus survives it, he could hire himself out to walk around the Black Land and talk. They wouldn't need fertilizer.

ANUBIS:

(Live, from desk:) That's after the dustup, Red Rocker. But what happens now?

SET:

(VIDEO:) Well, did you ever see anything faster than a falcon? And he's so young, Needlenose! The top contenders are peaking earlier all the time.

ANUBIS:

How are you going to get to him? (VIDEO-within-a-VIDEO, of HORUS training, now appears in SET VIDEO.)

SET:

(VIDEO:) If I saw any weaknesses in that style, would I tell you?

VIDEOS OUT as SET enters the Space. On the ensuing lines ISIS and NEPHTHYS also enter, taking their places near the news desk.

SET:

(To CELEBRANTS:) How are you all holding up? This heat is a nightmare, isn't it? Please try to be cool. Help is on the way. You're about to make the acquaintance of wine, friends, and believe me, it's worth the wait. Thoth? How's the Beakster?

THOTH:

It's not exactly Lake Moeris.

SET:

The bird in the sand wants the dew in the bush. (THOTH nods, laughs.) The mystery twins are here. How is it with you ladies?

ISIS:

I've been more opulently entertained. Osiris and I always loved to walk in the moonlight.

SET:

Yes. My wife likes that too. (Pause.) I'd be silent too if I were you. So when do these people get to dance with the grape?

ISIS:

Between rounds of your--

SET:

Wine! Yo Ha! Babunga! Do I envy you! Wine is a--no, why spoil the discovery? Thanks for coming, everyone. You can sit back now and enjoy the Collision with a Vision. Back to you, Anubis. (Begins to exit.)

ANUBIS:

Wait! Predictions?

SET:

Eight to five on Set. But I wouldn't bet two mangos of my own substance on it. First round, inconclusive. Second round, I fear he'll discommode me mortally. I only hope that when it's over, someone will bury me in palm wine, lemon, ginger and honey, no salt, to make me tender. (To CELEBRANTS:) An honor, as always, everyone. (SET begins to exit.)

ISIS:

As though you were in any danger of being killed.

SET:

We live in hope. (Exits.)

 

 Want to see the Rumble We've Been Waiting For?

Then Go to Set and Horus Round One: An Eye for a Testicle.

 

Or Hear Set Deliver The Deadliest Secret in Nature.

 

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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