I saw something else also—a woman holding a sword with both hands and stabbing downward, after which the grip of the Hebrew loosened from Seti’s throat.
“Traitress!” cried one, and struck at her, so that she reeled back hurt. Then when all seemed finished, and beneath the rain of blows my senses were failing, I heard the thunder of horses’ hoofs and the shout of “Egypt! Egypt!” from the throats of soldiers. The flash of bronze caught my dazed eyes, and with the roar of battle in my ears I seemed to fall asleep just as the light of day departed.
SETI COUNSELS PHARAOH
Dream upon dream. Dreams of voices, dreams of faces, dreams of sunlight and of moonlight and of myself being borne forward, always forward; dreams of shouting crowds, and, above all, dreams of Merapi’s eyes looking down on me like two watching stars from heaven. Then at last the awakening, and with it throbs of pain and qualms of sickness.
At first I thought that I was dead and lying in a tomb. Then by degrees I saw that I was in no tomb but in a darkened room that was familiar to me, my own room in Seti’s palace at Tanis. It must be so, for there, near to the bed on which I lay, was my own chest filled with the manuscripts that I had brought from Memphis. I tried to lift my left hand, but could not, and looking down saw that the arm was bandaged like to that of a mummy, which made me think again that I must be dead, if the dead could suffer so much pain. I closed my eyes and thought or slept a while.
As I lay thus I heard voices. One of them seemed to be that of a physician, who said, “Yes, he will live and ere long recover. The blow upon the head which has made him senseless for so many days was the worst of his wounds, but the bone was but bruised, not shattered or driven in upon the brain. The flesh cuts on his arms are healing well, and the mail he wore protected his vitals from being pierced.”
“I am glad, physician,” answered a voice that I knew to be that of Userti, “since without a doubt, had it not been for Ana, his Highness would have perished. It is strange that one whom I thought to be nothing but a dreaming scribe should have shown himself so brave a warrior. The Prince says that this Ana killed three of those dogs with his own hands, and wounded others.”
“It was well done, your Highness,” answered the physician, “but still better was his forethought in providing a rear-guard and in despatching the charioteer to call it up. It seems to have been the Hebrew lady who really saved the life of his Highness, when, forgetting her sex, she stabbed the murderer who had him by the throat.”
“That is the Prince’s tale, or so I understand,” she answered coldly. “Yet it seems strange that a weak and worn-out girl could have pierced a giant through from back to breast.”
“At least she warned him of the ambush, your Highness.”