As soon as he heard the cry of fire, he hastened to the burning pavilion, and when he saw the king’s danger, he set himself at the head of a number of soldiers who had hurried up from the camp, intending to venture an attempt to save Rameses from the inside of the house. Among those who followed him in this hopeless effort was Katuti’s reckless son, who had distinguished himself by his valor before Kadesh, and who hailed this opportunity of again proving his courage. Falling walls choked up the way in front of these brave adventurers; but it was not till several had fallen choked or struck down by burning logs, that they made up their minds to retire—one of the first that was killed was Katuti’s son, Nefert’s brother.
Uarda had been carried into the nearest tent. Her pretty head lay in Bent-Anat’s lap, and Nefert tried to restore her to animation by rubbing her temples with strong essences. Presently the girl’s lips moved: with returning consciousness all she had seen and suffered during the last hour or two recurred to her mind; she felt herself rushing through the camp with her father, hurrying through the corridor to the princess’s rooms, while he broke in the doors closed by Katuti’s orders; she saw Bent-Anat as she roused her, and conducted her to safety; she remembered her horror when, just as she reached the door, she discovered that she had left in her chest her jewel, the only relic of her lost mother, and her rapid return which was observed by no one but by the leech Nebsecht.
Again she seemed to live through the anguish she had felt till she once more had the trinket safe in her bosom, the horror that fell upon her when she found her escape impeded by smoke and flames, and the weakness which overcame her; and she felt as if the strange white-robed priest once more raised her in his arms. She remembered the tenderness of his eyes as he looked into hers, and she smiled half gratefully but half displeased at the tender kiss which had been pressed on her lips before she found herself in her father’s strong arms.
“How sweet she is!” said Bent-Anat. “I believe poor Nebsecht is right in saying that her mother was the daughter of some great man among the foreign people. Look what pretty little hands and feet, and her skin is as clear as Phoenician glass.”
While the friends were occupied in restoring Uarda to animation, and in taking affectionate care of her, Katuti was walking restlessly backwards and forwards in her tent.
Soon after she had slipped out for the purpose of setting fire to the palace, Scherau’s cry had waked up Nefert, and Katuti found her daughter’s bed empty when, with blackened hands and limbs trembling with agitation, she came back from her criminal task.
Now she waited in vain for Nemu and Paaker.
Her steward, whom she sent on repeated messages of enquiry whether the Regent had returned, constantly brought back a negative answer, and added the information that he had found the body of old Hekt lying on the open ground. The widow’s heart sank with fear; she was full of dark forebodings while she listened to the shouts of the people engaged in putting out the fire, the roll of drums, and the trumpets of the soldiers calling each other to the help of the king.