This is Queen Amneris' journey after the musical ends. The lyrics in bold are by Tim Rice.
From deep within the tomb, a gentle light still shone
Showing me my path as I ascended to the throne
Certain in my heart that ancient wars must cease
The lovers' deaths gave birth to a reign of peace
And their story...
And my journey...
And the lesson they provide
Draw their strength and inspiration from a love that never dies...
Exactly a week after she lost Radames and Aida, Amneris watched as the Crown Pharoh of Egypt took his last breath. The court physician was unable to reverse the effects of the poison Zozer, Radames' father, had been giving him. She was truly alone. Watching as they began the ritual of embalming only strengthened her resolve to be the best she could be for as long as Ra would allow. Her blue eyes had been closed to so much for so long. Now that they were open, she wanted to see everything she could see. No tears fell. They would cloud her new-found vision of the world and cause her perfect makeup to run. That and her father always hated to see her cry.
Later that night, she was expected to speak for the first time as Queen. The sunset was brilliant, casting a golden glow over the soft desert sand. The mood seemed cheerful despite the sadness. Children played, women whispered and the men waited. A gentle breeze blew from the West over the Nile. Small fires blazed as many cooked their evening meal at their campsites on the Palace grounds.
As she looked at herself in the mirror one last time, she smiled as her attendant placed the tall Fez on her head. The red strapless gown with matching cape and delicate gold necklaces, bracelets and rings suited her perfectly. She had never looked more beautiful or felt more confident. Sweeping out onto the balcony to cheers, she nodded and took it all in for what she perceived as the appropriate amount of time. When she raised her hands, they settled down and focused all their attention on her. She lowered her hands and paused for effect.
"My people... It is an honor for me to stand before this lovely evening as your new Pharoh. It is a sad time, but it is also a time of celebration. My eyes have been closed for a long time, but they are now wide open. And they see you and only you. EACH of you. My heart is broken, but it is full of love for you. ALL of you," she declared, opening her arms. The crowd erupted and clapped. Then they calmed once again. "It is a time of peace. It is a time of new things. I will do everything in my power to make sure I see and hear from each of you personally tomorrow. For tonight, be safe and enjoy each other's company. If you need anything, let one of the guards know. Do not hesitate to ask."
Turnng quickly, she went back inside, dismissed her maids for the night and went into her chambers. She took off her crown, stripped and slipped on a sheer white slip. She brushed out her long blonde hair before flopping onto her large, fluffy, comfortable palate. This was what she wanted, to be physically alone and sob herself to sleep, to be allowed to feel. Something she had not been able to do for a week. She saw his face and heard Aida's voice telling her it was OK. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she curled into a little ball, crying fiercely until she was in a deep sleep.
The next morning, she was awakened by the sun on her face through the window. She quickly got up and washed lightly. Taking it upon herself to pick out her soft yellow sundress and golden sandals, she dressed and then swept into the front room where all her servants were gathered.
"Your Majesty, there is someone here I think you may want to see before anything else," her personal maid Bahiti said.
"Who is it?" she asked, looking about.
"King Amonosaro," came a booming voice.
The large, very dark skinned man came into view. And his black eyes bore into hers. It was clear he meant business.
"Leave us," Amneris said sternly, pulling herself up to her full height. When their attendants had all gone, she swallowed hard and nodded. "Come," she said, gesturing to her drawing room just to the right of the foyer. "Can I get you some tea?" she asked.
"I have eaten, Your Highness," he said, settling into the chair he knew was reserved for visitors. It was the same type of arrangement that he had in his palace in Nubia. Amneris sensed he wanted to get right to business, so she took the two steps up to her podium and settled gracefully on her throne.
"What business have you with Egypt?" she asked, offcially beginning their discussion.
"Egypt condemned my daughter to death as a traitor," he said, softening with thoughts of Aida.
"Egypt showed mercy," she said, jutting her chin into the air.
"My daughter is dead by Egypt's hand. That is not mercy," he countered.
Amneris took the cue to get personal and dropped the formalities. "Aida betrayed me in the worst possible way. I loved her as my sister. I trusted her... She took Radames from me... He betrayed me, his betrothed! My father is dead, poisioned by ambition and greed. There is NO need to remind me that the three people I loved the most are gone. Do not patronize me or condescend to me, Your Majesty... I have lost much more than you have," she said. She saw the look in his eyes change as if he had not considered that before, but agreed.
"I am sorry for your loss."
"As I am deeply sorry for yours... But sympathizing with each other won't bring any of them back," she said softly, her voice cracking. "I call for peace. They would not want us to be enemies. They loved us. And they saw the pointlessness in our war. My army has been instructed to cease and desist all actions against your country and all prisoners have been released. I did all of this long before I knew you would appear before me," she said.
Amonosaro seemed touched and tilted his head. He nodded and even offered her a slight smile.
"My hair is still blonde, but I am no longer a pampered fool," she confessed, offering a slight smile and nod back. "Both our people deserve our attention and our committment to help them, not to fighting each other.
"I agree," the king nodded.
"You are welcome here. There is much we have to discuss, both personal and business. You and your staff may occupy the left wing for as long as you'd like," she said, rising to her feet. "If you'd like, I can have a guard take you out to..." she began, stopping, unable to say the words.
She watched him sigh and drop his head. "Maybe... When I am ready..." he said. Then he stood himself and nodded. "I accept your offer and we shall talk more after I have rested. These old bones can't take long travels like they used to," he chuckled, reaching his hand out to her. She descended her perch and took his offered hand in both of hers.
"I have asisgned two servants for you and they will be waiting for you in your rooms. Let them know if you need anything," she said.
"I shall. Thank you," he said sincerely.
"Thank YOU. We shall meet for dinner if that is OK."
Amonosaro nodded. "It is. Until then," he said, pulling his hand free and bowing. She bowed to him in return and, once he was gone, she retook her throne and called for her staff to start allowing her people in as promised.