Scene 1, The Observatory: Artaban searches the heavens for the new star that will herald the birth of the King of Light. He attempts to persuade his fellow magi to join him on his quest, but is left to make the journey to Jerusalem alone. Scene 2, The Wilderness: Artaban and his servant Vasda are stopped in their journey by the need to help a sick traveler. When the traveler awakes, he tells them to seek the Christ in Bethlehem. Scene 3, Bethlehem: Artaban and Vasda arrive in Bethlehem too late. In order to save the child of Miriam from Herod's soldiers, Artaban is forced to bribe a guard with one of his gifts, a precious ruby intended for the 'King of Light.' Scene 4, Egypt: Having scoured Egypt for traces of the child he seeks, Artaban is prepared to give up, but finds new hope in the words of a Rabbi. Scene 5, The Damascus Gate: Artaban has grown old searching for his king, only to find him at Jerusalem in the hands of his enemies. Will Artaban be in time to offer up the last of his gifts, a precious pearl, as a ransom for his king's life?