The Extended Ishtar Clan
One of the most common ideas surrounding the Ishtar Clan, is that they were completely isolated underground, and that they are the last members of their clan. It’s not hard to see where this idea comes from, with most members of the family canonically asserting the first, and Lord Ishtar’s preoccupation with his dwindling bloodline.
However, the absolution with which this is interpreted is not only improbable, but when a larger, extended clan is assumed, many pieces of information surrounding the Ishtars fall into place, and inconsistencies straighten out.
Before proceeding, it’s important to address the canonical assertion of isolation. This appears relatively simple at first, with Rishid’s monologue explaining “it was a deep, dark world with no contact with the outside world,” implying isolation from the surface.
However, Isis clarifies that although they lived “away from the rest of the world” it was due to them being forbidden from going to the surface, as this was “the law of the clan”. This is backed up by Lord Ishtar’s statement that Isis and Malik leaving the tombs was “breaking the law of their family”.
Therefore, an interpretation of the situation is that although they were forbidden from going to the surface, there may not have been restrictions about the surface world being brought into the tombs. This is supported by Lady Ishtar bringing an infant Rishid from the surface into the tombs.
This becomes important when we consider the food and water requirements of the people inside the tombs. At any one time, they needed enough food and water to support four individuals. As the Ishtar homestead is implied to be located in/around the Valley of the Kings, it is impossible for them to acquire enough water through the use of atriums such as this, as the Luxor Region is notoriously dry, not infrequently going over a year without rain.
Further, although it’s plausible - albeit, extremely unlikely - the family supported themselves through their own crops, Malik would not have survived early infancy. The needs of newborn children are highly specific, and even on some of the possible replacements (sugar water, oat milk, goat/cow milk) the general life expectancy of a newborn is a matter of days. Even induced male lactation would take too long to be of any use to Malik.
Since Malik is alive, and beyond that, appeared to thrive through his childhood, it is far more likely a suitable wet-nurse was found. This becomes difficult if completely isolated from the surface world, but much easier if there is an extended surface clan to call on.
A passing mention should be made that although there appears to be no immediate civilization surrounding the tombs, which is supported by Lady Ishtar’s belief that an infant Rishid would have perished without her intervention. Despite this undeniable physical isolation, Isis takes Malik to a crowded location well-within a day’s journey of their home. It is possible they lucked out finding it, but it is still convenient.
Rishid. Full stop.
However, it is Rishid, himself, that most clearly points towards not only to outside contact, but specifically contact with an extended Ishtar Clan. The Ishtar homestead, as noted is not only physically isolated, but also hidden, with the only connection we see being this well leading to the atrium pictured earlier.
Due to this isolation, it seems unusual an infant would be abandoned in this location. Surely there are closer places to abandon a baby to death of exposure, than specifically in the middle of nowhere? It seems more unusual that the infant would be placed right there, next to the well/atrium, where he will be heard by someone. This is a very strategic placement, that suggests somebody knew there were people living inside the tombs.
However, a far more damning piece of evidence is Rishid’s eyecolour. As pictured below, Rishid’s eyecolour is a green, and although there is variation in different light, it’s fairly consistently a dull green.
Please compare this eye-colour to Lady Ishtar, seen below to be a very similar shade of green.
Now, Malik inherited his father’s purple eyes, and Isis arguably inherited blue from both her father (mixture of translucent lens, plus blue pigmentation can result in purple) and her mother (blue eyes can be inherited from green-eyed parents under certain circumstances).
Rishid on the other hand is presented as not related to this family by blood. However, given Lady and Lord Ishtar were having ongoing issues with producing the much-desired Ishtar heir, the convenient placement of Rishid at the maw to the tombs, Lady Ishtar’s readiness to suggest Rishid for a substitute heir and the remarkably similar eye colour of Rishid and Lady Ishtar?
At once, a scenario begins to unfold, wherein a relative of Lady Ishtar being in communication - or even planning - with Lady Ishtar, leaves Rishid to be taken into the main branch of the clan. I personally favour Rishid being a nephew, or a first cousin once removed, making him first or second cousins with Malik and Isis.
Not only is the possibility of the Ishtar Clan being extended - with the Ishtars we meet being the Main Branch - not only a form of family relationship common to the region, but it fits the information more satisfactorily than to assume the Ishtar Clan lived in complete isolation.
Further, it opens multiple storylines including, but not limited to: Rishid’s potential blood connection, Malik’s possibly entwining of Extended Clan in his underground activities, the possible political fallout of Malik and Isis being in opposition, and just generally fleshes out the Ishtar Clan.
It is a consistent, logical, and interesting assumption to make, and I cannot recommend it to the fandom enough.