12th year of the Honorable Pharaoh Amenhotep IV – Son of 'Amun is Pleased, Ruler of Thebes' – Lord of Truth is Re

Aten … God of the Sun …To all the Gods of Egypt! I pray you have mercy on my way ward son … and your fading Queen …

She bowed down trembling before the angry sky, bruised purple, as the hasty wind battered her maids and shadesmen to and fro as they tried to shade and protect their queen from the angry weather, but most of all from the anger of the gods.

It had always been the pharaoh's duty to please the gods and keep the people safe from their anger, but the previous king of Egypt, Amenhotep III, had died only 12 years ago now, and now the whole of Egypt was left to their son Amenhotep IV, the self renamed Akhenaten. Who at the moment was conducting his 'holy war' against the gods and their worshippers, all to name the sun god Aten the almighty, and only real god.

So, instead of her son, the aged Queen Tiy knelt on the roof of the mighty temple in Nubia, that the honorable pharaoh and husband had built for her, as a sign of his love for his leading and chief wife, a common girl named Queen.

The now aged woman and mother of the pharaoh offered her gifts and services to the almighty Aten, the worshipped god of her husband and son, hoping it would appease his anger, all to save her pharaoh's lands and people.

"Queen Tiy! My Queen! It might be best to go and find shelter now!" one of her royal advisers, who had to shout to be heard over the storm came and knelt by her side, trying to move her to shelter. But the Queen remained motionless, bowed down with her forehead resting against the cool sandstone roof of her temple, facing the oncoming wind, and the wrath of Aten.

"Please my Queen! It is not safe here!" the adviser pleaded, but his words washed over her like the present windstorm and flying desert sand, that flew so hard that all on the roof had to squint or shade their faces from the onslaught of stinging sand.

But the queen remained perfectly still, like one of her passed husbands life like statues, the only things that moved was the silky perfect black strands of hair of her royal wig that streamed in the wind and got matted up in the desert sands. Her simple but beautiful cream and white colored silk gown of the chief wife she wore that fluttered and snapped to and fro in the harsh breeze, now soiled and dirty from her kneeling on the temples roof that had not been previously cleaned. The few various bells she wore on her headdress and as bracelets around her wrists and ankles tinkled feverishly in the rushing wind, though the bells were of pure make and the sound of the perfect notes seemed to mix in with the song of the rushing desert.

She knelt so still, hardly breathing, her pale skin numb from the constant sting of the flying sand, as the previous Queen of Egypt sat on top of her temple. Sitting motionless and silent, all sounds escaped her except the tinkling bells, all else was still and all that was happening outside and around her faded into nothingness, so the frantic pure sounding notes of the bells rang in pure white emptiness, echoing for eternity in the silence of her mind.

'So all of this … all of this has come.' Nefertari1, formally known as Tiy, thought to herself, her silent words echoing in the emptiness, her voice seemed to play harmony to the ringing bells, creating a symphony of sorrowful sound that only she could hear.

'The royal priests did say … they warned of … Aten's anger if the pharaoh did leave his duties as the King of all Egypt. But why would Aten punish HIS people, while our King fought HIS war? Akhenaten said … my son said he was fighting this war as to spread the good word of the sun god … 'It will please him greatly' he said … he has gone … they have all gone … now the bad fortune the priests spoke of has come …'

The Queens sorrow sang in the pure white emptiness of her inner mind, as she felt pure salty tears streamed down her face, but it felt so far away. Then distantly Nefertari thought she heard another sorrowful sound, a distant cry of the weeping wind as it passed through the two royal statues, carved of her beloved Heqawaset2. Though she knew the monument was all the way in the capital of Thebes, too far for her to hear it from her temple in Nubia, she could hear it all the same, and it filled her with thoughts of Heqawaset, her passed away king.

'Oh Amenhotep! How I wish you were here. In your time as Pharaoh you lead with wisdom and a love for your land. We knew nothing of famine, plague, war … why has our son brought this on us?

Is Aten angry that we let Tuthmosis die? Was it wrong to give Akhenaten the throne?

This is a time I really need your guidance … but your not here. You have died of disease, leaving me to care and raise our children alone, but we have been left by what the common folk call 'the heretic king'! What should I do? I have tried to advise him the best I can … but now even I have fallen victim to our sons foolishness …'

The Queen's stillness and silence was suddenly shattered as her body was shaken with rough coughs that's seemed to come from deep in her chest. The maids and servants rushed to help the Queen off her hands and knees and got to lay her on her back, a wall of servants standing to block the oncoming sandstorm as the royal doctor tried to advise her to breath as slowly and as deeply as she could to stop the coughs, and the maids all had wet towels to put on her feverish forehead and to wipe the blood from around her mouth.

"Mother? Mother! Are you all right? What happened?" Nefertari opened her eyes slowly to see her daughter Isis standing by her bed side holding her hand with a worried look on her face, then looked over to see her daughter Sitamun having a heated argument with the royal doctor. Further along she saw her daughters Henuttaneb, who was praying at a small alter to Aten, and Nebetiah, who was over with the maids, watching and helping them clean the blood soaked cloths and preparing the healing ointments.

Nefertari turned back to the fretful face of Isis and simply squeezed her hand, smiled and nodded to her as a sign that she was alright. Isis was about to ask her again what happened when the loud, angry voice of Sitamun echoed through the mostly silent richly clad room,

"You what! You let my mother, the chief wife of my father, the true Queen of Egypt … you let her go up on top of her temple in Nubia, when she is suffering from the sickness, in the middle of a vicious sandstorm! What were you thinking! Surely you of all people should know how sick she is? She is in no condition to prey to the gods for salvation … IN THE MIDDLE OF A SANDSTORM!"

"Hush Sitamun! There is no need to be so out spoken!" Isis called to her sister, still gripping her mother's hand.

"Yes, hush. You'll disturb mother …" Nebetiah spoke softly, ringing out another blood soaked cloth.

"And besides Sitamun, it was her duty as Queen and our mother, and Akhenaten's mother, to prey to Aten for mercy on our brothers behalf …" Henuttaneb said standing beside the alter, having finished her prayers, and moved over to Queen Tiy's bedside. All her daughters, except Sitamun, came to their mother's side, Isis and Henuttaneb each holding one of her hands, and Nebetiah came over with a freshly cleaned cloth and wiped her mother's feverish forehead. Finally Nefertari cleared her aching throat, and spoke to her daughters.

"My daughters. My beautiful daughters, each with your own special gifts … How I hate for you all to see me like this. Though I am dying, by which you probably know as illness or plague, I don't want you to think it is your fault, or Aten's –"

"No. Just Akhenaten's!" Sitamun mumbled, all the girls turned to stare at her, but Nefertari acted as if she hadn't heard her and continued to speak.

"Your father, the 'magnificent' Amenhotep, he must be pleased with all of you. You have all grown up such good daughters. Even though Amenho – I mean Akhenaten has been named pharaoh, you all are still princesses of Egypt, and I, Queen Mother to the Pharaoh. With your brother's – with the Pharaoh's absence from the capital, it is our duty to take care of the royal affairs, and the people of the Pharaoh's kingdom. Understand?" Nefertari was answered by all the girls solemn nods, and was gladdened that they understood the importance of what was happening.

"But … Mother?" Nebetiah questioned quietly "What are we to do about the famine and the plague?"

"Yes … the villagers … it is proving hard on them. How do we help them?" Isis asked.

"Aten's anger must be great to bring such misfortune! Shall we pray more to appease Aten? Hold a ceremony, or sacrifice some animals to calm his anger?" Henuttaneb inquired. This whole time Sitamun had stood near, listening to their words, getting so angry that she burst, "It is not Aten's anger that is causing this disaster! Can't you see? We've been focusing so much on Aten … Akhenaten's actions has helped cause this!"

"Sitamun! How dare you talk about the Pharaoh that way!" the royal doctor proclaimed, shocked at the princesses out burst.

"Pharaoh? Akhenaten – no, Amenhotep is my brother! A boy! A simple human being like everyone here, and out there!" she said, pointing out the window to the village outside, "He is no God! He can make mistakes!"

"Sitamun … please -" the Queen tried to speak but another wave of coughing overcame her, and Sitamun took the chance to speak before her mother could stop her again.

"It's your son who's causing this mother! Brother … he … he worships the sun god Aten in the image of father, he always has! He is worshipping father as Aten, as a god, and we all dutifully followed lead, us in the palace … and now … Akhenaten's gone off on a quest he's dared to call his 'holy war', trying to force our people all to worship this falsely presented god, Akhenaten's last attempt to bring father back. He misses him, we all miss him! He was our father, but it's not right to make our dead father a god and then force it upon others!" Sitamun cried, pleading to her mother who lay silently watching her daughter, holding a cloth to her mouth the muffle her blood soaked coughs, the other daughters around her staring at the head strong Sitamun. Getting no response from her mother, Sitamun once again appealed, "Mother … we have all been focusing on our father figure Aten … we've ignored the other gods, and the needs of our people. Mother … why else do you think all of this has happened? We've all failed our duties! And now the blame has been placed on you … mother."

Nefertari remained silent, looking at Sitamun until she settled down then replied quietly, "You are right my daughter … We have neglected our duties … I … I have failed you all." she cried, tears of bitter regret falling down her pale cheeks. Sitamun rushed to her mothers side and prayed for her forgiveness, the queen rested her frail hand on her daughters head as they all cried. The queen looked up at the palace's roof, painted with the art of the afterlife and sky, and closed her weeping eyes to pray.

'Aten … God of the Sun …To all the Gods of Egypt! I pray you have mercy on my way ward son … and your fading Queen …but mostly on your people. Our mistakes must be ours, not theirs. My son is still young, do not put the blame on him. Rather place it on me, your unworthy servant … and let my children and the people of the land learn from my mistake …'

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