As usual, I have managed to butcher many of the facts associated with this
time period/family but I hope this chapter did not end up too boring.
Smenkhare's age has been upped by ten years or so, however, though this
story is at least nominally a sequel to "Dearly Beloved."
I hope the switch of POV isn't very confusing; it's supposed to be an
older Tutankhaten talking-first time I've attempted a first-person male
I hope this chapter has some redeeming value.if not I will start
Even now, I can clearly remember the day of my mother's death. The
reasons for the indelible mark it made on my life are numerous-I shall
attempt to explain them later.
However, before all, I should give some description of life as it was
while she-my mother, Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt, High Priestess of the Aten-
Now, I must admit that, for all my position as her second son and
heir after Smenkhare, she never treated me with the same love as she did my
sisters. Not known for possessing much warmth, she was nonetheless rather
affectionate with her six daughters-five by the time I was born (Meketaten,
the second-eldest had died of the plague shortly before my birth). To me,
she was more an occasionally visiting goddess than a real mother. She would
come-imperious, impossibly fair-skinned, with her mesmerizing eyes-ever-
demanding, ever-questioning. Were my tutors educating me as the Son of
Pharaoh should be taught? Were my meals sufficient? Was I being taught
sports-did I lack clothing-toys-anything? These questions were addressed
principally to my nursemaid, Muyet, who, while not my wet-nurse, was
probably the one person most involved with my making it through childhood.
She answered these questions deferentially as always, but I could
tell she did not like my mother. It was unspoken, but I could tell the
feeling was reciprocated. Nonetheless, Muyet took her orders with unsmiling
good grace-the only time I could remember her being outright defiant was
when my mother ordered that one of the amulets Muyet had given me be got
rid of-being young and ignorant of the old ways (as well as of the truth
about my mother), I did not understand why the small cat-shaped charm so
incited her I only remember Muyet's gazelle-like eyes, illuminated with a
strange and sudden passion I could not then comprehend.
She was enough of a mother, I suppose-what I lacked in affection was
more than made up to me in possessions, education, and the like-I was never
what one could call unhappy. My father, the Pharaoh Akhenaten-he cared for
me less, yet more. I would not see him for months, then he would come and
inundate me with everything he could give-games and toys, pets and
excursions, kisses and stories told while I sat on his knee. Then he would
vanish again; seeing me only at the few rare formal functions where my
childish appearance was required.
Lest I ramble, let me return to the day of her death.
I was near the age of six when it happened-I did not understand the
circumstances, distanced from her and palace events as I was. To the best
of my understanding, she was felled by illness-the awful plague that
claimed the life of her daughter years earlier was still around; it may
have been that, or something else-I have never found out. Perhaps it was a
sickness caused by poison-she had numerous enemies, as did my father. Their
religion had never been popular, and there were not a few Egyptians who
wished to have them replaced by worshippers of the old gods.
At any rate, Nefertiti-the beautiful Queen, high priestess of the
Aten, passed from this life, leaving behind seven children-eight, if you
counted my elder brother Smenkhare, but even at the time I was faintly
aware of his having a slightly different parentage than my sisters. Little
did I then know.. ..
When the news of her death reached my nursery, I was playing with my
pets beneath Muyet's careful eye. Despite her quiet dislike for my mother,
she seemed deeply shocked by the news. The summons from my father came
close on the heels of the announcement.
He was in the Queen's chamber, devoid of all makeup and adornment,
weeping over her inert form. He was not alone; my sisters and Smenkhare
were already there. The older girls seemed tormented with grief,
particularly Meritaten, who most closely resembled her now-dead mother.
I was not greatly sad, only a little confused-death was as of yet a
mystery to me. I cried, but not from any great sadness-I was mostly
overwhelmed, and a little disturbed to see my father, the great leader of
Egypt, reduced to this maudlin state.
I stood there, tears of bewilderment streaming down my small face.
Finally, someone took me aside, tenderly pressing my face against her white
dress and letting me cry there. Ankhesenpaaten-my wife-to-be, though I did
not know it then. She was nine at the time, but prematurely aged by her
station in life as well as this tragedy.
Even then, she was beautiful, though my childish eye could not fully
appreciate the fact. She resembled her mother in some ways-the same well-
shaped neck, the same frail shoulders and delicate face. But where
Nefertiti had the beauty of a jewel-well-cut, incandescent, but nonetheless
cold, Ankhesenpaaten was like a lotus-equally beautiful, but soft, fragile-
full of sun-given life, even as she stood there; miserably sobbing with her
four remaining sisters.
Finally, someone took me back to the chamber, to Muyet's welcoming,
comforting arms. Only then did it dawn on me-the goddess-woman would not
come to me anymore-my mother was dead.
"Muyet, why did mother die?"
Muyet bit her lip in contemplation. "I would not tell this to you, being
young as you are, but if I die before I tell the truth-" She exhaled slowly
and shook her head. "I would have not dared say this before now-but she-
Nefertiti-was not your mother."
I turned to look at her, confused.
She bent down and kissed me on the forehead, her own face looking
half-bewildered. "I'm sorry dear, I did not mean-only-I cannot bear to see
you mourn her when she-you never were allowed to know even that she existed-
she was never mourned by her lastborn son-" She stopped, looking at me
squarely. "Perhaps you are too young to understand."
Muyet sighed. "That you are not the son of Nefertiti and Akhenaten,
what she claimed. Neither is Smenkhare. Nefertiti gave birth only to
"Are you my mother, then?" This possibility seemed both the most
logical and the most appealing.
She knelt and stroked my head, laughing as tears began to stream down
her usually-placid face. "No dearest, I could hardly be mother to a prince-
and such a prince as you are." She gave my hand a loving little squeeze.
"Your mother was a true queen-perhaps not royal-born as was Nefertiti, but
she was, in her own way, just as noble. She died a noble death at any rate-
one which brought you into this life."
I considered this. Nefertiti was not my mother-this statement had a
considerable number of implications that followed it, like troublesome
little sand flies. Yet I was not greatly shattered by this revelation, as
by the death itself. I only half-nodded my head and asked that question
which seemed most logical-"What was her name?"
"Kiya-Lady Kiya, the Dearly Beloved of your father, Akhenaten.
Smenkhare is your brother of full blood; your sisters-only half."
"Then Nefertiti-was my-?"
"Nefertiti is dead."
Even as a child, I realized what Muyet meant as she said those words
with such emphatic finality. Her memory was to be mummified and entombed,
just like her body-she was nothing to me. She never had been-