“Why not, Ameni?” I asked.
“Because I’m not allowed to,” he replied sternly.
“When has that stopped you?” I asked, silence. “My point exactly!” I stated.
He looked up at me and shook his head, “Fine, I will…”
“But, you have to promise never to speak of it,” he said to me.
“You got it bro!” I said, enthusiastically.
“Now… get back to work,” he said firmly.
“Sure thing!” I replied, as I quickly scurried back to Queen Nefertiti so she wouldn’t send people to find me again.
I slipped into her room, almost tripping over her hairless cat named Harry. Kind of ironic if you ask me.
“Yes my queen?” I replied, taking a few steps forward kneeling with my head down.
“Where have you been?” she asked, clearly upset.
“I was helping my brother organize tablets in the library, my queen,” I replied, in hopes of her believing me.
“Oh, well next time tell me first. Anyway, I would like you to meet my sons. Smenkhkare! Tutankhamun! Come here please!” she yelled. Soon after, two preteen/teen boys walked around the corner. One slightly taller and more poised, the other short and quite a bit stern looking. “These are my sons, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun. You will serve them from now on,” she said.
“Yes, my queen,” I replied, hesitantly. I have been her servant for three years, why would she give up a servant to two boys who aren’t even her biological sons? I can’t question her, but still…
Snapping me out of my trance, I look over at the queen, “Yes, my queen?” I said, trying not to sound strange.
“You should go with them,” she said quietly
“Yes, my queen,” I said, not wanting to pry.
“Tutankhamun, let us take our leave. Aria, come!” I swiftly followed the brothers, leaving the queen to her thoughts.
“Smenkhkare, why did mom give us her?” Tut questioned.
“What do you mean by that, brother?” Smenkhkare inquired.
“I don’t mind having another servant, but she’s got white hair and pale skin! How is that not strange?” Tut whisper-yelled, thinking I couldn’t hear him.
“Give her a chance will you? You can be so stubborn at times,” Smenkhkare replied calmly. “Though it does seem odd, the way she did it,” he said, trailing off.
“Anyway… Aria, get me some water,” Tut stated.
“Yes my prince,” I replied, scurrying off to find some water. As I turned the corner, I finally found the water. Grabbing a small glass, I poured some of the crystal clear liquid into the glass. I hastily returned to the brothers’ room and handed Tut the glass of water.
“Aria, you are dismissed for the day,” Tut said firmly.
“Yes my prince.” I replied, practically running out of the room, down the hall to the library.
When I got to the library door, it flung open, almost hitting me, revealing the head scribe. Bowing respectfully as he passed, he took little notice of my presence. Once he was out of sight,I hurried into the library. As I looked around the library for Amenis’ office, I spotted the queen, reading silently by herself. Strange, I’ve never seen her come in here before, let alone to read. I was brought out of my thoughts when I ran into someone. Looking up, it was Ameni.
“Aria, I was wondering when you would get here. How about those lessons then?” he asked.
“Yup, I’m ready!” I whisper-yelled. He brought me to his office and pulled out a thin tablet, “Hieroglyphs are very confusing, so tell me when you need a break, okay?” he said.
“Yup!” I replied, very excited to get started.
Later that evening… “This is annoying.” I stated blankly.
“I told you it was confusing,” he replied with a smirk gracing his features.
“You are correct. In any case, I have to go tend to the garden before I head to bed. It’s already ten PM, and I don’t want to keep you too long,” I said, whilst my eyes start feeling heavy.
“Well… you should get some rest soon,” he said.
“Okay, goodnight,” I said, getting up from my chair.
“Goodnight,” he replied softly back as I exited his office.
I was supposed to take care of the garden at nine thirty. I hope no one will notice. I scurried out of the library and towards the door that leads to the garden. When I got out into the garden, I went around checking to make sure the irrigation was flowing correctly. After that I grabbed some fertilizer and sprinkled it around the garden. While I was doing this, I noticed a figure walking swiftly towards the gate. “Hey!” I yelled, causing the figure to stop in its tracks and look directly at me. I squinted to try and make out who it was, but I was too far away to make out who it was. The figure started to come closer, “Wh-Who are you?” I asked, praying that it wasn’t an intruder. As the figure came into view I immediately recognized who it was, “M-My prince?” I questioned.
“I apologize for startling you, but I was wondering if you could give something to Mother for me?” he asked.
“What would it be?” I replied.
“I want to give her this note. Would you quickly pass it along to her?”
“Sure,” I stated. He handed me a thin clay tablet with inscriptions on it.
“Please give this to her as soon as possible,” he said with urgency present in his voice, then he walked away. Weird…
I swiftly finished my work in the garden and headed to the Queen’s room. I wonder what was so urgent he had to give to her at ten at night? If I looked, I could... wait! I can’t look, that’s not only illegal, but rude as well. One peak won’t hurt, right? I slowly brought the tablet up towards my face and realized it was in Hieratic, meaning I could read it.
I have heard of your request to have me married. I would like to respectfully decline the offer. Due to my studies, I have very little free time, let alone the time to have a wife. I also would like to ask you about the addition of another garden. I just think it would look more lush and beautiful if we had a second garden, don’t you agree? Anyway, I hope you are doing well.
Well that was, not what I expected… I should just give it to her and go back to my quarters so I can go to sleep. As I was walking down the hall to the Queen's quarters, I heard a door open. I looked and saw a tall, very buff man with a bag on his shoulder. “Sir?” I questioned.
“Yes?” he asked back.
“Oh, nothing,” I said, trying not to anger the man. As soon as he was out of sight, I walked into the Queen’s room to find it empty with… blood? I dropped the tablet and stared at it as the metallic smell starts invading my nostrils. That means the person... and they were carrying... Oh my god! I quickly run out and sprint full speed down the hall to my quarters and slam the door shut. I… Who?… What?… This worrying won't help. I’ll just go to sleep and it’ll be all better, ya. So I hop into my small bed and drift slowly to sleep.
I slowly open my eyes to see the sun shining through the curtains. Was that a dream? Maybe… Ok, I just have to get up and get to work. Nothing bad happened, nothing bad happened. I quickly got up and started getting dressed until I heard, “Aria?” A voice called out beyond my door. I finished putting my clothing on and opened my door to see Ameni.
“The queen is missing,” he said softly. Th-That wasn’t a dream?
“R-Really?” I said, trying to not sound guilty.
“Yes. One of her servants found the door open with the room vacant,” he replied in a solemn tone.
“Well… I have to get to work, see ya!” I said, whilst quickly removing myself from the conversation by running down the hall.
I finally found the boys’ room. I quietly opened the door to find them both asleep. No one has told them yet. I snuck over to Tut’s bed and tapped him. Nothing. I poked him, tapped him, and even tried talking to him. Ok, if you’re not going to wake up, I’ll just wake up your brother. I slowly made my way over to Smenkhkare’s bed, trying not to make a racket. I then proceeded to try to shake him awake. Nothing.
“Smenkhkare. It’s time to wake up!” I said, yelling the last part. I noticed him start to wake.
“Aria, is that you?” he asked drowsily.
“Yes my prince. I also need to tell you something,” I said.
“What is it?” he replied, starting to open his eyes.
“This morning a servant discovered your mom is missing.” Silence. He just looked at me like he had seen a ghost.
“Y-You’re sure?” he asked, seemingly crying inside.
“Yes,” I replied. “I’ll leave you,” I said, getting up to go make breakfast for both of the princes, leaving him to his thoughts.
When I entered the kitchen, it was bustling with cooks. They were going left and right carrying food around. I got to a small corner of the kitchen where I could make the boys some breakfast. A small sandwich with beef and cheese with a side of watermelon and milk for Tut. And scrambled eggs with grapes on the side, along with a glass of milk for Smenkhkare. As I made my way back to their room, I heard something.
“My head wife’s disappearance is, horrendous. Have search parties go to look for her immediately!” the pharaoh declared angrily.
“Right away, my lord!” his attendant said as they both walked away. He seems quite upset. I think it would be in my best interest to avoid him until his wife is found. It’s not any of my business anyway, so I should just bring the boys their food. I got to their door and there was a sign on it, “Do Not Enter,” I read aloud, “Smenkhkare! Tutankhamun! I will leave your breakfast here, ok?” No answer. I’ll just leave it here and get back to my studies with Ameni.
For the rest of the week, and the rest of the month, in fact, things were pretty normal, aside from the occasional extra guard here and there. I slowly improved at hieroglyphs, but still was not as good as my brother. Ever since the queen went missing, the king has become a bit harsher, especially with punishments. The other day I saw him fire one of the chefs because they made his bread “too soft”. I just hope I don’t get on his bad side. *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*
“Servant! Open the door!” a voice yelled.
I spoke too soon. I opened the door to see about six guards and the pharaoh standing there.
“You are being detained,” one of the guards said before knocking me out.
What did I do?
I woke up on what felt like a stone floor. I slowly opened my eyes to see that I was in a cell, yay. My eyes pulled away from the walls of the cell towards the opened door. “Why was I detained?” I asked calmly.
The guard looked at me and said, “You have been learning hieroglyphs, it is illegal for women, unless they are doctors, to learn hieroglyphs. You are not a doctor.”
It is illegal, but did they really have to knock me out? “What’s going to happen?” I asked.
He just stared at me, blankly. “Execution.”
Wow, um, wow. I know the pharaoh has been a bit strict lately, but still...
“Come,” the guard, said grabbing my wrist harshly and tugging me off of the floor.
He brought me to an outside courtyard area and shoved me towards the center. There stood a tall man dressed in black, holding a sword. Oh, so they’re going to behead me. At least it’s better than drowning. I always thought I would die through more normal means like old age, or even disease. Well, I hope they welcome me in the afterlife.
“Servant Aria! Do you have any last words?” the king yelled from his seat.
“Yes, I really hope they have good food in the afterlife,” I replied with a smirk on my face.
“Ha, you will never go to the afterlife,” he replied snarkily.
“We’ll see,” I replied with confidence.
“Ready!” he yelled. “An-”
I whipped my head over to see Smenkhkare standing there, breathing quite heavily. “Father, a word, please?” he asked, clearly determined to talk to him.
“Fine,” the pharaoh muttered.
I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it seemed to get heated quite fast.
Who is it now? I looked over to see Ameni.
“Pharaoh, may I have a word?”
He walked over and joined in the conversation with the pharaoh and Smenkhkare. I still couldn’t hear what they were saying but soon enough I heard, “Servant!”
I looked up and yelled back, “Yes?”
“Did you see the man who took my wife?” he asked. I froze. How?
“You talk in your sleep,” Ameni replied, as if he was reading my thoughts.
“Y-Yes,” I replied, still in a bit of shock.
“Release her and take her to the royal artist!”
I was again pulled up, feeling better now that I wasn’t going to die.
“Someone must die!”
The pharaoh looked around until his eye fell on Ameni.
“Chain him up,” the pharaoh demanded.
I looked at the guards as they pulled Ameni to the center of the courtyard.
“NO!” I screamed, trying to wiggle out of the guards’ tight grip.
“Don’t worry, Aria, I’ll always be with you in spirit,” he replied to me, smiling softly.
“Ready!” I can’t, “And!” I looked away, “Die!” I heard a slicing, then silence. No. “I’ll always be with you in spirit.”
Ancient Egypt; History.com; Published in 2009 by A+E Networks; http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/ancient-egypt
Nefertiti; History.com; Published in 2010 by A+E Networks; http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/nefertiti
The Role of Women in Ancient Egypt; Library.cornell.edu; Joyce Tyldesely; https://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/womneg.htm
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt - Ian Shaw - Oxford University Press - 2004 http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780192804587.html
Ancient Egypt - The Mysteries of Egypt; National Geographic Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqlNxgWatNA