The heretic king Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Nefertiti had many daughters but no son, and while a daughter was the vessel that carried the royal blood, she couldn’t be the ruler of Egypt. Though, in past, some walls were etched with the stories of Queen Hatshepsut, the woman-king who wore a false beard and ruled, everyone knew that by strapping that false beard to her chin, she had committed a crime against the gods, and Akhenaten was sure that his new and only god Aten wouldn’t be happy if one of his daughters had to wear the double crown upon her brow.
So when one of the lesser wives of Akhenaten finally gave birth to a son, everyone rejoiced, but their joy was pathetically short-lived, as they soon realized that the young prince was born with deformities that wouldn’t let him live a full life, let alone a long one.
In the tradition of Aten, Pharaoh Akhenaten named his son Tutankhaten, and then did everything he could to erase every sign of the prince’s existence from his life. While Pharaoh was heartbroken, there were others in the palace, who were jubilant. Chief among those secretly celebrating the absence of a sound-bodied heir to the throne, was the Grand Vizier Ay.
Ay was Pharaoh Akhenaten’s maternal uncle and his wife Nefertiti’s close relative. While Ay clucked his tongue and made a variety of sympathetic noises when he first looked upon his grand-nephew’s visage; inside, he felt elated.
The ugly little runt wouldn’t survive long enough to be Pharaoh, he thought.
But Shay, the goddess of fortune, had been watching Ay for the last half-century, had other plans. She read his thought and scribbled into her scroll, the end-note of Ay’s fate.
If only Ay knew what Shay had in store for him…
By Karl Richard Lepsius (Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons