THE THRONE ROOM WAS DARK and depressing. Ankhesenpaaten and Aye had argued for hours, beginning just after dinner. Now it was midnight, and the queen and the royal vizier spoke by the light of the moon. This same debate had raged for more than a week, and this night the words chosen were no different.
The queen’s protestations were heated and loud, unmuffled by draperies and potted plants.
Anyone still awake in the palace could hear her frantic voice, and she knew it.
“Make no mistake: I will rule as king. And you will be my queen,” said Aye.
His hands were on his hips as he glared at the stubborn young woman. His sagging neck and paunch made him look more like her grandfather than a man capable of fathering a royal heir.
“I will not do it,” she shot back, panic-stricken as he moved closer.
Ankhesenpaaten paced, trying to buy time.
Yuye entered the room, as if on cue.
“What is it?” asked the queen. “Do you have news? Tell me.”