When it was pointed out to the Queen that, owing to the lack of dwelling-rooms, none which were fitting were left for her to occupy, she replied that this mattered nothing, since in the old pylon tower were two small chambers hollowed in the thickness of its walls, which were very pleasing to her, because of the prospect of the Nile and the wide flat lands and the distant Pyramids commanded from the lofty roof and window-places. So these chambers, in which none had dwelt for generations, were hastily cleaned out and furnished, and in them Tua and Asti her foster-mother, took up their abode.
THE MAGIC IMAGE
That night Pharaoh and Tua rested in privacy with those members of the Court whom they had brought with them, but on the morrow began a round of festivals such as history scarcely told of in Egypt. Indeed, the feast with which it opened was more splendid than any Tua had seen at Thebes even at the time of her crowning, or on that day of blood and happiness when Amathel and his Nubian guards were slain and she and Rames declared their love. At this feast Pharaoh and the young Queen sat in chairs of gold, while the Prince Abi was placed on her right hand, and not on that of Pharaoh as he should have been as host and subject.
“I am too much honoured,” said Tua, looking at him sideways. “Why do you not sit by Pharaoh, my uncle?”
“Who am I that I should take the seat of honour when my sovereigns come to visit me?” answered Abi, bowing his great head. “Let it be reserved for the high-priest of Osiris, that Holy One whom, after Ptah, we worship here above all other deities, for he is clothed with the majesty of the god of death.”
“Of death,” said Tua. “Is that why you put him by my father?”
“Indeed not,” replied Abi, spreading out his hands, “though if a choice must be made, I would rather that he sat near one who is old and must soon be called the ‘ever-living,’ than at the side of the loveliest queen that Egypt has ever seen, to whom it is said that Amen himself has sworn a long life,” and again he bowed.
“You mean that you think Pharaoh will soon die. Nay, deny it not, Prince Abi, I can read your thoughts, and they are ill-omened,” said Tua sharply and, turning her head away, began to watch those about her.
Soon she noticed that behind Abi amongst his other officers stood a tall, grizzled man clad in the robes and cap of an astrologer, who appeared to be studying everything, and especially Pharaoh and herself, for whenever she looked round it was to find his quick, black eyes fixed upon her.
“Who is that man?” she whispered presently to Asti, who waited on her.
“The famous astrologer, Kaku, Queen. I have seen him before when he visited Thebes with the Prince before your birth. I will tell you of him afterwards. Watch him well.”
So Tua watched and discovered several things, among them that Kaku observed everything that she and Pharaoh did, what they ate, to whom they spoke, and any words which fell from their lips, such as those that she had uttered about the god Osiris. All of these he noted down from time to time on his waxen tablets, doubtless that he might make use of them afterwards in his interpretation of the omens of the future.