"Nurse of the King's Daughter, Ankhesenpaaten, Tia."
At Akhetaten, only royal family members or prestigious officials were consistently named; as Tia is the only one of the daughters' menats (nurses) whose name is known to have been recorded, credance may be led to the fact that most royal attendants were drawn from well-estabished and prosperous families. Given the intricate family relationships at Amarna, it would not be surprising if the Lady Tia had in her lineage a link to the royal line.
A painted door is persuaded open; hennaed feet step carefully across the Palace threshold and into the realm of twilight. The ripples now covering Tia's flesh are not born of the chill air, but the warmth of the blood flowing beneath; the dim light cannot deny the glow of her countenance, nor the beauty of the same. Along the Great Royal Road, her sandaled feet lead she and her child....
Not her child by blood, but by the life which lives through the Aten....
"Ankhesenpaaten," Tia whispers, kissing her ward's splendid brow. In her arms, her lotus writhes slightly, unwilling to be beckoned from a dream concerning this day. Smiling, Tia persists with gentle hand, until Ankhesenpaaten rubs open her dark brown eyes and gazes at her sleepily, not yet fully awake or aware.
Tia's strides cease, but not her hold on the child, as she motions toward the horizon for which Pharaoh's city is named. Ankhesenpaaten wrinkles her delicate nose, her cheeks flushed by both the breeze and her nurse's familiar breath. She had glimpsed the akhet many times before--indeed, Akhenaten showed her everyday. Why should her Tia carry her to it now? Her mistress' only answer is to clutch her more tightly as the Aten commences its accent. In its wake are the clouds, mists, and drafts of morning, all of which spiral upward alongside the divine rays until it seems that the sun is held up not by its own will, but that of the haze beneath. Through the cumulous and pumulous shades tear the rays of the glistening arb, terminating not in hands, but shafts of light highlighted with prisms of golden glitter as the sands of Kemet blink beneath the sudden brightness. Few had ever seen the god thus; Pharaoh was not among them. While she did not see why she should be so priviliged, Tia knew that her child should be. Hence the vision resting against her arms and breast, with eyes wide and delicate mouth slightly open behind spreading fingers.
Again, Tia kisses her brow, murmuring, "Happy birthday" into the child's rippling tresses. A little breath of thanks embraces the heart who desires no other reply.