From the balcony of the Kinswomen’s Gathering room Ziwat could, in one sweep of her eyes, take in the whole western half of the capital city, the wall surrounding and protecting it, and the arm of the river Nile that curved and cradled around it before dissolving into the green horizon. She came out just as the Ra-sun crested the peak of the sky; soon, it would be too hot to stand out here under his rays. Not quite yet. This was the view she enjoyed best. The city illuminated from above, the limestone on the Netjeret Houses gleaming, the sparkle of the river water almost obscuring the boats navigating to and from the Middle Sea. Everything in balance.
Below her, a formation of soldiers emerged from the gardens, jogging down toward the harbor. Her eyes traced their path down the central avenue to the main dock, and only then did she notice the Pharaoh’s barge sitting in the water. She hadn’t expected to see it so soon.