I looked up and sighed, seeing one of my attendants, Neva, running toward me.
"My lady! Your lessons started almost an hour ago, where have you been?" she asked, catching up to me.
I raised my arms in reference to the surrounding scene. We were on the banks of the Nile, within seeing distance of my father's palace. It was a beautiful day, and the black depths of the river mixed with the refection of the cerulean sky turned the water a vividly deep blue color. The Nile was my favorite place in the world.
"My Lady, you mustn't neglect your studies."
"I'm not! I've been practicing!"
"I mean with your instructor, and your siblings."
I sighed. "Fine. I'm coming."
She lead me back up to the palace.
"Nice of you to join us." the instructor said as I entered.
I sat down on one of the many couches strewn about the grand room, next to my older sister Berenice.
"Good morning, Cleopatra." she greeted me. "Where have you been?"
"The river." I replied.
"Well, look what I can do." Berenice said, putting the spotlight back on herself, as always. She lifted her ivory wand, identical to the ones the rest of us were practicing with, set the tip on the cleft of her chin, and spoke,
Berenice's face seemed to ripple with hot pink(which was the color hieroglyphs or other magic was when she summoned it), and when the ripples disappeared, it looked as if she'd been given a makeover.
When we were much younger, Berenice and I looked a lot alike. We both had the same mahogany eyes, raven-black hair, and dark skin. But once we started to study magic, Berenice had chosen the path of Qetesh - minor Egyptian Goddess of Love and Beauty - and since then she had cast so many appearance-altering spells the only similarities were those basic features.
Her dark curls fell almost to her waist, whereas mine framed my average features in an onyx wedge. The spell she had just used erased all blemishes on her face, leaving only her plump, pinkish-tan lips, perfectly shaped nose, and brown eyes surrounded in well-curved black lashes. I'd asked her once why she had chosen Qetesh rather than Hathor, the main goddess of Love, and she'd told me she didn't want to have to learn all of the healing magic that came with Hathor's Sekhmet aspect.
On a couch some way across the room were my youngest sister, Arsinoe, and my eldest sister, Tryphaena, who were both attempting to follow the path of Isis. This was most likely because most every female Pharoh had been Isis's host. They caught me looking and glared daggers at me.
Tryphaena and Arsinoe both had a personal ambition to become the next ruler of Egypt. It was our father's choice, and my status as his favorite made me a threat to them. I didn't put it above them to try and poison me, simply to get me out of the way. They never reacted this way with Berenice- though it was really hard to see her as a threat. She had about as much of a sense of perspective as a feather pillow.
We had two brothers as well, but they were so young Tryphaena had yet to decide their level of threat. The answer was probably none, though- as was tradition, whichever one of us who ended up queen would be married to our eldest brother, Ptolemy XIII, who happened to be five years old at this time. I was thirteen, Tryphaena twenty-three, Berenice twenty-one, and Arsinoe ten. Ptolemy XIV, our youngest sibling, was still merely an infant.
Tryphaena might have a fair enough claim if she tried to overthrow our father's wishes, but Arsinoe seemed basically out of luck. Between Tryphaena's political power, Berenice's beauty and surprisingly exelled magical ability, and my popularity with both our father and the people of Egypt, she didn't really stand a chance.