Tiye was too shocked to take offence at the fact that Merit had not used any of the correct forms of address. She waved her away and Merit ran to her own house, her heart beating as fear rose in her throat.
She now knew exactly what the disease was. It had arrived with the foreign rats in the merchant ships that were now able to sail upriver to Inbu-Hedj, as a result of the peace brought by a strong pharaoh and his forefathers. And it was the fleas on those rats that infected anything or anyone who got in contact with them, allowing them to jump host, including onto Prince Thutmose's own beloved cat Ta-Miu. The cat had given the prince the most feared disease throughout history; a disease for which there would be no cure for thousands of years.
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