When the God-Pharaoh’s 94th year began, his nomarchs and courtiers really did begin to wonder if Neferkare had attained the immortality in life that his forefathers had in death. For though he was aged and wizened, with all his children and grandchildren long since dead, Neferkare had outlived nearly everyone in his kingdom. His four wives were deep in the ground, and he made a sport of sitting in his palaces and speaking to the most aged he could find among his subjects, laughing about the old days.

It was then that some of the nomarchs began talking about replacing the God-Pharaoh with one of their own.

Truly, the old man had never exercised much of his divine rule. He had endlessly delegated, even after the 12 years of regency under his mother after he had come to the throne a mere babe. With no closely related heirs, there was sure to be a succession struggle or even a civil war if he died. And if he did not, the wisest of the Nomarchs saw that the increases in their own power would lead to civil war anyway, to which the old Neferkare was sure to turn a blind eye.

But no God-Pharaoh had been killed in living memory, and those in the legends had visited terrible vengeance from beyond the grave. The nomarchs who wished to topple Neferkare in favor of one of their own were fearful that their actions would lead to the gods turning away from their fertile valley and laying waste to their civilization.

And they were right.

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