Only a Woman

August 12, 2011
By CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius


“My Lady, Octavian is here.” Neferura, my only loyal servant was in a panic. “It will only be a matter of time before he finds you here.”

“I won’t hide any longer. Bring my paints, my best red sheath and my most expensive jewelry. I’ve charmed two Roman men; there’s no reason I can’t charm this one too.”

Neferura bowed, then ran out of the mausoleum I had been hiding in for the past few months. Had it really only been a couple of months since everything had gone wrong? Our fleet was destroyed at Actium, Mark Antony committed suicide and now the Emperor had arrived in Egypt. If I couldn’t charm Octavian like I charmed Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, then I would soon return to my mausoleum as a corpse.

Neferura soon returned with all the things I had requested. She helped me wriggle out of my plain white sheath and into my sumptuous red one that left little to imagination. Then she brushed my tangled black hair, pinned it up and slipped my wig of a hundred ringlets into place. I sat very still as she outlined my eyes in kohl, used henna to redden my lips and covered the dark circles under my eyes with powder. From the small selection of jewelry she brought, I chose a silver circlet with a huge red jasper stone that hung on my forehead, bracelets of electrum, a belt of moonstones and rings of lapis lazuli. I looked at myself in the small bronze mirror Neferura brought and smiled. I looked perfect, as usual. Now all I had to do was make Octavian agree.




“You manipulated a good Roman man into turning against his own country.”

“Me? I am just a woman. What influence could a woman have over a strong Roman man?”

Octavian spluttered at my words; he was not buying into my story. And he definitely wasn’t falling for my body like Julius and Mark had. My intelligence only threatened him, so that definitely wasn’t helping my case. Time for Plan B.

“You need a powerful ally in Egypt; I can maintain control over my people. Let me remain Pharaoh and Rome will reap the rewards.”

For the first time in our meeting, Octavian smiled. “Cleopatra, you are an intelligent woman. Tell me why would I need a powerful ally in the newest Roman province?”

“You’re annexing Egypt?” I gasped.

“Of course. I have no wish to quell the rebellion of yet another tempestuous Eastern Queen.” He snapped his fingers. “Take her away, but do not harm her. I wish to display her at my triumph when I return.”

The Roman guards marched me at sword point to a tiny room in the palace that had been a guest room. Before they locked me away for good, I turned to face them and suggestively lifted my sheath to reveal my right calf. One of the soldiers hesitated, but the other pushed me into my prison and slammed the door behind me. To my surprise, Neferura was there, setting up a simple cot by the door. Seeing me, she bowed before speaking.

“I convinced the guards to let me tend to you. My Queen, what are you going to do now?”

“I am going to deny Emperor Octavian his greatest prize.” I smiled reassuringly to hide the fact I was ready to break down and cry. “I don’t care how you do it, but bring me an asp. I’m going to die with the honour that befits the last Pharaoh of Egypt.”

Neferura nodded and I could see the tears in her deep brown eyes. I walked over to her and pulled her into a hug, a huge breech of station on my part. But I didn’t care; I was about to die and I needed to thank her for her complete loyalty to me. I felt the tears run down my face, but I let them flow. After all, if I had my way, I was not long for this world.




After Neferura retouched my makeup, I was ready. She had smuggled the asp past the guards by hiding it in a basket of figs. I reached in the figs and nearly smiled in triumph when my fingers closed around the asp’s cool, smooth body. It hissed as I pulled it out of the basket. Good, it was already annoyed at being kept under the heavy figs.

Its eyes stared coldly at me as I stroked its head, enticing it to bite me. Finally, it struck my wrist with lightning speed. I bit my tongue to keep from crying out in pain. When the snake let go, I quickly dumped it in the fig basket and put the lid on it. I didn’t want it to slither out and bite Neferura, my only friend left.


Within minutes, my breathing became laboured. I lay down on the bed and carefully composed myself. I was going to die with dignity, the way a Pharaoh should. My last breaths were steeped in agony, yet I was strangely happy. I had thwarted Octavian, denying him his greatest prize.

But my happiness didn’t last long. The gods in Judgment Hall were calling for me, Queen Cleopatra, the last and greatest Pharaoh.


The author's comments:
Historical Note: Although we know him today as Octavian (or Caesar Augustus), in his time, he was known as 'Gaius.' I didn't want to fight convention by using his Latin name because that would just confuse everyone.

I hope you like my story! Tell me what you think of my portrayal of Cleopatra in the comments.

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This article has 255 comments.


on Jun. 6 2014 at 3:24 pm
ACkYeFirst SILVER, New London, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you listen to the beat and hear what's in your soul, you'll never let anyone steal your rock 'n' roll." - Memphis: A New Musical

Good work! You have a great introduction to Cleopatra here. Have you considered expanding on the story in a new work? There's a lot here into which you could go even deeper (her relationship with the other men, how she became Pharoah, details on her meeting with Octavian, etc.)! I would love to see that! What an interesting topic!

on May. 28 2014 at 3:40 pm
Bronwyn-Sophronia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
318 articles 10 photos 1159 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks

I love this! Great job on making the historical event so emotional! I relally really liked this! XD

Scully said...
on Mar. 28 2014 at 10:13 pm
Scully, Marshfield, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Awesome! I really enjoyed this!

on Mar. 20 2014 at 11:13 pm
DramaLlama96 BRONZE, Bainbridge Island, Washington
1 article 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Well I WOULD be using the "Nerds like us" quote by John Green but Teen Ink just can't have that, now can't they?

So, so great.

on Jan. 12 2014 at 11:19 am
ChasityTaylor SILVER, Denham Springs, Louisiana
7 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"In terms of noodles, all bets on Trump."- my very strange friends

I loved how you potrayaed Cleopatra! It was wounderful!

on Aug. 19 2013 at 1:42 am
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you!  I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

on Aug. 19 2013 at 1:41 am
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you!  Three years after writing this, I know a whole lot more about Cleopatra now than I did then.  However, this was my best work at the time and I'm happy you enjoyed it. :)

on Aug. 18 2013 at 12:52 am
ChristineK GOLD, SLC, Utah
17 articles 3 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“So the future seemed
To mingle with the past. For a short space
I saw revealed to the doubt the threads that bind
This little speck of time we call “To-day”
To the great cycle of unending life
That has been and that shall be evermore.”
-Tours

This was amazing. I loved your portrayal of Cleo. Well done!!

on Jul. 19 2013 at 3:08 pm
DawnieRae BRONZE, Lancaster, Ohio
3 articles 0 photos 218 comments
I loved this it was wonderful!!!!! I love your descriptions, and how you pertrated Cleopatra. It seems like you know a lot about her. I also really like Desertion.

on Jun. 16 2013 at 3:07 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you! :)

on Jun. 16 2013 at 3:07 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you!  It's nice to see that my portrayal of Cleopatra spoke to so many people. :)

rhea752 GOLD said...
on Jun. 6 2013 at 1:04 pm
rhea752 GOLD, Merritt Island, Florida
16 articles 1 photo 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
Maybe it's not about the happy ending, maybe it's about the story.

Amazing story!!! This was saddening and empowering!! Well done!! Keep writing!! :)

IMSteel BRONZE said...
on May. 21 2013 at 12:16 pm
IMSteel BRONZE, Wallhala, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 128 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

"Brevity is the Soul of Wit" - The Which

Oh, and I focus on description a lot in my stories too, I'm happy to find someone who shares my views on writing.   

IMSteel BRONZE said...
on May. 21 2013 at 12:14 pm
IMSteel BRONZE, Wallhala, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 128 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

"Brevity is the Soul of Wit" - The Which

Incredible portrayal of Cleopatra!  She is just as I imagined her in history: a skilled seductress, beautiful beyond compare, and noble.  Keep writing!

on Mar. 10 2013 at 7:49 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for the kind comment. :)  I wouldn't say I've studied Cleopatra, but prior to writing about this I had read a couple biographies about her.

on Mar. 10 2013 at 7:48 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you very much! :)

on Mar. 10 2013 at 7:48 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

As it says on my profile, I am inactive except for responding to comments.  But thank you for your comment and I wish you the best with your writing.

on Feb. 13 2013 at 4:05 pm
Shelby Johnson, Cheyenne, Wyoming
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Amazing! How long did study Cleopatra? (Forgive me if I mispell) You are an amazing writer.

on Feb. 9 2013 at 9:21 pm
GreekGoddess BRONZE, Andover, Connecticut
3 articles 0 photos 182 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm not superstitious, I believe in irony.
~Me

I really liked it, it was so different, and unquie.

on Jan. 14 2013 at 11:29 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1648 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius

Thank you! I'm glad you see it that way.




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