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 Oct. 3 2011 at 9:15 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

Thanks for commenting!

on Oct. 3 2011 at 8:58 pm
SpringRayyn PLATINUM, Lakeville, Minnesota
34 articles 2 photos 659 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't punish yourself," she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness too. That was writing."
--Markus Zusak, "The Book Thief"

I liked the way you built up into the end!

on Oct. 3 2011 at 3:01 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 commenting! :)

LaceeJade GOLD said...
on Oct. 3 2011 at 3:00 pm
LaceeJade GOLD, Bucyrus, Ohio
17 articles 4 photos 136 comments

Favorite Quote:
♥ I've made mistakes in my life. i've let people take advantage of me, and i accepted way less than i deserve. But, i've learned from my bad choices, and even though there are some things i can never get back and people who will never be sorry. i'll know better next time and i wont settle for anything less than i deserve. ♥

I Really Enjoyed This!  You did a fantastic job with the characters!

on Oct. 2 2011 at 5:31 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

Thanks!  I'm glad you liked my story so much. :)

Steph0804 GOLD said...
on Oct. 1 2011 at 11:38 am
Steph0804 GOLD, Seoul, Other
12 articles 4 photos 206 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog: you understand it better, but the frog dies in the process." -E.B. White

Oh... Cleopatra is portrayed so magnificently here, I almost cried! Powerful! Beautiful! This should definitely be published!

on Sep. 27 2011 at 8:32 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

Thanks rubyrose1!  I'm glad you enjoyed it.

on Sep. 27 2011 at 3:43 pm
rubyrose1 BRONZE, Oxford, Mississippi
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Oh wow! I loved this!!! I really dont have anything negative to say about this at all except that  props to you for writing historical fiction!! Amazing

on Sep. 24 2011 at 9:43 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! :)

Little-Miss said...
on Sep. 24 2011 at 9:30 pm
Very well-written, and a good story. An interesting take on history... Definitely gets my brain juices flowing. Overall loved it!

on Sep. 24 2011 at 8:27 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

Thanks for commenting!  I'm glad you liked it. :)

on Sep. 18 2011 at 2:54 pm
JustAnotherOwl SILVER, Unknown, New York
6 articles 0 photos 379 comments

Favorite Quote:
"See, we don't really care who you are;
Everyone is capable of looking up and wishing on a star.
So catch it, so contagious, this day-dreamer's disease,
And hope can be your sword, slaying darkness with belief."

"Sanctuary"- Paradise Fears

This is incredible. I've actually already read this...But I don't think I commented! Anyway. You are a very talented writer, but I've told you that before! This is very descriptive and I love the way you....portray Cleopatra? Would that be the right choice of words? Anyway, this is wonderful and it deserves the Editor's Choice Award one-hundred percent!

on Sep. 17 2011 at 1:25 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!  That last sentence was always my favourite when I wrote it. :)

on Sep. 17 2011 at 1:23 pm
CarsonFaircloth, Nowhere, New Hampshire
0 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Truly, this was an amazing edition to "Desertion". It inspires me to write a book, actually; a historical one. And that, my friend, is not easy to do.

 

I think you portrayed Cleopatra very well, though I don't think a short story can quite get the full impact she had on people---this would make a much better book. Nevertheless, your grammar was perfect, and this final half of the story was written even more beautifully than the last. I am impressed.

 

I must say, though, the last sentence was what got me.

 

"The gods in Judgement Hall were calling for me, Queen Cleopatra, the last and greatest Pharaoh."

 

It really, really made me think about Cleopatra, and what it must have been like for her as the last Pharaoh. Truly chill-inducing!


on Sep. 17 2011 at 1:18 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 Sep. 17 2011 at 1:01 am
Love.Hate.Passion., Spring Valley, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 356 comments

Favorite Quote:
~Hope. Faith. Love~
~Be proud of who you are.You are all unique in a different way.~
~I WILL NOT fade into oblivion , and become less than
a distant memory.~

Another great addition to your first Cleopatra story. I am really loving the way you take the time to develop Cleo's emotions and feelings , and you somehow make her a likeable character. I enjoyed your ending to this writing masterpiece. I  liked how you interpreted this in your own way , and managed to make it extremely realistic and even relatable. Amazing <3

 

5 stars!


on Sep. 11 2011 at 5:16 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

Thanks for the criticism! :)

julian GOLD said...
on Sep. 11 2011 at 2:06 pm
julian GOLD, Eugene, Oregon
17 articles 17 photos 223 comments

Favorite Quote:
The goal is not about living forever, the goal is about creating something that can.

Once again, this was a beautiful interpretation of history. I really like being inside the mind of Cleopatra and thinking how she would think. I would say that Cleopatra came alive in your writing, and was portrayed in a very accurate manner (not that I would know how accurate it is, but it seems to be very realistic). The only critique I have is that you should explain her feelings about being defeated in more depth. It seems like she gave up everything in a heartbeat, with no apparent regrets or feeling. But all in all, a wonderful piece!

on Sep. 11 2011 at 1:03 pm
JoPepper PLATINUM, Annandale, Virginia
35 articles 0 photos 782 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Freedom is the ability to not care what the other person thinks."

"Not all those who wander are lost" --JRR Tolkien

"When you are listening to music it is better to cover your eyes than your ears." --Jose' Bergamin

okeydokey thats fine and thanks!!! :D

on Sep. 11 2011 at 12:40 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

Sorry, I won't get to your feedback until Monday evening.  I'm in Edmonton for a concert tomorrow night.  But don't worry, I will give you feedback in return! :)


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