Only a Woman | Teen Ink

Only a Woman MAG

August 12, 2011
By CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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 took his own life, 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 be returning to my mausoleum as a corpse.

Neferura returned with all of 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 the 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,” Octavian said to me warily.

“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 swordpoint 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 will you 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 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 running down my face, but I let them flow. After all, if I had my way, I wouldn't be here much longer.

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 on the lid.

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.


Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 257 comments.


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 1646 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! :)

on Sep. 10 2011 at 1:16 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

You're welcome!!! :D

 


on Sep. 10 2011 at 1:05 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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. 10 2011 at 10:10 am
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

Awesome  I loved it!!!!!!!! :D

on Sep. 9 2011 at 8:57 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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 enjoyed it.

potatohead said...
on Sep. 9 2011 at 8:53 pm
potatohead, Kentucky, Louisiana
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments
This was extremely well-written. I don't know much about history, but i still really enjoyed your story :) Also, from what I do know, your portrayal of cleopatra was realistic. I always pictured her like that.

on Sep. 5 2011 at 9:40 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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. 5 2011 at 9:39 pm
InsaneKitten BRONZE, Miami, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even shadows need light..... "Melissa Marr, Ink Exchange" :D

O i love ur potrayal of cleopatra, I never imagined her death to be so well, I love how differently she's potrayed :D you deserve a cookie :3

on Aug. 31 2011 at 4:28 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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 your opinion.  It's okay to have a different picture in your head of how Cleopatra was.  I just wrote from the picture in my head.

on Aug. 31 2011 at 4:27 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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 enjoyed it.

on Aug. 31 2011 at 12:07 pm
ItsAshMal SILVER, Guilford, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 44 comments
This is really well written, and the dialogue compels the reader to keep going. I like all of your mechanics and such, but I must say your portrayal of Cleopatra makes me a little uncomfortable. It's just not how I picture her. Then again, an author's job is to make the reader feel , and you definitely did that!

Mystiecub said...
on Aug. 31 2011 at 11:41 am
I don't know much of the history, but this seemed SO realistic, I loved it! :D

on Aug. 28 2011 at 8:13 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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

Aw, thanks!  I'm glad you liked it. :)

on Aug. 28 2011 at 8:12 pm
ChocoMint SILVER, Bloomington, Indiana
7 articles 0 photos 129 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time." - Anonymous

"Love starts with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear." - Anonymous

I really liked it! You did a really good job at portraying her situation. I give you an extra bonus because I understood everything very well and I don't know a lot about Cleopatra.  =+)

on Aug. 28 2011 at 12:13 am
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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

Wow, thank you! :)

on Aug. 27 2011 at 11:26 pm
Saphirra BRONZE, Auburn, Pennsylvania
4 articles 13 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Falling is just like flying except there’s a more permanent destination.” -Some person on Tumblr

you write so amazing! I love the historic-ness in your pieces!  When I read this, I felt like i was reading one of those sneak peeks for a new barnes & noble book! Great Job! 

on Aug. 26 2011 at 12:42 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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 Aug. 26 2011 at 10:30 am
BellaPrincipessa SILVER, Green Bay, Wisconsin
5 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love isn't always fireworks. Sometimes love just comes softly.
-Love comes softly by Jannette Oke

I love it!! Its so dramatic, like Cleopatra was, and so real. Its like I was there in the room with her as she died. Amazing!

on Aug. 25 2011 at 8:19 pm
CarrieAnn13 GOLD, Goodsoil, Other
12 articles 10 photos 1646 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

Wow, thanks!  :)  I'll consider your feedback.