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.


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This article has 257 comments.


.Izzy. BRONZE said...
on Aug. 25 2011 at 8:15 pm
.Izzy. BRONZE, Broadview Heights, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 388 comments
This is definitely a unique piece, making it stand out from other cliche stories on here. And your title is perfect. A little more detail wouldn't hurt, but there's always room for improvement in any story!

on Aug. 25 2011 at 12:12 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. 25 2011 at 12:11 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

Okay.  I'll consider your suggestion.

alex198 said...
on Aug. 25 2011 at 11:49 am
alex198, |, Other
0 articles 0 photos 113 comments
My critique for this piece is pretty much the same as the last one, however since this piece was an extension of the last one I think that I am able to relate to the characters and understand the time they live in better this time, if not as wholly as I would like. But once again, very well written and you do create some intriguing characters. Well done! :)

owkey BRONZE said...
on Aug. 25 2011 at 7:54 am
owkey BRONZE, Markham, Other
4 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hey

-Owkey

Any part where anything is being described really XD So I'd say anywhere. THere's always room for more detail.

on Aug. 24 2011 at 8:46 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 the feedback!  Which specific parts would you like more imagery in?

owkey BRONZE said...
on Aug. 24 2011 at 8:40 pm
owkey BRONZE, Markham, Other
4 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hey

-Owkey

Great stuff. I like how you take on Cleopatra from a completely different angle than what I thought of her. You porttray her as a a character I'd actually support, unlike history's version. Truthfully I'd like more imagery and stuff but that's just me :3 Keep up the good work.

on Aug. 24 2011 at 1:26 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 commenting!

on Aug. 24 2011 at 1:25 pm
MidnightWriter SILVER, Ontario, Other
6 articles 0 photos 225 comments

Favorite Quote:
Writers are a less dangerous version of the career criminal. Everywhere they go, they see the potential for the perfect crime. The difference is that writers have better self control.

Lovely. It's well written. It refreshes my memory when it comes to ancient history.

on Aug. 23 2011 at 8:53 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. 23 2011 at 8:51 pm
dancemaniac GOLD, Mansfield, Texas
13 articles 0 photos 20 comments
once again...LOVED it(: you are great at pulling me in from start to end!

on Aug. 22 2011 at 8:31 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 very much! :)

HudaZav SILVER said...
on Aug. 22 2011 at 8:19 pm
HudaZav SILVER, Toronto, Other
8 articles 6 photos 390 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nothing is impossible; the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" -Audrey Hepburn

This was really grasping, great story!   Five stars! *****

on Aug. 22 2011 at 6:47 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 commenting!  I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

on Aug. 22 2011 at 4:19 pm
Tongue_Blep PLATINUM, ????, Ohio
40 articles 1 photo 769 comments
WOW!!! this was a really good story! I just LOVED it!!! Thank you for telling me to read this!!! :)(:

on Aug. 21 2011 at 8:39 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 commenting!  And I'll definitely check out your story. :)

on Aug. 21 2011 at 8:39 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 so much! :)  I'm glad you liked it.

on Aug. 21 2011 at 8:39 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 very much! :)

on Aug. 21 2011 at 11:46 am
Emmyluwho BRONZE, Mckinney, Texas
3 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx

I loved the way you put this together. I admired Cleopatra and when I read this, I almost felt as if I knew her. Good job! Check out my story "Put On a Brave  Face"

on Aug. 20 2011 at 9:43 pm
Alex_Durham GOLD, Vineland, New Jersey
14 articles 1 photo 234 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Just one word: Excellent. As I've said before, I love your portrayals of Cleopactra! I think they're exactly what she would have thought, said, and done. The way you executed the story was brilliant. Great work! I'm a fan.