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Topic Subject:To Save The Great Library - A New Story
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Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 05-27-00 20:31 ET (US)         
Row by row, the stone benches of the city's theater began to fill with spectators there to see the performance all of Rome was talking about. A story of Egypt, Queen Cleopatra, the Great Library of Alexandria and the time of the Roman Conquest, but with a twist. History might be changed. New characters would emerge. Favorite characters would return. The twist is... Ahhh, but then we would be giving away the ending, wouldn't we....

This the audience did know:

TONE: Situation comedy with serious moments (but nothing silly).
STRUCTURE: Medium (2 paragraphs) or longer episodes (posts).
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Encouraged.
VIOLENCE: Non-gratuitous (No gross violence)

The cast is now gathered behind the stage entries each waiting their turn to perform. The audience becomes quiet as their anticipation grows. Their imaginations expand to encompass the stage, viewing it as if it were reality. In their mind's eye, the time becomes that of the last Pharaoh; the stage is covered in the sands of Egypt; the pyramids are visible in the distance. The story is now at hand.

AuthorReplies:
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-06-00 22:01 ET (US)     101 / 121       
I will be unable to post to this story thread for a few days, but please don't let my temporary absence stop any of you from carrying the story forward. Back again soon.
Orion
Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 07-07-00 16:34 ET (US)     102 / 121       
(Perrrrrfect! I guess I can get back into it after two weeks. I read the posts I missed but correct me if I make a mistake. BTW thanks for keeping Skip up with the story. I hope to give him a name change and get him more associated with myself... some time.)

As thoughts and soldiers marched through minds and streets another couple paced towards the Library. Skip kept muttering that this was HIS city and HIS friends so he should be there with them in case they needed any help.

Skip and Tusky entered through the gates of the Great Library. As Skip looked around, trying to determine where the group was Tusky's sensetive ears had picked up sounds like a long range radar. Tusky silently beckoned towards a shelf of books near the curtains where Incon and Cıvis' laughter had come from a moment before. Skip, led by Tusky, approached the shelves and heard sounds coming from the room behind it. The gates of the room were large and deffinitely not designed to defend the library against the enemy coming from the room but the events turned out that way...

Skip opened the doors and saw a dusty room that looked as if it hadn't been visited for years. Just a few candles illuminated the room. A large stone in the floor was moving. First skip thought it was a show of shadows caused by the flickering of the flame but then it was pushed aside by hostile hands, revealing a gap where maybe four people could fit in at the same time without too much effort. A head appeared looking quite puzzled as he was expecting priests who were late because they had had an early beer in celebration of liberation. "HEEELPPP!!!" Skip thundered at the top of his voice, shaking Tusky to full alertness and bringing Incon, Civis and the others nearby at once. The soldier looked at Incon and drew his sword as three more appeared beside him. At seeing his friend threatened flames more wrathful then those of Hell flared up in Tusky's eyes and he turned with a slow but sturdy motion at the soldier....

(Hope I did't mess it up as I think this is an important event. Just don't consider this post if you think it is not appropriate and I will erase it tomorrow.)

MRed94
Pleb
posted 07-08-00 00:24 ET (US)     103 / 121       
As the huge pachyderm turned to face him, the soldier began backing up, and was soon standing upon the shoulders of the soldier with his head sticking up out of the hole in the floor.

With great shouts of fear, due in part to the size of the elephant, and partly due to the froth coming out of Tusky's mouth, the soldiers, one by one, disappeared back into the hole from which they came.

Civis, being an extremely smart man, noticed the brazier burning next to the bookcase. He took the brazier, and tipping it over, shoved the burning coals down into the hole.

Now the shouts of fear became screams of agony and anger, as the soldiers began to trample one another to get out of the way of the flames.

Tusky and Civis managed to get the stone and move it back into place over the hole it came out of, and with a resounding THUD!, it settled into its nest.

Civis and Tusky were beaming at each other in their cleverness...............

Zen
Ghost
(id: Angel Zen)
posted 07-08-00 02:26 ET (US)     104 / 121       
Until, out of the joy and the moment of it all, Tusky bumped Zen, and that caused some of his magic powders to fall out of his pouch and mixed. The reaction was strong enough to start releasing some foul-smelling gas into the air.

Everybody took notice to the stench. "What in the world is that smell? It's worst than that Durian we had!" MRed commented. Jayhawk and Zen instantly noticed the smell of the flammable gas.

"Everybody out of the room!"

As everybody was leaving the room, Zen and Jayhawk opened their wings, hoping to ventilate the room. As the breeze starts to whip up, sparks from the brazier mixed with the gas and the powder, and ...

**WHOOSH!!**

Zen and Jayhawk just had time to run out the door to escape the blast.

The explosion rattled the Great Library, and the vibration of the explosion rattled every single brick in the Great Library...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-10-00 21:48 ET (US)     105 / 121       
Meanwhile, Cleopatra received her latest report from the city walls. "BREAKTHROUGH?!" she exclaimed incredulously. "How?"

"Traitors, your Majesty, I have been told. The crossbar to the Great Gate was partially sawed then put in place. Pharaoh Ptolemy..." Here the messenger suddenly realized his error and looked up to see the infuriated Queen staring daggers at him. "Forgive me, My Queen... your brother Ptolemy's forces easily broke through the gate with their battering ram. Now they assault the inner wall and the General says this is much weaker and will certainly fall. What answer shall I give him, My Queen. He asks for help."

Cleopatra's spirits began to fall. "I have no help to give him," she said and lowered her head. Julius Caesar cleared his throat with diplomatic politeness.

"May my Legion be of some assistance, Queen Cleopatra?"

"This is an Egyptian problem, Caesar. I do not think Rome should become involved."

"But your Majesty, Rome is involved. As of this evening I believe I see in you qualities Rome would be pleased to have allied with itself," replied Caesar.

"What does that have to do with my brother's war on his sister."

"If you pledge cooperation with Rome, a pledge your brother will not make, then Rome will be obligated to defend its great friend in Egypt against those who are not friends of Rome in this land. It is our way."

"But how can you speak for Rome and its government when war involving Romans is concerned? Do you not need their instruction in these matters?"

"My dear Queen Cleopatra," said Caesar with great force and pointedness. "As you are Egypt, at least until your brother dethrones you... I AM the Empire of Rome."

The Queen of Egypt studied the middle-aged general standing before her resplendent in his brightly polished ceremonial uniform and armor. He seeks cooperation, not domination, she thought. But he is so arrogantly confident. Can I bend him to my wishes? Maybe so, but I may need to give in order to get. She made her decision. "The offer of Rome to assist is welcome on the following condition: That you, Caesar, will give your most solemn oath that you will depart the land of Egypt with your Legion without question or hesitation when so ever I ask."

"Do you pledge in return, Queen Cleopatra, to cooperate and behave not as an enemy but as a friend of Rome?" asked Caesar.

Cleopatra looked at Caesar seductively through partially lowered eyes. "Egypt has never viewed Rome as its enemy, nor Caesar as anything but its friend. How could I pledge otherwise?"

Despite his best intentions, Caesar felt a tingling sensation in his backbone as Cleopatra's sultry voice and measured words struck a deeply sensitive spot in his pysche.
"And I too pledge as requested. The Legion is yours to command, Your Majesty," said Caesar with a bow.

Cleopatra flashed Caesar her dazzling smile. "I would not presume to take the place of your Legion's very accomplished general. You may command your Legion in my name." Then her smile faded into seriousness. "Now please go, my friend, for I sense time is short."

To the surprise of his assembled commanders, Caesar bowed and motioned to them to follow him. "My Lord Caesar," one of them began. "Why do you allow that... that woman, to command you?"

Caesar stopped momentarily to speak quietly in latin so no Egyptian would hear and understand. "Cassius, when in Egypt, be Egyptian. When in Rome, be Roman. We shall win two battles today. We shall defeat and destroy Ptolemy and I shall have won Egypt by winning its Queen. The Empire of Rome shall be grander than before when this day ends."

Cassius said nothing more. They all received their orders and began to rapidly execute them. The great, powerful, disciplined Legion of Caesar went into action. Soon the rhythmic clap, crash, clap, crash, clap, crash of legionnaires' sandals striking paving stone and legionnaires' swords striking the sides of shields could be heard echoing up the streets of Alexandria as Roman cohorts took up positions near the gates of the inner walls.

The Queen's soldiers were at first frightened by the sound of the approaching Romans, then reassured as the Egyptian commanders passed the word that the Romans were there to help. Egyptians defending at the gate had little time to wonder; for no sooner had the Romans arrived, than Ptolemy's soldiers broke through the inner gate and ran straight for... "ROMANS!" the cry rang out among them. "The Romans defend Cleopatra."

Pilae filled the air repeatedly. Short swords unsheathed, the Romans advanced on Ptolemy's soldiers and layed into them with all of the experience and skill learned over the many years spent in Gaul and Brittania.

Outside of the city, standing in his chariot, Ptolemy wondered out loud to his nearest commander. "Why do my soldiers run from the city through the gates they just opened? What is this madness?"

The commander realized the truth as soon as he spied the first formation of soldiers garbed in red, gold and brown fight and march their way through the city's outermost gate. He lowered his head in sadness and despair. "My Lord, your sister as set the Romans upon us. Egypt is betrayed." Then they saw the first of several cohorts of Roman cavalry quickly gallop through the gate making their way straight towards their position.

Meanwhile, at the Great Library...

Zen
Ghost
(id: Angel Zen)
posted 07-10-00 23:04 ET (US)     106 / 121       
... After the explosion had settled, Civis, Zen and Jayhawk surveyed the place. A fog of dust from the vibration had filled the great halls of the building. To their relief, the library was still in one piece.

"Well, we know now that an Elephant couldn't have brought the place down", Civis said. Inconentia overheard this, and gave him her famous death stare.

But before Incon can say anything, MRed interrupted. "SHHH! Can you hear that?"

Everyone stood still and listened.

Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap Thank Ra that the "Clapper" hasn't been invented yet

It was the familiar sound of marching Roman legions. The sound was getting louder. The group looked at Civis - for, at that moment, history seems to be running its course, and the Romans seems to be the destroyers of the Great Library.

"It's not over yet." Civis said.

[This message has been edited by Angel Zen (edited 07-10-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-11-00 12:01 ET (US)     107 / 121       
The clap, clap, clap noise faded away as quickly as it appeared. "Hmmmm... Doesn't look like Romans are coming to visit us afterall," observed Civis. Then the clap, clap began anew. "Another cohort coming this way."

Skip ran to a nearby door and opened it only to see a hole in the ground and 100 Egyptian soldiers wearing the symbol of Ptolemy standing in the narrow pathway, swords pulled, waiting for the Romans to appear. One of the Egyptians turned his head and signaled to Skip to keep his mouth shut or else. He didn't have time to make a choice for just then a cohort of Caesar's Romans passed by the opening to the pathway. The Egyptians rushed out and engaged the surprised Romans. Metal clashed on metal as Egyptian met Roman in battle in the moonlight.

Skip slammed the door and threw the bolt. He ran back to where the others stood. "A fight with Ptolemy's soldiers outside! It's Caesar's Romans!" Civis knew the sound of battle when he heard it, and especially the sound of Romans in battle.

Civis said to the others, "Best we leave this room, I think, before any part of the battle finds its way into here. I'm not sure either Egyptian or Roman would treat us as friends in the heat of battle." They agreed and walked through an open door on the other side of the room and into another chamber filled with shelf after shelf of papyrus scrolls.

"CLOSE THAT DOOR!" bellowed out a voice from somewhere in stacks of scrolls. "Can't you see that I'm working here?! Ridiculous fools! All this fighting when there is so much to be read and learned!" From out of the depths of the shelved scrolls appeared a little man about 5 feet tall. He was dressed unlike any Egyptian met to date. He wore a long shirt, had cloth wrapped around his head and sported a dense dark beard that ended in a point below his chin. Zen noted in a whisper to the others that he thought he might be an A-Rab, a new people in the area.

The little man walked right through them as if they weren't there. "Can't see, anyway. Need light." Indeed, he was carrying a small torch that appeared to have been extinguished. Civis judged that the combustive material in torch had been consumed.

The A-Rab walked over to a brazier burning in the corner of the room, pulled a fresh torch off the rack in the wall and lit it by sticking the treated end into the brazier's hot coals. He walked back towards the strangers. Held the torch first to his face as he told them, "I am Ali, Assistant Keeper of Knowledge. Who are you?" He then held the torch to each of the others as Civis, Jayhawk, Incon, Zen, MRed and Skip gave out their names. "And the creature?" Tusky allowed Incon to do the honors.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-11-00 16:02 ET (US)     108 / 121       
"Ahhh... Al-Ephant," he noted. "Yes... I have just learned about these creatures. There have arrived many new books to read. These are indeed remarkable creatures. So talented. Perceptive... Solve mysteries, accomplish other amazing feats; especially the one called Tusk-ee." BT beamed in pleasure at hearing his name singled out among all others of his kind.

Ali turned about still talking to himself and paying no attention to how his long shirt had become entangled in his sandals; that is, until he tripped sending his flaming torch sailing into the racks of scrolls. Flames immediately began to course up the racks seeking scroll after scroll for fuel. Ali babbled on in some unknown tongue registering near panic at the fire that threatened to consume his precious writings.

Tusky quickly sensed the danger and remembered the barrel of water he saw near the door. It took only a moment for the pachyderm to get a trunk full and give the flames a solid spray of cold water. Two more trunks full and the flames were no more.

Ali ran to the place where the fire died in a cold shower of water from Tusky's trunk. He tapped out a few lone burning embers then picked up one of the soggy texts. It drooped in his hand like hot flat dough cakes. The little man began to shake all over. He turned and screamed at them. "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE! JUST LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE! You've destroyed this scroll... And this scroll; and that scroll! You ignorant fools. HOW DARE YOU!" Then he began jumping up and down screaming things in that funny language no one there understood.

Civis and the others looked at each other. Wordlessly they communicated. 'Not all here' they were thinking; what an ingrate! We save his scrolls from being torched and we are blamed for the damage. "Come on," said Civis. "We have other places to go and things to do."

They walked out of the same door through which they originally entered... just in time to see two priests from the temple carrying torches down the main hallway. The priests turned and looked at them. Their eyes opened wide in surprise and fear, then they took off running for the open double door that led into the main storage area for the writings and fabulous knowledge that made the Great Library of Alexandria a wonder of the world.

Zen, Civis and the others gave chase immediately.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-12-00 16:21 ET (US)     109 / 121       
Quiet again, it appears. We'll just move the plot along a little faster.

_______________________________________________________

Zen, arriving first, threw open the double doors only to see flames beginning to lick their way up case upon case of stored scrolls. The two priests had done their job well. And they were still in the great hall igniting more cases of scrolls, laughing in delight as precious knowledge changed from marks on papyrus to smoke and ash.

Civis arrived next and charged past Zen. Even with flames rising along the cases near him, the infuriated Roman tackled the first priest knocking the torch out of his hand. Then he leaped up, grabbed the fallen torch and extinguished it on the stone floor.

He advanced next on the second priest who stood there with no further use for his torch and a smug smile on his face as flames rose around him. Civis terminated the priest's smug smile with his clenched right fist. The torch went flying, but by now that didn't matter.

"Grab the other one, Skip!" yelled Civis. "These two 'holy men' have an appointment with Cleopatra!" Civis grabbed the knocked out priest by the collar of his robes and drug the unconscious man out of the room, through the double doors and into the street, Skip and the others following closely behind. The glow of the now raging conflagration formerly called the Great Library illuminated their way out and up the street to Cleopatra's palace.

___________________________________________________________

The Roman Commander entered the room, bowed to Cleopatra and saluted Caesar then whispered something to him. Caesar's face broke into a wide grin.

"My Lady, I present to you your brother, Ptolemy." With that, two Roman Legionnaires entered the room pulling along a resisting, somewhat battered Egyptian bearing a striking resemblance to the Queen. A woman entered on her own,a haughty expression on her face, and stood next to her shackled brother. But Cleopatra's attention was drawn to the portal of her balcony where in the distance she could see, for the first time, the flames rising from the Great Library.

She turned towards Caesar, venom in her eyes and words. "Treacherous man, you and your Romans have deliberately destroyed the greatest treasure of Alexandria and Egypt! Explain this, this... 'help' you have given to me!"

Her brother looked at Caesar and laughed. "Yes, great Roman, explain this desecration you committed in the name of Cleopatra!" A Legionnaire silenced him with a slap. Soldiers of Egypt standing guard stiffened involuntarily at the sound of the slap. Cleopatra only need give the word and the Romans would die where they stood.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-13-00 16:27 ET (US)     110 / 121       
Very, very, very quiet... Anyone home?

___________________________________________________________

Before the Queen could say anything two temple priests went flying through the door landing on their chests and chins on the stone floor of the Queen's Courtroom. In strode Zen, Civis, Incon, MRed, Jayhawk, Tusky and Skip.

"What is the meaning of this intrusion?!" bellowed Cleopatra. Guards lowered spears ready to use them if ordered. Civis went down on one knee and lowered his head respectfully. "Your Majesty, these two men can tell you who started the fire in the Great Library."

"Tell me, then," Cleopatra said to the two priests.

"Your Majesty, the Romans attacked us, took our torches and lit the great fire that now burns in the Library." Civis face reddened immediately, threatening to turn purple as anger surged forward. But it was Skip who responded first. He fell to one knee and bowed just as Civis had moments before.

"Your Majesty, please grant me permission to speak!"

"Speak, then," said Cleopatra.

"My Queen, these two men lie. On my ancestor's mummies I swear the Romans had nothing to do with the fire. We found these two using torches and setting fire to the scrolls in the Main Hall. We all tried to stop them, but the fire had advanced too far. Nothing could stop it, not even the Queen's whole army. Even now, Romans and Egyptians are trying to quench the flames, but there isn't enough water in the Sea or Lake to stop it. A great tragedy, My Queen."

"I do not think you have reason to lie, Skip. I thank you for telling this to me," said Cleopatra. She turned her attention back to the two priests. "Why have you done this? Who told you to burn the library?"

The two priests looked at each other and said nothing, looking instead at the floor. "SPEAK!" screamed Cleopatra.
Civis couldn't contain himself any longer. He pulled out his sword and jumped in front of the two priests menacing them with his sword.

"TELL HER! OR BY THE GODS OF EGYPT AND ROME I WILL PUT THIS SWORD THROUGH THE GUT OF THE ONE WHO STAYS SILENT THE LONGEST!"

The two priests spoke as one. "The High Priest told us to set fire to the Library if the Romans entered the battle. He believed the Romans would be blamed."

"Why?" asked Cleopatra.

The taller of the two priests answered immediately. "He believes the knowledge it contains corrupts the mind of our people. Ptolemy promised to seal its doors and permit no Egyptian to enter if the High Priest helped him win the city and the throne." Ptolemy hung his head knowing the priests told the truth and one of his secrets was now revealed.

It was the Queen's sister who rose to Ptolemy's defense.

Ramesses
Pleb
posted 07-13-00 18:56 ET (US)     111 / 121       
the silence is finally broken, i thought this would be an entrance for Ramesses after fighting his heart out!

Just then Ramesses walked into the room. His blood-stained goldensword and a big scar on his face revealed the heat of battle. And burns on his arms showed that he must have had a bad thing to say. He bowed then he began to speak.

" My queen, I would dare not inturrupt your court, but there is grim news. The library is completely doomed, not even the gods can save it. From what we could tell, the fire started from inside, and acess could only be gained by keepers of the library."

"thank you, now, stand and guard these prisoners, so that the Roman can relax." said Cleopatra.

" Cleopatra, my sister, don't you know that, knowledge is too curuptive, you can see that even though it is a great building, it holds evils untold to that of our race. It would only be right to seal the doors, so that Egypt would not go corrupt as it has in the past." said Cleo's sis.

hope it was a good re-entrance

------------------
He who correctly criticieses me is my teacher, he who correctly praises me is my friend, he who flatters me is my enemy.
-Sun Tzu

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-13-00 21:54 ET (US)     112 / 121       
Ramesses: You are getting much better at joining the flow and working within the storyline. Yes, it was a good re-entry. Nice to know you've been following the story even if you haven't been posting.

__________________________________________________________

"Sister, you are mistaken!" exclaimed Cleopatra. "In the library were all of the records of the ancients on preparing ourselves for the journey into the afterlife. Records of the tombs for every Pharaoh; plans of the inside of every pyramid. Translations of our most famous heiroglyphic writings into Greek. The history of our people, the secrets of our structures, our weapons, our culture; and the way we live in this sometimes fertile, sometimes arid land. Our people have lost a great treasure indeed. We Egyptians have lost our past. Right now our ancestors are looking at us from the afterlife with disappointment, pity and pain at how we have conducted ourselves. You are very wrong sister, and I shall leave it to you and our brother to explain to our ancestors how and why we destroyed all record of their lives and accomplishments."

The room, crowded as it was, remained silent for the longest time as Cleopatra's words registered in their minds with the strongest possible impact. Even the two priests were beset with great gilt over what they had done and resigned themselves to their fate. "Take the priests away and place them in the cages," said Cleopatra at long last. "Find the High Priest and do the same to him."

"And what of your sister and brother?" asked Julius Caesar, breaking his long silence.

"I only seek to end their campaign against me," replied Cleopatra.

"They have conducted war against a friend of Rome. May I assist in removing the threat of that happening again?" asked Caesar.

"You shall promise you will not harm them, Roman," replied Cleopatra.

"I, Julius Caesar of Rome, shall not harm them, Queen Cleopatra."

Cleopatra looked at her sister. "Sister, will you still stay with Ptolemy and share his fate in exile?"

"I choose Ptolemy," she said vehemently.

Cleopatra turned to a nearby scribe. "I, Cleopatra, Queen of the Two Kingdoms of Egypt speaks: The Great Library is destroyed by act of Egyptians. The High Priest and all of his accomplices shall be put to death for crimes against Egypt. For treason to Egypt and its Queen, Ptolemy, Brother of Cleopatra and his sister, also Sister to Cleopatra, shall both be driven from the lands of Egypt, never to return; and should they return, to die at the hand of any who discover them." She paused a moment to see that the scribe had finished. Then she continued. "As of this moment, Egypt is friend to the Empire of Rome. So it is said, so let it be written."

The scribe cautiously glanced at Cleopatra hoping she didn't see what he actually wrote. Then the scribe looked at Ptolemy. Their eyes met and the scribe understood the meaning. He would produce the writing in two parts, he decided. One would be the statement of conviction against the High Priest, Ptolemy and his sister. The other would be the record of the fire in the Great Library. But to this record, the scribe would make one small change then place the record in the storage place for all such records, one that would not be looked at for many years. The change would be simple enough... just one word: Where originally it said 'Egyptians' it would say 'Romans'. This was all a poor scribe could do to help the rightful Pharaoh of Egypt against the false queen. In the future, the Romans would be blamed for the fire, not his people.

Caesar turned to one of his commanders, said something in latin. The commander saluted, motioned to the two Legionnaires, and the two soldiers took Ptolemy and his sister from Cleopatra's chamber. The two royal-bred Egyptians were never seen again in the lands of Egypt... or anywhere else.

The room remained somewhat somber. "My friends from Rome and afar," said Cleopatra once more flashing her remarkable smile. "This has been a difficult yet momentous evening. Tomorrow we must declare an end to the strife in Egypt. There shall be a celebration... a banquet. Incontinentia, my friend. Tomorrow, you and the others shall all dance for Caesar and for me!" Jayhawk rolled his eyes. And I thought I had escaped this dance thing, he said to himself silently. Incon quickly glanced over, gave him her usual smile and a hip twitch too. Jayhawk turned pink, a remarkable facial color when punctuated with seagreen eyes.

Dione then entered the room taking Civis by the hand and motioning to MRed to follow her. She would guide them all back to their rooms and place them once more in the capable hands of Cleopatra's household servants. Civis would be in her's. Ramesses accepted the thanks of his Queen and an invitation for himself and Nephisis to attend the banquet and dancing afterwards. He bowed, backed respectfully out of her chamber, and left his Queen in the company of her friend from Rome, Julius Caesar.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 07-13-2000).]

MRed94
Pleb
posted 07-14-00 00:57 ET (US)     113 / 121       
Before MRed left the room, she stopped before Cleopatra, and bowing low, asked for a moment with the Queen in private...........

Cleopatra, having granted the request, followed MRed to a quiet corner.

"My Queen, and my friend.......I saw, as you were dictating the law, that the scribe and Ptolemy exchanged a glance. I don't think they were up to any good, and it might be a good idea to read over the scroll the scribe wrote on before it is entered into the archives....." MRed said quietly.

"Ah......they plot even in the same room with me...." Cleopatra thanked MRed for the wisdom, and returned to her throne as MRed joined her friends.

Ramesses
Pleb
posted 07-14-00 13:51 ET (US)     114 / 121       
Ramesses had silently been givin the command of a carrying out a sentence. As Ramesses thought, he would be merciful to the priests, thus a short death would not allow too much pain. Yet, he had to turn his thoughts away from that. Caesar had givin Ramesses a look which meant that Caesar probably had an assingment for him. Ramesses now was having a different oppinion of Romans.

" Dear, what's wrong?" asked Nephisis.

" Lots of things, too much to talk about."

" Well, start we have plenty of time." said Nephisis.

" Can't, probably classified. Anyways, I really need a vacation,maybe we could go to Crete, or maybe Judah, someplace rather than here. For once, I have a feeling Egypt can live without me." said Ramesses.

Then, they went to the banquet.

" I have a strange feeling that I might become Caesar's best new friend, well, in the desert anyways."

------------------
He who correctly criticieses me is my teacher, he who correctly praises me is my friend, he who flatters me is my enemy.
-Sun Tzu

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-14-00 16:29 ET (US)     115 / 121       
Reworked the last paragraph from my earlier post.

Civis was overwhelmed with attention from Dione. The Queen's primary handmaiden suspected that the Roman's time in Egypt may be drawing to a close and she was bound and determined to make it memorable for her own reasons. So when Civis was led to his quarters by the young Egyptian girl, everything was orderly, ready and presented.

"I suppose you have selected your dancing partner for this evening?" she asked in as forcibly a casual manner as she could.

"Yes, and thank you for asking, Dione." The Egyptian girl's expression became slightly puzzled.

"May I ask who it is?" she inquired.

"Of course. She's a lovely young lady,mmm... about your heighth. Has the same colored hair and eyes as you."

Dione's face began to register concern. "How long have you known this girl, Civis of Rome?"

"Just a few days really. Met her in Alexandria. Oh, Dione, would you hand that belt to me? Yes, thank you."

Misery began to claw its way into the handmaiden's face and her formerly pink cheeks were now pale and drawn. "I hope... I hope you will enjoy the evening with her."

"I plan to," Civis replied.

"I have finished," said Dione. "May I retire now?" she asked, tears starting to form in her eyes."

"Aren't you going to get ready for the banquet and dance, Dione?" asked Civis.

"Why, no Sir. I do not expect to go unless the Queen beckons." One large tear formed and dragged kohl down her cheek. "Please, let me retire now, if I may."

"Now Dione, whatever is the matter? If you continue to cry you will be in no shape to dance with me at the banquet. And isn't it time for you to get ready?"

"Dance with you... But you said... (then realization dawned on the befuddled girl) You meant me all along?!" Civis nodded, then laughed. Dione didn't know whether to cry or laugh, so she did what many a young lady would do to cover up confusion, she attacked. "Civis Romanus, you are not a kind man! That was an absolutely terrible thing to do to me!" Then she paused tilted her head and looked at him girlishly. "But I'll be ready on time so don't you be late." And she left the room, spirits elevated to a new high and tears quickly converted to joy from despair.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 07-14-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-14-00 20:57 ET (US)     116 / 121       
MRed: Not sure where you're going with the scribe thing.

________________________________________________________

The scribe was sitting at his table busily painting heiroglyphs onto papyrus. Suddenly two soldiers walked into the scribe's chamber, seized him by both shoulders and grabbed the scrolls on his desk.

"What are you doing, fools? I was just about to finish these writings!" protested the scribe.

Said the Egyptian soldiers, "Scribe, you have finished the writings. Now we will see if you have written what the Queen said to write."

The scribe's face turned pale. He always expected to make the journey into the Afterlife. He just hadn't expected to make it this soon.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Alexandria, the common folk went about their business, the civil war having ended. Small groups of them surrounded priests and other lesser templers. Passer-bys could hear the same message being said everywhere they went in the city. The Romans, the Romans... they were to blame. It was the Romans who burned the Great Library. The few Roman soldiers still moving about in the city or returning to their camps received stares and glares from the citizens of Alexandria. Disciplined as the Roman soldiers were and steeled to the attitude of foreigners towards them, these few Romans nonetheless quickened their pace in order to reach the safety of their camp as soon as they possibly could.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 07-14-2000).]

MRed94
Pleb
posted 07-15-00 01:04 ET (US)     117 / 121       
Scribey did a naughty thing...... Hang him high!
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-16-00 15:47 ET (US)     118 / 121       
Civis and Jayhawk were quietly conversing in the hallway while waiting for their partners for the upcoming festivities. Zen hurried to join them.

"Civis, have you heard what they are saying on the streets? That the Romans burned the Great Library?! It's what the priests are telling them."

"But Zen, everyone knows Romans didn't burn the Great Library. Cleopatra knows it, her Court and commanders know it, Caesar knows it, we know it, and certainly the priests know it. How can the Egyptians say Romans burned the Great Library?!"

Jayhawk sighed. "Civis, ignorant commoners who have no way of verifying what is true will believe whatever a trusted messenger tells them, especially if it amplfies their personal prejudice. The commoners will believe the priests because they distrust, and yes, even hate Romans."

Jayhawk saw the puzzled look on his friend's face. "You see, Civis. It's called the "Great Lie". If you are seeking political or social advantage and must tell a lie, then tell the greatest possible lie you can create. The greater the lie told to common people, the more likely they are to believe it. This has been done repeatedly in the past and will continue to be done in the future. You are from the future of Rome, Civis. You already have seen examples of this."

"What example, Jayhawk?"

"Your somewhat recently deceased Emperor Nero, for example. He wanted to rebuild Rome in the image of his own idea of how it should look. Then came the Great Fire. He recognized immediately its potential for reconstruction, so he obstructed the stopping of the fire by doing nothing to make its end possible. Then, to avoid the blame for the great spread of the flames, he accused the Christians of having set the fire in an attempt to destroy the city of Rome. This played to the prejudice of the common Roman and succesfully diverted attention from Nero. A master stroke of misguided politics, don't you think?"

Civis nodded. "I see your point."

"One other point, my friend. The events of the past days should help you to understand that even if you can succesfully change an historical event, which we could not, you will be exceedingly unable to change the common memory of what happened. Complete history, Civis, is the occurrence and interpretation of events in the minds of those who experienced it rather than an analysis of the event itself written by those who followed and did not experience it. The latter is conjecture and speculation that may approach historical accuracy, but never perfectly capture what it seeks."

Civis said nothing as he thought about what Jayhawk had said.

"Anyway, let's put this to the side and get ready to have some fun... I see the ladies are about to join us."

Civis looked in the direction to which Jayhawk pointed and observed the same. Nonetheless, a small corner of his mind continued to consider the subject. Later he would admit that the concept of history he previously held, was forever changed by these events and the words of Jayhawk.

Dione was stunning, as were MRed and Incon. This banquet and dance would be memorable for many reasons.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 07-16-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-17-00 16:36 ET (US)     119 / 121       
The next day saw the departure of Civis, Jayhawk, MRed, Incon and Zen from Alexandria, each in his or her own unique way.

First Incon, shouting farewell, guided her remarkable elephant out of the gates of Alexandria. Skip could barely control himself. His teary eyes revealed the depth of affection he had developed for Big Tusky. This was not unexpected. BT had this effect on any who had any appreciation at all for animals; and with Tusky, there was a lot to appreciate.

Zen just sort of disappeared. Only Jayhawk knew where he had gone and all he would say was something about silk and the Chin.

MRed gaily waved to the two remaining travellers as she led her caravan of merchandise back to one of her many enterprises. "Will we see her again, Jayhawk?" Civis asked.
"More than likely... and when we least expect it, I think."
If Jayhawk were going to say anything else, he would not have had the chance; for just as MRed disappeared from sight, the doors to Cleopatra's palace opened wide and the Queen herself, accompanied by Caesar, exited and stood on the broad entry platform. Immediately, all people in and around the area bowed from the waist and waited for her command to straighten once more. This she did a brief moment later.

"Civis and Jayhawk, approach," she commanded. They walked to the place where they were bid. "You have been of great service to Egypt, though others do not understand how well you have served. As you have chosen to leave, go now with these tokens of gratitude from the Queen of the Two Kingdoms of Egypt." To both she gave similar adornments fashioned of gold and lapis lazulli, meant to be worn on a cloak or some other garment.

"Thank you, your Majesty. We regret we could not save the...," began Civis. The Queen interrupted him.

"Civis of Rome, the gods ordained its destruction. There could be no opposition to the will of the gods. We and others are but their instruments."

Civis lowered his head having nothing further to add but this, "May I say good bye to certain people with you?"

"Certainly."

Civis turned to Ramesses and Nephisis. "I am pleased to have seen you again, and especially pleased to see how well you are prospering." Nephisis turned slightly pink. There was something she hadn't yet told her husband. Somehow Civis knew. Eventually, she would realize how Civis would know, but for now Imhotep and the search for the scarab ring were in the future for them all.

Then Civis turned to Dione, who was standing beside and behind her mistress, the Queen. The young Egyptian girl was smearing her kohl again as tears fell one after the other. Civis reached for his wrist. On it was a gold chain he had worn there for many years. He removed the gold chain and approached the servant girl.

As he handed the chain to her he said, "For beauty, loyalty, respect and integrity; for you." The girl reached out with a shaking hand and accepted the gift, then impulsively reached for the Roman's neck and placed a warm, tear wet kiss on his cheek. She turned and ran back into the palace. A rumble of comment washed across the Egyptians gathered in the plaza.

"Your Majesty, I hope I haven't offended her," said the concerned Roman warrior.

"No, I think not. But as she has honored your relationship with your consort, so you have honored her for doing so. In this way and others you have caused her to love you. I believe it is more than she can manage at the moment. Go in peace, Civis Romanus, and remember Egypt." Then Cleopatra turned about and returned to her palace, as all bowed once more until she was gone.

Outside the gates of Alexandria in a secluded area free of prying eyes Jayhawk closed his own eyes in deep concentration and the resulting whirlwind of sand carried them both forward in time to the place from whence they came, the Rome of future Caesars.

THE PLAY CONCLUDES

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 07-17-00 17:06 ET (US)     120 / 121       
EPILOGUE

Five slaves slowly and deliberately swept the stage clear of the debris of performance. The actors were long gone and so were nearly all in the audience. One slave looked up to see two men still in the seats. One was apparently youthful, quite tall and slender, and wore a white robe. The other was considerably older, somewhat balding at the crown of his head and his remaining hair nearly all white. The old man was once of medium heighth, but now appeared somewhat stooped, shoulders rounded. His piercing blue eyes contrasted with the seagreen eyes of the other.

"Well, my friend," said the old man. "Do you think it a fair representation of what really happened? It's been so many years and I tried to write all that I could remember."

"Fair enough, I think," replied the younger man. "It lacks for nothing, in my opinion."

"You are too kind to me," said the old man, smiling in such a way that a small scar on the side of his face whitened as the skin stretched.

"Don't you think its time to go back to your villa and rest?" gently suggested the younger man.

"Yes, I suppose so. Please, if you will, just a little assistance."

The younger man place a strong right arm under the old man's left arm. Gentle pressure upwards enabled the old man to rise, putting little strain on his left leg, the one with the scar caused by a deep gash from a barbarian knife.

Standing now, the old man made as to move, but hesitated and slowly turned to look up at the tall younger man. "She was beautiful and very sweet, you know. What ever happened to Dione, Jayhawk?"

"I suppose I must tell you, musn't I. Otherwise you will bother me endlessly until I do."

"That is correct, Jayhawk. You know me very well."

"If I must, then I must; but you will not like what I tell you... Cleopatra was found in her tomb by Octavian. She was dead from the bite of an Asp. Two servant girls were found there as well. Both had taken poison and had begun their journey to the afterlife. One of the servant girls was Dione. When they found her she was grasping an object and even in death would simply not let it go."

"What was the object, Jayhawk?"

"A simple thing, not very elegant or luxurious... a gold chain. Some say it was a gift to her from someone she loved. There, Civis, now you know." Jayhawk could see sadness in his friend's blue eyes, far more than he expected.

"Yes, Jayhawk, so now I know." Slowly the old man turned about and began to walk haltingly to the exit of the theater, helped along by his friend and frequent companion.

END OF STORY

Ramesses
Pleb
posted 07-17-00 22:01 ET (US)     121 / 121       
Just a quick note, before Cleo would die, Ramesses and Nephisis would leave for a post in the desert after the departure, it would then make a perfect continueing story line to that of "The Tales of Rome" of C3.

------------------
He who correctly criticieses me is my teacher, he who correctly praises me is my friend, he who flatters me is my enemy.
-Sun Tzu

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