Posted by Barbanne on November 18, 1999 at 23:54:23:
THE CLEOPATRA PLOT.
I stood bare foot and shivering in my light shift in the banquet room. The three dead girls lay where they had fallen. Chrisinus was comforting me, her arm around my shoulder. Lights had been lit and the room was bathed in yellow.
Mitrius stood looking at me.
Mo-Ooki stood to one side, puzzled. Vickina and Lisatia were there.
Mitrius looked at us.
"I feel it is time to explain something. Something terrifyingly frightening in its evil. Barbanne, you alone, being an outlander, may be spared this horror."
I looked at him. My confusion was written all over my face.
"Let me see," said Mitrius, "how can I best tell you?"
"Tell us what?"
"You see, this land, Unus Zim-Ba-Bwe, is home to Petra. She is the daughter of Isis, Queen of Unus Zim-ba-Bwe, and revered as a god in Egypt. Her father Osiris is the greatest warrior this or any land has ever known."
"But she killed these girls."
"A moment Barbanne. Let me finish."
"To ensure peace and the flourishing of wisdom and culture for all time, Isis and Osiris decided to send their daughter Petra to Egypt where she was known as Cleopatra and was acknowledged as the Queen of all of that mighty land. She was to court and marry the educated and urbane Mark Antony, the most liberal of Romans and by so doing unite these two great lands." He paused and gazed for a while at the dead bodies of the young women. "This happened, as you know. Sadly, Antony proved too weak for the task thrust on him and despite the strength of Petra's love and the enormous wisdom she brought to the marriage, ultimately the grand scheme of Isis and Osiris failed and Octavius will be remembered as the man who cast humanity into a dark future."
"But now Petra is a killer."
"Please my little Celtic idiot." Mitrius grinned broadly and I could take no offense.
"So, as you know I saved Petra from a death she felt compelled to die. Her love for Antony was great." He looked again at the young corpses. "Now she has returned to her rightful home and from here the task of saving humanity from blood and warfare must begin again."
I furrowed my brow. "But Mitrius.............." He cut me off with a slash of his hand.
"Barbanne, the curse of Unus Zim-ba-bwe is that it is the home of good and evil. Petra's identical doppleganger lives here in this land in the fortress and temple of Satania. Mere kilometres from this very city. It was she whom you saw leaving here after she had slain these girls."
"Eh.........." There are times when the description Celtic idiot is flattering to me.
I turned, Petra stood in the room. How long she had been there I didn't know.
"And in Satania, the stronghold of my duplicate are identical duplicates of Vickina, Chrisinus and Lisatia as well as Mitrius."
"That's why you, Barbanne dear, are our most potent weapon. Being an outlander they can't duplicate you, but even better, your innocent eyes combined with Mo-Ooki's special powers will enable you and you alone to distinguish between the real me and the false."
"Gaaaaaaaaaaaawd!!!! Huh, Innocent...................." I laughed.
"And Mo-Ooki," I grabbed his arm and clutched tight, "where does Mo-Ooki fit in." I looked up at him, my love and adoration shining from my eyes, I could no more hide it than I could live without breathing.
"Mo-Ooki is a very special man."
"I know." I squeezed his arm.
"Not just your favourite swordsman Barbanne," Petra smiled, "but a visitor to our time from a far distant country and another time. Mo-Ooki is from Yoo-Wessay far to the west and far into the mists of time."
"Ooooooer." It was beyond me and far too much for my simpleton brain. I gazed adoringly at Mo-Ooki and hoped someone would draw me a picture.
"With him you make a special magic."
"Aint it the truth."
"Not just in bed sweetheart, you two together will see an aura around the duplicates and we will know then who is true and who false."
Young women came and removed the dead bodies of the young girls. We sat around the table. I was awfully tired again. Petra looked at me. "Tomorrow we will attack Satania and destroy this evil once and for all."
"Geeeee." I yawned.
"Mo-Ooki, take our little canary and help her rest well. We shall need her tomorrow."
Nearly asleep, I rose and left on Mo-Ooki's arm. He took me to my bed and I climbed into the sheets. "OK Mo-Ooki, let's have a nightcap. Encore performance." I held out my arms.
"Goodnight little one." he said and his eyes bored into mine. They seemed to grow bigger and I went out as though sand bagged.
I floated up out of a dream in which I was tasting the delights of the most beautiful person................................................
I realised I was awake and yet the dream persisted. I tasted sweet breath. I felt soft, moist lips on mine. Busy little fingers stroked my breasts, bringing my nipples awake, a hand explored the so so soft and sensitive skin of my inner thighs and probed at my womanhood. Lazily I opened my eyes and saw a beautiful face only millimetres from my own.
"Chrisinus!" I was amazed, "I had no idea you were.................????....well, interested."
"Barbanne. I adore you. I have struggled to keep my infatuation hidden, but no more. I want you now and mean to have you."
"Well sweet Chrisinus, of course I'm surprised, but.............if you insist."
Light flooded the room as lamps were carried in. I looked up amazed. Chrisinus, as naked as was I, lay half over me, her breasts and mine grazing each other.
Chrisinus, clad in a royal purple tunic and carrying a long bow, stood near the open doorway to our bedchamber. Behind her stood Mo-Ooki a lantern raised in his hand. "Barbanne beware! That is the false Chrisinus."
"No my darling," she whispered in my ear, I am Chrisinus and yonder bitch is false."
"Barbanne," Mo-Ooki spoke, "now that I am here the false Chrisinus is the one you see haloed by a black void. Look my darling and see for yourself."
I looked at Chrisinus standing by the doorway. Looked like Chrisinus to me. I looked at the naked girl who lay entwined intimately with me. A black shimmering nothingness surrounded her. It was true. She was the false woman. Besides the Chrisinus I knew would never have called another woman a bitch.
"Evil bitch," I screamed (I had no qualms where bitches were concerned) "let me go."
"Die filthy Celt." She snarled and her mouth twisted in hatred and her eyes gleamed with venom. Her hand came from behind her, a long, sharp, nasty blade clutched in her fingers and she plunged it at my unprotected chest. I was dead! I briefly flashed the thought that the next life take me....please! Mo-Ooki cried out, a cry of sheerest anguish, and at the last instant the knife swerved aside ploughing a shallow furrow across my collar bone and upper arm. Blood sprang out of the wound and the false Chrisinus leapt to her feet and in the merest second her arm drew back and the blade flashed across the room straight at Chrisinus's heart. Mo-Ooki's hand chopped out and the knife quivered to a halt in the woodwork of the door jamb. Chrisinus had her bow drawn. She looked like the fabled Diana, the huntress.
The arrow covered the length of the room faster than the eye could follow and buried itself in the left breast of the false Chrisinus. Her eyes widened in shock and her mouth opened but no sound issued forth. Blood gushed over her lower lip and dripped onto her breasts and belly. Her hands scabbled at the feathered shaft and she twisted and slumped to the floor, the arrow pointing straight up. She shuddered and her heels drummed on the floor. Her back arched and she hung suspended between her head and her heels. Her body quivered and jittered and the shaft of the arrow danced back and forth. Stretched out fully, arched like the bow that had sent death to her, her gorgeous body looked amazing. I couldn't get my head around her not being truly Chrisinus and I felt weird as I saw my friend dying. I glanced over to where the true Chrisinus stood, the bow held loosely by her side, and smiled and looked back fascinated by the dying girl. She made a noise like "uuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhh." almost like a huge final breath and then she flopped limply to the floor and her knees bent and her arms twitched and she was still.
"Jeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzz." I said.
Mo-Ooki was by my side.
"Oh yeah" My cut though shallow was bleeding like a stuck pig. He tore a strip from my sheet and bound it tightly around the wound. Chrisinus stood over her fallen double, staring down at the dead girl who mirrored herself.
"This is very strange." She murmured.
Others came. Petra swept in regally with Mitrius in tow. They looked at the corpse of the false Chrisinus. Mitrius looked at me.
"Obviously they know of your ability to tell them apart from ourselves. She was sent to kill you."
"Bloody near did too. Except for Mo-Ooki here." I squeezed his shoulders causing my wound to throb.
"Well, at least Chrisinus need have no fear of meeting herself again. There is only one duplicate of any person."
"I feel sick." I announced.
"You would." said Mitrius. That man is not my greatest fan.
The young women came and the limp body of Chrisinus's double was carried from the room. Sagging in the grasp of four maidens, she looked more pathetic than dangerous. I dressed in my shift and followed the maidens. Down winding steps we went to the cold, stone charnel house beneath the building. There, on polished stone slabs lay the nude bodies of the three girls whom the false Petra had slain. Morticians, young men clad only in white loin cloths, were aspirating their bodies prior to embalming them. The maidens laid Chrisinus's body on a slab. Chrisinus, the true Chrisinus, removed her arrow from the dead woman's breast. I stood over the slab and looked at the white, dead body that had almost been my undoing. I rubbed my hand along her thigh and lightly touched her curly pubic hair. I ran my finger up her flat belly and stroked her upthrust breasts. I touched her closed eyelids. She looked so peaceful and so, so, beautiful. I ran her hair through my fingers and looked at Chrisinus. She had watched closely as I caressed her identical corpse.
"Strange." I said.
"Strange." she agreed.
There was no more sleep that night and the next morning we left for the fortress of Satania. The day of reckoning had come.