Posted by Barbanne on November 18, 1999 at 23:57:18:
THE CLEOPATRA PLOT.
Petra, Mitrius, Vickina, Chrisinus, Lisatia, Mo-Ooki and I walked along a steep and narrow path skirting a sheer cliff. It was so narrow that we had to walk in single file. They were armoured and weaponed up for a mighty battle. I wore only my shift and sandals. The horrors of the previous night had not weakened my resolve to be a total pacifist. For the past half hour we had walked in a dense mist which seemed to be a permanent fixture at this altitude.
I was terrified.
They had all been nice to me, Mo-Ooki especially so, but I was after all an ingenue, taken from her home in infancy and trained only to pleasure men. I had to face it, I'm a good time girl and had no place in this serious affair.
Besides I had a strong intuitive sensation that I was to die. I had dreamt of my own death in the few short hours in which I had managed to sleep. I had seen very clear images of my body, nude and bloody, lying in limbo.
Petra and the others had studied the book I had taken from the men who killed Sarita. It contained much information about Satania, including maps of the fortress and temple. I could not join in. I felt useless. I felt as if I was not needed. I felt alone, lost.
I tramped along in the mist. Cold, miserable, my worthlessness bearing down on me. I was convinced that this attack on Satania would result in my death. I knew I was needed and hoped that I could identify the duplicates for my friends before I died. It would be my parting gift. You probably think reading my account of these events that I am a sex obsessed girl who takes everything in her stride. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a dark and tortured soul, whose Celtic blood contains the cold gloomy mists of my homeland and who suffers agony at her own hands from the pain and suffering imposed by a fertile and self destructive mind. In some ways I wanted to die. I have always wanted to die. The pain of living seems not worth the struggle. Then I looked at Mo-Ooki's broad shoulders ahead of me and I knew I wanted to live, if only I could live with Mo-Ooki. He would banish my fears, his strong arms would hold me safe from the dark horrors of my own making. His love and his sex would take me away from the land of death into which I constantly gazed. With Mo-Ooki I could be happy. But that could not be. He was from a land far away and a time into which I would never be born. No, for me this was the end of the road. I knew it in my dark, depressive soul.
I was on a death march.
In this frame of mind, head down, feet dragging I lurched along and ran slap bang into that broad back of Mo-Ooki's. He had stopped. They had all stopped. I gazed up, blinking hot tears from my eyes.
Looming above us, revealed piece by piece by the swirling fog was the fortress of Satania. Ancient weather worn stone, steep ramparts, crenellated walls. It throbbed with evil. There was no sign of life. It seemed to me that this was indeed the home of wickedness and we were walking into it like blind fools.
We were now at the foot of the walls.
A small doorway stood in amongst the stone. Petra tried it. It was open. This WAS a trap. Petra turned.
"Barbanne, I need you with me from now on. Join me."
Talk about a misery guts. I shuffled forward with all of the enthusiasm of the condemned. Petra pushed the door open and, holding my hand in hers, stepped through.
We were inside a large chamber. Torches guttered in iron sconces casting a dim light over everything. The chamber was almost bare. A wooden table stood in the middle and apart from that the only sign of human kind were rows of shackles pinned to the walls. Several of these held skeletal bones. We were in some sort of dungeon room and one from which people didn't escape too often. The others crowded in and Chrisinus pulled the door closed. In a tight little knot we progressed forward. A huge door on the opposite side opened noisily and we found ourselves in a narrow corridor. Slimy green moisture ran down the walls. We walked forward in the gloom, Petra still held my hand. In her other hand glinted the sword of Judaea, throbbing quietly and gleaming with suppressed power. Suddenly she pushed me against a wall. Slimy goop wet the back of my shift, er, yucko! "Hey do you mind?" I grumbled, then I saw them. Three young women, naked except for leather waist belts and scabbards with wicked knives in them, their bodies oiled all over, were rapelling down ropes hanging from the ceiling. Their nude flesh gleamed in the dull light. They were shaved of all body hair and the sheen of oil emphasised the perfection of their young athletic bodies. Petra thrust upward with the sword of Judaea. It sank to the hilt between one of the girl's legs and she pitched forward. For an instant her face was only millimetres from mine and her eyes registered shock, the shock that one so young, who thought herself immortal, feels on realising that she is dead. And then she was dead. Her gleaming corpse hung, hooked from its rope which was twisted around her ankle, arms dangling, head down. Her free leg splayed away from her body and Petra ripped the sword from it's sheath in her sheath. Blood coursed down her thighs.
The other two girls had reached the floor and Lisatia ran her sword through the first one's breasts bisecting them perfectly and she crumpled and slid to the floor. The third girl had her knife out and lunged at Mitrius but Vickina knocked her knife from her hand with the handle of her sword and crunched the flat of the blade against the girl's bare head. She went down pole axed and Vickina finished her with a thrust to the thoat. The dead girl lay spread wide, arms and legs apart. Vickina grasped her arm and flung her aside. Then she hauled the girl Lisatia had killed up by her armpit and flung her on top of the other. A wet oily smack sounded throughout the corridor as the two nude corpses met. The dangling girl we left hanging where she was.
We hurried forward to where the corridor opened into a large room.
This one was well lit by many candles in wall brackets. The floor was polished stone, the walls hewn blocks of the same stone, The high ceiling was cobwebbed and stained with dampness. The same slimy green muck that had been in the corridor slid down these walls too. In the room stood Petra, Vickina and Lisatia. They were identical in every respect to my companions but as soon as Mo-Ooki joined me inside the room, the shimmering black void around them became clearly apparent. With them were six more of the naked, oiled girls, their knives out and ready. In a concerted rush, these girls charged at me and my ability to tell the real Petra and friends from the duplicates was, I realised, a serious handicap. I dodged sideways and Chrisinus fired her bow over my shoulder. An arrow quivered in the forehead of one of the girls and she dropped backward. Another reached me, but Vickina cut her down with her sword. Blood gushed from an awful wound in her neck and she fell to her knees.
The false Vickina, Lisatia and Petra joined in the melee and it was all I could do to see who was real and who false. Vickina (false) was battling Petra, Lisatia (real) was fighting Petra (false) and Vickina (real) was struggling with Lisatia (false).
I was in deep shit as I'd been separated and surrounded by three of the oily nudies and was up against a wall. Mitrius, I realised he was false, was urging them on. I was unarmed and didn't rate my chances highly and had been driven into a squatting position with my hands up protectively and my eyes shut as much as they were open, when I saw the false Mitrius's aura-ed head fly from its shoulders and crash bloodily against a side wall. It was Chrisinus and her sudden and vicious attack had the three girls turning to protect themselves. Chrisinus was magnificent. She attacked like a whirlwind. She absolutely battered her way through one girl's defence and finished her with a thrust to the tummy. A second she fended off a feeble knife thrust and then speared the unfortunate gal with a short stabbing jab to the chest. The third girl was making a sneak move to blindside Chrisinus when I decided I had to do something and grabbed her oily ankle and upended her. Before she could recover Chrisinus cut her throat. Erkkk, I got caught in the bloodstream.
Chrisinus dragged me up.
"Quick Barbanne who is true and who false?" She asked, stringing an arrow to her bow.
"That is the false Vickina." I pointed out the blackly haloed one.
The arrow from Chrisinus's bow buried itself in Vickina's bosom, obliterating her left nipple and piercing her heart. Petra jumped backward as a fountain of blood geysered forth and Vickina (nasty Vickina) grabbed at her chest, her eyelids fluttered and her mouth gaped open. Her tongue unravelled and her shoulders heaved and she crashed onto her back at Petra's feet. Her body jittered and she lay there twitching in her death throes. The real Vickina was being hard pressed by the false Lisatia. Lisatia was only small but she was a wonderful warrior and her swordsmanship was legendary. She forced the real Vickina (the false one lay dead impaled by Chrisinus's arrow) backward and I shouted to Chrisinus. "The false Lisatia, there. Get her!"
Chrisinus's bow whanged just as the false Lisatia looked towards the sound of my voice. The arrow caught her full in her tummy and she tumbled over. Her sword skidded from her hand and the feathered haft of the arrow shivered as her body shuddered from its mortal wound.
I saw Mo-Ooki off to one side, Mitrius was with him, Vickina and Lisatia were looking around confused. Suddenly the sole remaining oily nude girl rushed into my view as she attacked Vickina, her knife slashing wildly. Both Vickina and Lisatia turned and their swords flashed and the girl was skewered through both breasts simultaneously. She jerked back, freeing herself from the blades in a reflex action and then her body danced around in a dance of death, spraying droplets of blood everywhere. Her eyeballs disappeared backwards under her lids and she dropped. All six girls were now dead.
Only the false Petra lived.
I looked around. I was in the middle of the room, surrounded by female corpses and the headless Mitrius. I saw a tall, steel bound door and through that the temple of Satania. Petra lay senseless at the door, bleeding from a headwound. She had no aura.
Where was the false Petra?
I started to turn.
"Farewell seeing eyed bitch!"
A sharp pain and I knew I had been stabbed in the back. Darkness closed in from all sides and I slumped to my knees. The pain roared through me like a raging flame and I clutched at my burning back. My hand came away saturated and dripping blood. As in a nightmare I saw the false Petra emerge from behind me and rush toward the temple door. Vickina, Chrisinus and Lisatia were in hot pursuit. Blackly outlined, that evil Petra scooped up the unconscious body of Petra and fled through the door slamming it shut in the face of the three warrior women.
Blackness pressed in on me and terrified that death had really claimed me I called out "Mo-Ooki." and fell face forward into the dark void.