Part 6 - The Queen of Egypt
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While Aya still sails the seas with Phoxidas and his crew, you travel to the city of Heraklion on the Greek Island of Crete. Here you await both your beautiful wife and her new ally Pompey, for together you will sail to Egypt and deliver the throne for Cleopatra. As you enter the Royal Palace, Apollodorus greets you before ushering you to see the Queen. Clepoatra is pleased to see you but you don’t quite share the sentiment. With the Order of Ancients all but neutralized she offers you two further names. Angered you demand, “I am still looking for the men who killed my son. The Order is neutralized. Was my hunt for me or for you, how many more names come after that?”
“As many as it takes,” she replies coyly.
“I wish to bring my son to the afterlife where he belongs. I like you, Cleopatra, but the royal matters that seduced my wife do not sway me so,” you bark. Glancing at your Medjay badge, the one she gave you so many moons ago, you tell her, “This badge means more to you than it does to me.”
To temper your mood, she offers a gift. “The two new names, the Jackal and the Scorpion, are within my brother's inner circle. We believe they are the ones behind the attempt on my life. One of Septimius' warriors. They form a militia two thousand strong. I had hoped to ally with them. Septimus, the dreamer who posits himself as truly Egyptian, and yet sends a man to murder me. Not very Egyptian if you ask me. Aya feels he is working for the Order and has a proxy here named Venator.”
“Perhaps he is the masked one that forced my son's death upon me,” you posit.
Cleopatra leads you to the gardens of the palace. You see Apollodorus standing over a man, beaten and bloodied. “Here is your gift. He is in the Order of Ancients like Septimius. We think he knows who killed your son,” he says.
To Kill a Queen
The man smiles defiantly and tells you, “My brother Septimius killed your son, and I don't give a shit.” Applying just the right amount of pressure and intimidation you discover Septimius is also in town and has brought along his most trusted Phylake, Venator.
After questioning the local brothel, you learn where Venator is staying. You sneak into his quarters in search of information and uncover an intricate assassination plan. One of the men is posing as a woman to infiltrate the palace. Others posing as wine merchants will set a fire to cause a panic while an archer plans to pick off the Queen amidst the confusion. Springing to action you move hastily through town and take down the would be assassins one by one.
With the threat neutralized you return to the Palace and discover Aya had arrived in your absence. She leaps into your arms and you embrace once more. After a long and passionate kiss, you look lovingly into her eyes, “Ah! You smell of the sea!”
She smiles and replies, “The high seas have taken me for some time. But now I am yours.” Suddenly something catches her eye. A Roman archer ascends the stairs in the distance taking aim and firing at Cleopatra. Aya dives to the Queen’s defence and deflects the arrow to the ground as more soldiers rush into the courtyard. Banding together everyone defends the courtyard while Apollodorus escorts Cleopatra to safety. With most of the attack repelled Venator enters the fray.
A hulking and dangerous warrior Venator attacks with speed and ferocity. “Your Queen is an unworthy bitch,” he taunts. “The only dignity she has left, is death.” With his dual war axes he puts up a good fight but eventually you run him through and as he topples to the ground so does his uprising.
With the fighting over Cleopatra grows impatient. “This civil war is no closer to ending. I need a fucking throne. My throne rots in the hands of my brother. Instruct Phoxidas to prepare my ship. We head to meet Pompey. My last resort.”
At Options End
You and Aya reach the staging ground along the shores of the Mediterranean and sense something is wrong. “Death hangs in the air,” you worry.
Aya notes the stench reeks of rotten flesh. Soon the extent of the troubles comes into view. Mutilated bodies, blood, and carnage. Pompey’s army has been devastated. Not a single survivor remains and Pompey himself has been slain, head cut clean off. “Septimius has beat us,” you lament.
“Funny how all great men are reduced to food for maggots. This is a cemetery for our ambitions,” Aya remarks as Cleopatra arrives.
“No, no, it can't be... Where is Caesar?” She demands.
“He has arrived in Alexandria,” Aya replies, “He is guarded heavily so there's…”
With no options left Cleopatra demands the unimaginable, “Bring me to him. I will get to Caesar if I have to drag myself through the sewers.”
Before setting off for Alexandria Aya warns, “Bayek. Once we board this ship, there's no turning back. And we finish with the Queen on her throne, or each of our heads on a pike.”
A Royal Gambit
The trip to Alexandria took a major toll. Ptolemy’s fleet lay in waiting and attacked in such overwhelming numbers you were barely able to bring Cleopatra to shore. Now trapped in between Ptolemy’s fleet and Caesar’s legions the outlook looks grim. Cleopatra will surely be arrested or even worse killed with her forces scattered and her influence dwindling. She suggests something different from a typical Queen’s entrance. Pretending to represent the Great Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII, you and Aya wrap the Queen in an elegant rug and offer it as a gift to Caesar.
As you enter the palace Ptolemy is overheard addressing Pompey, “Pompey was your enemy, Caesar.”
“He was my friend first. But you are right, Ptolemy, now let us discuss our alliance.”
Aya interrupts, “Forgive me, Lord Caesar. We bring a gift from our Pharaoh, Cleopatra.”
Ptolemy barks, “Pharaoh? This is no gift, these are my sister's friends, it’s a trap.”
Mockingly Caesar scoffs, “In palace of an envoy, Cleopatra sends a rug?”
Before the conversation continues Cleopatra emerges and remarks, “I wonder how you all entered my palace? My wretched brother, he's let the wine go to vinegar... and my kingdom, to pieces.”
Caesar stands nearly dumbfounded by her presence “Great lady. Your audacity is equaled only by your beauty.”
She blushes as she delivers her offer. “I can offer you what my brother failed at with me. Marriage. A true marriage, that is.”
Outraged, Ptolemy screams “If you ally with my sister, I will kill every last Roman in Alexandria.”
“Enough of the big words, little brother,” she taunts him as he storms out of the Palace.
“Out, all. You will each be sent for when our congress is concluded. I wish to hear both sides of this story, Caesar orders.