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    The Challenge

    Can you hear it? The heavy purr of the rain outside as it hits your roof and window? The splash as a car hits a large puddle? The thump as it hits your umbrella? The rain?


    Even after its gone, its calming. The smell of it in the dirt the fewer toxins in the air?


    For this challenge your character is to write something that includes it raining outside (during the rain, not before or after although it can include either). Do they like rain? Do they hate it? Tell us.

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    It was late into the night and from her bed in the room she shared with another, Zéphyrine laid still and listened to the storm as it built outside. From the top of Mont Nuit, one of the highest areas of Elua’s City, the storm sounded much worse than it was. She had yet seen one that compared to the storms that would roll across the open plains of Namarre, and around the small Temple dedicated of the Lady of Passions. They had been real storms to her, not this pallid wind blowing that rattled around the House, and rain that pattered against the windows. She had to wonder if any Patrons had dared the storm tonight, come to enjoy the pleasures that only House Valerian could give. And she wondered if the storm would add to their lust and ardour with their chosen Adepts. And at the thought Zéphyrine shuddered all over. Her Debut must be coming soon, she was sure, though she had no idea how the social calendar ran for such a things. She knew there were many Initiates that had to all be Debuted in a year, and none could be done at the same time. It was unfair to do such a thing, to dangle a new morsel before the first had a chance to be tasted. But her sixteenth birthday was fast approaching, and she quivered to feel the hands of a Patron on her. And with that thought, she felt her own hands slide under the silken top sheet, and down over her body.


    “Zephy…Are you awake?” The voice that came out of the darkness was like a dark blanket over her arousal, and she had to work to not let a small sigh escape her lips. The voice belonged to Monique, her fellow Initiate who shared a room with Zéphyrine, and she could hear a quivering fear in the girl’s voice. In that instant Zéphyrine could see how great an Adapt she would be, if she could use that voice with her patrons, they would feel even greater power over her. And for the first time with Monique, Zéphyrine felt jealous.


    “Yes, I am awake. What’s wrong?” She found she had to work to keep her voice soft, not wanting to admit that the girl had interrupted Zéphyrine exploring some of her own pleasure.


    “It’s the storm Zephy…” The girl’s voice squeaked as flash of lightening cracked across the room. She knew what she was going to have to do, and she found she did not mind so terribly much. There must always be pleasure with pain, and the almost pleasure was now followed with the pain of un-fulfilment. She pulled back her sheet and patted the side of the bed next to her.


    “Come share with me then.”


    She heard the rustling of Monique’s own bed sheets, and then the weight of the girl getting in beside her. She reached out and hugged the smaller and fairer girl to her as they spooned in the bed together. Zéphyrine could feel the smaller girl trembling, and she cuddled her close. She knew she had to do something to sooth her, so she cleared her throat a little to prepare her voice.


    “This is truly not a storm, Nique, did you know that?” She felt the girl ahead of her shake her head. Zéphyrine smiled and continued. “I grew up on the plains of Namarre, in a small Temple dedicated to the goddess of love. We had a vineyard, where they grew grapes for wine, and we had sheep where we framed for wool. We used to have storms so bad that we would feel the ground shake with the lightning strikes.” She could hear the girl gasp, but she continued on. “Not long before my tenth birthday, there was the Mother of all storms, and it was like nothing I had ever seen…”


    6 Years Earlier… The Plains of Namarre


    Zéphyrine had been out tending the small flock of sheep when she had found a soft patch of grass and fallen into a doze. In that doze she had not noticed the skies darkening and the wind picking up around her and the mewling flock. She had been in the sweetest dream of laughing and singing the hymns of Naamah in a large hall with her Parents who she liked to try and envision. She never really saw their faces in her mind, but she got a sense of them and in her mind she was the lost Princess to the D’Angeline throne, and her parents would sweep down and rescue her and take her back to the City of Elua to live in peace and happiness. It was not a new dream, but it was a consuming one, and it was not until the first fat droplets of rain started to fall that she woke from the dream and stared up at the dark sky.


    “Kushiel’s wrath….” The words slipped out the child’s mouth as she stared up at the roiling clouds and she felt a strong pang of fear sweep through her. She knew this was a storm that would leave a small trail of destruction in its wake, and she knew she had to get herself and the scared flock of sheep back.


    Zéphyrine got to her feet, grabbed the crook, and began to guide the sheep towards the temple. The rain lashed against her face, the wind whipped her hair around her head as she tried to shout the commands over the wind, and not feel the freezing rain that stuck her clothing to her skin. She did not want to fail her Priests and lose this seasons wool gathering but a larger part of her wanted to simply run and leave the sheep into Elua’s hands. But she found she could not, an she worked hard to drive the flock back towards the Temple.


    She almost got lost twice, and fell over more than once, and when finally the Temple came back into view she let out a small prayer to Naamah as she rallied them home. As she came close, she saw the shapes of two of the Priests coming towards her, Philipe and Laurant, and they aided her in getting the sheep locked up tight in the stable. They then fought their way back into the Temple with flashes of lightning all around them, and thunder booming so loud that she was sure she had gone deaf. When she was finally back into the Temple and the doors were bared, she slid down against the closed and locked door and she let herself be folded into hugs and dry towels by some of the other Orphans there. They laughed and tumbled together though she had little strength left in her arms and legs.


    Once she was dry, she was called to go and see Joffence, the High Priest of the small temple. He looked at her sternly and before she could stop herself she found herself on her knees, begging forgiveness for her lack of strict following to her chore of watching the Sheep, and she found she could not stop the tears that streamed down her wind sore cheeks. Joffence rose and came around his desk and joined her on the floor.


    “Zéphyrine, why do you cry? You have investigated the face of the raw power of Mother Earth and you survived. No other storm can ever make you fear after this one, though it is a lesson that you attend your duties without slacking.” Zéphyrine could only nod her head and she went into his warm and dry embrace where she sobbed until she fell asleep, the sound of the raging storm falling from her hearing.




    Zéphyrine raised her head and looked down at the girl beside her and smiled. Monique had fallen asleep, and her breath was coming deep and evenly. She pulled the sheet up and over the pair of them, and she cuddled up behind the smaller woman. It felt good to share her space with someone, and she had to wonder if she would sleep next too any of the Patrons in the future, or if they would use her and toss her out for the night. Both scenarios seemed to appeal to her for different reasons and with those pleasant thoughts and feelings inside her she closed her eyes and waited for sleep to claim her.



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