When it Rains ...

When it Rains ...



((Note: This takes place directly after Eowyn's and Selnecker's conversation in A Question of Faith.))

Saro slowly made her way from the cemetary- near the rear of the Cathedral- to the main door where it fronted on the square. She looked over to the church's great front steps in time to notice a shadowy figure descend them to the courtyard, the details of its appearance- and even it's gender- swathed in the folds of a long, full cloak. No, not entirely hidden. The scholar noticed that the priest's early visitor was quite prenaturally graceful, and even under the cloak its silouhette was tall and slim. She wondered, due to a darkness lit only by a sliver of moon, if it might not be one of Stormpoint's... ah... night crowd, come for the peace of the building or the wisdom of its steward.

A sudden tug of wind interrupted her thoughts, and her idle speculation soon dissapeared as completely as its object, blending with the night. She had come out because she found she could not sleep, as happened once in a while. Ordinarily she would have simply looked over her notes, jotting down thoughts and observations in their margins until she grew tired, but the wind of a coming storm had whispered promises against her windows and clattered the branches of trees together in counterpoint. That had always been her favorite sort of weather, even as a baby: there was just something about an impending storm... And so, she had ventured out into the predawn dark, wrapped in her thoughts and a long dark cloak. She had ended up in the old graveyard, walking among the neat rows of stone markers and looking for names she recognized from her research as the storm vied for her attention.

It was impressive, she had to admit, as she eventually made her way towards the front of the building. The wind raced about the square, teasing the fountain and the Cathedral gargoyles and a few stray locks of her hair all indiscriminately. The air was heavy, holding its breath before the tempest truly broke, and the many artful carvings adorning the Cathedral were transformed by a silvery half-light from the moon, when it was't hidden behind scudding clouds. It was beautiful, and the scholar hugged her cloak a little closer to herself as the first swollen drops of rain began falling, starting slow then pelting hard as tiny stones, it seemed. Hood down, she ran for the shelter of the Cathedral, taking refuge in the great recessed doorway. She'd been farther than she had thought, and consequently had gotten wetter than she thought she might. Unbrushed hair hung in wet draggles about her face, and the cloak tugged at her shoulders, heavy with moisture. Her bare feet were spattered with mud, likewise the hems of both her cloak and the long, old-fashioned nightgown she wore underneath. She hadn't intended to be out for long, just a few moments before sneaking back in to her bed.

And a fine job of sneaking you'll do, she admonished herself wryly. Why, you'll leave puddles all through the rectory, not to mention run into everything if these horrible glasses won't unsmear. She removed the offending eyewear, trying to wipe off the spattered rain and succeeding only in re-arranging it. Ah. Well, good enough.

She crammed the glasses back over her eyes, where they obligingly commenced to add to their collection of rain-specks. Saro peered out from her meager shelter for a moment as the rain, falling in sheets and billows, pelted the stone paving of the square without mercy. The wind drove the rain into her doorway, so she might have gotten no less wet standing in the open. She was drenched, completely, and the calculating part of her said she'd be quite cold in a few moments, but she wasn't ready to return just yet.

A few more minutes can hardly hurt. It's not as if you'll get any wetter. Then you can go in to pray, then dry up. Thus resolved, she folded her arms in front of her and watched as the ocean storm unleashed it's fury on it's namesake city.

Saro Wentworth, PhD.

"The briar grows before the rose,
But neither grows alone."

~ Jack Hardy


Above the square, in the cathedral tower, a pair of golden eyes watched the scholar with something akin to human good-nature. The mind behind the eyes thought, "Ah, good Doctor, ever one to demonstrate that you bookish ones have no sense to come in from the rain......"

A dry chuckle teased the air in the tower.

The figure moved noiselessly down to the cathedral's narthex, through the nave in a flash, and into the rectory to gather a few supplies. Returning, the "sexton" took care not to disturb the priest at his prayers, and simply cracked open the door to the cathedral directly behind the drenched and shivering scholar. Before she could turn to notice, the "sexton" vanished from sight....but left on the floor of the narthex for her to find were a towel, a dry robe, slippers, and a candle-lantern. Had she been paying attention she might have heard a smiling voice whisper

"We can't have you catching your death of a cold, now can we?"

The Sexton

Watcher and Protector

"O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts and my deformity, Restore Thine image so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou may'st know me, and I'll turn my face."

John Donne, "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward"


"We can't have you catching your death of a cold, now can we?"

What was that? With a shiver, Saro turned sharply towards the door. As she had thought, the cold had started to saturate her bones as the rain had her clothes. She'd been just about to go in anyways when she heard the gentle voice. Or thought you heard, she amended. Probably nothing but your imagination and the noises of wind and rain, playing tricks on you. But wind and rain didn't open doors, and they certainly didn't do it so quickly and quietly that someone all but leaning on those doors wouldn't even notice. And the door was open indeed, not open far, granted, but so close she could have taken a step and been inside the sanctuary of the Cathedral. She did that now, the strip of dim light from inside widening just enough to let her slip through before she closed it entirely.

No, that voice could not have been imagined, else the dry and waiting towel and robe, slippers and light were imagined too. And heaven knows I hope they're not. The scholar shivered again, soaked through and chilled at the centre of a steadily growing puddle on the stone floor. She lost no time in putting the mysterious offerings to good use, wondering as she toweled her dripping hair what, exactly, those whispered words had been. She'd caught only a few words, but the voice had seemed kind and male and somewhat amused. Not that I begrudge him that, she laughed softly. You make a pretty amusing sight, I'm sure. She brushed back from her face dark, damp tendrils of hair, tucking them impatiently behind her ears. She picked up the robe and paused, her nightgown clinging to her slight and shivering figure. She'd shed her cloak almost as soon as she'd stepped in out of the rain; the wet wool was soaked through and uncomfortably heavy. The idea of putting the dry robe over her wet nightgown did not appeal, but she was hardly going to strip down in the Cathedral. She finally compromised, picking one dark corner out of many and slipping the robe on under the nightgown. Not a particularly elegant method, but useful nonetheless. The discarded shift she piled on top of the cloak, near the door, resolving to retrieve both when she went up to her room. Now, though, the scholar had much on her mind, and carefully picked up the lantern (thankfully already lit; matches, like ballpoint pens, seemed to be one of those overlookable but very useful items that were so scarce in the City). The sudden movement sent soft light crazing around the area, shifting the shadows which lurked in corners and behind statues and, most especially, up among the proverbial rafters. It was to this last that she looked, before she padded barefoot- slippers lost in the shadows and forgotten- into the Cathedral proper.

"Thank you, by the way. I am in your debt," she whispered, and added recklessly, "O guardian of absent-minded professors."

Saro Wentworth, PhD.

"The briar grows before the rose,
But neither grows alone."

~ Jack Hardy



1999 Stormpoint Writers Guild
All rights reserved