Aravis thought that she had a right to be proud of how well she'd grown accustomed to life in Archenland over the years.
There was only one habit that she could not lose, no matter how long she was away from the land of her birth; the thrill of excitement that shot through her stomach whenever she heard a long rain shower beginning. People in Archenland thought nothing of the rain, even considering it a nuisance at times, having never known the type of drought that turns the entire world brown. Though Calormen was not so dry as the great desert that stretched between the two countries, in the hot summer season the rain came rarely and was gone again so swiftly that you could imagine it was a passing dream if it didn't leave the thirsty world blooming in its wake.
A heavy rainfall, the type that could last for hours, was so rare that it was seen as a blessing from Tash. There would be feasts held in its honor, children born during that day were thought to have good luck through their entire lives, and if an important occasion happened to fall on the day of a true rain, why, nothing bad could possibly come of it.
That last belief was what sprang immediately to mind when she woke in the dark of the night at the sound of the rain pounding on her ceiling. She didn't call a servant to help her as she pushed herself out of her bed and pulled a robe over her nightclothes the way she would have in her youth. She thought that even as she was then she may not have wanted anyone else with her on that night.
She didn't know what time it was, but she knew that had to be late when she didn't even really need to try to avoid running into any other people as she stole through the castle to the nearest exit.
Her robe was soaked through almost immediately, the nightgown beneath it hardly staying dry for any amount of time longer before both were clinging to her skin, but she didn't care in the least. All that she could think of was raising her face to the sky, letting the rain splash down onto her skin, into her hair, dripping into eyes that she refused to close against the irritation. She was no longer a Tarkheena, the title had no meaning in her new country. Tash was no longer her god, and she doubted that she would ever step foot in Calormen again. Still, as the rain fell down on her she felt in her heart that it she was blessed.
She was hardly even aware of the door opening again behind her until a voice, that of the head maid she realized without looking back, said in a shocked tone, "Why, Miss Aravis! You'll catch your death, standing out in this weather dressed like that. And with your wedding this afternoon!"
She didn't resist when the woman took her arm and began tugging her back into the castle, chattering about fixing her a nice cup of tea, or a snack, or a bath, or whatever might help her get back to sleep, but as she stepped inside she almost thought that she heard a sound like the soft footsteps of a large cat in the rain behind her and couldn't hold back a smile.
The wedding would be a blessed event. She was sure of it.