NaNoFeed: Live from the 28-hour writing tour (The eve of the Ides of March)

Cleopatra had a rough night on 14 March 44 BC, like everyone else in Rome. (Special thanks to Bill Shakespeare for the weather report.)

During the night the wind rose, and she heard it howling in the wee hours, whistling as it found all the chinks in the villa; Charmian rose to put the shutters to, and to bring in more covers, and to light the brazier a second time. Nothing availed against the chill and the rumble of thunder; on such nights one was reminded of the dominion of the gods, no less than in high summer when the great river placidly overflowed its banks to deliver the fertile soil of the upriver lands to the inestimable benefit of Egypt.

The dominion of the gods.

A lightning strike, not far away.

The rule of chance.

Answering thunder, that rattled the crockery. She rolled herself in the covers, thinking of her brother, who slept in the same palace. No, she had reliable guards—of that she was sure, for they were Caesar’s men among them—and she had spies as reliable, and still and yet there was chance.

On the other hand, all of that would play out whether or not she slept, and if she could sleep in the bottom of a rowboat on her way through her enemy’s blockade, then she could sleep on a stormy night, under the roof of her ally and true consort.

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