"Are you ready?" asked Chill in the distance. "Then let us begin the passage."
"No!" barked a new voice, and the grasp on Nora's mind broke. As one, the Family turned toward the newcomer.
"My name is Marie Warner. I am the great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Raindancer, former Wet of the Ceaseless." She glared at Nora from across the table. "I am here to claim my place as Sprin'kull, Wet of the Ceaseless."
She placed a tray in front of the astonished Family.
"I've brought cookies."
Meanwhile, Nora's distant cousin Marie Warner is beginning to sense her bloodline connection to the Ceaseless as well. Driven by various villainous desires, Marie begins extorting and forcing support from various water and weather-related entities, including Waterfall Gods and weather forecasters. Successfully seizing a significant amount of power from the office -- and showing a far greater aptitude for it than Nora has -- she confronts the Family and challenges Nora for the office.
The Ceaseless are bound by the rules of succession to choose between the two, and decide that each member of the Family shall invent and judge a contest between the two opponents, with the overall winner taking over the office. Thus does Nora find herself, without Team Cynical to back her up, facing a battle of wits and strength against a vicious and powerful opponent.
A mix of humor and serious writing, The High Cost of Raining was Bill's opportunity to express his affection for the Sandman comic books by attempting a parody, while developing the character of Rainy Day Woman separately from her teammates. It also permitted him the opportunity to write a running fight scene, something he felt he needed practice in.
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