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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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I smiled and wiped my cheeks. “There’s something I need to show you,” I said. I put the basket between us and moved aside the napkin, pulling out a fat roll of Morrighan notes—a morsel that was supposed to tide me over for some time to come. My brother would understand. “Walther brought this. It was Mikael’s. He said Mikael left a letter saying it was for you if anything should happen to him.” Pauline reached out and touched the thick roll. “So much from a first-year sentry?”

“He managed his purse well,” I said, knowing any good trait assigned to Mikael would be easily accepted by Pauline.

She sighed, and a sad smile lined her eyes. “That was Mikael. This will help.”

I reached out and held her hand. “We’ll all help, Pauline. Berdi, Gwyneth, and I, we’ll all be here for—”

“Do they know?” she asked.

I shook my head. “Not yet.”

But we both knew, either time would tell them or Pauline would. Some truths refused to be hidden.

Tell me again, Ama. About the warmth. Before.

The warmth came, child, from where I don’t know.

My father commanded, and it was there.

Was your father a god?

Was he a god? It seemed so.

He looked like a man.

But he was strong beyond reason,

Knowledgeable beyond possible,

Fearless beyond mortal,

Powerful as a—

Let me tell you the story, child, the story of my father.

Once upon a time, there was a man as great as the gods …

But even the great can tremble with fear.

Even the great can fall.

—The Last Testaments of Gaudrel


A pink sugar haze glazed the sky, and the sun began its climb over the mountain. Either side of the road was crowded twenty deep with everyone in Terravin waiting to be led in the procession that would hail the beginning of the holy days. A reverent hum ruffled through the crowd, holiness incarnate, as if the gods stood among us. Maybe they did.

The Festival of Deliverance had begun. In the middle of the road, waiting to lead the crowds, were dozens of women and girls, old and young, hand in hand, dressed in rags.

Every First Daughter of Terravin.

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