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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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We reached the Sacrista, and the crowd spread out. The sanctuary was large but not big enough to hold all of Terravin along with the swell of visitors who had come for the high holy days. The elderly and the First Daughters were invited into the sanctuary, but the rest had to find places on its perimeters, the steps, the plaza, the small grotto court, or the graveyard where additional priests would call rites for all to hear. The crowd thinned, everyone finding a place where they’d spend most of the day in prayer. I hung back, hoping, but I had lost sight of Rafe and Kaden. I finally walked to the graveyard, the last place where there was anywhere left to kneel.

I laid my mat down and caught the gaze of the priest on the back steps of the Sacrista. He looked at me, waiting. I didn’t know him. I had never met him, but with all the time Pauline had spent at the Sacrista, maybe she had told him something. Even if she had confessed our truths, I knew priests were bound by the seal of silence. He continued to observe me, and once I knelt, he began calling rites, beginning with the story of devastation.

I knew the story. I had it memorized. Everyone did. Lest we repeat history, the stories shall be passed from father to son, from mother to daughter. The story was told in every hovel, every cramped cottage, every grand manor, the older passing it on to the younger. Regan liked to tell it to me and often did, though his version was decidedly spicier than Mother’s, with more blood, battles, and wild beasts. Aunt Cloris generously peppered hers with obedience, and Aunt Bernette’s prominently featured the adventure of the deliverance, but it was all essentially the same story and not that different from the one the priest told now.

The Ancients thought themselves only a step lower than the gods, proud in their power over heaven and earth. They controlled night and day with their fingertips, they flew among the heavens; they whispered and their voices boomed over mountaintops; they were angry and the ground shook with fear.…

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