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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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A fierce man, tall in his saddle, rode over to meet us with a squad, their swords drawn. I assumed he was the commander of the brutish lot. He wore a beard braided into two long strands. It was my first glimpse of true barbarians. Kaden and the others had dressed to blend in with the Morrighese. Not these. Small animal skulls hung in strings from their belts, creating a hollow clatter as they approached. Long tethers fringed their leather helmets, and their faces were made fearsome with stripes of black under their eyes.

When the commander recognized Kaden and the others, he lowered his sword and greeted them as if they were meeting for a picnic in a meadow. He ignored the decapitated and broken bodies strewn around him, but very quickly the salutations ceased and all gazes rested on me. Finch quickly explained that I didn’t speak their language.

“I’m here to bury the dead,” I said.

“We have no dead,” the commander answered in Morrighese. His accent was heavy, and his words were thick with distaste, as if I had suggested something vulgar.

“The others,” I told him. “The ones you killed.”

A sneer pinched his lip. “We don’t bury the bodies of enemy swine. They’re left to the beasts.”

“Not this time,” I answered.

He looked at Kaden in disbelief. “Who’s this mouthy bitch riding with you?”

Eben jumped in. “She’s our prisoner! Princess Arabella of Morrighan. But we call her Lia.”

Scorn lit the commander’s face and he sat back in his saddle, pushing up the visor of his studded helmet. “So you call her Lia,” he mocked as he glared at me. “As I said, my soldiers do not bury swine.”

“You’re not a good listener, Commander. I didn’t ask for your savages to bury them. I wouldn’t allow unworthy hands to touch noble Morrighan soldiers.”

The commander bolted forward in his saddle, his hand raised to strike me, but Kaden put his arm out to stop him. “She’s grieving, Chievdar. Don’t take her to task for her words. One of them is her brother.”

I prodded my horse forward so I was knee to knee with the commander. “I will say it again, Chievdar. I will bury them.”

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