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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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“Me too,” Finch said. He walked over and grabbed another shovel.

The squad flanking the chievdar looked from him to us uncertainly, then drew their swords.

The chievdar waved his hand. “Put them away,” he said. “If the Morrighan bitch wants to bleed her fingers to the bone, it will provide fine entertainment for us all, but I don’t want to be here all night. If these fools want to dig some holes, let them dig.”

The chievdar looked the other way. If he had been tired of the display, he could easily have put an end to it. Lia was a prisoner and enemy of Venda, but maybe her chilling song had triggered enough of his own fear of the gods to let her finish her work.

Eben and Griz followed us, and probably to the chievdar’s dismay, seven of his soldiers did too. They grabbed picks and axes and whatever they could find, and next to the fallen we began digging holes.


We spent the night in the valley not far from where the slain were buried and set off again the next morning. It was three more days to Venda. This time we were flanked by a battalion of four hundred. Or six hundred? The numbers didn’t matter anymore. I only stared forward, letting my head bob freely with the jostling rhythm of the horse. The view in front of me was of Eben’s horse, his lame front leg making the others work harder. He wouldn’t make it to Venda.

My clothes still dripped. Only an hour ago, fully dressed, I walked into the river that ran the length of the valley. I didn’t feel its waters on my skin, but I saw the gooseflesh it raised. I let the current wash through my bloodstained clothes. Walther’s blood and the blood of thirty men ribboned away through the water and traveled home again. The world would always know, even if men forgot. I had found Gavin facedown not far from my brother, his thick red hair easy to identify, but Avro and Cyril weren’t as easy to recognize—only their devoted proximity to my brother made me think it was them. A face is hard and sunken in death once the blood has drained away, like carved wood in a casing of thin, gray flesh.

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