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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 found the spot, quickly stripped, and left my dirty clothes and a fresh change on the grassy bank. I shivered as I slipped below the surface of the water, but it wasn’t half as cold as the streams of Civica. My shoulders were already warming as I broke the surface again. I drew in a deep breath, a new breath, one I had never taken before.

I am only Lia, now. From this day forward.

It felt like a baptism. A deeper kind of cleansing. Water trickled down my face and dripped from my chin. Terravin wasn’t just a new home. Dalbreck could have offered that, but there I’d have been only a curiosity in a foreign land, with still no voice in my own destiny. Terravin offered a new life. It was both exhilarating and terrifying. What if I never saw my brothers again? What if I was a failure at this life too? But everything I had seen so far had encouraged me, even Berdi. Somehow, I’d make this new life work.

The creek was wider than I expected, but I stayed in the calm shallows as Pauline had instructed. It was a clear, gentle pool no more than shoulder deep with slick river rock dotting its bottom. I lay back and floated, my eyes resting on the filigreed canopy of oak and pine. With dusk settling, the shadows deepened. Through the trunks, golden lights began to flicker in the hillside homes as Terravin prepared for the eventide remembrances. I was surprised to find that I listened expectantly for the songs that ushered in the evening throughout all of Morrighan, but only the occasional hint of melody caught on a breeze.

I will find you …

In the farthest corner …

I paused, turning my head to the side to hear better, the burning tone of the words more urgent than any of the holy remembrances of home. I couldn’t place the phrases either, but the Holy Text was vast.

The melodies vanished, plucked away by a cool breeze, and instead I listened to the whoosh of Berdi’s brush as I vigorously scrubbed my back. My left shoulder burned where soap met wedding kavah, as if a battle raged between the two. With each pass of the brush, I imagined the lion crest of Dalbreck shrinking back in terror, soon to be gone from my life forever.

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