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By Sherry Derr-Wille

In a time before written history, a young priest, Sayo, learned the fate of his people. Could he do anything to stop it? He prayed he could, but the wheels of fate were in motion.

As an orphan, Noya became a slave to the high priestess, Dostra. The innocence of childhood was lost with only Sayo to stand in the way of the terrible punishments of her mistress.

Sayo”s attraction to Noya is a puzzlement, for as a priest and son of the mangods, he is not to have the feelings of mortal men. When he acts on his feelings, he seals Noya’s fate and hastens the demise of his people.

Romantic Fiction

Sensuality rating: 0

Cover Art by Bev Haynes

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Cover of Sayo by Sherry Derr-Wille
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Chapter 1

The smoke of many cooking fires filled the autumn air and lazily hung in a hazy cloud over the village. Structures of various sizes denoted the status of the villagers. A large round building stood at the center of all of the dwellings, with about two dozen smaller homes around it. Away from all of the activity, stood the home of the high priestess, Dostra. Different from all the others, her house was built in a square, as dictated by the Man Gods when they first established the village.

Sayo had lived here all his life and coming home was comforting. The houses, made from bark, were coated with a water proof substance that had been handed down through the ages from the first settlers brought here by the Man Gods.

The cooking fires browned the meat the women were preparing. Hanging above the meat on cooking frames were pouches with vegetables to add to the meal. Sayo could feel the juices of hunger begin to flow in his mouth. He would be honored to eat at any one of the many cooking fires in the village this night.

 “I cannot believe your uncle allowed you to come hunting with us today, Sayo,” Tarros said.

Sayo looked across the long pole with the carcass of a deer suspended from it. “He was not happy until I told him you wanted me to bless the hunt. I think he was envious. No one has ever asked him to bless a hunt, not in all the turnings of the seasons he has been high priest.”

“You forget, Sayo, no one asked you to bless the hunt today. It matters not, because your presence has brought us good luck. Look how many deer we killed. The women will have enough meat for the feast and still be able to preserve much of it for the cold phases of the moon when the hunting is poor. It would please me if you shared the evening meal with my family.”

Sayo smiled. His boyhood friend knew, all too well, the only way a priest survived was from the generosity of the members of the community. Since the beginning of time, the priests had been the descendants of the Man Gods. Once their time with the people was finished, the One God would give them immortality. For that reason they were not allowed to hunt or gather. At least that was how Sayo’s Uncle Badro explained the reasoning behind the taboo. Badro said only the gifts of the people could be eaten.

When Sayo questioned Badro further, his uncle went on to tell him that the Gods were all powerful. Hunting was not something they needed to be bothered with, as when they became immortal, they had no need for food to survive. They were nourished by the words and generosity of the One God.

 “I would be honored to share your table, my friend. It will be as when we were children together.”

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