Which was why, when Delia walked in, Stag came near failing to believe it. Delia, all the way from the city, not in slinky red but scarred boots, mittens, a wool coat high enough at the collar it hid every part of her fine flesh but her face, which stayed frozen even when her eyes met his. She disappeared outside quick as she'd come.
She had seen these kinds of displays before. The people said all the right words and went through all the motions of piety, but their faces remained closed to her. There was almost a sense of mockery in their exaggerated subservience, a bluster that precluded any chance of an honest connection. Part of her wanted to shout at them, to embrace them, to do anything that might break through that wall of denial. For how could the truth ever reach them if they would not even admit to their heresy?